Wednesday, September 27, 2017

If you have not listened to Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, Do schools kill creativity?, it is well worth the 16 minutes it takes.

One of the main points of his talk is that it is hard to conceive of what the future will hold for our children. Can we even imagine what the year 2065 will look like? To prepare our students to meet this vast unknown, Robinson makes the case that educators must nurture (rather than undermine) creativity.  

At Franklin Discovery Academy, we continually strive to cultivate creativity. In STEM Rec, our guiding principles are as follows:

Why do we exist?
-To ignite a passion for learning

How do we behave?
-We love, support and challenge our students

What do we do?
-We create a rich, engaging and positive learning community

How will we succeed?
-We believe in our students

BUT…....we need your help.  

Our makerspace is a wonderful way to foster innovation, vision, enterprise and initiative.  However, it takes A LOT of materials.  We have 500 students passing through STEM Rec everyday!  Last week students made over 300 boats while exploring the principle of buoyancy. To make this a successful adventure, we all have to pull together.

Below is a list of items we need on a regular basis to keep the makerspace up and running. Any materials you can contribute would be greatly appreciated.  And remember, every $10 you contribute counts for 1 hour of volunteer time. Just mark your contribution “makerspace” and turn it into the front desk. They will make sure it gets to us.  A huge thank you in advance!

The STEM Rec Team


Plastic containers, fruit cups, jello cups, yogurt containers etc.
Plastic water bottles
Paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls
Spools, empty ribbon or tape rolls
Packaging materials, peanuts, bubble wrap
Cardboard especially the thin such as cereal boxes.
CD or DVD’s and their cases
Small metal tins
PVC pipe

Materials that are in constant demand:

Glue - all types (elmer's, tacky glue, gorilla glue, wood glue)
Tape - all types (duct tape, masking, packing, scotch)
String - all types (thread, fishing line, twine)
Paper cups
Dowels of all sizes
Sticks popsicle
Modeling clay
Small balloons
Wire for circuits
Binder clips
Hook & loop velcro
Bamboo skewers
Balsa wood
Model magic
Chip board
Electrical paint

Friday, September 22, 2017

STEM Rec Challenges
September 25 - 29

Students will learn about the force of buoyancy. We’ll experiment with techniques to maximize buoyancy by making clay boats.

Standard: Students will understand the relationship between the force applied to an object and resulting motion of the object.

Students will practice their basic math skills with a math game. Each students will receive a certain number of cards and from their cards will pick one number as the “goal number”. They must then use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to the reach the goal number they have chosen.
This week in literacy we are looking to recruit any kids who are brave and willing to go on a magical quest. We have three different tasks students will need to complete before receiving their wands and becoming powerful Spell Masters.

Objective: To help students see the different ways they can practice spelling

Social Studies
The road home from the Trojan War was long and hard.  Odysseus and his men met up with numerous challenges-one of which was the cyclops Polyphemus.  Captured by the giant, they sat alongside his sheep, stuck inside Polyphemus's cave.  Are they clever enough to get out before they become dinner?  Are you?  See how you would rank among these Spartan warriors, this week in Social Studies!

Students will be introduced to weaving as an art form. They will have the opportunity to look at Navajo blankets and how they were woven. Students will then weave friendship bracelets. This week art will also be starting a collaborative project, it will be weaving a large rug that will be donated when we are done making it. Come by art and explore weaving.

Tech / Engineering

Snap Circuit certification continues until October 13. We are offering three levels of certification in Snap Circuits this block. Students begin with the Standard Certification, where they will be guided through lessons 1 - 100 with the Station Master. This is a week long challenge which students sign up for and attend daily. Once a student has completed the standard certification and are competent in using Snap Circuits, they are qualified to work independently to continue learning. There are two additional levels of certification available - Expert Certification (completing lessons 101 - 200) and Master Certification (completing lessons 201 - 300)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Makerspace Now Open

We are excited to announce that the Makerspace is now open in STEM Rec. The introduction of the Makerspace included a discussion of the Engineering Design Process.

Ask - What is the problem? 
Imagine - What are the possibilities? What is the best solution?
Plan - Is the plan possible? Where should I start? What materials are needed?
Create - Can a model be made? Does it meet the goal?
Improve - Does it work? What will make it better?
Communicate - Are changes needed? What do others think? Is the problem solved?

Students were then challenged to design and build a boat that could float for one minute using the materials available. Students had a great time and learned a lot!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Welcome to Music at Franklin Discovery!

My name is Micki Allred. I am the new elementary music teacher this year at Franklin Discovery! I graduated from the University of Utah in 2001 with a Masters Degree in Music.  I then went on teach Music in the Duchesne County School District for 12 years. I am excited to be at Franklin Discovery and have the opportunity to share my love for music.

The Music courses I offer this year at Franklin Discovery will be sequential, comprehensive, and sustained as defined in the State and National Core Arts Standards for Music Education.

Here are a list of the classes I will be teaching during the first block.
Music at the Core (1st and 2nd grade)  - Students will experience music through movement, singing, listening, creating, and playing instruments.  This class will also follow the State and National Core guidelines for Elementary Music.

Group Piano - Students will learn how to read and play music on the piano. This class will incorporate the middle C position method along with intervallic reading. Individual practice time is a part of group piano that will require headphones.  I have headphones available that will be sanitized after each use, but if you’d like to have your own headsets please label them and they will be placed in the student practice folders.  The Dollar Tree has headsets available for $1.00.

Note Star - Students will learn to read basic notation and also gain an appreciation of music by learning about it through different cultures, genres, and instruments.

Music Prodigy - Students will learn how to play the Xylophone, Ukulele, Piano, and various Percussion instruments. Students will also gain an appreciation for music through movement, singing, listening, and an in depth look at worldwide musical cultures.

The study of music has been shown to have lasting benefits on students’ cognitive, psychomotor, and affective development. The following link shows the benefits of a musical education.

So far, I have enjoyed playing instruments, singing, and making music with our Franklin Discovery students.
I look forward to a great school year!

Rollercoasters, Robots, and Space!

The first full block of the school year is turning out to be very busy!  Thank you to everyone who has donated supplies and recyclables.

This block several third through sixth grade students are participating in a unit called Roller Coaster Science.  The classes are divided into small groups and every week or so each group receives a new challenge.  The students are finishing up their first challenges this week, so check back to see pictures and data the students have collected.

In addition to Roller Coaster Science, students are also working through the NASA BEST program in a class called Star Wars Space Science.  This class is available for all first through sixth graders.  We are exploring the world of Star Wars while also exploring NASA's current space program.  There are 10 challenges the classes can work through.  This week students are creating on and testing a satellite. First and second grade students are working on their math, problem-solving, and teamwork skills by deciding how many solar cells they would need to power their satellites.  Third through sixth grade students are exploring mass, math, and problem-solving skills.  Once construction is complete, students will test (drop) their satellites to test the durability.

This block also starts our FIRST Lego League team practices.  I am still looking for another coach for the teams, so if you or anyone you know may be interested, we meet every Monday and Wednesday and every other Friday 2:30-3:15 PM.  The teams have been examining the FIRST Core Values.  They have also begun planning their research projects.  This week we will start exploring the programming our robots.  Also, first through third grade students will have the opportunity to begin exploring the WeDo 2.0 robots provided through a Donors Choose project funded last month.  We begin exploration today and I am very excited to see the students grow through this program.

Thank you all for your support!  Check back often for pictures and updates!

Friday, September 15, 2017

STEM Rec Challenges
September 18 - 22


Continuing with our water theme, students will learn why water and oil don’t mix. We’ll talk about what hydrophobicity means and demonstrate that water won't cross a hydrophobic barrier.

Standard:  Matter is made up of atoms and molecules.


Math will offer a  challenge called “Zombie Escape”.  Students must answer math questions correctly within a limited amount of time and complete a fitness challenge before the ‘zombie’ gets them.  If students answer incorrectly, a new question will be given and must be solved or the ‘zombie’ wins.  The goal is to complete enough challenges to escape the room.

Calories Count!  Students will be outside performing activities that teach students about calories by getting them moving.

Social Studies

The Minotaur was said to be housed in the ultimate maze-The Labyrinth.  Can Theseus defeat the minotaur and navigate the Labyrinth (aka the play structure), or will he fall short, like so many before him?  Find out this week in Social Studies!


We had a blast this last week learning about Pop Art!  This week is even more fun as students will be designing their own stamps as they learn more about print making.

Tech / Engineering

We are excited to introduce the makerspace to our students!  Students will be introduced to the design cycle as we pose the question, which materials in the makerspace could be used to make a boat that will float for one minute?  Are there materials that wouldn't normally float that could be altered to help it float?  Students will use the design process to create a boat and test it outside in a pool.

Standard:  Observe using senses, create a hypothesis, and focus a question that can lead to an investigation.

Monday, September 11, 2017



Welcome to the new school year!! Below is a short outline of what's going on the first term in Wellness (aka Physical Education or Physical Wellness).  There is a reason I chose PE and wellness over english and social studies… Forgive the straightforward and ‘small word’ format of these class descriptions.  I know that it doesn't sound all that intelligent, but after 7 years in the military, over 7 years of competitive collegiate athletics, and being the father of 5 children, ​I ​learned this one very powerful and important concept… KEEP IT SIMPLE!!

All classes will begin with a small workout (workout will include but not limited to different variations of exercises = crunches, arm circles, push ups, burpees, jumping jacks, etc.).All classes will include topic discussion on a personal self-care topics (ex. Honesty, Respect, Integrity, Responsibility, etc.)

Please ensure ​students come to their Wellness Class appropriately outfitted withtennis shoes, socks​ ​and shirts ready for running, stretching, and other various activities.​ Dresses should have shorts or leggings worn underneath as well.

“LOCO” Motion
1-2 grades
Class Focus: Locomotion occurs when a body changes its position from one place to another.
Class Activities: Races, Jumping, Running, Hopping, Yoga, fun games, etc. 

Field Games
3-6 grades
Class Focus: Educational course related to maintaining the human body through physical exercises
Class Activities: Races, frisbee, sports, parachute, team building activities, etc.

BIG 5 (Seasonal Athletics)
3-6 grades
Class Focus: Educational course related to the five most successful and supported seasonal sports.
Class Activities: Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, etc.

Math/Engineering Class Updates

This block of math and engineering classes is going to be full of creating and discovering!

1/2 Grade: Math in Outer Space

We've introduced the solar system this week, and I'm excited to help the kids expand their number sense through modeling and some fun space games!

This block will focus on learning both about space and expanding number sense and fluency in addition and subtraction. We might even throw in some Star Wars problems to keep it fun! In addition, we'll learn some of the engineering principles behind rockets and space travel. 

3/4 Grade: Theme Park Creation
Have you ever wanted to make your own Disneyland, Lagoon, or Six Flags? There are a lot of mathematical, engineering, and business decisions that need to be made! The kids will apply concepts of multiplication and division in the context of economics, as well as model some of their own creations. 

So far, the kids have been coming up with concepts for their parks, and there have been some very creative ideas!! In the coming weeks, we will begin to figure out the total costs of their parks so they can know how much to charge and how many guests they'll need to attract.

5/6 Grade: Donut Shop Creation

Budgeting! Area! Ratios! Supply and demand! Marketing! These are only some of the topics that will be hit while our students design their very own shops. While the class is called "Donut Shop Creation", kids have some liberty as to exactly what they'll want to sell. In the next couple of weeks, we'll work on figuring out the cost of making a day's supply of goods, electricity, rent, and then making inventories and decisions based on our observations. 

Students will also engage in engineering projects throughout the semester to increase the efficiency of aspects of their shops. It should be sweet!

All of your kids are so much fun! I am excited for the school year, and to show them the usefulness and beauty of mathematics!

Mrs. Nash
Math and Engineering Master Teacher

Thursday, September 7, 2017

STEM Rec Challenges
September 11 - 15


Outline: This month at the science table students will be exploring some of the amazing properties of water starting with surface tension. We'll discuss the strength of hydrogen bonds and perform a few experiments to highlight water's unique surface tension.

Standard:  Matter is made up of atoms and molecules.


In math we are going to learn about probability by playing clear the board. Each student will get two dice, ten cubes, and a paper that has the numbers 2-12 on it. Students will put a cube under a number to predict which numbers they think they will roll the most often. Each time they roll a number that has a cube on it they will take a cube off.


This week students will use the indoor play structure for a Star Scavenger Hunt!! Students will first practice proper usage of a dictionary and then have to find words and their definition within the play structure. After all the words are found, students will play bingo with the words and definitions they've spent the challenge learning!

Social Studies

It was a tall order……..gladiatorial fights, animal hunts, theater, even mock naval battles (water and all).  The Colosseum was impressive, to say the least. Think you can measure up to ancient Roman architects?  Join us, and try to build your own Colosseum!


This week the students will be introduced to Andy Warhol and printmaking. They will begin by looking at Andy's famous Campbell soup prints, both the red ones and the colored ones.  The students will then choose one object and print it 4 times on one piece of paper.  The object will stay the same but each time they print it, the students will change the color of the object and the background.  This type of printing is called Pop Art.  

Tech / Engineering

Snap Circuit certification continues until October 13. We are offering three levels of certification in Snap Circuits this block. Students begin with the Standard Certification, where they will be guided through lessons 1 - 100 with the Station Master. This is a week long challenge which students sign up for and attend daily. Once a student has completed the standard certification and are competent in using Snap Circuits, they are qualified to work independently to continue learning. There are two additional levels of certification available - Expert Certification (completing lessons 101 - 200) and Master Certification (completing lessons 201 - 300)

Social Studies for A1

It's the beginning of a new year, and it's time to give a summary of what's going on in Social Studies at the start of an A term.  (OK, OK, it's not really the start of the year, but it's close enough, I think!)  I have 5 classes this term: Civil War and Beginning Greece for the kids in Grades 1 and 2, Rome for the kids in Grades 3 and 4, and Greece for those in 5 and 6.  My 5th class is for kids in 4th through 6th grade, and it's based on ancient Egypt.

In both Greece and beginning Greece, kids will learn about ancient Greece.  We'll learn how the ancient Greeks lived, and wrote, and fought, and even died.  Expect your kids to come home knowing how ancient Greeks fought this week, and be able to write their name in Greek next week!

In the Civil War, we'll learn how and why our men (and women) fought for what they considered their country.  We'll also learn about battle specifics and how those changed thought in both the North and the South.  Expect your kids to learn how wars were won and lost this week, and next week we'll get into why they fought.

In Rome, we're focusing on the business aspect to learn about placement of buildings in ancient Rome, and we'll also learn some Roman numeral math!  Expect your kids to learn how the Romans waged war this week, and starting next week, we'll be building our businesses in groups!

In our ancient Egypt class, we're reading the novel The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.  In this book, we will learn about ancient Egypt through a modern tale of magic and excitement through the eyes of two siblings from either side of the world.  Mrs. Kenter and I are volunteering our lunch period for this class, and are excited to get the chance to act as the siblings.

We love being able to teach your kids!  Thank you so much for sharing them with us!  If you have any questions, I'd love to answer those, so feel free to email me with any thoughts you have!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Let's Get Our Read On!

Updates from Literacy Engage

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind in the Literacy classroom as kids learned rules and routines and got a taste of the things that they will be doing if they take Literacy Engage classes. When we get back from Labor Day holiday, we will be starting on the first block of the school year. The name of the game in Literacy is help kids learn to love reading and writing, and I have a schedule full of classes to do just that! Here's a sneak peek of all the awesome things that literacy students will be doing in the upcoming Engage block:

Don't Let Mo Willems Drive the Bus!
This class is designed for 1st and 2nd grade students and features the kid-favorite author Mo Willems. Our author study will begin with the Pigeon books and will include activities to help kids learn prosody and support the reading skills that they are learning in Foundations. We will be singing, reading, dancing, writing, and...throwing tantrums!

Our study will then move on to the amazing Elephant and Piggie series. This early reader series boasts funny and relatable stories that get kids learning about dialogue and prosody while allowing them the opportunity to read independently. We will be acting, puppeteering, reading, writing, and... making slop!

Robert Munschkins
This class is designed for 1st and 2nd grade students and features the amazing Canadian Author Robert Munsch. Like the Mo Willems class, Robert Munschkins will feature an author study where kids will practice literacy skills they are learning in Foundations. One of the aspects of Munsch's books that makes them so intriguing is that they are published versions of stories that real kids have told him. These stories are often hilarious and very relatable to kids and adults alike. Along with other fantastic activities, like Reader's Theatre, students will have the opportunity to imagine and write their own Munschesque stories.

Word Games
This class is designed for 3rd and 4th grade students and will feature several games that will support and review foundational literacy skills. Students will practice their prosody and reading fluency through games like Emotional IQ, build vocabulary with games like charades and Pictionary, and practice their writing skills through activities like speed writing and corpse writing. Students will learn and play one to two new games each week, with Fridays reserved as student choice days. On student choice days, the class will be able to independently play any of the games that were learned up to that point.

Advanced Word Games
This class is designed for 5th and 6th grade students and will feature several games that will support and review foundational literacy skills. Students will practice their prosody and reading fluency through games like Emotional IQ and Utter Nonsense, build vocabulary with games like Scrabble and Taboo, and practice their writing and story telling skills with games like Dixit. The advanced class will also be working on their persuasion and debate skills with games like Balderdash and Superfight. Students will learn and play one to two new games each week, with Fridays reserved as student choice days. On student choice days, the class will be able to independently play any of the games that were learned up to that point.

How to Choose a Charter School

When it comes time for your family to explore the top charter schools in Vineyard, Utahyou often start out with more questions than answers. How do you narrow down your choices, eliminate the schools that don’t suit your needs, and ultimately choose the best school?
It seems overwhelming at first, but don’t worry! We’ve assembled this quick 3-part resource to guide you in your search.

What Is a Charter School?

A charter school must gain approval from their state, but operates independently from the local school board. Since charter schools are funded with public money, they must allow open enrollment. This means any child may attend as long as there’s a space available. As a public school, charter schools are free to attend.
A charter school is often smaller in size than a local public school. It may require more parental involvement and may not have the resources to offer the same extracurricular programs offered by a large public school. Some charter schools focus on a particular academic area, such as STEM or the arts.
So how do you choose?


Begin by doing the legwork and finding out as much as you can about our charter school. In Utah, the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools offers wonderful resources for families and the ability to research our school. Attend local meetings and conferences in the area and network with parents affiliated with our school as much as possible.  Parents of current students are one of the best sources of accurate information about our school.

Visit the School

While the Franklin Discovery Academy website will provide an important look at our school’s mission and philosophy, a school visit is an essential part of the process. Make an official appointment with us so that you’ll be able to meet with as many members of staff and faculty as possible.
Be prepared with questions, and don’t be afraid to be direct. We want you to be sure that our school is prepared to serve your child in the years to come.

Attend an Open House or School Event

Franklin Discovery Academy hosts many events throughout the year to introduce the school to the public.  Check out our calendar on the school’s website for current events.

The Advantages of Charter Schools

When you’re thinking about where to send your child to school, you might actually have more options than you think. One of these options that you should not overlook is charter school. Here are just a few of the reasons to consider a charter school for your child’s best education.


One of a charter school’s most compelling features is the increased flexibility they provide. The neighborhood school might not be the best fit for everyone, and with the many different learning styles, it’s likely not going to serve all of the neighborhood kids well. A charter school could be a good alternative in this case because learning structures can be more flexible to fit each individual child’s learning needs.


Charter schools are often more likely to foster and promote early innovation. Charter schools are easier to adopt reforms because they’re not connected to the local district school board, making it easier for children to be involved in projects and innovative learning activities that otherwise would not be available to them. A child in a district school might be required to learn about nature in a classroom setting, while a charter school student might be likely to go on a field trip into the mountains to learn about it firsthand. Although district schools have their unique features that might make them good options for some kids, there tends to be a lot more bureaucracy involved preventing quick adoptions of innovative practices.

Niche Schools

One other thing that is great about charter schools is that they can attract more deeply committed families to the school, while public schools are typically intended to be all things for all people and learning types.

From flexibility to learning structure, local charter schools in Vineyard, Utah, might be the best fit for your child, and the most feasible for your family. If you’re looking for an alternative to the local public school, find out about some of the charter schools in Vineyard, Utah, that might be a better option.