Learning Updates for December 13 to December 17

December 17, 2021

Kindergartners Embrace Technology Lessons

In our first unit of technology class, kindergarten students have been introduced to early programming concepts. They have explored using individual commands, both with other learners and as part of a computer program. Using beebots, they have learned to identify what each command does and have used that knowledge to start predicting the outcome of programs. They have also been introduced to the early stages of program design through the introduction of algorithms.

– Kurt Robinson, innovation & technology teacher

Third Graders Show Appreciation for Cross Graded Partners, Teachers

Altruism abounds in third grade as students thoughtfully create affirmation posters for their seventh grade partners and “crowns of character” for the lower school classroom teachers! In addition to the benefits of increasing your mood, empathy, and compassion, extending kindness to others is said to decrease the stress hormone, cortisol. In short, it just feels good to be kind! The third graders know how hard their seventh grade partners work each day, and they wish to honor that and let their partners know they are cheering them on (from afar). We all know that there is a unique mix of commitment, excellence, and magic that happens in our lower school classrooms every single day. Our teachers care deeply for our students emotionally and socially, as well as academically. The third graders wish to extend their gratitude and acknowledgment of awesomeness to each of our amazingly talented classroom teachers who give their all each day.

– Leigh Twarog & Larissa Rochford ’93, third grade teachers

Eighth Graders Further Understanding of US Constitution

The eighth graders wrapped up their US Constitution Then & Now unit in social studies last week with their first unit response project. Unit response projects give students the opportunity to dive deeper into a topic we’ve covered in class: they learn more about the topic and create an artifact to share some of their learning with their peers. Eighth graders chose a wide variety of topics for these projects including vaccine mandates, current abortion legislation, and a painting depicting Shays’ Rebellion. Students viewed the work of their peers in a gallery walk style last week and shared written feedback including what they learned from their peers’ work and what they appreciate about it. Great work, eighth graders!

– Kate Burns, middle school social studies teacher

PE Update: Nothin’ But Net

With winter break on the horizon, our Lower School physical education program wanted to bust out some electric equipment for our final week. So we put together our badminton nets and began to introduce net games in grades pre-kindergarten to fourth.

We used station work to allow our students to practice hitting or throwing a variety of implements over the nets, from badminton racquets and birdies, to beachballs, to fingerlight balls, to our mondo nyalite ball. Classes were introduced to gameplay, positioning, and communication with games like Newcomb, and worked on their hand-eye coordination with scarf tosses. It was a delightful way to end PE in 2021 and we look forward to being back in action in the new year.

– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher

Science in Seventh Studies Cellular Structure

After completing a survey of the different domains and kingdoms of life, students began investigating different characteristics of living things and how cellular structure gives rise to these traits. This week, seventh graders completed a lab to answer the question, “How do plants get water from the soil?”. In order to do this, we compared the size of potatoes soaked in salt water versus regular water. This helped us better understand diffusion, and how the structure of the plant cell membrane facilitates osmosis.

– Leal Carter, grades 7 & 8 science teacher 

Isabel Moore '16 works with a student during her practicum in fourth grade


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