School Dispatches: Oct. 4, 2017

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British International School of Washington

On Sept. 25, our school welcomed representatives from the Real World Challenge, an elite STEM competition that includes young adults from all around the world.

The representatives explained how the competition consists of three levels — local, national and global — in which candidates are given a stimulus to spark their design. In the midst of creating their design, students are given access to the most advanced technology in the field, as well as guidance and support from engineering specialists.

Students learned about the Real World Design Challenge on Sept. 25. (photo by Megan Lui)
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For example, previously students were asked to work with the tail of a business jet. The winning group not only designed the tail but also a software program with which it could organize the data needed for its design. This innovative idea was so useful that many companies adopted the program.

Our school was so taken with this unique opportunity that we have already established a club where students can get in teams and prepare for the competition. It also ties in nicely with our school’s Build a Plane club, which is a youth program that allows children to work with aviation specialists.

Our school is very excited for this opportunity to improve our STEM experience.

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

Deal Middle School

Our field trip to Hemlock was both an exhilarating experience and a team-building experience. Because we spent the whole day together, I learned some people’s names, which is usually difficult for me. We got to go zip lining, learn to trust each other at the peanut butter pit and develop cooperation skills on different challenges.

One of our most challenging tests was the peanut butter pit and trusting people not to drop us. Everyone had their own ideas, but getting the rest of the group to hear you was sometimes a challenge. I personally think we did very well on the balance challenge. Our goal was to remain level on the wooden scale for 30 seconds, but we managed to stay balanced for 21 minutes. We went through many struggles and had different ideas, but eventually ended up exceeding our goal.

Personally, I enjoyed the trip to Hemlock and the new friends I made on my team.

— Claudia Goletiani, Team Lusaka, sixth-grader

Hearst Elementary School

Ms. Dawkins and Ms. Fraser’s class has had a fun start to the school year! We’ve made lots of new friends and learned lots of new routines.

One of our new friends is a tree on our front lawn. We adopted it last week and have named it Apple Jack. We’ll observe Apple Jack all school year and see how it changes.

We’ve also come up with a class name! Every class at Hearst comes up with a class name and we reveal it and the class banner at the school-wide community meeting. Our class name is The Hoot Hoot Squad!! We came up with a list of things we do well. Here’s a little sampling:

River: “We sit on our bottoms.” Nora: “We’re good at hooting.” Branko: “We know how to walk in a line.” Catherine: “We know how to line up!” Zara: “We get chair achievement.” Maddie: “We’re very good at being nice to people.” Lauren: “We’re good at being kind.” John: “We know how to put the sheet on our mat.” Yiyang: “We play like a family.”

— Ms. Dawkins and Ms. Fraser’s pre-K class

Lafayette Elementary School

Caleb Murphy and Mia Mora join their classmates to review a map before they hit the trail. (photo courtesy of Lafayette Elementary School)

The fifth-grade trip to NatureBridge, an outdoor learning center in Prince William County, was an amazing experience for students. “NatureBridge was really fun. It was so comfortable for three days and two nights,” said fifth-grader Rory Davis.

“The staff was nice, the food was incredible and they made sure we had a great learning experience,” her classmate Elena Le said.

NatureBridge provides lots of opportunities for interacting with animals. One group found a black snake. It was so cute. The students could see the little mouth and its obedient eyes. “I love that schools from all around have the opportunity to be outdoors experiencing wildlife. My favorite part of being a NatureBridge counselor is seeing the kids reactions to the animals,” said Nicole, a camp counselor.

Lafayette students were divided into cabins. There were four cabin loops, two for boys and two for girls. There were two shifts of meals that took place in the dining hall. Two loops had breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and dinner at 5:15 p.m., while the other two had breakfast at 8 a.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Students ate lunch on the trail. The chaperones were all teachers and Lafayette staff. All in all, the fifth-graders had a lot of fun and the trip was a smashing success.

— Caleb Murphy and Mia Mora, fifth-graders

Maret School

On Sept. 13, 35 excited fourth-graders piled into the Maret bus for the three-hour bus ride to Lewes, Del. We were finally on our way for the eagerly anticipated three-day camping trip. Maret’s fourth grade has been going to Camp Arrowhead since 1984.

One of the reasons we go on the camping trip so early in the school year is to get to know our new students and make them quickly feel part of our grade.

Upon our arrival at camp, we were divided into three groups and taken to a cabin where we were to sleep for the next two nights. Our time was spent doing a lot of cooperative and team-building activities that required us to all work together. We also got to go seining in the bay with our science teacher.

On the second day, we spent the afternoon at the beach building sandcastles at Cape Henlopen. In the evening, we went for a hayride and roasted marshmallows on a fire on the beach for s’mores. The activity we voted as our favorite was playing flashlight tag in the dark. The teachers used their flashlights to identify us while we ran through the woods and tried to free those who had already been tagged.

All too soon, it was time to head back to Maret, but we left with such great memories of our time together at camp.

— Ms. Richardson’s fourth-grade class

National Presbyterian School

We are learning so much in fifth grade. We are learning about migration and doing a project on it where we have to tell the story of how our family migrated to America. In math, we are learning about prime factorization, rounding decimals and more. In social studies, we are learning about timeline concepts. In reading, we are reading a great book called “Maroo of the Winter Caves.” In science, we are learning about the planets. In drama, we are learning about Shakespeare.

The most exciting thing, though, was our trip to Camp Horizons. We left on Sept. 13, and we had so much fun doing the leap of faith, the farm, archery, canoeing, rock-climbing, the giant swing and so much more. But the best thing was that we just hung out with our friends and had fun. In literacy, we are doing essays about our time at Camp Horizons.

So far it has been a great year in fifth grade.

— Victor Matsumoto, fifth-grader

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School

Oyster-Adams Bilingual School has been collecting donations for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. (photo courtesy of Oyster-Adams Bilingual School)

On Sept. 20, hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. A lot of the houses have been destroyed and many have been flooded. Many teachers and students in our community are from Puerto Rico. Many people are worried. Our two gym teachers, Ricardo Zeno-Lopez and Adolfo Hernandez, are gathering clothes, tools and survival supplies for families in Puerto Rico that are in need. They are working with an organization called United for Puerto Rico.

One of our classmates, Javier Llano Cruz, is from Puerto Rico and told us some things about how he feels about the damage done and how we can help. Javier said, “We care about Puerto Rico because there are many families from Puerto Rico. People can help by donating basic materials to survive. There is a donation box and people are trying to help now that they are more aware of the damage done.”

Visit unidospuertorico.com/en to learn more about United for Puerto Rico.

— Saul Catalan-Castaneda, Francis Csedrik and Lesley Bautista, sixth-graders

Ross Elementary School

It is the fifth week of school for all of the Ross students. On the fourth week of school, the fifth grade went on an exciting field trip to Camp Fraser in Great Falls, Va., to work on team-building exercises like rock climbing, low ropes courses, and learning about the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“It was great!” said Gael, a student in the fifth grade. “I liked the hiking because we got to see new plants,” says Shane, another fifth-grader. Everybody at Camp Fraser had an opportunity to climb a rock wall. Students needed to sleep in cabins and slept in bunks in separate rooms.

In October, the fifth-grade students are going on an off-campus lunch, which means they get to eat lunch at various restaurants.

On Sept. 22, the fourth graders went on a field trip to Seneca Schoolhouse. They had to arrive early at school to be able to go. At the Seneca Schoolhouse they pretended to be at school 100 years ago and read a hundred-year-old book. Kids in fifth grade get to go on a field trip to Gettysburg, Pa., and Calvert Cliffs in Maryland.

Early this year, on the first day of school actually, students were able to see the solar eclipse in the schoolyard, some kids left school to see it on a roof and more.

— Nick, Lucas and Brighton, fifth-graders

Sheridan School

We learned that Sept. 21 was Peace Day. Peace is a good way to respect people. We read a book about peace called “Peace Is an Offering.” In the book it said peace is reading a story to people and being someone’s friend. It also said to keep company with people when they are alone.

My partners were Darcy and Nora. They are in third grade. We wrote, “Peace is a nice calming sound and a good friend.” Some other friends said peace is sharing and playing with others. I am going to show peace at school when my friends are hurt and I can help them out.

— Griffin Declet, kindergartner