Honey Creek elementary students, from grades 2 – 5, have taken part in The Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad (WESO) since 2011. WESO is the largest Science Olympiad in the country with over 30 schools competing. Our Honey Creek team philosophy is to have fun with the science. This experience not only teachers our students to learn more about their event’s focus, but they also learn the essentials of teamwork and the value of working together to find a solution. In 2014, Honey Creek’s school team was made up of 15 students comprising 11 teams. Of those teams, 2 medaled and 9 received ribbons. We are very proud of our Honey Creek Science Olympians. To learn more about WESO please visit: http://www.aaps.k12.mi.us/wesowizards.home/about.
In the 2nd/3rd grade technology classes, we’ve been continuing our exploration of the question, “What is technology?”. This has taken several forms over the weeks in October.
One week, students took a “virtual field trip” around the state of Michigan using Google Earth. We talked about how this technology works, and looked at several famous places in Michigan, including the Mackinac Bridge. Over the next two weeks, we used the topic of bridges to explore how technology and engineering differs when we use real-world tools versus computerized tools.
The first week, students watched a historical source video about the building of the Mackinac Bridge and then built physical models of bridges using K’nex. The students had great fun testing these to see how much weight they could hold!
The next week, we watched a short video that showed how engineers and designers use computer simulations before building to test their ideas, and the students got a chance to try their hand at a computer simulation called Cargo Bridge. They really enjoyed using this fun simulation, and we were able to have deeper conversations about using physical materials as compared to building virtual bridges using the computer simulation.
These rich experiences of using Google Earth, building and testing K’Nex bridges and using the computer simulation led into two weeks of students writing about their experiences, using their Google Drive accounts. This is a tool used widely across the 2/3 curriculum, and is a tool that students will be using as they continue at Honey Creek. The first week, students accessed this using the laptops, and the second week they used the iPads to compare and contrast those experiences.
In the 4/5 technology classes this month, students have been learning Scratch programming, which teaches computational thinking, computer graphics, creativity, and math concepts such as the X/Y coordinate system. There is a ton of excitement around this project, which will continue into November/December. Look for final student projects at Curriculum Celebration in January!
During the most recent week of the project, students also learned about an exciting new way to interact with their Scratch projects – the MaKey MaKey! This board plugs into the computer and lets you turn almost anything into a button. For example, one student made a Scratch project that played a sound when a blob of Play-Doh was touched, using the MaKey MaKey to take advantage of the conductive properties of Play-Doh!
MS Technology Update
This month, students have been working hard on finishing their Tamarack Video Diary project. They’ve been downloading photos and video to use in their diaries, editing in iMovie, creating or downloading music to add as soundtracks, and writing narration to be recorded as voiceovers. Look for these finished products to be displayed at the Winter Curriculum Celebration in January!
In the Web Design class, students have been continuing to learn the basics of HTML and CSS, through a series of carefully-paced learning modules running on our school’s Moodle server. For each learning module, the students are asked to create an assignment showing the skill, such as using CSS to change the color or size of text on a Web site.
The Media Center encourages our students to bring in pieces of their art, to be displayed as the “Student Artist of the Week.” We love to show student’s work in the Media Center for the Honey Creek community to admire. If your student would like to display a piece of their work, please let Marion know, and it will be put up for its week in the spotlight.
As you plan your holiday shopping, please remember that the Media Center is grateful for donations of books. We keep a wish-list on Amazon.com for those items we could especially use. To make finding this list easy, we’ve included a link to it, on the Media Center’s home page, found near the bottom of the page, in the link “Help Build Our Collection.”
We’ve also done some more work towards building an understanding of what technology is by doing a drawing with pencil & paper, then doing the same drawing with a computer program. This allows us to compare & contrast between the two sets of tools and experiences.
4/5 Technology has seen our students growing and learning about the various types of technology we use here at Honey Creek. The 4/5 classes have started using a service called ClassDojo, which is a system for keeping track of students’ behavior and participation. Students got a chance to see it in action, and created their own logins and avatars. It was a lot of fun!
- Example ClassDojo screenshot
Our 4/5 students have also been getting up to speed with their Google Apps accounts, which allow them to use Google Drive and other services. They’ll be using these throughout their work in 4/5s during this year.
We’ll be starting our first major project in the next few weeks after doing a quick overview of using iMovie on the iPads, which makes for an extremely useful and easy way to shoot and edit video on the fly.
Middle School Technology
The Middle School technology classes jump straight into their first major project for the year in week 1. Each student is creating their own video diary based on their experience at Camp Tamarack (or, for those who did not attend camp, based on another memorable experience). This project is done in conjunction with the autobiographical/narrative writing unit in Language Arts, since there are major themes that overlap.
During the first week of class, students learned about the project and did a quick engineering design activity. While we were at camp, we shot a total of 2,143 photos and videos, the majority of which were taken by the students!
Each student is now using Google Drive and iMovie to sort, organize and edit these video clips and photos into a cohesive narrative describing their experience. We’ll be working on this for the next month or so.
MS Technology Elective – Web Design
The Middle School technology elective for Semester 1 is Web Design. Students enrolled in this elective will be learning the basics of designing and programming a Web site. So far, we’ve started learning HTML and CSS, and students will be continuing to grow these skills as we progress further.
Hello, Honey Creek families and friends. I am delighted to be on staff this year as the new art teacher. I earned my Post-Baccalaureate teaching certificate in Visual Arts Education from Eastern Michigan University and have spent as much time in the classrooms of Honey Creek as possible since then. I have already had a long relationship with Honey Creek, and as I’ve told all my students, Honey Creek is my favorite school. I’ve already really enjoyed working with all of your kids.
In K/1, students are working on a series of exercises in which they are beginning to learn about the elements of design, starting especially with color, line and shape. They’re currently reviewing warm and cool colors and learning some art techniques, such as wax resist using crayons and tempera paint. The 2/3s are beginning a unit on landscape in which they are learning the basic elements of western landscapes. They will be painting their own landscapes, mixing and experimenting with color. 4/5 students have been examining and talking about the abstract collages of Henri Matisse and making their own abstract collages, which will eventually become the covers of their in-class sketchbooks.
In Middle School, students are in the process of drawing portraits of people using the traditional oval shaped face with standard proportions. Soon they will be asking critical questions about individual and unique facial proportions and drawing self-portraits using mirrors. We will then compare and contrast the first drawing with the second. Finally, we will look at average proportions of the body and investigate ways to make interesting figure drawings. They’ll be able to use that information in an upcoming Social Studies assignment. In the Middle School Art Elective, we are focusing on environmental art. We have begun with the ephemeral art of Andy Goldsworthy, and have been going outside to explore and create on Honey Creek grounds.
I am looking forward to a wonderful year with your students, including investigating art history, writing about and discussing students’ own art and the art of others, and making art. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month’s technology classes have been integrated with the 2/3 science curriculum. Students are currently studying Energy: Sound & Light in science, and all the technology activities for this month have been based on those same concepts.
The first week, we learned about how sound travels, and built sound-transmission devices. Below is a photo of 2 students testing theirs out:
We also used an interactive simulation called String Thing that let students explore the way different factors affect sounds produced by a string under tension. These factors included string length and the amount of tension on the string, something they had seen when building their sound transmission devices with paper cups and string.
After exploring sound, we moved into exploring light. One fun activity involved converting light energy into electrical energy, using solar panels. Students used LEGO solar panels and motors to try this out, as shown below:
- A student tests his solar-powered machine
Finally, we wrapped up with another interactive simulation that showed how light works. The Engineeringinteract.org site has a great activity that gets students to read about and explore how light works.
This month, students have been engaged in an inquiry-based activity. The hypothetical situation for this activity is that they need to buy 30 light bulbs for a house they’ve inherited. They must choose from among 3 types of bulbs: incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), and LED. Each type of bulb uses different technologies to produce light, along with having different impacts on the environment, energy use, and light output.
- A student measure the light output of one of the 3 types of bulbs.
Student used high-tech tools to measure the light output, heat produced, and energy used by the 3 different types of bulbs. They are now working on analyzing their data and writing up their final conclusion as to which bulb they’d choose, supported by the data they have gathered.
- Calculations from the inquiry activity
Middle School Technology
The middle school students are continuing to work on their Solar Vehicles project. Many students have finished building and testing their vehicles, and are now working on writing their final report to complete the portfolio of work for the project.
During Maturation week, the middle school students all participated in a Digital Citizenship discussion. This covered topics such as online privacy and safety, usage of social networks, and cyberbullying. This was a great discussion with each of the 3 grade levels.
Middle School Technology Elective
The Assistive Technology elective class continues to work on their various projects. During the month of May, students finished their One-Button games and the accessible switches they built. They also investigated assistive technology apps on the iPads, and some students have begun to work on a final project of their choosing.
One special item of note: this week, the class was able to do a live video hangout with Andrew VandenHeuvel. Andrew is a Google Glass Explorer, which means he’s one of the first people in the world with Google Glass, the new wearable computing device. Our class participated in a STEMbite science activity, and then spent some time talking with Andrew about Google Glass.
You can see a video overview of this exciting activity here:
It has been a busy and productive year in the Media Center. As the school year comes to a close, I ask the community to join me in thanking my two volunteer parents, who came in almost every week to help keep up with the shelving: Katy Kramp and Liz Meurer. Thanks, both of you, for helping to keep the Media Center running smoothly.
Students have begun to receive check-lists of the items they need to return before the end of the year. If there are items on the list that are shown as Lost, the replacement cost is listed. We also take replacement copies if one can be found. Media Center items can also be returned during the summer to the Honey Creek office. Keeping track of Media Center material, and seeing that it is returned, is one of those continuing lessons in responsibility that kids keep working on. Thanks to all who help them develop that sense.
As summer comes, so do the reading programs at the area’s public libraries. I urge you to take your students to the libraries during the summer and let them enjoy both the reading and the fun activities that my public colleagues have planned. If your K/1 student doesn’t yet have a library card, this should be the summer s/he gets one! Getting one’s first library card should be a celebration for every kid!
Have a fun and relaxing summer; don’t forget to read every day! Marion
Our last full month of school has begun, and we are working on the last couple of projects in all of our classes right now. K/1 classes are working on a project inspired by Eric Carle, which involves painting and coloring several pieces of paper and creating cut-out shapes. 2/3 classes are learning about Wayne Thiebaud and his famous paintings of cakes. They are learning the steps to draw several types of cakes using simple shapes and designs. 4/5 classes are finishing up their Jellyfish project, and will be starting a project on the planets and solar system soon. Middle School is finishing up their unit on the art of India/Tibet with a project in which they design a glove in the same way that a henna artist works with mehndi designs on the hands and feet. Elective is moving from their color project, to their sculpture project in the coming weeks.
Earlier last month, I announced that I would not be returning next school year so that I can pursue my graduate degree in art history at Wayne State and begin work writing for a Detroit-based music website. It has been three years of hard work, wonderful learning experiences, and bonding with some of the most intelligent, respectful, and humorous students that I will ever come across, and I will never forget the kindness and generosity of the amazing community I have been able to work with. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart — not only have I enjoyed spending time with your students helping them learn about and create art, but I have genuinely enjoyed spending time getting to know them as the individuals and watching them grow and mature. I am really looking forward to how much fun we are going to have this last month!
Spring Book Fair is coming up! It’s on the night of Curriculum Celebration, and will be sponsored by our local bookseller, Nicola’s Books. Add to your own library and help support HCCS Media Center at the same time!