Learning Updates for Week of May 18 to 22

May 26, 2020

With the switch to offsite learning due to the coronavirus outbreak, our faculty will be sharing various curriculum highlights from their “classrooms” over the coming weeks.

Sixth Graders Plug Into Lessons on Electricity

For the past several weeks, sixth graders have been learning about electricity and the various scientists and their experiments that have contributed to harnessing this incredible force. Students have learned how electricity and magnetism are related and ultimately, how this relationship is what allows us to have a seemingly limitless supply of electricity in our homes. We explored a simple demonstration of Michael Faraday’s discovery that magnetism can be used to induce an electric current simply by moving magnets quickly within a copper coil. We extended this understanding by learning how power plants convert the energy stored in coal to kinetic energy in order to generate electricity. Though students have missed the in-class experimentation, they continue to ask questions and make connections in order to understand these concepts. Next our class will take a look at some renewable energy sources and how they differ from fossil fuels.

– Kaleen Moriarty, grade 6 science teacher

Arts: Choices to Challenge, Connect, and Create!

Lower school art classes have focused on weekly creative challenges since the pivot to offsite learning. Each week, students are presented with a drawing challenge through a video created by Ms. Solomon or Mrs. Armstrong, which are based on observational drawing studies. The challenges have ranged from ‘shoes for different reasons and seasons,’ to ‘a stuffed animal,’ to ‘wheels,’ to ‘taking the perspective of an ant,’ and the choice of drawing tools is the decision of each artist. A second creative challenge, again in the form of a video, highlights and focuses on the work of a prominent artist. So far, students have been challenged to create an original work inspired by a range of artists including Alma Thomas, Nick Cave, Faith Ringgold, Maya Lin, Deborah Butterfield, Amy Sherald, Tara Donovan, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Yayoi Kusama, and Elizabeth Catlett. Connecting to the creative work of others and creating original work as a response has been a terrific opportunity for students to engage in studio work from home!

– Anne Armstrong, visual arts teacher and arts coordinator

Fourth Graders Craft Stories of Heroes

The fourth graders are ending their school year with one last writing project. This spring they learned all about Greek heroes, and now they are creating their own superhero stories complete with a problem, sticky situation, and solution that saves the day! Some of our hero names include Inter Indagatores, the Green Angel, and Dr. Doughnut. Students will share their stories at the Fourth Grade Comic-Con during the last week of school.

– Lana Holman, grade 4 teacher

Second Graders Fly New Flags in French

In French class, the second graders concluded their flag project. First, they learned to talk about sizes, shapes, and colors and how to combine this information using French syntax. As students often notice, “French is backward!” Then, they had to figure out which flag I was describing among a selection, as they played a game similar to “I spy with my little eye.” In this process, they observed many flags that led naturally to the last part of the project, the creation of their own flag along with its description in French.

– Nathalie Pellenq, French teacher

Fifth Grade Wraps Up the Respiratory System

From songs and models to websites and posters, fifth graders have presented their research on the respiratory system in seemingly countless ways! Each student took their own spin on how to explain what they have learned and the results are now available online for all to enjoy. Click here to see all the projects.

– Emma Nairn, grade 5 teacher

Butterflies Take Flight in Kindergarten

It was an exciting week in kindergarten! Not only did we have our final Sheldon Share of the year, but we also released ten painted lady butterflies in my backyard. The butterflies first came to my home as caterpillars and have spent 37 days with me and my family! It was a bittersweet moment as we were sad to say good-bye to our winged friends, but we are glad that they can now sip on nectar from all of the flowers blooming this spring. If you want to relive the journey of their time with kindergarten, you can visit our slideshow here.

– Betty Pryor, kindergarten teacher

Poetry Ignites Creative Spirits in First Grade

First graders are now delving into the world of poetry. The students began their exploration by sharing their thoughts on the characteristics of poetry. We asked, “How does this poem look and sound? What could it mean?” Students found the joy that playing with words could bring to their writing as they created rhyming poems together in small groups. We met a green queen who saw a green bean and yelled “Oh, drat!” when there was a gnat on a cat. As we shifted to sensory poems, students used their five senses to share experiences with their fellow poets. We all loved hearing their juicy descriptions of canoe-shaped dumplings, soft grass under their feet, the taste of summer, and the loud crashing of waves. As we venture into other types of poetry, we are excited to see them continue to discover new ways to express themselves through their writing.

– Lauren Catalano, associate teacher in grade 1

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