Kindergarteners Present MLK, Oceans at Performance and Art Show

Posted on January 25th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School
Kindergarten students put on a small Ocean Performance and Art Show on Thursday, Januaary 25th. In the Curtis Performance Center, the children sang some ocean songs they were taught in music class with Lynn Grossman. They also sang a few songs inspired by their study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that they were taught by their Kindergarten teachers Amy Mealey and Barbie King, including a recitation of a portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the song “We Shall Overcome” with sign language (see the video below). Then the children took their parents on an ocean scavenger hunt to find all their wonderful ocean creature art projects from their Ocean Adventure Project Based Learning unit.
Kindergarten MLK/Oceans Collage
Additional photos and videos are available in this Google Photos Album.
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Posted in: Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches

AC Students Exhibit at RIT Gallery

Posted on January 25th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School
Download poster

Download poster

Four Allendale Columbia School students have been selected to display their art at START HERE, an invitational exhibition from students in the Middle School and High School art programs of the Rochester and Finger Lakes region at RIT’s Bevier Gallery.

Desk by Madison DeCory ’18, Andrew by Yiming Tang ’20, Envy by Marlin Bassett ’21, and Dark Portrait by Adrian Fuller ’21 were chosen for the exhibit by art teachers Amy Oliveri and Lori Wun. Middle and High School teachers from the region were allowed to each select and submit a piece from two students for the show.

The exhibit opens with a reception on Friday, January 26th, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Awards will be presented to selected students at 5:30 p.m. in the Webb Auditorium. The exhibit runs through February 10th. (Click for directions.)

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Kid Kudos, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

3rd Graders Share Positive Messages Through Art, Music, Folk Tales

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Arielle Gillman 

Allendale Columbia’s third grade students just completed a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit based on the Driving Question: How can we create original art, music, and folk tales that share positive central messages with our community? They demonstrated their learning to their parents on Thursday night, January 18th, before the Winter Concert.

Why Giraffes Have Long NecksStudents started out choosing an animal from an African habitat and researching its characteristics. They read and analyzed folk tales, and from there, they imagined what kinds of stories their animal might participate in that would convey positive messages like kindness, compassion, helping others, gratitude, and so on. Each student then storyboarded ideas, wrote and rewrote drafts, and finally produced a book, a mask inspired by their main character, and a music motif performed on percussion instruments to share their messages.

Two of those stories, Elena’s Why Giraffe Have Long Necks and Eryn’s How the Parrot Got Its Intelligence were read and performed during the concert. During the performance, students either acted out original, student-choreographed movements, or played in the percussion section to make these Folktales come to life!

These students have exceeded our expectations. It just continues to amaze me how thoroughly these students grasp a project like this and take it to a level beyond what I’ve seen anywhere else. PBLs can encompass many different learning styles, subject areas, and methods of expression, and they make learning fun.

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, LS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches, Third Grade

Wall to Wall Walls

Posted on January 12th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Walls from history to the present day and walls from around town and around the world stretched wall-to-wall in 4th grade on Friday, as students presented their learning to parents and peers. The Great Wall of China, Walls of Troy, the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and even Seattle’s Bubble Gum Wall made impressions on students as they did their research, built their projects, and discussed their findings. Fourth graders also learned about Wall Therapy, distilling the meanings from many wall art projects they visited in the City of Rochester, and exploring how wall art often relates to social justice.

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Posted in: Fourth Grade, Lower School, MS Birches, The Birches

Students Experience Intersection Between Art and Science at Corning Museum

Posted on January 11th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School
Students experienced the intersections between science and art as the 6th grade class with science teacher Teresa Parsons and Ceramics classes with teachers Amy Oliveri and Lori Wun visited the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY, on Monday, January 8th. Students could see first-hand how properties of matter change with temperature. They learned how artist use natural forces (force of gravity, centripetal force) to create art, and how different elements and compounds can change the physical properties of matter, in this case, glass. (Photos by Teresa Parsons)
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

Matt Duver ‘20, is the Fifth Allendale Columbia School Student to Receive a National Scholastic Art and Writing Award

Posted on May 21st, 2015 by klapa

by Lori Kimbrough Wun

Matt Duver was honored recently with a National Scholastic Art and Writing Silver Medal Award. Matt’s artwork, a photograph titled “Jake as Einstein,” was given a Gold Key Medal Award at the Regional level and forwarded to the national competition in February. Matt was one of only 52 7th graders in the United States to then be recognized at the national level (students across America submitted 255,000 original works for judging in the Scholastic competition this year). Matt’s winning photograph was also given RIT’s “School of Photographic Arts and Sciences Young Artist Award for Excellence and Creativity” in 2015’s Rochester Finger Lakes Middle and High School exhibition. Matt’s winning photograph was inspired by a famous photo of Albert Einstein writing out the equation for the density of the Milky Way at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California in 1931.

Previous AC recipients of National Scholastic Honors include Silver Key Medalist in Printmaking John Karis ‘17, Silver Key Medalist in Drawing Katrina Stokes ‘07, Gold Key Medalist in Drawing Ian Williams ‘08, and Gold Key Medalist in Painting Marisa Wetmore ‘10. AC Middle and Upper School students have been awarded 73 Regional Scholastic Award Medals since 2002.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, conducted by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, is one of the country’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition programs for creative students in the U.S., and the nation’s largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers in grades 7 – 12. Since its founding, the awards have established an amazing track record for identifying the early promise of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders. The Awards have an impressive legacy dating back to 1923 and a noteworthy roster of past award winners including Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, John Lithgow, Ken Burns, Robert Redford, and Joyce Carol Oates. Student entries are judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal vision. For more information about the program, visit

Matt’s interest in photography began in Ms. Bonner Oliveri’s Photojournalism class this year. He was kind enough to let me interview him about his experiences as a photographer:

Ms. K W: Matt, how did taking Ms. Oliveri’s Photojournalism class inspire you to want to do your own photography?
Matt: I took the class not really knowing what it was going to be like, and about a month in, I really started to enjoy it. By the end of the course, I felt like I really learned a lot from Ms. Oliveri and that made it more fun. I began taking pictures of things around my house like water drops, my dog, my brother, and light painting.

Ms. K W: How do you take a “good” photo?
Matt: The key to taking a good photo is finding an interesting subject that people don’t pay attention to every day. I like making people look at things differently. Having a tripod is important too, since having the tripod allows you to have a longer shutter speed that is still and not shaky.

Ms. K W: What advice would you have for young people who want to start taking photos?
Matt: I think they should start small and focus on a subject they are interested in, like their pets or nature. I started with taking pictures of nature, and that is how I improved my skills during the course I took.

Ms. K W: Do you think what you learned in photography affects your other subjects?
Matt: Yes, especially in math. By adjusting shutter speed, aperture, and angles of different ways you are taking the photo, it all ties together. I also think it affects my studies in history, because when I see a photo from history, it makes me appreciate it more and makes me want to learn about it.

Ms. K W: What is the best thing about photography?
Matt: You can basically take it anywhere. There are no real limits as you can take your camera anywhere you go to capture a moment.

Ms. K W: What made you want to start a blog to share your work?
Matt: Ms. Oliveri encouraged us to start a blog for our photography class. After the class, I continued it with some of my work on light painting. I really like sharing my work, especially when people like it and share comments.

Ms. K W: What’s your favorite photo that you’ve ever taken?
Matt: My favorite photo is one of pumpkins from on the campus of Allendale Columbia. It is on my blog. I like this photo because I was able to show depth really well and I like Homecoming in the fall.

You can see Matt’s work on his blog at

Matt’s winning photo, “Jake as Einstein”

Matt’s winning photo, “Jake as Einstein”

Matt with his photography teacher Ms. Oliveri at the RIT exhibition reception this year

Matt with his photography teacher Ms. Oliveri at the RIT exhibition reception this year

matt_light paint

A photo of one of Matt’s “light painting” images from his blog

Fun fact: National Scholastic Art Award winners Ian Williams and Matt Duver were Blue White Day partners in 2008. Ian, who graduated in 2009, attended Rhode Island School of Design.

Fun fact: National Scholastic Art Award winners Ian Williams and Matt Duver were Blue White Day partners in 2008. Ian, who graduated in 2009, attended Rhode Island School of Design.

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Posted in: Highlights, Kid Kudos