Learning Updates for December 6 to December 10

December 10, 2021

Fifth Grade Explores Mind Mapping

In fifth grade humanities, we just completed a unit in which we read and analyzed the novel Morning Girl by Michael Dorris. At the end of Morning Girl was a primary document from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Students learned the difference between dominant and counter-narratives by exploring different perspectives of Columbus’s arrival portrayed in Morning Girl, The Encounter, Christopher the Ogre Cologre, It’s Over, and A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus. With these perspectives in mind, their culminating project was the creation of two Mind Maps. Mind Maps express a student’s understanding of someone else’s perspective. It represents both the inside and the outside of a person. Students depicted either Morning Girl or Star Boy in one Mind Map and Christopher Columbus in the other, using evidence from the different texts to support their creative choices. The “internal” drawing included an illustration of the person/characters, three descriptive words or phrases, two thoughts that person/character has at some point in the book, and one thing that character/person does or says at some point in the book, all with supporting page numbers.

– Vaniecia Skinner, grade 5 teacher

PE Update: Winter Classics Abound

Our highest lower school grades have been getting after it recently with classic Winter athletics offerings. We don’t have an ice hockey rink, but fourth grade has been practicing stickwork, passing, shooting, and goalkeeping nonetheless with our pilo polo sticks. The intensity has been matched by the joy, and the box scores show zero penalty minutes.

Meanwhile, our fifth graders have decamped to Downing, where they are getting to learn the finer points of volleyball and wrestling. A hallmark of our fifth grade program is the opportunity to learn the sports that they can select as middle schoolers, and they are rising to the occasion big time. Volleyball, as Coach Ellie Brennan, head coach of our middle school team, can attest, is all about having a stable platform. We like to think of that as not just a fundamental technique but an athletic motto. Our fourth and fifth graders are developing the stable platform of knowledge, skill, and experience, that will carry them into their athletic careers at BDS without missing a beat.

– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher

Middle School French Students Learn About Cultures, Poetry

In both seventh and eighth grade French, students sent off their first letters to a class of middle schoolers in Viroflay, outside of Paris.

Seventh graders just completed a unit that included getting a glimpse of a school in Martinique and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This week they learned a poem about school by the well-known poet, Jacques Prévert. In France students often do recitations. We have watched videos of a few by both students and adults, and our BDS students worked on their own recitations, including memorization, pronunciation, expression, and gestures. It was a day of challenge, drama, and good humor!

Eighth grade French students wrapped up a unit about the culture of Sénégal. They prepared short presentations about a cultural element from Sénégal. We wrapped up the unit by doing mini-presentations about something about our own cultures: an element of family culture, a culture we relate to outside of the United States, or an element of US culture we connect with. It has been a good way for us to build our own sense of community at BDS.

– Jennifer Friborg, French teacher

Worms Wiggle Into Kindergarten Lessons

This week was “Worm Week” in Mrs. Hartvigsen’s kindergarten class! Along with some new wormy class pets, Ms. Heather Oliver, our kindergarten associate teacher, led the students through a variety of activities to deepen their understanding of earthworms. Kindergartners sketched observational pictures of our worm farm, read fictional and non-fiction books that revolved around this topic, and engaged with experiments to see the effect that earthworms have on soil. We even enjoyed reinforcing familiar academic skills with a wormy focus! Kindergarteners formed numerals with wiggly worm toys, and used tweezers to grasp worm toys in a sensory bin. We had so much fun, and certainly have a greater appreciation for all of the wonderful work earthworms do to help our world!

– Missy Hartvigsen, kindergarten teacher


June 7, 2024

PE Update: First Graders Explore Their Athletic Identities At Belmont Day we often say that every student is an athlete. But what does that actually mean? Our Athletic Identity Project is a chance for first graders to explore that idea…

By John O'Neill, Director of Athletics |

June 7, 2024

Recipients of the 2023 Coaches’ Awards returned to campus Thursday afternoon for the Athletics Banquet. Before recognizing this year’s award winners, Liam Brodeur, Avery Schneider, Nebiyou Elias, and Quincy Treisman shared some advice with this year’s graduating class and then…

By John O'Neill, Director of Athletics |

May 31, 2024

Belmont Day’s mountain biking team has grown exponentially in gnarliness since its inception four years ago. This year’s squad benefitted from extended Monday rides, leveling up throughout the season, and culminating in the first-ever MTB “away game” at Great Brook…

By Devan Fitzpatrick, middle school learning support specialist and club advisor |

May 28, 2024

Our middle school chess club hosted a tournament against Milton Academy on Saturday, May 18. The type of tournament that they played was the Swiss System, which enables all students to play every round. Students from both teams played with…
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