School Dispatches: Jan. 10, 2018

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Lafayette Elementary School has a new group called "Girls of Color" with about 30 third through fifth grade girls.

Annunciation Catholic School

Over the years, the eighth-graders have been participating in a buddy system with the Pre-K 4s at Annunciation Catholic School. Eighth-grade students have Pre-Kers whom they watch and participate in activities with. While bonding with their buddies, the eighth-grade class also learns about responsibility, enthusiasm and leadership, which are crucial attributes for success at high school.

We eighth-graders take our buddies to church and work on fun activities with them. Over the last few months, my friends and I have been with our buddy, Andrew, and already learning so much about each other. We even came up with a secret handshake!

Recently we designed and decorated gingerbread men for Christmas. After we finished that project, the entire eighth-grade class read books to the younger students. The Pre-K class showed much joy while working on this activity – which made all of us eighth-graders happy. I know I will cherish this memory for the rest of my life and I hope we will have more fun activities with Mrs. Gardner’s Pre-K class in the new year!

— Kennon Arnold, eighth-grader

Blessed Sacrament School

On Dec. 6, the entire seventh-grade class went to the historic Ford’s Theater. One of the biggest reasons for this trip is so the seventh graders could read a book by James L. Swanson called “Chasing Lincoln’s Killer.” The book is based around the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth’s escape plan.

Most people would describe this as just an ordinary field trip, but for history enthusiasts like me, it was thrilling. Once all of the cold, yet excited, kids got off of the two buses, the excitement began instantaneously. The teachers who were chaperoning us assigned groups for the museum. The museum was filled with interesting facts, articles and artifacts about Lincoln and the Civil War.

The play that the students went to see was “The Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. The moment I saw the presidential booth, I was so thrilled! Just the thought of being in the same place as an event that changed the course of our country’s history had me spellbound. I enjoyed watching a masterpiece with my schoolmates.

— Christopher Cullen, seventh-grader

Deal Middle School

We have three different schedules in a week, one of which is Advisory Bell, which is when our class sits in a circle and opens up to everybody. We learned memorization techniques and about the frontal lobe part of our brain. We practiced memorization by playing a game called “Going to the Beach,” where we said what we would bring to the beach and had to repeat everything the previous people said. I was the penultimate person, but I still succeeded. I remembered over 20 items!

We also talked about goals and mountains. Obstacles that stop us from going up mountains are homework, classwork and getting up for school. We had to share our talking piece Chompy (a stuffed shark) to said how we would conquer our obstacles like studying more, doing GRIT, eating healthy and sleeping more. My goal is to be more focused on my classwork!

— Lourdes Lopez, sixth-grader (Team Nice)

Eaton Elementary School

The Eaton basketball season has officially begun. During November, tryouts were held for fourth and fifth-grade girls and boys. Tryouts were open to students who had experience, but also those who never played basketball.

For girls’ tryouts, “you learned the basics,” said Allie Brown-Smith. That included dribbling, passing and shooting. It also included running “33s,” which meant you had to go back and forth across the basketball court three times in 30 seconds. In addition, we played two-on-two games. Similarly, the boys had tryouts after school where they practiced ball handling to improve their skills.

All in all, 15 players were chosen for each team. Then the hard part began. Boys’ practices are on Monday and Wednesdays and begins with 10 minutes of stairs, which are the worst, and also 33s and suicides. Suicides are when players run from half court to back court and then full court to back court. They really tire you out, but they increase your endurance and stamina. Boys also have to run through our plays.

The boys had their first game on Dec. 7 and won against Janney, 35-20. The girls don’t have their first game until January because some of the teams decided not to participate as planned. In the meantime, they will continue to practice and get better.

— Allie Brown-Smith, Alvaro Orlove Rodriguez and Harper Trail, fifth-graders; and Thalia Ehrenpreis, fourth-grader

Emerson Preparatory School

One of the main qualities that Emerson brings to the table is its wide variety of course offerings. Along with Algebra II or United States History, you might also get to take Western and Nonwestern Medicine or Science of Fiction. Many of these unconventional classes count as full credit courses, so students have the pleasure of learning weird, interesting information while collecting the sufficient number of credits to graduate. And graduate they do — many Emerson students continue studying or working on their “unusual” subjects beyond their time in high school.

In Screenwriting class, for example, the group is finishing up its full-length feature screenplays. Each screenplay clocks in at around 90 pages, so by the end of the semester, young teenagers have written complete movies! The class also learned to identify a film’s plot points, wrote a collaborative screenplay to emulate the environment of a typical “writer’s room,” and heard from local screenwriters/filmmakers.

Due to our small student body, the course offerings are often tailored to fit the individualized curriculum of each student. This way everyone can fulfill their required credits as well as take courses that match more nontraditional interests.

This week, everyone is back at school with a refreshed mental space, ready to learn all about “Minority Voices in Literature” as well as good ol’ Chemistry.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

This holiday season, we learned about three different holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.

Hanukkah is celebrated over eight days where people light a candle on a menorah for each day. We played dreidel and won chocolate coins, also known as gelt. We also got to cook and eat latkes, which are potato pancakes.

On Christmas, people give and receive presents from their friends and family. We made red and green wreaths and Santa faces with cotton balls and paper.

When we learned about Kwanzaa, we compared how candles are lit on a kinara to how they are lit on a menorah for Hanukkah.

No matter what holiday you celebrate this winter, it is important to spend time with friends and family.

— Ms. Marber, Ms. Hicks, Mrs. Montgomery and Ms. Cooper’s K-2 class

Lafayette Elementary School

At Lafayette Elementary, approximately 30 girls in third through fifth grades, are part of a new group called “Girls of Color.” We were one of 50 schools that applied for a grant handed out by D.C. Public Schools to start the group this year. So what is the Girls of Color group?

It is “a group of girls from different cultures,” explained Ally Sukam, a fourth-grade member. So far the girls have interviewed an author, gone on field trips and watched the movie, “Hidden Figures.”

The group is led by Ms. Pereira, an English teacher and a second language specialist, and Ms. Mosby, a guidance counselor.

“We have so many things in store for our girls,” Ms. Mosby said. “We will be using our money for workshops with women of color leaders in areas like STEM, journalism, dance, etc. We will engage in storytelling that will involve a series of photography classes and visiting local museums to explore women and girls of color in art. We want to ensure that the girls know how valuable their gifts are.”

The girls are enjoying the experience.

“I love that we are all from different cultures,” Ally explained. “But we’re not all the same.”

“I get to meet new people,” said group member Hadara Jones.

“And you get to know each other better,” added Sydnee Peters.

Girls have different thoughts, but they all said the same thing: “I love Girls of Color!”

— Zinnia Deora, fifth-grader

Maret School

Have you ever wanted to play a game where you get points for throwing a ball into a trashcan? Well if so, Trashketball is the game for you!

The way the game works is if you have a successful math period, you get a mark over your name. If you don’t have a successful math period, then you don’t get a mark over your name. But all that means is that you don’t get to play and you just cheer on your team.

The game has a trashcan and a bunch of shots. Let’s say I’m fifth in line. I wait until everybody in front of me has gone, and then I go wherever the person before me left off. If I’m at the three shot, for example, my foot has to be either on the three shot mark or behind it. And that goes for every shot.

The last and most fun shot is the eight shot from the teacher’s desk. The distance between the teacher’s desk and the Trashketball bin is a good 10 feet, plus you can’t even see the bin from Mr. Stone’s desk. But if you somehow make the eight shot, you go on the Wall of Fame!

— Granville Lee, third-grader

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

This year the Oyster-Adams musical is “Aladdin.” Many kids auditioned for the musical that runs for three days in March. For the first time the musical is bilingual (Spanish and English!)

Thandi Kirk says, “I am very happy with my role. I am a citizen. I love that the musical is bilingual because people that speak Spanish will be able to understand.”

Javier Llano-Cruz said, “I am happy with my role as the Prince-formerly known as the Artist. I am also happy with the musical being bilingual because it will attract more Spanish speakers.”

Sixth graders recently learned about different perspectives on growing up by studying the works of author Sandra Cisneros and poet Billy Collins. We have since started learning and reading Robert Nye’s “Beowulf.” Our first class assignment with this text was to draw the most accurate depiction of the monster Grendel based on evidence from the text.

“Beowulf” is an epic poem from Old English. After reading Beowulf’s perspective, sixth graders will read the same story from the monster’s perspective. Then they will choose a favorite story to rewrite from the monster’s point of view.

— Melani Perdomo, Lesly Bautista, Miles Sanchez, Francis Csedrik and Gaby Eversley-Holland, sixth-graders

Sheridan School

To most middle schoolers, the last thing they want to do is hang out with their parents. But to the sixth-graders at Sheridan School, showing off their work to their family is an essential part of the curriculum. So far, family members have had the opportunity to view two projects: the Family Journey Project and a Literary Tea.

One of the projects they have worked on so far is the Family Journey Project. The Family Journey Project was made up as a way for you to get more familiar with your background and where you came from. It explores the nature of identity and how geography and family influence who we are. The project was created based on the notion that when you know each other’s stories, your community is stronger.

Another event attended by parents was a Literary Tea. A Literary Tea is when a student collects all of their work from the Writer’s Workshop in a decorated folder and shares it with a parent over tea and biscuits. A Literary Tea is a great way to showcase work you are proud of. There are cookies too, so what’s not to like?

All of these projects were a great opportunity for the sixth-graders to share the best of their work. Sixth grade is hard, but presentations like this make it seem worthwhile. The sixth-graders are looking forward to presenting their next project!

— Abigail Kelso and Emma Pardo, sixth-graders

Washington International School

One day I received an invitation from one of my friends to join a fantasy football league. I thought it would just be a fun game I would play on the weekends, but it turns out there is a lot more to it.

There are many important lessons hidden in the depths of fantasy football, like researching before any major decisions. This is what happened to me. I picked up Julian Edelman and dropped Doug Baldwin. This was one of my worst moves because Edelman is now injured and out for the season, while Baldwin is a good player. Edelman is a good player too, which was why this got me. This shows two things: that I didn’t research beforehand, and that it was too good to be true.

I also learned to always have a “Plan B.” One day, arguably my best player got hurt. But I had a Plan B. I had another player on my bench. I put him in. I knew that he might get injured too, so I went and picked up another player.

Finally, ask. I have learned asking is hard, but effective. Listen to this story. Out of nowhere, somebody started proposing lousy trades. Somehow, one got accepted. That shows you that asking can’t hurt.

I think fantasy football is a great game where you can just have some fun. But if you follow the lessons I mentioned, you will succeed in fantasy football and in life!

— Derin Kirtman, fifth-grader