Archive for May, 2013

Come to the Fair

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Come to the Fair!

Kathy Mallon, our Science Teacher for Grades Two through Six, shared a sneak preview of our upcoming STEM Fair coming up on Friday, June 7:

“In the last few years, Peninsula Heritage School has migrated from a Science Fair, to a Science & Mathematics Fair, to our present Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) Fair.”
“In addition to science displays around the Courtyard and mathematics displays outside of the Library, each grade has been working on a major project involving science, technology, and engineering. In Kindergarten, under the direction of their science teacher, Mrs. Wendy Nguyen, the children have scientifically researched the favorite jelly bean flavor of our student body and faculty. Come to the Fair on June 7, when the results will be revealed!”
“Our First Graders have been studying the adaptation of animals to their environment in the rain forest. They built individual dioramas of their favorite animal’s habitat, and these are displayed in the levels of the rain forest inside the First Grade classroom.”
“Second Graders have experimented with various ways for a Rover to land on Mars. After watching streaming video from Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the students have arrived at a project that meets the requirements of landing. In Third Grade, the children are determining why ships float by studying buoyancy and displacement. They have built aluminum foil boats in various shapes and sizes to see which configurations can hold the most pennies and which shapes are the most ideal.”
“Fourth Graders are illuminating poverty by exploring low cost ways to illuminate homes, provide clean water, and enable the cooking of food. In Fifth Grade, the children are studying Newton’s three laws of motion and working in small groups to build marble mazes. On the day of the Fair, the marble that travels the slowest will win!”
“Our Sixth Graders are exploring the physics of launching and whether the angle of the launch affects the distance traveled by the rocket. Using a catapult launch, the students have sent forth paper airplanes, rockets, and potatoes and have measured the distance traveled.”
“Look for forthcoming information regarding the times when parents may visit the individual classrooms for each project on June 7.”

Yearbooks Are Here!

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Each year Mrs. Kim Nygaard, our outstanding Physical Education teacher, compiles our wonderful PHS yearbook. She shares with us the culmination of this process:
“Today is the release of our Peninsula Heritage School 2012-2013 Yearbook! Every student receives a yearbook, and at 12:45 pm today we hold our annual yearbook signing with all the children in the Amphitheater. It is exciting to see them open their yearbooks for the first time and look for their photos and those of their friends and classmates. They see the pictures of their activities and reminisce about the fun they had. Then the autographing starts – friends write greetings to friends, Kindergartners have Fifth Graders sign, Reading Buddies write in each other’s books, and long lines form where the faculty signs the students’ yearbooks. The fun of autographing continues into the coming weeks.”
“Our yearbook is designed to photographically capture the events of this year and preserve them for students and parents. Here are the individual photos, the class pictures, and all of the classroom activities, assemblies, field trips, outdoor education adventures, and just those candid moments that will help build lasting memories of this great year at Peninsula Heritage School.”

We’ve Got Talent… and More!

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Our recent Talent Show was a beautiful event in so many ways. Mr. Miller, our music teacher, shares the details of this annual event:
“The Talent Show is a long-standing tradition at PHS. It’s greatly anticipated by the students – in fact, some kids come to me in September and October asking when the Talent Show will take place!”
“The process for being in the show is quite simple – we have a form for the students to complete, so that we know they will be participating. There is no audition process per se; the Wednesday before the event we all meet at lunchtime in the Library and discuss the pertinent information. I put the acts in order with an eye to balance and flow. I am also very flexible as to when parents, grandparents, and friends can be on hand to watch their particular child’s presentation.”
“This is a time for students to share their talents; some children present traditional performances such as singing or playing an instrument. For others, it’s a chance to stand before the entire student body and share something of their own choosing. This is the only event of the year where we don’t direct the children in what they are doing – the students get together on their own, design, and practice their acts. The Talent Show is also a wonderful culmination and a chance for our students to show what they have learned with Miss Deb Wilcox and I in the Performing Arts Department during the year and over their years at PHS. In a relaxed and friendly environment, each child has a chance to shine.

“This year an event occurred that encapsulates the spirit of both the Talent Show and of our wonderful school. One girl told me that she would be singing in the show, but as the day of the performance neared, she was less sure that she would be participating. Right up to the end she was wavering. I moved her position in the order of the acts until later in the show when she felt she was ready. At first we had technical difficulties with her backup music, but when that was solved, her voice cracked as she began singing, and she could not proceed. Then a beautiful thing happened: at the end of the show, when we thought we had concluded, she came forward with a large group of girls from her grade, and they supported her as she sang. The boys from her class were also on the side, cheering her on. Her classmates were there for her, and together they brought the event to a beautiful conclusion. As Mrs. Cailler observed, ‘That’s what PHS is all about!’”

Art At Your Fingertips (AAYF)

Friday, May 10th, 2013

As our wonderful Art At Your Fingertips (AAYF) program comes to a close for this school year, our School Chair, Mrs. Wendy Nguyen, shares with us the highlights:
“First, we would like to thank all of our parent volunteer Docents and also our parent volunteer Helping Hands. Without them, the full Art At Your Fingertips program just wouldn’t happen!”
“All of the projects this year were intertwined with nature, as it was called ‘A Year of Celebrating the Environment through Art.‘ We explored how artists use the natural and built environment both as subject and as medium for their art.”
“I was thoroughly amazed at the depth of art technique that is discussed and taught to the School Chairs and Docents at the PV Art Center prior to each project. We also learned the background of each local artist and the period of art history that the project reflected. Our Librarian, Mrs. Charnofsky, often discussed these concepts with our students during Library Time and selected certain books for the children that coordinated with the current artwork.”
“Prior to each project, we picked up the supplies, made the individual preparations, and set up all the materials for the children. Now the art experience began for our students! Following a short discussion about the artist and the project, it was fascinating to see how each child had a different way of envisioning the work. It was amazing to see the children individualize the concepts being taught so that every completed work was a unique masterpiece.”
“During the year, we have hung our students’ artwork at the PV Main Library and at Starbucks in the Promenade. As a finale, our Third and Fifth Graders’ work is now hung at the Art Center in the Promenade, so students experience the joy of having their work exhibited.”
“AAYF has been a wonderful learning opportunity for me; my eyes have really been opened as to the artistic and curricular depth of this program. As School Chair, I have had the fabulous opportunity to see art created by all of our students from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade, as well as the chance to work with all of our great parent volunteers.”
“We were recently given a peek at next year’s AAYF projects, and they are simply amazing! If you would like to volunteer as a Docent or Helping Hand for the coming school year, please contact our Parent Association Co-Presidents – your assistance will be greatly appreciated!”

After-School Archery

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Our PHS Robin Hoods are hard at work on the field these Thursday afternoons, perfecting their archery skills! Our own certified Level 2 Archery Instructor (by the National Archery Association), Mrs. Kim Nygaard shares the details:
“We are now using re-curved take-down bows with a 20 to 25 pound pullback. The 18 students we have in Grades Two through Six learn to follow the whistle commands so important to the safety and success of this sport. One whistle permits shooting the arrows, two whistles permit retrieving the arrows, and three or more whistles require the children to stop and freeze immediately.”
“The students learn the nine basic steps in archery: take a stance, nock the arrow onto the bowstring, set, pre-draw, draw, anchor, aim, release, and the all-important follow-through. Initially, the polyfoam targets on metal stands are placed at a distance of 10-12 yards from the students. When a child can hit the target four times in a row, the target is moved back to increase the challenge.”

“We feel that this individual sport offers participants the chance for self-achievement. It also exposes our students to another interesting sport and a connection to the past, since Native Americans and other ancestors used this method to provide food for themselves and their families.”
“Because of the interest shown in this class and since there is no other program of this type available in the community, we will be offering an Archery Camp this summer each day from July 15-19, 10:00 to 12:00 noon. This camp will include additional activities that help to expand the participants’ skills in this interesting and fulfilling sport.”
A sign-up form for this Summer Archery Camp is available on our school website at

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