For Your Information @ TIS Library Media November

Happy Fall! This year, classes come to the Library biweekly to check out books and enjoy quiet reading time.

Fourth graders can check out 3 books at one time during the library class, but he or she may check out more books after school. Library is opened until 4 o’clock this year! Parents are welcome to get their own library cards and check out library materials. Books are due in two weeks from checkout date but students may renew them, if desired. If student have an overdue book, he or she may not check out another until it is returned.

Not sure when your child has library class? Look below to find out!

WEEK 1 - Nov 9-13, 23-27, Dec 7-11, Jan 4-8, 18-22... WEEK 2 - Nov 16-20, 30- Jan 4, Jan 14-18, 11-15...

This year’s library reading challenge, We love oregon, has begun and we are so happy that many students are perticipating the challenge. Keep reading! CLICK HERE for the Grade 3 through t book list

Fourth Grade PE Update

As the population ball bounces, this year's fourth grade students find themselves in the largest PE classes. Of the three, the smallest class is 19, the largest is 21, and not one class is the same size. These sizes have some advantages over the smaller classes as it is easier to find combinations of athletes that are well balanced, this not only helps keep frustrations low, it definitely helps the acquisition of skills and strategies in our activities. It can, however, allow for additional challenges of socializing when its not optimal. We had a talk this year on Performance Health. It concerns improving performance through specific training. 'Practice Makes Perfect' is the closes euphemism to this concept. In connect with performance health we reviewed and wrote down our mile times from first, second, and third grade. Using Goal Setting, they set a goal for their fourth grade miles this year. We touched on understanding what goals are, how they are used, and why they are used. The class completes a seven minute workout to strengthen and increase heart rate before running a 1/2 mile almost every class. We expanded our basketball handling and lead in games that involve basketball type moves and strategies. This was in place of no soccer field available this year due to construction. We held a Bean Bag Toss Tournament to practice sportsmanship (and the action of tossing bean bags is a good lead in to serving volleyballs). Not all classes were able to whittle it down to a class 'champion', but they will have the opportunity next year to crown their champion.

Robert Briglia

-- Robert A. Briglia The International School Athletic Director/Instructor

May 1, 2015: PE

As we continue to build our running endurance towards 2 miles, this week the distance we are running is 1.5 miles (12 laps).  When we reach two miles of endurance we will back off and shorten runs to increase wind capacity for speed.  Many still walk and run, this is fine for third grade.  Walking and walking and stopping and walking is not what is expected to occur as they have been working on building endurance and stamina during this school year.  A normal walk around our circuit is measured at 2 minutes and 30 seconds.  This pace was achieved by a slow walk around our circuit.  It translates to 20 minutes for an 8 lap 'mile'.  I council them that a 20 minute time shows no running effort and is not acceptable.  I give no absolute other than I do not expect them to walk the entire distance, therefor they should finish faster than 20 minutes for 8 laps.  Here is an example of one third grade class.   Last week they were asked to run 10 laps.  This week they were asked to run 12 laps.  Below is from the week prior where they ran 8 laps and then 10 laps.  They will reach the maximum 16 laps of distance at the time of this writing.   
Here, side by side are the two times at the 8 lap mark.  The first time is at the end of the whole run, the second time is at the 8 lap mark out of 10 laps.  Blank times mean they were absent for the run.  Injuries preventing continuation are noted.  DNF means, 'Did Not Finish'.  Multiple DNF's affect grading this term.

Runner:      Time 1  8 laps           Time 2  during 10 laps      
      1                  8:17                                8:13
      2                  9:10                                9:44
      3                  9:48                               10:53
      4                  11:02                              9:59
      5                  10:32                              9:59
      6                  12:03                              9:10
      7                   9:58                               9:16
      8                   Injury                             13:54
      9                   17:52                             11:43
      10                 16:58                             13:06
      11                  12:58                             14:06
      12                  11:49                             13:12
      13                  14:20                             13:49
      14                  13:43                             14:23
      15                  16:58                             17:34
      16                  13:41                             17:48
      17                  13:48                             17:48
      18                  15:19                              17:00
      19                  20:21                               DNF

If you would like to check to see how your child is progressing, just send me an email.

Robert Briglia

May 1, 2015: Library

Third graders have been reviewing  different genres of literature and using iPads to search the library catalog.  So far we have covered poetry, fantasy, science fiction, informational and folk literature which includes fairy tales, tall tales, fables, myths and legends.  Students have been encouraged to take home a book in each genre.  Surveying the genres is a great way to practice open-mindedness!  Often children who do not like to read fiction, will enjoy reading informational texts or even biographies. If you have a reluctant reader at home, try some non-fiction!

Arthur Dorros, in disguiseAuthor and illustrator Arthur Dorros visited TIS on April 9!  He talked about his books and storytelling. He offered many great lessons from his childhood and career on writing, making mistakes, generating ideas and drawing.

The annual Scholastic Book Fair will take place the first week in June outside Stearns Hall.  I need parent volunteers to run the morning shifts from 7:30-8:30!  Please let me know if you can help.

Thanks for having such great kids who love to read!

Tamara Beecroft

May 1, 2015: Music

Who Has Seen the Wind?

What does a sound look like?

Students attempt to visualize the same abstract sound.

Central Idea:  People use gestures and symbols to communicate a musical idea.

You may have heard about the day we used a ball in class to conduct sound.  Third graders described the movement of the ball to suggest a certain matching sound.

Tone - high or low?
Sustain - long or short?
Timbre - smooth or rough sound?
Dynamic - loud or quiet?

A toss, they said, has a high tone, smooth timbre, and a long sustain.  "Finger cymbals!"
A catch has a very short sustain, and a mid-range tone.  "Woodblock?"
A bounce on the floor - really low tone.  "Kick drum."
A roll across the floor created little bounces in the ball's movement - long sustain & rough timbre.  "Guiro!"

All together, as two players took turns passing the ball to each other, all the musicians around them matched each gesture with perfectly timed sound.  Guess what?  It works without a ball too!  If you pretend, the musical idea gets communicated to the orchestra using pure gestures.

Imagine trying to being the first person to try to write down a melody.  Would other people be able to understand how to play your song?  

We looked at a listening map for "Daybreak Vision," a composition by R. Carlos Nakai, a Native flute player.  Before we listened to the piece, students worked together to create a legend for the map.  They predicted what each mark (dots, thin lines, thick lines, slopes) would sound like.

After listening to it, we found out who predicted correctly, and who had other interesting ideas for what the music could have sounded like.

Making the invisible visible.  
"Who has seen the wind?"  - We are using this Christina Rossetti poem to practice reading and writing melodies using similar simple symbols.  We learned a melody with only 4 pitches by singing and playing recorder.  Here's a class recording of this melody

For the second verse, students are working in groups to compose their own melody.

Here's a great example so far: one that is easy to read, shows pitch and duration. 

The next step will be to give their new composition to another group to try to decipher.  If this unit is successful, by the end of it, I'll ask students which system is easier to read: these invented systems, or traditional notation.  "We prefer staff notation!"  .. is the goal, anyway.

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist, Grades 2-5

May 1, 2015: Art

   You probably already know that our third graders have proudly finished sewing their ugly dolls because they have made the trip home. I personally wished I could have convinced a few more students to keep their creatures at school so that I could include them in the art show, but they could not wait another minute to get them home. Many students have reported back to me about the special place their ugly doll now lives in their bedroom.

     This project was really loved by the 3rd graders. For every art class in the past 5 weeks, they have come into the art room eager to get started sewing, sometimes impatiently appeasing my need to teach them at the carpet for 5 minutes before getting started. They have learned the Whip stitch, Straight stitch, how to thread a needle and how to end the thread using a looping technique. We have also looked at other contemporary examples of Fiber Arts, discussed organic vs. geometric shapes, complimentary colors and the design principles, Emphasis and Contrast.

     Next, we will start a unit that focuses on texture through a Surreal Landscape Painting. In this project, students will create their own characters that inhabit a fantasy land full of different visual textures. They will explore the difference between visual and physical texture and learn to create the illusion of texture on a 2-D surface. For this painting, students will also have practice in creating custom colors, mixing primaries and secondary colors in a variety of combinations to achieve interesting tints and shades. They will learn about atmospheric perspective and various techniques for creating depth.

     Thanks to all of the volunteers who will be helping set-up the art Show next Friday and Saturday, the 8th and 9th of May. We have plenty of helpers for setting up but still could use a few more volunteers to take down the Art Show on Friday afternoon, May 29th between 12:45-5:00.

Please click the hyperlink to reach the Sign-up Form to help out if you're available. OR send me an email if you can help out.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the sunny weather!

Sarah Harpole
2nd-5th Grade Art Specialist

March 20, 2015: Library

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss' birthday is celebrated in schools across the country on March 2 every year.  Third graders had lots of fun listening to Dr. Seuss stories and playing a Dr. Seuss trivia game.  All fans of Dr. Seuss' incredible work will be happy to learn that a new book will be released in July, What Pet Should I Get?  For more information about Dr. Seuss or his books, check out the official website Seussville.

Third graders have been using iPads to explore the online library catalog.  It is amazing to watch their eyes light up when they realize the connection between the catalog and books on the shelves.

Author and illustrator Arthur Dorros will be visiting TIS on April 9!  We will be reading his books during library classes.  You may learn more about Arthur and his work at


Tamara Beecroft

March 20, 2015: Music

Musical Conversations

People communicate with each other by listening, watching, and responding through sound and movement.

Up until now in third grade music we have explored a variety of “Musical Conversations” through listening and responding games.   

Beginning recorder players improvised bird calls and listened and responded to similar bird calls they heard within the space. 

Call and Response
More recently we practiced recorder notation reading by framing melodies from a work song.  Work Songs often use another conversational musical form called “Call and Response.”  Not all Call and Response songs are work songs, however.  Plenty of playground chants, clapping games, and jump rope rhymes are Call and Response.  One of our favorites, "Step Back, Baby" turned into a line dance, partner clapping game, and a vocal and instrumental Call and Response game.  Have a listen.

Question & Answer
We have also practiced another musical form of conversation called “Question & Answer” in which their answer must use some ideas or rhythmic elements related to the musical question.  This is exactly what we do when we talk to each other.  As we gathered in the hallway to begin class one day, Cassie walked past us.  I asked her a question, and she answered. 

Question: "Cassie, what did you have for breakfast today?"
Answer: "For breakfast today I had eggs and toast!"

She used the end of the question as the beginning of her answer.  Perfect.

With musical Question & Answer, the answers can be anything, as long as it's related to the question.

Question: "Clap, clap, pat stomp snap?"
Answer: "Pat stomp snap snap Clap clap clap!"  is one of a thousand possible answers.  

Movement & Music
This week we used a Japanese song, "Hotaru Koi," that we’ve learned to sing in English "Come, Firefly" and (mostly) play on recorder, and explored a conversation between movement and music.  


We played a "memory" game, unlocking certain melody cards through precise recorder playing and notation recognition to reveal the ABBA form of the song.   We then followed a movement prompt, pretending to drink from a bottle of water or a drinking fountain, or a lake or a straw, but as if we were the size of a firefly.  A: loosening the cap B: tilting the container  B: righting the container  A: tightening the cap.  They worked with partners to develop a secure movement routine that followed the ABBA song form. 

We then explored connected conversations between musical improvisers and creative movers - each musician watched a partner out in the space, and followed each contrasting movement with an appropriate musical response.

Looking Ahead: Communication through Gesture and Symbols
In the Spring we will focus on using movement gestures and written symbols to communicate a desired musical outcome.  Third graders will design their own systems of notation and assign meaning to their symbols, and other students will read and interpret what sounds the symbols represent.

- Peter Musselman

March 20, 2015: PE

We continued on from using jump ropes to another individual activity, juggling scarves.  The central theme being that complex tasks are made up of several smaller components.  I teach the Cascade style of juggling three scarves.  Several of my students picked up this skill well enough to begin breaking down the juggle of three balls into its smaller components also.

I utilized the discussion on smaller components combining to achieve more complex tasks in an analogy with how we have been  running half miles in class in preparation for our upcoming Performance Fitness activity of the Mile Run.  I announced as the second grading period has closed we will now begin the process of building upon our 4 lap run 'unit' into higher lap count runs, greater distance, and increase our stamina and endurance up to a maximum of 16 laps running in our preparations.   After we build the distance, we will back off of distance and work on oxygen processing and recovery, working up to our last workout run of the year being 8 repeat quarter mile runs.  I have previously discussed that this workout is a very high level workout that they would not be able to accomplish at the beginning of the school year.  They are able to complete it at the end because of all the hard work they have accomplished in building up their bodies a bit at a time.

Robert Briglia

March 20, 2015: Art

Beautiful Bonsai Sculptures:

     The 3rd graders have completed their Bonsai Tree Sculptures and they are FABULOUS! The tree deserves a special place in your home. Beside the wonderful fact that they’ll never need water, the trees are beautiful and students made each part with their own hands! The students completed the final steps of the Bonsai project by painting their handmade pottery with glazes of their choosing, combining their tree branches and twisting to create a trunk. For the very last step, they placed the tree into wet plaster and sprinkled real rocks around the tree base.
     Many students were begging to take their Bonsai Tree home that day to proudly display it at home however, I am holding onto all the artwork a bit longer. In a about a month, the students will choose their two best artworks to include in this year’s Art Show. They may decide to choose their Bonsai Sculpture as one of their two best artworks for the year. Also, please come see the 3rd graders beautiful Blue Willow plates on display in Stearns Hall!
New Unit:
      We are onto the unit of inquiry, "Exploring Contemporary Art" and we have begun by learning about how artists sometimes work with fabric as a medium. We are creating our own versions of "Uglydolls". These little plush creatures were first introduced/born from a cute little drawing a husband made at the end of an "I miss you" note. In response, his wife sewed and sent a little stuffed version of his drawing back across an ocean. The couple's friend, who owned a toy store, saw this unique and cute little creature and asked if they could make more to sell. That's how it all started in January of 2001 and the rest is history! The brand they created is distinguished by its definition of the word "ugly." In the "uglyverse," ugly means unique and special, that we should be celebrating what makes us different, never hiding the twists or turns in our personalities that make us who we are, inside and out. In 2006, "Uglydolls" were received the Specialty Toy of the Year award by the Toy Industry Association. Today, Uglydoll designs are still created by this husband and wife team and sold around the world. What a great story!
    The students were able to create some impressively unique and special designs of their very own and this week, students had the chance to begin sewing.  We have reviewed how to thread a needle and tie knots. We have also reviewed/learned two sewing stitches, the whip stitch and straight stitch. We also practiced the skill of drawing a custom template from paper to make a successful design for sewing. Ask your student about their plans their Ugly Doll. What kind and how many of Eyes will it have? What colors of felt did you choose? Which stitches are you using? (Whip and Straight)
Help Needed:
     Please let me know if you’re interested in earning your volunteer hours by helping display student artwork or signing up to help with the Art Show! Thank you for reading and for talking to your child about what they are doing in Art!

Have a Wonderful Spring Break!!!

Sarah Harpole
2nd-5th Grade Art Specialist



Feb 15, 2015: Art

Third grade students have finished their Blue Willow inspired Plates that relates to our “Art from Many Cultures” Unity of Inquiry. The kids found it very interesting to learn about the story traditionally shown in Blue Willow Porcelain and then create their own stories using the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. They also really enjoyed watching video demonstrations by an artist who has been trained in the traditional artistic style of Chinese brush painting and pottery. We watched her go through the process to create a replica of a piece of Blue Willow pottery from the 17th century from start to finish.

The pottery wheel portion of the process we watched was especially intriguing to them. I would highly encourage you to check online and think about enrolling your child in clay classes at a local art studio. We are able to do handbuilding and but are not set-up to offer kids the opportunity to practice “throwing” pottery on the wheel.  I’ve printed packets with info about some classes offered around town and will be giving them to students who are interested in the next few days.

 Here is a list of some Art Studios in the area that offer classes/camps this Spring Break and Spring Term:

We have moved on to the next project that highlights Japan in our Art from Many Cultures unit. We have learned about the Art of Bonsai cultivation and have designed and sculpted our own clay containers for their very own “always living” Bonsai tree. Students learned about the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees, the common types of bonsai trees, the long history of Bonsai along with how a bonsai stays so small.

Soon, you get to have a Bonsai Tree in your home that will never need water. J The students are currently sculpting the tree using pipe cleaners and many shades of tissue paper. Earlier, we reviewed the concept of three-dimensional space before making our clay bonsai containers. They learned about how to draw ellipses to make three-dimensional drawings while brainstorming how they wanted their container to be shaped. By practicing in their sketchbooks and looking at many examples of a variety of bonsai containers, they were able to design some awesome containers that will house their tree. We reviewed the clay technique of creating a “pinch” pot and learned a new technique of making a “slab” pot. We also practiced the skill of scoring and slipping to successfully connect clay pieces. Ask your student about their plans for painting their bonsai container. They have drawn plans in their sketchbooks labeling which amazing new glazes they plan to use to paint their pottery.  

 The Blue Willow plates will be on display in Stearns Hall by early next week. Please come see their beautiful plates! Our next unit will further explore the art elements of Texture and Space through a Landscape Painting.

Please let me know if you’re interested in earning your volunteer hours by helping display student artwork!

Thank you for reading and for talking to your child about what they are doing in Art!

Sarah Harpole
2nd-5th Grade Art Specialist

Feb 15, 2015: PE

During the conditioning component to class we discussed Maintenance Health and Performance Health.  By maintenance we come to understand that our health is not static.  If we do not perform the right choices about what we eat, how we exercise, and keeping safe, our health can diminish.  I used the analogy of buying a car.  The car needs to be taken care of and maintained to operate correctly over time.  Performance Health is how we train and practice in order to do just that--Perform!  We talk about our biggest performance in PE coming up in May, the Mile Run.  Building endurance and stamina to not just run a distance of a mile but to do it with performing in mind takes building, takes PRACTICE, takes work, and takes determination.

Another discussion we are currently exploring ties in with the school's Program of Inquiry.  The Third Grade students are studying measurement.  We are relating all types of measurements to physical education and sports.

On the skills side, we are into our unit on Jump Ropes.  Individual jumping, long rope jumping (including trying Double Dutch jumping), and trick jumping.  Jumping rope is an excellent compact cardiovascular workout (maintenance health) and used to greatly increase stamina and endurance (performance health).  A great gift anytime, I can recommend a slightly heavier rope being better and more practical than a light, cotton piece of nothing.

Robert Briglia
PE Specialist

Feb 15, 2015: Library

The Across Time and Culture Reading Challenge art projects are in and on display in the main campus library.  It is an amazing and impressive gallery of work by our students.  About 200 students in grades K-5 participated and the highest participants per class were all in third grade. My sincere thanks to all the parents and grandparents who supported these dedicated readers and artists from securing and reading the books to creating such thoughtful artistic responses to their reading.  We celebrated our readers/artists with certificates, rewards, games, cookies and cupcakes!  If you are unable to stop by the library to see the art in person, see the slideshow below.

The America Library Association recently announced the 2015 Youth Media Awards..  Click here to see the complete list .

- Tamara Beecroft

Feb 15, 2015: Music

Music & Nature- The Seven Wonders of Oregon

On March 2, all 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders are going to go to the Oregon Symphony!  
The program is called "The Seven Wonders of Oregon" and the repertoire is supposed to bring to mind Oregon's natural and urban landscapes: Rivers, mountains, desert, plains, bridges, ocean, wildlife, countryside, waterfalls and cities.
We had a visit from John McNeur, a docent from the Symphony who helped us review the instrument families of the orchestra, guided us through some of the music we will hear, and talked us through some of our expectations as polite audience members.

Developing our Listening Practice

What do you imagine when you listen to this music?
Aaron Copland - Outdoor Overture
"It makes me think of going down an abandoned trail in a forest"- Nathaniel
"Swans on a lake"
"A whole bunch of bird songs" Wyatt 
"A bird flying" Lucy 
Beethoven Symphony No. 6
An example of how to listen without disturbing your fellow listeners
"People going on a hike and they're dancing around by a creek" Tiana
"Since sometimes it's soft and sometimes it's loud it makes me think of like a river cause sometimes it runs faster and sometimes it runs slower."-Sabine 
"Crater Lake!"
"The sea."Andrea 
"A Waterfall!" Shreya 
"The forest" Nicholas

Bedrich Smetana
The Moldau
"Sounded like salmon going out to the ocean and coming back!" Aengus 
We will also hear Antonin Dvorak "Silent woods," The Birds "Cuckoo" by Ottorino Respighi and "Overture to the Flying Dutchman" by Richard Wagner among others.
Identifying more examples of percussion instruments in our music room.
"Your little brother is NOT a percussion instrument." - John
Developing our musicianship skills
"Liza Jane" was a target song for one of the rhythms shown, "Ti Ta Ti"

We are always practicing our note reading skills together through games.  One game that is cumulative through the years is "Hotspot."  Each student reads their unique rhythm card when called, and immediately reads another one around the circle correctly, or they go to the "Coldspot."  Since it's a learning game, of course, if someone needs a bit more support and they are clearly trying and paying attention, they get a couple chances.  Third graders are mostly all able to read and say variations of the rhythm notations shown here without missing a beat.  The Yellow and Brown cards contain the most recent rhythm additions to our rhythm repertoire.  The rhythms on the Green card are still on the plate from last year.
"Jump Down," Have your child practice these melodies on their recorder
Work Songs - Call & Response

We have been studying examples of how certain work goes faster and is easier with a rhythm or a song.  Sometimes it's a Call & Response, sometimes it's a coordinated rhythm of a solo worker, or between three blacksmiths.

Railroad Gandydancers needed a song and a rhythm to know when to push at the exact same time to be able to move an entire section of railroad back into place.

This Postal worker in Ghana uses both hands while stamping envelopes to play a rhythm to sing with.

See if you and your child can find any Call & Response songs or Work rhythms in this beautiful film. We watched and reflected on an excerpt in class.

Ask about our Call & Response song, "Step Back Baby."  It's a melody with only three pitches.  See if you and your child can figure out how to play it on recorder.  Hint: if you sing it, you can play it.

- Peter Musselman
   Music Specialist

Jan 9, 2015: Music

Backa to School

What did you do??

The first week back after a break always takes a little time to tune back into a cohesive group.  We all did completely different things over the break, but now we're back at school.  But through a simple game, we were laughing, smiling, making up silly sentences, and I think we've adjusted back pretty well.

Maybe you've heard this rhyme, "Acka Backa Soda Cracka, Acka Backa Boo…" it goes on, and you'll find many different versions of it (including .."if your dada chews tobacca"), but it's sometimes an elimination rhyme, ending on "out goes you!"  and that's the kid who goes "out" or gets chosen the play the next turn of another game.

In 3rd Grade music class this week we used it as a warm-up clapping game for vocal improvisations about four things we did over the break.  Almost all the kids were Risk-Takers by improvising four sentences about their break.  As they were taking risks, the rest of the class was Caring by listening and memorizing each one, and then without missing a beat, we all rapped it back.  "You… , you… , you… , you… "  Apparently someone spoke to a Zebra, someone played video games, and someone else "went to Mt. Hood and got busted at midnight!?"  I'd like to hear more about THAT ski trip.

The next day we faced partners for the clapping game, and instead of improvising alone, all partners around the room improvised at the same time which frees children up more to experiment with their sentences.  Listen to this classroom excerpt, in which many voices are improvising and retelling at the same time.  Order out of chaos, when we all come back to the Acka Backa rhyme together.

The second part of the audio is a class sketch composition with recorders.  Each student made an observation about the written text above, noting the placement of the colors, any pattern of the colors, where the pattern changes, which words rhyme, etc.  It is incredible how many unique observations a room of 18 3rd graders can make.  Then, with a new recorder note, B, we proceeded to "just decide" which pitch should play on which color.  Lyra and Aidan both noticed that ending on the higher note, B, in the recording just doesn't sound finished.  "It should finish on the lowest note. G," Aidan declared.  Someone else said, "G is the home tone!" And the photo above reflects that change.

At home please encourage your child to improvise the rhythm of "Acka Backa Soda Cracka" on their recorder using only the notes B, A, and G.

Happy New Year, and let me know if you have any questions about your child's experience in music class.

Jan 9, 2015: PE

The skills unit we are currently working on is Floor Hockey.  This remains as a favorite activity for a high number of students.  Although they are always 'ready' to jump right into playing hockey games, we first review SAFETY, and skills.  We will move into small sided games when I will attempt to match up athletic temperament/skills with one another.  Hockey looks like two teams of 4 or 5 playing while the other two teams watch from the sidelines.  'Games (or periods) are each 5 minutes in length.  If they do it right, they are very tired after those 5 minutes.  The concept of Invasion Game is stressed and they must actively switch between Offense and Defense continually.  We compare this structure with soccer easily.

During the conditioning routines of the class, I've introduced the concept of Fitness Character.  We take a bit of time to define, Character.  When we arrive at basically, 'Character is who you are when you are not being watched.'  This definition is drawn out and applied to how they feel they are when playing sports and working out during their conditioning.  It is stressed that a person is able to adjust and change their Fitness Character and it is my plan to develop as many students as I can with a Strong Fitness Character.

- Coach Robert

Jan 9, 2015: Library

Third graders have started off the New Year learning about the Dewey Decimal System.  At first, all the numbers seemed confusing! But in fact, it is a number language.  The students could relate to this idea of the system as a language and were eager to explore how each digit in a call number added meaning and specificity.  More than 200,000 libraries in 135 countries use this system. We will continue to build our DDC knowledge through January so the students can be independent library users.

500--Natural Science

590--Zoological Sciences

595--Other Invertebrates




There are three weeks left to complete the reading challenge and gallery project. Please sign your child's reading challenge form and return to the library with his/her project by February 6.  If you are having trouble finding a particular book for the challenge, please email me and I will try to set one aside for your child when it comes in.  Information about the reading challenge is on the library website, including reading lists and project ideas. Thank you all for supporting these great readers!


- Tamara Beecroft

Jan 9, 2015: Art

     Third graders are learning about artwork from many places all over the world in our unit, Art from Many Cultures.  We've been discussing the question, “Why is it important to learn about art from other cultures?”  The students have come up with many amazing answers.  We are also exploring why artwork looks different in different parts of the world.

      Using their imaginations, the third grade students traveled to the Central American country of Panama to learn about the Kuna tribe’s colorful Mola creations.  As a bonus, they learned about the Panama Canal!  Molas are made from fabric by the women of the Kuna tribe and sewn onto their clothing. To create the Mola, third grade learned about positive and negative shapes that exist in our world.  They chose from many animals that can be found in the Panama Rainforest. By cutting, they layered many colors of paper to build their works of art. We spent several classes working to increase skills in cutting and contour drawing. The last step was to paint a pattern onto the original black layer of the artwork.  The students had an incredible time mixing paint and discovered how to make some amazing “new” colors. I think we used almost every mixing tray in the art room! Please come to Stearns Hall to enjoy all the Mola Artwork on display.  

     Currently, we are exploring Blue Willow Porcelain Artwork that takes its inspiration from a fable that is said to have been told in Chinese culture for hundreds of years. The students have heard the story and watched an animation of a plate coming to life to tell the tale. There are some accounts that say this story was actually written more recently to promote sales of the famous Blue Willow Porcelain pottery in Europe in the 1800’s. Third graders are learning how the over many years Chinese artists use ground cobalt pigment to create beautiful glazes to create the Blue Willow Pattern. They also learned that Porcelain was one of the main exports of the Chinese Empire, and a major source of its wealth. Our continued use of the word “China” to describe porcelain and pottery shows how important it has been to China’s economy historically.

     The students are designing their own stories by using the animals of the Chinese Zodiac for their inspiration. We reviewed the idea of creating patterns, learned the concept of radial Symmetry and are finding successful ways to illustrate a scene from their story.  The students have enjoyed creating their own original story incorporating the animals of their choosing.  I’m excited to see their finished Blue Willow Paintings!

    Please let me know if you have any questions about your child’s experience in art class!

Supplies Needed:

Art Shirts! We need to replace our art shirts since they are very old and most students do not want to wear them. If you have any T-shirts at home to donate, please send them our way!

Thank you for reading,

- Sarah Harpole

Nov 21, 2014: Art

Third grade students have finished our first project in our Unity of Inquiry, Art from Many Cultures.

Learning about is how and why Dia de los Muertos is celebrated each year in Mexico, along with many other Latin American countries the was very interesting to the third graders. People come together to remember friends and family members they know who have died through their artwork, cooking, decorations, music, dancing, having a party, etc.  There is a strong artistic tradition associated with Dia de los Muertos and so third graders looked at several different examples of artwork from Mexico for inspiration and created their own works.  They created an “Ofrenda” or Alter celebrate the life of a pet, friend, or family member who has died, or depict a skeleton doing something unusual.

    Students learned about how to draw skeletons by practicing in their sketchbooks and looking at many photos of a variety of skeletons. We reviewed the concept of pattern by creating a patterned border around their 3-D Ofrenda that relates to their theme. We practiced skills in drawing and made the artwork stand out by outlining and coloring evenly to add contrast and emphasis. We also practiced making measurements using a ruler, accurately folding and finally cutting and taping to create a 3-D form to use as the Ofrenda box. Students also sculpted their skeletons using model magic (air dry clay) and some chose to draw in black to add the detail. We also compared and contrasted celebrations from Japan (Obon) and China that focus on similar ideas.  The student’s artwork from this unit is now hanging in Stearns Hall. Please come and see what they created!

    Within our Art from Many Cultures Unit, we are now traveling to Panama to learn about the Mola, a traditional art form created by the Kuna tribe.  The students are also learning to distinguish between positive shapes and negative shapes. They will be depicting a Rainforest Animal in their Mola design and are working to increase their cutting and contour drawing skills.

Third graders have taken responsibility for helping with classroom procedures but we still have some room for improvement in this area. Please check in with your child by asking them about what they know about the expectations in the art room. The main areas we are focusing on are to listen and share their ideas at the carpet, be kind to others, help their table group set up and cleanup supplies and to spend class time focusing on their artwork. We use a visual aide on the white board called "The Art Chart" that shows very clearly what their table's job is each day. Each table group is responsible for getting out certain art material and also for
putting away that same material. I want each and every student continue trying to do their very best and I need your help at home to keep a consistent message.

 - Sarah Harpole