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!

 

John Palomaki

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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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).

 

Sharon Ellmaker

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.
Arielle Gillman

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