Archive for February, 2016

Living History Museum

February 24th, 2016

4th grade students are working hard in preparation for their Living History Museum, next Friday, March 4th. Aligned to our Social Studies, Writing, and Reading standards, they each have been researching a famous American, including many Nevadans, and are creating a performance, a visual, and a technology presentation for the Museum. (more…)

One of our Guiding Principles is Collaborative Efforts. This principle is strongly evident this year in our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), in which every teacher on our staff is a member of one team, or PLC, organized this year around the subject areas. Last June, each group brainstormed possible goals for the year. In August, after feedback from the Leadership Team, the PLCs zeroed in on two goals each for the year, along with an action plan to achieve those goals. PLCs meet once a month to work toward their goals. (more…)

One heck of a dam adventure

February 11th, 2016

This past Monday morning, the 4th grade students set out on their annual adventure to the Hoover Dam. It was a wonderful field trip. We were lucky to get great weather and the students learned a lot about the history and construction of the dam. The tour started with a video explaining how the dam was built. The construction started in 1931 and took less than five years to complete. The work never stopped – it took nearly 60,000 people working in shifts around the clock. Most of the workers lived in Boulder City, a town built to house the workers. They had two days off each year: Christmas Day and the 4th of July.   (more…)

More world travels… to Germany!

February 10th, 2016

Our Early Childhood students got a special treat this morning when HIS parent Kirsten Dimond led an exciting presentation about her home country of Germany. Kirsten was joined by her daughter Gracie and son Devin. Kirsten and her children are from a small German island called Sylt, which is in the far northern part of the country near Denmark.  (more…)

Flag Raising Ceremony

February 10th, 2016

Henderson International School Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015.

Henderson International School Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015.

The first day of each week, all students and teachers from elementary and middle school come together in our courtyard for a flag raising ceremony and flag salute. Our color guard, made up of 4th – 8th graders, under the direction of Mr. Mike, raise first the U.S. flag, followed by the Nevada flag, then finally our HIS flag, while the Star Spangled Banner plays over the sound system. Finally, one of the color guard leads the entire school in the flag salute. (more…)

5th Grade Eco Columns

February 9th, 2016

Our 5th grade students have been busy creating eco-columns!

The purpose of the experiment is to observe how the eco-column functions as a self-sustaining, closed system. It replicates planet Earth and demonstrates what factors Earth requires to function and survive.

These factors include food chains, as well as chemical and nutrient cycles. Over time the columns will be tested for certain nutrients using probe sensors and carefully observe the changes, which could take place within the columns.

The results of this experiment will take time to realize, but hopefully demonstrate the actual events that could take place in nature as a result of certain changes in the environment and will show the significance of natural relationships found on Earth.

Students have constructed their eco-columns out of soda bottles and one large water jug. The soda bottles were cut to form a column consisting of divided sections and where then stacked on top of the water jug. The components for each section, aquatic, terrestrial, and decomposition, were collected and added accordingly. They consisted of organisms such as insects and fish for consumers, grass for producers, decomposers, and dead leaves, twigs, dirt, and water for the environment.

Once each level was filled and stacked, students taped off the system except for one slit for testing the water. This made the eco-column not a completely closed system; being sealed the majority of the time except for student testing periods.

The eco columns demonstrate that if the system becomes open and exposed to the external system out side the bottle, external factors could enter the ecosystem and influence it by adding or releasing certain elements.

Mrs. Ninnette Patzik, 5th & 6th Grade Science Teacher.


Guiding Principles In Action!

February 3rd, 2016

Guiding Principles in Action!

Here at Henderson International School, our Guiding Principles are:

  • Student-Centric Focus
  • Collaborative Efforts
  • Deliberate Practice.

An example of all three of these occurred last week when Mr. Cadena invited a special guest teacher to come in for the day and share her expertise with our elementary musicians. We asked our Musicianship teacher to tell us about this special event:

Mr. Cadena: “On Thursday we had a special guest join our musicianship class. Ms. Groberg is a middle school choir teacher who asked me to observe her and offer her tips on her teaching techniques. In return, I asked Ms. Groberg to visit with my students and facilitate some vocalization games and tricks with them.

I took this as an opportunity to get a fresh point of view from a new colleague on my classes and how I teach them. It was refreshing to hear my students answering her tough questions, with me realizing just how much they’ve learned here at Henderson International School. It was also a nice change of pace to see a different approach taken with my students, as she introduced them to some of her own techniques and methods. It is important for me to keep watching other teachers, to constantly learn so that I may offer my students new lessons, new ways for old lessons and watch them continually grow.”

This combination of putting the best interests of his students first, working collaboratively with like-minded professional peers, and seeking to improve the quality of the instruction he provides, is an excellent example of our Guiding Principles in action and the first-rate learning environment that our teachers provide every day here at Henderson International School.

Mr. John Heffron, Lower School Principal

Box Exchange

At Henderson International School we have a deep respect for the abilities of our youngest students. We believe that if we provide them with opportunities to connect with others and develop a greater awareness of the world they live in, they will show us insights into how we can all communicate and grow together. We have constantly been impressed with the work young students do when collaborating with students in another country or from another culture, particularly when we ask them to reflect on the experience and share their discoveries.

This year we’ve been very busy exposing our young children to different parts of our planet. We have done so through collaborations with schools around the world via a box. Our international box exchange project has been very successful. Sharing cultures through a box full of typical items from each country has allowed our students to engage, form global relationships, and discover the value of working with students who have different perspectives and ways of being. We think it is our job as educators to foster these experiences so that, as our students grow older, they can start seeking out similar opportunities and sharing their knowledge and experiences with others. To date we have exchanged boxes with India, Slovakia and Colombia. We hope to continue to find more schools around the world to join us in this experience.

Technology is a powerful tool for global collaboration as well. Our box project works well and was easy to get started, but we have also shared videos and pictures of our friends overseas via our iPads and computers. There are also many websites such as National Geographic Kids that allow us to explore other places and cultures without traveling. It has made the experience so much more real and valuable.

Ms. Lizette Fiumara, Early Childhood Team Leader

Math Differentiation in 4th Grade!


One way that 4th grade is Differentiating our students’ Math experience is by integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) into our weekly program.  Through STEM we are exposing our higher-performing mathematicians to more challenging and enriching real-world experiences, while helping to prepare them for the careers of the future.  Right now, 4th grade students are spending time in our new MakersLab, using the app 123Design to design three-dimensional shapes and then create them using our new 3D printer.  This experience aligns to our Math strands of Geometry and Measurement.  It is also cross-curricular in nature, in that students learn and practice Math concepts and skills through the use of Technology and Science.

By differentiating our math lessons to meet the needs of various groups of students, we are able to push our students to new heights. We do this through technology integration, project-based learning, a focus on STEM, and challenging units of student that enrich our students’ learning experience. By making use of our new MakersLab, students and teachers are given a variety of tools with which to explore and learn in new and exciting ways. With the introduction of our new 3D printer and special design software, students work toward mastery of the standards, while creating new and useful designs and learning the real world uses of mathematics.

Mr. Michael Euken, 4th grade teacher

Visual Arts In Early Childhood

February 1st, 2016

Visual Arts in Early Childhood

Art is an important part of Early Childhood programs. Here at Henderson International School, art is part of our weekly curriculum for many different reasons. Artistic endeavors and explorations are not only fun, but educational as well. Art allows our young students to practice a wide range of skills that are useful not only for life, but also for learning.

Skills students practice when participating in art activities include:

  • Fine motor skills: Grasping pencils, crayons, chalk and paintbrushes helps children develop their fine motor muscles. This development will help your child with writing, buttoning a coat, tying shoelaces, and other tasks that require controlled movements.
  • Cognitive development: Art can help children learn and practice skills like patterning and cause and effect (i.e., “If I push very hard with a crayon the color is darker.”). They can also practice critical thinking skills by making a mental plan or picture of what they intend to create and following through on their plan.
  • Math skills: Children can learn, create and begin to understand concepts like size, shape, geometry, measurement, making comparisons, counting and spatial reasoning.
  • Language skills: As children describe and share their artwork, as well as their process for making it, they develop language skills. You can encourage this development by actively listening and asking open-ended questions in return. It is also a great opportunity to learn new vocabulary words regarding their project (i.e., texture).

Froebel, the father of kindergarten, believed that young children should be involved in both making their own art and enjoying the art of others. To Froebel, art activities were important, not because they allowed teachers to recognize children with unusual abilities, but because they encouraged each child’s “full and all-sided development”.

Our curriculum includes activities that will help children develop their fine, cognitive, math and language skills. It gives them opportunities to express what they are thinking and feeling. When children participate in art activities with classmates, the feedback they give to each other builds self-esteem by helping them learn to accept criticism and praise from others.

This month Early Childhood students are involved in a collaborative project with Ms. Laurie Mallon, our Lower School Visual Arts teacher. Each classroom is painting a beautiful canvas sketched by Ms. Mallon.  The art works are inspired by master artists such as Picasso, Warhool, Van Gogh and Dahli. They will be donated to our PTA to be auctioned at the Silent Auction on March 6.

The students are enjoying their visits to the Lower School Art Studio. These visits serve a few purposes. Students are introduced to the Lower School Art Studio as a bridging exercise into Kindergarten. Our students enjoy a sense of satisfaction while involved in making art with their classmates. And we generate some student-created artwork that parents hopefully enjoying purchasing for the benefit of our wonderful PTA.

Ms. Lizette Fiumara, Early Childhood Team Leader