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Music Notes November 2017

Greetings Music Parents!


This past month has been full of new and interesting things for the musicians at Honey Creek!


Concert and Informance:

They are really excited about showing you what they know at our Informance and Concert in December!  The concert is scheduled for December 14th and will take place in the gym as we won’t all fit in the Cafetorium.


Google Classroom:

5th Grade and Middle School students are all signed up for Google Classroom, which is a web based class management program. All discussion, assignments, assessments, etc will be located on that website. Students need to sign in and check the classroom daily, as it will be frequently updated throughout the day. Parents will be notified by Google Classroom in the form of a digest of their assignments, which is emailed to you weekly. If you are not receiving these emails, please let me know.


New Website:

Everything you need to know to be successful in band is located on 2 places on the web. First is the Google Classroom page.  Second is the new music webpage!


Here you will find everything from a fingering chart for the clarinet, singing parts for Music Lab, to a bucket drumming demo video. You can even watch the cool video stories your K-1 student might tell you about at the dinner table! With this new site up and running, I will be posting very limited information on the WordPress site, mostly just the Honey Bunches of Notes.


New Equipment:

In an effort to locate some more equipment for the Band (our percussion most specifically) I came in contact with Dan McCourt in Pontiac. Dan owns The Greenhorn Project, which takes in instruments from districts that are upgrading or dissolving, and sells them to other districts, either repaired or as is, for a huge mark down. So far I have purchased another xylophone and a floating bass drum concert band hoop. You will see both of these instruments in action in December. The next instruments I am saving up for are timpani.


Class by Class

K-1 – We are spending a lot of time this semester working on rhythms, playing new instruments, and using our voices to make music. We listened to some scary music by Edvard Greig called “In The Hall of The Mountain King” with a little animated sled rider that moved with the music. We are learning the rhythmic difference between a quarter note and an eighth note and how to count them.


2-3 – This month we focused a lot on rhythm and playing multiple parts.  We also started to learn and sign solfege and play a cool new game called The Forbidden Word!

4-5 – We have been the busy over the last month learning a full piece on buckets for the concert, complete with stick tricks! We are also learning music and choreography to “Cold Snap” from the musical “Flakes”.  We also have our sights set on after the winter break when  we will be learning to play recorders and participating in an Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra program called “Link Up: The Orchestra Rocks!” in cooperation with Carnegie Hall. Information about recorders will be coming out in the next newsletter.


Firebird Band – We are working our way through the Standard of Excellence book with gusto! We are already on number 23!  Students have weekly playing tests that are recorded and submitted through Google Classroom. If they are having problems logging in to Google Classroom, please let me know.  There are videos on Google Classroom on how to record and submit a test.  As stated above, parents should be getting weekly reminders about missing assignments in their email.


Phoenix Fire Band – We are tackling three pieces for the Winter Concert, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Dark Adventure, and The Funky Turtle. We are learning a lot about the next stage of being a musician, listening, blending and tuning our sound into one performance.  Phoenix Fire does not have practice journals anymore, but rather have weekly playing test to be submitted through Google Classroom.


Music Lab – We are performing music in small and large ensembles on ukulele, learning a choir piece in Swahili, and performing a small ukulele choir finger picking piece for the December concert. There are helpful instructional guides, recorded sign and play along tracks, as well as sheer music on the Weebly site.

Music Notes October 2017

It has been just the blink of an eye since the picnic until now closing our third full week of school. Honey Creek is like nowhere I have ever worked before, the vast majority of those experiences being in traditional public school districts.

Thank you to all the students, families, faculty, and administration for making me feel so welcome! Its been a learning and teaching pleasure getting started at Honey Creek!

In music we are exploring steady beats, that music is made up of sound AND silence, and learning about the instruments of the orchestra with books like “Zin, Zin, Zin, A Violin”, and “The Remarkable Farkle McBride”. Links to both YouTube videos are on the K-1 tab if you would like to hear them. In October, we are going to continue learning the instrument families, steady pulse, but are going to add different note values, and eventually playing our own rhythms on the classroom instruments.  We have some un seasonal dances planned as well, “The Monster Mash” will be coming up toward the end of the month, and it wouldn’t be fall without a barn square dance!2-3
After getting to know the students a little better over the first few weeks, I felt confident that I would be able to teach this group of 2-3 students how to make some music using some basic rhythms, easy parts, and musical instruments. Starting with a quarter note, quarter rest, half note, half rest, and eighth note pair, we ended with making and singing in parts using the rhythms from the chant “Fuzzy Wuzzy”. This will be a lead into sing and playing two part songs.

In Class we are getting our groove on by learning bucket drumming. We review the notes and rests, learned the proper way to hold sticks, and learned our first rudiment, the Paradiddle, Rudiments are sticking patterns that percussionists use to make things easier to play and communicate to other percussionists about rhythms. This month we will be starting to get ready for the December performance by starting to learn our concert piece as well as writing some percussion ensembles of our own!

Middle School Music Lab
I’ve changed the name of this class because we are going to do so much more in there then just Choir.  Last month we started learning or relearning the ukulele. The performance at the concert will focus on that, but also on the delivery of the performance. Next month, along with the ukulele’s, we will be focusing on singing. I’m ordering a two part choral arrangement of one of the pieces we are playing for the winter performance.

Firebird Band (5th Grade)
Now that we have gotten through the flurry of activity that is the first few weeks of school and most everyone has their instruments, it’s time to start band class! For September we met in separate instrument groups, so I could help individuals with getting started on their perspective instruments. This month we begin with meeting as a full band!!

Band meets Monday – Wednesday which makes a lot of great continuity through the beginning of the week. However that leaves a long stretch from Thursday – Sunday potentially without practice. I am requiring that student practice 40-60 minutes from Thursday – Sunday. I have emailed a Google Form in order for parents to help keep track of how much practicing is going on at home. Please take a look at it, fill it out and submit it. Parents will get this form on Sunday night to record the previous weeks practice minutes. While it won’t directly have an impact on the grade in class, your practice time will be reflected in your playing.

First up Monday – Playing Test #7 in Standard of Excellence!!!!

Phoenix Fire Band
We are just getting started with Phoenix Fire Band since we have been at camp and the zoo. I’ve been spending most of the last few weeks getting to know the kids and their playing strengths. There are some really great fundamental sounds coming from this group and the diversity of instrumentation is perfect. Some of the most exciting developments are we are working on getting a student to switch to tuba to help fill out the ensemble sound. Also because we have so many amazing percussionists, we are going to spend some time letting them develop some percussion ensembles.  Currently we are working on tuning, blending, and playing out with our full breath. We have a few pieces in the folder now that we will be bringing to you on the Winter Concert.

Garry K. Klink
Honey Creek Community School
Music Teacher

Fun With Science For HC Science Olympiads

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.

Technology News: November 2013

2/3 Technology Update

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!

IMG_2944 IMG_2966 IMG_2991

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.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 10.51.04 AM

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.

4/5 Technology Update

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!

IMG_3308 IMG_3310

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!

MS Technology Elective (Web Design) Update
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.

One exciting new development this month is the introduction of Coder, a tool for the Raspberry Pi platform that allows students to easily create their own projects using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students have set up two Raspberry Pi computers to run as Coder development environments, and are cranking out interesting and creative web apps!


Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 11.08.19 AM Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 11.26.31 AM

Media Center News: November 2013

It’s been a crazy fall in the Media Center.  A few weeks after school started, a pipe running beneath the Media Center floor was found to be broken.  It took some time to get us back to working shape, but we’re in the groove now.  Thanks to all the teachers and students for their flexibility during the down-time; Marion was visiting classrooms with read-aloud and everyone was very accommodating.
The Media Center has been working with the Middle School as they work toward completion of their independent projects this fall.  Marion went along on the Ann Arbor District Library visit, and has been helping students locate the elusive pieces of information they need.  Media Center time for Middle School students has been used for project work, and is now reverting to its usual read-aloud and book selection time each week.
The Fall Book Fair, sponsored by Nicola’s Books, went very well at the Fall Festival.  At one point in the evening, the line for purchasing stretched to the door; thank you, Honey Creek!  Nicola’s will be letting us know how much we earned in credits toward new books for the Media Center.  We’re planning our Spring Book Fair for May 16, during Curriculum Celebration.
Students may now come into the Media Center on their lunch recess time, if they’re seeking a quiet place to read or work.  Several students each day enjoy the peace the Media Center provides to break from the pace of school work and enjoy a good book or get a head start on their homework.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2/3 students are welcomed in; on Wednesdays and Fridays it’s 4/5s, and Middle School students may come in every day with passes from their base class teachers.  Most students are very good about maintaining the peaceful atmosphere which is so appreciated by those who need some of that in their day.
The Leveled Reader collection purchased last year is very close to completely cataloged.  All items have been labeled with a letter-level sticker, and categorized broadly into Math, Science, Social Studies, Technology, and General Reading. The lower grades teachers have been making use of the collection and are pleased with how its organization is proceeding.

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.”

Physical Education and Swim News: November 2013

Hello All!

We are plugging along here in physical education and swim. The first few themes that have been covered in the K-5 have been team work, underhand throwing, and catching. The middle school is nearing the conclusion of the Ultimate Frisbee theme. Most recently, they have learned about marking, which means playing defense in Ultimate terms.
In swim, the K/1’s have been working hard to learn the basics of breathing, the front crawl, and becoming more comfortable in the water. We have begun to learn how to float on our backs. One of the favorite activities has been the pirate game. That is a game where all of the students are pirates, and they have to steer their ship (a kickboard) using the flutter kick to obtain “treasure,” and transport it back to port. Grades 2-5 have been working on learning the proper technique for the front crawl push, pull, and starting positions. Feel free to ask your student about “catching fish.” The middle school is refining the back crawl technique, and they are learning how the pool is not limited to training for swimmers alone. We have done a circuit that incorporates swimming skills, but also involves moderate to high intensity levels of physical activity. The recent circuit incorporated treading, bobbing, the back crawl, and some hydrodynamic stretching.
I am happy to mention that it was a pleasure meeting many of you at conferences. It was great to connect with those of you whom I have met, and I look forward to meeting those of you whom I have yet to meet. The most common question I got was “If my child is in swim class here, are out-of-school swim lessons necessary?” My answer: Since I use the American Red Cross curriculum for swim, which is what a majority of swim schools use for their lessons, outside swim lessons are not necessary. While the extra practice and coaching can be beneficial, your student should be able to proficiently swim that is appropriate to their age and developmental
level. There is also an after-school swim program through Aftercare that some of the other students participate in as well.
Lastly, a friendly reminded that all students need to come prepared for class. This includes having the appropriate attire and materials such as, swim suits, goggles and footwear.
As always, if you have any questions or anything, you can always send me an email at cstaniszewski@hc.wash.k12.mi.us. Keep warm as winter starts to sneak up on us!

Technology News: October 2013

2/3 Technology

It has been a great start to the year in 2/3 technology so far! In our first session, we started with the question, “What is technology?” Students learned about our iPad cart, and used the iPads to do a video recording of each other answering that question.

2/3 Technology - September 2013


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.
2/3 Technology - September 2013

2/3 Technology - September 2013


4/5 Technology

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
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.

Art News: October 2013

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 svanloo@hc.wash.k12.mi.us.

Technology News: June 2013

Technology News

2/3 Technology

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:

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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
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.


Engineering Interact screenshot - light activity
Engineering Interact screenshot – light activity

4/5 Technology

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.
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
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.

A student's solar vehicle in process.
A student’s solar vehicle in process.

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:


Media Center News: June 2013

Media Center
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

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