Each November at Allendale Columbia, we open our doors for one of the most treasured and anticipated events of the year, Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Typical preparations for the day include classroom activities, colorful artwork in the hallways, songs rehearsed, and a fabulous lunch prepared and served to our guests. Although this year’s celebration looked a little different, the love and excitement between students and their guests was ever more apparent. By way of Zoom guests, who typically might not have been able to attend, were welcomed from the other side of the world. We had cousins from India, grandparents from Egypt, London, and Germany, and aunts and uncles from Canada. We even had attendees on the west coast who were ready to go at 6 a.m. PST! Our AC mascot, Wolfie, and Mrs. Feiss kicked off the event with a wonderful story, which uniquely incorporated each classroom from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. Kindergarten shared two songs, “Mi Familia” and “We Shall Overcome”, while First Grade presented a Thanksgiving Day skit entitled, “Run Turkey Run”. The Second Grade class performed a poem called, “Ice Cream Stores”, which spoke about all the ways they see variety in the community. Third Grade presented a poem that highlighted their special guests, while Fourth Grade shared what and whom they were grateful for. Finally the Fifth Grade class read a poem of thanks which also gave us insight into their school year so far. But perhaps my favorite part of the celebration was when each class was highlighted on the screen and guests temporarily (and simultaneously) unmuted themselves to give their special AC student a warm shout out. As students heard their relatives’ voices they jumped up and down with excitement! We wrapped up the event by showing a special slideshow full of pictures and warm sentiments, while students enjoyed some delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Thank you to everyone who participated. We are so grateful to have you as part of our AC family.
Click the links below to relive the fun!
Julie BarrettAs AC’s Welcome Desk Associate, Julie collaborates with several AC departments and ensures that everyone who visits or calls campus feels welcome. Prior to joining AC, she worked for Mattiacio Orthodontics, Rochester Wedding Magazine, and Cardiac Life. She received her Associate’s Degree in Sports Tourism and Marketing from Finger Lakes Community College and is in the process of earning a Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurial Studies from Monroe Community College.
Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade
In honor of “National Go to An Art Museum Day” today, check out some of the art created by our Lower, Middle, and Upper School students so far this year!
Lower School Art
Lower School Artists have been hard at work in their classrooms this fall! Our hard work is on display in the Lower School hallways. We have explored the Elements of Art through Color, Line, Texture, Shape, and Value. Each class, Nursery through Fifth Grade, has been excited to explore new ways of creating their art. Nursery and Pre-K classes recently painted with marbles and forks. They also used their “teeny tiny” finger muscles to put a 3D pumpkin together by making loops. The Kindergarten classes experienced the magic of leaf rubbings and then painted the leaves with beautiful watercolors. First Graders have practiced multi-step directions as they painted paper with bright tempera paint and then used the painted paper to create pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. The Second Graders cut black cat silhouettes using symmetry as a strategy. There are black bats hanging out upside down in the Lower School, creatively made by the Third Graders. Fourth and Fifth Graders used yarn to wrap mummies and spiderwebs and these became the finishing touches to a beautiful display in Lower School.
During each art class, the Lower School Artists have the opportunity to learn new techniques and also have time to develop foundational skills for strengthening fine motor muscles, applying problem solving skills, and enjoying the benefits that Art can contribute to their social and emotional well-being. I am so proud of the students I teach. I regularly hear laughter and see the joy on their faces as they create art. Spreading happiness and joy to all who walk the halls each day this year is an added bonus of bringing art to the classrooms. Keep an eye on social media for more wonderful work from my Lower School Artists this year!
Sharon EllmakerShari has been an educator for more than 30 years. During the academic school year, she teaches Lower School art and in the summer, she is a valued member of our AC Summer LEAP faculty. Shari brings with her experience teaching second, third, and fourth grade, in both the public school system and independent schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Bluffton University.
Middle School Art
I’ve been so impressed by my Middle School Photojournalism students. These seventh and eighth graders started off the semester learning how to compose photographs. One difference in this class is it is “self-paced.” This means that students work through assignments at their own pace. They are allowed to continue to work on a unit for as long as they need. Some of the units students can progress through are Composition, Motion, and Portraiture. As the quarter began, they learned how to operate a DSLR camera. Learners shoot photos manually by adjusting their shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. They also manually focus their lens. While a DSLR can do a lot of this work for you, it’s vital to learn how to do it yourself so you can have far greater control over the image.
As a result of COVID and new health and safety precautions, students bring home the cameras for longer periods of time. They have the cameras every other week for up to 6 days. This gives them ample time to plan, shoot, and reshoot their ideas and experiences. I have seen a noticeable difference in the quality of their work as they have more time to experiment with photography. On our “off weeks” when we don’t have the cameras, students learn how to use Adobe Photoshop to edit their images and use effects. They also spend time curating their photos into albums, getting feedback from their peers, and creating digital portfolios of their work. All of these skills and techniques are industry standards.
Amy OliveriAmy has been a part of the Allendale Columbia Art Department since the fall of 2010 and serves as Director of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and a Concentration in ASL as well as a Master of Science Degree for Teachers in Art Education from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
I’ve loved working with my students in the Upper School Drawing and Printmaking class this semester. Members of the class include in-person students and several Upper Schoolers who join the class remotely, including three international students in China.
One of the first concepts we study in drawing is “line,” and for this ink landscape drawing project the class chose locations, then worked from direct observation to identify and draw the lines that they saw. Being able to sit outside and work was a terrific opportunity that allowed us to enjoy the immersive experience of drawing while observing social distancing.
Students at AC created these images on our beautiful campus while simultaneously, the three students in China drew a local church, a city boulevard, and a residential building in their own neighborhoods.
Students recorded reflections about their experiences at the end of the project. Here are some things they said:
“The thing I liked most about this project was going outside to find a good view in the city…since I knew I had a mission of discovering beauty in my city, I walked slowly and paid attention to my surroundings.”
“The thing I liked most about this project was that I think I really enjoy the process of drawing, because when I have a picture in front of me, I just concentrate on my drawing, and I feel pretty relaxed.”
“What did I like most about this project? I think it was really nice to be able to just sit outside, at the end of the day, and just draw.”
“The thing I liked most about this project was that we got to go outside when the weather was nice, and we got to choose what we wanted to draw and got to focus on one specific place.”
Lori WunLori has 18 years of experience as an educator and has been an art teacher at AC for 14 of those years. She has taught grades 9-12, elementary, and middle school students, as well as university undergraduates. Lori is a practicing artist with bachelor's degrees in fine arts and art history from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the College of William and Mary, where she focused on drawing, painting, and modern art history. She earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art where she concentrated on photography and video.
Posted in: Art, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
In the month of January, musicians in Lower, Middle, and Upper school are offered the opportunity to perform in solo festivals hosted by the Monroe County School Music Association. This year, AC has 15 musicians involved in festivals over the course of the month.
The Vocal Solo Festival was held on January 10th and 11th, and the Instrumental Solo Festivals were held the following three weekends (Jan. 17-18, Jan. 24-25, and Jan. 31-Feb. 1). Representing lower, middle, and upper schools, nine singers and six instrumentalists participated in the festivals. Participation entails studying a piece with an AC teacher or a private lessons teacher, performing the piece for a festival judge, and receiving feedback as well as an overall score. All of the singers received the highest festival rating of “outstanding” or “A+” for their performances. (As of this writing, the instrumental festivals have not taken place yet.) This achievement shows both the students dedication and the hard work put in to studying their pieces over the course of many months.
Participation in these solo festivals shows young musicians’ desires to go above and beyond in their musical learning. Participation is optional and requires extra work on the part of the students, who schedule extra rehearsal and lesson time outside of classes to work with teachers in preparation for the festival performances. They are asked to learn challenging repertoire that pushes them to new levels of musicianship. The opportunity to perform and receive feedback is incredibly valuable to young and developing musicians, and we as music educators are grateful our students have the opportunity to participate.
Lower School Band family members and friends are invited to Join the Band for a special side-by-side rehearsal and performance event on Friday March 6th.
Side-by-side concerts are opportunities for musicians of various ages and ability levels to get together and learn from each other, build strong connections through music, and celebrate learning and growth in a fun, low-stress environment. Parents, older siblings, grandparents, extended family and family friends are all invited. School faculty, staff, and administrators are also welcome to join in the fun.
One night and one night only
Here’s What’s Involved
Music: The music will be easy (appropriate for our band beginners). Once you sign up, we’ll give you the sheet music for the instrument you will be playing. We encourage you to practice at home, with your loved one, to extend the side-by-side experience!
Rehearsal: We will spend the late afternoon on Friday (4:30-5:15 p.m.) and the time between dinner and the concert (6-7 p.m.) rehearsing together, with students and adults sitting side-by-side. AC band directors Lynn Grossman and Gabriel Costanzo will lead the rehearsals and concert.
Food! All performers and guests are invited to a family-style dinner Friday evening. We will provide subs & sides for $5, but you are welcome to bring your own (nut-free) dinner if you prefer.
Concert: At 7:00 p.m. sharp the band will perform the two pieces, showcasing our practice and the love of music that transcends generations. The performance will not be long, but it will certainly last for a long time in everyone’s memories!
Audience: All are invited to see our students and special guests perform. In addition to your presence, we would love for you to film the performance so that we can put together a video collage afterwards. Your unique view of the concert will capture the fun of the event!
After-School Plans: Between 3:00-4:25 p.m., there are a few options for student performers:
- If they normally attend Rainbow Room, they should go there until 4:25 p.m.
- They may also be picked up from school and return by 4:25 p.m.
- Students may also stay at school for a movie and a snack in the Band Room.
Allendale Columbia School was recently ranked as one of Newsweek’s Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in America. More than 30,000 high schools in the country were analyzed over a three-year period to determine the rankings. Newsweek, with its long history of reporting on scientific breakthroughs, technological revolutions and societal challenges, partnered with STEM.or to rank America’s Best STEM High Schools.
Recent AC STEM Activities
NASA Thanks AC Sixth Grade Citizen Scientists for Their Research
AC sixth graders just completed a month-long citizen science project through NASA’s GLOBE Program, recording more than 330 cloud observations. On December 17th, the class virtually met with NASA Education Specialist Marile Colon Robles who thanked the students for their work and reiterated the importance their cloud data plays in NASA’s on-going studies. Read more
“Girls Who Code” Club Represent AC at Rochester Maker Faire
This past November, Allendale Columbia School was a sponsor at the Rochester Maker Faire, where our “Girls Who Code” club taught visitors how to make brush bots and paper circuits. Read more
AC Robotics Teams Compete at Local FIRST Robotics Competitions
Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the lower school in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. Read more
Second Graders Learn About Cities by Meeting with a City Planner and Building Their Own!
Second graders met with Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the City of Rochester as they planned and created their own city, Birchville. Read more
AC-RIT Collaboration Continues to Thrive and Enrich Learning Opportunities for Students
Students in Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, and Honors Algebra II continue to participate in a series of classes with RIT. Most recently, students conducted a color absorption experiment using RIT’s light equipment, and they have also recently learned about cryptography and the use ciphers to create and crack codes. Read more
Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the Lower School in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge.
The “Lightning Boltz” team received the Rising Star award at the competition. This award is given to rookie teams that show promise to go on and do great things. Nice job Boltz!
The “AC Aces” alliance lost their semi-finals match to the eventual tournament champions. It was an excellent first run of the year, and we look forward to participating in the Corning Qualifying event on January 12th.
“Team 11779” had a successful event, participating in the final qualifying matches with teams that consistently qualify for the state level tournaments.
Students also celebrated International Education Week November 18th-22nd. The week was dedicated to celebrating the benefits of international education and exchanges worldwide. It is a joint initiative of the US Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a globally interconnected world and encourage the development of global leaders. AC celebrated the week by conducting a Kahoot! cultural trivia contest in the middle school and upper school. There was also a middle and upper school international photo contest. Our Lower School students participated by bringing in photos of their international or domestic travels. Photos are displayed on the Global Engagement bulletin boards in each division.