For Your Information @ TIS Library Media November

Happy Fall! This year, classes come to the Library biweekly to check out books and enjoy quiet reading time.

Third graders can check out 3 books at one time during the library class, but he or she may check out more books after school. Library is opened until 4 o’clock this year! Parents are welcome to get their own library cards and check out library materials. Books are due in two weeks from checkout date but students may renew them, if desired. If student have an overdue book, he or she may not check out another until it is returned.

Not sure when your child has library class? Look below to find out!

WEEK 1 - Nov 9-13, 23-27, Dec 7-11, Jan 4-8, 18-22... WEEK 2 - Nov 16-20, 30- Jan 4, Jan 14-18, 11-15...

This year’s library reading challenge, We love oregon, has begun and we are so happy that many students are perticipating the challenge. Keep reading! CLICK HERE for the Grade 3 through t book list

April 26, 2015: Music

Boom Boom Weeo Weeo - Ti Ti Ti - Ti Ti Ti

We are developing into independent musicians in 2nd Grade.  It's getting more challenging!  And it's feeling just a little bit like a beginning 3rd Grade class.  Listen to them first singing this great song (is that the NPR theme?) as one group - and then we broke into three groups to sing and play each part as a canon or a round.  It's really hard not to get confused - but they did it!  Yes, it's happening, and it sounds great.  

We can make music out of anything - any idea, any combination of words can become rhythmic music.  What did you do over Spring Break?  "I went to New Jersey."   ...   Okay, maybe not at first, but when you repeat it four times, and add rests here and there, it quickly becomes the best music we've played together so far.  Put those four phrases to a melodic scale, and we suddenly have the catchiest song ever written about going to New Jersey.    All these lessons are reinforcing that the children practice  "Playing the Way the Words Go," a standard Kodaly approach for teaching accurate rhythmic playing.  Once we take the words out and "Think the Words," it becomes instrumental magic.

"It feels different, like it's Halloween!"
We explored different pentatonic Modes with these little Spring Break songs.  If you have ever heard of "Major" or "minor," these modes are related.  Each mode seems to have its own emotional character.  We are just calling them by their "Home Tone." 

 Many agree that "Home tone C" has a bright, happy sound (Major).
"Home tone D" gets real creepy real fast.  Yikes.
"Home tone E" is even scarier! - "It's like I'm in a Shark Tank!"
"Home tone G" - phew!  Back to a brighter feeling -   "I feel like we're in a magical snowstorm"
"Home tone A" - this one has what we might call a minor key feel.  Some kids felt like this one makes the story more important, or more urgent.

Matching the feeling of the "One" characters

Bright, Awesome, Cool, and Funny - they chose the "bright" Home Tone C.    

You may remember that we started a long composition project for the book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi. 

Student partners have been working consistently to compose for their assigned character from the book.  Once they have 4 adjectives written, they "Clap and Say" each word within 2 beats.  Then they experiment with shifting one or two words over to beat 2 instead of beat 1. Then they get to write the rhythm of their own new composition.

Then they chose a "Home tone" feeling that seems to match the mood of their character to start and end on. 

Finally we're adding a little more interesting rhythm on the repeat by bringing back those icon rhythms from before the break.  The results are becoming really fantastic!  I can't wait to put them all together when they're finished and tell the story.

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist, Grades 2-5

April 26, 2015: PE

As we continue to build our running endurance towards 2 miles, this week the distance we are running is 1.25 miles (10 laps).  Many still walk and run, this is fine for second grade.  Walking and walking and stopping and walking is not acceptable as they have been working on building endurance for quite some time.  A normal walk around our circuit is measured right at two minutes and thirty seconds.  This is not a heroic pace.  It translates to 20 minutes for an 8 lap 'mile'.  Here is an example of one second grade class.   Last week they were asked to run 8 laps.  This week they were asked to run 10 laps.

Here, side by side are the two times at the 8 lap mark.  The first time is at the end of the whole run, the second time is at the 8 lap mark out of 10 laps.

Runner:   Time one           Time two
1                    10:04                    12:30
2                    12:08                    12:08
3                    14:54                    11:24
4                    16:36                    16:12
5                    13:19                    16:54
6                    15:32                    16:12
7                    15:08                    16:54
8                    16:30                    21:43
9                    19:50                    --absent--
10                  20:08                    DNF  means, did not finish.   This runner was well below the 20 minute mile or simply stopped running.
11                  15:22                    16:54
12                  15:09                    16:59
13                  15:32                    21:43
14                  15:22                    26:13

The student who recorded the DNF, runner number 10, was counseled by showing them their history of runs in the class and were told that they have completed every other run asked of them and that I have observed them to be working steady.  I shared that every runner can have an off day and it was acceptable to have a DNF on their sheet and that I know they will 'bring it' next class.  Multiple DNF's do affect the grade this term.

For any parent that is interested in how their child is completing these runs, you may email me to inquire.

Robert A. Briglia
The International School
Athletic Director/Instructor

April 26, 2015: Art

Colorful Lego Portraits!

We have been hard at work in art class on our Color and Emotion Unit. Several classes have led up to this final project, the Lego Self-Portrait. Our musical connections with Peter’s class has made a great connection in fostering the PYP Attitudes such as Appreciation, Empathy, Respect and Enthusiasm, independence and creativity. I am so proud of how well they have ALL done! I know the students all cared about their portraits, worked hard and they are proud of their accomplishments. The kids reviewed basics about the Color Wheel but, for the first time, have learned how to mix primary colors to make secondary colors not by using paint but by using colored pencils! Many students thought this could only happen with paint but alas, the color mixing magic works with colored pencils too!

Second graders were also introduced to the idea that colors become more complex and interesting when artists use layers of different shades. For example, grass is not only colored with one green colored pencil but also layered with light green, dark green, olive green and sometimes even shades of blue, brown and yellow!

They learned how to draw the basic shapes that make up a Lego person and practiced drawing themselves to create a portrait (hair, clothes, facial expressions). Then, they drew a final version of their portrait, making certain color choices and decisions about the background that would reflect their own personality.

Did you know that personality traits are linked to the Color Wheel? Your kid does! The three main colors that represent my personality are Green, Blue and Orange. We are all made up of every color but what makes us unique is how brightly some traits shine through for each individual. If I had made my own portrait, I would have made my three main colors stand out in my artwork to help show my personality. Some “Green traits” that describe me are Trustworthy and Respectful of Others. My strongest “Orange traits” are that I am Social and I Like Variety.  Blue is the third main color that helps describe me which connects to my Peaceful and Organized personality.

Our use of Lego Mini Figures as inspiration for this unit was a reference to Pop Culture and how artists connect their work to things they like or care about.  They worked on drawing the Lego through observation (not tracing) and used their imaginations to design a abstract, fantasy or realistic background. They worked to cover the entire surface of paper with layers of colored pencil. We all had a great time being creative and learning more about each other during this unit of inquiry. The kids learned several new art concepts and reviewed previous art knowledge! Please enjoy these amazing portraits.

If you’re able sign up to set-up and/or help clean up the Art Show, please click on the link to fill out the Art Show Volunteer form. This info was also sent via email to all staff on April 20th. If the form doesn’t work for you, feel free to email me directly if you’re interested in helping out.


Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist

April 26, 2015: Library

Second graders are very busy reading different genres of literature.  So far we have covered poetry, fantasy, science fiction and folk literature which includes fairy tales, tall tales, fables, myths and legends.  Students have been encouraged to take home a book in each genre.  Surveying the genres is a great way to practice open-mindedness!  Often children who do not like to read fiction, will enjoy reading informational texts or even biographies. If you have a reluctant reader at home, try some non-fiction!

Arthur Dorros, in disguiseAuthor and illustrator Arthur Dorros visited TIS on April 9!  He talked about his books and storytelling. The second graders loved his story Alligator Shoes and his funny masks! If you would like to check out one of his books, many are available in the TIS Library.

April is National Poetry Month! To explore some great poetry websites with your child, click here.

The annual Scholastic Book Fair will take place the first week in June outside Stearns Hall.  I need parent volunteers to run the morning shifts from 7:30-8:30!  Please let me know if you can help.

Thanks for having such great kids who love to read!

Tamara Beecroft

March 16, 2015: Music

Blue was a Quiet Color.

The field trip to hear members of the String section of the Oregon Symphony went very well.  Unfortunately I was not able to go.  Our 5th grade Chinese students were hosting their Capstone brothers and sisters from China that week.  They were here to experience a few days in the life of a TIS student, including all specialist classes.  Instead of asking a substitute to teach my 5th grade music class, we all thought it would serve the visitors better if I stayed at school to teach. We moved, danced together, and sang and created a beautiful piece about a feather.  Lovely.

The 2nd graders reported that the concert used music to help tell stories!  What a perfect segue to our next weeks in music.  We too are beginning to tell stories, but in our case we are composing our own music.

I'm sure you remember that we already composed and notated a poem.  Here's an example of a student's composition, notated on the treble clef using quarter notes, eighth notes, quarter rests, and a tone set limited to C pentatonic.

Our next step in our composition journey is to use icons that represent 4-beat rhythms.  Some of the rhythms are syncopated, and beyond the scope of 2nd grade music.  However we can say all sorts of complex rhythms before we notate them.  These are the cards the kids chose and sequenced into a nonsense story:  Please ask your child how to say each of these cards.  Each one has a unique rhythm. 

Once they have their sequence, we then play them on various percussion instruments and finally add some improvised melodies.  Many layers, sonically complex, and very fun.

Taking these composition skills, we began composing music to accompany a story by Kathryn Otoshi called "One." The story addresses the issue of bullying in a beautiful and inclusive way.  Using the text and descriptions of each color character, our composers will create music, movement and sounds that help tell the story of how bystanders and the target learned to say "NO" when they encounter bullying.

The story involves Red, a color that picks on another color, Blue, but no one stands up and says "NO" in front of Red.  When Red is mean in the story, he gets bigger and louder when no one speaks up. 

I added another perspective, which is that when some people are mean, it might be in a quiet way.  A way that no one else around can hear.  Something like, "You better not play with Elsa at recess.  If you do, I'm not going to invite you to my birthday party."  That moment is when many little second grade hands go up, each resonating deeply with the story, each wanting to tell about something that like that that has happened to them personally.

Someone is trying to stop you or someone else from having fun?  You can take a stand and say, "NO."  If that doesn't stop them, it's time to tell an adult to make sure that it stops.

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist

March 16, 2015: Library

Dr. Seuss' birthday is celebrated in schools across the country on March 2 every year.  Second graders had lots of fun listening to Dr. Seuss stories and playing Dr. Seuss games.  All fans of Dr. Seuss' incredible work will be happy to learn that a new book will be released in July, What Pet Should I Get?  For more information about Dr. Seuss or his books, check out the official website Seussville.

Second graders will be exploring literature genres in library classes. Each week for the rest of the school year, your child will be encouraged to check out one book in the genre we are studying.  As the students develop into independent readers, they will have a taste for the different types of literature of interest to them.  Expect to see fairy tales, non-fiction, poetry, mysteries, realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and biographies. This will keep them reading and exploring!

Author and illustrator Arthur Dorros will be visiting TIS on April 9!  We will be reading his books during library classes.  You may learn more about Arthur and his work at


Tamara Beecroft

March 16, 2015: Art

Art and Storytelling Unit

The second graders have been learning about the artist Faith Ringgold, focusing Tar Beach, a book she wrote and illustrated.  Her book won the Caldecott Award for the illustrations.  Faith Ringgold is famous for her story quilts, which combine painting, quilting and storytelling.  

Tar Beach is about a girl named Cassie Louise Lightfoot who is growing up in New York City in  the 1930’s.  While atop the roof of the tall apartment building her family lives in (Tar Beach) Cassie imagines that she can fly throughout New York City and that anything she flies over becomes hers in an imaginary world.  The second graders created drawings of themselves flying over either somewhere they want to visit or something they want to own.  They could either choose a place that really exists, or tap into their imaginations to invent some creative environments.  The second graders also wrote their own story about their artwork. Some of the places they’ve chosen to fly over include Seattle, A pink sand beach, a library, a variety of tropical places, and a video game world.  Please enjoy the student’s work below!

Important Information:

In the art room, we could use clear plastic storage bins with lids.   If you have any extra bins, consider donating them to the art room.  A friendly reminder to second grade families: We take precautions to keep clean, but please try to remember to have your child wear clothes that can get messy on his/her art day. We have started our Color and Emotion Unit of Inquiry so we will definitely be exploring with paint mixing!

Thanks for reading!

Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist

Feb 6, 2015: PE

Running shoes.  We are at the cusp of mile run training.  Already second graders have been asked to establish a baseline running time for four laps around the sidewalks.  Eight complete laps are approximately 700 or so feet LONGER than a measured mile, so 4 laps is that much longer than 1/2 mile.  We call it a half-mile.  I ask them to give me a sincere effort in establishing their baselines.  Not racing, not dawdling but steady, comfortable pacing.  As we train, they are expected to keep their 4 lap times in a 20 second 'range', either 10 faster or 10 slower seconds are wonderful.  They are told that their bodies will adapt to greater and greater workloads and overall the range of the four laps is expected to decrease over time.   

Running shoes:  Since second grade has PE only one day per week, please make sure they are wearing the correct footwear on PE days.  Converse are NOT good athletic shoes.  Although you do not need the latest, most expensive shoe, it should have good arch support and designed for sports.  Any second run per week you can help provide them is highly, highly encouraged.

Second grade is also learning to use self-turned jump ropes and jumping over long ropes turned for them by myself or fellow students.   It is wonderful to see students gain confidence and take pride in improving their jumping skills.  My head is on a swivel as they call out to me again and again to witness their accomplishments.  It is a very inexpensive item I would encourage you to pick up for them.  My suggestion is to make sure it is not too light.  The wispy cotton kind are of little value.

- Robert Briglia

Feb 6, 2015: Music


On Tuesday we will be traveling to an Oregon Symphony Kinderconzert presentation.  Please send your child to school on Tuesday with their Blue T-Shirt.

Caring through Audience Etiquette.  I have been impressed by the Second graders' ability to listen when it's time to listen.  This is something we have worked on since the beginning of the year, and it's a skill that concert goers must use.  This doesn't mean that you can't bounce and bob your head or feel the beat somehow quietly in your body.  The whole purpose is to enjoy the music.  I challenged each class to try to listen to this Paganini Violin Concerto with quiet voices and bodies.

Of course the entire Second grade class was roaring with laughter within the first 30 seconds.  When the piece finished, we cooled down a bit.  Is it okay to enjoy yourself at a concert?  Sure!  That's the whole point!  But is it okay to have such a good time that other people can't see or hear the performers?  Certainly not. 

Caring through being creative together.
We are progressing with creative work from playing whole group games to breaking into smaller groups.  One activity required kids to create original body percussion accompaniment to this two-word poetic masterpiece, "Galloping Galloping Horse."  It goes on from there, but each group's "Galloping," with three syllables must sound different from the strong single rhythm of "Horse."

With class praise and new ideas through Stars & Wishes, by the end of the activity most groups were proud of what they had created, and some groups moved on to the next level, orchestrating the syllables on percussion instruments.
Caring As Composers.
Breaking into even smaller collaborative groups, partners are beginning to compose their own original pentatonic melody (using only CDE GA) for the poem, "One Two Three."  As they work together, the only rule is that it must start on C, and end on C.  Everything in between is up to the composers, as long as they both agree.

Please listen to Masami's class example of their "One Two Three" composition Rondo  You will hear all the partner-composed melodies all at once, rotating to each partner composition as a solo:
Caring through Large Cupcakes.  

-Peter Musselman

Feb 6, 2015: Library

Second graders have started off the New Year learning about the Dewey Decimal System.  At first, all the numbers seemed confusing! But in fact, it is a language.  The students could relate to this idea of the system as a language and were eager to explore how each digit or letter in a call number added meaning and specificity.  We made our own book spines with call numbers.  More than 200,000 libraries in 135 countries use this system. We will continue to build our DDC knowledge throughout the year so the students can be independent library users.

I am so impressed with the creativity and reading commitment made by all the students for this year's reading challenge.  Next week during library classes we will celebrate our readers/artists with certificates, rewards, games and cupcakes!  Feel free to stop by the library after school to see all the amazing art projects!

The America Library Association announced the 2015 Youth Media Awards this week.  Click here to see the complete list .

Feb 6, 2015: Art

Second graders have been learning through their Adinkra artwork and our most recent project that artwork is created in unique ways by people all over the world. The students now recognize that visual symbols can have many meanings. Through the last few projects, we have been using pattern and symmetry to enhance our artwork. The Ndebele artists have been creating homes that are painted with geometric designs that have special meaning in their culture for hundreds of years. The students learned about an artist named Esther Mahlangu who helped to popularize the art of the Nbebele Tribe of South Africa. The students found it interesting that this artistic talent is passed down through generations of women, who as girls practice the art of painting in perfect symmetry without even using a ruler. Esther Mahlangu says, "The ruler is in the mind, the ruler is inside the head".

     Many students worked with a partner to create their own symmetrical pattern, each student took turns and worked together to make their design choices. They worked with their partner to carefully paint the patterns, which was a great exercise in many useful social/communication skills. Lastly, they added layers of oil pastel to add texture and interest to their colors. They enjoyed learning the difference between soft and hard edge technique with oil pastel and had a great time using our new tiny detail paint brushes for the small areas of their designs.
     This week, 2nd grade is on to a new Unit of Inquiry, Art and Storytelling. We are taking inspiration from the Faith Ringgold. She began her artistic career more than 35 years ago as a painter. Today, she is best known for her painted story quilts - art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling. The students have chosen a place to pretend to travel to by flying themselves there. We are currently brainstorming ideas on how to draw the main elements of the story. Their quilt will be able to take the viewer on a imaginative journey much like we experienced in the book "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold.

    Our Adinkra Cloth inspired artwork is on display in Stearns Hall.  Please come see them if you haven't had the chance yet. As always, please feel free to send me an email or stop by the art room if you have any questions, or if you just want to see what we are doing! Please talk to your student about what they are learning. This will help to show your child that you are interested in what they do and they will appreciate your thoughtful questions.

Thanks for reading!

- Sarah Harpole

Dec 19, 2014: Music

You can't do this, so what's the use in trying?

Second grade music is getting just a little bit more difficult!  And that's a good thing.

To prep them for the next wave of skill challenges, both in making music and writing, I told them about a boy I know named Oliver.  His last name is Twist.  Whenever he can't do something the first time, he always gives up.

"Raise your hand if you give up when something's hard?"  A few hands go up automatically, then down again when they replay the question in their minds.  Turns out that we have a lot of perseverance in the second grade groups.

And so we began a challenging music and movement game based on the poem,

Oliver Twist, you can't do this, so
What's the use in trying?
Tap your knees, Tap your toes,
Clap your hands and away we go!

Easy, right?  Many things we have done this year seem easy at first, and then we add a little "Twist" to make it challenging.  Some groups have really become responsive students, learning along and showing their peers what they can do, and making mistakes to learn from.  Each class identified parts of the poem that would sound good orchestrated by different instruments.  We considered whether Knees, Toes, Hands would have a corresponding Low, Middle, or High sound. Each group then began to improvise melodies to the known rhythm of the words.  Finally we took the words out, and while "thinking" the words, the poem comes through purely through the rhythm of the instruments.

One student reflected recently, " We sound really good!  We sound like we could be on the radio."
(I think that was meant as a compliment.  : )

Here is an audio sample of an Oliver Twist orchestration, followed by another improved version after "Stars and Wishes," (more voices, and instruments continue to play for the B section) and then a sample of the "Cup Game" rhythm, with a revue of a couple tunes from the beginning of the year mixed in.  

Ask your child to show you the cup rhythm over the break!  We use empty yogurt containers.  It's hard enough for some kids to just follow along with the "Twisting" motions of the cup pattern, but some are actually able to sing another song at the same time!  Many students were able to recognize and express that many songs can be measured against this rhythm because they have the same lengths.  One group inquired about "Row Row Row your Boat," and "Frere Jacques.  It turns out that they too have the same musical phrase lengths as the cup rhythm.  
We have also been "trying" to draw a Treble Clef in preparation for melodic notation and composition projects in the latter half of 2nd Grade Music.  Even through all the "Twists" and turns, nobody stopped trying.  If we can't even try something hard, then we're all in REALLY BIG TREBLE.
Student example of a REALLY BIG TREBLE clef.
- Peter Musselman, Music Specialist
Music Classroom Blog:

Dec 19, 2014: PE

The last class of this year I brought my second graders outside to run for four minutes.  We have been running for the same four minutes around inside the gym for quite some time.  I have to say that the second grade students this year are tolerating running more enthusiastically than past second grade classes ON A WHOLE.  We have talked about the fact I only see them once per week and it is important to 'do good things for your body' more than just once per week, so many in this class happily tell me they are performing exercises at home too.  One girl reported her seven class exercises are going on a chart to do at home after she showed them to her parents...Way to go!

Lately we have been working on Tossing and Catching.  We've stepped up from Stage I to Stage III throwing (basically from arm only to the full transfer of weight from throwing arm side to opposite side with a full body twist as the weight is transferred.    Children this age love to play catch.  Very simple, the game of catch.  With a soft ball, it can be done indoors too.  Games can be made up on the spot again and again.  One can hold arms in a circle of any size as a hoop-we practice unhand tossing too.  Or you can play catch by bouncing a throw off the wall or any other quick and fast 'rule'.  I like to have them not have to move their feet to catch (works on accuracy of the thrower).

Play catch.

- Robert Briglia, PE Specialist

Dec 19, 2014: Library

Season's Greetings, Second Grade Families!

Your children are wonderful students and love to check out books.  They have been learning about Computer Basics on the SmartBoard and how to find a book just right for them in the library. The reading challenge is well underway.  If you are having trouble finding a particular book for the challenge, please email me and I will try to set one aside for your child when it comes in.  All the information about the reading challenge is on the library website, including reading lists and project ideas.
See you in 2015!
- Tamara Beecroft, Librarian

Dec 19, 2014: Art

     Since we’ve finished our Art and Observation unit, we have moved on to the Art and Culture Unit of Inquiry. The Central idea is that People from different cultures express what is important to them through making art. After break, we will complete a project inspired by Adinkra Cloth that is created in Ghana, Africa. The second graders watched a great short video of many people at a market in Ghana choosing symbols that are meaningful to them and adding the stamps to a piece of colorful woven cloth. Each symbol expresses a value, moral, or traditional idea that is important to the people of West Africa.

     After looking at many examples of symbols and discussing what makes a visually nice symbol, the students designed 3 symbols of their own symbols that best fit their personality. We took inspiration from important events and memories in our lives and thought about our favorite types of lines and shapes. Next, we reviewed that warm colors are red, yellow and orange and that cool colors are blue, purple and green. They chose to paint their background abstractly, covering the entire paper with either a warm or cool color scheme. Later, we created a stamp by using a rounded (dull) pencil to press into a foam board. Ask your child about the symbol they designed to represent their personality.

    After that we literally got our hands dirty using the brayers (rollers) to create at least 5 prints. After some practice prints, some students did some revising their stamp to make a more successful print. They really loved distinguishing which colors of ink and paper would create nice contrast.

     Our bird paintings are still displayed in Stearns Hall so please come see them the first week in January if you haven't had the chance yet.

     As always, please email or stop by the art room if you have any questions, or if you just want to know more about what we are doing!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the Winter break!

Sarah Harpole
Art Specialist (2nd - 5th Grades)

11/14/2014: Library

Second graders are busy reading and learning about different aspects of technology during library class.  For example, they learned about the functions and use of a mouse and about the use of symbols and pictures in technology.  All have demonstrated good skills in listening and patience as everyone gets to take a turn using the smart board and mouse.

This year’s library reading challenge, Across Time and Culture, has begun. Students should read on their own, or with an adult, at least six books from the K-2 list and return the challenge form to the librarian along with the completed art project no later than Friday, February 6. During a class party, certificates and prizes will be awarded to each student who completes both the project and reading six books. Books are available in the TIS Library, your local public library or bookstore. If you would like your child to read a book or two from the list for grades 3-5, feel free to do so, but please choose the majority of the books from the K-2 list so your child can enjoy discussing the reading with peers.  Visit the TIS Library website for more information, booklists and art project ideas.

The library has subscribed to a new ebook resource, BrainHive.  You may check out books to read on a reading device or computer.  This site offers a large selection of high quality books.  If you would like to use this resource, please contact me for personalized login information. In addition, the library subscribes to two other ebook databases which offer great choices in English and Spanish for reading independently and/or with an audio component for reading while listening. You can access those here:


Username:  internationalschool
Password:  books

Username: intlschool
Password: intlschool

Tamara Beecroft
503-226-2496 ext. 115

11/14/2014: PE

Now that we have a few more PE classes behind us, I am getting pretty good with names.   If you hear children call me names, like Coach Pumpkin, Coach Broccoli, or Coach Onion, (really it has splinted many times from there) it's because I would tell my new students if I messed up your name after Thanksgiving you could call me Coach Onion.   Students take that and run with it, when they run, I run too.

We have explored with  volley hitting with our hands (beach balls) and with badminton racquets.  In second grade I work more on large motor and fine motor skills like handling various objects over that of organized sporting games.  We do play many games, just not the variations of volleyball or badminton the older classes play as the skills are not quite there to sustain action, hence they get to be a lot of standing around waiting to have a go at the ball or shuttlecock.

The new  activity starting this week is basketball.   I tell them that I can't quite work on their shooting skills because we have no standards in the gym, (I encourage them to shoot at recess) I do strive to create better ball handlers before they leave TIS.   I start with a basic assessment of their comprehension of handling basketballs and go from there.   Even students brand new to basketball enjoy 'seeing' with their fingertips, imparting slight spin on the ball to keep control of it, and gaining confidence with handling a basketball.

Coach Robert

11/14/2014: Music

If You Ain't Got Do-Re-Mi

I have recently returned from the American Orff Schulwerk Association national conference held in Music City, Nashville Tennessee.  Three full days of sessions with internationally recognized teachers (not to mention the evening line dancing and contra dancing) have inspired me with a thousand new ideas and approaches to teaching creative movement and music here at TIS.  Thank you one and all for your continued support of the music and art programs through Run for the Arts.  

English nursery rhymes provide a rhythmic foundation upon which we study meter, rhythm, melody, composition, improvisation, and reading and writing notation in second grade.  Some are going to be familiar to the children, and others are more obscure.  One example that we began this week is  "Charlie Wag."  (ate the pudding and left the bag)  In this pentatonic melody set by Doug Goodkin, the children will experience rondo form, in which the B section after the main song is a four-beat improvisation by the kids!  "What kind of pudding did he eat??"  -  a child answers with their idea of a type of pudding - "Chocolate!" And the class chants and claps it in a rhythmic pattern, "chocolate, chocolate chocolate, Yum!"  Next week, rhythm flash cards will be added to their improvisations, read and played by the group using body percussion with some unpitched percussion with various timbres (woods, metals, skins).  The flashcards will multiply for each student to choose a rhythm to read and play.  When played all together the rhythms will begin to layer and complement each other for a rich musical experience.  

Running in the background of this song, and another game song, "Tideo," is a common melodic snippet which we are calling "Three steps down," which is preparation for naming the Do, Re, Mi pitches in the pentatonic scale.  We will always sing and play with musical elements before identifying them by name and symbol.

Peter Musselman
Music Specialist, Grades 2-5
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