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Gillispie School / Specialties

To borrow from and add to the inertia of their classroom study of ancient Egypt, Grade 6 students took a break from their genetics studies in Science to focus on mummification. Using apples from the garden, students carved and weighed miniature heads and packed them in salt. Over several cycles of weighing and repacking (and even using a food desiccator), we saw the original mass of the heads decrease substantially as water was lost, mirroring the mummification process. The final...

This past week during our Hour of Code activities we saw a flurry of young coders diligently working to solve coding challenges. The students were engaged and focussed. They showed persistence, drive, and importantly, joy in what they were doing!  The value of learning how to code extends well beyond just using a computer. Coding, more formally referred to as programming, teaches students logical reasoning, problem-solving and creative thinking. Some suggest that coding helps students to build...

“This is gonna be great!”  “Minecraft coding is awesome!" “CodeCombat is the best!” These are just some of the enthusiastic comments students have made this week while participating in the Hour of Code. Throughout the week, students have been using a variety of apps and programming languages during their coding activities. Our PreK students engaged in “unplugged” activities to learn about how to give computers instructions. They played a variation of “Simon Says” where one student plays the role of the...

Hello Gillispie Families, In the last few weeks, we have started sharing student compositions. This year we are using a new computer program called Soundtrap. Soundtrap is a digital audio workstation (DAW), similar to Garageband, which is created by the makers of Spotify. In previous years, students have created songs but there wasn't an opportunity to share their original compositions with their peers. Since the format of specialty classes is different this year, we have been sharing our songs...

As Gillispie finishes up the first month of this very different school year, I’m struck by how ‘normal’ certain things seem. Nobody’s curiosity has waned, and the world remains a place of wonder to the young minds I’m surrounded by. Second graders have just planted some seeds as part of our look into the basics of life science. The next step will be to design and conduct an experiment to answer a question about these seeds. Third graders...

Hola familias de Gillispie! Bienvenidos a un nuevo año escolar. It is my greatest pleasure to teach Spanish to Elementary students at Gillispie. There are many layers to learning a language. I like to focus on inspiring students to associate positive memories with Spanish and the language acquisition process. In Spanish class, we reinforce grammar and vocabulary through music, movement, games, food prepping (when possible), and a variety of activities the incorporate reading, writing, and the use of technology. I believe that...

Even with the off and on showers, it's been a fun week in P.E.! Early Childhood and Elementary P.E. classes have been centered around the topic of nutrition and healthy food choices. Following guidelines from the USDA and MyPlate.gov, students have been grouping foods based on the MyPlate chart and deciding between healthy and unhealthy choices. Grades 3-6 are also wrapping up their exciting volleyball unit this week. Passing, serving, setting, and hitting have all been practiced and...

In music class this month, our Prekindergarten students have been learning how to read music notation. Pre-K through Grade 1 students have been playing xylophone and learning various songs. This picture captures students reading and playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!” This month has a continuation of our exploration of new styles of music. Over the past few months, we have learned about “The Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns. Recently, we have started our journey into blues...

What is the best way to organize our classroom library? How might we reduce food waste at our school? How can we combat pollution on the La Jolla coastline? In what ways could we address the homelessness issue in San Diego? Questions like these, whether small or big, drive the work of students in classrooms that take a project-based approach to learning. They also look a lot like the types of questions adult professionals face daily...

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