Learning Updates for January 23 to January 27

January 26, 2023

Second Graders Learn About Environmental Changemakers, Including One Here at BDS!

Second graders have been hard at work the past few months to learn about environmental changemakers–people who identify problems, find solutions and inspire others to get involved. This week, the second grade had a visit from Belmont Day’s very own environmental changemaker–Mr. Dean Spencer, middle school teacher, advisor, coach, and so much more! Before Mr. Spencer became a teacher, he was an environmental lawyer, helping the state of Massachusetts keep its water, air, and land safe, clean, and healthy. Mr. Spencer shared his experiences, answered questions, and worked with the students to highlight the importance of working together. The students were able to make connections to many of the ideas we have been discussing, including the impact of individual decisions on a group, and that to change the world we need many people with different skills and ideas. The students also aligned Mr. Spencer’s work with their own projects, which combined research skills, the exploration of nonfiction texts, and artistic expression. The second graders are proud to announce that their changemaker bookmarks are now available in the Erskine Library. Please stop by to pick up a bookmark to hold your spot in a book, admire a beautiful and inspirational design, and learn something new.

– The Second Grade Team

Eighth Grade Examine Civil War Draft Riots

This week eighth graders continued their study of the US Civil War in social studies class. After learning about the Emancipation Proclamation earlier in the week, they worked together as a full class to explore the mystery of why the New York City Draft Riots occurred. Each student received 2-3 historical facts (“clues”) that they could read to their peers but not show to their peers. As a group, they worked to understand the context of the riots and consider who they believe the rioters should have blamed for their situation. This was a great opportunity for Ms. Burns to step back and see the students all work together to organize, debate, lead, and ultimately answer some important questions about this moment in US History.

– Kate Burns, middle school social studies teacher

Kindergarten Welcomes Parent Visitors

We enjoyed a week full of parent visitors in kindergarten! We first welcomed in Yale and Wenting, parents of Boya Ye, Chen, parent to Christine Hao, Zoe, parent to Eric Sun, Kim, parent to Vivienne Moy Truong, Tingting, parent to Allie Xu, and Weiwei, parent to Andy Zhang. This phenomenal group of kindergarten parents celebrated the start of the Spring Festival holiday, or Lunar New Year, with kindergarten.  Later on, Room 226 was full of laughter and joy as we played games to celebrate student learning during Parent Sharing and Shadow Days! We are so grateful to all kindergarten families–past and present–for enriching our students’ lives and helping to make BDS special.

– Missy Hartvigsen, kindergarten teacher

First Grade Learns About Lunar New Year

This week first graders learned about the traditions and celebrations of Chinese (or Lunar) New Year. We heard from classmates that celebrate the holiday about their favorite customs, and then we created our own decorations for the new year. First graders painted a good luck banner with the “Fu” symbol on it and then wrote a fact they learned on the back. They will hang it upright to welcome good look until the end of the Lunar New Year celebration, and then they will turn it upside down to indicate that “luck has come.” Happy New Year!

– Cicely Gibson, first grade teacher

By Kassie Bettinelli, music teacher |

November 17, 2023

In March of last year, a few students approached the music teaching team about the possibility of organizing a talent show. Knowing one hadn’t been scheduled for the spring, and that planning one for the future could be an awesome…


November 17, 2023

Second Grade’s New Mural Is a Feast For the Eyes For our summer reading book this year, second graders read Tomatoes for Neela, written by Padmi Lakshmi and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. It is a story about a young girl…

By John O'Neill, director of athletics |

November 3, 2023

This fall, BDS piloted an intramural volleyball team that spent the season learning the game, practicing skills, and holding weekly scrimmages. Over the course of the season, players improved tremendously and are prepared to step into a more competitive environment…


November 3, 2023

Spanish Students Learn, Share About El Días de los Muertos Spanish students learned about and celebrated the traditional Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Through different audio activities, students engaged in hands-on projects. Sixth grade…
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