As part of their year-long social studies research on Antarctica, Grade 1 students walk the grid lines of a room-sized canvas prior to drawing a map of the continent–to scale, no less. The finished product will be displayed on the grass between the EC and elementary campuses on the day of the elementary spring music programs and will include 3-D buildings that indentify the locations of U.S. Antarctica research stations–don’t miss it!
Monthly Archives: April 2012
April 26, 2012
Charles Calhoun, Best Buddies Ambassador, spoke at today’s assembly for Grades 2-6 students about the importance of kindness and respect.
Diagnosed as a child with Williams Syndrome, autism, and attention deficit disorder, he shared, “When I was your age, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I wasn’t invited to birthday parties, movies, or to hang out. When I was your age, people didn’t want to be my friend because I was different.”
His message was one of appreciating differences as well as recognizing that, as different as we may seem, we share many things in common; through kindness and respect, we can find common ground. As he noted, “I was born with a disability. I didn’t choose that, but it is part of who I am. I bet I can name a few things that we have in common: I love cartoons, wrestling, playing sports, listening to music, playing video games, and working on cars.”
In regard to building community, he advised, “It is really important that you be kind to each other. Kindness is a gesture of respect, and it makes making friends easier. When you use negative words like dumb, stupid, or idiot, you are hurting people–you are tearing people down when you have the power to build them up! If someone is struggling, help that person; if someone is doing something good, pay him or her a compliment.”
He continued, “Every day, your actions change the people around you. Humans react to each other, and what you are doing causes a reaction.”
In his closing remarks, Charles asked the second through sixth graders to take the following pledge: “I pledge to be kind to others. I pledge to think about the words I choose and to not insult people. I pledge to see people and accept them for their abilities, and their uniqueness.”
Interestingly, it took only minutes before students popped up with questions such as, “How did you handle it when a classmate was mean?” and “What is your favorite movie/cartoon/video game?” Very quickly, Charles and the children found the common ground.
Head of School
Apples, tangerines, blood oranges, cucumbers, and navel oranges make for a colorful healthy snack offering Tuesday morning. Thanks to the many parent volunteers who arrive each morning to cut up the bounty for distribution to classrooms.
“While passing out snack, third grade teachers repeatedly were faced with groans of disapproval regarding the day’s cheese selection. Everyone wanted the string cheese and nobody wanted the white square cheese. Determined to convince the children of the deliciousness of each cheese, teachers conducted blind taste tests. The majority of the students predicted that the mozzarella string cheese would be most favored, and the monterey jack would be least liked. To their teachers’ delight, the winning cheese was the monterey jack, followed by the cheddar and, lastly, the string cheese! Students organized the data on line plots and created pie charts and bar graphs on their computers to illustrate the results. Since the experiment, there has been no more cheese grappling among the students!”
Mrs. Hurley and Mrs. Davis
Grade 3 Teachers
April 19, 2012
Every year The Gillispie School is proud to participate in a toy drive benefitting Rady Children’s Hospital. This year the fifth graders will be sponsoring the toy drive as their spring service learning project. We urge you to participate and to lend a helping hand for the children in the hospital and their families. If you would like to help the children and families in need, please take a look at the few simple rules below:
1) Be sure that all the toys donated are brand new and unwrapped.
2) Do NOT bring any stuffed animals to the donation boxes.
3) Bring toys for all ages (through teens).
4) Do not bring any food or candy.
Toy collection bins will be available April 26-May 14. A wish list is available at www.kidz-usa.com. Participation for the toy drive is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged!
Belle R., Jamie Y., Julia R., and Alex D.
Grade 5 Students
Early Childhood assistant Ms. McCraw puts the finishing touches on a Feliz Primavera mobile designed and created under her leadership by prekindergarten students. During the project–part of onoing Spanish language exposure throughout the year–students reviewed spring terms in Spanish and designed and assembled the recycled materials mobile. Happy spring, indeed!
April 5, 2012
To gather data and write a final paper for her UCSD Human Development research class, a student recently conducted a ten-week study in Gillispie’s Room 3 preschool classroom. Visiting once a week for four hours, she observed three-year-olds interacting with their two teachers. Upon completion of her observations, she shared her final paper.
The first part of her paper highlighted some of the research on emergent curriculum produced in the last decade. Based on studies, our visitor pointed out, “Emergent curriculum provides a stimulating environment for learners,” and, “It’s child directed and initiated; rather than having pre-planned goals, teachers consider the students’ interests, abilities, and needs; provide materials; and plan activities around those interests to increase understanding and learning.” Moreover, research also has found that, “Teacher observations and inquiries of children’s interests provide more meaningful and higher quality learning opportunities compared to a more formal teacher-initiated approach.”
The second part of her analysis came from repeated classroom visits. One of her conclusions noted an increase in “learner engagement” during classroom meetings when teachers listened for and organized efforts around an area of interest suggested by the children. During morning circle time and reflection meetings, teachers and students regularly discuss emerging ideas–two recent examples from Room 3 include shadows and trains. Furthermore, the student researcher found that students most extensively pursued topics when teachers had provided support through appropriate activities and materials. As a result, weeks after the shadow discussions were held, these young learners continued to identify examples of shadows and lighting, both inside and outdoors, and likewise thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the downtown San Diego Train Station, which provided a real-life, applied experience born from their classroom conversations.
As seen by an outsider observer, emergent curriculum as practiced at Gillispie not only keeps students engaged, but enables learning at deep, meaningful, and sustained levels.
Head of School