Mindfulness is a practice second graders have been learning every week and its application within our academic subjects has been extremely evident and successful. Through mindfulness, students have been learning how to be present through their own breath and to be aware of their emotions and surroundings. This week, students discussed emotions more in depth: strong emotions they feel and in what context they’re felt. As they go about their school day, through academic rigor, they have begun learning how to stop and breathe through difficulty, articulate how they’re feeling, and recenter their focus and state-of-mind, when needed.

Research is showing more and more the importance of teaching children mindfulness and the awareness of their emotions. Specifically, emotional intelligence in children is a stronger indicator for adult well-being than academic intelligence. This article found that, “Kids who related well to their peers, handled their emotions better, and were good at resolving problems went on to have more successful lives.” Students love this time with Banni and are able to notice and articulate their growth as emotional learners!

Physical Ed

Elementary PE has been staying active and learning new skills. Before winter break all elementary classes participated in a jump rope unit. Within the jump rope unit students practiced different types of jumps and learned about the benefits of jumping rope. We are currently in the middle of our basketball unit practicing dribbling, passing and shooting.

Inquiry is a very important part of our day in PK. Teaching our students to be inquirers is integrated into all areas of our learning each day in Junior Kindergarten. Students are constantly being encouraged to wonder about the world around them, both inside our classroom, as well as outside our school walls. One way we celebrate inquiry is through science. This week we will be focusing on scientific observation by exploring what science is, how to ask questions about science; make predictions; record observations and explain our thinking about what we have learned. I always love to see how our PK students light up with excitement when they learn new things about the world around them!

In Kindergarten, we are working avidly on finding patterns in our reading. When a student comes across a long sentence or an unknown set of words, they now have the tools to figure out the pattern in the text to help them remember words. They have been working extremely hard at all of their reading strategies. Once the child discovers the pattern, they realize and are empowered to read almost every page of their book. Reading is a joyful adventure and opens the door to all of our language discoveries. Kindergartners enjoy using their reading strategies with partners. We are such hard workers in kindergarten as every minute of our morning reading strategy time is used so that WE ARE READERS.

Physical Ed

This winter junior kindergarten and kindergarten have been moving non stop in the gym. They have been learning how to participate in a relay line, how to throw and catch scarves and how to move like different animals. We have also been practicing skipping, hopping, jumping, running, and fine motor skills.

An inspirational re-enrollment night

I’m feeling energized and inspired by last week’s re-enrollment night. I want to thank all of you who were able to attend and encourage those of you who couldn’t to get in touch with us as soon as possible to renew your commitment so we can plan for staffing next year.

Here’s what one of our parents had to say about our evening together:

“Last night not only were we reminded why we chose SPS originally, but were inspired by Amanda Holdredge’s delightful presentation and your incredible vision for the future of SPS. Prior to the evening we asked ourselves both questions:

Is SPS still the best choice for our boy and why do we need to go to this thing at school? The first was followed by a conversation of all the positive blessings the school gives our whole family and the second was a discussion around expectations and commitments to participating as a family. We love SPS!”

Listen to a recording of Amanda Holdredge’s presentation.

Celebrating the past & the future

Annual Fundraising Gala celebrating 20th anniversary will help fund Design & Innovation Lab

The response to our upcoming Design and Innovation Lab has been tremendous. Students, parents and staff alike have been so enthusiastic about this unique and progressive learning opportunity we have in store. Because the lab will be created using funds from the Annual Giving Campaign and our upcoming Annual Fundraising Gala and Auction Paddle Raising opportunity, we hope you’ve purchased tickets and are planning to be part of our 20th Anniversary Celebration. I also want to thank our wonderful parent co-chairs Anne Mastalir and Sarah Douglass who have been working so hard to make this a very special event.

Here’s what one of our parents had to say about the upcoming Design and Innovation Lab in a recent email. We feel lucky to have such supportive families.

“Got home super early this morning from east coast to two boys who were ecstatic to show me the video of the upcoming modifications to the [design] school coming to Seven Peaks. Although I had a chance to hear some rumor about the enhancements it was truly inspiring and totally amazing to hear how far you and the team have come with this massive initiative. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your leadership and impact on our children’s lives. It’s a foundation for a lifetime and we’re forever grateful.”

View the video about our upcoming Design & Innovation Lab.

This project is so important because it will provide us with additional tools to engage and inspire our students while igniting their curiosity with hands-on learning. Statistics also show that students with backgrounds in design innovation are more likely to have better opportunities than peers after graduating college.

As an independent school we are not under the constraints of conformity and uniformity. We have the flexibility to be progressive innovators and this is what design learning is all about.

Here’s how you can help bring our vision to life:

As part of the rich experiences offered in First Grade, one of the class favorites is our study of Ancient Greece. The study of cultures and views outside of our own are a great way to get students thinking about what else is out there, in this great big world. For two months, first graders have been learning the ways of the Ancient Greeks and what it might of been like to be alive during this time. We discussed and studied everything from Greek architecture to food, culture and art. The students recently celebrated with a festival to “show off” all their hard work! They became tours guides for parents and friends, while sharing hand made greek pottery and sandals, as well as greek artifacts that the students made themselves. It was amazing to watch how much each student learned and, by immersing themselves into the the Ancient Greek culture, it was such a meaningful and fun way to really take away the idea of a whole different way of living. I am so proud of all the work that these First Graders did!

Physical Ed

Elementary PE has been staying active and learning new skills. Before winter break all elementary classes participated in a jump rope unit. Within the jump rope unit students practiced different types of jumps and learned about the benefits of jumping rope. We are currently in the middle of our basketball unit practicing dribbling, passing and shooting.

The fourth grade class was well represented in the Battle of the Books competition last week. The teams read all of the designated books and prepared diligently for the battles. One of the fourth grade teams, “The Reading Rockstars”, composed of Tenner Desmond, Madeline Hall, Alicia Watson, Allison Holdredge and Finley Chapple, will be moving on to the next round of battles in Sisters this March. I am so proud of all the teams for participating and working hard to improve their reading.

Our class also thoroughly enjoyed the culmination of our Ancient China unit. We invited our kindergarten buddies to our “Chinese Zodiac” play, then feasted on traditional Chinese foods. We rang in the Year of the Rooster in style. Our next Core Knowledge unit is The Circulatory and Respiratory Systems. We hope many of you have signed up to donate blood and to assist with our upcoming heart dissection. As you can see, we learn by doing in 4th grade.

Physical Ed

Elementary PE has been staying active and learning new skills. Before winter break all elementary classes participated in a jump rope unit.  Within the jump rope unit students practiced different types of jumps and learned about the benefits of jumping rope. We are currently in the middle of our basketball unit practicing dribbling, passing and shooting.

Language Arts & Humanities

I am so glad that we’ve finally been able to settle into a (more) normal rhythm of school! Students recently gave humanities presentations on their country projects. The goal was to persuade people to move to their fictional country and to explain how their country’s identity was shaped by its geography. It was very clear to me that students have made presentations before and I was impressed by the creativity included.

In Language Arts we have just begun researching teen activism. Students are learning that before writers write about any subject, they first take in a broad cross section of information about that topic, making sure to read different kinds of materials from different kinds of sources. Some students have read about Malala Yousafzai and the fight for girls’ education. Others have learned about a teen from New Zealand named Faye Carey who started her own pet adoption service. Ask your child who they have studied and why they decided to stand up for their cause. If you see anything in the news about a teen working to make a difference, be sure to bring it up with your child!

Math & Science

The students are doing a great job of understanding the Golden Rule of Inequalities and writing inequalities from word problems. We will taking an end of unit assessment next week on writing and solving inequalities.

In science we are in the process of finishing up the Plate Tectonic unit. Once we finish this unit next week we will transition to the unit on coding/computer programming. I am looking forward to this next unit and introducing students to this field.

Physical Ed

The past two months middle school students have been learning about the Olympic sport team handball and the newly popular sport pickleball.  Both of these sports require hand eye coordination, teamwork, and strategy.  Along with our sports units, student have been learning new exercises and the muscles they use while working out.

Book clubs are buzzing in third grade! In order to make book club the best it can be, each team co-constructed their book club rules and group norms. The expectation is that all members will come to book club meetings prepared to share their theories or build upon ideas of others. Students will have repeated opportunities to read with deep engagement during their book club sessions. Specifically, students will think about the journeys that characters follow as a predictable story mountain, learning how stories tend to go. Together with their book club members, third graders will be invited to compare and contrast characters across books, examining their traits, motivations, the way they respond to problems, and the life lessons they learn and teach. Book clubs allow readers to rise to new thinking through collaboration and the sharing of ideas.

Third graders are also traveling back in time, exploring Ancient Rome! We look forward to making our learning “come to life” during our Ancient Rome culmination on Friday, February 17th. Students will perform a play about the life of Julius Caesar followed by a Roman feast and a sharing of artifacts.

Physical Ed

Elementary PE has been staying active and learning new skills. Before winter break all elementary classes participated in a jump rope unit. Within the jump rope unit students practiced different types of jumps and learned about the benefits of jumping rope. We are currently in the middle of our basketball unit practicing dribbling, passing and shooting.