This Week at Westside: May 22-26

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With less than two weeks left in the school year, student’s are working hard on their final projects and presentations for EOL, Spring Flings or Showcases, and also getting out to enjoy the sunshine! Here are a few snapshots from around our community this week.

To see more of what the students have been working on, come check out these events:

Tuesday, May 30
5:30-6:15 p.m. Seventh and Eighth Grade Exhibition of Learning (EOL)
6:30-7:30 p.m. Middle School Showcase

Wednesday, May 31
8:15-9:00a.m. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Coffee in the Gallery
9:00-9:30a.m. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Spring Fling Performance

Thursday, June 1. 
6:30-7:30pm. Lower School Spring Fling Performance


Second grade celebrates Salmon and Kindergarten creates Hands of Love!

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2nd Auction Art 2

Second Grade Art Project

Salmon Celebration

Each year, second grade spends time learning about salmon in the Pacific Northwest. In line with their studies, each student wrote a poem about salmon as well as used their artistic skills to create decorative paper fish. Each fish, along with samples of the poems, were placed together to create a beautiful painting celebrating togetherness and the focus of their studies, salmon.

Thank you, Jen Howe and Margery Lamden!

K Auction Art

Kindergarten Art Project

Hands of Love

Kindergarten artists used their drawing skills to contribute unique tiles composed of their favorite colors and mediums. The tiles were then mounted in the shape of “hands of love”, resulting in a beautiful piece about collaboration, peace, and love.

Thank you, Leslie Buckley, Jen Howe and Margery Lamden!

Popular class art projects return for Auction!

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Lower School students, grades pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, have worked hard on this year’s Auction Art Projects. Get ready to bid!

The third grade has been studying Pacific Northwest Coast designs, looking at the totem poles, and Pacific Northwest Coast art. They have read folktales and legends exploring the relationship First Peoples had with animals. Their auction project is a collection of animal totems drawn by the students. These are paired with words that express the character attributes associated with the animals that students feel are character strengths we observe and admire in our animal friends.

Prompting kids to dream about what they want to be when they grow up helps them think about more than just the present. For the first grade art project, each student was professionally photographed while expressing their own unique personality. They were then asked to think about what they want to be when they grow up. The resulting piece is a framed picture celebrating each student and their collective aspirations.

Visualizing the world of Suessical Jr.! in Technical Theater class

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In the first few weeks of Technical Theatre, a Middle School Exploratory class at Westside School, the crew has been visualizing the first scene of the wonderful world of Seussical Jr.! They started out by listening to, and reading the script to get ideas of what the stage would look like, such as colors, lights, backdrop, and more.

The students were also tasked with which technical roles they wanted to play in making the musical come to life, these roles include costumes, props, makeup and other parts of technical theatre.

The project that all the students are doing is making a model of the first scene, and they had to imagine how big every prop was and if those props were going to be portable or not. It was a way for everyone to imagine and suggest what the musical might look like visually. A lot of mistakes were made during this visual experience but the students were able to use their creativity and problem solving skills to fix unwanted results.

Thank you to Lenin, a member of this class, for contributing this piece

Fourth grade ventures to the Washington State History Museum

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Westside School fourth grade students spent the day in Tacoma at the Washington State History Museum as part of their study of Washington State History and Geography. The students participated in the History Lab portion of the Museum which guided them through a study of the Mt. St. Helens eruption in May 1980 as well as a scavenger hunt of Washington State history.
Before driving home, both classes walked across the bridge from the Washington State History Museum to the Chihuly Museum where they saw the amazing glass creations that are part of the art installation on the bridge as well as having an opportunity to get the wiggles out before the long drive home.

From Acting to Improv, Beats to Breaks – Middle School students take the stage this spring

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Middle School Performing Arts

News & Calendar, spring 2016


Pitch Perfect

This a cappella vocal ensemble class is working very hard with Sue on three challenging pieces of music for our Spring Showcase. In addition, students have been utilizing technology to create a cappella pieces using an a cappella iPad app. Students are developing a wonderful sound and are excited to share with you in June!  

Keep acting

Acting & Improv

We have been super busy in class reading several award winning one act plays and have finally decided upon 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview. Recently auditions were held and Sue has decided the cast. Students look forward to presenting their work in April.


Beats & Breaks

We have been having fun experimenting with different types of street dancing including breakdancing, shuffling, robotics, pop and locking, and liquid dancing. Students have begun learning choreography for the upcoming showcases and the students have been given the opportunity to participate in the dances they feel most drawn to (in hopes they will choose at least two to perform in.)

Dancing II

So You Think You Can Dance

This class is based on learning how to create your own choreography. In the beginning of the semester students learned multiple different choreographic devices through experimenting with action words to inspire our movement, performing something in retrograde (from the last movement to the first; reverse order), and deconstructing a piece (taking the same movements and putting them in a different order). Students have begun learning dances choreographed by Sophia, and the class is just starting to move into student choreography for the upcoming Spring Showcases. Student choreographers auditioned their dances with Sophia and then held their own mini auditions for recruiting dancers from the class. Each student will be in at least two dances led by Sophia, and two dances led by peers.

Music II

Beginning Instrumental Ensemble

Beginning Ensemble has been working hard and making consistent progress toward performing four songs for the Spring Showcase. In addition to developing individual skills on various instruments, the students are getting a chance to experience the challenging thrill of playing as a large ensemble while working together toward a common goal. We can’t wait to share these songs with you all in June!


Advanced Instrumental Ensemble

Advanced Ensemble has continued refining their skills and honing their craft as a group this winter. Working toward performing four songs at the Spring Showcase, this group has been challenging themselves to pay attention to little details and to push themselves out of their comfort zones with regard to the difficulty of their parts. Many of them are taking initiative and composing their own arrangements for the songs, both individually and collaboratively in small ensembles. The end result of their hard work is sure to impress in June!

So good they can't ignore


Thursday, April 7: 6:30 p.m., fifth grade Performing Arts Showcase

Thursday, April 28: 6:30 p.m., Acting & Improv One Act Play/Dance Showcase

Thursday, May 19: 6:30 p.m., Musical Theatre & Technical Theatre Class production of The Wizard of Oz

Friday, May 20: 9:30 a.m.,  Musical Theatre & Technical Theatre Class production of The Wizard of Oz

Friday, May 20: 6:30 p.m., Musical Theatre & Technical Theatre Class production of The Wizard of Oz

Wedneday, June 1: 6:30 p.m., Middle School Spring Performing Arts Showcase including Beginning & Advanced Instrumental Ensemble, eighth grade Dance Choreography and Select Dance Performances, select fifth grade performances, Select Acting & Improv Performances

Pre-kindergarten students create a mural

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During January literacy groups in pre-kindergarten students read some picture books written and illustrated by Eric Carle. They were The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me.

While reading these books the class talked about the illustrations; students noticed various aspects including the bright colors Eric Carle uses, the moons and suns he drew have faces, and how the pictures helped the author tell each story. When they finished reading the books the students watched two videos, one showing some of the techniques Mr. Carle uses to create his collages and the other produced in honor of the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. In his videos he stresses using imagination and creativity. For instance it is okay to draw a blue horse or have red in the colors of the ocean. Some students noticed the many colored polka dot effect or the related color stripes on the inside of the book covers.

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A few children were inspired to paint their own pictures influenced by the stories and videos. As you can see there is a green sun, some pictures with a dot technique and rainbows that do not have to follow a set formula.

Then the class talked about making their own mural. All of the children noticed many of Eric Carle’s books have suns and moons. As a group they decided to make the mural have a night side and a day side. The students also decided to include water and land on the mural. Several children helped paint the background (half dark and half light) to represent night and day. Stella painted the moon and Scarlett painted the sun. Everyone painted a solid color on a large piece of paper. After these paintings dried they cut them into pieces for the collage. Emerson, Gavin, Presley, Gigi and others cut out the sun rays and the stars. More students helped cut up some of the brown, blue and green pages. Each child made a building (barn or house), a creature or a person to add to the mural. Some represented their drawings as a collage using tracing paper to make the separate pieces. Others were very particular about adding great detail and cut out their pictures. There is an eleven legged unicorn, mermaids, a hammerhead shark, a whale, children, horses, barns and houses.

Mural finale
The final product!