Archive for March, 2012

A Visitor to Science Lab

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Recently a very unusual guest – an authentic dinosaur egg – joined the Second Graders in Mrs. Mallon’s science lab. Mrs. Jennifer Weiss, mother of Second Grader Steel Weiss, shares the experience: Dinosaur Egg in Science Class
“The Second Grade is studying dinosaurs and fossils, and my husband, Evan, and I acquired this fossil at the Fortnun & Mason store during a stopover in London on our honeymoon. This fossilized dinosaur egg originated in North Dakota and would have become a Maiosaurus. Maiosaura (my-ah-SOR-ah) was a 30-foot-long, plant-eating duckbill dinosaur found in North America. 'Good mother dinosaurs’ built nests that were excavated into mounds of mud, were six feet in diameter, and were spaced 30 feet apart (the length of an adult). Each nest was filled with 20 to 25 eggs, laid in a circular pattern and was heated with decaying plants. When did this happen? Seventy-five million years ago.”
“A colony of eight dinosaur nests, built by the Maiasaura, was found in Montana in 1978. From this discovery, we learned that Maiasaura babies (18 inches long when first hatched) remained in the nest until they grew to about four feet long. It is unknown if this egg contains a baby, but we can hope!”

The Fabulous Fifth Grade Play!

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Our Fifth Grade class presented their “History Comes Alive” play at the Norris Theatre in Rolling Hills Estates last week. Mrs. Kat Banales, our language arts enrichment teacher, took it upon herself this past winter break to basically rewrite the play – it was immensely innovative and a smashing success! Mrs. Banales shares with us her view of the process: Cast Photo
“The purpose of performing 'History Comes Alive' is to integrate 'living history' into the Fifth Grade curriculum while building social/emotional skills driven through the arts. By combining disciplines, our PHS students create life-long memories throughout the process.” “Nine years ago, Mrs. Lynn purchased the musical script from Bad Wolf Press and performed the original musical at the Norris. Each year hence, we have augmented the script by removing and adding new scenes and enhanced others to give each new performance a distinct flavor.Formal Dance In keeping many of the original songs, we have provided continuity for our alumni who continue to support the play and relive their own magical moment.”
“Although I have been kindly credited for the consecutive revisions, it is really a collaborative effort involving Mrs. Lynn, Mrs. Wilcox, and myself. Each year our process begins with a production meeting to discuss our content direction and what we would like to explore further. This is where our individual personalities really shine through. We all have unique ideas to bring to the table. After much deliberation and laughter over fond memories, I set to my task of incorporating these raw concepts into workable dialogue that supports our curriculum accompanied by a healthy dose of humor. Creating a script that showcases the individual strengths and talents of each student is a major consideration when I sit down to make revisions and this year’s “overhaul” is no exception.” Finale“Music is of itself, a universal storyteller and I would be remiss if I didn’t capitalize on that fact. Writing “piggy-back” songs such as “Philly PA” was a blast! Honestly, once I got started, I found it difficult to rein myself in. Including varied genres of music, and having them taught to the children by Mr. Charlie Miller, dramatically added to the overall enjoyment and success of the show. I believe that everyone heard at least one song that they could relate to on an emotional level.”
“There are also so many others who contribute to the show in so many amazing ways including (and not limited to) Mrs. Terry Metzenbaum with all the props and details, Mrs. Kim Nygaard and Mrs. Bridget Vetterlein with their beautiful photographs, Mr. Dave Cullum with his rehearsal assistance, the parents with all their wonderful help and generosity, the faculty and staff who expertly assist backstage, and of course you, the enthusiastic audience, who comes to enjoy the presentation.”
“Over the years the play has evolved into a living, breathing entity that continues to challenge our children and delight audiences of all ages. It has been a pleasure and privilege to be part of such a dynamic team.”

Creating Art at PHS

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Our school is really two schools – the academic school and the arts school. Classroom teachers infuse art throughout the curriculum, students engage in the five-times-per-year Art at Your Fingertips projects led by parent Sheri Lietzow and our volunteers, and Mrs. Danielle Standart leads the specialized art curriculum for all grades. Mrs. Standart tells us a little more about her program:Art in the Classroom
“One aspect of our art program incorporates the classroom curriculum into the art project. I converse with the classroom teachers, and decide on the art project that will enhance and reinforce the classroom lessons. For instance, a class’s recent study of the solar system was enriched with a print-making activity themed on the sun and the earth. In addition, I use the California Edition of Art Connections published by Science Research Associates (SRA). This program features the study of a well-known artist along with his or her technique, style, and place in art history.” Black & White Art Photos
“There is also the art component of our Character Qualities program that we link with our all-school Assemblies. As you have seen displayed at our Assemblies, this year’s project is black and white photography in keeping with our school’s 50th Anniversary. For example, the Kindergarteners presented the Character Quality of “Gratitude” in their Assembly, so these students were asked to select a family picture that conveyed this quality. Parents forwarded a photo via email, I printed the photo in B&W, and the students wrote in their own words how the picture illustrated gratitude. These photos for all the grades will also be on display at the concluding Assembly of the year, Friday, June 1, 2012, where parents will be welcome to take this art home.”Tree Art
“One of the ways that I update my art knowledge and instructional skills is by attending the bi-monthly ‘Evenings for Educators’ at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). This professional development program explores the artistic process through art work at the museum and emphasizes parallels between visual arts and the core curriculum.”
“Art is an important part of life, and we make it an important part of our students’ lives here at Peninsula Heritage School!”

Sixth Graders Journey to Bowers Museum

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

This week the Sixth Graders had a lovely field trip to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. Sixth Grade teacher Eileen Mahoney shares with you the experience:
“Following an in-depth study of China in our social studies curriculum, we learned about the thousands of terra cotta warriors, horses, and chariots fashioned to protect the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, as he journeyed in the afterlife. These long-buried items were discovered in 1974 by farmers near the city of Xian, China. We were fortunate to travel this past Tuesday to the Bowers Museum where we began our visit in the Kidseum, an interactive learning center that is an extension of the Bowers. The students exhibited their creativity in molding their own individual clay terra cotta warriors and learning more about Emperor Qin.” Students' Clay Warriors
Xian WarriorHaving personally experienced the molding process with our own hands, we walked to the main museum and witnessed the many artifacts in the exhibit, “Warriors, Tombs and Temples, China’s Enduring Legacy.” The fabulous museum docent skillfully navigated us through the displays, and our students had a wonderful, detailed presentation of these historical items. Girls with Clay WarriorsWe were all amazed at the lifelike clay statues, their expressive faces and detailed hair styles, as well as their armor and clothing. In the process, our students received many compliments from docents and bystanders alike on their knowledge of the subject, their thought-provoking questions, and their excellent conduct. We enjoyed a great picnic on the museum lawn, and then traveled back from the 2,000 year-old artifacts to present-day Peninsula Heritage School.”

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