Elementary Students Performed ” Seussical Junior”

 

All elementary students were in the school play, Seussical Junior, the musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss. Most people are familiar with the books of Dr. Seuss and enjoy not only the rhyming style of his works but the creativity of his stories. Among the many benefits to be in school play, one of them is that the students get to become part of a larger system working toward a common goal. It has been the culmination of weeks of practice, so the performance itself became a huge reward for all the hard work. Every single participating student did an amazing job!!

This musical weaves together many of his stories and brings a variety of his characters to life. “The themes in ‘Seussical’ are the importance of honesty, loyalty and friendship. But ‘Seussical’ brings additional messages that are so important to people of all ages.

In the play, the colorful bird Gertrude McFuzz is a friend to Horton the Elephant. However, she is unhappy with her one-feather tail. The story-line surrounding Gertrude touches on the difficulties people have with self-image and outward appearance. Horton, meanwhile, has to withstand peer pressure and being laughed at as he tries to save the Whos. While he is being chided as “the biggest blame fool in the Jungle of Nool,” Horton stands firm on principal and does what he knows is right, profoundly singing, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

Underscoring the story is the relationship between Horton and the smallest Who in Whoville, Jojo. Jojo is a “thinker of great thinks” which unfortunately gets her into trouble. As she is sent off to learn discipline, she feels all alone. Similarly, because Horton is the only one who can hear the Whos, he laments the fact that no one is able to understand him. The result is a bond between Horton and Jojo and the duet “Alone in the Universe.”

Through much mayhem, Horton retains the ability to believe in himself. Even facing the possibility of jail, Horton states, “I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful one hundred per cent.” Mayzie LaBird and Sour Kangaroo provide examples of the issues of right and wrong, and the Cat in the Hat reminds the characters facing difficulty to consider “How Lucky You Are.”

BRAVO to all our performers!!


Music: DELIGHTFUL RHYMING

“There should be music in the child’s environment, just as there does exist in the child’s environment spoken speech. In the social environment, the child should be considered and music should be provided.”~Maria Montessori

Our Primary classes have enjoyed learning rhyming songs with accompanying movements. These young children, who possess absorbent minds, love chanting poems and singing songs especially when they rhyme. Beyond the delighted participation, there has been lots of research proving the benefits of ‘Nursery rhymes’ for Primary-aged children. Below are some of the most significant findings.

Cognitive Development

  • Repetition of rhymes and stories is good for the brain, teaching how language works and building memory capabilities.
  • Nursery rhymes help develop inferencing skills, both with encountering new words and in reading comprehension.
  • Because these verses are made up of patterns, they are easy first memorization pieces.

Speech

  • Nursery rhymes are important for language acquisition and help with speech development.
  • They help children develop auditory skills such as discriminating between sounds and developing the ear for the music of words.
  • Rhymes like these help kids articulate words, modulate voices (practicing pitch, volume, and inflection) and enunciate clearly by saying them over and over without fear of criticism.
  • Nursery rhymes are excellent, natural choice for a first recitation selection.
  • The mouth and tongue muscles are developed as children say these rhymes.
  • Listening comprehension is a foundational skill that is often skipped, but nursery rhymes can help ensure this crucial ability (that precedes reading comprehension) is covered.

Reading

  • Nursery rhyme knowledge provides an excellent foundation for later literary works.
  • They are a great introduction to stories since many contain a beginning, middle, and end (sequencing).
  • Familiarity with nursery rhymes makes good readers, even despite differences in social background.
  • Work with these verses helps children detect phonetic segments of words.

Language

  • Nursery rhymes increase vocabulary.
  • They help children assimilate language.
  • They are a wonderful introduction to poetry.
  • They promote spelling skills.
  • Verses like these introduce literary devices like alliteration, onomatopoeia, and imagery.

Creativity

  • Nursery rhymes expand children’s imagination.
  • They promote creative dramatization when kids act the scenarios out.

History

  • These classic verses preserve the culture and provide something in common between multiple generations (a good way to bond with grandparents or when meeting new people!)
  • Nursery rhymes teach history and connect a child to the past.

Math

  • Nursery rhymes are full of patterns, sequencing, numbers, and counting (forward and backward).
  • They also discuss size, weight and other important math vocabularies.

Physical

  • Since many nursery rhymes involve movement, coordination and physicality are integrated with their readings (Think “Ring Around the Rosey” or “London Bridge.”)
  • Coordinating finger-plays are helpful for fine motor skill development.

Social and Emotional

  • Nursery rhymes develop humor.
  • Because of the connection between movement, rhythm, and words, singing these songs can be a great group activity.
  • Children can learn social skills from many of the rhymes.
  • Nursery rhymes are familiar and can thus provide comfort and support to youngsters in uncomfortable situations.

 


Physical Education: “Eggs-Ercise”

 

This month, the primary through 5th grade played a game called Eggs-Ercise for their warm-up activity.  For Primary, the game involved matching and sorting the different colored eggs.  We had to run to a cup and check what color they found and match it with the colored egg in the tray. Recognizing the colors and identifying the color names is an important part of a child’s development.  When we recognize colors, we are noticing, matching, sorting, and labeling the characteristics of things in the world around us.  

At the elementary level math was incorporated.  Each team/group had to find a total of 15 eggs but had to arrange them a certain way.  They were asked “How many rows of eggs and how many eggs in each row would you have arrange to equal 15 eggs?”  They would have to work as a team to organize either five rows of three eggs or three rows of five eggs each.  The purpose of this activity is to promote increased fitness, effective teamwork, and math concepts.


Peak into Toddlers’ Music Class

 

The effects of music on children are magical. Music can be both energizing and calming. Toddlers learn by watching others tapping, shaking, always experimenting with the environment as well as their voices motivated by what they hear. Music supports social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. 

In our Toddler music class, children gather together to do all of the activities that are described above within the musical structure that is provided. By listening and singing along, they learn to sing in tune and how to keep the beat. By playing instruments, they are improving fine motor skills. By moving with musical cues, gross motor skills are enhanced. By participating, creativity and self-expression get inspired and blossom.

These are some moments to witness the wonders of the music class!


What is Pickleball?

 

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport played with a whiffle ball on a badminton-sized court and a tennis-style net.  Pickleball is enjoyed by people of all ages and athletic abilities.  In some ways it’s a combination of tennis and badminton, and goes along with sports such as table tennis and racquetball.  Pickleball is played in thousands of school P.E. programs, parks and recreation centers, camps, YMCA’s and retirement communities.  This sport is becoming very popular among active senior adults at community centers and is growing in popularity on high school and college campuses.

Pickleball was created during the summer of 1965 in Seattle, WA.  The original purpose of the game was to provide a sport for the entire family.  Pickles, the family dog would chase after the whiffle balls and then hide in the bushes. The founder suggests that Pickle’s ball was later shortened to Pickleball.

During our Elementary Pickleball unit, students practiced and participated in demonstrating the proper serve, forehand drive, backhand drive, and abided by rules of fair play.  Pickleball helps improve agility, balance, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination.  At the end of the unit, students participated in a singles and doubles Pickleball tournament.


Physical Education: Lower Elementary Gymnastics!

The Lower Elementary students participated in a gymnastics unit in which they experienced transfer of body weight through floor skills.  Students experienced the following apparatus: gymnastic mats for an obstacle course, a balance beam, and vaulted springboard.  They also participated in pyramid building and single balances.  A human pyramid is a formation of three or more people in which two or more support a tier of higher people.   For practical reasons, lighter people are often positioned higher while stronger/heavier people are located closer to the base.

Students also practiced jumping off a vaulted springboard.  Vaulting in gymnastics requires coordination combining running, jumping and squatting.  Students practiced jumping and landing with two feet onto the mats.  The jumps practiced were:  straight, straddle, and tuck.  Students learned that strength, flexibility, and balance they gained from gymnastics will transfer easily to every other sport they may want to pursue.  The skills learned will help them achieve success in other areas.


World Language: Mrs. Doyle’s French Class!

In French class our Primary students have worked on learning colors!

This time it was yellow for pears! We also fill our bubble gum machine poster with stickers of the colors as we learn them. Today the students added yellow stickers to the inside of the bubble gum machine. This is done to make sure that every child has a turn at reinforcing the color by sticking bubble gums on the poster.

According to research, we acquire more vocabulary and grammar when we engage in meaningful ways with the language we are trying to learn. Reading is such an important key to unlocking fluency!  The Primary students enjoyed a story about different animals and we learned how to say their names in French. We continue playing our fishing games and singing songs in the target language.

Lots of fun for everyone of these children!

 


Basketball Fun in PE Class and After-School!

This month Kindergarten through Middle School students practiced and participated in the team sport of Basketball. At the Kindergarten and Lower Elementary levels, the objectives are designed to develop hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. We practiced dribbling a ball with either hand while changing pathways, direction, and speed. We worked on passing a ball to a stationary and moving target using both a bounce and chest pass.

In addition, students had to catch a passed ball while they were stationary and in motion. We demonstrated the proper technique of pivoting while holding a ball and identified markings on the court.  Students were also given a choice to use a blue basketball which is lighter and easier to shoot into the net.  A shorter net was also used for those students not able to reach the taller nets.  The goal is to modify each sport to have students be successful.

At the Upper Elementary level, we learned to differentiate roles of offensive and defensive players and understand and use simple basketball rules. Games played are:  Dribble Knockout, Knockout, Spot Takeaway, and Steal the Bacon.  At the Middle School level, the focus is on practicing the fundamentals such as:  foul shooting, passing, lay ups, ball handling, dribbling, rebounding, defense/guarding, and footwork.

Students in grades 4th through 8th grade are encouraged join the FWM basketball team.  Practices for the Upper Elementary level are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school until 4:15 PM.  The focus is to practice the fundamentals of basketball and to go over game like situations.  The middle school practices are held during the school day from 1:55 to 2:50 PM on D, E, and F day.  All games are held after school for both groups.  The Upper Elementary has one team and the Middle School has a varsity (7/8) team and junior varsity (6/7) team.  The season for each team consists of four games played against other independent schools.