Cougar Dens met Jan. 22 to talk about the pillar of caring. Students talked about how to show caring during Iowa Assessments. Some ideas were: being quiet in the halls when going to specials and recess so students can concentrate, taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep and eating healthy food, always trying your best and being positive. Students in the dens made motivational note cards to give to students taking the test to encourage them. Posters were also made to hang in the hallways and classrooms.
Spirit day is today. Students and staff are encouraged to show their J-Hawk pride by wearing Urbandale school colors.
Web Clickers meet at 3:45 p.m. Feb. 3 in the computer lab.
Iowa Assessments testing will take place on Feb. 4-6 for third through fifth grade.
The Valerius chorus will have a rehearsal from 8-8:40 a.m. Feb. 5.
Fifth-grade band lessons are on Feb. 6.
PTO will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the library.
Our next Box Tops and Labels collection contest ends Feb. 7. Labels for Education is running a special offer right now where five labels turns into 100 points. The class that turns in the most box tops and Campbell labels will win either a popcorn and board game party, or a popcorn and movie party.
In conjunction with the Valerius Jump rope for Heart event, staff will be hosting a Go Red Day Feb. 7. Staff is encouraged to wear read to raise awareness and funds for the leading cause of death in the nation: heart disease and congenital heart defects. Physical education teacher Mark Tiby is coordinating the event.
Jeremy Fernandezs fourth-grade class recently learned about an authors purpose to explain. Their pen-pals from Julie Crowleys class at Jensen explained, step by step, how to decorate cookies to look like turkeys. Students learned the importance of being specific and detailed when explaining a procedure and, of course, enjoyed eating their treats.
The first-graders are learning about weather. Meteorologist Wes Callison came into the classroom and informed first-graders about his job and how he predicts the weather.
Today is Pajama Day for the school, sponsored by Student Council. Students can bring an item for either the Furry Friends Animal Refuge or a food item for the Urbandale Food Pantry and celebrate by wearing their pajamas.
Today is also Kindergarten Parent Day. Parents of current kindergarten students can join in on their students physical education and music class for the day and find out what their child is learning.
The week of Feb. 3-7 is testing week for the Iowa Assessments.
Drama Club will be meeting at 3:35 p.m. Feb. 4 and 7.
There will be a band rehearsal at 8 a.m. Feb. 4 in the music room.
The PTOs monthly meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4.
Congratulations to Studio, the varsity show choir, for being named third runner-up in a deep field of competitors at the Linn-Mar Supernova Show Choir Competition Jan. 18. Vitality, the junior-varsity show choir, placed fourth in the prep class.
Iowa Assessments for ninth through 11th grades will be Feb. 3 and 4.
The optional kindergarten class is working with penguins. We are talking about non-fiction text as well as developing our creative side by making penguins out of various items. Ordinal numbers associated with penguin clues provide a lot of fun for the students. Measuring penguins with ice cube manipulatives was hands-on and entertaining.
Kindergartners are learning the difference between the Arctic and Antarctic. Were having fun reading about the differences and similarities. Were making a chart comparing them both. Later, well challenge ourselves and see if we can remember all the differences. We are writing about what animals live in these areas.
First-graders are learning about matter. Everything in our world is made up of matter and there are three types: solids, liquids, and gases. In first grade we learn about solids and liquids. Students learn the difference between solids and liquids, as well as the properties they have.
South Prairie first-graders portrayed engineers. Students were given materials and figured out what properties the materials had. Students then worked together to create a tower or bridge. They learned that it is important to know what properties each solid had to know if it would be a good part of their bridge or tower.
Second-grade students are working on two-digit addition with regrouping. We are learning how to use the form of a number to compose and decompose numbers in order to regroup.
Meadows Middle and Middle School
The MathCounts teams competed in a scrimmage against other teams at Waukee Middle School and did a great job. Congratulations to Liz Becker, who placed in the top 20 in the individual competition. The Meadows team consists of Ryan Capps, Adam Koch, Tim Friesen, Josh Jones and Cole Benson. The Middle School team consists of Bradley Ramsey, Claire Fitzgerald, Lara Kallem, Liz Becker and Levi Willrich. We are looking forward to the DC-G scrimmage Feb. 1 at Meadows. Teacher coaches are Sandy Barker and Janet Huckaby-Wilson, math coach is Tracy Koch, and assistant math coach is Ryan Ramsey.
Students spent some time on Jan. 22 celebrating the 100th day of school. Students in kindergarten spent part of their day rotating through centers to do various activities. Some examples include using 100 Dixie cups to build a structure, doing exercises in groups of ten, totaling 100, and doing some predictions about the world 100 years from now. First-grade students were asked to create a visual using 100 of something. One example is writing the numerals in 100 with 100 cotton balls. Second-grade students worked in math on several different ways to get 100 as an answer with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
In recognition of the 100 years of education in the district, students enjoyed a presentation by the staff at Living History Farms. They presented information to all of Lawson students about what school was like 100 years ago.
Purple Party is 3:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Johnston High School. Thanks for supporting our PTOs fundraising efforts.
We had our winter PBIS incentive celebration, the Wild Winter Snowball Challenge. Classes worked together to show the Wallace Ways, being respectful, responsible and safe. If they were showing the Wallace Ways and got caught by a staff member they filled in a box on their classroom chart. If the class filled in two charts by the end, they got to participate in our snowball challenge and have a hot chocolate party. The kids had a wild and crazy time building their forts out of boxes and then battling it out to knock their opponents fort down with rubber snowballs.
School student leaders, along with seventh-grade student Alex Page, organized and promoted a special social event Dec. 19. All sixth-grade students were invited to dance, play games in the gym and socialize. The admission proceeds were donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation and the Johnston Partnership. More than $900 was raised.
The sixth- and seventh-grade solo festival will take place Feb. 8 at Summit. Each student will be performing a solo and will receive a rating and comments based on their performance. As an extra incentive, the judges will be choosing the top few performers of the day to receive the Best of Festival awards.
Congratulations to ninth-grade band members Megan Schraeger, flute; Millie Brewer, clarinet; Lizzie Boeschen, clarinet; Kyle Burgess, alto saxophone; and Brooke Thacker, percussion. They were selected by audition for the South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association high school honor band. The honor band performed under the direction of Luther College band director Joan de Albuquerque at Ames High School Jan. 11.
The ninth-grade band is preparing for their winter concert, which will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The band will be performing works by Randall Standridge, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Michael Oare.
Des Moines Christian
The following fall sports teams qualified for distinguished academic achievement certificates: Girls cross country and boys cross country, coached by Michael Wilson; girls volleyball, coached by Paige Thiner; football cheerleading, coached by Molly Eklund and Kimberly Kolling; and boys football, coached by Craig Carlson. This honor is given to teams who carry an average GPA of 3.25 or higher.
On Jan. 18, the three show choirs traveled to West Branch to compete in Saturday Night Jive, a 1A/2A competition. Destination Excellence, the junior high show choir, and Salt, Co., the prep show choir, received first place in their preliminary awards. Light, Inc., the high school show choir, received third place. Salt, Co. and Light, Inc. both placed in the top six scoring groups and were invited to perform in the finals. Salt, Co. received sixth place in finals, and Light, Inc. received second place. Director Joy Augustine was awarded best show design for Light, Inc., and senior Jesse Wiele was named best male soloist.
Jan. 24 was a tasting party for second grade students in Sharon Zonnefelds classroom. Students have been learning about eating nutritious foods. Each child was asked to bring 25 bite-sized samples of a nutritious food which s/he enjoys, but which other children often havent tried or dont like. Students shared the food group(s) the food represented and marketed the foods to their classmates.
The kindergarten classes of Vickie Greiman, Deb Johnston, and Roxanne Pemoulie celebrated the 100th day of school Jan. 28 by bringing a plastic bag with 100 items (Legos, pennies, etc.) to help students visualize 100 objects. Each student then made their own bag of Heavenly Hash for snack time by counting out 100 pieces of small snack items.
The junior cheerleaders will perform during halftime of the girls basketball game when the varsity girls and boys basketball teams host Guthrie Center tonight on Jan. 31.
Des Moines Christian is sending 72 students and chaperones to share the gospel and the love of Jesus with the people of Honduras through construction, children and adult outreach, medical, and dental services. The team will be working at an orphanage ranch and in several village communities, doing construction and outreach.
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 4-6 for parent-teacher conferences. Conferences will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. and 5:30-8 p.m. on Feb .4 and Feb. 6. On Feb. 5, conferences will be held from 2-4 p.m. There will be no half-day early education morning or afternoon classes Feb. 4-6.
On Feb. 7, the girls and boys varsity basketball teams will compete against West Central Valley in Stuart.
Students are celebrating Catholic Schools Week this week. , January 27-31. The theme this year is Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Among the activities were Mass at Dowling High School, Spirit Day, a Talent Show, and a potluck and bingo night for students and their families tonight. Students also collected food and paper goods for the Catholic Work House.
The school also continues to work toward the goal of reading 25,000 books by the end of the school year. In November, the top readers were Ricardo Baquero, kindergarten; Arantza Garcia and Luke Tuang, first grade; Christopher Mendoza and Giselle Sanchez, second grade; Pedro Jimenez, third grade; Anyiel Akec and Emmanuel Lugala, fourth grade; Tiffani Nguyen, fifth grade; Wendy Espinoza, sixth grade; Hulices Mireles, seventh grade; Godfrey Oghissa, eighth grade; and Steve Sand, faculty. The December top readers were Alonso Alvarado, kindergarten; Emma Bishop and Manolo Paloma, first grade; Valerie Baquero and Renato Reyes, second grade; Pedro Jimenez, third grade; Anyiel Akec and Steven Young, fourth grade; Christian Alvarado, fifth grade; Isabel Castro, sixth grade; Zhara Glass, seventh grade; Katie Houghton, eighth grade; and Jennifer Kilpatrick, faculty.
On Jan. 13, the kindergarten, first- and second-grade students presented a music program for their families and friends. They shared songs and games they have been learning in music class, and their parents joined them in a dance, Les Saluts, at the end of the program.
Second- through fifth-graders held the annual Jump Rope For Heart event Jan. 24 to raise money for the American Heart Association. The students collected donations and worked on their skills in physical education class. The students were on teams and with music, snacks, and contests, it was a fun time. The younger students are working skills in class using beanbags and balls. Middle school students just finished up performing dances they created and are also using jump ropes during their warm up. The sixth-graders are making up jump rope routines to perform. The older students are doing basketball activities and then will be working in a badminton unit.
Art room news: Kindergarten is finishing up their line design. First grade is creating a house out of shapes. Second grade is learning about Fredrich Hundertwasser and creating a landscape in his style. Third grade is making a Chinese Dragon mask. Fourth grade is creating a landscape out of crumpled paper and then building a castle in relief out of cardboard rolls and fifth grade is in the middle of making coil built clay bowls. Sixth grade just completed their shoe study and is preparing to draw a teddy bear. Seventh grade is bringing gargoyles to life out of clay and eighth grade is about ready to let their plaster dragon sculptures take flight. The showcase will be changing soon to display these pieces of art.
Eighth-grade students have been meeting in small groups for career exploration classes. Students complete career interest surveys, career values surveys and other activities. Each student chooses a career to research and arranges for an on-the-job visit. Some of the places our students have visited are the Des Moines Police Department, KCCI-TV, Blank Park Zoo, wedding planners, photographers, attorneys, judges, sports complexes, veterinarians and dental offices.
Music news: Third-graders just began playing recorders and are working to get their first three notes, B-A-G. Our fourth- and fifth-grade students are learning about the orchestra and rhythm/form. The middle-school students are also learning about form and composition. The kindergarten, first-, and second-grade students are preparing for their winter concert, which will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the church. Choir students are preparing for the Catholic Schools Week Mass and the Dimensions Show Choir workshop.
Congratulations to seventh-grader Lydia Samek of Des Moines for placing first in the middle school division of the Johnston archery tournament Jan. 18. Iowa Christian has a larger group of archers this year who will be competing in several more tournaments, culminating with the state tournament March 1. The team is coached by Tim Phillips and Tim Schroeder.
Montessori Childrens House
The 3- through 6-year-olds studied Antarctica and learned it is the coldest place on earth. We looked at the varieties, life cycle and parts of the penguin, one of the few animals sturdy enough to withstand the extreme weather. Animals adapt to their surroundings in many ways. We have studied hibernation, migration and camouflage. Sorting cards and books are available on the science shelf for individual work. Bear books and stories and the Hibernation song were popular. The fact and fiction game was introduced with an old favorite, The Three Bears, and a bear reference book. Then we explored the continents, people and animals that make up the Arctic. We crunched up corn cakes (tostadas) with the rolling pin to share with our woodland friends, as Annie did in Annie and the Wild Animals.
First-graders did a fun activity made up of adjectives for each classmate. Each student was able to write an adjective to describe their classmates and put them into a collage in the shape of a heart. These will be hanging in the hall for Catholic Schools Week.
For the celebration of Catholic Schools Week, fifth-grade students learned about artist Tyree Guyton and his art of magic trash. Working in teams of five and six, they used recyclable trash to cut and hot glue together a theme-based abstract sculpture. Finishing decorative details were created with paints, markers, and cut paper.
Sixth-graders have started a short unit on computer programming during science class. They participated in a nationwide initiative called The Hour of Code and completed an introductory workshop using a platform called Tynker. Students are currently completing a final project by writing the code for a short animation. Hopefully, these will be posted on the school website.
In sixth-grade religion class, students are creating advertisements that promote the various forms of prayer. In seventh-grade religion class, students are in the middle of a unit where they are designing stained glass windows that identify the chief symbols for each apostle.
Students will celebrate Catholic Schools week. They prepared for Team Day, when students compete with their group of students from kindergarten through eighth grade. There are 16 teams total, and they are asked to create a cheer, a team poster, and compete in various activities on Friday during Catholic Schools week. Students in the second-grade English class are in charge of this weeks all school Mass, so they are practicing their readings and psalms. The student choir sang at Mass Jan. 26 and following the Mass, there were tours of the school and a pasta dinner in the parish hall.
The fourth-grade students are starting to learn about bones and muscles in the human body. We are learning the importance of keeping our bodies healthy. We read about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the importance of his work. We learned that his message is still one that is we need to uphold in our world today.
Blythe Stanfel, parent and parishioner of St. Francis, talked with the sixth- through eighth-graders about writing and publishing her book Out of the Pocket. She explained the process of writing and working with a publisher and answered the students questions.
Seventh- and eighth-grade religion classes observed Respect Life Week. They completed classroom activities and prayed for unborn children.
Students dressed up for Catholic Schools Week this week. Monday was Activity Day, wearing clothing of their favorite activity, basketball, dance, karate, etc.; Tuesday, Clash Day: Wednesday, Dress Up Day: Thursday, Decade Day; today, DressDown Day to support Blessings in a Backpack.
The following students entered and placed in the Womens Auxiliary of the VFW Post 738 essay contest on patriotism: Julia Sweetman, first place for third grade in the post, second place in the fifth district; Serena Carlson, second place for third grade in the post; Richard Franko, third place for third grade in the post; Rachel Smith, first place for the post; second place in the fifth district; and Karleigh Osborn, first place in fifth grade in the post and first place in the fifth district. The following students entered and received honorable mention: Allison Szalay, fourth; Tora Peterson, fourth; Will Ryan, fourth; Abbie Luft, fourth; and Catherine Franko, fourth.
Sixth-graders are learning about pop art while creating self portraits inspired by the works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Students combined drawing, painting and a photo transfer to create their finished portraits.
St. Pius X
Second-graders met with their eighth-grade buddies to watch the video A Man Who Changed America, a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Then, they used the smart board for the interactive Scholastic News issue about King and compared and contrasted life before and after King.
Middle school is conducting auditions for the Rockin Tale of Snow White musical to be held in the spring.
Sixth-grade social studies classes will be studying Europe for the remainder of the year. They will begin by learning the locations of the countries. They are also studying Medieval times. They have learned about the importance of Christianity during this time, feudalism, and the manor system.
In seventh grade, students are studying Southeast Asia in social studies. Students have been focusing on the history of the region, looking at how European colonization affected these countries. They also looked at the causes of the Vietnam War, and why the United States became involved in the conflict.
The eighth-grade social studies classes have started work on their great Americans parade float project. They have begun to research their chosen American and will create a parade float to honor their person and write a paper. The parade floats will be on display during the Catholic Schools Week open house. In addition, the students are learning about the challenges George Washington had as the first president.
Sixth-graders have been working with the independent learner teacher, on math-based research problems as part of their 21st Century skills class. Each group was given a problem to solve using their critical- and creative-thinking skills, such as: How long would it take an ant to go completely around the school? How many inflated footballs would it take to fill up your classroom? How long did it take the founding fathers to get from their hometowns to where they had to go to sign the Declaration of Independence? How is a hexaflexagon made and why does it do what it does? These are not typical math problems, but require some research and analyzing and thinking. In February, each group will be sharing a PowerPoint presentation on their conclusions.
In social studies, all classes are discussing Martin Luther King, Jr. The fifth-grade students are using maps and graphic organizers to compare life in the middle colonies, New England colonies, and the southern colonies. The sixth-grade students are using the kids web Japan website to investigate what the life of a Japanese student is like. Students will be looking at different Japanese homes and comparing them those in the United States. The seventh-grade students will begin their unit on Brazil, starting with physical geography before moving on to history, culture, and government. The eighth-grade class is finishing up their unit on the Industrial Revolution.
Kindergartners have been learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. We made an anchor chart describing things that he was, things he had and things he wanted for the world. The students wrote a sentence about King.
Second-grade students watched videos of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Smartboard and read books about him. Students completed writing journals about King and what life was like during his lifetime. Students also wrote about what Jesus may have thought about Kings work. Tomie dePaola was the featured artist for Talking Canvas this month. The students drew pictures using colored pencils and watercolors. Students also drew pictures on a sheet, just like Tomie did when he was a child. The second-graders also wrote acrostic poems about themselves using their names.
Third grade began learning multiplication and division. They can draw arrays and learned some shortcuts for multiplication number stories. They are using fact triangles from the Everyday Math curriculum for practice. To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we read the story of Ruby Bridges and discussed what life might have been like back then.
The sixth-graders are digging deep into a fictional disease that a sweeping across the community of Jamestown. The students are tracing the cause and spread of a disease with symptoms closely resembling an e-coli outbreak. This open-ended assignment will draw students into a drama where people are fighting for their health, trying to save their businesses, and remain a civil and supportive community while stopping the spread of the disease and pinpointing its source.
Students in seventh- and eighth-grade language arts used the iPads to access the Internet to gain knowledge on the authors and novels they are reading in class. The seventh-graders researched Lois Lowry and the summary of The Giver.The eighth-grade students researched Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbirdand the Great Depression. Students wrote informative essays.
Sixth- through eighth-grade students spent house time cleaning lockers and classrooms for Catholic Schools week.
Guidance news: K-5 students continued discussions in December about joking, teasing, and bullying. In some classes we read Simons Hook, which helped identify ways to avoid the hook when someone is trying to tease and bully another person. We also read, Ordinary Marys Extraordinary Deed and talked about five acts of kindness we could perform. We also talked about paying it forward. Sixth- through eighth-graders presented their group bullying projects,including PowerPoint presentations, public service announcements, posters, childrens books, or an interview of the school principal. We watched the video Perspectacles, which showed that everyone has something going on in their lives that we cannot always see. We also watched and discussed the video The Bullying Experiment, where two actors set up a bullying situation on a college campus and recorded responses. Before Christmas break, we watched or talked about The Gift of the Magi and students were encouraged to perform 12 acts of kindness relating to the 12 Days of Christmas. Our focus in all classes is now on respect. Middle school students and their parents were invited to an online safety presentation by Karen Gale of the FBI. We spent some time in guidance talking about aspects students found most interesting or surprising, and those who attended the presentation shared some of the tips they learned.
The middle school faith formation students held a Christmas prayer service. The students compared and contrasted the visit of the Magi with a modern-day version they created. All classes participated in an Epiphany blessing of their faith formation room.
Kindergarten heard stories about Martin Luther King, Jr. and talked about freedom, peace, love and his message of having a dream of making the world a better place. We all must still work on this today. They are learning about the Ten Commandments and drew a picture of one of them. The students practiced subtraction using counters and craft sticks. They practiced writing numbers on slates.