Archive for October, 2014

Outdoor Education on Catalina Island

Friday, October 24th, 2014

With the water temperature at 78 degrees and the gorgeous summer-like weather on Catalina Island, the Fifth Graders relished their recent Outdoor Education trip. Fifth Grade Teacher Kimarie Lynn shares highlights of this three-day learning experience:
The labs were one of the favorites of the students, and we divided them into 12 children per lab. The Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) personnel instructed us in the parts of a fish skeleton. We learned the anatomy and purpose of each section, including the parts that propel and balance, as well as those that aid in the digestion of food.
In the algae lab, the students delighted in hearing that toothpaste, ice cream, yogurt, and chocolate milk all contain algae to provide the “creaminess” component of each product.
At the fish and shark touch tanks the Fifth Graders were up close and personal with small leopard sharks, round rays and sting rays, and shovel-nosed guitar fish. Another touch tank contained sea snails, sea cucumbers, octopi, sea urchins, sea stars, and non-stinging jelly fish.
Many of our Fifth Graders had never observed sea life under water, so our 1 ½ hour snorkeling sessions on two different days were a real treat. Outfitted with wet suits, face masks, swim fins, and snorkels, the students studied sea life from both on top of the water and while diving beneath the surface. The sand habitats held the various types of rays, while we discovered that the sections of the ocean floor with rocks and kelp were home to a huge variety of fish including the Garibaldi, senorita, blacksmith, sheepshead, and opaleye.
Crabbing (searching for crabs), plankton study, and rock climbing were just a few more of the activities our students enjoyed during this amazing educational experience at Catalina Island.

Ukulele Extravaganza!

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Peninsula Heritage School students welcomed two professional ukulele artists today, Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward. Through song, folk tunes, humor, and amazing musical talent, the two held the student audience captive during an electrifying all-school assembly.
Heidi Swedberg is a musician and actor from a ukulele-playing family in Hawaii. Daniel Ward studied jazz and flamenco guitar at the University of New Mexico and brilliantly transfers these skills to a high level of ukulele performance.
Following this morning’s assembly, Daniel provided an advanced level ukulele workshop for our Sixth Graders, who are currently studying ukulele here at PHS with our Music Teacher, Mr. Charley Miller. Heidi led our Fourth and Fifth Graders in an introductory ukulele workshop, using the new ukuleles purchased for our students here at PHS. She began by teaching them specific chords, and at the conclusion of the hour the students were amazed that they were able to bring the chords together to sing and strum in unison, “Singing in the Rain”!
Today’s musical events were designed by Mr. Miller, who will be expanding PHS’s program to include specific ukulele units in our Fourth and Fifth Graders’ music curriculum this year!

Fourth Grade Astrocamp

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Our Fourth Graders recently enjoyed a beautiful experience at Idyllwild’s Astrocamp. Here’s Fourth Grade teacher Cathy Gilbert sharing some of the highlights of this Outdoor Education trip:
One of the very interesting activities for the students helped them to simulate the feeling of weightlessness that our astronauts encounter in outer space. After donning wet suits, our PHS-ers used astronaut-like training in the pool where they were challenged to build a mock satellite underwater. Their joy was evident at the successful completion of the project.
A highlight of the three-day trip was Thursday evening’s night hike and telescope viewing. Groups of students and their leaders departed from camp for a short walk as darkness arrived. Group activities included sensory awareness games, stories, and demonstrations of our ability to adjust to darkness. Our groups then hiked to a specific telescope viewing area, far from the ever-present urban glow of Los Angeles. We examined the beautiful night sky with its stars, planets, and amazing constellations using binoculars, digital cameras, manual telescopes, and a 12” Meade computerized Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. What a memorable experience!
On Friday, we all learned about force and the laws of motion as we designed and built our rockets. Then we had our launch, watching our water or pressurized air rockets sail into the morning sky.
From an appreciation of the ageless universe to science’s most recent inventions, we returned home brimming with newly acquired knowledge.

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