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Technology update for December, 2011

The 2/3 students were extremely excited to be the first class to use the iPad cart! All students had a chance to use the iPads and explore this exciting new piece of technology. We then continued working on a few new computer applications. Students used the Graph Club program to create a graph of something that interested them, then used Pages to write about what was in their graph. Using Google Images, they were able to add images to their informational text.

The 4/5 technology classes are finishing their Scratch projects. Scratch is used to design and create their own interactive stories, games and animations. This week is our final week to work on Scratch projects, and students will show their projects at the Curriculum Celebration.

The Middle School technology classes have now finished the revised versions of their “What is Technology?” videos. These videos examined the 3 aspects of technology (process, knowledge, artifact) and described them in the students’ own words. Most students have finished uploading their videos and are submitting them for review via the school’s file server. They will be receiving feedback using the Moodle online class management system. The Middle School classes were also introduced to the iPad cart! Students have been alternately using the iPads and laptops, learning about the strengths of each one and gaining a better understanding of when to choose one over the other as a learning tool. I also did instruction on moving files between home and school as related to the Middle School Independent Project.

The Middle School technology elective, Programming with Processing, is coming along nicely, as students are continuing to work on their own programs that generate visual images. Students have been working with color, using control structures such as loops, and learning advanced functions in the Processing environment. Each assignment is posted to the class Moodle site, which allows students to work at their own pace while receiving feedback and comments about their work.

Art update for December, 2011

Art classes have been working on some wonderful projects since last month, and we have been able to get some wonderful new supplies to use thanks in part to our Artsonia website, and all of the friends and family who have helped us out! Please visit our website to see all of the wonderful projects that our students have been busy creating, at www.artsonia.com/HoneyCreekCommunity1.

K/1 classes learned how to draw people’s faces in a prior project using simple lines and shapes, and now they are learning how to draw an animal face (a lion, specifically), using the same basic principles of lines and shapes in different ways.

2/3 classes are learning about the painting ‘Beech Forest I’ by Gustav Klimt, and are creating a forest of their own using texture and warm and cool colors.

4/5 classes are learning about the work of Hungarian artist Victor Vaserely and his optical illusions, and creating one of their own. This is a project which incorporates a lot of math into art and produces amazing results!

Middle School is continuing with their Japanese art unit and they are currently working on making printing plates to print on fabric with, and using aluminum to learn how to tool a mask, similar to the masks used in Japanese Noh theatre.

Middle School Elective students are currently working on a large project, which includes researching an artist, and creating a piece of work based on the artist’s work. This includes learning about brushstrokes, color theory, and gridding and enlarging a painting.

Music update for December, 2011

Please join us on Thursday, December 15th as Honey Creek Community School Presents, “Flakes! A Musical Celebration of Snow, Slush and Snirt! Get ready to shiver, shimmy and shake! The North wind is starting to blow and temperatures are dropping to ten below..zero, that is! A big blizzard is on the way as a cool bunch of jazzy, finger-snappin’ snowflakes take center stage. What a glistening sight. Uh Oh! Here comes the snowplow! Join the fun as the Flakes and the Snirts help the Littlest Snowflake see how no two flakes are alike and we are all special in our own way. Show time begins at 3:30 in the gymnasium. Band 1 and 2 and choir will perform first followed by the K-5 program. If your student is in band or choir please remember to have them wear white shirts and black pants. If your student is in K-5 have them dress nicely for the concert. Some parents choose to send good clothes with their student to change into for the concert. I look forward to seeing you all at the Winter Performance.

Physical Education update for December, 2011

We just finished a pickleball unit with the upper grades and locomotor skills unit with the lower grades. In December, the upper grades will be learning a game called “rookie rugby”. This game allows students to learn and participate in the game of rugby without player to player contact. You can look up more info at www.rookierugby.com. The lower grade levels will be playing games that focus on movement concepts (space awareness, effort and relationships).

In swimming the upper grades learned a new game called Steal the Bacon and have been focusing on their breast stroke. They will continue to do so throughout December, in addition to their front and back stroke and elementary back stroke. The younger grade levels worked on surface diving and added in the frog kick. They are also continuing to show improvement in all strokes and are becoming stronger swimmers throughout the course of the year.

If you have any swimsuits to donate (specifically female suits) or towels, we are in need. Please drop them by my office at any time. Thanks!

Media Center update for November, 2011

The Media Center has been a busy place this fall! We’ve welcomed the Middle School students doing the research for their Integrated Project, and the topics are very interesting. The addition of two more computers to the Media Center has been a great help (thanks, Bill!). Marion also went with the Middle School students to the Ann Arbor District Library on a research field trip. This was a great opportunity for our students to have access to a large collection in support of their project. Many questions were fielded and good information gathered on the trip.

The Fall Book Fair occurred during Fall Festival, and was well received. Many thanks to our local bookseller, Nicola’s Books, for providing such a nice selection of items. The Media Center will benefit by having credits to spend at the store for new materials for our collection. Thanks also to those who helped the sale run smoothly and be cleaned up quickly. We’re planning a spring event for 2012 in conjunction with the Curriculum Celebration on May 18.

The Media Center’s web page has been improved with the addition of some links to appropriate databases for student research. A selection of the databases aimed at students in K-8 have been linked to our page from the state-wide resource, the Michigan eLibrary (MeL). These resources offer full-text of magazine articles, newspaper stories, audio and video clips, broadcast transcripts, and other things that support research projects and reports. Having the databases linked to our page makes the research process more of a onestop- shop for our students; they can access the materials catalog, the databases, and a good group of appropriate web sites all from the Media Center home page.

Work continues on the long process of getting the Fiction and Easy Books collections more userfriendly with labels indicating both interest/reading level and genre. Having these labels on our material enables students and their teachers to select books more easily and find that just-right book more quickly.

The Media Center encourages our students to bring in pieces of their art, to be displayed as the “Student Artist of the Week.” We 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 wishlist on Amazon.com for those items we could especially use. To make finding this list easy, we’ve included a link on the Media Center’s home page to it, found near the bottom of the page. Thanks to everyone who supports the Honey Creek Media Center! We appreciate you!

Art update for November, 2011

October has brought about some wonderful art projects for the students at Honey Creek. Everyone has been working hard since the beginning of school and we are finally seeing projects on our Artsonia website! Thank you again to all of the parents, family and friends who have left comments for our artists and have purchased gifts that raise money for new art books and posters! You can visit our school’s page at www.artsonia.com/ HoneyCreekCommunity1. New art projects will continue to appear throughout the school year as they are completed. If your student does not have an Artsonia account yet, you can e-mail me at lparrish@hc.wash.k12.mi.us and I will be sure to send home a permission slip for your student.

K/1 students are currently working on collages inspired by Henri Matisse’s “Beasts of the Sea.” 2/3 students are finishing up a project in which they are learning about tints and silhouettes and creating their own city skyline scenes. 4/5 students are learning about the work of Keith Haring, and learning about drawing figures and showing movement using positive and negative space. Middle School students are beginning a unit about Japanese art and design, in which they will complete projects exploring printmaking, mask-making, and calligraphy/brush painting. Middle School elective is currently working on surrealist drawings, after completing their unit on abstract art and painting.

I also want to extend a thank you to the PTO for their help with supplies and donations, and to the parents who have donated things like trays, lids, and cups for painting — it is a big help for both myself and the students. Having the right tools and supplies allows them to create even more beautiful artwork. Thank you for all of your help and support!

Physical Education/Swimming update for November, 2011

We have had another great month in PE and Swimming! We practiced our basketball skills at all levels, focusing on correct form for dribbling, passing and shooting and adding in layups, defense, and games in the 4.5’s and MS. All students showed tremendous improvement throughout the course of this unit.

In swimming we have continued to work on front crawl and back crawl and added in the elementary back stroke for the 2.3’s and 4.5’s. The students are working very hard with 77% of 2.3’s as deep end swimmers and 92% of 4.5’s. We really strive to help students pass this test because we feel confident that if they ever found themselves in a sticky situation the knowledge and skills required to pass this test could help them save their lives. The K/1’s are working hard as well as we have 4 deep end swimmers and 5 middle area swimmers! We have been focusing on breathing and kicking with this age group.

Coming up in PE this month for the K/1’s will be locomotor skills (skipping, galloping, jumping, hopping, leaping, sliding). These skills should be in complete, mature form by the end of 2nd grade. The other levels will begin learning a sport called pickleball. Pickleball is a played on a court similar to a badminton court and uses a racquet made of wood or plastic (we have plastic racquets). It uses a heavier type of whiffle ball and is usually played 2 vs 2. We will have 2 courts and will play 4 vs. 4 to allow everyone ample playing time. Check out this link to learn more about pickleball: http://www.usapa.org/ .

Field hockey has wrapped up the season with an astounding record of 7-3-1! We really pulled together as a team and worked hard to accomplish our goals. If your child in interested in playing field hockey there are plenty of opportunities to continue or start playing before the beginning of the fall season. Check out usafieldhockey.com , pinnaclefieldhockey.com , and the Ann Arbors rec and ed homepage. Thanks for all of your support!

Music Update for November, 2011

We are starting to wind down our big units in music class so that soon we can begin working on our winter concert songs. Concert preparation time is my favorite time of the year. I get to teach the students some wonderful new music, as well as, watch their excitement and enthusiasm as they perform the songs for the community.

The choir has already begun learning a few concert songs. They are also expanding their minds by learning how to sing a lullaby in Slovakian. Band 1 was able to come together as a large group for the first time this year. They are learning how to play together as a group and how each member of the band is supposed to play at just the right time to create a song. The music they are beginning to create is beautiful. They are excited to show the community what we have been working on.

Band 2 has also been learning to play together as a group. The 6th grade students have the biggest challenge since this is their first time playing with the middle school band. They are beginning to work together and are developing a very mature sound. I will be passing out Band 2’s first concert song next week. It is a very challenging song, but one that I hope will bring a rewarding experience. I look forward to creating wonderful musical experiences with each student and hope the community will come see our hard work at our concert on December 15th at 3:30.

Technology Update for November, 2011

In 2/3 technology, students have been doing a variety of things. We spent several weeks using technology to better understand aspects of Michigan history and geography. One week, we used Google Earth to fly around Michigan on a virtual field trip. The next week, we zoomed in on the Mackinaw Bridge and used K’Nex building toys to build and test our own bridges. The following week, we used a computer-based simulation to build digital bridges, and discussed the differences between building with physical materials and building computerized simulations.
The URL for the bridge building activity is: http://hoodamath.com/games/cargobridge.php
We’ve since moved on to learning some of the productivity tools that we use in 2/3, like Pages for word processing and page design, and typing programs that can help students type with better speed and accuracy.

The 4/5 technology classes were interrupted somewhat in October due to the MEAP testing, but students are continuing to use Scratch Scratch to design and create their own interactive stories, games and animations. Each week I introduce a new concept, show them examples, and give them work time. We’ve learned how to make sprites (characters) move around the screen, how to design characters and backgrounds, and much more.

The Middle School technology classes finished off their Google Apps lessons, and have been spending the last 3 weeks examining the question, “What is Technology?”. Students made a short video answering that question in their own words the first week, then spent the next session learning the definition of technology, discussing examples, and examining the 3 aspects of technology (process, knowledge, artifact). They are now writing scripts for a revised version of their video and will be recording and editing these in the upcoming weeks.

The Middle School technology elective, Programming with Processing, is going quite well, as students are learning to write their own programs that generate visual images. Students have made computer-generated characters, created interactive drawing tools of their own design, and are now diving deeper into the Processing environment. Each assignment is posted to the class Moodle site, which allows students to work at their own pace while receiving feedback and comments about their work.

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