Learning Updates for May 16 to May 20

May 20, 2022

Sixth Grade and Kindergarten Continue ‘Big Flower’ Tradition

Last Friday, kindergartners met with their sixth grade partners during a scheduled cross-graded time to engage in a Belmont Day tradition that goes back several decades. When kindergarten and sixth grade were the youngest and oldest grades respectively at BDS, the two grades had the privilege to meet on a weekly basis to read together. Once a month, the cross-graded pairs would also meet for a special “Artist of the Month” session. These opportunities were the brainchild of Rob Houghton, a former sixth grade teacher who later became a middle school division head, and Chris Price, a former kindergarten teacher and mom to current associate teacher in kindergarten, Beckie Kmiec-Price ‘08.

Although Rob and Chris are no longer at BDS, one of the long-standing projects that has lived on, with the exception of the last two years of the pandemic, is painting of Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired flowers. Indeed, this project dates back so far that Beckie located and brought in her own “big flower” that she once painted with her sixth grade partner many years ago! Each year, the kindergartners and sixth graders gather together to paint an oversized flower to mimic the style and technique that were the trademark of Georgia O’Keeffe. First, the partners choose a real flower from a large bouquet of options. Next, they carefully sketch their chosen flower in pencil. The teachers then help the students find matching paint colors to bring their flower to life as well as a color suitable for a contrasting background. This entails a customized order from each pair such as requests for “a type of yellow like mustard,” “an orange like a tiger’s stripes,” or “a blue that is a little lighter than the color of the sky.”

We will be displaying these vibrant flowers at the sharing assembly on Friday, May 27 so you can get a close-up view of them!

– Betty Pryor, kindergartner teacher

Fifth Graders Present First Curriculum Showcase

Thursday morning, the fifth graders held their first-ever Curriculum Showcase in the Barn gym! Parents and families, as well as faculty and staff visitors, joined the students for a morning of sharing all of the grade’s many projects from this year. Fifth graders are currently working in teams on a project to design and 3D print an assistive device for a person with a disability. Teams shared their progress on their assistive devices via video, and then visitors had the opportunity to walk through a gallery of amazing projects. Students were ready at their tables to explain all of their great work and answer lots of great questions. We wrapped up with a fan favorite: cookies! We hope this is the start of a great new annual event to highlight the work of our wonderful fifth graders.

– Emma Nairn and Vaniecia Skinner, grade 5 teachers, and Kurt Robinson, innovation and art teacher

By John O'Neill, Director of Athletics |

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