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

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

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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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third 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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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches

Fearless Friday: Mediterranean Flavored Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Posted on October 5th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

If you’re looking for a healthy, protein-rich vegan entree, side dish, or tasty snack, you’ll want to try today’s Fearless Friday treat, Mediterranean Flavored Roasted Garbanzo Beans. Super Chef Yessy Roman fixed up the bean dish for noted vegetable-resistant Food Service Director Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch to try along with four student volunteers and Evan Dumee, our new Physical Education teacher, at Lower School Lunch. It received a thumbs-up from all six taste-testers!


Recipe: Mediterranean Flavored Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 15.5-ounce cans of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs garam masala
  • 1 Tbs onion powder
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbs curry powder
  • 1/2 Tbs turmeric
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground peppercorns
  • 1 Tbs cumin

Preparation

  • Rinse beans and let dry.
  • Mix all ingredients and spread onto a sheet pan.
  • Roast in oven middle rack at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or 5 minutes more if you want it more dry.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
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Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

Expand the Menu to Enrich Your Child’s Reading

Posted on September 21st, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

By Shari Ellmaker and Arielle Gillman

Young readers often get stuck in a particular book genre, especially if they’ve become fond of a series. To expand their palates, Allendale Columbia School’s third grade teachers held a “Book Tasting”, something you can also try at home.

To prepare, we spent some time learning all about a few different genres of texts: biography, fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novel, realistic fiction, and poetry. We also practiced “interviewing” a book to see whether it is a good match for the reader by reading level, interest, etc.

Next, our “Book Taste Testers” entered our classroom restaurant. Their servers, Ms. Gillman and Mrs. Ellmaker, took their requests for an appetizer, an entree, and dessert, and delivered them one at a time. Students sampled the texts and wrote a brief review of each course. By the end of the meal, everyone was full from great books!

Why is reading different genres important for young readers?

Young children love to hear stories read to them over and over again. Many parents encourage their young ones to listen to a different story, but to no avail. Your little one is “feeling like a reader” when they hear predictable text each night. You may notice them “reading” along with you and finishing sentences. They love books with patterns, sound words, and repetitive phrases.

As the children get older, they are more open to different genres. Parents should take this opportunity to explore a new genre. Why?

Students are learning that a genre is a form of text that follows a particular format and structure. Using the word “genre” provides a way for the students to organize and talk about their observations of texts. When a student can identify a genre, they can recognize what they are reading and quickly adjust their reading style. So for example, if they read an article about how to make something, they can read the text at a slower pace in order to follow specific directions. Students will learn information quickly and efficiently when using headings, for example, while reading informational texts.

So, the more children are exposed to different genres, the quicker they will be able to take information and synthesize it for understanding and application. Parents should model reading a variety of genres and spend time reading with and to their children.

How and why should a child “interview” a book?

A reader interviews a book by asking a lot of questions:

  • Does the title sound interesting?
  • Do I know anything about the author?
  • Does the blurb on the back of the book sound interesting?
  • Is the book a genre I like to read? (Hint: some books have words like “Mystery”, “Memoir”, or “Fiction” in the corner of the back cover.)
  • Did the book win any awards?
  • Is the book too hard? Try the beginning and read a page from the middle to decide. Use the “Five Finger Rule” to decide if the book is too hard. Read a random page, put a finger up for each unknown word you encounter. If you reach four or five fingers before the page is finished, it may be too hard. Three may be right and one or two would be too easy.

Setting up a Book Tasting at home is a fun way to get your child interested in different genres and extend your child’s reading range. Have your child help you set up a restaurant-like environment in your kitchen or dining room. Find your favorite apron, table setting, flowers, and notepad to “take the guest’s order.” Use books from your child’s collection and sort them by genre. Begin by serving the child choices from the menu of genres. You can then try swapping roles so the child is the server asking you for different genres you’d like to read. Take some time to interview the book and talk together about your review. By the end of the experience, both you and your young reader will have an appetite for books of all different genres!

Resources:

Reading Rockets. The Importance of Reading Widely (2010). Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/importance-reading-widely.

Kissner, Emily. Using Genre to Help Students Learn from What They Read. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol5/511-kissner.aspx.

Inquiry By Design, Inc. Setting Up the Literacy Studio (2013).

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Sharon Ellmaker

Shari has been an educator for over 26 years, and teaching at Allendale Columbia for 19. She has taught second, third, and fourth grade with experience in public school, suburban, inner-city, independent, and college-level settings. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Bluffton University.
Kristin Cocquyt

Arielle Gillman

Arielle has been involved in the field of education, either through volunteering, as a college student, or as a teacher, since she was 14 years old. She has taught students in multiple grades in Penfield, Fairport, Webster, and Newark and has also worked at the Mary Cariola Children's Center and The Community Place of Greater Rochester. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Childhood Education from SUNY Fredonia and her Master of Science Degree in Literacy Education from SUNY Geneseo.
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Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, Third Grade

Strawberry Breakfast Delights an Appreciative Crowd

Posted on May 25th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

A long-standing tradition at Allendale Columbia School, Strawberry Breakfast always draws an appreciative crowd as we kick off the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, the audience has grown to the extent that it’s held in the Gannett Gym for greater accessibility, and it’s streamed live on the internet.

The expected traditional pieces, such as the Maypole Dance, Sword Dance, and the “Inch by Inch” song by second graders still enthralled. See the entire agenda below, and click here for more photos.

Former AC parent Mitzie Collins again joined our ensemble for the Maypole Dance. Mitzie created the recordings that have been used for the dances at Strawberry Breakfast for over 30 years. She has a long-standing career in music performance and research, teaching music history and hammered dulcimer at the Eastman Community Music School.

Strawberry Breakfast concluded with…strawberries and donuts!

Agenda

Greeting
Head of School Mick Gee

Welcome
Sophomores Fiona Lutz and Roxy Reisch

 “Good Cheer”
Upper School Select Chorus

Processional Chain
Featuring AC Fourth Graders

Crowning and Pinning of Seniors
AC Sophomores

“Now is the Month of Maying”
Upper School Chorus

Bulaklakan
AC Fifth Graders

Circle Dance
AC Third Graders

Simple Gifts
Middle School Chorus

The Sword Dance
Sophomore Students
Music performed by Upper School Band and Mitzie Collins

“Garden Song (Inch by Inch)”
AC Second Graders

The Maypole Dance
Sophomores Students
Music performed by Upper School Band and Mitzie Collins

When You Believe
All Strawberry Breakfast Performers

Closing Remarks
Sophomores Fiona Lutz and Roxy Reisch

Senior Recessional Chain
Featuring AC Fourth Graders

 

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Posted in: Alumni News, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Second Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Upper School

Sound of Music Receives Recognitions at Stars of Tomorrow

Posted on May 11th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Allendale Columbia’s production of The Sound of Music received a number of recognitions at Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s (RBTL) Stars of Tomorrow ceremony on May 10th, 2018. Catherine Kennedy ’18, who played Maria, was one of four to win Outstanding Leading Actress nods in AC’s Division C, and she received her second nomination in a row to compete for a trip to the Stars of Tomorrow “Jimmy Awards” competition in New York City.

You can help elect Catherine as a Fan Favorite at Stars of Tomorrow NYC Bound by sending the text SOT06 (that’s letter S, letter O, letter T, number 0, number 6) to 75327. The contest allows one vote per phone number per day, so please set a reminder to vote every day! Go to http://www.rochesterfirst.com/stars-of-tomorrow-2018 for details. 

Before the evening got underway, the Children’s Ensemble from The Sound of Music learned from the program that they received a Future Stars recognition for Outstanding Performance by Elementary and Middle School students in a High School Musical. Also given a “Tip of the Hat” in the program was Assistant Stage Manager Connor Surkau-Parkinson ’18.

Allendale Columbia received a recognition for Outstanding Singing Ensemble. Senior Rebecca McQuilken was one of the Outstanding Supporting Actresses recognized for her role as Mother Abbess, despite having been in a wheelchair after undergoing knee surgery shortly before the performances.

Kennedy next competes on Thursday, May 24th, at RBTL in Stars for Tomorrow NYC Bound. In the first round that evening, she sings a segment of one of her songs from The Sound of Music. If she makes it to the second round, she sings a song she selects from a list provided by the judges. She might then advance to the final round, as she did last year, to perform once again. The judges select just one male actor and one female actress to advance to the competition in New York. Tickets will be available soon; return to this page or http://www.rbtl.org/stars-of-tomorrow-nyc-bound/ for details when they are made available.

(Revised May 13th, 2018)

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School