Specialists Newsletter December 2018


This month students in all grades have been singing songs that celebrate winter holidays. Specific songs and activities include:

Kindergarten: Students sang Hanukah Tonight and performed a dance for Hanukah as well as two other folk dances, Seven Jumps and Cherkissaya. Soon we will learn the Shoemaker’s Dance. We are learning to sing Up on the Housetop, Must Be Santa, Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. They have been experiencing steady beat and naming opposites in music such as high/low, short/long, loud/quiet, fast/slow. We have played many instruments including drums, rhythm sticks, finger cymbals, tambourines, cowbells, woodblocks and maracas.

1st Grade: Students sang Burn Little Candles playing xylophones and finger cymbals to accompany the song, and did a dance for Hanukah. We are learning to sing  Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Deck the Hall and Over the River and Through the Wood. Through movement, they have been showing how melodies move higher, lower or stay the same. They have been reading rhythms that include quarter note, quarter rest and eighth note pairs and naming loud and quiet sounds using the Italian words forte and piano.

2nd Grade:  Students sang Hanukah Song and performed a circle dance to show ABA form. They learned the terms D.C. al fine, crescendo and decrescendo, tie and slur . They have taught themselves songs by reading So, La, Mi and quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth note pairs and half notes. They are learning to sing Frosty the Snowman as well as other songs for the holiday singalong.

3rd Grade: Students have compared meter in 2 and meter in 3 in two songs for Hanukah. They played tambourines to show beats in sets of 2 and 3 as they sang the songs. They have taught themselves songs by reading Do, Re, Mi, So and La and rhythms including quarter notes, eighth note pairs, half notes, whole notes and corresponding rests. They are learning It’s Time to Get Ready for Christmas and other songs for the holiday singalong.

4th Grade: Students have been playing BAG, low D and low E on the recorder playing Hot Cross Buns, Gently Sleep, Merrily We Roll Along, Doggie, Doggie, It’s Raining and Jolly Old St. Nicholas. We have begun learning songs from around the world for our   music program, A Musical Journey, on February 12.

5th Grade: Students learned about the instrument families and specific pieces we heard at Orchestra Hall. We played an accompaniment to Mama Bake the Johnnycake, learning about syncopated rhythms. They are learning Winter Wonderland for the holiday singalong. In January, we will discuss their options for music in Middle School.

 Phy Ed

All the Fall Fitness Testing finished up last month.  The Fall testing  is used to find out where the students are and where we need improvements.  The goal is that all the students will see improvements in one or more area on the Spring testing.  The testing is not used for grading.  Also, please keep in mind that I am not testing to judge your child.  I am testing to help them understand fitness and to learn how to set attainable goals.   We are looking for improvement at any level, not a judgment.  Check out this great video about the Fitnessgram!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcImd4sO0qo. Individual reports for each student will be sent home around the same time that report cards are sent out.

This month Grades 3-5 are working on volleyball skills.  They have practices the bump, set, and underhand serve.  They have also been applying those skills in a variety of lead up games.  We are finishing up with an in class mini tournament for each classroom. 

Grades K-2 have been working on juggling skills.  We were working with scarves and all classes were able to successfully perform a 2 scarf cascade, shower, and elevator juggle!  What a talented group of kids!  This week we are playing winter themed games that work on their locomotor skills (running, skipping, jumping, hopping, and galloping) as well as object control skills (throwing, rolling, and catching).

After Winter break all grade levels will be starting a bowling unit.  All the students will work on grip, approach, and release.  We will end the unit with cosmic bowling in the gym during their normal class time.  After school sessions are offered the week of January 15-17.  There is a 2 session course on Tuesday and Thursday  (Jan 15-17, or a 1 session class on Wednesday (Jan 16).  Registration is through Community Ed.

Our annual Jump Rope for Heart Fundraiser is almost here!  We will kick it off in January.  The event will be in class the week of Feb 11th-15th.   More information will come home the Week of January 2-4.

Have a wonderful Winter Break! 

~Jen Verplaetse      763-792-5359    jverplaetse@isd12.org


Computer and Media Classes are off to a great start!  The following information includes the highlights:

Grades 3, 4 and 5 were introduced to the Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award Program.  Please use the link for additional information and a list of the books.  Participation is voluntary and the Media staff is encouraged to see the number of books being checked out!


Grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been computer coding!  Each student during computer science week started their Hour of Code.  Here is the link with the section codes listed below for each grade.  Each student has a character password and they can continue their progress if interested.


Grade 2 - NQYXMR

Grade 3 - SQGYLL

Grade 4 - ZGPDCJ

Grade 5 - NXZGRL

Kindergarten and Grade 1 had an introduction to coding through Code.org.

Grades 2,3,4 and 5 are in the process of making digital storyboards that narrate the interactive ebooks they have read.  CEPO purchased a license for our media center to have access to 24 Nonfiction books that support the Science and Social Studies curriculum.  The following is the link:

Rosenlearningcenter.com             Username: ctel      Password: cybrary

Kindergarten and Grade 1 used Starfall to read nonfiction/ fiction stories.

 Keyboarding skills are very important.  Grades 3, 4 and 5 use a free site called Typing Club.  They can track their progress by using their google accounts.  Grades K-3 used various games such as Dance Mat Typing and  Keyboard Zoo (abcya.com).

These resources can be found on the Centennial School District  website under Media Center.