Vestavia Hills Elementary Central held its annual Random Acts of Kindness Week during the week of February 13-17. It was SUCH a fun week at VHEC! We extended an “optional” opportunity for all classes to select a community project for VHEC’s 1st Annual “SERVE MONTH” and almost every class participated. Below is a list of some of the awesome things that have been happening to show kindness in Vestavia this month:
McDonald’s Class: Thank-you basket of snacks and treats for Vestavia FireStation 1
Bryan, J. Williams and Hurt’s Class: Thank-you basket of snacks and treats for Vestavia Fire Station 2
Denton, Graham, Bradshaw’s Class: Thank-you basket of snacks and treats for Vestavia Fire Station 3
D’Anna, Self, Graham, Sleeper and Deneke’s class: Cards for Chateau Vestavia Nursing home (Mrs. D’Anna’s class will be delivering these cards personally next week!)
Kellogg, Grammas, Smith, Knain, Johnston and Luccasen’s class: Thank-you basket of snacks and goodies for the Vestavia Police Dept.
Calagaz, Sullivan, Fulton, Darnall, Pettway, Price, Visram, Vickers, Lawrence, Gililland: Homeless Love Kits for 1st Light Homeless Shelter for Women and Children
Snable and Jacob’s Class: Donations and Dog toys for the Humane Society
It has been such an amazing month where all of our students have caught the “Serve Others Love Bug.” We are so proud of our students for their random acts of kindness!
— Submitted by Kellie Knight, school counselor at Vestavia Hills Elementary Central.
On Friday, February 10th, the second graders at Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights participated in their first AMSTI ROCK DAY. The students rotated through four stations that consisted of brick making, clay beads, sand sculptures, and sand paper exploration. Each second grade teacher taught a rotation that involved wonderful hands on learning. The students returned to their homeroom for a time of reflection. After a class debriefing the students recorded their learning in their AMSTI science journals. The day wrapped up with a ROCK DAY treat which consisted of layering wonderful goodies that represented silt, sand, gravel, pebbles, cobblestone, and boulders. Rock Day was a hit and we cannot wait until next year!
Second Grade Teachers: Lindsay Johnson, Carmen Sullivan, Sharon Moon, Encia Nether
Ella Stephens placed FIRST in this year’s Alabama Arbor Day Poster Contest. She and her family are invited to participate in a tree planting ceremony on the Capitol grounds with Guy Hunter, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources. Ella will be asked to give a 1-2 speech on “Why Arbor Day is Important to Me”, then will join the 2nd & 3rd place winners for the tree planting.
The poster contest was open to all 5th graders in the state. VHEC students were encouraged to participate in the contest by Visual Arts Specialist Susie Caffey. After learning about the history of Arbor Day, discussing the importance of trees in our environment, and looking at trees in works of art, students designed their own posters. A school-wide contest was held and one winner was declared from each of the seventeen 5th grade classes at VHEC. Ella’s artwork was selected to represent the school and sent to Anniston to be judged in the State Contest.
The artwork by the other seventeen winners from VHEC is prominently displayed in the school during the month of February. Arbor Day is celebrated the last week of February in Alabama. Each state celebrates at a time when it is appropriate to plant trees in that region.
VHECH students enjoyed purchasing flowers and cookies for their favorite faculty members on Valentine’s Day. With the help of two teams from VHHS, “Breast Friends” and “Purple Nurple”, students raised over $550 to benefit Relay for Life.
We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous donations, Publix on Overton, Pulblix on 31 in Vestavia, Flowerbuds, Continental Florist, Halls, and Western on Rocky Ridge.
Liberty Park Middle School students were recognized last week at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's annual Blood Drop Banquet. LPMS students were the number-two fundraising school for 2016 in the Alabama and Florida/Gulf Coast LLS Chapter. Currently, LPMS is the number 1 fundraising school for 2017. However, there are a number of schools who are making it their goal to beat us. This is a great compliment to the giving nature of our student body and parents.
— Submitted by Tre' Munger, a school counselor at Liberty Park Middle School.
This academic year, students at Vestavia Hills Elementary East (VHEE) are getting a fresh look at science. “The Alabama Science Course of Study calls for more hands-on, active learning than ever before,” said Dr. Mark Richardson, principal at VHEE. “Our school has added even more opportunities for children to gather data, form hypotheses, conduct experiments, and design as engineers. All of these activities are designed to not only teach basic science concepts, but also to show our students how scientists and engineers approach questions and problems in the real world.”
All teachers were trained in the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) and are using hands-on modules from this training, as well as other resources such as the Mystery Science website. Third graders recently tested gravity by designing a path to drop a small object and then redesign the path to make the object fall more quickly in a second test. In second grade, students focus on earth materials and how they can be most effectively used based on their properties. They observe and test several different types of materials, from wood to rubber and paper to metal, by building towers and bridges using a variety of the materials. First graders study light and sound, experimenting with shadows, refraction of light, and creating a drop chamber to help students differentiate between varieties of sounds. Kindergartners recently became weather engineers to design and construct shade structures for “friendly monsters” that needed shade on a hot day. After the structures were completed, students tested them outside using thermometers to record the temperature on top of the structures and then underneath the structures after 10 minutes. If the temperature was cooler under the shade structure, it was a success!
“I absolutely love the new STEM-related curriculum that we are expanding this year,” said second grade teacher Jason Cooper. “I really feel like my students are getting a firmer grasp on scientific content and principles rather than just remembering some facts related to science. The great thing is that they love the hands-on component, and they also learn from both failures and successes through reflection and observation. It really is a wonderful lesson for many areas of their learning.”
“STEM-based activities have provided wonderful experiences for our students to enhance their curiosity and overall interest in learning,” said Kindergarten teacher Lauren Richey. “We are creating life-long learners through this discovery process, and it has been truly profound to witness.”
Congratulations to Pizitz Robotics Team A! Amrita Arora, Nancy Chen, Madison Johnson, and Becca Maddox make up the ONLY ALL-GIRLS middle school team in the state of Alabama. This weekend they made it to the finals and received an Excellence and Design award. They are now qualified to compete at the state competition at Jacksonville State University on March 4th. Girl Power!
Teams A, E, and F have also qualified for the state competition. During the robotics competitions, students are interviewed about their robots, turn in engineering notebooks, show off their driving and programming skills, and join alliances with other teams as they compete on the field. Pizitz's robotics teams work really hard each time they compete. There are 103 robotics teams in the state of Alabama and only 35 of them are middle school. Of those 35, only a handful of middle school teams compete. Which means Pizitz competes against high school students on a regular basis.
Congratulations to Louis Pizitz Middle School student Cecilia Kong for earning Honorable Mention recognition in the Superintendent’s Visual Arts Exhibit. Cecilia earned the award for her piece titled "Looking Up," which she created using watercolor paint.
Congratulations to the VHHS Varsity Scholars' Bowl team for a big win in their division at district competition today (Friday, Feb.10) at Jefferson State Community College. Now on to regionals March 4. Photo: Coach Jane Schaefer, Richard Fu, Patrick Thomley, Brain Young, Walter Zheng, and Trey Colburn.
Three of West’s first grade classes learned about the Chinese New Year in a special way. Ashlee Hughes, Aarin Mitchell, and Janay Rowell invited parents of their students to share facts about this Chinese holiday. The parents planned interactive activities that immersed the students in the language and traditions. The student learned about the food and customs during Chinese New Year. They also learned about the Chinese Zodiac and discovered their own animal for the year they were born. Students drew and cut out a rooster for the Year of the Rooster (2017). Students also had fun practicing using chopsticks and trying Chinese cookies and candy.
— Submitted by Susan McCall, Assistant Principal at Vestavia Hills Elementary West.