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5 Things to ROAR About – December 11, 2015

11 Dec
  • On Tuesday, Sand Northrup, the One Woman Circus came to share with us her show Fit to be Tried. Some of our luckier students (and principals) got to participate in physical activities that were fun, challenging, and great exercise, despite being ‘easy’. OK, to be fair, the ribbon thing isn’t totally easy. Cameron did a great job on the unicycle, grade 6 and Kindergarten kids worked together to get rubber chickens through hoops, and some of us learned to team juggle. It has given us some great ideas for physical education classes later in the year. In fact, lots of kids were asking to try the juggling activities in the gym that very same day. We want to thank the PAC for supporting us in bringing these Arts Starts acts to the school. We’re looking forward to two more, too: Purple Pirate Entertainment and West Coast Chamber Music.

  • Over the week, beginning with Monday, some classes participated in the Hour of Code, an international school activity which introduces students to computer coding. They try to solve a set of problems using pre-built snippets of computer code (rather than just using the mouse like a video game controller). One group were trying to get a character from Frozen to trace out a snowflake. When things didn’t go well, they had to debug the instructions they had given the computer and try again. Every failure was informative and helped them correct their work to move forward. Mrs. Janzen brought the idea to the school, and her class took part on Monday. Then, armed with their new (or refined) knowledge of coding, they went to Mrs. Gorseth’s and Mrs. Hall’s classes to to help them with their own coding challenges. Here are some of the students’ comments:

“I learned how to make objects move around the screen using code, and I learned how to make shapes using Javascript.”

“I interact with objects on the screen using code.””If we get it too wrong, we need to try again.”

  • The Amazing Race in Mrs. McLeod’s room is a multidisciplinary learning experience for students. Students are learning geography, on the surface, but when we look into the adventure more deeply, we realize that they are learning about how to do research without a recipe to follow, how to function as a team while being sure to use the strengths of each team member, and how to solve widely varying problems with the ‘pressure’ of competition making the task a bit tougher. In one challenge, they play an online game where they have to help a Haitian family survive or thrive for four seasons. They have to balance lifestyle, workload, education, healthcare and food & water. THey found that if they maintained an ‘excellent’ standard of living, they ran out of money, and if they didn’t look after their families, the quality of life dropped and health issues increased. The challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that unpredictable events like hurricanes could come up and change their careful plans. Once they got past that challenge, they had to engineer a house that met UN standards, challenging their design and construction skills.

“I keep playing and dying, and I run out of money.”

“I had to send them to work, then when they got sick, send them to the clinic. But they also had book clubs and played soccer.”

  • Thursday was our annual Christmas Concert, and saw students sharing songs and a play inspired by the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. The house was full for both afternoon and evening shows, and the audience was treated to quite the show. The show went off almost without a hitch in the afternoon, and the evening show went just as smoothly. Students did a great job, from memorizing lines, to singing multi-part choral pieces, and playing a couple of well-known Christmas tunes as a band. We offer our heartfelt thanks to Toy Traders, the stage setup and takedown crews, Mr. & Mrs. Gorseth for the custom-built Snoopy House, teachers for shuffling their already-hectic schedules, and the incomparable Mrs. Schmidt for coordinating it al. And of course we want to thank all our families for supporting and attending the shows. Having a real audience brings up the students’ performances dramatically, and it is an important learning experience for them to be on stage and performing.
  • Donations to help our Christmas Bureau families have been pouring in. The food tables are near-collapse, the gift boxes are full, and our hearts are brimming, too! I feel privileged to be able to work with such a strong community. The value such community-mindedness adds to our society as a whole can’t be understated, and this school is doing an amazing job of showing kids how to care.

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