Learning Updates for Week of May 4 to 8

May 11, 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.

Delivering a Lesson in Plant Care for Fourth Grade

Although the annual plant sale had to be canceled this year, we still wanted the fourth graders to have the opportunity to grow plants from seed. We gave the students the choice to grow an herb, a flowering plant, or a vegetable. I was able to get the seeds, and other supplies, from Corliss Brothers garden center near where I live. The garden center generously donated over 100 free seed packets from 2019 in addition to the 2020 seed packs we got for each student. Over the spring vacation week, I delivered a small bag of soil, four seed packs, and two small peat pots to 28 of our 31 fourth graders, and mailed out and made arrangements for delivery of the others. It was a long day in the car, but it was worth it to see all the smiling faces! (Check our Facebook page to see all the photos Ms. Norman snapped while making the deliveries.)

– Mary Norman, grade 4 teacher

Seventh Grade Math Digs Deep Into Linear Relationships

In math, grade seven students have been exploring linear relationships through graphs and tables. This investigation continued the theme of our first exercise (walk-a-thons) and helped students deepen their understanding of patterns of change. The students learned, for example, that the constant rate of change between two variables as well as the y-intercept is formalized, and students were are now being introduced to the linear form of an equation ( y = mx + b).

– RJ Parsons, middle school math teacher

Arts Update: Photography Elective Captures Repetition

Grades 7 and 8 students in the photography arts elective were recently given a challenge. They were asked to explore their own homes or spaces nearby to see and capture repetitive shapes and forms. The students took to this different way of seeing to make interesting photos out of the seemingly mundane patterns all around them.

– Kurt Robinson, innovation and art teacher

Special deliveries, Morning Meetings, and Superhero Training …. OH MY!

After the April vacation week, the pre-k class broadened its synchronous learning with the addition of bonus special lunch bunches, small group morning meetings, and activities.

At morning meetings, groups of 6-7 students and their teachers gather to greet each other with bird calls, report on “local” weather, and share our drawings, projects, and constructions. We show how each one of us in our own homes can be connected through weather, backyard birds, and most of all, friendship.

During the April break, all of the students received a surprise package delivered by their teachers, and inside was a cape and mask! When we next gathered online our students had been replaced by superheroes-in-training! They started their training by sharing their superpower and learning our pre-k superhero theme song. This week they brought materials to create a new part of their ensemble.

– Kate Oznick and Alice Henry, pre-kindergarten teachers

Physical Education Works the Brains and Bodies

Thanks to our enterprising students, in the last few weeks we’ve managed to take the phrase “home gym” to a whole other level. The resilience and ingenuity is no surprise, considering the energy and passion our students have always brought to class. We just never thought we’d see couches turned into parkour courses, shoes into hurdles, chalk used to design a sensory course, or goal celebrations featuring so much joy. The third grade attempted a keep-it-up challenge using a ball (or ball of socks), the kindergarten tried to see how many claps they could record in between tissue tosses, and the fourth grade attempted an at-home three-point contest! Our students have always risen to the challenge, but seeing them unlock their creativity in the pursuit of activity has been nothing short of amazing.

– Alex Tzelnic and Abbey Nyland, physical education teachers


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