On our final day before Winter Break, VVE students were blessed with several special sharing activities. First thing in the morning, Westlake High School Madrigals continued their annual tradition of coming to perform for us during our morning assembly. We laughed, sang along, and enjoyed this special holiday time. As the high schoolers then rushed off to finish taking their finals, Mr. Z led our students and teachers in our holiday sing along. The halls rang with the joy that comes in sharing together in song.
Finally, the VVE Second Grade class continued their tradition (now in its second year) of giving back to the school by helping to clean. Second graders emptied trash, helped clean the floors, and even helped disinfect (with safe materials, of course) our windows and stairway handrails (for which we are so grateful during this flu-season). They helped our custodians and our school, and showed us one of the many ways we can care for one another. Thanks, VVE Second Graders!
Fifth graders engaged in playful exploration today in their math & science rotations, using STEAM tools (Science Technology Engineering, Arts, Math) to explore scientific concepts. Ms. Douglas, Ms. Woods, and Ms. Moore created 5 centers with instruction cards for each center explaining the key goals to accomplish with a given set of materials, and what needed to be stacked together during clean up time before the next rotation. After initial rule explanations, the students moved to their groups and remained in each center for 20 minutes before having a couple minutes to clean up and move to the next area. Students explored the following stations:
Fifth graders have been creating digital books to share what they have been learning in math and science classes in the last few weeks. Students were tasked with the expectation to create a story that included 5 math terms and 5 science terms. Their stories could be fiction or non-fiction, as long as their included all the terms, and a glossary at the back defining each term. Fifth graders were then eager to come share their books with their first grade buddies. Ms. Chapman's and Ms. Alden's students were excited to learn from their fifth grade buddies and read together. The fifth graders even shared their glossaries to teach the first graders new mathematical and scientific terms. An informative (and fun) time was had by all! Thanks to the students in Ms. Woods' and Ms. Douglas' class for sharing your science/math writing!
Last week, fourth graders in all five classes began STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) center rotations for about an hour and fifteen minutes at a time each week. Ms. Moore and the fourth grade teachers designed five centers and uploaded instructions, videos, expectations, and helpful hints into Showbie so students could refer back to this information as they engaged in the challenge at each center. Students stayed in a single center for the entire time, completed the challenge, and then worked to upload their products into Showbie. The five centers included programming robots to play a xylophone, push an object, or pull an object; designing a 2-D map and then building with 3-D objects (Magnatiles and Keva planks); designing a structure with a base area of 16 square feet (using straws and connectors); building specific circuit challenges using Little Bits; and designing a marble run that takes full advantage of potential energy and kinetic energy to run as long as possible (using Quericett Marble Run). This week, students will complete their second center rotation, and continue after the holidays.
Mr. Z led another stellar concert this week, helping us ring in the winter season with joy, light, and beautiful music. The Cardinal Choir and Percussion have been diligently practicing after school for weeks, and their hard work definitely paid off. VVE students were regaled with group and solo singing of songs from around the world, instrumental pieces, dancing, dialogue, beautiful lights, and even emergent holiday decorations that floated from the ceiling and popped up from the wings. Then, to top it off, they sang in an evening of SNOW and we all drove home into a wintery mix that continued through the night. We were all overjoyed to sleep in a little the next day and play in the snow on Friday. Thank you, Choir and Percussion, for helping us all get into a festive and celebratory mood!
VVE teachers have begun using a program to support student spelling, and met recently to vertically align their teaching practices. Under the guidance of our FIT (focused instructional time) team, teachers worked together to design upcoming spelling lessons that supported students' understandings of patterns in English-language spelling, including regular words, rule words, irregular words, and morphology. Ms. Harrell and Ms. Didlake used Google Slides and Peardeck to share information, and have teachers contribute during the large group discussion in real time. Teachers then broke into small groups to continue planning and working together. Teachers had meaningful conversations and Peardeck allowed us all to collaborate and share together!
VVE Tech & Learning
Holly Moore, Educational Technologist, shares student learning here, in our Cardinal Community Blog.