From September’s opening day to June’s closing ceremonies, we document and share events from all over our campus in an attempt to continuously communicate all the diverse goings-on at The Unquowa School. From school-wide events, assemblies, visiting presenters and other highlights from around campus, here’s a sample of what’s happening…
Posted by Sharon Lauer
This morning our students experienced the second of six sessions of “clusters” – multi-grade, interest-based classes that are teacher initiated but the outcome of which will be student guided. From Heroes and Villains and Wilderness Survival to Filmmaking and Critiquing and Colonial Chemistry, the paths of these sessions will be guided by student research and their subsequent decisions about products and performances. Teachers are there to light the spark and support, but kids are in charge of determining outcomes.
Our clusters program is based on the concept developed by The Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education and Talent Development at UConn, whose summer Confratute program, founded and run by Unquowa grandparents Dr. Joe Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis, has inspired our cluster work here at Unquowa. Our entire faculty and staff, under the guidance of our deans, have been preparing for and tweaking this program since last spring and are happy to have finally launched it.
I spent the entire hour of this past Friday’s first session popping into clusters and was thrilled to watch the sparks fly. I’m looking forward to seeing the results and know that the clusters mentality will inform practice throughout our school in ways large and small.
Posted by Ann Palm
Every Wednesday afternoon PreK has a Mystery Guest. It can be an Unquowa student, parent, neighbor or any family member. When they arrive it’s a huge surprise. Mystery guests do a variety of things: read books, bring a snack, make a craft, tell us about their profession, or even perform a science experiment. This week Aria’s mother surprised us with a Mad Hatter’s party. We drank hot cocoa out of real cups and had French chocolate cake. To make it extra special we made our own party hats. What a fun afternoon!
Posted by Eric Werner
Upper Schoolers in 7th grade are hard at work preparing math lessons for TK, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade. On alternate Fridays, my 7th grade students travel across the school to work one-on-one or in small groups to teach a math lesson to their younger peers. Ranging from addition and subtraction to pattern recognition, these lessons are developed entirely by 7th grade students who have researched curriculum and designed a lesson to inspire younger students to learn and to get excited about math. This program will continue throughout the year with every 7th grade student having the opportunity to design and implement a lesson.
Posted by Carlene Gordon
Each day after dessert has been enjoyed and the tables are cleared, the final lunch time bell rings out and Lower School students’ attention turns toward the two fourth grade student leaders standing at the front of the room. These two fourth grade leaders announce and demonstrate the activity of the day. Some days it is a breathing technique such as square breathing or 4:8 breaths other days it is yoga pose or a mindful activity such as mirroring. The remaining fourth graders remain at their tables to help guide students and teachers there. Through these brief practices, all of the students are learning to take a few moments at the end of a meal to recenter, refocus and breath in preparation for an afternoon of continued learning, exploration and fun at The Unquowa School.
Posted by Carlene Gordon
…or perhaps down in the dumps? In fourth grade writing class, we are having fun learning the main categories of figurative language, including simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, and personification. Students are presented with the concept and then tasked with researching or creating examples to add to our wall chart. Initial confused looks are transformed into smiles and giggles as students discover the meanings behind proud as a peacock, you are my sunshine, and straight from the horse’s mouth! Our fourth graders are shining stars as they learn to add interest and imagery to writing pieces with the use of these literary devices. Now that is music to our ears!
Posted by Mary Curran
Did you know that the male and female downy woodpecker look almost exactly alike? The main difference is a small red patch on the back of the male’s head. Second graders learned this and much more about how to identify many of the common birds that can be found on the Unquowa campus. Students practiced using binoculars and field guides to identify birds at our feeding station located along the Horse Tavern Brook. They were thrilled to observe a variety of birds including white breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees, mourning doves, a red-bellied woodpecker and even a pair of male and female mallards swimming in the brook. In the Explorations Room, students used microscopes and hand lenses to examine the details of a feather and learned that birds have beaks adapted to the type of food they eat. In addition, they continued to hone their skills at bird identification by coloring the field marks of blue jays, cardinals and goldfinches.