Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

June 2013 School Highlights

Posted on: June 17, 2013

By: Justin S.

By: Justin S.

Bridge Street School:

Music:

In May students in grades K-2 enjoyed studying Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf in detail.  They listened to the character themes and enacted the story with stick puppets.

The second graders completed a project called the Sound Garden which entailed writing pentatonic music on xylophones and notating it using standard rhythmic notation.  They used eighth notes, quarter notes and quarter rests to represent the syllables in the names of flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits and composed a melody for each item.

All students in grades K-2 have been playing Orff songs on mallet instruments in patterns of Do, Mi, Sol and La.  Our favorites included My Elephant Pat and I’m Locked in a Candy Store.  The degree of difficult varied by grade level and each song allowed for some creative lyric writing as well.

Third graders have learned to play four note songs on the soprano recorder and have mastered reading melodies on the treble clef staff.  They can play melodies and descants to accompany songs including Rain, Rain Go Away;  It’s A Beautiful Day; Down By the Station and All Aboard.

Fourth graders just completed a unit on great composer that included Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and Vivaldi.  They heard music from the Four Seasons, the Magic Flute, Violin Concertos, and played drums along with the Fanfare for the Common Man.  They especially enjoyed listening to spoof versions of the classics on the CD called Beethoven’s Wig.

Fifth graders have enjoyed playing the folk guitar.  They can play a simple blues shuffle and tried their hands at techniques such as hammer ons, pull offs, and slides.

During the first week in June students will be focusing on music from around the world as the school launches the project “Celebrate the World”.

Each classroom is selecting a country to study in depth and as a part of that they will learn about the instruments and music from the country.  Some of these include Poland, Canada, Italy, Kenya and Australia.

Art:

Through a grant written by parents we are “Celebration of the World”. Throughout the month of May all of Bridge Street students are creating a mask that relates to the country their class is studying.  They use a variety of materials for each grade to create their masks, i.e., metal, clay, paper mache, plaster gauze, paper collage, and wood.  For example: Ms. Moriarty’s fifth grade students are researching Canada.  They are making North West Coast Indian style masks using a combination of clay and plaster gauze to shape their masks. Mrs. Dubiel’s first grade class is studying India, and they are making paper mache elephant masks that they will paint with Indian patterns.  Ms. Hurd’s third grade class chose Kenya as their country, and they are sculpting African animal masks out of clay.  The fourth graders are using paper to create symmetrical cut-out masks embellished with feathers, glitter, overlapping paper shapes, and markers.  The kindergarteners  collaged wooden pieces to form a symmetrical design for their counties of Tanzania, and Cambodia.  They will paint over them and add mixed media to enhance their masks.  The culmination of their intensive research and hands-on projects will take place June 3 – 7th with a display of all their work.

Jackson Street School:

Art:

The kindergarten classes are focusing on learning about color through studying the color wheel.  They have experimented with mixing paints while learning about the artist David Hockney, as well as creating a collaged color wheel demonstrating primary, secondary and complimentary colors.
The first graders are learning about the French artist Claude Monet, who was one of the artists who invented the Impressionism movement.  They drew a Japanese style bridge over a pond onto velvet paper, and colored a garden and water lilies with an impressionistic style.

The second graders made a plaster gauze canvas that they painted on, similar to Fresco paintings on plaster.

The third graders went on a field trip to the Smith College Museum of Art to view their Collecting Asia exhibition.  They are also painting inventive animals onto large canvases that are on display at the Big Y Windows.

The fourth graders learned about Hokusai, the Japanese print maker.  They incised into a Styrofoam plate depicted either a landscape or ocean scape. They rolled a white ink base over their plate, and painted over that with a variety of colored ink.  They placed a dark colored paper on top and rubbed over it to create their colorful print. Hokusai would have carved many wooden plates to create all the colors the fourth graders used.

The Fifth graders created a ceramic tile from clay, while learning how to add coils and slabs on top of them.  They used the technique called Scoring and Slipping, which gives their tile a 3-dimensional quality.  Once fired in the kiln,  they painted on them.

Music:

In preparation for the return of the Jazz Ambassadors on Friday May31st, we have been exploring the roots of blues and jazz music in the southern US.  We turned our attention to the city of New Orleans and the jazz style known as Dixieland.  The most famous jazz musician from New Orleans was Louie Armstrong.  He brought so many things to jazz and was know as the  “Ambassador of Jazz.”   This year the concert will focus on New Orleans and we will be joining the band singing and playing (the staff Uke Ohana)  When the Saints Go Marching In and a reprise of last years Bring Me Sunshine.  Thanks to the JSS Cultural Arts Committee for this amazing experience of live American music!!!!!

They are learning instruments: guitars, recorders, xylophones and ukulele’s  have been learning during this past year.  The Fifth grade is learning a final song to sing at their celebration and the E minor chord on the guitar.  The fourth is putting together singing, recorder, xylophone and ukulele’s- all in one amazing piece!  Third grade is learning the last two notes of the recorder left hand and hopefully will be playing the “Saints” in the next few weeks!!  Second grade is wrapping up their trip around the world – birthday songs are all that’s left!  First and Kindergarten have been scatting their names (a la Louie!) and are about to do the Vowel Rap!

We will end the year by singing Fine, Fine School after Ms. Agna reads the book Fine, Fine School at the last assembly on June 19th and then have a school sing-a-long with the Uke Ohana!

What a great year it has been in the music room!

Leeds Elementary School:

Art:

The students at Leeds in grades K through 4 have been working throughout the past few weeks collaborating with Ted Watt from the HitchcockCenter to create Art that integrates what they have learned in their classrooms during their Nature Studies with him.

Through the nature studies the students learned about rocks, insects, animal tracks, vernal pools and the bugs and animals that live there, changes in the MillRiver, pond life, and animal behavior.

We integrated Art, science, and nature by creating cave paintings and finger print bug jars in kindergarten, plaster animal tracks in first grade, vernal pool sculptures using mixed media in second grade, ice sculptures at the Mill River after learning about Andy Goldsworthy in third grade, and botanical illustrations of flowers and scientific illustrations of pond life in fourth grade.

The fifth grade have just finished working on three murals that are on display on Cooke Avenue at the Big Y Windows.  The theme was endangered animals; each class created a mural using acrylic paint that depicted endangered animals that fly, live near water, and walk on land.  They learned a lot about collaboration, team work, and how to meet deadlines.

Because of the varied nature studies and art projects, the Art room was bustling with activity, creativity, and excitement.  Working in the Art room, students are able to merge process and content and provide self-expression while also learning about materials and the process of making Art.  They are also able to make connections with their academic curriculum, allows them connect with others and the outside world, as well as help develop independence and provide time for collaboration.  It also allows for problem-solving, critical thinking, and provides another means for all children of all abilities and levels to be involved.  While the finished product is enjoyed by all, as an art teacher, I am fortunate to be able to experience the process that is involved in getting to that final product.

Music:

In May students in grades K-2 enjoyed studying Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf in detail.  They listened to the character themes and enacted the story with stick puppets.  The professional troupe called the Four Story Players performed this children’s classic on piano and percussion for these younger grades.

The second graders completed a project called the Sound Garden which entailed writing pentatonic music on xylophones and notating it using standard rhythmic notation.  They used eighth notes, quarter notes and quarter rests to represent the syllables in the names of flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits and composed a melody for each item.

All students in grades K-2 have been playing Orff songs on mallet instruments in patterns of Do, Mi, Sol and La.  Our favorites included My Elephant Pat and I’m Locked in a Candy Store.  The degree of difficult varied by grade level and each song allowed for some creative lyric writing as well.

Third graders have learned to play four note songs on the soprano recorder and have mastered reading melodies on the treble clef staff.  They can play melodies and descants to accompany songs including Rain, Rain Go Away;  It’s A Beautiful Day; Down By the Station and All Aboard.

Fourth graders just completed a unit on great composer that included Mozart, Beethoven, Copland and Vivaldi.  They heard music from the Four Seasons, the Magic Flute, Violin Concertos, and played drums along with the Fanfare for the Common Man.  They especially enjoyed listening to spoof versions of the classics on the CD called Beethoven’s Wig.

Fifth graders have enjoyed playing the folk guitar. They can play a simple blues shuffle and tried their hands at techniques such as hammer ons, pull offs, and slides.  Some of the students are working on putting together guitar and piano accompaniments for a few songs for their graduation ceremony.

Each classroom is selecting a country to study in depth and as a part of that they will learn about the instruments and music from the country.  Some of these include Poland, Canada, Italy, Kenya and Australia.

RK Finn Ryan Road School:

 Art:

Third graders at RK Finn Ryan Road School have recently completed a project in art class that combined art skills in 3D design and color with ELA skills of researching and reporting non-fiction material.  After browsing through art books, each student chose a famous artist whose work they especially admire.  They studied the artist’s work, researched his or her life, and wrote a brief biography of the artist.  Each student then used recycled boxes to create a layered “birthday cake” for the artist that reflected in some way the style of that artist.  The birthday cakes were widely diverse, and each student was able to tell why they had chosen the artist and how their birthday cake was inspired by the artists’ work. The project incorporated the expectation for non-fiction reading and writing with a creative project that the students clearly enjoyed.

JFK Middle School:

Physical Education:

Physical Education students have completed all the core units and are now participating in many elective units. Current units of study include archery, swimming, tennis, ultimate Frisbee, basketball, and swimming games. All students completed the Fitnessgram Health Assessment. Results will be mailed home with the final report cards.

Music:

Sixth grade general music students are composing music on the keyboards to musically “tell” 3-paragraph stories they’ve written.  Most are choosing to work with a partner.  Each group will perform their piece for the class giving the other students the opportunity to share what they imagine the story is that inspired the music.

Seventh grade general music students are involved in a world music unit.  They’re listening to recordings of music from around the world and trying to determine where each piece comes from, as well as stylistic differences, type of instrument and the world family of instruments each belongs in.  There are also some opportunities to try out some world music instruments, such as the digeridoo.

Art:

Grade 6 students recently finished their Native American paper mache bowls.  The 7th grade is working on a printmaking project. The 7th grade is also having an opening Friday, May 31 behind Big Y.  They will be showcasing their group murals which depict their Utopian worlds. The 8th grade is working on glazing their ceramic coil head project.

 

Northampton High School:

Art:

Art students recently decorated Big Y windows. Two artistic students have been accepted to Carnegie Mellon and the Art Institute in Boston to pursue their programs.  The Forbes Library recently hosted our Art Gallery for the month of May.  Student projects were well represented.

 

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