Learning Updates for September 18 to September 22

September 22, 2023

Update: Special Delivery from the White House!


In the spring, our first grade students (now awesome second graders!) learned how to write and mail letters as part of a letter-writing unit. They learned the structure of a letter, how to share about themselves, how to ask questions, and how to address and mail an envelope. Each student wrote to faculty at BDS as well as friends or family outside of school. Our letter-writing unit concluded with students writing to anyone in the world to whom we can mail a letter. Recipients included international athletes, family across the country, local friends, and politicians.

Ela Kas and Bennie Kamenski wrote to President Joe Biden, and they received a fun surprise when they returned to school this month. Waiting for Ela and Bennie was a letter and a signed picture from the President! They were excited by the response, and they plan to display the photos prominently at home, most likely on the refrigerator.

– Geoffrey Fox, first grade teacher

Eighth Graders Split on Requiring Saturday School Day


This week in eighth grade social studies, students participated in their first roleplay of the year. Roleplays are an important part of our eighth grade social studies curriculum—they are a hands-on way of learning that gives students the opportunity to consider issues from positions other than their own and require students to work collaboratively. This roleplay was of a public school board hearing to determine whether the town would instate mandatory Saturday school. Students were assigned to the pro-Saturday school or anti-Saturday school positions or to the school board itself. The roleplay occurred in the Kiva on Tuesday. Students did a great job building, supporting, and clearly articulating their assigned roles. Each class’ school board made a different ultimate ruling: one ruled against mandatory Saturday school, one ruled for mandatory Saturday school, and the other split the difference by instituting a mandatory half-day Saturday filled with extra time to meet one-on-one with teachers and community building student meetings.

– Kate Burns, eighth grade social studies teacher

Pre-k Pulls Plentiful Potatoes from the Patch


Last year’s pre-kindergarten class planted a potato patch in the school garden last spring during community service day. Over the summer the potato plants grew and as they got taller we “hilled” the plants or added soil to the base of the plants, so that the developing tubers would stay underground. This fall our new pre-kindergarten class had the opportunity to dig with their hands into the potato patch to harvest the crop of potatoes. Not only did they find lots of different potatoes, including Yukon gold, red cloud, and russet, they also discovered other creatures that are in the soil: many earthworms, a few spiders, and roly-poly bugs. Soon, pre-k students will count, sort, and wash the potatoes. The BDS kitchen team will then serve these potatoes as an all-school lunch and snack for the pre-k students. These same pre-k students will plant potatoes next spring for the incoming pre-k class in the fall of 2024! We’re excited to keep this decade-old tradition growing and growing!

Kim Edwards and Nicole Siverls, pre-kindergarten teachers, and Kathy Jo Solomon, visual arts teacher and sustainability coordinator

Third Grade Authors Learn by Shelving Their Fictitious Books


In third grade, students are well on their way to becoming library experts. One of the third grade library goals for the year is to be able to locate any book in the Erskine Library. In order to do that, students are learning how to read a catalog entry to determine the call number of a book.

This week, they learned that the call number of fiction books begins with FIC, the next three letters are from the author’s last name, and that fiction books are located on the curved shelves in the middle of the Erskine Library. To better understand this lesson, they then figured out what the call number of a fiction book would be if they wrote one. After making up names for a potential story, they determined the exact spot where their books would be shelved.

– Amy Sprung, school librarian, and the third grade team

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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