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Gillispie School / Learn by Doing

This month marked the return of a much-loved Gillispie tradition—International Day! Students grabbed their “passports” and traveled to themed outdoor areas representing Egypt, Tahiti, Brazil, Italy, Australia, and Taiwan. Parent volunteers and faculty members decorated the campus, wore traditional dress, prepared ethnic foods, and shared interesting facts about different countries from around the world. Students were provided with an opportunity to learn about life outside of our borders. International Day began as a social studies project, and over the years it...

Gillispie aspires to nurture and encourage global citizenship. As global citizens, we are connected and share many similarities, as well as differences, and learning about the world around us makes us better informed and empathetic. Families and students have asked how, as a community, we can help the situation in Ukraine. So, this Monday, International Day, we are launching a drive to collect the following items, identified by the local House of Ukraine as desperately needed: 1. All...

As part of the 6th-grade social studies curriculum, students studied the timeline of early human history and the features and capabilities of various hominid groups. They also learned about ancient Egypt, focusing on geography, social classes, certain pharaohs, and the process of mummification. In Science and Design, students learned about human ancestors, specifically, the changing structure of the skull over time. Students created vacuumed formed skull profiles and then reverse-painted and labeled distinct anatomical features. In art class,...

Third through sixth graders really enjoyed the street hockey unit in January. Students worked on stick-handling, passing, and shooting. It is a very popular unit and it was great to see the improvement in skills and strategy throughout the upper elementary grades. Kindergarten through Grade 2 students had fun playing the more informal and safer version of "noodle hockey" on the field. This month, all elementary classes are working on various types of rope jumping. Early Childhood students...

This purposeful space is being built and organized to allow our Kindergarteners to create, collaborate, and experiment with various materials. Kindergarteners can take items apart, put things together, and dream up imaginative creations. Teachers have labeled shelving spots assigned to each student so they can safely store and then revisit their designs over time. The goal is to support curiosity, innovation, free-thinking, and creativity in our future scientists, teachers, engineers, architects, surgeons, artists, and inventors! We would like to...

The third graders recently finished their FRD (Fox Relocation Device) Project. Inspired by Roald Dahl’s book, Fantastic Mr. Fox, they set out to more humanely rethink the human characters’ decision to kill the foxes because of their continued raiding of the farmers’ storage houses. Each student’s FRD required designing and planning to meet the specific goals they brainstormed, as well as careful building, testing, and re-designing as they worked through the iterative Design Thinking cycle to create...

Grade 1 students have been working on their coding skills during tech time with our Director of Technology Dr. Lisa Hasler Waters. In these photos, students are getting creative with code using Scratch Jr. to animate silly cartoon characters. These age-appropriate games make coding so much more user-friendly, fun, and approachable for children. We only wish they were around when we were young!...

Veteran's Day activities last week included Grade 6 students sharing stories of friends and family members who are/were veterans during morning meeting, Grade 5 students writing heartfelt Veteran's Day Poems, and special opportunities like Mrs. Law bringing in her husband's REAL military jacket for Early Childhood students to see. Gillispie parent and VA Hospital Employee, AnneMarie Sachs, helped coordinate the production of student-made cards and reported back to us with this message: "Thanks to the great work of Gillispie students, more...

Willow Room students turned their classroom into a Makerspace of their own! Using the basics of the Design Thinking Model, students brainstormed ideas for gadgets they could make, discussed the materials they could use, sketched out their ideas, and then got to building! They created some amazing contraptions using recycled, everyday materials and loved the process from start to finish. We can't wait to see what these Early Childhood students create one day in our Elementary Makerspace—they are already displaying...

Grade 6 students have been working on finishing their nichos in art class! The nicho is a traditional Latin American art form that uses a three-dimensional or recessed display box as a portable shrine to an important figure or loved one. Timed to celebrate and honor El Dia de los Muertos, each student’s creation commemorates a creative individual, from traditional painters like Michelangelo, to contemporary artists like Banksy. There is a  wide diversity of artists chosen by...