Challenge Program Update (February 2016)

**Challenge Program Updates are written by Ms. Leslie Rojas**

Elementary Challenge Update

Elementary Challenge students have a scarce two classes before our Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition on Saturday, March 5th. Students are hard at work finishing their towers and special effects devices. Details about departure, transportation, food and return will be discussed at the parent meeting on the evening of Wednesday, February 17th. A written reminder will be sent home the week before our meeting.

Middle School Challenge Update

If the elementary Challenge students are busy, what can be said about the middle school students? They, along with some fellow students who volunteered, are in the thick of preparations for the Middle School Oratorical Contest. The expectations are undoubtedly high, but with enough practice, they will certainly shine. The parent meeting on Wednesday the 17th is also for middle school parents. This will be about the end-of-the-year project, in which students will be responsible for obtaining part of the necessary materials. A written reminder will be sent home the week before our meeting.

Classroom Spotlight: First Grade Loves To Read

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our First Grade Teacher, Mrs. Mercedes Spence**

Happy New Year!

First Grade is beginning to read fluently. This is the stage in your child's life where it is easy to instill the love of books and reading. Please help me instill this by reading together with your child. Have them read to you and make sure your child practices their fluency everyday.

Thank you and have a great new year start!

- Mrs. Spence

Classroom Spotlight: Kindergarten's Kinder Garden

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our Kindergarten Teacher, Ms. Yemil Andrade**

Hello Kinder Followers!

Thanks for following our school blog! This month (November) we have some very exciting things happening in Kinder. We have been learning all about plants. We are learning what they are, what different kinds of plants there are, how they grow, and most importantly how to take care of them. Our Kindergartners have started a little garden of their own, which we simply like to call The Kinder Garden. You can check out our Kinder Garden by taking a trip to the back school gate. You can also see the before and after pictures below. You will be able to see how a simple and small garden can help make our school more beautiful than it already is and make us think about how we are caring for the gardens of our own souls. Imagine all the little things we can do every day to take care of the gardens of our souls and make them more beautiful, like visit a chapel or smile at our neighbor ... let's work together to nourish and cultivate our beloved Kinder Garden and the gardens withing our souls!

God Bless You!
Ms. Andrade
 

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Classroom Spotlight: Physical Education (Preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade)

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our P.E. Teacher, Ms. Marlo Lopez**

During the last two school years, Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st Grade were participating in Physical Education classes once a week for 30 minutes. This school year, these three grade levels are now participating in Physical Education classes twice a week for 30 minutes to educate the whole student body, not just the to portion, from the neck on up. The main task is to provide structured and progressive physical activity experiences.

Preschool

The Preschool students were taught how to walk on a balance beam. The first time the students walked on a balance beam they had trouble keeping their balance but by the end of the month, the students were able to walk on a balance beam without stepping off. In order to keep their balance, the students stretched out their arms as they walked. During the month of November, the students started working on hand-eye coordination. They are now bouncing a playground ball and catching it with two hands.

Kindergarten

The Kindergarten students were also taught how to walk on a balance beam and how to run an obstacle course. In the obstacle course, the students ran, jumped over hurdles, and walked on the balance beam. During the month of November, students started working on developing hand-eye coordination skills by bouncing a playground ball and catching it with two hands.

First Grade

First Grade students began the school year by learning to develop locomotor skills by moving the body from one place to another and projecting the body upward by jumping or hoping. Locomotor skills include walking, running, skipping, leaping, sliding and galloping. These skills form the foundation of gross motor coordination and involve large muscle movement.

During the month of October, First Grade students began working on throwing and catching. They were taught to throw by watching the teacher model the skill. The right way to throw is to: (1) stand with the non-throwing side of the body facing the target; the throwing arm side of the body should be away from the target, (2) Step toward the target with the foot opposite the throwing hand, (3) Rotate the hips as the throwing arm moves toward the throwing arm moves froward, (4) bend the arm at the elbow and (5) Keeping their body weight on the rear foot during the early phases of the throw. The students were taught how to catch the ball by watching the instructor demonstrate the following steps: (1) Maintain visual contact with the ball, (2) reach for the ball and absorb its force by bringing the hand into the body, (3) Placing feet in a stride position and (4) placing the body in line with the ball.

During the month of November, First Grade students began learning some basic football skills such as how to throw a forward pass, how to carry a football, how to hike or center a football and how to block. The students are also learning the difference between offensive and defensive plays.

Book Club and Challenge Newsletter (November 2015)

**Book Club and Challenge Monthly Newsletters are written by Ms. Leslie Rojas**

Elementary Challenge

Students in Challenge got their first taste of negative numbers this past Wednesday, the 6th. These 4th and 5th Graders have come a long way since they first began using Hands-On Equations! They have also started solving logic puzzles in class to hone their deductive thinking; the conversation in class is hysterical and energetic when they work together to solve them!

Due to the November holidays, Elementary Challenge won't reconvene until December 2nd, but the students haven't gotten off free - they are expected to finish designing, justifying, and building their balsa wood structures for the Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition. While the competition is still a few months away, the students will each be contributing to the team's objective of finding the most resilient structure design.

(Challenge Parents Be Advised: students must work on their solutions on their own. Part of the entry paperwork for this competition is a form in which the students confirm that they have received no "Outside Assistance," meaning the work they present is based on ideas which solely come from their own heads and work done by their own hands. Let's give them the opportunity to grow in independence!)

Middle School Challenge

Middle School students are looking at finishing up their short story project this month. Final drafts were turned in on Monday the 9th, and now all that is left is the matter of cover art and the back cover synopsis before all material can be turned in to be published. Our next two endeavors are: (1) students will begin to be prepared for the Middle School Oratorical Contest 9date to be announced) and (2) students will begin a unit of study around financial investments and creating a portfolio to record the results of a simulated investment of $100,000 over the span of a year.

Book Club

Primary grades (K-2), as well as or ELL students who are just beginning to learn English will be studying phonics this month. The focus of our lessons willrange from individual letter sounds of consonants, short vowels, and long vowels to digraphs and diphthongs.

The remaining Book Club students will be working on reading strategies and academic vocabulary words. We will be studying these words long and carefully to ensure that students retain them as much as possible. A robust vocabulary is one the keys to school success!