Language Arts, Elsa Foote and Math, Makalani Hovey

Our first full week in Language Arts and Math has been all about continuing to establish a strong sense of belonging and community as a class. As the two new staff members on the 7th & 8th-grade team, our goal has been to get to know our students, while also sharing aspects of our teaching philosophies with them. A central belief we both hold is that students do best in school when they have a “growth mindset.” Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor known for her research on the mindset psychological trait, shared her research findings which revealed that, “students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement, and we found that if we changed students’ mindsets, we could boost their achievement.” To work towards establishing a growth mindset, students attempted a seemingly impossible “Paper Challenge” in Language Arts as a means of understanding the value of struggling and persevering through difficult tasks.

In mathematics, students actively participated in numerous challenges that required perseverance, collaboration, and open minds while they explored different paths to problem solving.  Within this week of inspirational maths (yes, the “s” is deliberate), students explored what qualities and behaviors contribute to successful collaboration and teamwork.  We will continue to work towards successful group practices where EVERYONE experiences productivity and a sense of belonging.  We look forward to continuing to build each students’ capacity to change the way they think about learning and their abilities.

Next week in Language Arts students will refresh their memory on literary elements with a short story mini-unit, before we dive into our first novel: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  It will also be a big week for our mathematicians because we begin to dive into the curriculum and continue to stretch our minds and explore concepts in a deeper and more meaningful manner.

Humanities with Greg Conrad

The students took on a design challenge to build a better classroom Monday with the aid and direction of Deb Asato. The intent is for students to take ownership in their learning by working to transform our classroom space into an environment that supports student needs AND fits within the restraints of space and budget. This is a work in progress that will hopefully lead to different seating and desks in our classroom.

Our class is beginning to settle in and we have begun our first unit of study – “Freedom, Equality, and Tolerance.” The idea behind this unit is investigating human rights both past and present and will provide many options and choices for students to take their own direction.

We will be using facinghistory.org for our unit, providing lesson plans to explore past and present events in human rights. At this time I am looking to create a project that is student-centered with an end product of a video. I plan to use the design lab and the expertise of both Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen, both of whom have provided ideas and support.

Starting Friday, students will investigate current events on a weekly basis during our Friday class period. We’ll start with the basics and move toward more specific investigations as we progress with fluid discussions and debates that students have specific interest in.

With the new direction in Humanities connecting to and utilizing design thinking and the design lab, I will be “looping” the 7th and 8th grade classes. This simply means both 7th and 8th grade students will be exploring the same units at their grade level.

My first teaching period extends from Monday, September 11 through Friday, October 13.

SEL with Amy Parks

Upper School started their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons on Fridays. SEL is the process of developing the fundamental life skills needed to effectively and ethically handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, in other words, developing the whole child. Our first lessons focused on the science behind SEL and the connection between our breath and our brains. We watched Dr. Dan Seigel show us his hand model representation of our brain/body connection and the need to be able to calm ourselves. You can see it here: Dan Seigel Hand

Students practiced communication, trust, and patience with many movement activities such as untangling themselves from a group knot, supporting each other in partner activities and learning to power through a challenging activity as they drew a star while looking at it only through a mirror. The focus is caring for ourselves and caring for others.

Benefits mentioned by students at the end of class were feeling more calm and connected! We will continue to build community, compassion for ourselves and others, and learn ways to stay focused as emotional or difficult things come up in their lives.

Greetings Seven Peaks Families,

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year. It’s an honor for me to serve our students, families and staff as Seven Peaks’ Interim Principal during the current leadership transition. This year marks a milestone for me as I enter my 30th year working in education. Partnering with you to educate and inspire the love of learning for our children is both a goal and a passion for me. I know that our entire team is ready and excited to move forward to make this year extraordinary for our kids. We will continue to focus on providing a unique learning experience that promotes:

  • Academic Excellence (small class sizes with highly capable teachers equals increased time-on-task and education designed for your child’s unique needs);
  • A Well-Rounded Child (programs that inspire the arts, sciences and humanities to help students become culturally literate, problem solvers, creators and consumers of art, designers and foreign language speakers); and
  • A Sense of Belonging (helping students learn best from those with whom they are bonded).

If you’re a returning family, we welcome you back and if you’re a new family, we’re glad to have your join our community. Regardless, know you belong and that Seven Peaks is YOUR school. We all have equal stake in the success of our students.

In my new role as interim principal, I will be supporting our great teachers as they work directly and skillfully with you. In any successful school, the best and most important action is within the classrooms. Please be involved and volunteer, observe a class or lesson, attend a board meeting; our school is only as strong as all of us pulling and pushing in the same direction. My door and mind is always open to your ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Please feel free to come by for a chat anytime.

Your children are in good hands. I look forward to seeing you all daily at the curb or in the building. Please come to our Back to School Night on September 28 at 6:00pm.

Warmly,

Kent

Science with Mrs. Boyd

We have jumped right into the action this week in science class.  For our first full week of school we have been delving into the big idea – What do scientists do and how do scientists think (The Scientific Method)? On Monday, the class observed 5 different specimens consisting of worms, cherry tomatoes, crawfish, raspberry branches, and a selection of fossils. On day 2, we formulated a testable questions based on their previous observations. On Wednesday, we developed a hypothesis and designed an experiment to test our answer. Next, each student wrote a procedure, conducted an experiment and collected data.  Finally, we had to draw conclusions and communicate our results to our peers. This was a very hands-on week of thinking and behaving like scientists. As Confucius says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Next week in science, we will conduct the Egg Drop experiment following the Design Cycle with the extra guidance and expertise of our 7th and 8th science teacher, Ms. Brannon. Watch out it could get messy!!!!

In other news, the 6th grade Coastal OMSI field trip is quickly approaching.  Remember we will leave on Monday, September 25 and return on Thursday, September 28.  Students are not expected to come to school on Friday, Sept. 29.

Math with Ms. Wenndorf

I am so happy to be working with your kids! For the last week, we have been engaging in mathematical exploration, learning what it means to have a productive, mathematical mindset, and explicitly learning how to be a productive team member. Beginning Monday, we will dive into the new 6th grade math curriculum, which will cover all of the 6th grade standards, and half of the 7th grade math standards. You can expect homework to come home nightly (except Fridays), which will always have 5 “Review and Preview” problems, reinforcing concepts taught in class, reviewing previously mastered skills, and previewing skills to come (just try!). Please join me in encouraging your student to take their time, think deeply, and communicate their thinking.

SEL with Amy Parks

Upper School started their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons on Fridays. SEL is the process of developing the fundamental life skills needed to effectively and ethically handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, in other words, developing the whole child. Our first lessons focused on the science behind SEL and the connection between our breath and our brains. We watched Dr. Dan Seigel show us his hand model representation of our brain/body connection and the need to be able to calm ourselves. You can see it here: Dan Seigel Hand

Students practiced communication, trust, and patience with many movement activities such as untangling themselves from a group knot, supporting each other in partner activities and learning to power through a challenging activity as they drew a star while looking at it only through a mirror. The focus is caring for ourselves and caring for others.

Benefits mentioned by students at the end of class were feeling more calm and connected! We will continue to build community, compassion for ourselves and others, and learn ways to stay focused as emotional or difficult things come up in their lives.

We are off to a great start of the school year in Pre-Kindergarten! Though there were many highlights of our learning last week, one of the biggest hits was a visit to our school garden!  Upon arrival, we noticed that the garden was overflowing with ripe, ready to be picked carrots of all shapes, sizes and colors! After picking, we took the carrots back to our classroom, washed them and learned more about how carrots grow and how they help our bodies. We then enjoyed our carrot snack together and topped it all off by taking our leftovers down to 4th grade to feed to their pet rabbit. It was a great day of learning and curiosity!  We are all very excited for our next trip to the garden when we will be able to pick tomatoes!

Language Arts, Elsa Foote and Math, Makalani Hovey-Vicknair

Our first full week in Language Arts and Math has been all about continuing to establish a strong sense of belonging and community as a class. As the three new staff members on the 7th & 8th-grade team, our goal has been to get to know our students, while also sharing aspects of our teaching philosophies with them. A central belief we both hold is that students do best in school when they have a “growth mindset.” Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor known for her research on the mindset psychological trait, shared her research findings which revealed that, “students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement, and we found that if we changed students’ mindsets, we could boost their achievement.” To work towards establishing a growth mindset, students attempted a seemingly impossible “Paper Challenge” in Language Arts as a means of understanding the value of struggling and persevering through difficult tasks. We look forward to continuing to build each students’ capacity to change the way they think about learning and their abilities.

In mathematics, students actively participated in numerous challenges that required perseverance, collaboration, and open minds while they explored different paths to problem solving.  Within this week of inspirational maths (yes, the “s” is deliberate), students explored what qualities and behaviors contribute to successful collaboration and teamwork.  We will continue to work towards successful group practices where EVERYONE experiences productivity and a sense of belonging.  We look forward to continuing to build each students’ capacity to change the way they think about learning and their abilities.

Next week in Language Arts students will refresh their memory on literary elements with a short story mini-unit, before we dive into our first novel: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

It will also be a big week for our mathematicians because we begin to dive into the curriculum and continue to stretch our minds and explore concepts in a deeper and more meaningful manner.

Humanities with Greg Conrad

The students took on a design challenge to build a better classroom Monday with the aid and direction of Deb Asato. The intent is for students to take ownership in their learning by working to transform our classroom space into an environment that supports student needs AND fits within the restraints of space and budget. This is a work in progress that will hopefully lead to different seating and desks in our classroom.

Our class is beginning to settle in and we have begun our first unit of study – “Freedom, Equality, and Tolerance.” The idea behind this unit is investigating human rights both past and present and will provide many options and choices for students to take their own direction.

We will be using facinghistory.org for our unit, providing lesson plans to explore past and present events in human rights. At this time I am looking to create a project that is student-centered with an end product of a video. I plan to use the design lab and the expertise of both Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen, both of whom have provided ideas and support.

Starting Friday, students will investigate current events on a weekly basis during our Friday class period. We’ll start with the basics and move toward more specific investigations as we progress with fluid discussions and debates that students have specific interest in.

With the new direction in Humanities connecting to and utilizing design thinking and the design lab, I will be “looping” the 7th and 8th grade classes. This simply means both 7th and 8th grade students will be exploring the same units at their grade level.

My first teaching period extends from Monday, September 11 through Friday, October 13.

SEL with Amy Parks

Upper School started their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons on Fridays. SEL is the process of developing the fundamental life skills needed to effectively and ethically handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, in other words, developing the whole child. Our first lessons focused on the science behind SEL and the connection between our breath and our brains. We watched Dr. Dan Seigel show us his hand model representation of our brain/body connection and the need to be able to calm ourselves. You can see it here: Dan Seigel Hand

Students practiced communication, trust, and patience with many movement activities such as untangling themselves from a group knot, supporting each other in partner activities and learning to power through a challenging activity as they drew a star while looking at it only through a mirror. The focus is caring for ourselves and caring for others.

Benefits mentioned by students at the end of class were feeling more calm and connected! We will continue to build community, compassion for ourselves and others, and learn ways to stay focused as emotional or difficult things come up in their lives.

It is only the second week of school and the children are comfortable in the classroom, working together, and enjoying each other’s company. This week we launched our first science topic, weather.  Kids used the first step of the Scientific Method, Observation, to discover the role the sun has on different surfaces of the earth. Kids became scientist and used their sense of touch to explore and compare different surfaces around the playground; grass, blacktop, metal bars, etc. We then used a globe to discuss and form questions about “how the sun affects land versus ocean”. We then set up an experiment to test our hypothesis!  The kids are loving science!

 

We have had an amazing start to this school year. Our focus had been on being problem solvers as we establish our classroom community. One of our coffee tables was so tall that we had to stack up the pillows to sit at it. This was not leaving enough pillows for everyone. We recognized this problem. Then the students interviewed each other to find the need, and discovered that the table was too tall to sit at with pillows. They then brainstormed lots of amazing ideas and came to the conclusion that we should cut down the legs of the table to be at the correct height. The students measured and we decided to take 5 inches off the bottom of each of the four legs. They all helped carry the solid wood table down the hall to the design lab where they learned about safety, tools, and saws. Then we were able to solve our problem by cutting down the legs to make our table the perfect height for all of us to sit at together while each using one pillow.

The second graders dove right into the design cycle and were proud to be the first class to take on a project in our new Design Lab. The challenge: design an ideal cubby for a classmate. They began the first phase, Empathize, by getting to know a classmate and identifying their needs through an interview. Mr. Lenz helped them move into the next phase, Define, by expressing the biggest need their partner had in their cubby. The three primary cubby needs that arose during the process were: privacy, decoration, and hook/shelf organization. Next came the Ideate phase where they brainstormed and sketched different ideas. During the Prototype stage, they had to get rulers out to measure the dimensions of the cubby in order to being creating. Over several days, work continued both in the design lab and in the classroom. They learned patience as they saw that good things take time! As the students finished what they were making, they continued to check in with their partner and test to ensure that it met their needs. What an exciting first engagement in the design process! Feel free to come check out the cubbies outside of the second grade classroom to see the spaces come to life.