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Gillispie School / Learn by Doing

What do the bold flower paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, the slashing drips of Jackson Pollack, the enigmatic smile of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and the melting clocks of Salvador Dali have in common? Gillispie students! These artists were chosen by our third grade students for their artist biography projects this year. Each year in the art room, third graders select an artist, read a book about their chosen person, write a short report, create an artwork inspired...

During an exploration of the Sustainable Garden with Mrs. Knight and Mrs. Brady, children in Rosewood Room noticed that the lemon tree was full of fruit and decided to pick a few to bring back to class. At first, they used the lemons as a provocation for observational drawings with dry and oil pastels, but soon, talk of lemonade began. Excited about the idea of making the refreshing drink, the students decided they would open a stand. Together,...

Students working in Occupational Therapy celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a fun way! They worked on building fine motor skills using gold coins and a pot of gold. These tools can be used to target different skills in a variety of ways, such as: Hiding the gold coins around the room for a treasure hunt to work on visual scanning skills and identifying objects in a busy background. Placing the coins along an obstacle course to work on gross...

There was an amazing show of support for our 10th Annual Blood Drive and Bake Sale! The San Diego Blood Bank collected 45 donations, which will touch the lives of 135 people in just one day. This was our largest turnout since 2012, and our second largest drive ever! Additionally, 13 individuals donated for the very first time. According to the Blood Bank, 30% first-time donors is well above average for their drives. Bake Sale donations were also huge this...

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...

Fourth graders are in the middle of an investigation into electrical circuits. Each class time is spent with bulbs, batteries, wires, and switches as we work through such fundamental concepts as series/parallel, conductivity, resistance, voltage/wattage, and electrical schematic diagrams. This is an area of intense interest to nearly all the students, some of whom are pictured here sorting the Bungalow inventory of bulbs and batteries with the help of a voltmeter and a DC power source. By the...

During the first semester, Ms. Haas’s fourth graders enjoyed listening to Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo during their time in the library. Near the end of the novel, the characters hold a party. The students and I immediately agreed: Once we finished the book, we’d re-create the party to celebrate! Just before our winter break, we held our event, feasting on the snacks and drinks described in the novel. One student said she could, “taste the...

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...