12 Nov

Math Night

Our recent Lower School Math Night, held Thursday Oct. 29th, was well attended by families from preschool through fifth grade. Problem-based mathematics, Singapore math, conceptual understanding and math-fact fluency were explored and highlighted throughout the evening in parent participation, student work, and teacher presentations.

The evening began with parents working on a challenging card trick – an open-ended problem-solving experience similar to the activities in which our students engage here at school. Parents worked independently or collaboratively on the Massoud Steps of the Hajjar STEM center as fifth-grade students acted as facilitators, suggesting that parents use strategies including: try something and then adjust, use logic, or work backwards.  Many parents experienced both frustration and eventual elation after working hard to solve this challenging problem.

The walls of the Hajjar STEM center were covered with a variety of Lower School student math work, so families could see how our students use bar models, algorithms and their own strategies to solve challenging problems.

Lower School math specialist, Cecily Gottling, chair of the math department, John King, Lower School principal, Kim Lewis, and assistant principal, Susan Abramson, alongside Lower School faculty Tim Coyne, Rachel DiGiovanni, Tricia Fiore, Jennifer Koteles, Jessica Rullo and Michael Rodenbush all took part in explaining the rationale for the various components of our math curriculum as well as how each year builds skills and concepts toward the next grade level from our early childhood program through fifth grade and beyond.

John King described the philosophy of the Middle and Upper School math curriculum and how the program in those divisions rests upon the strong foundational work students do in Lower School.

The evening culminated with insightful questions and comments from families. We hope the evening provided a window into the type of work and thinking children are doing in mathematics here at the Lower School. We look forward to future events designed to build a strong parent-school partnership in developing the math talent of all our students.

12 Nov

Diwali

On November 4th the Lower School was treated to a beautiful assembly featuring the Indian holiday of Diwali, the Festival of Lights! We learned that Diwali is the biggest and brightest of Indian festivals and is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs all over the world. Diwali is celebrated over four days and commemorates the victory of good over evil. Diwali is a festival of the light which dispels the darkness of our ignorance; it is a festival of the light which shows us the way on our journey through life. It is also a time for new beginnings and the Indian New Year.  Many people celebrate by going to temple and offering sweets to Lord Ganesh (god of good fortune and remover of obstacles) and Goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity).

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At our assembly students who celebrate Diwali shared their traditions with all of us. After an introduction to the holiday by fifth-grade student Dhanesh, pre-school student Sara performed a traditional dance. Uma, Aanya, Sujan, Victor and Anya explained in their own words the origin and significance of Diwali. Arav showed pictures to help us imagine how fireworks light up the sky during this celebration, and Rohin and Vir performed a traditional Bhangra dance. Finally, bringing the celebration to a most impressive finale, all of the children performed a Dandia dance.

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This beautiful celebration helped us all learn about a holiday important to so many of our students and their families, and we are most grateful to the families who organized, performed and helped us celebrate! Happy Diwali!

Written by 5th grader students, Khush, Dhanesh, Anya, Arav, Sujan and Victor.

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