2011-2012 Tentative Activities and Field Trips

Be sure to check monthly newsletters for updates or changes.


□ High School Senior Meeting

 Seniors and their Parents


Thursday, September 1,

3:30 P.M.

Graduation plans, portfolios, and final transcripts will be the topics of discussion at our meeting. Seniors, if you are working toward a diploma, please bring your portfolio. Please RSVP to Mrs. Watson by August 29th.

2nd Annual Homeschool Day

“Fall Chores Day”

11121 Hickman Road, Urbandale, Iowa

Wednesday, September 7

Living History Farms welcomes homeschool families! Tour 300 years of Midwestern history, from when the Ioway Indians farmed in Iowa to the beginning of the 20th century when farmers used horses, and participate in chores done by children.  Explore the daily life of a child in 1875 as you tour the town of Walnut Hill and participate in chores at 5 locations throughout town.  And don’t be late for a lesson at the schoolhouse! Activities take place from 10:00 – noon, and from 1:00 – 3:00.  Special discount of $1.00 off admission price for homeschool families that pre-register so the price would be children ages 2-12  - $6 and ages 13 – adult  - $11.00.

See September newsletter for more details.

An Invitation to the Middle Ages

September 8 - Castles & Cathedrals

September 10 –Des Moines Renaissance Fair

November 3 - Make pretzel in the morning – limited participation

November 3 – Knights & Ladies

November 17 –Feast Preparation in the morning – limited participation

November 17 –Medieval Feast

Mutchler Center

1:30 P.M.– 3:00 P.M.

You are hereby invited on a journey to the Middle Ages of Europe, time traveling to the days of knights and castles. To get there, you will have to go through the “gates of imagination.” What was it like then? When did it occur? Who had the power? Bring your curiosity along as you enjoy making, doing and feasting your way back in time – back to the days of knights and castles. These activities will give you an overview of the middle ages.


□ All about Archaeology

Ottumwa GPAEA ICN Classroom

Recommended Grades 3-6

Younger and older students are welcome to attend.

Wednesday, September 14

10:00 A.M. – 10:50 A.M.

Join this session to give your students an early introduction and understanding of what an archaeologist does in his daily work. The overall goal of this session is to demonstrate that archaeology is the study of people of the past through the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of material remains.


□ Academic Writing

Sep 15, Sep 29,  Oct 13, Nov 10, Dec 8, Jan 12, Feb 2, Mar 8 and April 12

Mutchler Center

1:00 P.M.– 3:30 P.M.

This course will help students become comfortable with the basic demands of academic writing: researching, asserting a position, developing points by providing support/examples and drawing conclusions. It will give students specific writing strategies to develop their academic writing skills. Students will write various types of essays, such as persuasive, compare and contrast, cause & effect. Additionally, students will be introduced to interpretation of literature. This class is designed to be a one-semester course at 9th- 10th grade level. There will be daily assignments.


Writing Workshops

Grades 6-8

Mutchler Center

Thursday, Sep 15, Sep 29,  Oct 13, Nov 10, Dec 8, Jan 12, Feb 2, Mar 8 and April 12

1:00 P.M.– 3:30 P.M.

Ok, just admit it: writing is work. One of the harder subjects to teach is writing. This year, Laurie Bartle is offering a series of middle school writing workshops designed to enhance your teaching. Good writers use sentence structure (simple, compound, complex and compound-complex) to emphasize ideas, create readers’ interest, and improve readability. This is where we will start our workshop. Then we will move into paragraph and research basics and finally we will do several sessions on different types of paragraphs such as descriptive, narrative, process, comparison and cause and effect. Through literature, we will discover awesome examples of literary elements as well as the six writing traits. Practice improves one’s skills; therefore, there will be assignments each month that will reinforce the skills being taught. Laurie will meet with each student on monthly basis to assist the student in their writing assignments. Parent involvement will be required as good writers need people to discuss their ideas with and parents will need to be sure assignments are completed promptly. **Bring a three-ring binder and paper/pencil/pen.


Indian Village Life

Jefferson County Park

Thursday, September 22

10:00 A.M.- 2:00 P.M.

An opportunity, in a small way, to journey back 1000 years to experience the various activities found in an early Native American Village.  This hands-on program gives students an opportunity to try their hand at grinding corn, making tools, scraping hides, making gourd bowls, making and throwing “darts” with a spear-thrower called an atlatl.  It’s a favorite among students.


□ Career Day: So You Want to be an Engineer?

Recommended Grades 8-12

Younger students are welcome to attend.

Ottumwa GPAEA ICN Classroom

Tuesday, September 27

12:30 P.M. – 1:30 P.M.

This session will offer your students the chance to hear from two engineers about their career paths.

-A civil engineer who worked for the Iowa Department of Transportation. She is a great example of a woman who went back to school after her kids were grown and became a very successful engineer managing road design and construction projects.

-A civil engineer that works for a prominent engineering firm in Central Iowa. A recent graduate of Iowa State University, this civil engineer works on a variety of projects from land development design to hydraulic and hydrology design. The firm he works for is actively involved in a career awareness program in Ankeny. There will be time for questions, so students are asked to come to the session prepared.

Yearbook Club

Ottumwa GPAEA Technology Room

September 27, 1:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

November 9, 12:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

May 8, 1:00 P.M. – 3:30 P.M.

Learn design and computer skills as you help create our HERALD yearbook page. This is an extracurricular activity that could be listed on your student’s transcript.


Library Research Tours

Grades 6 - 12

Thursday, September 29

Ottumwa Public Library

10: 00 A.M.– 11:30 A.M.

Bloomfield Public Library

1:30 P.M.– 3:00 P.M.

The librarians of each public library will give the students a tour of their library, highlighting research resources. Then HERALD teachers will teach critical researching skills: such as note-taking, paraphrasing and documentation. The seriousness of plagiarism will be emphasized.  Although this activity is a requirement for all writing students, all other secondary students are encouraged to join us.


Davis County Historical Society Museum

210 S. Dodge St. Bloomfield, Iowa

Thursday, October 6

1:30 P.M.

Travel back to the Civil War era as we visit the Davis County Historical Society Museum. Anchored by the home of Dr. William Findley, who was a Civil War doctor, the museum includes an 1848 Mormon cabin built of hand-hewn logs, a one-room school, country church, livery, barn, and mural depicting the Civil War raid of 1864. Using the mural, we will have a presentation about the Civil War raid and Mrs. Clancy, a local historian, will discuss the upcoming Davis County Civil War Re-enactment. Come and learn about our local historyJ


Reading with a Firefighter

Ottumwa GPAEA ICN Classroom

Recommended Grades K-4

Older students are welcome to attend.

Monday, October 10

10:00 A.M. – 10:50 A.M.

Join an Urbandale firefighter as he shares his career with students using a book, video, and some

of the tools used on the job. He is able to address fire prevention, safety issues and tips with

students during the session. There will be time for questions, so students are asked to come to the session prepared.


Wednesday, October 12

Time TBA

Would you like your student to practice taking a college entrance exam similar to the SAT? Here is your chance! The PSAT is a standardized test that measures verbal reasoning skills, critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. The most common reason for taking the PSAT is to receive feedback on student’s strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college. Students normally take the PSAT in their junior year. If you are planning on taking the PSAT, you will need to register with Mrs. Watson by September 1st and pay $13.00 by October 1st. You will receive a test preparation booklet.


Location & Time: TBA

If your student is a tenth grader, here is his chance to practice taking a college entrance exam similar to the ACT. In this case, practice won’t make perfect, but it will help reduce testing anxieties. The PLAN test is a standardized test similar to the ACT test. This test will assess the status of your student’s academic preparation for post-secondary education. Another helpful benefit of the PLAN is that it includes an interest survey. Thus in addition to academic results, the PLAN results will contain information that relates your student's personal characteristics to educational and career options. Contact Mrs. Watson by September 1st to register for this test. There is no testing fee.


Iowa Test of Educational Development

Monday, October 24 and Tuesday, October 25

HERALD Library

The 9th –12th grade ITED testing will be given Monday and Tuesday, October 24 and 25 at 9:00 A.M. in the HERALD library. Please have your student at the classroom by 8:50 A.M., so the actual test can begin promptly at 9:00 A.M. This test is similar to the Iowa Basic Skills Test. Please contact Mrs. Watson by September 1st if you are interested in this test.


□ Tour at Carroll's Pumpkin Farm

Grinnell, Iowa

Cost: $6.00 per person (ages 3 to adult)

Corn Maze (Additional $2.00)

Thursday, October 20

1:00 P.M.

The children will:

  • Enjoy a wagon ride through our 8 acres of pumpkins on a wagon pulled by a John Deere tractor.
  • Pick a pie pumpkin from the pumpkin field.
  • Enjoy an age appropriate lesson about growing pumpkins. Then watch the demonstration of an antique corn sheller while sitting in the loft of our restored 70 year old barn.
  • Big Orange Jumping Pillow!

Have a great time playing in the activity barns:

    • Grain Barn: filled with shelled corn, like a sand box only better!
    • Straw Barn: formerly a corn crib, filled with straw, complete with slides and rope for swinging.
    • TMX Trike Barn: great fun for riding TMX trikes!
    • Other Activities Include: Lookout Tree House, Turkey Bale, Golden Goat Bridge, (complete with goats to feed!), Wheelbarrow Course, and fall scenes and props designed for great fun, education, and picture taking..

Take Home for students:

  • A pie pumpkin in a special bag.
  • Recipe cards of how to make a pumpkin pie and roast pumpkin seeds.
  • Knowledge of how pumpkins grow and some history of farming.
  • Lots of fun memories found only at Carroll's Pumpkin Farm!


1.5 miles north of Interstate 80 (Grinnell Exit #182) on Highway 146, then 1/2 mile west on 400th Ave.

*** You may bring a sack lunch and eat at the farm prior to our start time.



“Charles Carroll, the Last One Standing”

Mutchler Center

Thursday, October 27

1:30 P.M.

Mike Ernst will portray Charles Carroll, Christian patriot and Signer of the Declaration of Independence. The last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll had an unusual perspective on the birth of the United States of America. As an obscure founding father from Maryland, his personal story including religious persecution, Congressional appointments, extreme wealth and notable danger revealed a unique view of what the founding fathers intended for America. 

From his participation with the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the Bill of Rights, it is clear our arrival at Godly governing documents was due to the Christian nation nearly all of the founding fathers proposed.


The thrust of this piece is straightforward; our founders saw Christian freedoms and liberties as precious and inspired by Divine Providence.  Whether they will be rewritten by a secular world ignoring the very God who inspired them is the fear Charles Carroll puts before us.


Mike Ernst has been involved in theater for over 40 years. In addition to a Theater/Speech degree from Truman University he has additional course work from Drake Univ., Ball State Univ., the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas. Michael taught Speech and Theater for over 30 years in high schools and community college. His theater work includes over 150 directing and onstage appearances. From actor-in-residence at the Ice House Theater in Hannibal, Mo. to assistant director of the Tom Arnold Acting Workshop to, most recently, creator of the one-man Christian drama ministry has consumed his lifetime. ***There will time after the performance for our older students to discuss writing and research with Mr. Ernst.


□ Careers in Archaeology using Advanced Technology

Recommended Grades 9-12

Younger students are welcome to attend.

Ottumwa GPAEA ICN Classroom

Wednesday, November 9
 10:30 A.M. - 11:20 A.M.

During this session, students will meet an archaeologist with the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist. She will share information about the various types of jobs that are held in the field of archaeology. The focus of this session is to share information about modern methods and new technologies that are utilized by professionals in the field of archaeology. For example, GIS (computer mapping) and the use of resistivity meters will be discussed. She will also talk about the use of LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) in creating contour maps and other applications. She will bring maps that have been created using these applications and show us how these technologies were used at the Iowaville site near Ottumwa. If you have students who like science, math, history or geology, this is the session for them!


Champion Bowling Alley


Thursday, December 1

1:00 P.M. -3:00 P.M.

Champion Bowling is one of Ottumwa’s largest family recreation centers. They have 24 synthetic lanes, automatic scoring and bumper bowling. Take a break from the academics and enjoy a fun afternoon.

Ice Skating

Coral Ridge Ice Arena

Coral Ridge, Iowa

Cost: $8.00

(if we have several skaters there could be a $1 to $2 discount)

Monday, December 5

12:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M

Washington-WACO home school program has invited us to join them for an afternoon of ice skating. It is recommended to dress in layers and bring an extra pair of socks in case you would need them to make your skates more comfortableJ It is also good to have lightweight gloves. Parents will need to supervise their own children or have a designated parent responsible for their children. 


□ Zoo Friends: Wild and Rare Animals

Recommended GRADES 1-4

Younger and older students are welcome to attend.

Ottumwa GPAEA ICN Classroom

Tuesday, December 6

9:00 A.M. – 9:50 A.M.

What is the difference between endangered, extinct and threatened? Why do animals become endangered? Join educators and animals from the Blank Park Zoo and learn why every creature is valuable to the earth's ecosystem. We'll hear success stories of endangered animals, meet some of the Zoo's animal ambassadors, and discover how people can make a difference! This program also allows time for student questions, so come prepared.


Nutcracker Ballet

Des Moines Civic Center

Cost: TBA

Friday, December 16

12:30 P.M.

The Iowa Dance Theatre will be presenting a special school performance. The cast will present a shortened version of this holiday ballet, which will include narration of the story, and should last just under an hour.

Ancient Rome  

Mutchler Center

Thursdays, January 5 and 26

1:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Where was ancient Rome? What was the Roman Empire? What was it like to live there? How did ancient Rome influence the world we live in today? We will explore ancient Rome, an incredible city and empire that existed from 753 BC to 476 AD. We will also answer many of your questions and share some cool facts.

Iowa Tests of Basic Skills

Grades 1st – 8th

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

January 17, 18, 19

Mutchler Center

8:55 A.M. – Noon

The main purpose of using a standardized achievement battery is to provide information that can be used to improve instruction. It is valuable to the extent that it contributes to better instructional decisions than educators could make without having that information available. Though standardized achievement scores cannot and should not replace teacher observations and classroom assessment information, they can provide unique supplementary information that bears on decisions about selecting learning objectives and procedures, designing or choosing instructional materials, and creating an effective learning environment.

For more information about the tests, see ITBS website http://www.uiowa.edu/~itp/itbs.htm.


Cosmic Connections         

Recommended Grades K-4

Older students are welcome to attend.

Location of ICN Classroom - TBA

                                                                 Tuesday, January 31       

1:30 P.M. – 2:20 P.M.

            Students will learn the order and names of the planets in our solar system. We'll also have a          discussion on the latest controversy of Pluto's status of a 'dwarf planet.’ Students will also learn about the asteroid belt and the different types of stars as we board an imaginary rocket ship and tour the galaxy. This interactive program also allows time for students to ask questions, so come prepared.






Mom’s Night Out

Friday, February 3

Indian Hills Dining Hall

6:00 P.M.

Are you experiencing the Home School Blues? Your remedy is to come and pamper yourself with a great night of food, laughter and encouragement. More details later.


Time Travel to Ancient Greece

Mutchler Center

Thursday, February 9 and 23

1:30 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

This step back in time will actually be a leap of over 29 centuries to Ancient Greece.  Although this is our greatest leap in time this year, it is to a period and people that have influenced our culture and society today in numerous ways.  We will have activities that reflect just a few of those influences for each of our Greek Days.  After finding our place on our time line, our Ancient Greece days will have stations that show influences of Greece in Science, Math, and Government.


Valentine’s Day Party

Grades K-6

Mutchler Center

Thursday, February 16

1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

Just the mention of Valentine’s Day brings heart-shaped cutouts and winged cupids to mind.  On a day we think of Cupid, it is fitting that our time travel has taken us to Ancient Greece, the culture whence this winged god sprang.  Come celebrate this Valentine’s Day with fun games and activities from our time travel “visit” to Ancient Greece. 



Recommended Grades Age 3 – Grade 2

Older students are welcome to attend.

Greater Des Moines Civic Center

Cost: $1.00

Friday, February 24

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.

Clifford’s turning 50! Celebrate this 2012 milestone with this delightful new musical starring Clifford and the loveable gang from Birdwell Island. Once again, Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, Cleo, and T-Bone demonstrate the timeless values of Clifford’s BIG Ideas – Share, Play Fair, Have Respect, Work Together, Be Responsible, Be Truthful, Be Kind, Believe in Yourself, Be a Good Friend, and Help Others. Set to memorable songs and choreography, there’s even more of Clifford to love in this charming production.

□ Art with Chris Abigt

Mutchler Center

Thursdays, March 1, 15, 29

1:00 P.M. Grades K-4

2:00 P.M. Grades 5-12

We will be stepping back into history and seeing what happened in the art world during the period when architects began using linear perspective to create their magnificent cathedrals.
The younger students will learn the basics of perspective drawing and the older students will learn basics plus enough to be able to design their own Cathedral inside and out if they should choose to do so!

□ Games through the Ages

Mutchler Center

Thursdays, March 1, 15, 29

1:00 P.M. Grades 5-12

2:00 P.M. Grades K-4

Throughout the ages, children have always played games. Come play games from the time periods of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe and American Civil War. It is sure to be lots of fun.


Travel Back to American Civil War Days

Mutchler Center

Thursday, April 26

1:30 P.M – 3:00 P.M.

Travel back in time to a very important era in American history. What was it like to live there? How did the Civil War influence the world we live in today? You are invited to experience the era through activities, food and projects.


Civil War Reenactment

Keokuk, Iowa
April 28 - 29

Watching battle reenactments will give us an incredible opportunity to see history in all its sound and fury- thundering cavalry, clashing swords and exploding cannons. We will see artillery, cavalry, infantry and medical units in action. Also, we will tour the military camps and talk to the “soldiers” (who will be in period dress) about Civil War life.  We will visit Sutlors' Row, where vendors will be selling period goods and period food. Saturday noon, there will be presentations by President & Mrs. Lincoln. The evening will conclude with a military ball, which we may attend/participate in for an admission fee: adults - $10.00; Ages 5-12, $5.00; Ages 4 & younger, free. Sunday morning, we can have breakfast (cost: $5.00) with the troops. Then we will attend a Memorial and Church Service at the National Cemetery, which is one of twelve original national cemeteries designated by the U.S. Congress. (During the Civil War, the presence of the College of Physicians and Surgeons caused the federal government to locate a military hospital in Keokuk. The sick and wounded were transported to the hospitals in Keokuk by riverboats on the Mississippi River. Many soldiers, from the North and South, died at the hospitals in Keokuk during the Civil War, and were buried. This cemetery is currently the final resting place for the remains of over 4,000 American soldiers.) Sunday noon, there will be a presentation by General and Mrs. Grant. Then Sunday afternoon, we will see the counterattack on Shiloh. After the pass and review, the camps will close at 4:00 P.M. Caution: young babies and loud cannons do not mix well. During the weekend, we will have the opportunity to tour Miller House Museum (admission is $2.00) and the George M. Verity Museum Admission: $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 8-18, children 7 & under free. The exact schedule will be published later.

Motel:  Hampton Inn, 3201 Main Street, Keokuk, 319-524-6700 Pool w/ hot tub, No pets allowed. HERALD Group rates - $84.00 double/ $79.00 single. This is a 10% discount.


 End of the Year Picnic and Bike Ride

Thursday, May 10

Ottumwa Park

11:30 P.M.

Time to celebrate as school year comes to a close—though as home school families—school is never closed as we are teaching our children dailyJ  Ok –maybe it means we are almost done with the “school books” or we are ready for a different learning venue. Let’s enjoy a potluck lunch together and an afternoon of fun.



Thursday, May 17

Grades 1-12

Cost $1.00

12:30 P.M.

Witness the beauty, courage, and endurance of the Golden Dragon Acrobats as they share the ancient art of Chinese Acrobatics— a two-thousand-year-old Chinese cultural tradition. Hailing from Hubei Province in China, the Golden Dragon Acrobats are considered the premiere acrobatic touring company today. Featuring contortionists, tumblers, and jugglers, the Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform impressive acts such as plate-spinning, hoop diving, and balancing human pyramids while riding moving bicycles.