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This Week in Lower School 9/17/2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Each week, we will highlight a specific grade level and a special in the Lower School. It is our goal to give a snapshot of the many wonderful things that are happening in all of our grade levels and specials. 
 
First Grade Highlights
As part of the year-long social studies focus on habitats, our 1st grade students have begun the unit on desert habitats. We start with desert habitats because it is the most relatable to us living in Las Vegas and we have loved hearing the students' stories of their own explorations in our surrounding desert! The students have participated in directed drawings of both wildlife and plant life, where they have to hone their listening skills and follow directions to complete their artwork. They then put together a printed book filled with details and drawings about desert habitats. This week they are creating their own books filled with details about the Desert Cotton Tailed Rabbit. The students explore the classroom libraries where we have books on different animal species, plant life and other interesting facts about habitats. Our favorite fact by far has been something interesting that Jack Rabbits do to conserve water...do your own research or ask a first grader...they will love to share!!!
 
In 1st grade, we have also focused a lot on kindness. You may have heard your child talking about bucket filling (or dipping). We have engaged in this project from the beginning of the year.  It has been a great way to have the students learn about their peers and teachers while being heard and validated. The idea of bucket fillers is based on a book by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, “How Full Is Your Bucket?”  The premise of the book is that everyone carries an invisible bucket that holds our good thoughts and feelings.  When our bucket is full we feel great.  When our bucket is empty we feel sad.  This concept has been a framework for how we treat others to encourage a community of kindness and a way for the students to express their feelings.
Discovery Lab Highlights 
Students in Kindergarten are gaining computational thinking skills by learning how to navigate through the different levels of the “Code Spark” app on their iPads. They are learning coding principles such as sequencing, loops, and conditional statements to help move through the different levels. Shhh don’t tell them they’re learning to code, they think they just get to play games all class! 

First graders are transitioning from the pre-reader Scratch Jr. app they used in Kindergarten last year, and learning how to code with the regular code blocks of Scratch to create a game! 
 
Second grade students are using their knowledge of different types of communities from class to code a presentation. 
 
Third graders have learned how to code characters to move using arrow keys to control them. They are putting that knowledge to work this week when they started working on a game that ties into their social studies unit. 
 
Fourth grade students have been busy this year, working on animations that go along with Onomatopoeia words and now starting on a game for Sukkot! They are using stylus pens to draw the different leaves and backdrops for their Sukkot project, and learn advanced codes to get their games working. They will be ready in time for Sukkot. 
 
Fifth grade students have been challenging themselves this year by creating a game by using only pseudo code. Pseudo code is like a brainstorm of the actual code, however the students did not have the chance to copy down the code from the board, like in previous years. They used their coding knowledge to make two awesome versions of a game. Soon they will put that knowledge to the test and make their very own game for the upcoming holidays. 
 
Sweet Treat for Rosh Hashanah 
Our students in Preschool - 5th grade enjoyed the traditional Rosh Hashanah treat of apples and honey. Each student was provided with their own package of apple slices and individual packages of honey as we look forward to a sweet new year. 

Important Dates

9/18 - Erev Rosh Hashanah - No School 
9/28 - Yom Kippur - No School 
10/2 - Sukkot - No School 
10/9 - Professional Development for Teachers - No School For Students 
10/15 - End of Q1
10/29 - Virtual Parent Conferences and Progress Report distribution - No School for students 
10/30 - Nevada Day - No School 
11/3 - Student Council Elections (Grades 3-5)
11/25 - 11/27 - Thanksgiving - No School