Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

By Kristine Funk
Cougar News Blog

     Some Cactus Canyon math students went on a safari to learn about numbers, decimals, and percents.
     Rachel Mangum and Tina Jada’s math classes recently had a video conference with the Saint Louis Zoo to learn about math and animals. The instructor gave many different examples relating to math, but also related to animals, and gave them problems to solve.
     “I think that because it was something they could relate to they tried really hard to figure out the math,” said Mangum.
     The learning objective was about decimals and percents, and the video instructor gave examples such as how many times a falcon would be successful capturing prey under a variety of circumstances.
     The Mathimals program is something the St. Louis Zoo offers to schools across America and it includes live animals, hands-on activities, and videos to show how math is important to the zoo and the world.
     The class plans on doing it again in January, but instead of a zoo, they will learn along with a musician. Mangum hopes that students will be able to see that math is used everywhere, and not just in school.
     “I had my students reflect on the experience and they said that they really enjoyed it,” Mangum said.
     Students say that the conference has helped them understand the subject more, and they also learned a thing or two about animals.
     “It was amazing,” said Kristen Baker. “I learned more about the animals there.”

By Alissa Baker
Cougar News Blog

     Cactus Canyon’s choir spends most of their time behind closed doors, practicing for concerts, carnivals, and other special occasions.
     Many people outside of choir might see the group as just a school elective, but it is much more than that. All the students and instructors are connected through their love of music and shared frustration of hard work. The members of the club really do feel the connection they have with each other, and they are willing to support one another all the way.
     “Choir is like a family to me, so that means we work together through the hard times and protect each other afterwards – and we don’t leave each other out,” said Katriel Hamilton.
     Mrs. Chung had been preparing her students for their Dec. 20 and has been giving them various practice methods. Many of these practices include warm ups at the beginning of class. These seem to be helping the students with their singing and even with their natural speech. Some of the singers who want to continue singing in the future even find it helpful.
     “I’m planning on singing again in the future, so I think the warm ups Mrs. Chung has been giving us are helpful,” Alondra Urias said.
     A lot of the participants were very excited during the concert in December. There are also many people who were nervous, and didn’t know how to cope with it.
     “I’m a little bit nervous because of the solos that we are doing, since we do them by our selves, but I am also excited because we get to dance and stuff.”

By Chloe Mayes
Cougar News Blog

     There has been a murder at Rundown Abbey. Follow along with the characters to find out who the killer is at the Cactus Canyon drama production.
     Students can come see Murder at Rundown Abbey at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, Apache Junction High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are only $1 and will be available at the door.
     The play, set in the 1920s, follow detective Sam Splayed as he goes undercover as a butler to solve a murder at the English estate owned by the Crumbledowns.
     Adviser Lisa Schroeder wants her student to enjoy the experience and develop a love for drama.
     “I want them to enjoy this process and it is my hope that they truly fall in love with the theater and want to explore more or similar opportunities in the future,” said Schroeder.
     The drama students have been working for about two and a half months to prepare.The student have many techniques that they use to practice. Some students like when they can practice with their fellow peers that are also in the play.
     “When I practice, I find I improve when I talk to someone with my lines,” said seventh grader Nevaeh Erlandson.
     Since CCJH has not had a play in about five years, the class had to come up with all the costumes and props. Although, thanks to some generous people, they were able to get donations for most of the things they needed. All the money that the play raises is going toward their next play that will be in the spring.
      “We had to obtain all aspects, such as costumes, props, set pieces, etc.,” said Schroeder. “We obtained these items from various resources such as teacher, parent, and community donations. We made many of our items from recycled materials such as old boxes, and fabrics.”
     Drama students said they are really grateful to get the opportunity to put on the show and said the experience has made the group like a family.
     “Drama has taught me that no matter who I am I can always act and be myself because family isn’t always blood,” said eighth grader Kaitlin Greathouse. “It’s the people in life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Members of the marching band practice outside in preparation for their trip to Arizona State University. The group played on the field at halftime of the ASU football game on Oct. 8. (Photo by Brooke Wine)

Sigfrido Ibarra
Cougar New Blog

     The Cactus Canyon marching band had the benefit of performing with ASU’s own marching band during halftime of Arizona State’s football game Oct. 8 in Tempe.
     The group, along with other bands from around the state, helped ASU by performing “Maroon & Gold,” ASU’s fight song and “1999” by Prince.
Aimee Vining, the band director, thought it would be a excellent way to get her class a hands-on experience on the field.
     “I really just wanted them to experience marching band in a big way,” she said. “They were able to interact with the members of the band.”
     The CCJH marching band members thought it was a good idea to visit ASU, have a tour, and thought that playing on the field would help them in the long run for other activities at school.
     “This would help me in marching band because I know what playing on a field is like,“ said Melvin Lopez, who plays the trumpet.
     Ms. Vining heard about the trip by getting e-mailed by the coordinator from ASU. The trip costs the school about $100, but that money was used to pay for the bus to get there and back. Student had to get a slip signed by their parents to be able to go to ASU and they had to learn the songs.

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

Alissa Baker and Savannah Barr read the announcements while Mya Palomino holds the teleprompter and Stanley Cook films. (Photo by Mr. Davis)

By Mya Palomino
Cougar News Blog

     A new addition has been added to the morning announcements – video. In order to help more students be engaged with the news, the Journalism 2 students are recording the segments each day for the following morning.
     The announcements are now online for teachers to play and for students to view. The Pledge of Allegiance and school pledge are still done at before the video, as are any announcements that were added after filming was completed during fourth hour.
     Although the announcements are student recorded, they are being edited by adviser Jason Davis for now, but they are aimed to be done by just the students soon. This project will hopefully help students in their speaking and presenting standards.
     “While there are no traditional English or math standards associated with this project,” said Davis, “Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards include speaking and presenting.”
     The production has also gotten better with a more efficient set and better, more professional graphics. There was also a teleprompter added to help students look at the camera more often. Mr. Davis said he expects the videos will get better throughout the year.
     “Our reporters have come a long way already,” said Marie-Wilbur, seventh grade teacher. “They are starting to look at the camera and we as an audience get to see their faces.”
     There are many benefits to the announcements now. Not only do students get to feel what journalism is about, this is a way for the world to know that our school has many great opportunities. It’s also a better way for students to pay attention to the announcements.
     “I feel like students pay attention a lot more now,” said eighth grader Hannah Molino. “Everyone is quiet since it’s a video and they pay attention more so it’s easier to get information to our students now.”

Eighth grader Ariana Foxx examines a seedling during her gardening elective. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

Eighth grader Ariana Foxx examines a seedling during her gardening elective. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

By Kristine Funke
Cougar News Blog

     There is a new enrichment class for eighth graders. The class is gardening, and the students are growing produce on campus.
     Carol Dolle, a teacher and counselor, hopes to inspire students about the fun of gardening. She wants to share her hobby with students.
     “I want my student to learn the basics of gardening and have a sense of accomplishment when they harvest their veggies,” said Dolle.
     The class is going to plant vegetables and maybe edible flowers. The idea is for the produce to be something that can be eaten. Dolle also wants students to see how much better things taste when it is fresh from a garden.
     One problem they could face is that the quarter is in winter. However, they plan on planting produce that grows well in the cold weather.
     “Some of the very best time for gardening in desert climates is the winter,” said Dolle. “The days are still relatively warm and the nights usually stay above freezing so many varieties thrive in those conditions.”
     Some students have had experience with gardening before, and Mrs. Dolle enjoyed vegetable gardening before she became a teacher.
     “When I was little, I lived on a farm for about 6 years,” said eighth grader Laila Brady. “My mother’s and (my) favorite thing to do was garden. We would go outside in our big      The class plans on doing a particular type of gardening that involves straw bales, which students may have seen in the courtyard. They also plan on building raised beds to garden, and students will be keeping track of progress.
     “We also might need to fence them in case the rabbits find us,” said Dolle.

By Megan Ash
Cougar News Blog

      Something new that the Yearbook staff is doing is lowering the price. Now through the 17th of November, students can order their yearbook for $29, which is $1 off the current price and a $6 savings off the regular price.
      Also with that low price students can get an invite to the root beer-float party that they will be throwing. At that party students can meet with Carlos the Cougar.
      “We are offering a price that’s less than what we pay Lifetouch to have them printed. The books will only be $29 during this two-week period and will be $30 until Christmas break,” said yearbook adviser Jason Davis. “After the new year, they go up to $35. And those who buy before January gets to come to the end-of-the-year signing party.”
      It is important for the group to sell as many books as they can because they order 310 books and need to pay for them before the end of the school year. When students pay the price of $30 they are not getting charged the original price of the book. One book from lifetouch costs about $32.
      “We offer promotions because we need to sell books. The reason we make it is so people will buy it and enjoy it. It’s not the most fun part of being in yearbook, but it is necessary,” said Davis.
      To get the word out, the staff is trying many different things. It is on the morning announcements. Also during the seventh and eighth grade lunch Carlos the Cougar is walking around and pass out flyers.
      “I tell all my friends to buy a book so they can go have fun with me. We need to pay Lifetouch lots of money,” said seventh grader Isabella Vasquez.