Learning Updates for Week of October 26 to October 30

October 30th, 2020

Seventh Grade Focuses on Microscopes

In seventh grade science, students are learning to use microscopes and are observing the microscopic world of biology! This week, we prepared slides with onion skin samples we collected to observe under the microscopes. Students were amazed to see the individual cells that make up the onion skin. Next, we took a look at our own cheek cells. Finally, we discussed the similarities and differences between plant and animal cells, based on our own observations. This will allow us to continue investigating how life is classified.

– Leal Carter, grades 7 & 8 science teacher

Middle School Spanish Learns About The Day of the Dead

It was a terrific week in our middle school Spanish classes! Students learned about the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead. They worked on different projects to recreate and celebrate the Mexican tradition at home and at school. Sixth graders made papel picado and colored the festive icons to decorate the bulletin board outside of the Palandjian Arts Center. Seventh grade students constructed nichos, which are shallow box frames often featured on Mexican altars, and eighth graders baked pan de muerto, a type of sweet bread traditionally baked in Mexico during the holiday’s celebration. We also constructed altars for famous people and created virtual ofrendas.

– Ana Maria Restrepo, middle school Spanish teacher

First Grade Celebrates DEI/Health & Wellness Intensive

Last week brought to a close first grade's diversity, equity, and inclusion/health and wellness intensive. Though sad it was ending, we joyfully celebrated with our friends. We gathered on Claflin Field to highlight the amazing scholarship of our students. Each student received a certificate of achievement and stood before their peers and defined one of our key terms—diversity, equity, inclusion, empathy, and justice. After every scholar proudly displayed their knowledge and was applauded by their peers, the bubble machine came on and the effervescence of our children was nearly matched by the thousands of bubbles that surrounded them on the field.

– Carlos Hoyt, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion

Third Grade Mural Dives Deep Into Ocean Research

You may see in the hallway near third grade some amazing under-water creatures. After reading Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle this summer, third graders decided this fall to further study the ocean animals that Sylvia Earle studied through her own work. Students used research that was tailored to each child’s reading level to create animal trading cards. They were then empowered to become teachers and activists by including information that led the viewers of their work to learn more about the animals, and through empathy, strengthen their understanding that these animals, and their ocean ecosystem, need to be protected.

Students also designed and created a model of the animal they studied with these three constraints: they needed to be larger than the student’s hand; shorter than the student’s height; and light enough to mount on the wall. Other than that, it was up to each student to imagine, design, and build their creation. I think you will agree—their creativity is impressive!

– Leigh Twarog, grade 3 teacher

Students Using MicroscopesDay of the Dead MuralStudents and BubblesThird Grade Ocean Mural