Young Soloists Turn Butterflies Into Bravado

Posted on January 24th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Yes, there were a few butterflies in the stomachs of Lower School students who had signed up for the annual Solo Performance Night held January 18th. But once they got started, the young students turned those butterflies into brave and beautiful notes that floated to the receptive ears of a welcoming audience.  (more…)

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

MLK-inspired Dreams to Rhombicuboctahedrons: Celebrating Learning in Lower School

Posted on January 18th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

From Kindergarteners’ dreams inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech to rhombicuboctahedrons made by fifth-graders, students in AC’s Lower School demonstrated some of their recent work in a Celebration of Learning assembly.

After reciting the “I Have a Dream” Poem in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, each Kindergarten student read a dream they have for the future. These kind-hearted children included dreams for everyone to have a house and car, food, water, give to others, take care of children, keep the world clean, help other people, and for everyone to be loved.

First-graders recalled facts they learned about local animals, with masks they had made with Ms. Alexander. They also performed a rap song they wrote with Mrs. Grossman about recycling:

Save the Earth, Recycling Wins!
By the First-Grade Rock Band

We want to help you know,
where all the trash should go.
If you have a piece of toast,
Where to put it? The compost!

Plastic, paper, cardboard, cans
If you recycle, you protect our lands.
Put them all in the big blue bin!
Do this now, and you will win!

Dirty wrappers, broken toys,
Listen up, girls and boys!
Don’t put things in the wrong space,
it makes our earth a stinky place.

CHORUS:
Recycling! Recycling!
Just as fun as playing!
Recycling! Recycling!
Saving our earth is thrilling!

Recycling! Recycling!
Just as fun as playing!
Recycling! Recycling!
Saving our earth is thrilling!

“Bee Kind” was the second-graders’ motto and recent project, with its bee mascot, Zinger, whose voice made everyone giggle. They presented different ways people could add kindness in their daily lives. They also performed a regal “Kings and Queens” folk dance.

What strategies can be used to multiply numbers? Third-graders performed a skit to demonstrate multiplication strategies they’ve learned, including skip counting by threes, the sevens distributive property, halving the fives, and using solvemojis to “crack the code” of symbols representing numbers in multiple operations, and having an “ice cream party” treasure hunt after solving their 1,000th math problem of the year.

AC fourth-graders presented part two of their Zero Hunger project, explaining how wasting food also wastes money, labor, fuel, water, and time, and giving tips on how to reduce food waste with waste monsters:

  1. Take smaller portions!
  2. Eat all your crusts!
  3. Plan ahead to buy food you will actually use!
  4. Use up leftovers. Make a soup or an omelette. Just use them up!
  5. Clean out your pantry. Use up food close to expiration or donate. Preserve, pickle, or can food!

They also wrote and recited a food waste reduction pledge:

As an Allendale Columbia school student, I pledge to do the following.

    • I pledge to be mindful about food during lunch.
    • I pledge to ask about portions when getting more food.
    • I pledge to waste as little food as possible by taking only what I will eat from the salad bar.
    • I pledge to try and drink all of my milk, juice, or water each day.
    • I pledge to be appreciative of the hard work our lunch staff does on a daily basis.
    • I pledge to be courteous when informing others about the importance of curbing food waste.
    • If I am out to eat and there are leftovers, I will bring it home in a box.

How many books have you read since September? Fifth-graders updated everyone on their 40 Book Challenge, where each student is challenged to read 40 books from a variety of genres. They’ve read a total of 239 books this school year, and since their last Celebration of Learning in November, they’ve read 102 books. They explained how to make polyhedrons (many-sided objects), starting with “nets,” which are flat shapes that can be folded into 3-D objects; rhombicuboctahedrons, objects made by folding paper into 6 triangles and 18 squares; and stellated (star-shaped) rhombicuboctahedrons with 18 folded pyramids. They also watched the documentary, “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm,” which inspired the students to write letters to the film’s creators.

There’s a whole lot of learning going on in Lower School!

 

Kristin Cocquyt

John Palomaki

John is a parent of twin boys in Middle School at AC, an active volunteer, and occasional contributor of stories and photos. John spent a stimulating 10 years at Microsoft through the 90s as a systems engineer and managing executive relations programs. Since then, John has worked with non-profit organizations and has held leadership roles in independent schools in New Jersey and Connecticut in development, communications, and technology. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences (Biology) from Colgate University.
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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

Fearless Friday: Ginger-infused Edamame

Posted on January 18th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

It’s Fearless Friday, and Super Chef Yessy Roman made a vegan, protein-rich side or snack for cold winter days. Food Service Director Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch, who generally does not like vegetables, and some Lower School taste testers gave it a try before it was available to everyone. While the first few tasters loved it, the last two had a different opinion.

Recipe: Ginger-infused Edamame

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs cooked shelled edamame
  • 1 large red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or cilantro)
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Procedure:

  1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add to edamame.
  3. Enjoy!
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Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

Improvisation Leads to Learning in Elementary Music (and Life)

Posted on December 7th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

By Lynn Grossman

Many folks associate the word improvisation with one thing: jazz music.

But creativity and improvisation are crucial aspects of comprehensive music learning. Improvisation is recognized as one of the four components of the National Core Arts Anchor Standards in music (Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting). What’s more, improvisation is a learned skill, and perfect for learners of all ages.

Improvisation in Elementary Music EducationI have made creativity and improvisation a central part of my curriculum within Allendale Columbia’s elementary general and instrumental music classes. As a result, I was invited to present two sessions relating to my work at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Conference in Dallas, TX (Nov. 11th-14th). (more…)

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Building Connections with Grandparents and Special Friends

Posted on November 30th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Hearts filled fast at Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day. Allendale Columbia’s Lower School children welcomed their special guests for a glimpse of their school day, collaborative activities, a family-style lunch, and a special story from AC’s mascot, Wolfie.

Click on the collage to see the entire Google Photos album of Grandparents' and Special Friends' Day!

Click on the collage to see the entire Google Photos album of Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day!

(more…)

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Is Your Child Starting From Behind? Why Others Look to AC for Early STEM Education

Posted on October 26th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

A delegation of educators from Belarus, seeking ways to boost innovation and economic development and cultivate a competitive workforce, visited Allendale Columbia School because of its reputation as the best school to visit for its “bottom-up” approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), which formally begins in Kindergarten. (more…)

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NASA Langley’s Deputy Director Encourages AC Students to Stay Curious

Posted on October 19th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Sure, you need to be smart and know some science and technology. But to succeed in landing on the moon, sending humans to Mars and back, or just about any goal, it takes a lot of curiosity, collaboration, communication, and the relentless pursuit of a dream. At least, that’s the message Clayton Turner conveyed to Allendale Columbia students from his 28 years of experience at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, where he is Deputy Director.

“I have a strong belief that our future is right here in these classrooms.”

A Rochester native, Turner visited Allendale Columbia as part of a trip to meet with the President’s Roundtable at RIT, of which he’s a member. He never imagined he’d work for NASA at the time when he was a young boy and the first human walked on the moon. After attending McQuaid Jesuit High School, Monroe Community College, and enlisting in the Army, he still wasn’t sure. But he kept searching for the “passion in his heart” that ultimately landed him at his dream job at NASA, where he gets to help fulfill their mission to “Reach New Heights” and “Reveal the Unknown” to “Benefit All Mankind”. Now, he’s sharing that passion with others. He was connected to AC through Leslie Wilson, parent of 10th grader Myles Wilson and RIT’s Director of Alumni Relations.

Clayton Turner, Deputy Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center, met with a Middle School Robotics class.

He began the visit by ideas from the Middle School FIRST LEGO League Robotics class, coached by Teresa Parsons, on how to clean up and avoid space debris, which is the theme for this year’s robotics competition. “Remember, anything you shoot up into space to collect debris needs a big rocket to get it there, so that’s just going to add to the problem,” Turner said, challenging students to think about other methods, such as using equipment in orbit already or engineering items to degrade after their usefulness.

“Hands-on projects like robotics keep students enthusiastic about learning,” he asserted, having visited many schools across the country. We need to keep that curiosity flowing” if we’re to address the problems in the world today, he said. “And Robotics teams are actually a great exercise in teamwork and problem-solving” in addition to coding and technology. “After judging many competitions, I found that you can quickly see the groups that are working as a team and the groups that have one smart person directing everyone else.” “

AC 4th graders have been participating in a project based learning unit on space exploration. They impressed NASA’s Clayton Turner and his colleagues with their questions!

He then met with an enthusiastic group of fourth graders, who have been engaged in a multi-disciplinary project-based learning unit on space exploration since the beginning of the school year, led by Lower School STEM Lead Teacher Donna Chaback. They peppered him with questions, which he delightfully addressed, often with a question of his own to stimulate their thinking.

When asked if AC is succeeding on its core value to foster curiosity and creativity, he said, “I shared the questions that the 4th grade sent me with my colleagues back at Langley to show them how impressive they are. They were astounded when I told them ‘these are 4th graders!’, and they weren’t asking me about if aliens exist or any of that stuff, they were asking me about the Keiper system, black holes, trajectories for getting something to the moon from the earth. Things they’ve obviously heard in class and they are curious about and want to learn more.”

NASA’s Clayton Turner explained that communication, collaboration, and people skills are just as important as engineering and mathematics, and that NASA also needs psychologists, attorneys, accounts, and people from all professions in their quest to land humans on Mars.

He concluded his visit by talking to Upper School students in physics and 3D modeling classes. “No one can really be successful working alone any more. All of the work we do today involves interacting with teams of people from all over the world,” Turner told them. He related how his first job entailed working on a business-card-sized circuit board to aim lasers, but it was just a tiny part of a bus-sized satellite that so many other people worked on.

When asked by one student on what they needed to do to pursue a career at NASA, Turner noted that getting a college degree is only the starting point for a job at organizations like NASA. “That shows you can learn and know how to do some work,” he said. “Just as important is seeing evidence of teamwork, collaboration, and people skills.”

“When you think about sending people to Mars, you have a small group of people that will be in a space only this big,” he said, indicating a space about 12 feet square, “for eight months to get there, and another eight months getting back. We need scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, but we also need psychologists, people who have studied human behavior, to address these types of challenges. We also need accountants, lawyers, and people from all professions” in order to fulfill a quest like putting humans on Mars by the late 2030s.

Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation who coordinated the visit, was especially pleased with that message. “One of the things we strive for in the Invent Center is to help broaden the appeal of STEM. We aim to help students understand that STEM is more than just hard technology, that these other fields are important to the success of technology-focused businesses.”

WHAM-13 covered Mr. Turner’s visit to AC. Click the image to see their video and recap.

NASA certainly explores some immense challenges. He said, “One thing I hope they take from this is the difference between hard and impossible, and sometimes replace one for the other, and that they get to know what’s just hard and requires work.”

Turner also warned against anyone who dismisses an idea with, “That’s not the way we’ve always done it.” He encouraged students to prize diverse thinking, to consider multiple perspectives, in order to solve problems. “It’s the wide range of thinking, that diversity of thought, that’s what’s going to help take on the challenges we have.”

“What I find most enjoyable is that I get to look into our future and see all the challenges that these students are going to overcome for us, all the amazing things that they are going to do.”

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

New AC Mission Statement

Posted on October 19th, 2018 by cnickels

Last year, as AC began the regularly scheduled re-accreditation process through New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), it became evident that our mission was no longer representative of the impactful work we do everyday and why we exist as a school. Since AC’s last mission statement was launched, our programming and curriculum has expanded and evolved to meet a new set of needs in our ever-changing world. While we continue to take pride in our academic preparation for college, we also focus on helping students develop the skills and experiences needed to make a positive and lasting impact in a technology-driven, global society.

Signage on campus celebrates the new AC mission

“The mission guides us internally as we evolve and change to meet the needs of the students and families who walk through our doors,” said long-time AC faculty member Tony Tepedino and re-accreditation co-leader. “If [the mission] doesn’t align, then we are not able to provide a clear and unified vision and program for the families who place their trust in us as an institution.”

“We haven’t lost the original mission of the school,” said Head of School Mick Gee.

“In fact, it is because of our dedication to a student-centered education and AC’s core values that we have continued to adapt and evolve as an institution to meet the changing needs of the world and the way we prepare our students for life outside these walls. The lessons our students learn here at AC extend beyond the walls of our classrooms, and it is our responsibility to prepare them for the world they will inherit.

 

 

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