Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September, 2015

Second graders have gotten right back into the groove in Spanish class! We started off the year with fun chants and songs to practice greetings and introductions, as well as activities that help students get to know one another better… while speaking in Spanish! In class, students have an “exercise spot” where we sing songs such as the “Macarena” while singing the months in Spanish, stretch different body parts and exercise while we count from 1-20. A class favorite is also “Simon Dice!” or Simon Says! in Spanish. Please encourage your child to share what they are learning in class and practice with you at home! Can they introduce themselves to you and ask you how you are feeling? Can they tell you something they like or dislike? If they need extra practice, they can visit the Hilltop Spanish website and go onto Quizlet, where they can listen to the vocabulary and practice through games and type as they listen to the words. Thank you for your support!

Art:  Our Hilltop artists are blasting off the year with their first art projects!   Kindergarteners are work on Picasso’s Posies; first graders are making is a summer scene;  second graders are zooming in their flower pictures to make it Georgia O’Keeffe-esque; third graders are working on a picture using emphasis; and fourth graders are creating their own scrumptious dessert pictures, inspired by Wayne Thiebaud.  This first project is actually for Display My Art, an HSA fundraiser.  So look out for the upcoming brochure that explains how you can order your child’s artwork to be printed!  
It has been fun getting to know our new Kindergartners! We’ve been busy singing, playing instruments, and moving to music.  Ask them about our puppet mouse “Ralph” who likes to sing and our puppet monkey “Bananas” who likes to move.  We begin each class with a vocal warm-up with fun props (like a slide whistle).  We use props to get the students discovering/exploring all their vocal pitches from high to low and to develop their singing voices.  Students participate in a “Secret Song Bag” activity (thanks to a colleague of mine - who is a fantastic music teacher in Kinnelon - for this) where students take turns picking objects from a bag and guess what well-known song goes with each object.  They love to see what comes out of the bag and sing the songs that they guess.  In the instrument arena,  we’ve played drums, maracas, jingle bells, and woodblocks.  More to play yet!   We break up the singing and instrument playing with lots of movement experiences like Shake Your Sillies Out and even some fun music movement videos from Go Noodle.  Lastly, when we have time, we share a “singable” story book at the end of class.  So far, we’ve read/sung There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, If You’re Happy and You Know It, and Over in the Meadow.  Books are available on Amazon and also can be requested through public libraries.  Photos below from

Kindergarten “singable” story books.

WOW!!, September is moving right along.  Your children have been moving right with it.   They are learning new exercises to do in the class.  Throughout the year each child will have the opportunity to be the “ Gym Helper”. The gym helper will lead the class in exercises, and be able to help Mrs. Morales Model certain skills and movement that may need to be shown in class.  
We are going to be sharpening up our Soccer skills, which really means they will be focusing on Eye-foot coordination.
In Kindergarten, we are focusing on Space awareness, body control and what the words STOP and FREEZE  look like.
If you haven’t seen or heard about the take your parent for a walk program, ask your son or daughter, it could win them a fun token that they can hook onto their shoe lace or backpack.   

From the Hilltop Library Media Center...
Welcome Back!  3rd graders have been learning about their new Google Drive, how it can enhance their learning experiences, and what it looks like to respect their drive as well as their classmates’ drives. Each student was given a Google License, and now have full permission to use their drive at home and in school.  Both 3rd and 4th graders have been working on a collaborative Google Drive project, sharing safe and productive ways we can use our Google Drive.  Our K-4th grade students have begun checking out books.  In Kindergarten we are reading and singing along with Pete the Cat. First Graders are exploring the Clyde the Bunny books, and reflecting on the beginning, middle, and end of a story, as well as character, setting, genre, problem and solution.  Our Second Graders are learning about Tall Tales, the 398.2 Dewey section and of course, the use of exaggeration in Tall Tales. Third and Fourth Graders have learned all about Melvil Dewey, the Dewey Decimal System, and using OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) to locate the books they are searching for. We are looking forward to exploring and experiencing wonderful literature throughout the 2015-2016 year!