School News

Question: What is one of the many great things about SMCDS? Answer: That we are within walking distance of

vibrant and fascinating tidal pools, and we visit them for class!  A part of their study of the worlds ocean’s, sixth grade students spent a glorious afternoon at Brenton Point, conducting field research of the rocky shore. They collected and identified organisms, learned about the limiting factors in the intertidal zone, and hypothesized how animals adapt to those limiting factors. They also collected water quality data. Enjoy the photos!

 

What do Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math have to do with First Grade? Everything! This year our first grade teachers have added a special theme to their program: S.T.E.M. Fridays, with the first challenge being how to construct the largest tower using only 30 identical paper cups 1.5 inches high each. Students were initially given the supplies and allowed time to experiment with their partners. They then shared strategies across groups, in particular exploring how changing the shape of the base of the tower impacted the overall strength and height of the tower.

The largest tower built by the students was over 18 inches high. How high can you build YOUR tower? Enjoy the attached photos!

 

 

 

Zigby the Zebra, inspired by the lead character in a lovely children’s story written by Scottish-born English author Brian Paterson, is the name of a cute stuffed-animal zebra who arrived at SMCDS this summer. Head of School John Zurn introduced Zibgy to a Kindergarten class on Tuesday, September 9. Zigby will reside with a section of students for one week, recording his events and adventures before moving on to another section of Early Childhood and Lower School students the following week. The result is a fun sharing from class to class, including early language arts, reading, and writing exercises, not to mention a wonderful collection of stories and adventures from across SMCDS. Welcome Zigby!!

 

 

Sheila Powell is the President of the St. Michael’s Parents Association. She is the mother of Mary in grade 4 and has been a St. Michael’s Parent since 2003. Her two older boys attended St. Michael’s before the family moved to Rochester, NY. The Powells returned to Newport two years ago and are thrilled to reconnect with the community here at St. Michael’s.

Sheila states emphatically that her favorite thing about St. Michael’s is the teachers. They have made a huge impact on the lives of her children and she deeply appreciates the ways they have made St. Michael’s feel like a second home for their children.

Early on, Sheila decided that she would do all she could to support the teachers and staff at St. Michael’s in the community. She volunteered in the younger grades and began to get engaged with larger activities in the school community. When the Parents Association asked her to serve as their president, she was honored to take on this role to serve the community.

One of her favorite school-wide activities has always been the Fall Frenzy. It is simply a wonderful time at the start of the school year to meet new families and revisit old friends on the school grounds. The event is this coming Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00. A number of school parents have helped to organize games and challenges for the children, pony rides, bounces houses, refreshments and carnival games. Says Sheila: “I know that people are busy with many activities on Sundays, but I hope that everyone can find time to come and join our community in celebrating a new school year. See you Sunday!”

Welcome Back Day and the first week of classes offered a warm return to the school year. Students and staff, families and faculty all delighted in seeing familiar friends and making new friendships. Said one mother new to SMCDS: “I’m amazed at this community already!” See who YOU can find in this gallery of SMCDS friends!

 

The Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) recently put out a call inviting teachers from member schools to submit proposals to speak at the AISNE Lower School conference on October 6, 2014. Results? Only twenty were selected from a field of fifty proposals. Three of those twenty are St. Michael’s faculty; Jessica Boyle (Kindergarten), Lauren Hutchinson (Grade 2), and Kate Joubert (Grade 4).

“I’m so proud of our faculty. This opportunity to share ideas with their colleagues at a regional conference is the start of widespread recognition of our school and talented teachers that will soon, hopefully, extend to a national level,” said Lauren Abraham, our Head of Lower School. Jessica Boyle will present a workshop called Making Numbers Make Sense about the importance of developing number sense in young children that includes activities she has created. Lauren Hutchinson’s workshop Shouldn’t Every Student Have The Opportunity To Be An Einstein? will focus on the Genius Hour when students are able to explore topics and pursue projects (for 60 minutes each week) based on their individual interests and passions. Kate Joubert will present her workshop “What If?” where students study a period of history and answer a related hypothetical question. For example, a unit on the Civil War might include the query “What if President Lincoln had not been assassinated?” AISNE’s Lower School Conference “will focus on highlighting all the wonderful topics, approaches, lessons, and best practices that are underway in our lower school classrooms,” according to the association’s website. Congratulations to our accomplished faculty!

Being a 3PS-8th grade school means that our “Tweeners” are “Leaders” and nowhere is this more obvious or meaningful that when our older students mentor our youngest students. Peruse the photo gallery of our 4th grade students as they guide and assist our PK and PS students in the garden and on the playground.  Enjoy!

 

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 8.45.09 AM

“Almost every employer; in every occupation, prefers workers who know how to problem-solve, be creative, work collaboratively, and communicate well,” states Steven Paine, Ed.D, President of Partnership For 21st Century Skills.

The third graders practiced all these skills when they participated in a design workshop with Bobbi Jarvis, a freelance product designer and inventor who has worked for Hasbro Toys, Fisher-Price, and Nike. Bobbi challenged our students to create a toddler’s push or pull toy that was based on a children’s book and had at least one unique feature.

Bobbi led the children through the design process for eight weeks that included: collaboration, brainstorming, sketching, reviewing, revising, fabricating  prototypes, creating supporting illustrations, and product demonstrations. The results were 16 creative and innovative toy prototypes which included stacking toys, nesting toys, noisy toys, and toys that lit up.

Toy GroupPic-1 The students proudly presented their toy prototypes, sketches, and illustrations to a panel of four professional designers last Thursday. We are very grateful to Brian Jarvis (Design Director at Hasbro), Steve Linker (Senior Design Director at Hasbro), Bobbi Jarvis (Owner, Bobbi Jarvis Design, LLC), and  Leslie Keohane (St. Michael’s Art teacher) for their wisdom and participation. In his summary comments, Brian told the children, “The work you produced in this class is fantastic, and it is inspiring for us to see all of your ideas presented together in this way. Well done!”  Bobbi commented,  “Their ideas were as strong as those of high school students but with the charm and inhibition of a 9 year old.  The students were wonderful and wacky but really great thinkers.  They came up with some toy concepts that were well thought out, and I was so impressed by how hard they worked to get the result that they imagined. ”

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 8.45.21 AMEach of the students  learned something new from this experience. One third grader shared, “The judges gave us great feedback. The process we used to design our toys is the same process we can use to create anything else we can imagine.”

“This was such a fabulous experience for the children. They used math, art, engineering, and technology skills to  problem solve and create fabulous toy designs. All their hard work was validated by the praise they received from our panel of designers. I was truly amazed by what they created,” said third grade teacher Lorie Loughborough.

Greta Toy Presentation 

The Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) recently put out a call inviting teachers from member schools to submit proposals to speak at the AISNE Lower School conference on October 6, 2014. Results? Only twenty were selected from a field of fifty proposals. Three of those twenty are St. Michael’s faculty; Jessica Boyle (Kindergarten), Lauren Hutchinson (Grade 2), and Kate Joubert (Grade 4).

 “I’m so proud of our faculty. This opportunity to share ideas with their colleagues at a regional conference is the start of widespread recognition of our school and talented teachers that will soon, hopefully, extend to a national level,” said Lauren Abraham, our Head of Lower School. Jessica Boyle will present a workshop called Making Numbers Make Sense about the importance of developing number sense in young children that includes activities she has created. Lauren Hutchinson’s workshop Shouldn’t Every Student Have The Opportunity To Be An Einstein? will focus on the Genius Hour when students are able to explore topics and pursue projects (for 60 minutes each week) based on their individual interests and passions. Kate Joubert will present her workshop “What If?”  where students study a period of history and answer a related hypothetical question. For example, a unit on the Civil War might include the query “What if President Lincoln had not been assassinated?”  AISNE’s Lower School Conference “will focus on highlighting all the wonderful topics, approaches, lessons, and best practices that are underway in our lower school classrooms,” according to the association’s website. Congratulations to our accomplished faculty!