Learning Updates for Week of February 1 to February 5

February 4th, 2021

Third Graders Tackle Design Project For Book Character

Third graders have been reading "A Boy Called Bat" by Elana K. Arnold about a third grader named Bat who has autism. The students have been learning about the autism spectrum disorder as we read the story so that we can better understand the strengths and challenges of a child with autism.
In the story, Bat's mother, who is a veterinarian, brings home a skunk kit that Bat is learning to care for. For a STEM-based project, students had the challenge of creating either a sling to carry the young skunk, a safe way to transport it in the car, an enclosure, or a feeding device. They have been going through the typical steps of identifying the problem, coming up with ideas, making a design and gathering materials, and finally creating a prototype. Next, they will test their creations and make any changes to improve them.

– Larissa Rochford '93, grade 3 teacher

French Students Sweep Up a Great Lesson

In eighth grade French students recently completed a unit focused on responsibilities and chores. Some of our learning activities included watching French commercials for various household products. Among the commercials was a ground-breaking ad from Morocco in which a detergent company took the opportunity to combat stereotypes of women as bearing sole responsibility for the housework. Students then worked independently or in pairs to create their own ads. They made use of a variety of vocabulary, lots of tech-savvy, music, dance moves, and endless good humor. We saw ads for all types of household goods and services, including fancy dog food, magic brooms, all-powerful robots, and "supreme" vacuum cleaners.

– Jennifer Friborg, middle school French teacher

Fifth Grade: Learning the Keys To Understanding Others

In fifth grade, students worked on their "Key to Understand the Beauty of Others" project. In this activity, students constructed a physical symbol of the “key” to understanding. In chapter two of The Arrival by Shaun Tan, we see the main character insert a key to unlock his new home, and attached to this key is a symbol. Students constructed a similar key and attached a symbol to it. The symbol represents an idea, concept, or behavior which they felt is the “key” to understanding the unique beauty of others. Here are two students' keys and explanations.

1. My key to understanding others is being open to others. My key has the symbol of an open door, which is supposed to represent that people should and do open their doors to others. The first type of open door is people opening the physical door to others, like giving someone a meal or a place to stay. The second kind of open door is not physical but listening to someone's ideas even if they are different than yours. The reason I chose these symbols is that they show how people can literally and figuratively open their doors to others.

2. My key to understanding the beauty of others is being kind. Being kind is caring for someone. Being kind is putting others' thoughts and feelings before yours. It is also being gentle with them and not shoving them. An example of being kind is when you see someone who is upset and you go over to talk to them and try to help them. You could also just sit with them so they feel like they are not alone. I chose the infinity sign for my keychain symbol because there is no end to kindness.

– Vaniecia Skinner, grade 5 teacher

Physical Education Update: Ballin' and Sleddin'

Our first and second graders got their dribble on this week, continuing our basketball unit and displaying considerable skill. They worked on controlled dribbling, passing, and shooting, supporting the ball with the hands and powering the shot with the legs. Our remote students even got in on the action, completing a basketball tabata that was not only a great workout but a good way to build fundamentals. And thanks to the fresh powder that arrived earlier this week, the students got to go sledding as well, flying down the hill behind the tennis courts and working up a sweat climbing back up. It was great cross-training, and a blast to boot.

– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher

Third Grade STEM ProjectMiddle School French StudentsFifth Grade Key ProjectStudents Passing Ball