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This is a great example of the type of project-based learning across disciplines that helps students further deepen their understanding of the curriculum! As an Art, Science, and Technology cross-study, Grade 6 partners have been creating their own topographical maps of an imaginary island. In Art class, the students hand-shaped their island out of clay and included eight real geographical features such as a waterfall, mountain, sandbar, etc. Once their clay models were finished, the students sliced the models, decided...

Our Preschool classes held their annual Fall Feast in the gym recently. Students made hand-printed placemats and table decorations for the event. The meal was potluck style, with each family bringing in a dish specially requested by their child to share. During the event, families wrote down things they are thankful for on cut-out feathers that were attached to a shared turkey display. Shared mealtimes in Reggio are held in high regard, and our educational philosophy values children, educators, and family...

As a kick off to the school-wide food drive, Grade 4 students recently visited Feeding San Diego where they sorted, packed, and weighed potatoes, pears, and squash donated by local farms. By the end of the three-hour shift, the children had packed 2500 pounds of food. The food was later delivered and distributed to the organization's mobile pantries around San Diego as well as the UCSD diabetic wellness program. Feeding San Diego feeds over 65,000 people a week, and...

This week, the Grade 5 students participated in Gillispie's annual Explorers Fair. Each student researched an explorer from the Age of Exploration and became that explorer for a presentation for families, teachers, and fellow students. The students shared letters they’d written to gain funding for their expeditions, quill pens they made to write the letters, maps of their proposed routes, and technological innovations that helped navigators of the era. Students entertained their audience as they informed them by dressing...

Working on this year’s goal of building empathy, at a recent assembly kindergarteners through second graders discussed the importance of practicing kindness daily. I challenged these children to perform two acts of kindness—one at home and one at school—that were to cost nothing monetarily and where nothing was expected in return. Some heartfelt examples are described below. One kindergartner explained, “Last night when my brother wasn’t feeling that good, we went to go get ice cream and...

Learn by Doing  Fine motor skills are those that involve a refined use of the small muscles which control the hand, fingers, and thumb. With the development of these skills, a child is able to complete important tasks such as writing, feeding oneself, buttoning, and zippering. These abilities gradually develop through experience and exposure to a variety of toys and materials. This includes the ability to grasp, pick up, release, imitate, and copy patterns. As a provocation, Preschool...

To help children practice the design-thinking process, teachers have been engaging their classes in short collaborative projects. One of these projects involved the Kindergartners and third graders working together to get Billy Goat Gruffs across the bridge. Kindergarten students have been reading old storybook favorites during Readers Workshop, including the classic, The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Teachers presented the Kindergartners and their Grade 3 book buddies with a design challenge: create a way to get the three billy goats in...

The Journey Matters Recently in Mrs. Long's Grade 5 class, students had several tasks to accomplish before the end of class. Knowing they would finish the tasks with differing amounts of time left, she directed them to "make a good choice" with the remaining time. Almost every student chose to dive into a book. Reading expert Nancie Atwell notes that "the single most important predictor of academic success is the amount of time children spend reading books." And...

“Where are your shoes?” This is a familiar inquiry overheard at the end of the day toward barefoot preschool students. Most likely the shoes in question have been tucked away while the child has been blissfully barefoot during the school day. You may have wondered what are the benefits of walking barefoot in the park? Body Awareness, Balance, and Agility Going barefoot helps children develop kinesthetic recognition which leads to better dexterity and proprioception. It also stimulates...

The Gillispie School Big Project last year reached for the stars, asking students to imagine settling a new planet. The three-day multi-discipline experience allowed children to think collaboratively about what goes into developing a new society and required them to use skills and content knowledge to plan for the roads, buildings, vehicles, laws, and jobs we would need in our new other-worldly community. This year, and for the foreseeable future, we will be turning our focus to...