Today marks the first month that Allendale Columbia has been back in the swing of things, buzzing with in-person learning, five days a week. Within this first month I have seen an abundance of smiling faces, great enthusiasm, joyfulness to be among friends again, and maybe above all else, a willingness to help each other out and to just simply be kind. The beauty of my position here at Allendale Columbia is that I get to pitch in and help out in several different areas of the school, changing directions at any given moment. I am able to witness inspiring interactions between students and teachers, teachers and colleagues, parents and their children, or students and their peers. And no matter who is helping who, I always find myself feeling that happy twinge in my heart.
This year, we have 98 new students on campus, and needless to say, some of our most apprehensive students, particularly on the first day of school, were the littlest ones. One nursery student in particular, was understandably very nervous to walk into school without Mom or Dad. Without hesitation, his two older sisters, a first and a third grader, carefully helped him out of the car and comforted him all the way to the primary doors. The very next day, and each day that has followed, he now happily walks into school as long as he’s holding both of his sisters’ hands. This was adorable to see the first time, and yet even after the fourth week of school, it still makes my heart melt. Other youngsters have struggled with putting their masks on their tiny little ears before hopping out of the car, yet I have seen the gentle touch of my colleague and phenomenal Lower School music teacher, Lynn Grossman, easily take care of that and offer warm reassurance.
As I wandered the halls these past few weeks, I have heard many positive and encouraging words echoing from the classrooms, such as “Great job, Hannah!”, “Can I help you with that?”, or “I’m proud of the way you are all working today!” I see colleagues offering to assist with hand delivering lunches to classrooms, students helping new classmates find their way, and yesterday, the first grade classes handed out random notes of kindness throughout the school to help spark a smile from those who were lucky enough to find one.
Perhaps my favorite demonstration of kindness so far this year was when a ninth grader forgot her musical instrument. Her Dad had already pulled out of campus so she had to call him to come back to the school. After he sat in the morning car line for a second time that morning, she apologized profusely. Her Dad enthusiastically responded, “Don’t be sorry, just be you!”
With all that’s currently going on in the world, I am so grateful that I have Allendale Columbia School as a place to come each day. Having a great sense of community is what we are proudly known for, but the kindness we lend to one another on a daily basis is the key ingredient of what makes this school so very special.
Julie BarrettAs AC’s Welcome Desk Associate, Julie collaborates with several AC departments and ensures that everyone who visits or calls campus feels welcome. Prior to joining AC, she worked for Mattiacio Orthodontics, Rochester Wedding Magazine, and Cardiac Life. She received her Associate’s Degree in Sports Tourism and Marketing from Finger Lakes Community College and is in the process of earning a Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurial Studies from Monroe Community College.
Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Pre-Primary School, Upper 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.
Just as fun as playing!
Saving our earth is thrilling!
Just as fun as playing!
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:
- Take smaller portions!
- Eat all your crusts!
- Plan ahead to buy food you will actually use!
- Use up leftovers. Make a soup or an omelette. Just use them up!
- 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 PalomakiJohn 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.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade