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Grade 1 students have been studying dinosaurs in Science class. Their lessons have brought about many questions, specifically centered on how we know so much about dinosaurs given that they are extinct. During a class discussion, students were introduced to the term "paleontologists," and they learned more about this researcher's important role in the discovery and classification of ancient fossils. Each student had the opportunity to be a paleontologist for a day during a hands-on project where they carefully...

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, January 25 at 6:30-7:30 p.m., author David Schwartz will present a family program called Numbers, Numbers, Everywhere! David will be treating families to delightful storytelling when he talks about the connection between stories and numbers. Children (and parents) will long remember the difference between a million, a billion, and a trillion when the evening is over! Earlier that day, prekindergarteners through sixth graders will be participating in four separate assemblies David will be interacting...

A former Gillispie student was recently back on campus observing an EC classroom for her college Child Development course, and we were warmed by an email she sent us in regard to her experience: Coming onto campus for the first time in over 5 years brought more joy to me than I have had in a long time. Gillispie was my life from preschool to fifth grade and I am who I am because of Gillispie. I...

Gillispie's elementary teachers are coming together to learn with consultant Ryan Candelario as we continue to refine our delivery of the Lucy Calkins’ Workshops. Adding to our knowledge of the Writers Workshop (last year’s emphasis), we are currently focused on the Readers Workshop in creating a balanced literacy program. While on campus, Mr. Candelario taught students in some of our elementary classrooms while teachers observed his delivery of content in both whole and small group settings. A...

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...