Welcome to NSE - Home of the Crickets


My Twitter account @dholzend now serves as a way for me to share student work, events, and happenings taking place at NSE. 

A Frozen Night to Remember

Fifth Grade Science Fair Projects 2015
I am very impressed with the quality of the projects that have been designed and created to represent North Springs at the University of South Carolina Science and Engineering Fair (USCSEF).  The variety of creative topics is impressive.  Some of the topics are very interesting. Students have researched the acidity of saliva, which candy bars float and why, which mulch works retains the most moisture, etc...

I am also impressed with the scholarly research that has taken place.  The research questions lead to some great hypothesis, experiments, and conclusions.  I am looking forward to some great presentations this coming Tuesday as we judge the projects to 
practical and could provide consumers important information and some are just down right interesting.   
be presented at the USCSEF. 

- Dr. H.

 The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math School (STEMS) at North Springs Elementary
is a three time nationally recognized magnet program. STEMS is one of the most applied for elementary magnet programs in Richland School District Two and is a model for STEM and STEAM programs statewide. Our program is six years old and provides a rigorous core curricula program that is enhanced by hands on investigations, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and unique field studies. You can learn more about the STEMS program and more at the North Springs Elementary School website

We are excited to announce that NSE will host a Girls on the Run club this school year. Ms. Thompson, Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Cobb, and Ms. DeReef will be coordinating the program. Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in grades 3-5. The program will teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishments while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness (Girls on the Run website). 

Accelerated Reader Upgrade
We are excited to announce that we have ordered the upgrade to Renaissance Learning's Accelerated Reader reading management program. The purpose of this program is for teachers, parents, and students to be able to track a student's independent reading. With this upgrade, we have access to all of the AR tests, better reporting and home connections, and access to the STAR Reading Enterprise Assessment which will help us better identify a student's AR reading level. 

NSE's Summer Camp Invention 2014
This summer our STEMS Lead Teacher, Dr. Sally Catoe, and several teachers, interns, and volunteers hosted NSE's first Camp Invention. Camp Invention uses the create, test, and recreate approach to learning. During the week of camp, 63 students from around Richland Two had daily opportunities to take apart machines to see how they were put together, then use the materials to create new inventions, then test and modify them. Campers worked individually to build motorized vehicles as well as develop their own inventions. In addition, they played team games and worked in teams to experiment with sound, bionic eyes, smell test, and to build a pinball machine. At the end of the end of the week, a Showcase was held for family and friends to display friends to display each campers work. Feedback from students and parents was enthusiastic. 

Culinary One on One - Panera Bread Interview
Video Club member Gabriella interviewed one of the bakers at the local Panera Bread stores. This is part of the Culinary One on One project started by Rosemary Duck, NSE's Cafeteria Manager. Mrs. Allmann, our Technology Learning Coach and Janine Sears are working with Mrs. Duck to record a number of creative shows as part of the district's Innovative Incubator initiative. 
You can view the interview HERE

SS Survival Shop Members Get Ready for Sales
As you may already know, selling bracelets to raise money for charity is very a very popular business at NSE. It started with our MAKK Design Club who raised $1000 for St. Jude's Hospital last year. This year we have grown to three groups who sell bracelets for different charities. Heart's for Hope started raising money for the SC Autism Society. MAKK Designs is raising money for the animal shelter, and SS Survival Shop is raising money for the homeless. These are student led clubs who are very professional and passionate about their business. 
Great job! 

K and 5th Grade Habitat Project
 Mrs. Davis' fifth graders and Mrs. Eckenroth's kindergarten students are working together to create animal habitats. I had the privilege to get to watch them in action. I was thrilled that the students were able to explain their habitats in detail and that they are able to design and create these here at school under the supervision of their teachers, use materials provided by the school, and in the design center during one of the design centers open times. Great job! 
Click HERE to see more. 
"Stolen Childhoods" - The Play
 Mrs. Davis' fifth grade class narrated and performed a fabulous representation of the trials and tribulations of the child labor era (late 1890's and 1900's) as viewed by photographer Lewis Hine.  The performance that I attended was very professional in its presentation.  The acting and narrating of the play was intense and emotional.  I have always felt that for real learning to take place emotions have to be involved.  This is a great example of great teaching and learning.  Great job!  Please take the time to watch the 15 minute play performed by Mrs. Davis' fifth grade class (Stolen Childhoods).  You can learn more information about this era at the National Archives website. 

"Eck"citing Edventures with Mrs. Eckenroth
This week I would like to feature one of our kindergarten teacher's blogs that she shared with me.  Mrs. Eckenroth's students have been working hard on some fun and "Eck"citing projects.  Check them out!

QuEST Milk Carton Contest
What a great accomplishment and contest!  Great job to our QuEST class!

SC Safe Routes to School Picture Contest - NSE is the Winner!!!
Fantabulous' job Mrs. Allmann, Watch DOGS, volunteers, and NSE!!  The NSE community really comes out for the Walk to School Days.  

Westward Bound!
A wonderful collaboration has taken place at NSE to accomplish a class dream.  Mrs. Dial, one of our fifth grade teachers wanted her students to experience the westward expansion in a different way.  In discussions with Mr. Darren Milliken, Watch DOGS volunteer and SIC member, Mrs. Dial was able to persuade him to work with her students as well as others to build covered wagons to study under in the classroom.  Mrs. Dial wrote a NSE mini-grant to fund the project, but Mr. Milliken took the collaboration even further and solicited a contribution from the Sandhills' Home Depot.  Well, the students are well on their way to studying the westward expansion in the comfort of their own covered wagons.  Great job everyone!  This is a great example of our three beliefs and mission here at NSE and in Richland Two!
Front office Display
The front office display is looking great.  Thank you to the front office staff and 
Mrs. Robertson, 
one of our kindergarten 
teachers for designing the layout.  Students have created some excellent work that is attracting quite a 
bit of attention from our visitors.  The display has even spilled out into the administrative hallway.  Students' whose work was moved to the front office received a note from Dr. H. saying, Congratulations! Your work has been moved to the front office." Keep up the great work NSE! 

Adopt the Front Office Project
Here are the links to the Adopt the Front Office Project:

Survey to sign up (Click Here)

Spreadsheet of Responses (Click Here)

Great Start to EXCELLENT Work
We are off to a great start of displaying excellent student work throughout the building.  It really excites me when I see teachers, students, parents, etc... standing around looking at and talking about student work.  Click here to see some of the displays that you will see in the hallways at NSE.  Meaningful display of student work allows students to receive the affirmation that they so desire when it comes to their friends, teachers, and parents.  

Student Posters Displayed
Posters created by students in Mrs. Dawson's fifth grade class were also framed using poster
board frames and will be displayed outside of the STEMS third through fifth grade pod.    Students created posters about the roller coaster projects that they built.  This is another great  example of students taking pride and effort in creating something that is different and  meaningful to them as upper elementary school students.  These displays are now displayed outside of the C Pod (3-5 STEMS and QuEST classes).  Enjoy.

Kindergarten Community Project
 The kindergarten community project completed by Mrs. Eckenroth's class has been framed to be a  semi-permanent part of the decor of NSE.  The project will hang in the kindergarten hallway as an  example of collaborative work that is meaningful and unique.  The project does not necessarily hang  as a final piece of work.  Students in kindergarten or first grade may see opportunities to make  corrections and or improvements to the work as they develop in their academic and design abilities.  For example, the students used inventive spelling to label certain buildings. 

 We are very proud of the work that the class put into this project.  Great job!  


Finished Product displayed in kindergarten hallway across from Mrs. Eckenroth's class and next to Mr. Lawrence's office.

Thank you NSE PTO!
The parents of the North Springs' PTO are absolutely amazing.  Tuesday, they provided a wonderful appreciation luncheon for all of our employees.  Not only did they buy us lunch, but they served us lunch and gave out door prizes.  The highlight of the afternoon, however, was when the PTO announced that they were donating two brand new microwaves for the commons area near the cafeteria.  Our PTO definitely understands that time is important when you are a teacher and need to warm up lunch.  The old microwaves were not operating at top efficiency.  Thank you so much for what you do for our school!!!!! - Dr. "H"

MAKK (m-a-ck) Designs
With the permission of their teacher, Mrs. Ray, and their principal, four fourth grade girls established a bracelet design business that will help
support the efforts of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  The girls came up with a business plan that would allow them to sell bracelets at lunch one day per week.  The teacher requested a minimal amount of start up money using a NSE mini-grant.  The girls along with thier teacher created a MAKK Designs commercial to be aired on NSE TV as well as posters to place around the school.  They spent several hours at home designing and creating bracelets for the first day of operation.  Needless to say, with the quality of work that had already taken place the girls sold out of bracelets the first day.  Since then, the girls have been able to raise close to $400 for St. Jude Hospital.  

You can imagine the skills that these girls are learning as they think of ways to sell their product, design customized bracelets, keep record of their sales and expenses, and interact with adults and students who are thier customers.  MAKK now has a website set up to offer online contributions to St. Jude Hospital.  I encourage you all to make a donation.  The girls will present a check to a St. Jude representative before the end of the year.

Design Center Activity
Second grade classes are working on turning a two dimensional aerial view of the NSE/Summit/Sandhill community into a three dimensional model.  This has been a fun transformation to watch.  Mrs. Hedrick (Design Center teacher) and Mrs. Allmann (ITS) started with a conversation about Google Earth photos of the area.  Students identified certain landmarks and began brainstorming how they could recreate the area with craft and recycled materials.  This project has really helped the students understand the different perspectives or views that maps can have.  

This is a very unique project that is a fabulous example of teachers thinking outside of the box to make learning authentic, novel, and fun.  Not only do the second graders learn about perspective, but all of the other students who come to the design center on a regular or voluntary basis learn as well.  

Yes, I said, "voluntary."  Most recently, Mrs. Kelley's students volunteered their recess time to go to the design center to create models of volcanoes (see below).

Kelley's Volcanoes
Mrs. Kelley's first grade class has been studying volcanoes.  Since first grade is unfortunately not on the design center rotation, they decided to give up their recess time to go to the design center and coordinate with Mrs. Hedrick (the design center teacher) to get the job done.  The students used the examples in their science curriculum to build volcano models.  They will try the volcanoes out next week by filling them with water.  

I was totally impressed with quality of models that the students created.  The expertise of the design center teacher and the classroom teacher combined with the materials available in the design center really helped the students create some excellent volcanoes.

I was amazed at the details that the students added to their models.  I asked them questions about their models.  They were able to explain that the rocks flowed down the volcano as the lava flows.  

The boys and girls were totally engaged in the project in collaborative groups.  One student was so excited that he came to get me in my office to come and see the work that they were doing in the design center.  The teachers were obviously proud of the excellent work the students were creating.  

This is a great example of the impact that a "design center" can have.

Dr. "H."  

Kindergarten Animal Habitat Project
Mrs. Facteau's class has been diligently working on their animal export projects for the student showcase night. We began our project in January when we were studying animals and their habitats. Each child chose an animal to research and present, as the related arts team and our fifth grade book buddies rolled up their sleeves to help us out.

Mrs. Wilson's fifth grade book buddies helped us answer research questions about our animal using their Chromebooks.

In art, Mrs. Oliver worked with the students to create their chosen animal out of clay.

In computer class, Ms. Lakes and Mrs. Allmann helped the students go on a Web Quest to research three facts about their animal.

In media, Mrs. Glover gave the students a special lesson on finding and reading non-fiction books, and each child checked our a
book about their animal.

Mrs. Hedrick assisted small groups of students coming into the design center to create an animal habitat in a shoe box, for an entire week till the entire class was finished.

We are currently in the beginning stages of writing out our facts and organizing our writing to put up on presentation boards for public display.

We will complete our project with a trip to the zoo to observe our animal in their main habitat and compare it to the habitat we designed for them. We will then critique and adjust our presentations and should have them ready for the student showcase night on March 28.

A big thank you to everyone working hard to make these projects meaningful and successful for the children!

- Mrs. Facteau

I really appreciate Mrs. Facteau and Mrs. Goodman's efforts to collaborate with so many areas of the school to allow their students to create something excellent.  I also appreciate the teachers' willingness to utilize the design center in non-traditional ways to allow students the space, time, and materials to complete the project at school.  I want to thank everyone who has been involved for their help as well.  Great job! - Dr. H.

Our Community Mural Project
Check out what we have been working on in our class! We have been studying neighborhoods, maps, communities, and jobs in the community. We started by brainstorming a
nd making a list of places in the community and things we see around us (streets, trees, cars, buildings, etc...). We discussed what a mural is and what we were going to make. Each child chose from a list what building they wanted to make. They had the freedom to choose the materials that they wanted to use to make their buildings. We talked about the "critique" process and about being kind, helpful, and specific. We critiqued our buildings and decided to add windows and signs. We put them all together on the mural at the end of the day. The next day we added more details like animals, cars, and people. The kids are so excited about this project. It has been a great experience. - Mrs. Eckenroth and Mrs. Halbrook

I love this project because Mrs. Eckenroth and Mrs. Halbrook had the courage to take their kindergarten students through the critique process.  They allowed students choice when it came to materials and what building that they wanted to build.  Students added to the mural based on what their experiences.  The mural really became the student's mural.  Great job! - Dr. H.