First and Second graders are visiting Japan! Tr. Susie and Tr. Jill gave each student a passport and a boarding pass, and on their flight to Japan students tracked the flight's progress, had a Japanese snack, and watched a movie about two girls who moved to Japan. Students are exploring Japan in lots of ways. They tasted Japanese food. They solved soduko puzzles and counted in Japanese. They read and listened to haiku poems, and then wrote their own poems under the cherry blossoms in Sycamore Park and at the school. They painted paper lanterns to include in LFS's Silent auction and then painted other lanterns to keep. They played Jan Ken Po (Rock, Paper, Scissors) and learned Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Japanese.
Did you ever wonder why jellyfish have tentacles? Just ask a pre-kindergarten student. Or did you ever wonder about how a seahorse protects itself? Just ask a first or second grade student. Ask a kindergarten student about the deep dark layers of the ocean outside their classroom and a third or fourth grader about bioluminescence or the food chain. Next time you enjoy calamari think squid and think about our fifth and sixth grade students dissecting a squid and asking questions such as" What is the function of the pen? How do squids reproduce?" The air has been electric with excitement about learning. Walk down the hall and peek into a classroom and you might have seen children quietly writing under a blue underwatery canopy listening to the sounds of the ocean or you might have heard "Como se llama tortuga en ingles? Como se llama esponja en ingles?", or heard ocean songs, or witnessed clam and crab relay games.
For two weeks Lansdowne Friends School has been transformed for the All-School Theme while the whole school studied oceans. Questions have been raised, information has been researched, connections have been made, and hands-on discovery has been offered often and everywhere!
The Pre-K focused on life in the coral reef. Kindergarten studied the variety of life in the ocean. Tr. Susie's 1/2 class explored the kelp forest, coral reef, and deep ocean environments. Tr. Jill's 1/2 class investigated the diversity of life in the ocean. Tr. Alison's 3/4 class learned more about diversity and adaptation and the depth of the ocean. Tr. Deb's 5/6 class studied the relationships among horse shoe crabs, red knots, and people.
The theme has also provided lots of opportunities for class collaborations. All-school collaborations produced a coral reef (organized by Tr. Al), a kelp forest (organized by Tr. Susie and Tr. Jill), and a representation of the human effect on the ocean (organized by Shelley). The gym gradually became an underwater world. Fish, coral, and sea anemones appeared on the continental shelf and the coral reef. Beautiful watercolors expressing seaside experiences, gorgeous clam shells fancifully decorated are artistic and whimsical ways art is integrated into the theme. Drawing skills are being applied to scientific scaled illustrations of horseshoe crabs for a book our oldest students are creating and shop skills are being integrated as they make a diorama of the New Jersey shore including horseshoe crabs and redknots.
Other highlights of the Ocean theme included an all-school trip to the Camden Aquarium, a winter trip to the beach by the Kindergarten class, and the culmination night on which students shared their work with their families.
On Monday, January 21, the LFS community gathered to honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. After a soup supper provided by HEAT, we heard the words of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and created a mural together.
The LFS Lasers, coached by Tr. Deb, competed in their first-ever Lego League Robotics competition on December 1 at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Five LFS fifth and sixth grade students brought a cheering band of parents and friends with them to the event, and brought home a third place trophy for Core Values. Congratulations! Only the top 8 out of the 25 teams qualified to move on so their official season is over but the students learned so much from this first endeavor. Photos of the day can be viewed here.
There is more robotics in store for LFS! Tr. Deb is supervising two technology clubs on Fridays after school.
Robotics Club is for students in fourth through sixth grade to extend the LFS Laser experience as a club. It will meet every other Friday after school from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Minecraft Club is for students in first grade through sixth grade and will meet on the alternate Fridays. Robotics Club members are welcome to Minecraft, too. Minecraft is an open world adventure and building game. We will be using creative mode only in school and kids will be able to create worlds together through a private, classroom based server. Minecraft Club will meet from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.
On November 21 we welcomed our Grand Friends to school. Grand Friends (grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends) joined us for Meeting for Worship, coffee and conversation, classroom time, and singing.
First and second graders have been excited to watch their caterpillars become butterflies-the chrysalises turn darker, orange wings become visible through the clear shell, and eventually monarch butterflies emerge!
The first and second grade classes are participating in a symbolic migration program through the Journey North website, which engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. Through Journey North, the students can track the monarch migration to Mexico.
Fifth and sixth graders are continuing their farm to table study of food. This science unit is all about using a system's approach to studying the transformation of food as it travels to our plates.
Students are reaching for higher order thinking in this study. In one quiz, Tr. Deb asked them to map out the systems involved in getting food from farm to table. They were also asked to identify a few subsystems on their map. This kind of assessment of understanding isn't about memorizing knowledge; instead, it asks students to apply what they know (like discipline-specific vocabulary) and to analyze what they understand. As the class worked through this exercise, students gained a deeper understanding of their study and activated higher order thinking skills.
During the farm to table study students are also exploring packaging and completing observation journals on unpreserved and unprotected food in the classroom. Fifth and sixth graders spent time working together to build a timeline of important dates in packaging and food preservation history, from 3000 BCE to present times. Then they worked in teams to create packaging that satisfies specified requirements.
Students are also doing final observation write-ups of three foods that were not preserved and were left out in the classroom (no packaging and no air barrier).
It's all part of the Food: Farm to Table study! More information about Food Day (October 24) will be coming home soon. Save the date.