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Upcoming Events

Book Tasting. Reservations Only

“Book Tasting. Reservations Only” read the sign on the door as the Aloha Pineapples filed into their classroom one Fall morning. They were greeted by the sight of a full-blown book café and their teacher, Ms. Aisling, transformed into ‘waitress’ for the morning.

In teacher-speak, it was a “mini room transformation.’ Aisling had ‘set the stage to engage’ — decorating the room, dressing up as a waitress and even playing background café music.

Students perused the six ‘tasting’ tables, each introducing a different genre of books from the classroom library – biography, historical fiction, series books, and others. They were armed with a menu and an opportunity to ‘taste’ books at each table. After a few minutes exploring a particular table, ‘café customers’ completed book tasting notes, describing one of the books from the table that they might be interested in reading. By the end of the tasting, students had developed a list of books to try out this school year.

The remainder of their café time was spent reflecting on books, discussing their newfound interests with other ‘patrons’, and building excitement for the year to come. At closing time, it was time to say “aloha” to Aisling’s café and a memorable book tasting event.

 
              

 
 

Enrollment Starts Jan. 23 for New School Year

Easy Online Registration. Extended Hours for Those Needing Assistance.

Campbell Union School District’s elementary and middle school registration starts Tue., Jan. 23, 2018, and the process will be almost paperless.

“We’re excited about the advantages of the online process,” said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “Parents will gain the convenience of doing most of the process online, ability to check the status of their registration on demand, and assurance that the school has immediate access to the contact information entered into the system.” Parents still will need to bring some official documents, like birth certificates, to the enrollment desk for verification, she added.

  • To enroll children in any of the District’s award-winning elementary or middle schools, or in its new TK-8 Campbell School of Innovation, go to www.campbellusd.org/enrollment.
  • School tour dates are posted online: Tour schedules
  • For the 2018-19 school year, current 4th grade students will remain at their current elementary school for 5th grade.  Parents of current 5th graders at elementary schools will receive information about middle school placement before January 23.

Special services are available for those needing assistance with the online process:

  • The Enrollment staff and public-access computers will be available for special Open Enrollment hours from Jan. 23 through Mar. 16, 2018*, to assist people with their registration.
      • 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Mondays and Wednesdays
      • 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 
  • Campbell Union School District’s Enrollment Office is located at 155 N. Third Street, near downtown Campbell. 24-hour phone information: 408-341-7276 (English) or 408-341-7277 (Spanish)

*NOTE: The office is closed February 19-23.

Campbell Union School District is a preschool through eighth grade public school district with a variety of educational options, including traditional school settings, a Dual Language Immersion program, a Parent Participation school, home schooling, and the new TK-8 Campbell School of Innovation. All Campbell Union School District schools offer visual and performing arts instruction, before and after-school programs, and parent education/involvement opportunities. The elementary schools have full day kindergarten and district-operated preschool classes.

Ben Franklin and Germs

By Lisa, Village School Parent

“When do Centers start?”

“Yay, we have Centers this week!”

“I got to go to Gardening (or Ceramics, or Lego Engineering, or you name it…) today!”

“I LOVE Centers!!!”

These are phrases teachers, parents and volunteers routinely hear about Centers, with kids’ enthusiasm (even glee) showing how fun, hands-on projects and activities spark their natural curiosity, with valuable, real-world learning occurring along the way.

Each year, Village offers approximately eight different Centers for upper and lower grades respectively, and students provide input into their top choices. These are unique curriculums developed and led by parents with teacher guidance. Kids attend in small, mixed age groups, rotating either every four weeks (Grades K–2) or every six (Grades 3–5).

In 2014, our Centers program was instrumental in helping Village win the California Distinguished School Award. Centers officially adopted the acronym STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) in 2015, to emphasize that in addition to having fun, students are learning STEAM concepts and putting them into action.

Getting Centers up and running this year took a bit of extra effort after the unexpected departure of Angel, a dedicated parent volunteer — and veteran Centers organizer extraordinaire Stephanie stepped in. Stephanie said, “the work is all worth it when I go into the classrooms at the beginning of the year to tell students about the Centers options, and I am consistently greeted with enthusiasm and gratitude for this unique program. It’s all about the kids!” Many parents and caregivers also generously give their time, sometimes leading or assisting more than one Center or changing their preferred shift day to help. It takes over 60 volunteers each year to keep Centers going. In addition to all the Centers leads and assistants, Stephanie said, “several other people need to be acknowledged – supervisors Louise and Kelli, lower grade day manager Allie, and Teachers Elizabeth and Aisling, who support the program over the year, all play important roles and go above and beyond to make Centers successful.”

We hope to highlight a few Centers with each issue of this year’s Village Voice. Here, we spotlight two new Centers:
 

Ben Franklin Center, Lower Grades (K–2)

Students in the Ben Franklin Center get to delve into the life of an unusually well-rounded, fascinating, and accomplished person from history, similar to last year’s Leonardo da Vinci Center. “Each week we explore a different ‘career’ of Ben Franklin, learning about Franklin as a scientist, inventor, writer/publisher, and what I call a ‘Super Citizen,’” said parent lead Veronica, who developed both Centers. The goal is to “inspire the kids to be amazing and teach some math, science, art, history and social concepts along the way.”

The Ben Franklin Center has a flexible curriculum that can change according to the group’s interest. “The biggest challenge is narrowing down the list of possible lessons and activities,” said Veronica. So far, both students and Center leads particularly enjoyed playing with electricity, which included creating a loop to light an LED, and an experiment with static electricity and a balloon. Conrad said, “I love it when Centers have science!” during this session. Mackenzie really enjoyed “when you rub the balloon on your head and then hold it by the pepper and salt, and the pepper sticks to the balloon but not the salt because of static electricity.” After learning about Franklin’s famous kite experiment with electricity and lightning, students also made kites and flew them over the field (without the lightning, of course).

Ben Franklin was the 1st Post Master General for the U.S., so the Village mail service is incorporated into each week’s activities. Other projects include candle making and writing a student version of “Poor Richard’s Almanac.” 


Germs, Mutants and Genes, Upper Grades (3–5)

Can you guess which surface around Village School has the greatest variety of growing bacteria?

Students sought the answer to this intriguing question in the first few weeks of this new Center. Parents and Center leads Kristy, an entomologist, and Ali, a biologist, developed the curriculum for Germs, Mutants and Genes.

During week one, students used sterilized swabs to collect samples of bacteria from several locations they chose around our Village campus. In Ali’s group, these locations included Village Secretary Becky’s door knob, the floor and a toilet of the girl’s bathroom, the equipment room door handle, the field, the bottom of a shoe, and the sandbox. Last, they decided they needed a swab of the inside of someone’s mouth, and Teacher Aisling graciously volunteered for this (perhaps overly-revealing) task.

After collecting their samples, students placed them in prepared petri dishes where they grew for a week in the dark. The students wrote down hypotheses about bacteria growth, with many thinking that the samples from the bathrooms would win the variety contest.

Before viewing their samples in week two, the group learned the basics of compound microscopes, including how to carry them, how to focus the lenses, and that you should keep both eyes open to avoid eye strain. They practiced these skills in pairs looking at pieces of string under their microscopes. Everyone became immersed in this activity. Aiden said, “Even a piece of string looks interesting up close!”

Ali then re-focused the students on their question from the previous week: “Which surface around Village School contains the most kinds of bacteria?” They spent time viewing their samples under the microscopes, with a few rather surprising results. Yes, Becky’s doorknob and the toilet contained the most types of bacteria, and so did the sandbox. But the least variety of bacteria was on the floor of the girl’s bathroom! “What can you infer from that information?” Ali asked. After some discussion, the students decided, “Mr. Fred cleans the floor every day.”

As far as Teacher Aisling’s mouth, the results were unimpressive, but Ali and the group conspired to inform her that of all chosen locations on campus, she did indeed did have the greatest variety of bacteria growing there. This drew chuckles from passers-by Becky and Principal David (who also jumped in and looked through the microscope). We hope that if Ms. Aisling is still under this unfortunate impression, she will be relieved to learn the truth!

In another recent session of Germs, Mutants and Genes, students learned about cell biology, discovering the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells. Kristy said, “The students created three inch cells with shrinky dink paper. I then baked the colored cells and they shrunk to one inch size. Fun fact – a circle one inch in diameter can hold over one million cells!”

Future lessons include genetics, extracting DNA from strawberries, and evolution. “My hope for this Center is that the kids will get to experience life at a microscopic level. One thing I’m really looking forward to is teaching them about DNA and natural selection,” said Kristy. Ali said that in addition to taking away information from the lessons, “I hope they will learn to love biology.”  


STEAM Centers 2017–2018

Lower Grade Centers (K–2)
Ancient Rome 
Ben Franklin 
Agriculture/Gardening 
Lego Engineering 
Outdoor Games 
Outdoor Photography 
Travel and Adventure 
Spies 

Upper Grade Centers (3–5)
Native Americans 
Roller Coaster Design 
Germs, Mutants and Genes 
Ceramics 
Brain Power/Games 
Agriculture/Gardening 
Pinterest Art 
Outdoor Games 

Truth as Great as Fiction

By Lisa, Village School Parent & Library Team Member

“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” — Kate DiCamillo


New Books in the Village Library

For those of us on the Library Team, nothing puts smiles on our faces more than connecting with students and helping them find books they love, books they can read purely for enjoyment.

And some of you might be surprised to learn that for many kids reading nonfiction is fun! So we are very glad to say that we were able to add about 200 new nonfiction books to the library this year. These titles are flying off the shelves, and are also wildly popular when read aloud. A few weeks ago, entire class groups were riveted, sitting quietly and at complete attention, while listening to a biography called Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu. Some students were still thinking about the book at the end of the day, excitedly sharing what they had learned and enjoyed with parents at pick-up time — for example, the interesting factoid that Grace Hopper was the first person to call computer glitches “bugs” after an actual bug caused a problem in her computer! Another book, This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids around the World by Matt Lamothe, captures the details of a single day in the real lives of families from around the globe, highlighting differences but also what we all have in common. This is a perfect “read-together” book to enjoy side-by-side with a child, poring over and discussing the pictures. We have new books about animals with quirky facts such as Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of by Martin Brown. We have Kid Athletes by David Stabler and Doogie Horner, about challenges famous athletes faced growing up, written with humor, heart, and detailed cartoon illustrations. We even have an awesome new series called Science Comics on topics like dinosaurs, coral reefs, and bats. And we have many, many more fascinating picture book biographies.

These are just a few examples of how well-written nonfiction can inform, delight, and open new doors for kids, and pave the way for critical thinking skills increasingly necessary to understand the complexities of our world. So ask your child about what they are reading or listening to from the Village Library, and the next time you find yourself in the public library together, be sure to check out the nonfiction section!


Resources

Here are a few resources we have to share on nonfiction and on supporting kids’ enjoyment of reading:

Reading Rockets: Nonfiction
I Love Libraries: Reading Together
Reading Rockets: What To Do When Reading Is Too “Sitty”
Scholastic: Raise Children Who Read for Fun

Also, we want to hear from you — we are here to assist parents as well as students. What challenges do you have in your home around your kids and reading? You can email us with any questions or concerns at library [at] villagehub.org, talk to us at school, or you are always welcome to visit us in the Village Library. 

 
Book Covers 

   

 
 

Bound for Success: Rising Young Author

By Jennifer R., Village School Parent

 

Now in it’s 15th year, the Campbell Union School District (CUSD) Rising Young Author awards recognize a talented group of twelve young students whose short stories, essays, research papers and poems demonstrate excellent writing and go beyond the expected. Entries were chosen from hundreds entered in the District’s Annual Writing Faire, and judges chose one author per school from grades 3 through 7.

Superintendent Dr. Shelly Viramontez explains the Rising Young Author program “is a signature event for CUSD because it profiles the relevant and real world learning experiences our students are engaged in as part of their learning process. Students have the opportunity to be honored for their hard work, perseverance and talent. Writing and communication are lifelong skills.”

Last year, Taylor, a fourth-grader at Village School, penned “My Name Is Cumulus,” exploring facts about clouds. Taylor’s story follows the character Cumulus from birth throughout his lifetime and you even get to meet his family!

Read Taylor’s Book

The awards ceremony and book signing took place at Barnes & Noble on Steven’s Creek and it was standing room only, full of family and friends. In Oscar-like fashion, Dr. Viramontez introduced each author and presented the awards with a video highlighting their story.

Taylor shared her story with the audience about how she came up with the idea to write a story about clouds from science class. She also signed copies for fans. Taylor said it was exciting to have her work published.

 

An interview with Taylor:

What is your story about?
It is called My Name Is Cumulus. My story is about a cloud that tells the reader facts about clouds in personification.

WWhat types of stories do you like to write and why?
I like to write all different kinds of stories, but my favorite is to write fiction stories because I like making it up as I go along.

What are you working on now?
In class we are writing personal narratives.

How do you handle “writer’s block”? What advice would you give to someone who struggles with writing?
I would usually go talk to my friends, and I recommend if you’re struggling with writer’s block you should to go talk to your friends too.

Tell me about when you learned about receiving the Rising Young Author award.
I wasn’t really sure what was going on, like I didn’t even know what the program was, but when I figured out what the program was, I was really excited.

 

Village School teacher Aisling commented, “I’m really proud of Taylor. I try to encourage my students to write about what they know. That’s where they’re going to find their best stories. It helps them to discover what they’re really passionate about and then they can go deeper.”

Congratulations on your inspiring work, Taylor! You’re a rockstar!