Grade Level Updates – Fall 2015

LAS LOMITAS (Kindergarten – 3rd Grade)

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is an exciting time for discovery, adventure and making new friends. We are becoming readers, writers and mathematicians during our small group instructional time. Our Kindergartners enjoy weekly computer lab, movement exploration and music. They also love reading with their third grade buddies in the library as well as special seasonal  activities. Each year our students look forward to taking field trips to places such as Elkus Ranch, California Academy of Sciences and Marine Science Institute. Here’s to celebrating Kindergarten!

1st Grade

Our first graders enjoy exploring the 1st-3rd grade playground and spending more time with friends now that they have a longer school day. In math, children are learning place value in the teen numbers. They are writing “small moment” personal narratives in Writing Workshop and will soon be working on informational writing. In science, docents from Environmental Volunteers came to teach the first graders about local, native animals. The children studied skulls to differentiate herbivores from carnivores and they also dissected owl pellets. This on-site presentation prepared the students for their nature hike to Huddart Park.

2nd Grade

The second graders are progressing well with their reading skills by choosing “just right” books, using their decoding strategies, and making connections between their own experiences and stories they read.  They put our writing curriculum into action by composing personal narratives and using the writing process (brainstorming, drafting, editing, and sharing their stories) to write about small moments in their lives.  In our Math in Focus program, the students have been working with numbers to 1000 and building problems solving skills.  In the spring, our grade level will travel to Flint Center to see a production of “Miss Nelson is Missing.”

3rd Grade

The third graders are now the “big kids on campus” and are enjoying special opportunities to be leaders and role models at the school. Every week they read to their Kindergarten Buddies in the Library and help with special projects in the Kindergarten classrooms. They have the opportunity to join the Recycling Team, assist as P.E. Helpers, and act as Playground Buddies where they help ensure cooperative and friendly behavior on the playground. Throughout the year, various field trips support our curriculum.

Music

Every grade has weekly music instruction.  Recently, families were invited to music “informances” to watch a typical music class.  Students have been learning jump rope rhymes and songs, singing rounds, conducting, and playing xylophones while singing.  Just this past month, Las Lomitas installed a musical garden of four outdoor instruments, including three different kinds of xylophones and a set of drums.  Students have been learning in how to use the instruments in music class, and at recess you can hear all kinds of beautiful notes wafting across the playground.

Physical Education

Physical Education at Las Lomitas meets 3 times a week for a total of 100 minutes. We have two full time PE teachers and are fortunate to have class size for our classes, meaning we have the same numbers in our classes as the classroom teachers; we feel extremely fortunate for this!  This fall we have worked on recess game rules, object control skills, scarf juggling, social skills of cooperation, fair play, and giving put ups. We celebrated the culmination of our jump rope curriculum with Jump Rope Week.  Third graders performed for and jumped with first graders, second graders performed for each other, and parents came to jump and turn long ropes with us.  Soon we will participate in lessons ranging from basketball skills, Drum Fit, yoga, as well as many other skills in our curriculum.  We look forward to sharing some of our skills with you in the spring!

Library:

The Library serves all the students at Las Lomitas and  all classes come  to the library every week for 30 minutes. Each third grade class is paired with a kindergarten class and every week the buddy classes come to the library and read together. The Library is also open before school and at recess and lunch, so that students can come in and read or check out books on a daily basis, if they like. We have a wide variety of books and we are fortunate to add many new books to our collection every year.ll

Computer Lab

The computer lab serves all Las Lomitas students in grades Kindergarten through third grade. All classes come to the computer lab every week. The students learn proper use of the computer equipment while working on activities that support the curriculum taught in the classrooms in the areas of math, language arts, science, social studies and art. They also learn internet safety, Digital Citizenship, word processing, presentation software and coding.

La Entrada (4th – 8th Grade)

4th Grade

The newest La Entrada Leopards encountered many changes and opportunities when they began this fall.   One big change is having a different teacher for math. This year two classes are piloting Math in Focus – new common core-aligned materials. Three classes are piloting a flexible grouping structure to better balance students’ math skills and needs. In English, students are deconstructing the first of three core literature books, Because of Winn-Dixie. They are developing writing and speaking skills by participating in a short play entitled “Grammar Gulch,” a delightful look at the importance of grammar. In science, classes built salt maps of California’s unique geography while becoming junior geologists to better understand the rocks and minerals found on planet Earth. Young authors are publishing narratives, the result of some exciting changes in writing instruction unfolding in all fourth grade classrooms. Specialist instruction in technology, P.E., music, and art continues. In addition they can take advantage of lunch time book clubs, intramural sports, and student government – just a few of the exciting enrichment opportunities available at La Entrada.

5th Grade

Following last year’s pilot, fifth grade teachers began a rolling adoption of Math in Focus. This program, blending Common Core standards and Singapore math pedagogy, challenges all students and develops number sense and problem solving.  The fifth grade team continues to implement Writer’s Workshop, a program where students compose creative narratives, organize argumentative essays, and discover concepts through informational writing. In science, students are studying chemistry, living systems, and Earth sciences.  In early October, fifth graders went to “Outdoor Education,” a week of hands-on science activities and exploration in the in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In social studies, we have studied the influence of geography upon the lifestyle and culture of Native American tribes across our country through research projects, art activities, and presentations.

6th Grade

6th graders are fired up and ready for the winter. In Core classes students are finishing studies of ancient Egypt and are moving into Kush and Israel. Students will be reading Tuck Everlasting and other books at their independent reading level. Our readers also work in small, differentiated groups to follow the Reader’s Workshop model of annotation and note-taking, and to better discuss a story. All students continue to compose writing responses to literature and argument essays, with an emphasis on supporting evidence. In P.E., students enjoyed a Project Adventure unit, volley tennis, basketball, and are looking forward to flying discs and hockey. In science, the students are squeezing 250 million years into a few short weeks while they study Earth’s interior, convection currents in the mantle, Pangaea, and the creation of Earth cross-sections and small tennis ball globes. Students finished two units of study on the Next Generation Science Standards as they related to the earthquakes that recently shook Napa and our local town, Ladera. In math, students completed a geometry unit on area of polygons, and are now working on ratios, proportions, unit rates, percentages and dimension analysis. Just like Pangaea – they’ll get there! In Drama, students are writing and starring in their own newscasts.

7th Grade

The 7th grade held its eighth annual Multi-Cultural Day on November 21st. To culminate the Family History Project, every seventh grader brought in a dish to share from his or her culture. Students ate delicious food, watched a video, “Carved in Silence,” which focuses on immigration through Angel Island, and were mesmerized by the storyteller sharing stories that traced our ancestors geographically. The day came to a close with the P.E. classes presenting their folk dances from many different cultures.

8th Grade

Eighth graders are the role models of the school, providing leadership and mentoring our younger students with lunchtime activities, service projects, and student government programs. They engage regularly in problem solving and critical thinking in language arts, science, and math in preparation for high school. Eighth graders are developing foreign language proficiency in Latin, French, Spanish, or Mandarin, and are widely involved in school electives, as you’ll read below.

ART

Fourth graders are currently weaving in the style of the Navajo. The 5th graders completed a unit on line and shading, and are moving on to abstraction. The 6th graders have been learning about the influences of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.  They created cut-out collages in the style of Henri Matisse and are now creating a cubist portrait using Picasso’s techniques. Art 1 students just studied Vincent van Gogh, and created a landscape emulating his expressionistic style. This followed an earlier study of the expressionist work of George Rodrigue, where the students created pet portraits using acrylic paints on canvas.  The Band/Art classes have been working on Maori symbolism and design. In Ceramics, students are creating their large ancient artifact, which should be an amazing recreation of an existing ancient ceramic piece.

PHOTOGRAPHY

The students just focused on portrait photography.  They are now developing their portrait photos in the darkroom.  When not working in the darkroom, the have been working on a documentary film about a famous photographer using research tools and the iMovie app on their iPads. Digital photography students have been working on enhancing their photos in Photoshop Creative Suites 6. They just learned to take creative portraits in natural settings using ambient light, and next will learn how to use the InDesign software to create magazine publications.

DRAMA (6TH – 8TH GRADES)

Drama students have performed  family sitcoms and infomercials, and are now starring in their own Newscasts.. Students are evolving as actors and becoming more confident in their performances. The 7th and 8th grade Drama elective will be performing at the end of the semester.

MUSIC

La Entrada students have many wonderful opportunities to showcase their musical talents. We hope many of you were able to join for the 4th/5th grade Winter Concert. For only the second year, the fifth grade band performed with the 4th/5th chorus! The chorus performed a fun, educational concert with the theme, “Composer Songs,” featuring music of the masters with words that teach about their lives. The students sang ten songs from composers including Mozart, Chopin, and John Philip Sousa. This concert also featured some young, confident narrators who auditioned for the right to represent their class at the concert. We hope you also caught our Talent Show in Jensen Hall. Over 44 students auditioned for this opportunity to showcase their talent. Their was a special teacher musical presentation during the show.  Instrumentalists from our 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands as well as our jazz band were showcased at Woodside High School’s Performing Arts Center. This concert featured Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, a latin favorite “Oye Como Va” and a selection featuring a young, aspiring flute player Diana McGrory who is in sixth grade.

TECHNOLOGY

The 7/8 tech elective students are using technology in a variety of ways in order to better understanding 21st Century learning and the 4Cs–Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking.

Our student-run broadcasting class, KPAW Video Production, is learning all about video broadcasting. Students produce two broadcasts each week. Our studio broadcasts use a variety of equipment including video and sound mixers, titlers, computer graphic operators, and teleprompters. Digital broadcasts are produced using the cameras and software on our iPads and the video editing software (Final Cut Pro) on our iMac computers.

Another elective, 3D Creation and Animation, allows students to experience the exciting field of 3D. Students use a variety of powerful 3D programs (Sculptris, Tinkerbot, Sketchup, 123D Design, Mudbox) to learn the basic concepts of design while creating variety of virtual objects–from lifeforms, landscapes, molecules, houses, cars, pendants and other crafts. Then, students learn all about the technology of 3D printing with our own Makerbot Replicator 2. Each student gets to print a model they have designed on the computer and learn the mechanics of this amazing machine. Finally, the class has the opportunity to bring their designs to life by animating them with powerful programs like Autodesk Maya.

In Coding Innovation, students are learning the basics of computer programming using a variety of tools and languages. Using visual coding blocks and actual code, students are learning about functions, algorithms, variables, conditional statements, loops, and other computer science concepts. Integrated throughout is exposure to a variety of different languages including Javascript, Python, Java, HTML, and Ruby. One of the culminating activities is to collaborate with others while taking part in the video game design process.