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Gillispie School / Experts in Education

Recently, our head of school found a large note on her door that read: Dear Ms. Fleming, Can we wear Valentine's Day clothes or hearts, please? We want to look fancy and cool and festive. The party is special and we want the same colors as Valentine's Day so we match. Can we do this, please, on February 13 even though Valentine's Day is February 14? Room 18 The Kindergarten students had written and left the note with the simple ask...

Kindergarten through Grade 3 students were recently treated to a special assembly featuring author and veterinarian, Dr. Ruth MacPete! Dr. MacPete spoke to the students about her children's book, Lisette the Vet, and answered the many questions they had about what it is like to be a veterinarian. Her adorable adopted dog Oski also came on campus to assist her in a veterinary examination at the end of the presentation. The experience was so informative and fun, and many...

Students in Grade 2 have been learning to play the recorder! In early January, they received lesson books to begin the process of note reading. The children are enthusiastic about playing an instrument and using music stands and books. The recorder is a wonderful, age-appropriate instrument that helps students develop their musicality and sense of musicianship. Students also learn how to coordinate their fingers, their tongue, and their breath – all 3 things at once – in order to play...

Mr. Inigo's fifth grade recently hosted a guest speaker to learn more about homelessness, the topic of their year-long big project. Lindsey Fisher, Gillispie PTEP parent, spoke about her experience working with people struggling with homelessness and severe mental illness. She shared stories and information, and the students peppered her with questions. A few fifth-grade parents joined the audience, and one parent asked: "What's the best way to treat people you see on the street?" Ms. Fisher reported that...

The family of a former student reached out to me recently with a dilemma: Although their oldest child was a voracious reader, their youngest child didn’t seem to be interested in books at all. The parents wondered if I might “work my magic” on their youngest child, to ignite the spark that would eventually become a raging fire for books. As flattered as I am to be credited with this power, the secret to turning reluctant readers...

The sixth-grade class recently hosted an expert speaker for a conversation about their Big Project on human rights. They spoke with Jaime Todd-Gher, a lawyer for Amnesty International USA, whose work focuses on human rights violations. The students read and discussed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted in the wake of the Holocaust. The students had recently visited the Museum of Tolerance in order to better understand the Holocaust and events around the Civil Rights...

Gillispie students PreK to Grade 6 were treated with visits from Practical Karate owner and Gillispie parent, Frank McCarroll, who engaged students in interactive workshops designed to help children create an environment of kindness at school and cope with confrontational or bullying behaviors from other students or strangers. Using the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids and his own experiences growing up, Frank showed students that making a conscious...

The most engaging, memorable, and successful activities are those which demand that we approach them from many points of view, solving challenges with various parts of our minds and bodies. An example of this at work is the Island Projects the sixth graders have been working on for several weeks. In teams, they dreamt up an island and sketched it, but that was just the beginning. Each team carefully sculpted its island from clay, and the clay islands...

Recently, Gillispie welcomed Dr. Adria O’Donnell who spoke on ways in which we can instill resiliency in children, which in turn allows children to handle life’s stresses and to take on challenges. Having resiliency contributes to a child’s ability to recognize and regulate emotions. Dr. O’Donnell shared some helpful illustrations: The Blender When your child is emotionally charged, it is like a blender on full speed without the lid. In this state, it is not the right time...

The first meeting of the Design Challenge Club went well! Students started off by going over collaborative communication and cooperation skills and discussing what it means to be a good teammate and a good leader. An exercise was given to the students with a goal of building a bridge that could hold the most weight. Groups were given materials throughout the building process and were taught simple skills like how to tear blue tape or what to do...