Lower School Notes – January 17, 2018
Dear Lower School Families,
Last Wednesday, at the Lower School Division Coffee, Director of Studies Emily Sanderson and the Department Chairs for Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies and Science, Christine Dwyer, Joe Vignolini and Aixa Snell presented on the topic, “Making Progress and the Learning Visible.” The Lower School’s approach to making progress and making the learning visible is anchored by the School Mission, Vision and the Portrait of a Flint Hill Student. Our goal is to develop each student as a leader, communicator, problem solver, ethical citizen and self-directed learner. We provide many avenues of feedback on learning for our students and their families.
Our curriculum is articulated through learning targets for each unit of study. Students reflect on these learning targets and display their progress through the SeeSaw app; teachers also give feedback on these learning targets through rubrics. A rubric is a tool that defines what and how a student’s work is being assessed. Teachers also provide comprehensive feedback on progress during November conferences, March student-involved conferences, and through twice-yearly narrative comments at the end of each semester. A third component is the use of external assessments such as the Mathematics Inventory and Fountas and Pinnell reading evaluations. These instruments, created by outside organizations, provide a measure of standardized data to understand how students are progressing in math and language arts. These assessments are given two to four times a year (depending on the grade level) and have the benefit of providing multiple data points to show the trend of progress. With each assessment, teachers guide students in reflecting on the feedback and develop plans for continued growth in the subjects and skills. Here is a copy of the presentation.
Lower School Family Engineering Night, Friday, January 26, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Gym on the Lower/Middle School Campus
A city like no other, our nation’s capital stands out partly because of its unique architecture and impressive monuments. On Friday, January 26, we will recreate the Washington D.C. skyline. Please select from 12 landmark buildings or monuments that your family would like to construct using various materials. Please complete this form to register your family to attend Engineering Night. We will gather in the gym on the Lower and Middle School Campus, 6:00-7:00 p.m. To help students prepare for the evening, they will be introduced to the concept at our next Inspiration.
Please note that students may wear free dress on Friday, January 26.
Articles and Blogs
Online Safety Tips for Parents
Updates and Reminders From Last Week’s Newsletter
Progress reports, including both a narrative and skill checklist, are posted online twice a year at the end of the first and second semester. The first progress reports for this school year will be available online on Tuesday, January 23. The progress reports include the classroom teacher’s assessment as well as specialist teachers’ comments and checklists. The reports are designed to indicate academic, social and personal growth for each semester of the year.
The checklists have three descriptors that are used to determine a child’s skill level in all core subject and specialist areas: Approaching Expectations (A), Meeting Expectations (M) and Exceeding Expectations (E).
- Approaching expectations (A) — With support, students are learning to demonstrate and apply their understanding.
- Meeting expectations (M) — Students consistently and independently demonstrate and apply their understanding.
- Exceeding expectations (E) — Students independently demonstrate and apply their understanding in complex and sophisticated ways.
The narrative allows the teacher to elaborate on a child’s performance thus far, which includes areas of growth and goals for future growth and improvement for the next semester. Teachers write their comments directly to the student. This supports our mission statement, “A Flint Hill education focuses on the learner,” and develops our students as self-directed learners, one of the core competencies of the Portrait of the Flint Hill Student. Please note that starting this year, Fourth Grade students will not receive grades and will have the same progress reports as students in Grades JK-3.
Spring Break Camp
Believe it or not, spring break is just around the corner. Spring Break Camp at Flint Hill School will run from Monday, March 19, through Friday, March 23. Students will explore a daily theme through literature, experiments, creative arts, a cooking activity, journaling, and kinesthetic movement and play. A daily field trip off campus will allow students to extend the theme through experiential learning. We hope your child can join Mrs. Dhar, Mrs. Patrick, Ms. So and Ms. Reilly for a fun-filled week! If you are interested in enrolling your child in the Flint Hill Spring Break Camp, for students in Grades JK-6, please register here. Space is limited, so you are encouraged to register your child/ren as soon as you are able.
Notes from my Weekly Walkabout
The JK class read “The Gruffalo’s Child” by Julia Donaldson, during which they noticed rhyming word pairs and made predictions. After choosing stories to take home, the class watched an animated book video and took a listening comprehension quiz together.
Last week, Kindergarten students started the Introduction to Tumbling unit. Safe body movement and core strength were emphasized in their seal slide, bear walk, and snake slithering movements across the mats. In their final game of the day, “Snakes in the Grass,” the students walked, skipped, and dodged a few volunteer “snakes in the grass.” If the “snakes” tagged a student, the tagged student would become a snake as well. Much activity and fun for all!
In Spanish, First Grade students are learning about body parts. In addition to learning the vocabulary for different parts of the body, students have also been learning when to use the singular and plural form, e.g., “Esta es mi ___” (This is my___) and “Estas son mis _____” (these are my _____). To help the student to learn the vocabulary, they sing and dance different songs like “Cabeza, hombros, rodilla y pies” and “ti –Ti-Ta.”
In Wellness this week, Second Grade students reviewed what bullying behavior is and the three ways that we can hurt others: body, feelings and friendship. Mrs. Benoit read the book “Nobody Knew What To Do” by Becky Ray McCain, which illustrates that when bullying behavior happens often, children are scared and confused and don’t know what to do. The children were then introduced to the technique of “reporting” to an adult when they feel someone is being hurt on purpose and is not safe. Students were then presented with different scenarios to practice identifying which incidents they should report because someone is not safe and when it is something they should let go of because the person is safe. They were also told if they are not sure what to do, “consult” with an adult.
Last Thursday, the students in 3A hosted Inspiration for the Lower School community. The students’ presentation focused on the new year, gratitude and service. The children shared their New Year’s Resolutions for both school and home. Students also introduced the idea of a Gratitude Jar, which 3A will begin next week. Finally, several of the children worked with Mrs. Dhar to introduce Lower School Kindness Projects. They then acted out a skit demonstrating how acts of kindness make a difference in people’s lives. Here is a link to their presentation.
Last week, in their math unit, Moving Between Solids and Silhouettes, Fourth Grade students focused on decomposing images of 3-D shapes and recombining them to make a given structure, visualizing what 3-D figures look like from different perspectives, and understanding how 3-D solids project silhouettes with 2-D shapes. Students created a city landscape made up of a variety of 3-D shapes and were given a toy figure to use as a tool to discuss how a particular shape would look from a particular vantage point, and then they drew that silhouette. Students also moved their toy figure around to different points in the landscape and then positioned themselves behind their figure to “see as it sees.”
Last Saturday, fourth-graders and their families honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by participating in the Valentine’s Challenge at the City of Fairfax Volunteer Fire Department Station 3. They supported Foster Care to Success’ efforts in reaching their goal of crafting up to 2,500 valentines that will be included in the February packages for former foster youth who are currently in college.
Highlights from Innovation Intersessions
To celebrate the opening of our new Innovation Lab, students were able to participate in a workshop session, of their choice, after school last week. Here are the highlights:
- On Tuesday, students created cards with a special added feature — lights! After learning how to create both a simple circuit and a parallel circuit with batteries, copper tape, and LED light bulbs, students designed their own circuit-powered cards to light up someone’s day.
- During Wednesday’s session, students designed and then played instruments made with cardboard, foil, a computer, Scratch, and a Makey Makey! After practicing on their piano, drums and guitar, students had fun exploring the limits and constraints of the Makey Makey and rocking out together for a jam session with the new creations.
- On Thursday, students learned how to turn a 2-D design into a 3-D printed keychain by using the Custom Keychain Creator app. They were excited to take meaningful, personal designs from paper to an innovative keepsake.
- Finally, on Friday, students designed and built robots with electric toothbrushes and pool noodles. They explored how to make their robot move and dance and even draw, when markers were attached to it.
Brown Bag Lunch on Computer Science
Students were fortunate to hear from presenter Seth Demsey, a computer scientist and business person who has worked for NASA, Microsoft, Google and AOL. He presented examples of how computer science has brought conveniences and fun to everyday life. He encouraged students to study programming, coding, and math skills, reminding them that whatever your passion or interest is there are applications in computer science to innovate and grow.
Brown Bag Lunch on Student Leadership
Student Council treasurer, Megan Johnson, and Senior class representative, Garrett Cantebury, presented about their roles as student leaders at Flint Hill School. Each shared about what inspired them to run for an elected leadership position and the responsibilities that come along with it. Lower School students had the opportunity to ask several questions about the Upper School experience.
Director of the Lower School
NEW DATE: Grades JK-12 Headmaster’s Discussion Series: The Flint Hill Budget
Thursday, January 18, 8:15 a.m.
Large Conference Room – Upper School
Husky Pride Day
Friday, January 19
Your child may wear:
- Flint Hill School t-shirt or sweatshirt with jeans
- Flint Hill School t-shirt or sweatshirt with uniform bottoms
- Flint Hill uniform
Lower School Open Classrooms
Friday, January 19, 8:15-8:45 a.m., Lower and Middle School Campus
Lower School Open Classroom Q&A
Friday, January 19, 8:45-9:15 a.m., Multipurpose Room, Lower and Middle School Campus
Brown Bag Lunch: What Is a Patent?
Friday, January 19, noon-12:30 p.m., Lower and Middle School Campus
Saturday, January 20
Lower School Admission Feature Program
Saturday, January 20, 9:30-11:00 a.m., Commons, Lower and Middle School Campus
Lower School Inspiration
Monday, January 22, 8:30-9:00 a.m., Olson Theater, Lower and Middle School Campus
Winter After School Clubs Begin
Monday, January 22
First Semester Progress Reports Available Online
Tuesday, January 23
Faculty / Staff In-Service
Grades JK-12, Two-Hour Delayed Opening
Wednesday, January 24
Brown Bag Lunch: BeatBox and Rap
Friday, January 26, noon-12:30 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Lower and Middle School Campus
Free Dress Day
Friday, January 26
Lower School Family Engineering Night
Friday, January 26, 6:00-7:00 p.m., Lower and Middle School Campus Gym
Lower School Division Coffee: Math Inventory Information — Grades 3 and 4
Monday, January 29, 8:15-9:15 a.m., Multipurpose Room, Lower and Middle School Campus
Brown Bag Lunch: Drones/Drone Videography
Monday, January 29, noon-12:30 p.m., Innovation Lab, Lower and Middle School Campus
Grades JK-4 Headmaster’s Discussion Series
Tuesday, January 30, 8:15 a.m.
Grade 4 Shakespeare in Action Workshop
Tuesday, January 30, 8:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Folger Shakespeare Library
Founder’s Day All-School Gathering, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Gym, Lower and Middle School Campus
Thursday, February 1