Friday, January 18, 2019

Sign of the Seahorse, A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts.

Sign of the Seahorse, A Tale of Greed and High Adventure in Two Acts.

Reading The children's picture book Sign of the Seahorse by Graeme Base was integrated into our unit on oceans. As we read Acts I and II, students populated a shared Google Doc with a plethora of vocabulary words they found challenging. Their list of 220 words was then uploaded to Our list was entered into's database, each word automatically defined, and the collection integrated into a variety of learning activities designed to help users become familiar with pronunciation, part of speech, and usage. Fourth graders quickly found they could form teams and participate in friendly competitions, called Jams, to practice their words. Please ask your child(ren) to share these activities with you. 

Students were provided with hard copies of the vocabulary list   

and were encouraged to personalize with highlighters. We further isolated those words which would comprise their upcoming test. Students are studying hard in preparation for next week's test.  

Sign of the Seahorse was originally written as an opera in Iambic Pentameter (think Gilligan's Island Theme song) characterized by alternating stressed and unstressed syllables, each line being fourteen "beats" in AABB rhyme scheme.
Each student created a bulletin board entry comprised of an image, hand drawn or uploaded from the Internet, and a line or "few" of Iambic pentameter. The YouTube video below contains video clips of each student reading his/her entry.

Remind students Vocabulary Test Acts I and II has been postponed until Thursday. Use the long cold weekend to study the word list.

Happy Birthday to our Foundress, Cornelia Connelly 
and also to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Welcome Back

Welcome Back

Our first full week back at school was full of activity.
Students seem energized and ready. The Lower School
anchored the new year by beginning our unit on Oceans.
This will be the first time the fourth grade, now full fledged
members, will participate in this collaborative effort.
Reading, Science, and Language Arts will center around
"The Sign of the Seahorse" by Graeme Base. 

A tale of greed and high adventure in two acts, 
The Sign of the Seahorse was originally written 
as an opera. The author is both poet and artist, 
Students enjoy reading the rhyming iambic pentameter 
while searching for hidden seahorse signs and 
largely unnoticed shrimp. 
The lower school gathered last Friday to watch 
the Magic School Bus Takes a Dive
We learned about how many ocean dwellers 
depend on partners to survive and thrive 
below the ocean's waves.
Fourth graders have each screened various 
ocean dwelling animals and chosen one to 
research. They will share their written reports
with classmates the first week of February.

Our hallways display ocean related lessons 
and activities. We tried our hand at writing 
captions that were fourteen beats in length. 
Collectively, they can be sung to the 
Gilligan's Island theme song!

A few creative poets compose an entire stanza.

Collaborative groups in Social Studies delved
into a new chapter on colonial Pennsylvania. 
African captives, William Penn, The Walking Purchase, 
and the accomplishments of Philly's own Ben Franklin 
were among discussion topics.

The Three Kings visited every room in HCA to bless
the doors, each now decorated with their gift. 
Thank you Mrs. Zwilling for coordinating!

Now a weekly tradition, the entire class gathers for 
a rousing game of SPARKLE. Though competitive, 
the practice helps everyone prepare for the weekly
Spelling quiz. Virtually everyone gets an "A"

Meet Fiona's  HCA Family













And last, but not least, Lauren's

Stay warm!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Holiday Activities Take Center Stage

With the holiday quickly approaching, HCA and the fourth 
graders are busy with preparations. Winter-themed hallway 
bulletin boards, Snowman and Christmas tree place mats for 
Meals on Wheels, The Nativity, and the rehearsals for the Lower School Christmas Show helped to get everyone in the spirit.   

Lower school classrooms pooled their talents to decorate the first floor hallways with winter themes.
Fourth graders put things in perspective as they placed images throughout a winter landscape.
Artists quickly realized placing images high
on the scene made them appear larger

First day of Aloha Christmas Practice arrived with great anticipation.

Fourth graders with narrate "The Nativity" as it's acted out by primary stars.

Mary and Joseph check out the manger as Aidan and Sophia test the sound system.

Early glimpse of the choreography. Much will change!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Fourth Graders Honor Ms. Hoffman's 
Twenty Years of Dedication and Service
Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, we didn't have the opportunity to share the wonderful job fourth graders
did honoring Ms. Hoffman for her twenty years of dedicated service teaching at Holy Child Academy.
Students brainstormed to compose a list of their favorite memories from last year, when they were in Ms. Hoffman's
third grade class. Mr. St Cyr quickly noticed several themes emerged as students shared their recollections.
If you have a few minutes to watch the skit they performed at the Thanksgiving Teacher Appreciation Prayer Service,
you'll gain some insight into why Ms. Hoffman is so well-respected, appreciated, and so loved.

Double click the YouTube link below to watch Ms. Hoffman and her third graders fly J.Hoffman Airlines to India.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fourth Graders Ready to Celebrate Ms. Hoffman's Twenty Years at HCA

     Roles have been cast, props acquired, and lines are memorized. Under the direction of Mr. St Cyr and Mrs. Jean Kasmer, students have been practicing a skit to celebrate Ms. Hoffman and her twenty years brightening the lives of HCA students. Ms. Hoffman's dedication will be honored during next Wednesday's Thanksgiving prayer service. All parents, relatives, and friends are invited to the ceremony as sons and daughters deliver their lines and thank Ms. Hoffman for a memorable year of learning and fun during their third grade experience.

     As you may have seen in last week's blog, students used the Google Drawings tool to create original designs for Thanksgiving place mats. Thirteen families from local parishes will receive fresh turkeys just in time for the holidays.  This annual service project invites students to bring in items such as pancake mix, syrup, cereal, milk, juice, pasta, sauce, cranberries, gravy, apple sauce, rice, stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls, and freshly baked pies along with the place mats to help make Thanksgiving tables complete. Ms. Webb and Mrs. McGurk generously dedicated their time to laminate each of the fifty-four 11" X 17" place mats to prepare them for the rigors of a big meal. Fourth graders, with the help of Mrs. Menno, trimmed each to size and readied them for distribution by Mrs. Chantell Reagan and Mrs. Colleen Moore this Sunday. I'm sure each of the families and all of the children will appreciate the efforts of  the HCA families and the creativity of our fourth graders. Thanks to all for your contributions!

Got scissors?

Nearing the end of an extensive, yet extremely worthwhile service project.
Thanks for the untiring efforts of Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Moore for coordinating!

Friday, November 9, 2018

HCA Community Conducts Thanksgiving Food Drive

Halloween costumes were no sooner put away when the Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive was in full swing. Fourth graders play a major role in this community service project by creating Thanksgiving-themed place mats that will grace the tables of thirteen local families. Each year HCA parent volunteers partner with local churches to help identify those that might benefit from a holiday basket containing a turkey and all the fixings. Fourth graders' families have also been asked to donate two large, non-breakable containers of juice for the baskets. 

Students used the Google "Drawings" application to create original designs including turkeys, word searches, original poems and prayers. The artwork graced the lower school hallways before being copied and laminated. In all, 52 children will experience the joy of solving puzzles and reading the work of their HCA friends. Each of the posters (some students made several) are shared below for your enjoyment. I am constantly amazed by the creativity and technological skills our young designers are capable of. 

Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this week's blog to see pictures of the annual Grade 8 Volleyball Championships and the Student/Teacher Volleyball Game. Teachers earned a hard-fought victory, extending their unbeaten streak to yet another year. Seventh graders already are planning to overthrow the champions.


I hope you agree that the generosity of the HCA community will be
appreciated just a little bit more, thanks to the creativity and
thoughtfulness of our place mat designers.

Learning the skills necessary to navigate the Google Drawings application allowed us to use the same technology to create colorful Pep Rally signage for the Volleyball Championships.
Check out the pics and videos, making sure to turn up the volume!

This  year's Volleyball Grand Champions: The Good Team!

Teachers reign supreme...again. Congratulations to
Diane Mosser and Katie Webb: Co MVP's.

And THAT is what it's all about. Have a great weekend.