Koan School Newsletter - October 2014
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 1 IN THIS ISSUE Hello parents, students, faculty and friends of the Koan School! We have successfully…
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 1
IN THIS ISSUE
Hello parents, students, faculty and
friends of the Koan School!
We have successfully completed the first
six weeks of the 2014-2015 school year.
To the students, we thank you for all your
hard work learning many new subjects,
helping us get into the groove with the
new classes and buildings, and generally
being awesome. We have some of the
greatest teachers in the world (and
Texas) working here at Koan, facilitating
our kids’ learning every day.
To the parents and community, we very
much appreciate your being willing to
support our school by volunteering your
time, donating money to keep us up and
running, and talking to others in the
community about what we do here at
Koan. We love having you in the school
and if you would like to visit, please make
sure to have an appointment so that we
can keep the kids learning with as few
disruptions as possible.
So far, we have traveled around the DFW
area, learning about art, science, history,
dance, gardening, and many more
subjects, learning firsthand from the
experts we have available to us out in the
world. That will continue in the next six
weeks with further visits and great
learning experiences. Let us know if you
have any ideas for supporting our kids’
learning in the community through
projects that the kids could be involved
Thanks for all your hard work and
Scott & Heather
Welcome to the School Year!
Lower Elementary Update
Le Coin Francais | French Corner
Upper Elementary Newsletter
Middle School Fun
Adventures in High Schooling
Ways you can help Koan School
SAVE YOUR BOTTLE CAPS
Koan School, led by art teacher Katie
Kernan, is putting together a mural for the
City of Denton Recycling Center out of old
bottle caps. Give your bottle caps to
Soline, Scott, or Heather and help with
this awesome project!
Welcome to the 2014 – 2015 School Year!
2014 Volume 1
Dear parents, students, faculty and friends of the Koan School,
We have successfully completed the first six weeks of the 2014‐2015 school
year. To the students, we thank you for all your hard work learning many new
subjects, helping us get into the groove with the new classes and buildings, and
generally being awesome. We have some of the greatest teachers in the world
(and Texas) working here at Koan, facilitating our kids’ learning every day.
To the parents and community, we very much appreciate your willingness to
support our school by volunteering your time, donating money to keep us up
and running, and talking to others about what we do here at Koan. We love
coming to school every day, and we hope you do, too.
So far this school year, we have traveled around the DFW area, learning about
art, science, history, dance, gardening, and many more subjects, learning
firsthand from the experts we have available to us out in the world. That will
continue in the next six weeks with further visits and great learning
experiences. Let us know if you have any ideas for supporting our kids’ learning
in the community through projects that the kids could be involved with.
Thanks for all your hard work and support!
Scott & Heather
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 2
Our Lower Elementary students are exploring local
and global sustainability beginning with the
choices they make at home and at school. They are
maintaining a food garden at Koan and will be
traveling to Meador Nursery soon to search for
plants that attract butterflies. The students are
volunteering and learning at local farms. Cardo’s
Farm Project hosted our first service project this
year. They visited Earthwise this week, and
explored the community garden at Shiloh Field that
donates its food to local food banks and the
preschool children at Fred Moore Day School.
The students are recycling, reusing, and
composting at Koan. They visited SCRAP off the
square and made crafts from reused materials.
They decorated their own reuse box to take to their
classroom to keep usable items out of the landfill.
The students also went on an extensive tour of the
Denton landfill and recycling center that included
visiting their bee boxes and butterfly garden. They
came back to the classroom discussing ways in
which we can reduce the amount of trash we
produce in the first place.
In addition to building skills in language and math,
the Lower Elementary class is learning about the
cultures and civilizations of the many indigenous
people of North and South America.
Our students are progressing very well in French. Their
vocabulary is growing rapidly. They are learning new
words and expressions every week! By now, they all know
their numbers (up to 12 or more), colors, different ways
to greet people, as well as a couple of French songs.
In recent weeks, the Elementary students have learned
names for animals and vocabulary related to seasons.
You can admire their artwork in the hallway. Upper
Elementary children got to work in the garden and
planted winter vegetables in the front parking lot. When
you have the chance, check out the planters and see what
The Middle School and High School students have
learned to talk about the weather, ask simple questions,
and, more importantly, have survived their first French
grammar lesson on masculine and feminine! We have
also been enjoying watching the adventures of my
French relatives traveling through South America in an
RV thanks to the short videos they posted on Vimeo. You
can view all of those videos at:
In the coming weeks, we will be studying French food and
hopefully try our hands at French cooking!
Lower Elementary Update
by Jeanne Webb
The Lower Elementary students visit
City of Denton Recycling Center.
Le Coin Francais | French Corner
by Soline D’Haussy
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 3
Dallas Heritage Village
Check out this fancy house at the Dallas
Heritage Village. It was owned by a
farmer who grew cotton and corn.
What a big heart you have!
Ready to present our heart project to
the other classes. We were awesome!
THIS MONTH IN PICTURES
Upper Elementary Newsletter
by Kay Treacher
Word work: 25 words ‐ we
chose 25 words and then
made crazy phrases with
It has been a busy first few weeks in the upper elementary class. We’ve been
working hard on our math facts, word work, and reading. Emily comes in
every week to help us with language arts. We are reading and exploring Alice
in Wonderland. We are also having fun learning French with Soline, theatre
arts with Leslie, and fine art with Katie.
Our main project work has been about the heart. The students presented
their work on the anatomy of the heart to the other classes. You can see their
enormous heart outside our classroom. During the last couple of weeks we
have been learning about exercise and foods that keep our hearts healthy.
Next, we are going to look at how and where our food is grown. At the end
of September, we visited an Alpaca Ranch to see one example of farming in
Texas. At the beginning of October, we visited the Dallas Heritage Museum
to see how people grew their food in the late 1880s and early 1900s.
Please come by the classroom
before or after school to see our
heart and presentation booklet and
some of our work displayed on the
In the next few weeks we’re looking
forward to investigating where our
food comes from, activities for
Halloween and Thanksgiving, and
to preparing for our end of semester
Upper Elementary students
enjoying a trip to a local Alpaca
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 4
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about Giving Hope, Inc. visit:
Middle School Fun!
by Amanda Newton
Almost all of the students in the middle school class
are new to Koan this year. We have spent much of our
time so far getting to know each other: our likes and
dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, our interests and
The girls have begun taking a ballet class with Leslie at
Greenspace. They are becoming more graceful by the
second, all while getting lots of great exercise! They
also started learning a spooky dance to Michael
Jackson’s Thriller. If your family goes to the Day of the
Dead festival in Denton this year, your student will be
well prepared for joining the zombie flash mob!
In theater, the students have started learning their
lines for Star Wars Shakespeare. It is going to be out
of this world! Zelda has introduced the students to the
marvelous world of machine sewing. The kids are
getting comfortable with setting up the machines and
have some creative sewing projects planned.
Alana Presley helped our students calculate their
ecological footprint. This footprint activity really
opened our eyes to the effects our daily actions have
on the world. It also tied into our lessons on the “Story
of Stuff”, during which we learned about the
ecological footprints of different products. In October,
we will be learning all about food. October 24th is
National Food Day!
In Art, Katie and the students have talking about positive and
negative space, shading, and contrasting colors. In French,
we have been learning the basics. We even created our own
people and labeled their clothes and body parts in French!
Koan kids love their community, so we are putting together a
collection drive for clothing and hygiene products this month.
The students admire the services Giving Hope Inc. provides
for people experiencing or at‐risk of homelessness. On
Oct.15, we are partnering with the OSDH & CP’s Social Run
to collect items for Giving Hope, Inc.
For event information, visit:
Back in the classroom, George continues
to take us through the pillars of
civilization in Social Studies. In English,
we will be completing our first book
report of the year soon. We can’t wait to
see the book covers the kiddos will be
Middle Schoolers calculating their
ecological footprints with Alana
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 5
September was a busy month for the
High School students! In addition to
setting up our space, we began
discussing the culture of our school
and the responsibilities we all have to
contribute and help each other in our
learning. We discussed constructive
feedback and doing multiple drafts of
our work so that we can improve and
create work that is important to us
and that makes us proud.
In science, we investigated a curious
termite behavior, and we developed
experiments using shell‐less eggs to
observe the movement of materials
in and out of the cell membrane. We
will keep learning the types and parts
of cells as we work on our creative
presentations that we will be sharing
over the next few weeks.
Our AP Biology students made a
great stop‐motion video to teach us
the processes of dehydration
synthesis and hydrolysis. The
students have also all successfully
written their first lab reports! I have
been so impressed with the
professionalism of our biology
presentations, and the fantastic
critical feedback that our scientific
community gives as they carefully
consider the evidence presented
before developing consensus.
In English, we finished our first book
of the year, Lord of the Flies, which
we connected to our government
discussions with George, including
some great parallels the students
made between the book and the
social philosophers Thomas Hobbes
and John Locke.
During Christopher's guest class, we
traced some linguistic history and
explored the lasting impact that
William the Conqueror and the Battle
of Hastings (1066) had on the
language that we speak. We also
played some rousing games of
Geoguessr, a game that uses Google
maps to drop the player anywhere in
the world, during which we had to
look for clues to guess where we
We had two teams tackle a full
practice problem in Future Problem
Solving. Two teams of four students
each read a futuristic scene involving
the future of social media, thought of
potential problems, chose a
significant one, and developed
creative solutions for topics like
“finding ways to improve cyber
security”. Soon, we will begin
researching the next topic, Processed
We took a field trip to the Fish N'
Chirps pet store to practice our
French animal/color vocabulary. We
have also been visiting local parks
and recreation centers for exercise
and to train for an eventual French
field trip to do "accrobranche" (a high
ropes obstacle course, using safety
We are excited about all of the events
that are coming up, including our
two‐day Global Gateway experience
at Heifer International Ranch in
Arkansas where the students will be
assigned to a village site representing
areas such as Zambia, Thailand or
HIGH SCHOOL AT A GLANCE
These High Schoolers are learning all about
robotics and programming.
Do termites follow pen lines on paper because of
the color? The smell? The texture? What’s your
Adventures in High Schooling
by Tiffany Fuhrmann
We tried our hands at 3D printing last month. In
the future, we want to learn more about 3D
modeling and how to build our own 3D scanner!
NEWSLETTER | October 2014 6
There are many easy ways to help Koan School fundraise.
Link your Kroger and Target cards and Amazon accounts
to our school. A percentage of your purchases will go to
Do you collect Boxtops or Labels for Education? Bring
them in! We will send our first batch on October 31st.
Are old ink cartridges or small electronics cluttering up
your house? Donate them to Koan! Your trash stays out
of the landfill and earns treasure for our school.
Also, we are officially tax‐exempt now! Encourage your
friends and family members to make a tax‐deductible
contribution, or see if your employer participates in a
matching funds charity program.
Ways you can help Koan School…