Learning Updates for January 10 to January 14

January 14, 2022

Sixth Grade Sparks Hope for the New Year

Continuing a tradition started 15 years ago by Ms. Moriarty and Mr. Spencer, sixth grade students and their teachers gathered Wednesday morning to say a fiery goodbye to things from the past year we want to leave behind, each symbolically burning our own personal lists. Mistakes, regrets, annoyances, bad habits all went into the fire. The challenges of COVID and the political polarization of our country surely made several of our lists. Students also identified procrastination, quarrels with siblings, shyness, and distraction among the things they were consigning to the fire. What would you burn and leave behind in 2021? From all of us, students and faculty in the sixth grade, we wish you a peaceful, healthy, and fulfilling new year.

– Dean Spencer, grade 6 social studies teacher

Arts Update: Learning Theater Critique

Students in grades 1-4 spent the last few classes learning about theater critique and enjoyed watching a musical adaptation of “Aladdin”. The students used the following criteria to guide their balanced reviews: acting, singing, choreography, directing, set design, and costuming. Theater critique is an important skill as it helps students better frame their own performances and exposes them to professional performances that further enhance their understanding of acting.

– Christopher Parsons, theater arts teacher

PE Update: Traverse Wall No Match for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First

Our youngest learners got the opportunity to hop on our traverse wall in the Downing Gym this week. The wall can present an imposing face (perspective being relative and all), but our pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade friends were eager to take on the challenge. We discussed traverse wall safety, and then our students began to climb.

Progress, they learned, was slow and satisfying. Finding the next handhold or foothold could require hanging on, examining the terrain, and reaching just beyond one’s comfort zone. There were many excellent dismounts to the safety of the blue mats, and plenty of sore muscles and smiles in the aftermath. Despite the title of this summary, it turns out the traverse wall and our youngest learners make for an excellent match in PE.

– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher

Fourth Grade Digs Into Its Research

The fourth graders spent time in the Erskine Library this week practicing their research skills. While all of their research is based in ancient Egypt, the topics are varied. Some topics include farming, education, magic and medicine, and the afterlife. Students used the library catalog to find books and learned how to assess and cite sources. The next steps in the project include taking notes and writing a research report.

– Lana Holman, grade 4 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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