School Dispatches: Feb. 7, 2018

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Emerson students take part in the “Physical Phriday” program. (photo courtesy of Emerson Preparatory School)

Emerson Preparatory School

Most high schools require a standard physical education (PE) course for students. The class often consists of mandatory strenuous activities, excuses to get out of playing kickball or running a mile, and drill sergeant-like teachers, creating a competitive environment. Circling a track for PE class is foreign to Emerson students, who enjoy a more nontraditional take on the class.

Our community highly values both mental and physical health, prioritizing students’ wants and needs for their PE program. During second period each Friday, or “Physical Phriday” as we like to call them, everyone gets a bit of relief from classes and homework to enjoy a variety of non-competitive physical activities, whilst also getting the opportunity to socialize.

Although “Physical Phridays” are not graded, students are expected to participate in activities with a positive attitude in order to earn a cumulative credit. If an Emerson student wants to play a competitive team sport, there is always the option of speaking to Mr. Kelly, our athletics director, who can contact other high schools and provide the option of playing for another school’s sports team.

The options range from basketball, soccer and field sports, to walking, yoga/mindfulness, dancing, and even a mural project. Although our school’s space is quite small, our resourceful teachers and administrators have utilized nearby parks, a lower-level basketball court, and the great outdoors to give Emerson students the chance to get some exercise and maybe have a little fun as well. They also coach, lead and supervise the activities. For example, Mr. Bigger, who teaches English, leads the walking group every week to cool places around the city before lunchtime arrives.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

In third grade, we are learning about the three branches of government and why it is important to vote. We got to vote for a president in our made up country called Storybrooke. We are also going to vote for senators and representatives for our state.

In math, we are learning about area and perimeter. We are using a lot of different tools to measure the area of shapes, like square tiles, rulers and grid paper. We are going to use all that we learned about area to make our own house like a real architect!

In science, we are learning about ecosystems. All of the organisms in an ecosystem are connected like a big chain. So we learned that if one animal or plant disappears, it can change a lot of other animals in their ecosystem.​

— Mr. Stacey’s third-grade class (Smart Cookies)

Our Lady of Victory School

On Jan. 22, our school celebrated the “Day for migrants and refugees,” which was inspired by Pope Francis. Students could bring in $2 that would be donated to Jesuit Refugee Services of North America. Those dollars also gave students the opportunity to wear free dress (tasteful street clothes, rather than school uniforms) and receive a cup of hot chocolate. I drank my hot chocolate in delight as I proudly wore my Eagles jersey.

More importantly, we got to write postcards to refugee children telling them we were praying for them and that God was with them. It made me realize how lucky I am to have a house, heat and the knowledge that I will be safe. My class really enjoyed that we got to write postcards to kids who are our age, and we also enjoyed the feeling of giving to others that are in need.

This day has inspired many at my school to keep trying to help the refugees. I am thankful that my teachers shared such creative ways to be helpful. Every little bit counts. All in all, this day was a very fun day at our school.

— Jack S., seventh-grader

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School

We are studying Jamestown in third grade. We have done several activities to contribute to our knowledge of Jamestown, including reading “A Lion to Guard Us” by Clyde Robert Bulla, watching short videos to gather more information,  and answering questions from nonfiction books. We enjoyed writing journal entries from the characters’ perspective in “A Lion to Guard Us” to help us understand how we might have felt during that time period.

One of our favorite activities was acting like archaeologists and studying artifacts individually. We thought about how they could have been used by doing a “See, Think, Wonder” chart, where we ask, “What do we see?,” “What do we think?” and “What do we wonder?” We wrote down our interesting observations as we pieced together a story of each artifact’s purpose.

Anna told Bennett, “It is fun to predict how and why the artifacts were used. I studied an old metallic coin.”

We are going to keep expanding our knowledge of Jamestown.

“I am excited to read another chapter book about it,” Anna continued. We are looking forward to our field trip to Jamestown where we get to look at more artifacts and witness the real-life place we have studied.

“I am most excited to see the church because it was built right after the colonists came to the New World,” Bennett told Anna.

Social studies has been a blast for our class, especially learning about Jamestown and getting to study our own state in 2017!

— Anna Puryear and Bennett Britt, third-graders

Sheridan School

Students gathered in January for an assembly to showcase their projects and performances from the first semester of elective classes. Classes included yoga, percussion ensemble and altered art, among others.

“It was really fun. We got to be creative with it while learning new and different styles,” said Ava Oboler, a seventh-grader who took altered art.

“It was fun to let your creative juices flow,” added sixth grader Lia McCabe.

Gabriela Bobo, a seventh-grader who took board game design, enjoyed learning about the process of making a game. Her game used emojis as the playing pieces, which she created using the school’s 3D printer.

“It was super great, and I got to hang out with my friends,” said Madi Miller, a seventh-grader who took percussion ensemble. Students performed an original song, written by instructor Jason Walker, during the showcase, using drums, bells and other percussion instruments.

Overall, observing the hard work of classmates was really fun and interesting. Electives at Sheridan School are open to all students in grades three through eight. The second semester of electives began on Jan. 26, with options including Lego robotics, Python programming and creative writing.

— Chloe Rosenbaum, seventh-grader