Young Musicians Shine On Stage Throughout December

Posted on December 18th, 2019 by acsrochester

In December, a month known for holiday celebrations and excitement leading up to a well-earned break, AC student musicians did their part to spread joy with performances in two Winter Concerts, caroling at the Genesee Valley Club, performances at the AC Holiday Book Fair at Barnes & Noble and, of course, to complete the circuit, the Holiday Breakfast.

Performances featured works that ranged from pieces connected to Project-Based Learning (“My Paddle (Dip, Dip and Swing)” and “What Do You Do With a Water Waster?”) to classic American pop tunes (“Sweet Caroline,” “Rockin’ Robin” and “We Are the Champions), from major Broadway musical medleys (Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables) to film music favorites (The Lord of the Rings and The Pink Panther) to holiday pops numbers (“Let It Snow!/Winter Wonderland” and “Christmas in Killarney”). The students not only brought joy to the hearts of their listeners, they had genuine challenges to accept and an authentic way to publicly demonstrate the learning they experienced in the ensembles and music classes that are a standard part of the academic landscape at Allendale Columbia School.
Without the talent and effort of the students who have devoted themselves to the study of music, in addition to their hard work in all other areas of their lives, the fabric of our AC culture would not be as colorful or emotionally meaningful as it is today, so we would like to express our gratitude to students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade music classes, the 4th Grade Band, 4th Grade Chorus, 5th Grade Chorus, 5th Grade Band, Middle School Chorus, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Select Chorus, and Upper School Chorus.
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WATCH: Lower School Winter Concert Preview

Mark your calendars for upcoming concerts and musicals!

January 16 – Lower School Solo Performance Night
February 13 – Lower School Musical
March 6 – Lower School Side by Side Band Concert
March 27-28 – Middle School Musical (Music Man, Jr.)
April 28 – Middle & Upper School Spring Concert
May 1 – Lower School Side by Side Choral Concert
May 6 – Lower School Spring Concert
May 22 – Strawberry Breakfast
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

Solo Performance Night 2020

Posted on December 18th, 2019 by acsrochester

Join us for an AC tradition: Lower School Solo Performance Night! All students in grades K-5 are welcome to perform for an audience of family and friends on Thursday night, January 16th, 2020, with an ice cream social to follow. To participate, students must register with their performance selections by Friday, January 10th, 2020.

Fill out the Registration Form to specify the song to be performed and whether an accompanist is needed. Submit the completed form to Mr. Costanzo or Ms. Grossman by January 10th (digital or printed copies will both be accepted), and start practicing for the performance!

Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches, Third Grade

Empty Bowls 2019

Posted on December 17th, 2019 by artwitholiveri

Last Friday, December 13th, the Middle School ceramics class presented The Willow Center of Rochester with a donation of $1,368, which they raised at their fifth annual Empty Bowls event at Allendale Columbia School on November 26th. The class made a lot of ceramic bowls and worked with AC faculty and students to help them make items for the fundraiser. They also wrote letters asking local artists to donate items to the raffle.

Roxy Reisch (class of 2020) did a live demo at the event showing attendees how she creates pottery on a wheel.

Empty Bowls is a worldwide grassroots movement to fight hunger and provide items for basic needs. The Willow Center is a nonprofit organization in Rochester that offers a variety of services to families and children. The AC ceramics class was happy to donate all of the proceeds from the event, in the amount of $1,368, to the Willow Center.

Students from the Middle School elective, Ceramics, meeting with representatives from the Willow Center to present their donation

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eighth Grade, Entrepreneurship, Kid Kudos, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

Second Graders Learn About Cities by Meeting with a City Planner and Building Their Own!

Posted on December 10th, 2019 by acsrochester
Learning about cities
As part of our project-based learning in Lower School, our second graders are learning about cities and what goes into designing and building one. Project-based learning is dependent upon the collaboration of several teachers and in-depth planning. Throughout this unit, the classroom teacher, Annie King, sought the expertise of our STEM teacher, Donna Chaback and our art teacher, Shari Ellmaker. They worked on concepts of engineering and the arts as they designed blueprints of their ideal city and then worked in teams to decide where certain businesses, landforms, and organizations should be located. Once they had a plan to propose, they presented their ideas to a mock city planning board comprised of Head of School, Mr. Gee, Head of Lower School Mrs. Feiss, Head of Middle School Mrs. Duver, Director of the AC Invent Center Ms. Crosby, and Director of Food Service Mrs. Reynolds.

 

Meeting with a Rochester City Planner to learn about transportation systems
After receiving feedback from the mock city planning board, the students were ready to design their own 3-D city. Public transportation was an issue the mock planning board raised, so the second grade students began their research in this area and quickly became experts learning about a variety of traditional and cutting edge transportation systems. They were captivated to learn about Elon Musk’s Hyperloop train as well as Sea Bubbles which are being tested in Paris, France. They also met 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.

 

“What about a homeless shelter?” turns into donating to RAIHN
Next, students wrote and sent emails to members of the AC community asking what is needed to make a community great. One response they got was about a homeless shelter and how shelters are an integral part of a community. Once the students learned this, a deep and meaningful class discussion took place, resulting in their decision to include a homeless shelter in Birchville. This conversation also moved them to want to take immediate action to help those affected by homelessness in the Rochester community, so they decided to sell the crock-pot applesauce they’d been making in their classroom each week. The sale generated $140 which the students then donated to RAIHN, a non-profit that assists homeless families to achieve sustainable independence by supporting them with shelter, food, personalized case management and a network of caring volunteers.

 

Community Art
The students decided early on that they wanted art to be a part of Birchville, so they took a field trip around Rochester viewing a variety of sculptures to help determine what they wanted in their own city.  Then, Art Teacher Mrs. Ellmaker helped them design a collaborative sculpture (called “Colorful Life”) which is located in the center of Birchville.
The formal “ribbon-cutting” of Birchville was held on Monday, December 9th. Click here to view the Spectrum News coverage of this event.
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Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches

You Never Know What Seeds are Planted During May Term

Posted on June 6th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

By Judy Van Alstyne ’88, Head Librarian

You never know what kinds of seeds are planted during May Term. Four years ago, Tony Tepedino and I offered a Middle School May Term called Getting Schooled the Minecraft Way. At that time, Mojang still owned Minecraft; MinecraftEDU was a separate installable modification (mod) which allowed teachers to host servers specifically for their students to engage in Minecraft activities designed for learning all kinds of concepts.

Garrett Wilson, Ethan Truong, Carter Previte, and Ben Smoker work on Minecraft during AC May Term 2015.

We had high expectations for the ten Middle School boys who signed up. They weren’t going to be students in a Minecraft activity designed by us grown-ups; they were going to have Lower School teachers as clients, designing educational activities for students in grades two, four, and five. For the second grade class, four boys (Dylan Reece, Ben Smoker, Jack Wheeler, and Garrett Wilson) designed “U.S. Landmarks” to teach about symbols of the United States. For the fourth graders, three boys (Marlin Bassett, Henry Grasman, and Cameron Perry) designed “Bomber Math” for practice in calculating area. For the fifth graders, three boys (Caden Kacprzynski, Peter Klem, and Kasi Natarajan) created “Island Adventure” to teach geometry, measurement, and economy. The boys worked hard and had fun, and when we concluded by inviting the Lower School students in, everyone had fun playing and learning. It was a success that we were sad to end.

Jonathan Ragan tries his hand at a Minecraft May Term in 20115.

But this past week, the Rumsey Library was alive again with students (this time in Upper School) busily playing and creating with Minecraft thanks to two of those former Middle School students, Caden Kacprzynski ‘20 and Cameron Perry ‘20, running a student-led May Term titled Experimenting with Architecture and Code in Minecraft: Education Edition. Now computer experts, they explained to me much that has changed in the Minecraft education world. Mojang was bought by Microsoft, which created a new product for teachers called Minecraft: Education Edition. Caden and Cameron explained how much easier it is (no need to create a local server, for example) and it has a coding curriculum already built in (in conjunction with Code.org). Learning how to code has the immediate benefit of allowing users to create more efficiently and with enhanced functions, for example, building a wall with one command rather than placing each block individually. There are also more possibilities for saving work to be shared with others in the future.

Cameron Perry ’20 and Caden Kacprzynski ’20 lead a student-led May Term titled “Experimenting with Architecture and Code in Minecraft: Education Edition.”

Caden and Cameron decided that for their May Term, they would keep the parameters somewhat loose, requiring only that students work solo or in groups to create worlds for others to play and explore, so long as they incorporated coding into each world’s creation. Each world provides challenges for players such as finding secret levers, parkour, and escape rooms. They reflected on how much noisier those ten Middle School boys were compared to this group of fifteen Upper School girls and boys. Also of note is how much more skilled older students are with group problem-solving. Although they were initially concerned that their peers might not follow their instructions or be engaged in the work, they were pleased to see everyone working very hard on their projects, even skipping breaks or parts of lunch in order to make more progress. Similar to what Mr. Tepedino and I discovered long ago, giving students autonomy to play and create keeps them very engaged!

In preparing for May Term Exhibition Night, I discovered the laminated Minecraft instructions from four years ago. While the Lower School players from the past are now in Middle School and probably don’t need them, we suspect some parents will find them very helpful! I also found the signs we had put up for each of the projects the Middle Schoolers had created. Cameron and Caden each took one as a souvenir; Caden remarked, “This is more meaningful to me than any certificate I could have gotten from a summer camp.” We are so proud that Caden and Cameron decided to share Minecraft with new learners, and we hope they are proud of themselves! And we hope you found a chance to play a little Minecraft on Exhibition Night, June 6th!

Judith Van Alstyne

Judith Van Alstyne

Judy worked as a reference librarian and children's librarian in several public libraries in the Rochester area before coming to Allendale Columbia in 1997. At AC, she serves as Head Librarian and teaches Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, and library classes for students in nursery through first grade. Judy holds a bachelor's degree from Tufts University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and a Master of Library Sciences Degree from Simmons College. Judy is leaving AC after the 2018-2019 school year to complete her PhD in Education (Teaching & Curriculum) with a focus on digital literacies and online learning.
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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Fearless Friday: Chopped Watercress Salad

Posted on May 31st, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Fearless Friday: Chopped Watercress SaladFor our final Fearless Friday of the 2018-2019 school year, Super Chef Yessie Roman whipped up a fresh chopped watercress salad dressed with a red wine and dijon mustard vinaigrette. Food Service Director Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch and an intrepid group of Lower School taste testers tried it on Friday, May 31st. The verdict: thumbs up with some qualifications, though one student said it was the best thing she’s had all year, and Mrs. Reynolds-Gorsuch really liked it! (more…)

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Posted in: Highlights, Lower School

Lower School Curriculum Unveiled for 2019-2020

Posted on May 23rd, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

By Michelle Feiss, Head of Lower School

View the Lower School Curriculum Night slideshowThis past Tuesday evening, we unveiled Allendale Columbia’s new Lower School curriculum for the 2019-20 school year. Over the past 10 months, teachers have met in various teams to research the best programs globally in order to develop new standards for mathematics, literacy, and our project-based learning units for next year at AC. (more…)

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

Lower School Reads for 100 Minutes at Camp Read-A-Lot

Posted on May 10th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Students camped out at school with some good books as Allendale Columbia’s Lower School students completed their 100 minutes of reading at Camp Read-A-Lot on May 10th. (Read the preview, Wolfie Stirs Students to Read and Help for May 10 Read-A-Thon.) (more…)

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