School Dispatches: Nov. 1, 2017


Blessed Sacrament School

Every year, the fourth-graders of Blessed Sacrament School take a field trip to the Chesapeake Bay to learn hands-on about the bay and spend the day there. This year, our fourth-graders went to the bay in the beginning of October; the buses pulled up and drove them down to the bay. After they got off, a woman met with them and explained all that they were going to do that day.

The first thing our fourth-graders did was an experiment about pollution. They were given square boxes to represent the bay and the shore, and they used items such as sprinkles, food dye and cinnamon to represent trash. Next, they studied oyster shells; they looked to see if they had animals living inside such as mud crabs, fish, anemones and shrimp. After break, they studied different types of plankton and some groups had mosquito larva along with their plankton. Last, these fourth-graders went fishing in the bay — they put on water-waders and went out with their nets and dragged them through the water to try and catch the fish.

Then, at the end of the day, they got back on their buses and started to head home. Most of the kids were very tired after their long day of fun and learning.

— Nicolas Grabarz, eighth-grader

Deal Middle School

Last Monday, Team Nice went on a field trip to the Potomac River in Washington, where we canoed and did other activities.

One of our groups went with some park rangers and they talked about the importance of trees — not just the “they give us air” stuff, but in real detail. In the first center, they talked about all the different types of trees and how they can help you. For example, there is a tree that can help relieve stress because of the smell. They also said that being around trees and nature can be good for your health. Another way they help our community is by filtering a lot of pollution like trash, oil spills and other things. They taught us these things by playing a game. In the second center, someone taught us about watershed and how that affects the water we have. Then she showed us all of the fur samples she had with her and let us feel them, and let us look through binoculars at the city and the water.

Afterwards we went to prepare to canoe. First our captain taught us how to use a paddle and she helped us put on our life vests. Then we learned how to paddle forward, backwards and how to stop the canoe. Then we got into the canoe and paddled for a really long time. On our way back we sang some songs like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and others. We also got to do a 360 turn, which was hard but still so cool.

— Lucaya Navas, sixth-grader

Emerson Preparatory School

Emerson Preparatory School’s art class recently took advantage of one of many perks of living in Washington: the proximity to incredible museums.

Emerson art students pose in front of the National Museum of Natural History with sketchbooks in hand. (photo by Ms. von Oehsen)

Our art teacher, Ms. von Oehsen, and her class ventured out on a field trip to the National Museum of Natural History to find subjects in the mammal exhibit for a sketching assignment. The project focuses primarily on contour lines, a newly introduced concept to the group. While Ms. von Oehsen makes classroom life interesting, a different artistic setting allows for practicing drawing with a refreshing space to work.

The typical art classroom environment is still present, however. Emerson art students enjoy having the option to take serious subjects that aren’t strictly academic, which welcomes those who feel as though there are no legitimate options for non-core classes.

Constructive criticism is heavily encouraged in the artroom, and students feel more confident in their artistic abilities as a result. Ms. von Oehsen is quick to lead by example and be supportive of everyone’s work, which helps foster a positive relationship between everyone in the class.

Pieces from Ms. von Oehsen’s students throughout the years line the entranceway as you walk into the small school. Thanks to her tutelage, many are inspired to go off to pursue art in college and on their own — brightening the world, one mammal at a time.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Field School

On Oct. 11, all of the eighth-graders from Field went on a field trip to the Museum of American History. During the bus ride my friend Josh and I played a game where when you see a certain car you call it out and get a point. When we arrived at the museum the score was 20-18 and I won.

At the museum we split into groups. The first exhibit we saw was “Righting a Wrong: Japanese-Americans and World War II.” The exhibit was very interesting and there was a person just outside explaining things to everyone. Next we went to the exhibit called “How Did We Become Us?” It was about America from the 1940s to 2000s. The next was about very important historical inventions in America. This was one of the most interesting exhibits. Last we went to an exhibit called “The Price of Freedom, Americans at War.” This was about World War II. This was the biggest exhibit that we went to. It was also very interesting.

After this many of us went to the gift shop, got candy and waited for the buses to come and take us back to school. During the drive my friend and I played the same car game that we played on the way there. When we arrived at school the score was 22-20 and Josh won.

— Alex Kantuni, eighth-grader

Hearst Elementary School

In reading class, third-graders have started their year with a unit focused on overcoming adversities. Upon learning that an adversity is a challenge or difficult situation someone faces, the kids discussed some of their own adversities. Some expressed that moving, being bullied or losing a loved one was a challenge for them.

We kicked the unit off by reading “The Junkyard Wonders” by Patricia Polacco, and learned that sometimes people face adversities when they are bullied for the abilities. Our next few books — “Baseball Saved Us,” “New Shoes” and “Roberto Clemente: The Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates” — had characters facing adversities based on their race or ethnicity. One student put it best when she said, “We should change the name of this unit to Overcoming Adversity and Showing Perseverance because all of our characters have shown perseverance!”

The kids have also connected this to their learning about having a growth mindset, which can help you overcome adversities in the classroom. While the topic of adversity is heavy, the kids have been able to make connections to their own lives and with each other. It’s been a great unit to build our classroom community and learn that we all face challenges, but it’s much easier to face them all together.

— Ms. Dilley’s third-graders

Lafayette Elementary School

At this year’s Fall Festival, a Lafayette tradition was held in the basement of the new school. Fifth-graders set up the haunted house in the “tunnels,” a long dark hallway barely illuminated with green lights. Spiderwebs hung from the ceiling and kids’ chalk footprints glowed on the walls. Frightening messages on the walls called for help or warned of danger. One sign cautioned not to feed the zombies — fifth-graders — locked in a cage.

Fifth-graders Sophie Folds and Sarah Jones were part of the haunted house crew at Lafayette’s annual Fall Festival on Oct. 21. (photo by Sonali Cohen, fifth-grader)

Kids participating in the haunted house arrived early to get into costumes and take their places, and people arrived soon after to the sounds of screaming. Fifth-grader Hannah Brickman said, “The whole school was really excited, especially the fifth-graders. There was so much space in the basement, and nobody had ever been down there before, which was really cool!”

In this labyrinth space there were many corners and hiding places, so fifth-graders could hide and jump out to scare people. There was a vampire lying in a coffin and a crazy scientist’s lab with fake eyes inside test tubes. But, the really creepy part was that kids hiding under the crazy scientist’s table would grab your feet as you walked by.

And here comes the part where I have to talk about myself: There was a werewolf who jumped out of nowhere scaring people, but the werewolf felt very bad because I made little kids cry. Still, the haunted house was a really fun experience.

— Elsa Gerber Vico, fifth-grader

Maret School

Creativity is one of the best ways to exercise your brain, but our cultural flag project in art class does that and much more. The flag I am creating shows where I am from, my beliefs and my history. It also exercises your brain and your eyes, and it is really fun to do. I not only get to stretch my creativity, but I also get to learn more about my classmates and their backgrounds, too. At the end, we will get to see our amazing artwork and our whole family, as if they are right in our flag.

— Lia Kochan, fourth-grader

National Presbyterian School

On Oct. 26, we had a special visitor named Ken Martin, a local poet and writer, whose visit connected with our fifth-grade service learning project. He wrote a story in the Street Sense newspaper. The inspiration for his poem “Can You See Me?” was because when he was homeless he was being ignored when he would say “good morning.” He was also being ignored by the people he worked with, so he decided to write a poem about not seeing people for who they are. He was inspired to write poetry during a public speaking class in high school.

Ken Martin was actually in a TV documentary about his life on the streets. Ken is now living in a home. He wants his own clothing business. Ken is still working for Street Sense and you can sometimes see him at the CVS on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Tenleytown. If you see Ken there selling Street Sense, be sure to say, “Hi! How are you doing?” Have a conversation with him because he is a very nice man. Ken Martin definitely left his mark on fifth grade.

— Abigail Boerstling, fifth-grader

Our Lady of Victory School

Last weekend, the Our Lady of Victory chess team had a tournament, where kids play four hourlong games. The students who played in the tournament were Noah S., Lou C., Liam L., Neelan C., Marco S., Ben C., Grant C. and myself. Eben T. even came to watch and support us.

What was so exciting is that our school won first place for the first time ever! The whole thing was super fun. What surprised me most about the tournament is that so many kids actually enjoy playing chess for an entire afternoon on the weekend. I had a great time whether I won or lost my games. I did not even mind that there were so few girls there.

At the end of the tournament, I could not believe it when I heard four people from our team get called up to receive individual trophies! That meant that half of our team won a trophy! I was stunned. Then, when I heard Our Lady of Victory being called up for a first-place team win with a total of 11 points, I felt so awesome at that moment, I was almost bursting. I mean, we had gotten second and third before, but first? AlI I was thinking was, “whoa, we just did that.”

I went home feeling happy and satisfied, and proud that I had participated in the tournament.

— Lane K., fifth-grader

Sheridan School

The book fair took place from Oct. 19 through 22. (photo courtesy of Sheridan School)

The third-graders would like to show you what an amazing book fair we had at Sheridan School. There were really good books by really good authors and really good toys. All Sheridan students visited the book fair and had a chance to purchase books. The third-graders have amazing kindergarten reading buddies who are learning how to read and write, so the third-graders helped them purchase books at the fair. Helping the kindergartners makes the third-graders feel wonderful. We get to see new readers and writers and see how the kindergartners improve.

The book fair was held Oct. 19 through 22. The book fair was open during our fall fair as well, which was held Oct. 22.

— Derya Baygn-Robentt, Jack Hellerman and Darcy Schruben, third-graders

Washington International School

Anticipation leading up to our middle school play, “Alice in Wonderland,” just ended with three successful nights of shows. Over a month of rehearsals every day, for as little as one hour or as much as six-and-a-half hours, definitely called for a large audience each night.

Audition dates were Sept. 5 through 7. Many students across the grade levels auditioned, but with 13 leads, it meant the big ensemble group made the show more lively. The stage was in the center of our black box theater with seating on the left and right sides. The show ran three nights in late October.

Characters would come out at the beginning every night to do a humorous introduction skit with the usual reminders: silence your phones, no flash photography and so on. The show lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes with changes in sets and some characters’ outfits. The ensemble consisted of sea creatures, hedgehogs and more! The show ended with applauded bows and the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believing.”

I’m looking forward to future WIS productions like the upper school musical in November and the middle school musical in the spring. Stay tuned at for future dates.

— Sophia Rees, seventh-grader