Spring Training

IMG_3310-1As we approach the beginning of the baseball season, I wanted to share with you a field trip that was taken by the third graders last fall at Kauffman Stadium, known fondly to Royals’ fans as “The K.”

Baseball comes along every spring, bringing with it sunshine and optimism about the coming summer. It signifies the end of winter and the season of rebirth. The sport is timeless in nature. There is no clock and the game is played until it’s over. There are many things that tie baseball to our daily lives and thus, the Royals to our community. Helping our students understand how important a binding force in our community is to those that make it up is something that’s hard to teach. The feeling you get being at the stadium and being part of something larger than yourself. You can’t get that in pictures; it needs to be experienced.

IMG_3336-1The kids got to go out to The K and see the locker rooms where the players dress out. They went into the dugout where the team waits their turn to bat. There were other learning opportunities as well, such as measuring the baselines, the length of the bats, the distance from home plate to the pitcher’s mound and more. Also, the entire field was being replaced. Not something you get to see very often! The students all had a wonderful time and here’s to another season, another summer and another great year at OP-C!

The First 100

100 Days 2The first 100 days of school for a kindergartner are magical. When I was a kid, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, chalk dust and the distinct sound of the radiator clanking away in the back of the classroom were fixtures of the classroom experience. Now, it’s somewhat different with mechanical pencils, whiteboards, digital learning and more. However, there are a surprising number of memories our children are creating that are similar to ours.

At the end of January our kindergartners celebrated their 100th day of school. During the celebration they engaged in numerous projects which, while being fun and helping them to celebrate, also took the time to showcase just how much they have learned in what feels like such a short time.

The kids counted to 100 using paper pennies which they glued onto a giant dollar. They put together puzzles which were make out of sections of numbered blocks that went up to 100. They made jewelry using 100 (or more) pieces of cereal. The kids delighted in having their photos taken with an app that showed them what they might look like in 100 years. There were so many different projects for them to do during the celebration that everyone seemed to have a great time. The real joy, however, was seeing how many of them can now count to 100, recognize all the numbers up to 100, understand some basic money denominations and more. It just goes to highlight what an amazing job our teachers are doing for our students every single day, even at the very earliest stages of their schooling. Thank you, teachers. For being so great.

Fall Into Fun

Farmer Jeanne talks about the parts of a pumpkin.

OP-C Kindergartners took their very first field trip to Johnson Farms in Belton, Mo. last week where they learned about life on a farm and growing and harvesting pumpkins.

When the kids arrived, they met with Farmer Jeanne. Farmer Jeanne told them about her farm, which she called her backyard. She taught them all about pumpkins. The gooey inside is called “netting” and the walls are called the “pulp,” just like an orange.

Farmer Jeanne went through all the rules of the farm. Most importantly: You can pet an animal’s neck, you can pet an animal’s back, but if they turn their head toward you, you have to pull your hands away! We all practiced petting pretend animals and moving our hands away when its head turned toward us.

After the rules were outlined, the kids all boarded an extra long trailer pulled by a tractor and rode out to the pumpkin patch. Farmer Jeanne told them normally they would have been able to get out and pick their own pumpkin, but it was too muddy because of all the rain. “I wouldn’t want you to bring home pieces of my backyard on your shoes,” she told them. Instead, they stayed on the trailer as the farm hand drove them around.

Next the kids went to the animal corral. They did a great job keeping their hands away from the big boar’s mouth when he wandered close to the fence. They also got a close look at some baby pigs, chicks, rabbits, an alpaca and a cow.

Kindergartners bounce on a giant air cushion.

After all the animal fun, the kids got to play in Noah’s Play Yard where there were attractions like the sand bus (really, a bus full of sand!) and a giant air cushion for bouncing on. Everyone had a great time playing! Then the students, teachers and parents all got together and had lunch outside. After lunch, students received a pumpkin and loaded the buses for the return to OP-C.


To support fun and educational field trips like this, join the Oak Park-Carpenter PTA.

Cultural Art

Picture 1Larry Yazzie, a Native Pride Dancer from the Meskwaki Nation, visited OP-C students the last Friday in September to share with them some of the vibrant history and culture of Native American life. He wore full regalia for his presentation for the students which was hand beaded especially for him, taking many hours to complete. He talked about Native American music and how his drum beat and music are connected to the Earth. He said he didn’t learn to dance as much as he learned to allow his body to move how it wanted with the music. His flute music was also representative of nature.

Mr. Yazzie performed traditional ceremonial dances for students, including eagle feathers. He told the students how these feathers were obtained through special permission from the USFWS National Eagle Repository. Native dancers can receive the feathers from eagles that die of natural causes to be used in traditional ceremonies.Picture 2

After his presentation, he took questions from students such as ‘when did you start your culture?’. He took the time to answer all questions as well as he could. The students really seemed to enjoy the stories and the information. Everyone had a great time! You can find more information on Larry Yazzie here.

To support educational programs like this, join or donate to the PTA today!

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

OP-C students enjoy the sea lion show

On Friday, OP-C second graders visited the Kansas City Zoo to learn about the habitats and biology of lions, tigers, and bears — oh my! — as well as a wide variety of other animals.

Parents met in the classrooms to get their list of students to chaperone and a scavenger hunt with questions to get kids talking about the animals. The kids all left the school with their teachers on buses at 8:30 a.m. and met the chaperoning parents at the zoo. Kids each got an entry ticket and a one-way tram ride, funded by PTA donations from our OP-C families.

The first stop after entering the zoo was the Kid Zone, where chaperons and students watched otters dive through the water and a polar bear ambling about on land. Then they enjoyed a sea lion show, where they saw three sea lions showing off their dancing skills. The next stop for many students was the elephant exhibit– where they learned elephants are mammals and have hair on their tails.

Hungry cheetahs eye some OP-C students

Students walked through Africa, checking out antelope, tortoises, giraffes, hippos, and rhinos. At the cheetah exhibit, three hungry-looking cheetahs paced directly in front of the crowd, looking ready to pounce. There was an “Animal Chat” starting, and a zoo employee answered questions about the cheetahs.

“Why do they look like they want to eat us?” one adult joked.

“Monday through Thursday we give them food during this chat, but today is Friday!” she replied. The cheetahs thought it was time for breakfast!

After seeing many African animals, the students gathered in shady spots to eat their lunches. Then many students took a tram ride back to the Kid Zone. Some saw penguins and monkeys, and played in the discovery barn and on the playground.  Students also got to experience the new Billy Goats Gruff Yard, where they could feed and pet goats.

At 1 p.m., it was time to meet up at the front entrance and head back to school. Smiling students waited with their teachers, chaperones said their goodbyes, and it was the end of another great OP-C field trip.

To support field trips like this, join or donate to the PTA today!

Spirited Success!

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The Chick-Fil-A Cow visited with OP-C kids after school.

We had an amazing turnout on Thursday for our first Restaurant Night of the year! The Chick-Fil-A at Oak Park Plaza was literally bustling with activity as it was descended upon by OP-C families for Spirit Night. The cow was on hand, student artwork was on display and CHIKIN was enjoyed by all! in fact, it was our best Chick-Fil-A night EVER!

Our Restaurant Nights are a large part of the PTA’s fundraising effort at OP-C. Nights like this, and the amazing turnout we received from our families, keep us from needing to ask our students sell items throughout the year to raise money.

Thursday night’s Restaurant Night included a contest. Fliers were given to families to turn in with their order. The class with the most fliers turned in won a cookie party provided by Chick-Fil-A. The winning class was Ms. Dearing’s! Congratulations to the boys and girls in Ms. Dearing’s class! We hope that you enjoy your cookie party!  Thank you to all the families for your continued support of the OP-C PTA.

Make a Difference

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OP-C students learn about Native Americans at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmestead

Pencils… check. Glue sticks… check. Backpack… check. PTA membership… check!

A PTA membership is a back-to-school essential. Just like crayons and paper, your donation is a tool to help your child learn by funding exciting and educational programs for our Oak Park-Carpenter students and their families.

It’s an easy way to have a direct impact on your child’s education.

“There are many great programs and events that PTA donations help support,” said Lindsay Bucl, Oak Park-Carpenter PTA Vice President of Membership. “Our teachers set up field trips all over the area and PTA funds help support those fun learning adventures.”

Last year, just a few of the amazing field trips the PTA funded gave students the chance to learn about history at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm, learn about farm animals at Deanna Rose Farmstead, and learn about science at Shawnee Mission South High School.

PTA memberships also bring OP-C families together. When you join the PTA, you get a copy of our paper directory and access to our online directory.  “It’s a great way to connect with parents, teachers, and community members who support and help our children every day,” Bucl said.

In addition to funding field trips and providing connections to the Oak Park-Carpenter community, your PTA donation supports programs like:

  • Ice Cream Social
  • Back-to-School Night
  • Kindergarten Round-Up
  • Trunk-or-Treat
  • Pancakes and BINGO night
  • Preschool Fun Time
  • STEM night
  • Senior Breakfast
  • 6th Grade Farewell
  • Field Day
  • Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Clothing Drives
  • Carnival

PTA membership is only $7 for an individual or $12 for a family. You can make an additional donation in an amount of your choosing. Donations go back to the school to fund extras for students and staff that the district cannot provide. Every member makes a difference.

To join the PTA, click here and follow the instructions to pay online or via check. Thank you for your support!