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Grade 1 students have been using our Design Thinking model during science class with Mr. Belsha, and this week they were on the MAKE stage. Students were given simple materials like popsicle sticks and Play-Doh and were asked to use these items to design a structure. After their hands-on session, they reflected on what went well and what challenges they faced during the MAKE stage. Some students noticed that creating smaller structures as the building blocks for their larger structures was effective. Others...

This week, Grades 5 and 6 students held a musical theater performance for their peers and parents! Bringing their techniques to the stage, they performed two songs from “Hamilton” and a song/scene from “The Lion King." They did a fabulous job! We can't wait until they have a beautiful new theater space to perform in! Click here for a video of one of the songs from Hamilton! ...

Now more than ever, it is crucial that children learn how to become creative and empathetic solution builders, and the development of the skills needed for success can begin as early as preschool. In order to give children the opportunity to hone their creative problem-solving skills, it is important for them to be allowed to construct their own knowledge and understanding of the world through both experience and reflection on those experiences. This approach is referred...

As part of their study of one of San Diego's largest indigenous Native American tribes, students in Grade 3 are recreating a traditional Kumeyaay village. This is just one part of a multi-phase project using the design-thinking model to address the central question of how Native Americans used natural resources. Our resident "building expert" Mr. Jacobs visited the class to help students with the construction process. Some students made fire rings out of branches, rocks, and brush, while others used native grasses...

As part of our media literacy curriculum, elementary students learn some fundamentals of coding. First and second graders begin to learn computer science basics through offline activities. Using the book Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding as a guide, students learn about concepts in coding such as algorithms, loops, events, and conditionals. Older students experiment with block-based visual coding using MIT Media Lab’s coding language, Scratch. They also complete lessons from code.org’s Computer Science Fundamentals course. Throughout this unit, students...

Our recent Early Childhood Parent Coffee featured a panel discussion about child nutrition, spurring a healthy ongoing conversation among parents. The speakers on the panel consisted of current Gillispie parents with backgrounds in nutrition, cooking, and treating eating disorders. A few key phrases that came up: “You provide, they decide.” “Don’t yuck my yum!” “Food is neutral.” Some interesting take-aways include the following tips: Include kids in the process of making a meal. Include them in grocery shopping, food preparation,...

Grades 3-6 science students are deep into investigations of different kinds! 3rd graders are finishing up their close look into optics and vision by studying energy waves, which will serve as a transition into their next major topic, sound energy. To culminate our study of electrical circuits, 4th graders are making their own, functioning electric motors from scratch. As we begin to learn about the structure of atoms, 5th graders choose an element and make a model of it...

Recently, Grade 5 students served lunch at St. Vincent de Paul’s public and family kitchens in downtown San Diego. Combined, the two classes served well over a thousand meals, bussed tables, and restocked condiments and paper goods. Some students distributed food behind the counter, while others delivered meals to the tables for visitors who were not ambulatory. As one student wrote in a post-trip reflection, "Today was meaningful and really showed me that just a little bit of my...

Students are settling into the Art Bungalow nicely. Here are some of the current projects they have enjoyed: Kindergarten: Leaf prints on abstract watercolors First Grade: Oil Pastel watercolor-resist colorful turkeys Second Grade: A collaborative “Peaceable Kingdom” mural after looking at and discussing Edward Hicks' (1780-1849) “Peaceable Kingdom” paintings Third Grade: Abstract glue and pastel faces inspired by looking at contemporary artist Sondra Silberzweig’s artwork Fourth Grade: Cleaning out and preparing gourds for embellishment after discussing California Native Americans' use of gourds. Fifth Grade: Making and using quill...