Primary Obstacle Course Fun!

This month, the Primary students are enjoying an obstacle course comprised of gymnastics mats, hoops, an agility ladder, and a balance beam. They are practicing many skills. They are climbing up and down from mats, jumping off the mats, jump through a hoop, performing a forward roll on an inclined mat, walking on a balance beam, and running the moving train around the gym. We cool down with fitness exercises and stretches at the end of each class. Throughout our gymnastics unit, the children are enhancing their social skills, developing strength and coordination, and gaining self-esteem and confidence.

During each class, the children practice learning skills. We practice observing, waiting our turn and following directions. Improving all of these skill areas is helpful for those children still learning how their bodies move. Our lessons help them become more comfortable and happy with themselves as they continue to grow.


Art Club Animal Drawings

 

Our first Lower Elementary Art Club session of the New Year was a big success! We began by looking at images of various animals from invertebrates to mammals, birds to reptiles, and everything in between. After a brief demonstration on how to begin an animal drawing by breaking down the body into simple shapes to act as guidelines, students then chose one animal to focus on for their drawing.

With images as their reference, students worked diligently on their animal drawings, sketching lightly in pencil first and then completing their drawing with darker outlines. Next, students worked on the fur, skin, feathers, or scales of their animal using colored pencils. Once complete, students cut out their animal by following along the outline so that next session they can focus on creating an environment for their animals to live in. These cut-out animal drawings will be glued onto their painted habitat, creating a finished art piece with a complete ecological story behind it!


Explorations in Clay

The Art Studio has been buzzing lately with lots of wonderful clay work from students Kindergarten through Upper Elementary! Students have been exploring a range of clay processes and techniques such as coil building, slab rolling, pinching, and throwing on the pottery wheel. 

Working with clay has many benefits for children of all ages beyond simply providing a creative experience. It is a complex sensory experience that encourages self-expression, helps promote self-confidence, and develops problem-solving and motor skills. Because clay is highly responsive to touch and very forgiving, children become engrossed in their work: they are able to express and articulate their ideas through shaping clay and learning to repair mistakes. Clay is different from other art mediums in that it requires an understanding of the three dimensional world. While working on their projects, students must move around to see their creation from all sides. From this, they begin to understand shape, form, and perspective, and gain knowledge of planning methods and problem solving as they map out their creation.

The clay projects we explored in the Art Studio were designed to introduce new processes and techniques, as well as to encourage individual imagination. Kindergarten students explored the slab rolling technique by creating clay owls to connect with their vertebrate unit. They also created small pinch-pots that they made into candles for a holiday gift. Lower Elementary students crafted a wide range of projects from tiny tea cups to funny face jugs, and funky coil-pots to wheel-thrown cups. Upper Elementary students created a variety of pots on the pottery wheel and constructed impressive slab-built castles! Each student truly enjoyed the process of working with clay and as a result, created many wonderful finished projects.


Sportsmanship and Floor Hockey

 

In Physical Education class, students in elementary though middle school played warm-up and cool down games connected to social and emotional learning. Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.  In PE class, students sometimes become competitive with their peers so it is important that they understand how to maintain a positive attitude, whether they win or lose it’s just a game. I asked them the next time they play a game with friends whether it is in PE or at recess, to ask themselves the following questions. Was I fun to play with?  Was I fun to play against? Did I share the ball? Did I encourage my teammates when they made a mistake or did I make fun of them? Did I quit because our team was losing? Was I respectful and played fair? Win or lose, in the end it’s just a game. We always end a group game by saying good game to the other team but sportsmanship is more than just high fiving the opponents. During the warm-up and cool down games, students were encouraged to partner up with someone they wouldn’t normally pick as a partner.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade started a floor hockey unit this month. The floor hockey skills of dribbling, passing, and shooting were introduced. To practice dribbling, we engage in activities called Walk Your Dog, Dribble Knockout, Dribble Relay, Keepaway, Knock the Pin, Steal the Bacon, and Sideline Hockey. We practice these hockey skills in order to help students develop hand-eye coordination, agility, balance, and group cooperation. At the end of each class, students participated in sideline hockey. Sideline hockey is a game where only two students from each team come out to the court while the rest of their teammates are on the sideline and can help make passes.  Small sided games allows for students to be more actively participating in team games.


World Language with Señora Hall

Primary students have finished learning about our Solar System with our Ocho Planetas song. We just began working on Las Partes del Cuerpo and have done Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas, Pies, and Mi Cuerpo Hace Música to reinforce the body parts. 

Lower Elementary classes have begun to explore their feelings in Spanish. We have also been working on retelling stories and developing our own stories with vocabulary acquired from those we have read together. 

Upper Elementary just finished listening to their first Spanish novel: Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro. We then did a Movie Talk about El Regalo, making connections between characters from the novel and those in the video. 

Middle School has been using phrases like, “Es una persona que…” or “Es un lugar…” for circumlocution exercises in order to stay in the target language for the majority of the class. They are flying through proficiency based novels and building a solid foundation of the language.


Music Time!

All of the Lower Elementary students were experiencing and exploring musical concepts, which are meter, rhythm, beat, pitch, and melody.  Third year students learned the meter of the song, exploring where the bar line lies, experiencing the phrase of the song. Second year students learned pitch of the musical note by singing ‘Sorida’ and moving with Kodaly Hand signs (Do Re Mi…).  First year students experienced beat and rhythm through chanting, singing, and dancing with the song ‘Welcome to Music’.


Soccer: The Most Popular Sport in the World!

 

This past month, students in Kindergarten through 8th grade have been practicing and participating in the team sport of soccer. Did you know that soccer is the most popular sport in the world?  Soccer is fun, inexpensive, and easy to play. All you need are some friends, a ball, and a large space.

During our soccer unit in Kindergarten and Lower Elementary, most of our focus was on developing foot-eye coordination and spatial awareness. Skills taught were: dribbling a ball under control using both left and right, passing with the inside of the foot, trapping the ball, and shooting a ball at a target. At the Upper Elementary level the skills taught were dribbling, trapping, passing, shooting, understanding offense and defense, and using simple game rules to play. At this level, students can join the FWM sports team. Practices are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, after school until 4:15. The team plays five games against other independent schools.

Our Middle School sports program takes place during the school day three days out of the six day rotation. Soccer practices are held from 1:55 to 2:50. Games are scheduled after school on either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. The focus at the MS level is to develop player performance. The four components are: technique, tactics, fitness, and sportsmanship. Various drills are planned based on what the team needs to focus on to improve in the game. You can check our game schedule online for UE and MS by visiting MyFWM.org.


Upper El Entrepreneurs

Upper Elementary students have the grand opening of their small pop-up café starting on October 18th. The name for their business is “The Happé Café” (it rhymes!)

 

Students took time in our MakerSpace and Art Studio to have a full cross curricular approach to finalizing their hopes and dreams of their coffee shop. We closed our eyes and tried to envision this small business and what the set up would actually look like. This created a discussion of signage, menus needed, necessary supplies, and possible merchandise for sale. We decided as a group to use the logo they custom designed as a team to create coasters that will be available for purchase. Both Mrs. Reid and I were ecstatic to introduce the students to the process of engraving, coloring, and perfecting a Glowforge’d tile!

 

More to come on our STEAM adventures at FWM!