Learning Updates for Week of June 7 to June 11

June 10th, 2021

Arts Update: Sixth Graders Improvise Family Portraits

Sixth graders have been learning all about the art of improv in their theater arts intensive. In this activity entitled "Family Portrait," each group came up one at a time and was given a title for a picture that revolves around a type of family. The groups had 10 seconds to form a portrait based on the title. Students were instructed to think about the characters involved in the picture and to talk to each other so that the tableau was cohesive and coherent. They had to tell a story, even though they were frozen in place.

– Christopher Parsons, theater arts teacher

Third Graders Complete, Share Their State Projects

The third grade team reimagined their beloved state project again this year! With research and other materials created by their teachers, the third graders studied changemakers from their state, national parks, state animals, and Native American tribes who once inhabited the land. They transformed their work into pieces of writing, posters, and visual models to reflect what they learned and wanted to share. Students created poster-sized landform maps as well as state maps on grid paper to determine the actual area and perimeter of each state using their data and map scales. The state project concluded with a virtual State Celebration, where guests saw highlights of student work and heard every student speak and reflect on what they learned about their states and themselves throughout the entire process.

– Leigh Twarog and Larissa Rochford '93, grade 3 teachers

Fourth Graders Present the Greek Storytelling Festival

On Thursday, our fourth graders had a hybrid Greek Storytelling Festival with students on campus and parents joining via Zoom. The day began with a slideshow of our Greek Olympics and a message from Zeus and Mt. Olympus. Then families broke up into cohort Zooms and enjoyed hearing some ancient myths rewritten and performed live by the fourth graders. Part two of the celebration happens at home where the fourth graders will share their ancient Greek digital magazine which offers advice from the gods, an interview with a mortal, highlights from the journal of Odysseus, and more! Thanks so much to the kitchen team for providing yummy Greek food, such as spanakopita, for us to try.

– Lana Holman and Angela DeVecchi '75, grade 4 teachers

Seventh Graders Help Local Citizen Science Projects

In seventh grade science, students have been collecting data for a local citizen science project of their choosing. Citizen science projects are projects in which the general public can participate in meaningful scientific research. The focus of our particular projects has been collecting observational data on local indicator species, which are species whose presence, absence, or abundance gives scientists useful information about the health of an ecosystem. The data that students have collected will allow scientists to study how environmental impacts may be affecting that particular ecosystem. Students had the opportunity to choose which project they were most excited to work on. Some of the most popular projects have involved: monitoring bumblebees, identifying the number of particular bird species on campus, and identifying bugs. We have had a blast learning more about our local ecosystem and how to identify species that we see every day! In addition, students have been creating blogs to document their journey through each project.

– Leal Carter, grades 7 & 8 science teacher

Eighth Grade Spanish Students Create Touching Musical Slideshow

In Spanish, eight grade students (our soon-to-be graduates!) worked diligently over the past few weeks to produce this fun retrospective video clip to the song "Un Amigo Es Una Luz" by Enanitos Verdes. During that time, the classroom became a very creative space, full of music, discussions, and groups; you could hear tuba and guitars, piano, violin, etc., while everyone worked on the translation of the lyrics. It was a daunting task but very enjoyable to see how they assigned all the work and collaborated in groups to make this project a success. Thank you so much to Ms. Kitamura for helping us with the musical notes.

¡Felicitaciones para los estudiantes y feliz verano para todos!

– Ana Maria Restrepo, middle school Spanish teacher

Seventh Graders Up For the Challenge to Support Sustainability

Seventh graders began Challenge Week! In their cohorts, they have been tasked with finding a viable solution to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals focused on climate change. They have been working through the design thinking process, learning to empathize, ideate, prototype, collaborate and present their concepts for reducing our human footprint. On Monday, June 14 the teams will be presenting to the whole seventh grade and a panel of judges in the Palandjian Arts Center.

Here are the projects each cohort is concentrating on for the challenge:

Buck cohort: "The Raccoon Project" - focused on upcycling wasted products - UNSD goal #12: Responsible Production and Consumption

Carter cohort: "Aqua Innergy" - focused on capturing water energy to create cheap and clean electricity - UNSD goal #7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Bennhoff cohort: "Clean Tomorrow" - focused on cleaning rivers and the ocean with small, towable water garbage collectors - UNDS goal #6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Drummey cohort:  "Lights Out" - focused on electrical use - they are doing a "lights out" campaign - UNSD goal #13: Climate Action

– Gretchen Fogelstrom, middle school social studies teacher

Eighth Graders Dive Deeper Into Research on WWII

Eighth graders recently completed their final unit response project of the year in social studies. After studying the United States' roles in World War II for five weeks, students had the opportunity to spend a full week researching any topic they were interested in connected to World War II. Some students chose to study parts of the world that we did not go into in class like the Soviet Union and Northern Africa; some chose to dive deeper into things we did cover together like the social impact of so many women on the homefront working outside of their home, and some students even interviewed family members to learn more about their ancestors' involvement in and experience during the war. Every student worked hard to find reliable sources and take relevant notes on the sources. All eighth graders presented some of their learning to their peers. Congratulations to the eighth graders on the successful completion of their social studies course this year!

–Kate Burns, grades 7 & 8 social studies teacher

Students Performing ImprovStudent Holding Up MapAncient Greek StorytellingCitizen Science ProjectsSeventh Grade Sustainability ProjectsCollage of Images From World War Two