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Middle School Math News: November 2013

October found us busy working around MEAP testing for a couple of weeks, but we were able to still get a fair amount of math in.  In Course 1 we completed our unit on Factors and Multiples with lots of practice in GCF (greatest common factors) and LCM (least common multiples) and their uses.  We also took our first test!  In November we will continue with Number & Patterns as our overarching idea, but focus in on Integers and Coordinates.

In Course 2 we completed our first unit on 2-Dimensional Geometry and had our first test.  For all of the classes, test corrections are part of the assessment process.  To learn more about test corrections please refer to the HC Middle School website (http://honeycreekschool.org/ms/about/mathematics/).  Each student can earn as much as half of the points taken off after following a few very specific steps, and convince me that they DO know the material.  In November, we will be continuing with Integer Operations and then move on to Proportional Reasoning.

In Course 3 we completed our first unit on Understanding Number Systems and Operations.  We spent some time review operations with fractions, decimals, and integers and taking them to the next level by combining them together.  Unit two will cover Proportional Thinking, and we will begin working on one of our bigger projects… you’ll see at curriculum celebration 🙂

Algebra has be plugging along… completing their second unit of study of the school year.  The first was reviewing the foundations of Algebra. The second was on solving Equations and Inequalities.  In November, we will move on to Function Relations; what’s a functions, what type of functions are there, etc.

One more note about middle school math test – hopefully you have all figured this out since all classes/students have taken a test.  A few years back a parent asked if I could communicate the test scores to the parents.  As we are trying to increase the independence of our students, I decided it would be better for the students to communicate their scores to their parents.  To help with this process, I do require that the students get a parent’s signature on the test before I record the grade – with the exception of Algebra students.  I hope this helps with prompt communication.

Thanks for supporting your child and me in this learning process.

Middle School Science News: November 2013

As November rolls around, the middle school science classrooms will be buzzing with construction noise.  Our students will be spending the next month planning, building, testing, retesting, and problem-solving a simple issue, how do we move “it”?  Using common engineering/physics skills and examples of simple machines (inclined plane, wheel and axle, levers…etc) , we are challenging groups of middle school students to build the most efficient and also creative designs.

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!


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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!

After School Programs News: November 2013

ON-SITE EXTENDED DAY STUDENT CARE WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE FOLLOWING EARLY DISMISSAL & NO SCHOOL DAYS: February 7th; March 14th & 21st; April 25th; and May 2nd.  Please register ONE WEEK BEFORE in order to receive the Early Bird Discount.  Also, please remember that you MUST give us 48-hour WRITTEN notice to cancel any pre-registered care without being held financially responsible.

REMINDER: NO ON-SITE STUDENT CARE DURING BREAKS OR ON CERTAIN HOLIDAYS.  This includes:  November 28th & 29th; December 23rd-January 3rd; January 20th; February 17th-21st; April 7th-11th; May 26th; and June 11th.

SPECIAL CLUBS.  There are still openings for the following after school special clubs:

Music Lessons Music Lessons Music Lessons Music Lessons Music Lessons
JRLEGO=FULL R.E.C.E.S.S. (11/5-12/17) – FULL Black Belt
Silks – FULL (9/26-12/19) Sewing 2-8 (9/27-1/31)
Dance 4-8
Writing Rocks 3-8 (9/25-12/18) Multiplication Madness 3-8 (9/26-12/19) Fast Facts 2-5 (9/27-12/13)
LEGO 4-8 Swim Lessons K-8 (10/1-12/17) Girl Scouts K-8 LEGO 4-8 Chess K-8 (10/4-12/13)
R.E.C.E.S.S, Jr. (11/1-12/20)

Please pick up a registration form from the after school programs bulletin board down the hall from the parent mailboxes.  Please stay tuned for information on these and other activities:

4H, Art, Ballet, Baseball, Basketball, Campfire, Chinese, Cooking, Crafts, Dance (K-3), Drums, Eco-Maniacs, Electronic Music, Football, French, Garden, German, Gymnastics, Harp, Hip Hop, History Club, Korean, Knitting, Open Swim, Orchestra, Photography, Pilates, Rocks & Robots, Rockets, Skateboarding, Spanish, Spiral Scouts, Soccer (K-8), Study Skills, Tap Dance, Tech, Tennis, Theater, Tutoring, Yoga, Youth In Government, Zumba,

PLEASE CARE WHAT YOU WEAR.  Recess will be outside everyday.  Except for hazardous weather conditions (lightning, severe storms, wind chill below -10° F), we will always go outside for recess.  There is limited indoor space that allows the children opportunities to move around energetically.  Children should always dress for the weather.  Students must wear snow pants, boots, coat, hat, and mittens or gloves in order to play in the snow and sled.

Cross Country Team News: November 2013

The 2013 Cross Country season has come to an end with Team: 3 as one to remember forever.

From breaking individual course records to sweeping 1st-8th places at a meet, Team: 3 is one for the record books! This year, the team embarked one of the deepest schedules competing in 10 meets, highlighted with participation in the Middle School Jamboree; a meet featuring 1300+ runners from all over the state of Michigan. While continuing to build a strong girls’ team, the boys’ also continued their win streak with another undefeated season as they capitalized on winning the 1st place team trophy from our own Phoenix Invitational. Our big home meet highlighted over 100 runners from Washtenaw and Livingston Counties.

Much gratitude to our 3-year 8th grade participants who plan to extend their running careers at their respective high schools next year: Sam Jyawook, Tom Oates, and Dylan Reynolds. Also, well wishes in her future sport endeavors to 2-year XC participant and double-sport student-athlete, Hope Brintnall. Finally, farewell thanks to our other 8th grade participants: Evan Fortson, Robby Borer, and Alix Krawcke.

Remaining members of Team: 3 –

7th Graders: Ben Simon, Talin Khanna, Justin Alexander, Renya Kushida, Grace Klein, Eden Johnson, Foster Waters, & Kendall Knox

6th Graders: Robbie Oates, Spencer Jyawook, Tyler Hochrein, Mosiah Selassie, Samuel Dannug, Logan Edgar, Julian Ascani, Andrew Scrochi, & Sebastian Le (double-sport student-athlete)

5th Graders: Roman Quesada, Nathan Hadjiyski, Ezra Fessahazion, Zoe Borer, Mazzy Woznicki, & Ben Rich

At the All-Sports Banquet, the Scholar-Athlete Award was earned by 6th grader, Robbie Oates, based off his performance in the classroom and on the running trails.  8th grader, Dylan Reynolds, was awarded the Student-Athlete Leadership Award, given to the runner that has positively impacted the team as a role model, a resource, a motivator and an encourager.

I am honored and proud to have coached these awesome young men and women harriers this season and looking forward to the continued success they will bring to Honey Creek next fall!


Cross Country Coac

Director’s Note: October 2013

Dear Families,
        One of my greatest pleasures is to walk through the classrooms and see so many students actively engaged in learning, and my observations lead me to conclude that there is much learning going on. Based on the number of you who turned out on curriculum night, I know this learning is being supported at home, and I encourage you to follow up with your child’s teacher should you ever have any concern.
      One concern that has already been brought to my attention is parking lot safety. There are a few things that each of us can do to increase the safety for all of our building users. First, the speed limit on campus is fifteen miles per hour. As we have many small children entering and leaving the building throughout the day, it is important not to exceed that limit. Most of us can remember a time when an impulsive three or four year old broke away from us, only to run into the street. Also, I’ve noticed cars parked directly over the crosswalk at the front of the building. This requires pedestrians to walk outside of the crosswalk, and it restricts access to the building for our friends in wheelchairs.  If you need to leave your car at any time, please park in the lot. We have handicapped students from many other schools brought to High Point throughout the day, and the bus lane must remain clear to provide them with safe access. Finally, during pick-up hour, we have many children moving between and among cars. Some of these children are not tall enough to be seen as they pass between parked cars. Please exercise extra caution when leaving the pick-up line.
I’d also like to remind you that our annual walk/run-a-thon is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This PTO sponsored event supports both school and PTO activities. I’ll look forward to seeing you there.
All the best,

PTO News: October 2013

The PTO meets on the second Friday of every month at 8:30, in the Pit.

Every member of the Honey Creek community is welcome to participate, at any level and at any time.  There are many ways to get involved, and you do not have to be present at the monthly meetings.  To learn more, contact a Theme Committee, ask your room parent, or visit the PTO website: http://honeycreekpto.wordpress.com/ .

At the September meeting, we heard about Theme Committee plans, reviewed upcoming fall fundraising activities and events, and discussed the annual PTO budget proposed for 2013-14.  This year’s budget is very tight and a new method of presenting and tracking budget items has been proposed.  The proposed budgets are on the PTO website and we are asking for comments there.  If you cannot attend the meeting, we would still like your feedback.  We will be voting on the finalized budget at the October meeting, as well as a new Co-Chair, and urge everyone to come to the meeting if you can.

The Theme Committees – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Wellness, and Fine Arts – assist the Honey Creek community by planning and implementing enrichment activities and events.  Examples include Try It-Thursday and the Harvest Dinner by the Wellness Committee, Lunch with an Expert and the STEM Fair by the STEM Committee, and a Fine Arts Fair and extra field trips by the Fine Arts Committee.  To become involved with one or more of the committees,   contact Deb Lentz or Jane Pacheco (Wellness), Karen Andrews (STEM), or Sherri Borer (Fine Arts).

While it is impossible to acknowledge everyone who has contributed, we’d like to thank Laurie-Anne Boldrin and Rick Meader, for organizing the Summer Picnic, and Matt Cyrulnik, who is continuing to run Bagel Sales.  Thank you, also, to Angie Tracey, who again organized the Walk’N-Run-A-Thon, and to all the room parents, who have been handling signups for classroom needs and activities, planned grade level potlucks, and organized the Middle School Dance.


Mark your calendars!

• Bagel Fridays: Relax with breakfast at the school on Friday mornings (or the last school day of the week). Bagels, cream cheese and juice, OH MY! There are also toasters available for use.

• October PTO Meeting: Friday, October 11, 8:30-10:30 AM

• Fall Festival: Friday, October 25, 6-8 PM.  Planning is underway!  Help the middle school students make a fabulous haunted house, design and run activity tables and games,or talk to STEM about their pumpkin trebuchet.  Contact Fall Festival Chair Ann Kovacs if you would like to help.

If you would like to add an item to the PTO meeting agenda or have a concern with which the PTO may be able to help, please contact the PTO Chair, Catie Wells, cgbwells@gmail.com.

STEM Committee News: October 2013

The purpose of the STEM Committee includes providing curricular support for teachers and enrichment activities for students.  Another goal this year is to respond to the request we received from the faculty to focus more of our enrichment activities on the “M” (mathematics) in STEM this year; this also aligns with items discussed in Al’s “Focus School” letter.
Our plan to meet these goals for this school year’s activities includes variety of fun activities.  We will continue the successful “Lunch with an Expert” series, and are currently seeking experts from the Honey Creek community to come in and share their professional expertise with the students.  We will also be providing the wildly popular Trebuchet and Pumpkin launching at the Fall Festival again this year.  Additional activities include supporting the Honey Creek Science Olympiad (WESO) team, Pi Day (3/14/14) fun, math-focused games and events, and our flagship event, the STEM Fair & Guest Speaker Assembly on 5/2/14.
We have an active committee thus far this year, including new family members with students in K/1, and would welcome new members!

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