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Gillispie School / Learn by Doing

Throughout the school year, students in Juniper Room have been working in the outdoor mud area, "saving the world from hot lava." Lava has become a large part of the students' daily outdoor classroom experience. Alexander shared with the class that he had made and erupted a volcano at home with his mom and dad, so teachers asked his parents to come in and help the class make their own volcano! Together with Alexander's parents, the class made a huge...

Recently, Grade 4 students visited the Feeding San Diego food bank. During their time at the food bank, they worked as volunteers, both sorting and packing kiwi. They also learned more about the organization as well as the people of San Diego Country that it serves. The two classes packed 1,900 pounds of kiwi, which will be distributed to families at three local schools. That is a total of 450 bags! A few remarks from our students regarding their...

Gillispie School celebrated its annual International Day Friday, October 26. Students grabbed their “passports” and traveled to Portugal, Greece, New Zealand, France, Japan, Spain, Botswana, Mexico, India, and Thailand. Parent volunteers and teachers transformed classrooms into virtual countries where children experienced smells, sights, and sounds of the different cultures represented. The students had the opportunity to learn about each unique culture as they journeyed “around the world,” completing crafts, sampling exotic food and drink, listening to live music,...

Gillispie is a constructivist school. Nothing exemplifies this educational philosophy more than our Gillispie ceramics program. Students in grades kindergarten through sixth enjoy working with clay. The elementary ceramics curriculum builds on the Early Childhood clay experiences. Both divisions are fortunate to have kilns. In the process of hand building with clay, children learn to realize their three-dimensional artistic visions experimenting with slab, pinch pot, and coil construction methods. Examples of pinch pot modeling are the Grade 2 “monster”...

Recently, Kindergarten students walked to Firestation 13 for a tour and to drop off a gratitude wagon full of goodies they collected for the firefighters. They learned about the different tools on the firetruck and even got to climb through the backseat! They toured the station kitchen, living room, and gym. At the very end of our tour, the firefighters were called away by a blaring fire alarm. Students waved goodbye as firefighters hopped on the firetruck. What an exciting...

In Science, Grade 1 students are learning about mimicry: how animals can resemble another poisonous animal (i.e. with colors and patterns) to scare their predators away. In an experiment, students had the opportunity to become the predator and make a choice based on what a drink looked like. The students tried two different liquids that looked exactly the same (clear and bubbly). One tasted good (sweet) and the other one tasted bad (sour). They were then provided two more...

Gillispie elementary students kicked off the first full week of school with a Monday to remember. The day began with a new tradition: Morning Announcements. K-6 students gathered on the Sport Court at the morning bell to hear announcements, celebrate birthdays, and learn about upcoming events. These new Monday morning meetings will occur every week that school is in session and are open to all parents, who may watch (quietly!) from the entrance to the play yard....

It certainly has been an exciting couple of weeks as the school year winds down! As an educator, I am always pleased to see students find their individual “sandboxes;” those places where they stretch themselves, gaining excitement and sense of purpose from the challenge. Recently, some of our fourth and fifth graders participated in the county-wide Science Field Day, collaboratively constructing catapults, paddle boats, towers, and a series of simple machines that delivered marbles into cups. This...

Grade 2 students impressed their families and teachers with amazing presentations last week. Each student chose a person of historical significance who they viewed as an inspirational hero, researched the individual, and wrote a two-page biographical report explaining a bit about their lives, accomplishments, and interesting or surprising facts. Working with their teachers and technology instructor Ms. Moore, students used the interactive iPad drawing tool Osmo Masterpiece to illustrate portraits of their subject. Additionally, they created videos with...

Parents, family, and friends joined us for the 2017-2018 Gillispie Big Project Exhibition on Friday, April 20! With event maps in hand, visitors toured the various exhibits around campus which showcased the work that students have done all year on their specific grade-level topics. Cycling through a design-thinking process, students first researched their topics, developed awareness of the issue as it exists around the world and here in our community, and developed questions, which led to specific areas...