In first grade, we have been learning about insects using QR codes and our iPads. Students have been learning about the anatomy of insects, and how they work together. We watched the fable, "The Ant and the Grasshopper" and talked about how the grasshopper did not live Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind.
Last Friday we held the final victory assembly of the year--and there was much to celebrate! The students learned that they far surpassed their school-wide WIG (wildly important goal) of moving up 1,800 reading levels. In fact, they moved up over 2,100 reading levels this year! That earns them a water party (for K-2nd) or a trip to the new Springville rec center pool (3rd-6th).
One very special announcement that was made is that Mr. Duncan was awarded as Principal of the Year for Nebo School District by Horace Mann. This is such a great honor, and we know that Mr. Duncan deserves every recognition for amazing impact he has here at Cherry Creek. So we sprayed silly string on him.
During the assembly, we also enjoyed another performance of Cherry Creek's Got Talent! Zack Fernandez and the Lovelace brothers each shared unique and challenging talents. Then we watched a slideshow of the teachers that will be leaving Cherry Creek at the end of the year. Those leaving include Mrs. Call, Ms. Brice, Mr. Cornwall, Mrs. Crowley, Mrs. Maloy (lunch coordinator), Mrs. Johnson (lunch technician), and Mrs. Pratt (Title 1). These teachers joined the Top Crocs and Leaders of the Month in the final victory lap of the year.
We are so proud of all that our students have accomplished this year!
This year, Mrs. Finch's 6th grade students have been trying something a little different. We have started something called Pre-Teaching. The way it works is that the students will learn a new lesson for the first time in my class 2-3 days before they learn the same lesson in their regular class. I introduce the material, they form different ideas on the material, and within that time we try to solidify the concept as much as we can. By the time they learn that same lesson in their regular class they have had time to really understand the lesson already. When I asked the students how they felt about the Pre-teaching model, I was blown away. Here are their responses.
"It’s not as hard and you can actually keep up with your classmates."
"You can understand it much easier."
"There’s not as many people in Mrs. Finch's room which helps."
"It helps because I’m kind of slow at getting the concepts so when you have more time to learn, it is easier to know what the class is doing."
"When you have enough time to learn it, you know what the class is doing rather than spending so much time thinking."
"I wish we had this method in Jr. High."
"There are too many distractions in the regular classroom."
"Everyone got volume but not surface area until I saved the day."
"One of the girls told her other classmates, "see you should go to my class". (Mrs. Finch's class)"
"It makes me want to do it more."
"It’s easier if we come in here and learn it first. We know the stuff that we need to learn and when the teacher teaches it to us we know what to do with the math."
"I feel better."
"This class is easier and you know how to do it before we learn it."
This has been so successful because of the collaboration that has taken place between the 6th grade teachers and I and also because the students are willing to come to class and put forth their best effort
This year Cherry Creek students have been studying the art and culture of New Zealand, Australia, and various Polynesian islands. Here is a sampling of some their Oceania-themed art:
6th Tint Gradient Underwater Silhouettes. After learning about tints and shades, monochromatic color schemes, and negative and positive space in art, students painted a circular gradient by gradually adding increasing amounts of blue into white paint. Then, observing photos, they drew outlines and cut silhouettes of sea creatures to add to their blue gradient backgrounds.
6th Maori Taaniko-Style Weaving. Students observed traditional Maori woven garments from New Zealand. They created unique patterns on grid paper to plan weaving designs. Then they carefully transformed those ideas into paper weavings.
5th–6th Starry Sunset Skies (Aurora Australis). Students learned about the Aoraki Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand, observed pictures of the Aurora Australis, and learned what causes this phenomenon. They practiced blending and layering watercolors, from lightest to darkest, using wet-on-wet techniques for the sky, then dry-on-wet to make mountain silhouettes. Finally, they masked the foreground and spattered on white tempera stars.
5th Airports and Airplanes. Students observed photos of airports around the world. They discussed the features and functions of airports. They each drew individual plans, then divided into collaborative engineering teams and negotiated to decide which ideas to incorporate, adapt, or expound in their group project. They worked together to build large airports from cardboard using a variety of attachment techniques. Finally, they sanded, assembled, and painted wooden airplanes with spinning propellers.
4th Maori Spiral Designs. Students learned the meanings of various Maori spiral symbols (koru, moana, hei-matau, mangopare, etc.), and looked at artworks by New Zealand artist Raewyn Harris. Then they created original designs using spirals and other Maori patterns.
4th Bubbles. Students observed photos of real bubbles, noticing how they reflect light. Then they drew bubbles with colored pencils on black paper, adding highlights and reflections.
3rd Floppy Fish. Students rubbed textures onto both sides of a colored paper, then folded and cut the paper to make a 3D fish sculpture.
3rd Surfboard Designs. Students practiced folding and cutting to produce symmetrical designs. Then they experimented with contrasting color schemes and balancing positive and negative space to create interesting layered designs that could be stencil-painted onto a surfboard.
2nd-3rd Coral Reef Habitats with Sea Turtles. After learning about coral reefs and examining an assortment of shells, sponges, and different types of corals, students observed images of diverse organisms living in coral reefs. They drew visual textures of various marine plants and corals, and added marine animals to their reef environments, overlapping elements to show depth. They colored the underwater scenes firmly with wax crayons and colored pencils, then added water with chalk pastel.
2nd–3rd Pop-Up Architecture. Students looked at an assortment of photos of very diverse house styles. They each individually chose three houses they thought were (1) most awesome, (2) strangest, and (3) where they would like to live. Then they took turns listening and talking with a partner about why they chose their selections. After their pair and share discussion, class members shared out insights they had learned from each other that might have made them see something differently or maybe change their mind. We discussed who might live in these different types of houses and why. We talked about similarities and differences, and about appreciating diversity. Then we learned to make folded street cards with pop-up houses.
1st Color-Mixing Comical Crocodiles. Students used basic shapes to draw a cute, comical crocodile. They painted first with yellow, then added blue to make green.
1st Tropical Fish Collages. After reading A Fishy Color Story and A Fishy Shape Story, students experimented with combining colors that contrast and compliment each other, then cut a variety of shapes for bodies, fins, tails, etc. to make colorful collage fish.
Mrs. Peck’s class created commitment cards for SAGE. We made goals for our training (homework), practice (class work) and game day (tests).
The idea came from the movie "When The Game Stands Tall." We talked about not getting a perfect score, but having perfect effort to show how much we learned and grew this year.
Our incredible school counselor, Troy Andersen, spends time with each class to reinforce the 7 Habits. In recent months, students have helped create artwork showing ways that they live the habits, that Mr. Andersen then posts around the school. This way, the kids can have a personal reminder of ways to be their best selves. We're so grateful for Mr. Andersen and the time he takes to talk with our students and build a positive culture at our school!
This is Mrs. Crowley beginning with the end in mind! Even though she is done teaching at Cherry Creek after this year, she is staying up late some nights to complete her license upgrade requirements. This way, if she decides to teach again after her husband completes his master's degree, she will already have her Level II license ready to go!
Mark your calendars to join us for an evening of fun and celebration on Monday, May 7th at 6:30pm in the North Gym!
Franklin Covey representatives will be coming to formally award Cherry Creek as a Lighthouse School, which will be followed by the BYU Dunk Team! Free food will be served, as well as door prizes given - so be sure to come on time to get your seat!
We hope you'll join us for this exciting event! See the attached flier for details.