School Dispatches: Jan. 31, 2018

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Lafayette's school spelling bee champs were Lucia Ridgeway (second place), and Jessie Moss and Lilah Wise (co-champions). (photo courtesy of Sheridan School)
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British International School of Washington

This weekend the highly anticipated British International School of Washington Lock-in will be held. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and goes until 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. During this time period students will enjoy a range of activities including a Disco, arts and crafts, Karaoke, as well as a range of games. A film will follow pizza, amongst other desserts and snacks. On Saturday morning students will enjoy a brunch and some final activities, before heading home.

However, this event is not only designed to build community spirit. Its underlying purpose is to act as a fundraising opportunity for the Year 12’s upcoming Tanzania Expedition.

The last few months have been frantically spent attempting to raise $10,000 to send to Tanzania. When the Year 12 class arrives on the outskirts of Arusha, Tanzania in February, all the money they have raised will be put to a variety of uses. For example, one project includes installing solar panels on homes; building smokeless stoves and building sheds for families’ goats, which provide meat and milk, or can be sold to bring in money for the family. Other projects include repairing classrooms in local schools, or accommodation for teachers who previously had to walk four miles without shoes to school.

There is no doubt about the lifesaving impact our school’s work has on the Tanzania families we are able to help. This upcoming lock-in event is expected to raise roughly $2,000, bringing us closer to our ultimate goal.

— Sofia Hollowell, Year 12 (11th-grader)

Eaton Elementary School

Everyone has their own personality and has something special to share.  During our Eagle Time journalism class we brainstormed ideas about questions to use to interview people.  We voted to interview people about what makes them unique.  We divided up into two groups and went around the school asking staff and students about their individual qualities.  Here are some of the responses.

Assistant Principal Ms. Anderson said she was unique because of “all the experiences I’ve had in my life and the way I dress.”

Danil, a fourth-grader, said he was unique because of “my creativity.”

Ms. Berman, Eaton’s school registrar, said she “learned how to ride a unicycle when I was seven and can still ride one today.”

Mr. Lewis said that he has a unique “ability to make a crazy, wild, and imaginative story about anything.”

Ms. Clark, the science teacher, said “my fingerprints and my DNA make me unique!”

Mr. Reid, an after school teacher, can speak Spanish and English.

Fifth-grader Morgan said she is unique because “I love purple unicorns.”

Ms. Koerner, Eaton’s Enrichment Coordinator, is unique because “my family comes from many different backgrounds.”

Ms. Langholtz, also Eaton’s Enrichment Coordinator, said she was unique because “I have brown spots in one of my blue eyes.”

Fifth-grade teacher Ms. Scott said she’s unique because “I model and I teach.”

— Ethan Faustin, Lia Feleke, Jami George, Zadie Hunt, Justice Lamar, Zhenya Nikolayeva, Marianne Treguer and Hillary Zavala, fourth-graders; and Morgan Hubbard, fifth-grader

Emerson Preparatory School

Emerson Prep’s student body is probably as diverse as a group of young people anyone might get. We have the privilege of welcoming students from wide-ranging backgrounds and cultures. Each member of our small community brings a compelling new perspective to every project or discussion.

One example is 17-year-old Khalid Al Qunaibit, who is no ordinary high school student. Born and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Al Qunaibit speaks fluent English, French, Arabic and even a bit of Spanish. Although he currently lives in Washington, D.C., he has maintained a strong connection to home by going back to visit his Saudi friends, family and adored pets, as well as playing golf for the Saudi National Team.

“I don’t,” he said when asked why he enjoys golf enough to play at such a high intensity, especially as a busy high school student. He explains that the banality of practicing the sport attracts him because it is individual and he can get some peace and relief from the fast-paced world in which he lives. Along with a keen interest in business and technology, it seems as though Khalid has a bright future ahead of him — he has joined our business club, which allows him to work alongside other students with similar interests.

Emerson’s unconventional curriculum and clubs allow unusual students to explore subjects of interest and further their knowledge of particular topics as well as master team-building skills, which are critical, especially when collaborating with a diverse group.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

Since the beginning of the year we’ve worked on narrative writing in third-grade. Narrative writing is the writing of personal events that have happened in our life.

What we’ve learned in writing is the heart of our story. The heart of the story is when there is a moment with a lot of feeling. It’s when your problem starts or when the problem starts to get worse. As authors, we want the reader to have the same feelings we had in that moment. We want our readers to be able to connect with the text.

We’ve learned how to expand our thoughts and create real stories like authors do. We read “Come On Rain!” by Karen Hesse to learn what authors do to make their writing so strong! You can add a lot of figurative language, action, dialogue, thoughts and inner dialogue or emotion to tell your story like Hesse.

We learned how to make a narrative lead that catches the reader’s attention. We want to catch our reader’s attention so they keep reading the narrative piece! This is what we’ve learned in third-grade writing!

— Ms. Dilley’s third-grade class (Superstar Donuts)

Horace Mann Elementary School

Here at Horace Mann Elementary we host an auction and gala every year. It is a chance to get together and be happy and to bet on school art and activities teachers put up for auction. We wanted to learn more about the auction so we interviewed the principal of Horace Mann. First Ms. Whisnant told us, “about 325 people come to the Auction and Gala each year.”

We were still curious so Principal Whisnant said, “this year we did a survey for two possible themes and then we let the parents vote. It takes around three to four months.” Ms. Whisnant told us this year’s auction will be at the French Embassy (very fancy!). It’s also an opportunity for the neighboring community and Mann parents to get together.

The gala always has a theme, and guests have to dress up according to it. Over the past few years, the themes were selected by the PTA, but this year parents were sent two choices and the majority voted in favor of a masquerade gala.  The themes give a creative and exciting vibe to the gala.

Since around 325 people come to the gala every year and the school raises a lot of money from it. The money helps fund the partner and specials’ teachers, art supplies, rooftop garden, playgrounds, etc.  The money is also useful when the school hosts an unexpected event or has to pay for some tools to help the school run smoothly.

During the gala, Mann also hosts an auction. The money they gain goes to the school. The auction also includes Teacher Time Tables where teachers set up activities, for example they have stargazing, sleepover and Principal For a Day. They also have places for parents to put in lessons at the gala like ice skating, painting, etc.

— Giulia Ibi and Sophia Papathanasiou-Goldsten, fourth-graders

Key Elementary School

This week, Key School held the finals of our second-annual National Geographic Bee. This is a competition for fourth-graders that quizzes the students on their geography skills.  It starts as a small classroom competition and the top winners advance to the school-wide bee.

Fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Bunnell, organized it. “She does a fantastic job of providing students with the amazing opportunity to learn more about our geography, culture and history. It’s always amazing to see how hard all our fourth-graders prepare and the excitement they have when their peers get questions right,” said Mr. Riley, Assistant Principal.

Celia Joldersma from Ms. Gilden’s class won and will take steps to advance to the district-wide bee. “She is a fantastic representation of Key School and will represent our community well!” said Mr. Riley.

Also in mid-January at Key was the very popular Family Science Night.  There were a total of 15 booths and 35 parents, teachers and school staff who volunteered.  This year, new, among the many booths, was the planetarium with constellations of the summer sky.

We asked Miss Amy Johnson, creator and lead science teacher and Tricia Duncan, co-chair why they do this?  They said, “to inspire kids that science is awesome, and to inspire kids’ science projects.” This was the largest turnout that we have ever had and “we are grateful to all the enthusiastic volunteers who made it possible,” added Tricia Duncan.

— Jackson Mello, Lindsey Neal and Robert Swift, fourth-graders; and Michelle Dunkley, fifth-grader

Lafayette Elementary School

We’re back at Lafayette Elementary School with our brand new spelling bee winners: Lilah Wise, Jessie Moss and Lucia Ridgeway. Lilah and Jessie are from Mr. Catapano’s fourth-grade class, and Lucia is in Ms. Culver’s fourth-grade class. Many fifth-graders were really hoping to win the bee in their last year at Lafayette but the fourth-graders swept the floor! When I was interviewing Lilah and Jessie they agreed that “being in the Spelling Bee has really brought us together and made us even better friends.”

I asked all three spelling champs about how they prepared for the bee, and they said it was very hard work, especially when the practices were coming from different languages. At the spelling bee the words were bouncing between Lilah, Jessie and Lucia. Sometimes each girl was getting one word right in a round,  and then sometimes both were getting the word wrong in a round. This went on for ten rounds until, finally, Lilah and Jessie were declared co-champions. All 40+ students in grades three through five did an amazing job — especially Lilah, Jessie and Lucia!

— Sonali Cohen, fifth-grader

Maret School

In January we took two trips to Martha’s Table. First we chopped and donated vegetables to be made into soup for people who need help with food. Then we got to tour the kitchen. Finally, we went to the daycare’s Guppies classroom (3-year-olds) to sing songs and practice patterns with colored beads.

The kitchen was crowded with a giant dishwasher, a humongous oven and a huge stove. They make meals for hundreds of people each day!

The classroom was really colorful, and the kids were fun and happy. They were fast learners and they were really good with colors and patterns. They were also extremely energetic. They jumped around the carpet, ran laps around the room and were constantly wiggly. The kids really liked sitting in our laps, and some of our buddies even jumped right on us! We enjoyed singing together about the weather and about our mascot, the frog.

Here are some tips for working with preschoolers. They might get a little mad if they don’t get their way. Stay calm while you are with them and be gentle because they are still very young. Do things that will please them so they feel they can trust you. Be a good example for them so they can learn to be responsible. The kids are really nice, so it’s easy to have a nice time if you are patient with them.

— Giles Herman’s second-grade class

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

Recently a field trip came to our school. It was the Verizon Bus. The bus is very futuristic and interesting. The objective of the activity is to design and engineer a rover to go on Mars. We had so much fun because it looked like we were actually on Mars!

We also had to solve problems and go on a mission to find the missing rover. Some cool facts about it is that it had cameras outside and we got to see the street view from the inside.

Of our classmates, Lesly Bautista told us how she felt about the Verizon Bus.

“I think the Verizon Bus was an awesome experience. We got to go on a [virtual] trip to Mars, to design a rover to solve a problem,” she said.

Our friend Francis Csedrik, said, “I am a lot more interested in mechanics and engineering now that I was in the Verizon Bus. I hope other schools get to experience the same fun that we had.”

Our sixth-grade science teacher Ms. Peltzy said, “I thought the Verizon Bus was an awesome experience. Ms. Riggen attended professional development where she learned about the bus. Luckily she shared the experience with us so that all middle school students could experience it.”

Overall, all middle school students had fun designing and engineering on mars.

— Miles Sanchez and Lesly Bautista, sixth-graders

School Without Walls High School

High school students recently returned from a short winter break. During the 12-day break, voting for the DC-Capital All Stars College Access gala competition completed. A total of eight Walls students were semifinalists for the $10,000 scholarship: Leara Franklin, Kerry Gionis, Sam Heimowitz, Max Heimowitz, Nina Matthews, Linwood Smith, Jabouri Toby and Nerissa Tunnessen.

There were 40 semifinalists and the scholarship was awarded to those in the performing arts. The scholarship is awarded based on online voting and 10 finalists are given the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, along with the college scholarship.

— Michael Edgell, 12th-grader

Sheridan School

On Friday, Jan. 19, the last day of the first semester at Sheridan School, students in grades three through eight performed at the electives showcase. The showcase featured a collection of music performances, artwork and STEM displays.

Sheridan School students in grades three through eight performed at an electives showcase. (photo courtesy of Sheridan School)

Electives classes, which meet every Friday afternoon for one semester, are outlets for students to express academic and creative abilities. At the beginning of each semester, students choose from a list of electives, which include such classes as “Design Your Own Board Game,” “Code with MIT App Inventor,” and “Musical Theater is Here!”

— Mr. Walker’s eighth-grade advisory class

Washington International School

The fifth-graders have just finished a unit on ancient civilizations. In French, each group of four students chose a civilisation to study in depth, and present in an original way – the Incas, with a poster; Ancient Chinese, with a play; and Ancient Romans, with a slide show. We had to research their writing, social classes, government and other topics. We had a few weeks to work, and one week to present to the class.

In English, we watched the documentary “Guns, Germs, and Steel” to introduce us to the Sumerians and their evolution from nomads to a sedentary community. After a discussion, we wrote an essay about them, taking into consideration their methods of farming, geographic location, monuments and more. We were given articles and books about Sumer written by experts. We then printed our essays and hung them up on the bulletin boards outside our classrooms so that anyone could read them.

To finish off that unit, we visited the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. It was very interesting because we had a chance to see artwork from many past civilisations like the Sumerians, the Egyptians and the Ancient Greeks. We even got to see an Egyptian mummy!

This unit helped us understand how lucky we are right now, because all the privileges we have did not exist at those times, and humans in those times did not live for very long.

— Ilaria Luna, fifth-grader