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Author: Brittany Kaszas

Learn by Doing  Fine motor skills are those that involve a refined use of the small muscles which control the hand, fingers, and thumb. With the development of these skills, a child is able to complete important tasks such as writing, feeding oneself, buttoning, and zippering. These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of toys and materials. This includes the ability to grasp, pick up, release, imitate, and copy patterns. As a provocation, Preschool...

To help children practice the design-thinking process, teachers have been engaging their classes in short collaborative projects. One of these projects involved the Kindergartners and third graders working together to get Billy Goat Gruffs across the bridge. Kindergarten students have been reading old storybook favorites during Readers Workshop, including the classic, The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Teachers presented the Kindergartners and their Grade 3 book buddies with a design challenge: create a way to get the three billy goats in...

The Journey Matters Recently in Mrs. Long's Grade 5 class, students had several tasks to accomplish before the end of class. Knowing they would finish the tasks with differing amounts of time left, she directed them to "make a good choice" with the remaining time. Almost every student chose to dive into a book. Reading expert Nancie Atwell notes that "the single most important predictor of academic success is the amount of time children spend reading books." And...

Values and Community  It's a tradition for the Grade 6 students to start off their final year at Gillispie with an overnight team building trip. Last week, they packed their bags and headed out for an excursion full of activities, including mountain biking in Mission Beach, kayaking on the bay, and camping at Crystal Cove in Laguna. This annual trip helps the class bond, build community, and learn to work together!   About Gillispie School: We are an independent toddler through Grade...

Learn by Doing  Science in our Early Childhood program allows children to participate in discovering, exploring, and questioning a topic or activity together. This week, it was all about blowing bubbles. Students used modified pipettes, natural bubble solution, and the air in their lungs to create cups full of bubbles. They discussed their separate techniques and explored the ways that airflow effects the bubble formation; using a lot of air creates many small bubbles, and a slow stream of...

Learn by Doing Students in Grade 5 worked in groups to solve a real problem in their classroom: How to organize the classroom library. They used a design thinking process to understand the problem, empathize with users, design solutions, receive expert feedback, and share their revised plans. In the photos, students pitch preliminary solutions to experts and answer the experts’ questions. This mini-project followed the same steps that the fifth graders will use in a year-long project to study...

Registration is now open for the Fall Artisans In The Atelier workshop series taught by Porschia Talbot of My Art Shed in Gillispie School’s beautiful atelier and community garden! During each art workshop, students will explore the natural beauty that surrounds us every day and see how even the smallest flower can inspire wondrous art. They will slither paint like a snake, design and build tiny houses fit for a fairy queen, breathe color into fallen leaves, and plant seeds that will one...

Recently, we had our first elementary assemblies and the focus was on Gillispie Values. During both large-group, then small-group discussions, students provided excellent definitions and examples of how integrity, compassion, attitude, respect, and effort can look on the playground, at the lunch table, in the classroom, and even off campus. Particularly impressive was the newly-minted kindergarteners’ understanding of the Gillispie Values. Some thoughts shared (in the words of the children): Integrity • When you don’t complete an assignment, don’t...