NEWS FROM THE PE YARD
PE at Aurora is a blast. Before the break, we completed a long unit on soccer. Students learned to dribble, pass, shoot, block, and dodge. We ended with a few class favorite’s: Steal the bacon and World cup soccer. The students showed great sportspersonship and mastery of the soccer skill set. Also, I was impressed with the effort that each individual gave in Steal the Bacon.
Up next we have Hockey! Being from Hockeytown, this is my personal favorite activity for PE class. Students will learn how to dribble, pass, shoot a wrist shot, shoot a slapshot, play goalie, and defend. – Scott
NEWS FROM THE SPANISH ROOM
Kindergarteners and first graders have been learning about food! Fruits, veggies, meat and of course candies and ice cream are in the new vocabulary. They have been practicing “Cual es tu comida favorita? /mi comida favorita es ____________” They are also practicing “me gusta _______ , no me gusta___________” (I like _______, I don’t like_________). First graders brought a book home two weeks ago. I hope you enjoyed it.
The 2/3s finished the book about food and animals. I hope you got the book and had the chance to review it with them. The new unit is about la casa y la familia. They have designed their dream house from the inside and the outside. They are learning about different objects in each part of the house. ABC’s and pronunciation have been part of our Spanish class as well.
The 4/5s have been learning about the family. They learned about the names each member of the family in Spanish. We also talked about the different kinds of families that we have at Aurora. They are learning 130 new words in Spanish and how to use those words in a sentence. Last week, we talked about how to have fun in Spanish and use more Spanish during the class. I am excited to get their ideas! – Tania
NEWS FROM THE COMPUTER LAB
The 2/3s finished their Sumo Paint unit with a fun “design your own Aurora t-shirt” lesson. This app has helped them hone in on their navigation skills by choosing from an array of tools, colors, and effects. The remainder of the month, students have been typing, typing, typing! They’ve explored a couple of different features of Google Drive and have created their first documents of the school year. Last week, the 2/3 students typed up a poem they wrote in class, found a few fun ways to format it, then shared it with Nick to be printed and sent home. Next month is a short one, and both the 2nd and 3rd graders will dive into Storybird, a free online tool that helps you make short, art-inspired, stories that you can share, read, and print. Students will choose artwork from a gallery of beautiful illustrations and create their own story, including characters and dialogue. This creative writing exercise is a fun way for students to practice their typing skills and allows our writers to create a story from artwork rather than an idea of their own.
The 4/5s spent a couple of weeks typing from a printed document, which included teacher-made spelling and grammatical errors. The content of the printed document was from their in-class read loud to give them familiarity of the characters and storyline, making it was easier to find errors and make corrections. Manipulating a document is becoming second nature for our 5th graders, which was exciting news for our 4th graders who found this type of practice a bit more difficult that typing apps. Last week I shared photo albums from the Halloween Parade and the Fall Festival, so the 4/5s can begin creating their own photo album in preparation for their yearbook. We only have a few weeks before the Winter Break, and we’ll be using them to dive into the process of making a two-classroom yearbook! – Nikki
NEWS FROM THE ART ROOM
-ABSTRACTION: We studied the art of Alma Thomas and her use of line and color to create abstract paintings. We talked about what inspires us, as artists, to create. For Alma it was her garden.
-PATTERN: The kiddos also shared the book I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow. Using pattern as our focus we traced our hands and decided what wild pattern and color to use for our designs.
-PASTEL and LINE: Using the unusual material, glue to create our lines, we then added pastel to transform black paper into a vibrant work of art.
-PHOTOGRAPHY was our focus for these two months. We began to prepare work to be hung for the upcoming 2/3 performance, Photo and Poetry Slam. Focusing our work around the questions, “I feel powerful when__________” and, “Art has the power to__________ “ we took to the streets with cameras in hand. Selection then became a big project as we “weeded through” the photos we took for the most artistic ones. We then spent the next several weeks deciding how to display/frame and alter our photos.
-GALLERY: Look for them at the 2/3 Photo and Poetry Slam in February.
-PASTEL: After a brief study of the work of Wolf Kahn our artists spent the next several weeks exploring pastel as a medium using it in both an abstract and expressionistic way.
-SUMI-E: Listening to Japanese Shakuhachi (wooden flute) music and looking at the art of Sumi –e painting (bamboo brush) we spent our art time practicing how to hold the bamboo brush (straight up and down-opposite of how we hold a pencil or paint brush) and painted our interpretations of stalks of live bamboo. It was a very meditative moment with a seriousness of intent.
-PHOTOGRAPHY: After discussing such questions as, “What makes a photograph a work of art vs a snapshot?”, and “How do you take an intentional photo?” the students headed outside looking for patterns, details, and ways to create artistic photographs.
-INTEGRATED ART: The Art Room and Rooms 5 + 6 worked together on a unit titled ENCOUNTER that explored a variety of perspectives about the encounter between Columbus and the tribes that inhabited the Caribbean. In the Art Room we concentrated on the Taino people, who had built thriving and rich communities throughout the Caribbean, We explored their arts, symbols, creation myths, and culture. Taino means “Good and Noble people”. So much to be learned by us all. – Kerry
NEWS FROM THE WOODSHOP
In K/1 woodshop, we have been investigating the differences between nails and screws and where it is appropriate to use them. We began our explorations by learning how to use a screw driver. Using that knowledge we built a treasure box with great care and precision. This box has two compartments hidden inside and the only key to the box is a screwdriver. This encourages everyone to practice. If you happen to peek inside you’ll find some colored shapes like circles and stars and some tiny pieces of precious rosewood. It’s not easy to remember the direction the screw must be turned, so we spent a lot of time reviewing. Some found that reciting “righty tighty, lefty loosey,” made it easier, while others preferred their intuition, using their drawing/writing hand as a point of reference.
We are now in the midst of building Geoboards. It’s a 3×3 matrix of nails on 3/4″ finish plywood where students can suspend rubber bands across to make shapes, letters and abstract designs. Students are required to use a pattern to transfer the holes markings, drill pilots, and finally….. start nailing!
One of the main aspects of nailing that we discussed was grip. The higher you go up on the handle of the hammer (choking up), the more accuracy you have. However, there is less power in this grip. If you choke down on the handle you have more power, but less accuracy. After pondering this tradeoff one student suggested using two hands and combining both grips. Interesting! Let’s experiment! – Alex
NEWS FROM THE MUSIC ROOM
The music class has been busy with our preparations for Family and Friends Day! This is the largest just-music performance of the school year, and we hope you can be there! It will be on Friday December 20 at 10:00 am.
While our content in recent weeks has been for Family and Friends Day (and therefor I am remaining vague in this newsletter, so you can be surprised by the performance!), we continue to work with skill building and music theory. K/1 is working on the difference between rhythm and beat (and holding steady with both); 2/3’s are the amazing fast learning recorder players; and 4/5’s are working on reading and playing challenging rhythms in the treble clef, on both recorder and xylophone.
K/1 movement is a time of joy. We continue to start our time with scarf and ribbon play, followed by all sorts of games. Lately we have been playing a game called Garden brought to us by Aubrielle in Room 2, and acting out ‘In a Winter Garden’ (a fairy tale game). Happy Holidays! – Eve
NEWS FROM THE LIBRARY
K/1: Along with reading some stories for Thanksgiving, we plan for Dec read-alouds to be about Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. This months lessons were about how to pull books from the shelves with the least impact on spines and return them properly and the all-important “paper-only-please” bookmark. Other lessons concentrated on finding the Dewey number shelves for domesticated animals (aka “pets”) and then how to find their wild cousins. We practiced identifying the Dewey category for reptiles/amphibians/mammals/birds/fish etc using little stuffies and then finding a book on that animal family.
2/3: We read aloud for Thanksgiving and continue read-alouds for Hannukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Students started pages in their Folklore Tale Types books by studying “pourquoi” and “cumulative” and maybe we’ll have time for “knucklehead” tales by reading Hanukkah tales about the city of Chelm. Starting second grade students can begin to join the popular Newbery Book Club so we spent parts of our library learning about the award for “the most distinguished youth books”, and browsing/booktalking the book shelf that holds all these books – including this year’s potential winners called “Mock Newbery” books.
4/5: Reading about the real story of the woman that fought to establish the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ll also read about winter festivals. We have been studying how the Newbery Medal (for the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”) is judged and learned about a tool Kathy used to keep track of special examples of writing on a color coded sheet of paper. We are going to learn about How A Book Is Made showing all kinds of real book examples. Everyone will have a chance to choose 1- 2 advance reviewer copies of chapter books to take home as their own AND write in just like a reviewer might! – Kathy