Friday, November 16, 2018

Sky Class Goes to the Nasher

Sky class has had an amazing time learning about portraiture in conjunction with our field trip to the Nasher!

Light is easy to love. (2017)
Light is easy to love, Amy Sherald, 2017
St. John the Baptist II, Kehinde Wiley, 2006
Before our visit students used visual thinking strategies to analyze portraits by Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley. Visual thinking strategies is a pedagogy that uses the questions, "What's going on in this picture?", "What do you see in the picture that makes you say that?" and "What more can you find?" to allow students to collaboratively construct meaning from a piece of art. Natasha then showed the students the portraits of Michelle Obama and Barack Obama and asked students to work in small groups to determine which artist painted each portrait. These two pieces are owned by the Nasher and we were able to see them in person on our tour.
Image result for michelle and barack obama portraits

Students also created their own portraits with some constraints. The first portrait was created using only one line, then students created a portrait using a U shape and finally by using an oval.

At the Nasher we saw a variety of portraits and discussed what a portrait can tell us about the subject. It was awesome to see some pieces we previously studied and to see some new artworks. The children also loved making their own artwork inspired by the Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald piece. Check out the video below to see what we did at the Nasher and to view some of our artwork.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Halloween is a really special time here in the lower school. Kids started preparing on October 30th when Ruby Lou sponsored a 'Halloween Decoration Making' Center, which resulted in our haunted bathroom.

On the day of Halloween our Star of the Week treated us to a spooky song. He played 'Old McDonald Had a Ghost' on the piano. It was a big hit with his classmates.

We had a special Halloween themed math class where 1st years and 2nd years were paired up. The pairs were equipped had to travel around the room finding and solving Halloween word problems. At the end of math class we went outside for a hayride. Terry from the Shop used his tractor to pull us all around campus. Several students were shocked by how large campus is and many kids loved seeing the horses up behind the Upper School.

All three language groups were treated to special Halloween read-alouds in language groups, but most kids were counting down the minutes until lunch when costumes could come out. The kids loved having recess in their costumes.

At the end of recess we prepared for the Halloween parade. All lower school students, staff and community members lined up and marched all around campus. It was wonderful to have the Center staff, Middle School students and staff and Upper School students and staff cheer us on. After we returned from our parade, the staff scooted out to prepare for the Halloween Play, 'Too Much Noise' while parent volunteers kindly read to the kids. The Halloween Play was a huge hit and kids were mesmerized as staff members paraded around the stage as noisy animals.

At the end of the day we had our classroom party. Thank you so much to everyone who supported our class directly and indirectly on Halloween. It was an incredibly memorable day for the kids! Check out the video below for pictures from the day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Seeing Sound

These past few weeks, we've been diving into our study of sound. In science we wondered whether it was possible to see sound. Students had varying hypotheses. Some who believed we might be able to see sound reasoned that if they could feel sound when they touch their throat while talking or feel a trembling in their bodies when loud music is played, that they might be able to see sound. After we finished discussing our hypotheses, the class divided into groups.

Each group stretched plastic wrap over a cup and then sprinkled a little salt on top of the plastic wrap. Students were then invited to speak next to the cups. We were amazed to see the salt jump as we talked. Students continued to experiment with the volume and pitch of their speech and observed that the louder they talked, the more the salt moved due to the vibrations. One group observed that the plastic wrap vibrated more when they spoke in a higher pitch voice.

In design and engineering students are making sound visible in a very different way. One thing sound engineers need to be able to do is make sound visible using notations. Students were challenged to act as sound engineering by collaborating to make up a song using body noises (humming, stomping, etc.), They needed to use at least five different sounds and had to create a different symbol for each sound. Groups then transcribed their songs and performed them for the class. This was a great activity to work on collaboration skills. Check out the video below to see our students performing. Each group wrote their song on the board behind them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Visit from the Vet

Sky Class is so grateful that Mari McLean is part of our vibrant and caring community. Mari McLean is a small animal veterinarian and is helping us take good care of Gilbert Rosie Sky. She came to Sky Class to visit on Thursday, October 11th to give Gilbert Rosie his first exam. Students watched as Gilbert Rosie was weighed and they assisted Dr. McLean in examining Gilbert's eyes, ears, nose and mouth. We also learned a lot more about guinea pigs needs. Since guinea pigs are pack animals, playtime is really important to them. Luckily, all of Sky Class is eager to give Gilbert Rosie lots of love and attention. We also learned about the importance of hay in a guinea pig diet. Eating hay is how a guinea pig files it's teeth and if they aren't given enough hay, their teeth will grow indefinitely! Students' favorite part of the visit was listening to Gilbert Rosie's heartbeat. Did you know a guinea pig's normal heart rate is 240-250 beats per minute? That is much faster than a humans! We can't wait for Dr. McLean to come in again!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Make A Joyful Noise

This year the theme of the Lower School is ‘Make A Joyful Noise’. Before taking a deep dive into the science of sound, Sky Class is exploring the abundance and variety of sounds in the world. Students learned about the scientific method by asking what different environments might sound like, hypothesizing and then gathering data in their sound journals. We began by cataloguing the sounds present within and around our Sky Class Community. Roughly half of the students documented the sounds present inside our classroom and half documented the sounds outside our classroom. To no one’s surprise we heard laughter, children playing with balls, trees rustling and pencils scribbling.

The New York Times then gave us an opportunity to travel the world to explore the sounds present in different environments. So far Sky Class has taken ‘field trips’ to Hawai’i and Madagascar. We travelled to Hawai’i, which is a chain of volcanic islands, to listen to the sound of an active volcanic eruption. The class predicted that they would hear lots of explosions, banging and other loud noises. Students were shocked that the sound resembled breaking glass. Although many people may remember the volcanic eruptions in Hawai’i earlier this year, most people don’t know that the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island has been continuously erupting since 1983 and the volcano is the world’s longest continuously erupting volcano. 

Before our trip to Madagascar we learned about lemurs. The indri lemur is the largest lemur and we listened to their mating calls. Indri lemurs mate for life and their mating songs change over time to become more harmonized. The longer the couple has been mating, the more in sync their songs are. 

If you’d like to take a sound journey with your child please explore the New York Times Voyages: Sounds from Around the World.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Welcome to Sky Class Gilbert Rosie Sky!

Please watch the video below introducing Sky Class' newest member!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sky Class Birthdays

In Sky class we got to know each other better by learning about each other's birthdays. We made a human graph by sitting behind a sign with the month we were born in. Students born in the same month had to talk to each other and order themselves chronologically (ignoring the year). When everyone was situated behind the right month, we discussed what we noticed about our human graph. We noticed that August has the greatest number of birthdays and several months have the same number of birthdays. There aren't any months without a Sky class birthday!

After exploring our human graph students selected a cake. They wrote their name and birthday on the cake before decorating it. The cakes were then glued to make a picture graph.

We are excited to celebrate everyone's birthdays within our community!