Principal: Julie Garcia
Happy New Year and Welcome Back! I am excited to head into the second half of the year and I am extremely grateful we will be returning to in-person learning on Monday, January 11.
Many people were eager to say goodbye to the year 2020, myself included. For the last four years, I have created a digital journal for my family using an app called 1 Second Everyday. I take a quick video, 1-10 seconds, of an event occurring in my day. The clips range from monotonous day to day activities like sharing a meal, to big events like celebrating a birthday. On New Years Eve I “meshed” by videos to create my 7:00 minute movie of the year 2020.
This 7 minute video of my year changed my perspective of 2020. My blockbuster movie was filled with laughter, and I was reminded of how great of a laugh my seventeen year old daughter has. I saw board games and cards being played and my family gathered around the table time and time again. I observed my husband and twelve year old son outside shooting hoops and throwing the football. On the video I saw my fourteen year old daughter dancing and making silly TikToks. I was beyond thrilled to see my children interacting with each other. I was reminded of summer evenings on the patio and playing bean bag toss in the backyard. I was able to see delicious looking meals cooked together and dinners around the table as a family.
This video journal showed me that the year 2020 was different from any other. There were obstacles to overcome, and there were challenges that knocked us down. But, we were able to get back up. We made the most of an unfortunate time. We found happiness through tears. We had the opportunity to reevaluate what is important in our lives and reprioritize.
Earlier this year, my mentor reminded me that I need to strive for excellence, not perfection. How often do we let our view of perfection get in the way of excellence? This year was not perfect, in fact it was far from perfect. But, as a school we strived for excellence. When I Googled the definition of excellence, it stated “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.”
In the year 2020 we were not perfect, but we did achieve excellence! Homyak staff, students, parents, and community were outstanding! Our teachers stepped up to the plate and taught both remotely and in person. Our custodians shined and sanitized and kept us safe. Our Superintendent and BOE members made tough calls and continued to put the needs of our students first. Our students were resilient and exceptional. Our parents were patient and understanding. Although we were not perfect, we were excellent!
I am looking forward to 2021 and continuing on our path towards excellence. I can't promise perfection and I don’t know how long this pandemic will continue to rock our world. What I can promise you is that I will continue to strive for excellence for our students.
Pre-K: Ellie Walters and Stacie Austin
Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful break! I am looking forward to seeing all of you and your sweet kiddos soon. We have a lot of fun in store for this month and lots of learning! We will be wrapping up our unit on food and explaining where food comes from, what healthy food choices are, and how we can buy food. We will also begin our neighborhood unit this month.
Due to the cold temperatures this month, we will meet inside everyday upon arrival to keep the kiddos warm with inside activities. :)
Thank you for all you do!
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN PRE-K?
Math: Children are learning about one to one correspondence, sorting, ordering numbers, shapes in the environment, and adding and subtracting small numbers.
Science: Students will learn about changes and states of matter and plant growth.
Writing: Children are learning and reinforcing best practices in pencil grip, posture, and letter formation. Also, students are continuing work on name writing.
Reading: We will continue our work with letter sounds, concept of print, and phonological awareness.
Kindergarten: Meaghan Page and Megan Hiatt
Kindergartners are ready to be back in-person for a fun month of learning. We are working hard to practice and reinforce Kindergarten phonics skills, as well as math concepts. We will be kicking off our Core Knowledge unit on Kings and Queens this month, which ties into fairy tales in a fun and engaging way! We are looking forward to a great month in our world of Kindergarten!
First Grade: Andrea Hart
Happy New Year! I am so excited we are back in person, the classroom was just not the same without my kiddos. This month we will be learning about Early People and Civilizations for Social Studies and we will finish off the month with Measurement in Science. We are going to be learning about place value in math using base ten blocks. We will jump back into our reading groups and keep that ball rolling. This will be a great month!
Second Grade: Alexis Fehringer and Danielle Kumaus
Welcome back to second grade, we couldn't be more excited to be back in person! The start of semester two in second grade will introduce a wide variety of folk tales including fables, fairy tales, myths and legends. Our focus will be on the moral of a story, story elements, and recalling details from the story. In math, we will continue to build on place value with double digit addition and subtraction. We will also revisit coins and money as it relates to addition and subtraction number stories. In science, students will conduct a wide variety of experiments to learn about the digestive system. In Social studies, second grade will continue along our historic timeline to learn about the Civil War.
Third Grade: Samantha Ciolino and Sarah Jacobs
We are so excited to have our students back in person. We will be starting the novel Bridge to Terabithia. We will look at how the characters change throughout the story. We will also begin talking about fractions in math by using pizzas. In science, we are going to be taking a closer look at the eye and ear to see how we see and hear.
Fourth Grade: Shelley Brenner and Teresa Ryley
A new year finds new learning in fourth grade! We will start a new science unit investigating waves with a lot of hands-on activities. In reading, students are going to be analyzing different folktales and their elements. Also, students will begin reading the next core novel, Treasure Island. Students will finish up their unit on figurative language and sensory writing, and will soon begin writing a new essay that is opinion based. Students are diving into adding and subtracting fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals for math. Additionally, students will work with line plots and different rotations of circles for geometry.
Fifth Grade: Sheri Lohmann
Happy New Year! We have so much coming up for the second half of this school year, and it’s so exciting! Here are some of the things that we will be doing this coming month.
Math: Students will be understanding that fractions are division and that division can be written like fractions. Then they will use visual models to express and support the addition and subtraction of fractions, as well as using estimation to check their answers for reasonableness. At-home information and support can be found at: https://everydaymath.uchicago.edu/parents/5th-grade/em4-at-home/unit_3/
Core Knowledge Literature: We will be reading the adaptation The Adventures of Don Quixote of the classic novel written by Miguel De Cervantes in 1605. Students will learn not only learn about the story and related vocabulary, but also how to write opinion and persuasive essays, write claims, and how to cite evidence and text in their writing.
Science: 5th Grade will be learning about Energy and Matter in Ecosystems, which includes learning about life processes, food chains, and the cycle of matter in an ecosystem.
Social Studies: The class will be diving into US Geography, learning about how the United States is made up of fifty states, which are often grouped into different regions; each region has its own geographic characteristics, such as climate and natural resources, culture, and other unique features that set it apart from other regions.
MS Team: Sara Jakobsen, Tatum Fjelstad, Jason Pflaum, Ben Whetsell
Welcome back! I hope that each of you enjoyed your break and are ready to start a new year (BYE 2020!!!!!). As we countdown the days to in person learning, your students will continue to explore different areas of study in the different subject areas.
Social Studies students are exploring the early civilizations of Mesoamerica. We are primarily focusing on the civilizations of the Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Inca. Eighth grade students are and will continue to be learning about the Revolutionary War.
Science students have been exploring Newton’s Laws, Earthquakes, and Chemical Bonds.
Math class is currently focusing their learning on Fractions, Mathematical Similarities, and Exponents.
English Language Arts has been studying the Great Depression using the novel Bud Not Buddy, looking at Slave Narratives and Frederick Douglas, and exploring the Themes of Fairness and Equality in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Physical Education Happenings: Nicole Stead
Happy New Year Homyak! I am so excited to have you back in the gym this month! With the cooler weather, and snow, please make sure to pack gym shoes on the weeks that you have P.E. It is very difficult to participate in class when you have snow boots that are wet, as some classes come straight to the gym from recess!
So you can plan according, these are the weeks that I will have each class -
- Jan. 11 - 15 → Ms. Hiatt, Ms. Kumaus, Mrs. Lohmann and 8th Grade
- Jan. 18 - 22 → Mrs. Hart, Ms Fehringer, Ms. Jacobs, Mrs. Ryley and 7th Grade
- Jan. 25 -29 → Mrs. Page, Ms, Ciolino, Mrs. Brenner and Ms. Fjelstad’s homeroom
Below is a little snapshot of what will be going on this month on our blue gym floor:
MIDDLE SCHOOL will be starting their basketball unit. Each student will receive their own basketball and they will use only their basketball throughout the week in different challenges and activities!
4TH AND 5TH GRADE will be continuing their soccer unit from November!
3RD GRADE will be starting their indoor tennis unit! Each student will have their own racquet as we work on different components of tennis through hand eye coordination and striking with an implement.
KINDER - 2ND GRADE will be starting their hockey unit. Each student will receive their own indoor hockey stick as we focus on activities and challenges related to dribbling, passing and shooting.
Learning Center Updates: Candace Uvalle
In the Learning Center, as students come back from winter break and remote learning, we will focus on gratitude for being back together at school! We'll review the reading, writing and math learned over the past few months and then dive into fun and new learning. Happy New Year, everyone! :)
Reading Intervention/English Language Development Teacher: Bobbi Baeza
Hello Families and Happy New Year! After a few weeks of remote learning and another couple of weeks of winter break, I sure am looking forward to seeing all my kids again. Our baby Homyak Huskies will continue to work on letters, sounds, fluency, letter and sight word recognition, and the foundational skills needed to become great readers. Our upper primary Homyak Huskies are using comprehension skills to understand what they are reading, and they are learning syllabication skills to help read and understand more complex words.
Middle school Homyak Huskies have been reading and working on comprehension skills using different novels. Fifth graders are reading Wish, and my middle school group just finished The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Now that we’ll be back in person, diving into these novels will be more meaningful, and we can continue to work on comprehension skills to help understand the stories in more depth.
My ELD students will start preparing for their ACCESS testing. I will be administering this four-part test during the last week of January. We will have a few weeks to get back into the swing of things in the classroom, and I hope to get each student ready to do his/her best.
Have a wonderful month! I am so excited to be back with my students.
Music Happenings: Kara Spitler-Job
January Music News
Elementary (Kindergarten- 5th)
In the elementary grades we have been doing a lot of practice with rhythms and play-alongs. Students are learning to read and play quarter notes, quarter rests, half notes, half rests and eighth notes. They are practicing playing different combinations of rhythmic patterns while keeping a steady beat to familiar songs. This has been a lot of fun! All elementary grades are continuing to build a repertoire of songs using ASL.
5th Grade & 8th Grade
Fifth and eighth grade students started a bucket drumming unit that we will be continuing. The Greeley Lowes store happily donated 25 buckets to Homyak for a classroom set of bucket drums! We are learning how to produce different sounds using sticks and buckets and playing different rhythmic patterns. Our goal is to create original compositions in small groups that we can perform for each other in class.
6th Grade & 7th Grade
During remote learning, middle school students had the opportunity to learn more about the elements of drama and music. We learned about the history of Music theater and how drama and music combined to create music theater in Ancient Greece. We also started learning about musical style and performance and applied what we learned in analyzing and evaluating a musical composition. We will be continuing work on our drama performances planned for this spring. The performances will be in a virtual format in hopes that we can share all the great talent and work we have put into our plays.
Art: Krystina Sanders
Hello Homyak families,
I’ve missed seeing my Homyak Huskies so much and I’m so excited to do art in person. Now that I can see students in person I will be focusing on art that is not accessible at home like our beloved clay.
A big thank you to families that ordered things off of Artsonia. With every purchase 20% goes back into the art program. This helps so much with my end of the year art projects. Thank you for all the support for the arts.
Library: Patty Garcia
The library books sure miss all of your cute faces! Make sure you are reading or someone is reading to you everyday! Let yourself get lost in a book and let the adventures begin. If you are returning to In-Person Learning make sure you bring your book(s) and return it to the library on Monday. Hope to see you soon!
School Psych: Dr. Lauren Hangee
I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful winter break and were able to take time off with your families to relax and recharge! As we head into 2021, I have mixed feelings of excitement and hope for a great year, and feeling a bit deflated that we are moving into a new year under the current circumstances with Covid. For coping through these difficult times, I wanted to share a few parenting and family resources that I have loved during these past few months.
The first is a great blog post from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which talks about ‘Exploring the Good’ https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-kindness-blog/2978-explore-the-good As we start a new year, the idea of looking for the good in our own lives, in our kids, and in our current circumstances really resonated with me!
The second is a clinical psychologist, Dr. Becky Kennedy, who’s work I have followed and loved for years. She offers extremely concrete, effective, and empathetic parenting strategies, that I can say from experience with my own toddler, actually work! Her blog and Instagram page provide tips and strategies for everything from meltdowns to how to talk with your teens about social media. I have personally learned a lot as a parent and fellow psychologist from her work! Attached is the link to her website, and her Instagram handle is @drbeckyathome. https://drbeckyathome.com/
We were able to continue our tradition partnering with the City of Dacono to light the holiday tree. The students did an excellent job with the sing along.
Homyak PTSA wishes you a Happy New Year! Please watch for the next PTSA meeting. You can sign up to be a PTSA member by emailing homyakPTSA@gmail.com and you will be notified directly of future meetings. Otherwise, check Facebook for meeting dates, times and other updates. We look forward to seeing you soon!
November/December Student of the Month
January 11th: In Person Learning begins
January 18th: District Closed No School
January 19th: No School for PK Students
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