School Dispatches: Nov. 15, 2017

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Blessed Sacrament School

Halloween traditions at Blessed Sacrament School and the Chevy Chase neighborhood are always eagerly anticipated. Blessed Sacrament has a Halloween parade featuring kindergarten through fifth grade in their costumes. The students walk around the school several times, watched by grandparents, parents and alumni. The students love seeing what costumes the teachers put on, too.

This year, some of the favorite costumes were a deviled egg, a fried egg, the tooth fairy, an angel/devil combo, unicorns and too many others to count. The teachers went all out — especially from first, second, third and fifth grade, dressed as Superwomen, Hawaiian ladies, metamorphosis (butterfly, caterpillar, larvae) and the seasons.

One particular fourth-grade class goes pumpkin bowling, while middle school tends to go for the pizza party. This year featured a first-ever Trunk or Treat. In this, people decorate their cars while young children in costume collect candy from them. A favorite house to visit in the Blessed Sacrament neighborhood on Halloween is on Rittenhouse Street NW. Each year, owner Margo Judge sets up a banner announcing the theme. This year it was Bones Mall. During election years there is an election theme. One of Judge’s favorites was a ballot of Dr. Seuss and Yoda, with Dr. Seuss barely securing the win.

— Mary Williams, seventh-grader

Emerson Preparatory School

“So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy,” said American Civil Liberties Union founder Roger Baldwin.

The ACLU is a nonprofit that has been committed to protecting the individual rights and liberties of the American people since 1920. This summer, I attended the ACLU Summer Advocacy Institute here in Washington alongside my classmate, Bethlehem Solomon. After sitting through stimulating lectures for a week about important issues concerning the rights of my fellow Americans, I was inspired immediately to start an ACLU Club Emerson Prep.

Emerson’s ACLU club now meets once a week over candy and snacks to reflect on the issues facing our country today. So far, the group has discussed free speech, immigration, women’s rights and reproductive freedom, and LGBTQ rights. Currently, we are fundraising to make each member of the club a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

We hope to take advantage of our proximity to the National Mall and attend protests/marches for the sake of defending our civil liberties as the next generation. Americans are fortunate to have a branch of the ACLU in every single state and D.C., which opens up the possibility of having a representative from the D.C. location come and speak to the group. We are grateful for the information and defense that the ACLU has and will provide for us in the future.

To learn more, follow Emerson Prep’s ACLU Club on Instagram @emerson_aclu.

— Isabel Fajardo, 11th-grader

Hearst Elementary School

This week in The Purple Party Panda’s PK classroom, we discussed one of our school rules: Be kind. Our librarian Ms. Vandivier joined us and we read “The Kindness Quilt.” Students then brainstormed words that we can say and would like others to use to be kind.

Nala said “I’m sorry”; Iris would like to hear “Please”; Cora thinks “Would you like to play with me?” is kind; Izzy says we should say “bless you” when someone sneezes; Adrian said “I love you!”; Jane says after playing a game both teams should say “good game”; Teddy thinks we could ask “Do you need a hug?”; Liam believes we should say “excuse me”; Hasan said when we want something we should say “may I please…”; and Leo says we should all say “thank you.” We used these words to make a Kindness Garden displayed in the classroom.

— The Purple Party Pandas, pre-K class

Lafayette Elementary School

On Nov. 8, an author came to Lafayette Elementary to speak to third-graders about her new book, “Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean.” She is a Green Earth Book Award recipient who was brought to our school by the Nature Generation, a nonprofit environmental group. Which author, might you ask? Why, the one and only Maris Wicks, of course. Lafayette granted me the pleasure of interviewing her and finding out the story behind her amazing book.

Author Maris Wicks, center, joined Charlie Madland, left, and Truman Muffett in impersonating fish from her book “Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean.” (photo by Queen Elder)

When asked what inspired her to write a book about coral reefs, Maris Wicks responded, “I spent the last eight years at the England Marine Institution, and one of the centerpieces was an aquarium called the open sea. I knew then that I liked comics and I liked the ocean, so I combined the two and made a book about the ocean to reach even more people.”

Wicks told me that atmospheric changes have been happening since the mid-1800s. She stated that “the increase of carbon dioxide from human activities started climate change, but there are things that we can do to prevent this from happening.” She encourages people to educate themselves and to take the initiative to better the world.

“Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean” is a great book, and Wicks did all the illustrations herself! Lafayette has many of Wicks graphic science books in the school library. The third-graders enjoyed the author talk as much as I enjoyed interviewing her.

— Truman Muffett, fifth-grader

Our Lady of Victory School

This year, the girls U12 soccer team, the Blue Hawks, won first place in the Catholic Youth Organization championship tournament. It was tough, but we were able to come out on top through good teamwork and skillful coaching. For every round of the tournament we were nervous, but when we started playing, the nervous feelings went away.

For the first round, we played Holy Redeemer. They played very well, and it was a hard game, but we still won. We both played goalie and worked hard. We were also nervous because we didn’t want to let in any goals, make our team lose or get disqualified; we succeeded.

For the next round, we played Our Lady of Mercy. They were a good team, but our team played strong and won. This game was exciting because we got to play our first night game at Soccerplex! We were nervous because they kept getting close to scoring, but luckily we saved all the shots.

For the final round, we played St. Jerome’s. They played very well and it was a close game, but we played our hardest. Even though they scored one goal, we beat them and won first place! When the referee sounded the final whistle, we jumped for joy. We were so happy; we laughed and hugged each other. Now, whenever we see our trophy, we think back to the time we won the championship, and we are very proud!

— Emma L. and Millicent G., sixth-graders

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

On Oct. 18 to 20, sixth-graders and teachers went to Camp Horizons in Harrisonburg, Va., for three days and two nights. The kids and the teachers had a really full schedule. On the trip we had so much fun and there were so many amazing activities — for example, the giant swing, archery, and fishing. Some groups went caving while other groups went rock climbing, but everyone went canoeing and zip lining.

Students explore a cave during their visit to Camp Horizons. (photo courtesy of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School)

Many people went off campus to go rock climbing and said it was awesome. Cavers went on the land of a farmer who lets the camp explore his cave for free. Also, everybody went canoeing and some people fell in the water.

We were very lucky to have such great teachers to help plan this overnight trip. We got to see our friends and enjoy time being together. We think that everyone had a wonderful time because the camp activities were a blast.

We had some students share their experiences. Javier Llano Cruz told us, “My favorite camp activity was canoeing because we got to tip the boats over in the cool lake.” We also had Anthony Balanta tell us: “My favorite activity was zip lining, the giant swing and caving because I’ve never been caving, the giant swing was high in the sky, and the zip line was fun because I have never zip lined before.”

In conclusion, activities at Camp Horizons were a lot of fun.

— Gabriella Eversley-Holland, Lesly Bautista and Francis Csedrik, sixth-graders

St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School

In my first two months of Grade 6, so many fascinating things have happened! One of those things is learning about the independent reading projects we have to complete.

The process starts by picking out a book. You have to read three books in total per trimester, and one book has to be from the recommended reading list created by my peers and me.

After you read a book, you have to choose a project to complete. The projects are really enjoyable. There are four projects to choose from, such as a character folio describing and illustrating a main character from your book. Also, it is mandatory to do a book talk every trimester.

Now, let’s talk about what happens after you have finished your projects. What happens next? Our language arts teacher, Ms. Smith, reads over our projects to make sure they are clean and concise. Then, she prints out a small picture of the book you read, called a badge, and pastes it onto your personalized sheet of paper on the wall showing how many projects you have completed. These are called IR cards, and they are exciting to see on the wall.

This year has been great spending time with my friends and hearing about the books they are reading. Already, these projects have taught me to overcome obstacles and better manage time. This has been a great year at St. Patrick’s so far.

— Heaven Samuel, sixth-grader

Sheridan School

Recently, Sheridan seventh-grade students took their first of three trips to the KID Museum, a makerspace for kids in Bethesda. The trips are all part of a design challenge that will emphasize a number of important skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, metacognition, creativity, communication and perseverance. Along with strengthening these skills, their objective will be to design and construct a table-size model of a playground that is accessible to all kids, regardless of their physical and emotional needs.

Students work at the KID Museum makerspace. (photo courtesy of Sheridan School)

Students spent their first visit learning how to create working electrical circuits and use various woodworking tools. Students used these skills to make a miniature see-saw and an electrical circuit that could be used to power a buzzer, light or motor.

Students will spend part of their next visit learning additional skills, and beginning to design their prototypes of accessible playground equipment.

“The visits to the KID Museum are a part of Sheridan’s commitment to creating an in-school makerspace that will help our students develop the real-world skills they will need to become successful adults,” says maker educator and librarian Ms. Wells.

— Eli Weissman, seventh-grader

Washington International School

Have you ever felt like the world has been turned upside down? That is how we felt when we walked into a room, where a normally nice teacher showed us a list of unfair rules, such as not being allowed to smile without her permission. Little did we know that this “dictator” was marking the start of a new unit of inquiry on government.

After this provocation, we did several activities to learn about different types of governments and how they are organized.

We went to the U.S. Capitol building to learn how the legislative branch works from the inside and saw a senatorial debate. We also took a tour of the Capitol, seeing where famous politicians actually sat and walked.

WIS parents came to talk about the three branches of the U.S. government and things that it does. We also did activities that taught us how to be active citizens; the right to vote and changes over time, with us each assigned an identity. Another activity was about the Bill of Rights. We were given a picture and an article about a real problem. We gave a presentation about how the scenario was linked to the First Amendment. Using more than one information source helped us to get a clearer image of the situation.

Our last assignment was a scenario about an imaginary island that was just becoming a country and we had to say which type of government we would advise and why.

What would you advise?

— Eileen Maloney Cunningham, fourth-grader