This week, Dawn and Caroline took their Anatomy and Physiology, Human Nature, and Psychology classes to U of A's Flandrau Science Center to their Psychology Discovery exhibit. Students were able to participate in a series of hands-on activities on a variety of topics, including "sensation/perception, memory, social psychology, wellbeing/emotion, and the functions of neurons in the brain." Some highlights from the trip were wearing immersion goggles while playing catch, a timed assembly of brain models (Joan won!), participating in a social conformity activity, and getting to see an EEG of Caroline's brain. The kids had so much fun that Caroline is already thinking of how to host our own series of brain games during project week!
This year, in addition to teaching Spanish and music, Cezanne has also taken on the role of Kino Librarian. She's got a troupe of volunteers, self-titled the "Library Gremlins," that have been helping her upkeep the library, shelve books, clean, decorate, and make displays. Andrew and Nico even designed a fully operational book pulley to the loft so that books could easily be transported up and down. They used it to bring the chess table up!
This month they put a variety of black authors on display in honor of Black History month. They've also been working on posters to celebrate Love of Reading month. Today, they went on a field trip to Bookmans to buy books and do market research on the most popular books to get for the library. Nathan was their 50th customer of the day and got his books for free!
On Wednesday, February 14th, we are inviting students to come in wearing PJs and with their favorite book. If they don't have a book, Cezanne and her library gremlins organized a "Blind Date with a Book" activity, where students are encouraged to "not judge a book by its cover" and pick one of their wrapped books to read. Robert Bonilla, a parent and firefighter, will come in to read to the kids in the afternoon.
They've also got big plans for this year's Book Breakfast on February 17th from 9:30-11:30. They will be hosting several book-focused games and activities during breakfast. There will also be a poster contest for students. The cost of admission is one new book for our library. This year, they are hoping that parents will donate books for the young adult section of our library, as well as books that feature diverse perspectives. If you aren't sure what to bring, here's the book registry that all the teachers have been adding to for the event! We hope to see everyone there.
Many of you may have noticed Mary Jane's absence recently. Mary Jane has been a fixture at Kino for decades, first as a Homeroom Teacher, then the Director, and most recently as the Primary Language Arts teacher. Unfortunately, due to health issues, Mary Jane will be unable to return as the Primary Language Arts teacher this year. She wrote this message for the community:
I had planned to fully retire at the end of this year, but, due to a health crisis, I will have to retire now. I have loved every minute of my 47 years teaching. The youngest students have filled my life with laughter and joy. Watching all of the students care for each other and the community has been a gift. I have worked with the most talented and compassionate teachers to be found anywhere. I have met generations of parents who have trusted the teachers and supported their children. Being a Kino teacher and part of this extraordinary community has truly been a blessing.
This week the Primary kids went to visit Mary Jane. She talked to them about not returning. She showed them a book called Prickly Pear by Jen Tucker (a friend of Kassia's!). They also shared books they wrote with her, had ice cream, and played with her (terrified) cats. We know the Primary kids all miss her, and we plan to visit once a month. We also hope she'll still be able to come in and volunteer when she's feeling well enough.
Lyra Rahner, Cezanne's sister and a former Kino student, will be taking over for Mary Jane until the end of the year. Lyra graduated from the University of Arizona in 2022 with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She has been a Kino Aftercare teacher, and currently she's been subbing for us when she isn't working at Laboratory of Tree Ring Research. Lyra will be working with Mary Jane to make the Primary lesson plans, and despite the sad circumstances, she's excited to work with our wonderful Primary kiddos.
It is hard to imagine Kino without Mary Jane. Kino has been lucky to have had such a dedicated, passionate leader and teacher. Kino wouldn't have been Kino without her! Thank you for all your years of hard work Mary Jane. You'll be missed.
This week, the theater students performed three original skits at the Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre (located in the Historic Y downtown). Their teacher, Zac, spent the semester helping them collaborate to write their own takes on classic fairy tales.
Dress Rehearsal and Warm-Ups
To prepare for the performance, students had a dress rehearsal in the theater. They learned their lighting cues, stage directions, prop use, and blocking. They also did a lot of warm-up activities to help teach them to project their voices and get comfortable on stage.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Small, Good Wolf
The first skit, put on by Joan, Grey, and Zach, was a reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood. In their version, a kind wolf wants to befriend Little Red, and unsuccessfully tries to win her favor with a series of presents. The wolf's human grandfather tries to give the wolf advice, but all their plans fail. In the end, the wolf realizes he'd be better off going somewhere where people like him and leaves town.
Murder (of Crows)
The next skit, put on by Kat, Mari, Sierra, Janeya, and McKayla, is a spin-off of The Three Little Pigs, with a touch of Frankenstein. A mad scientist, obsessed with birds, accidentally turns themself into a snake when their bird potion is sabotaged. The now-snake scientist visits three birds; they are able to eat the first two birds, and they turn a scarecrow to life to help catch the third bird. However, the third bird, a crow, outsmarts the scientist-snake, and a group of crows attack and defeat the evil scientist.
The final of the three skits, put on by Grace, Lailah, Brian, and Reese, is a modern take on The Gingerbread Man. A gingerbread cookie named Gingi, fresh out of the oven, emerges and is immediately labeled a "Gingerbread Man." However, Gingi spends the rest of the play confused as to why a cookie would be labeled a "man" (or "woman"). After meeting a baby cow and an elder pig, who both are confused by Gingi's refusal to be a "gingerbread man," Gingi meets a wise fox and travels to a land of (gluten-free) bakers where they can live comfortably as a cookie.
This is Rebecca Huerta's second year volunteering to do glasswork with junior high and high school students. In this class, students learn how to safely score and cut sheets of glass to make intricate designs. Students lay out and glue their projects together, which Rebecca then (carefully) takes home to fuse in her glass kiln. They've experimented with stringers (thin rods of glass), decals, and metal, and Rebecca comes in every week with a different project for them to do that can help them learn new skills and techniques. They've completed a variety of projects this year, from pendants to small bugs. This week, they worked on making glass snowflake ornaments!
Students in Lisa's Hoof Training use positive reinforcement to shape the behavior of the animals. We have two mini-donkeys (Wicket and Waffles) and three sheep (Nova, Cinnamon, and Alabama). Each student develops a close relationship with "their" animal, which they spend all year training. They teach the donkeys and sheep to walk on balance beams, jump over small hurdles, ride a "see-saw," weave a slalom, and more! Each animal has a main trainer and an alternate trainer: Reese and Kit train Wicket; Jack and Raiden train Waffles; Quinn and Darian train Alabama; McKayla, Sierra, and Camrynn train Cinnamon; and Nick and Grace train Nova. Here are a few videos of our trainers in action:
Students in Bird Enrichment visit the birds, give them treats, and interact with them to form positive relationships with them. We have 8 chickens (Cassie, Dia, Maple, Ziggy, Beauty, Pineapple, Sun, and Penny) and one turkey (Annabelle). This year, we are thankful to have a parent volunteer, Susan Kent, who helps supervise bird enrichment every Wednesday. Students get to know all the birds and become bird ambassadors who can tell the Kino community about the birds' temperaments, likes, and dislikes. Even though most chickens and turkeys don't like to be held, through all the love and attention our birds get, they actually like to be picked up and sit in laps!
Our students have been hard at work rehearsing for the holiday concert next Thursday. We'll be having a full rehearsal for the whole school at 2:00pm and a performance that evening at 6:00pm (right after the Board introduction/Q&A). We hope you can make it to their performance!
Primary and Mid-Level
Cezanne's primary students will be performing "Vamos a la Mar" and "The Twelve Days of Kino," a song they all helped write! Cezanne's mid-level students will be performing "Feliz Navidad" and "Mi Burrito Sabanero." Watch the video for a sneak peak of "The Twelve Days of Kino":
Scott's Rock Band students have also been working hard to perfect their performance of "Carol of the Bells." It's almost entirely a Cappella (along with a glockenspiel and bass), and they've been diligently practicing! Watch the video for a short clip of their beautiful harmonization:
This year, Kino has partnered with The Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre for a drama class for Junior High and High School students. Their resident teaching artist, Zac Austin, comes weekly to teach kids how to perform. He starts class with professional acting warm-ups, like tongue twisters and memory games. Then the class breaks into groups to write their own fractured fairy tales, which are modern interpretations of classic fairy tales. They are writing 6-8 minute-long skits inspired by "The Three Little Pigs," "The Gingerbread Man," and "Little Red Riding Hood."
At the end of the semester, they will perform their fractured fairy tales, along with some of their warm-ups, for the Kino community at The Scoundrel and Scamp Theatre (located downtown in the back of the Historic Y). They will have a dress rehearsal on January 18th and perform for the community on January 19th at 2:00pm. We'll be taking students, and parents are welcome to attend! They plan to have a full-scripted piece to perform in the theater by the end of the year.
We are excited to have Serena Mendoza join Kino as a part-time counselor this year! In addition to one-on-one meetings, Serena and Caroline hold a bi-weekly class for Junior High and High School students on social and emotional health, called Serenity. They have previously worked with domains of wellness, communication, boundaries, accountability, values and priorities, and more. Currently they are learning about disability and practicing self-advocacy.
She's also started a kindness project with the primary kids. Each week they will gather as a group to share some kind acts they saw from their classmates. They then get a kindness card to take home and remember their classmates' appreciation.
After the Thanksgiving break, Serena will also be running a series of small sessions for Junior High students called "Being Your Best You." They will cover good habits, study skills, and time management. She's hoping to get some more small group sessions started for our soon-to-be graduates on life skills too.
This week was our annual Halloween celebration! All the homerooms planned and set up lots of fun activities for the afternoon celebration, which included: a costume contest; werewolf games (on body outlines!); a dance party; a Mario-themed room with Wii games and snacks; a cake walk; face painting; and a costumed basketball contest. Thanks to Jennifer Shelton's sister, Heather Kelso, we also had a balloon animal artist! There were so many creative costumes, delicious snacks, and fun games.