Two “amazing” 5th graders presented a check, holiday gifts and hand written cards from students at the D-E Lower School to Lynn Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Tomorrows Children’s Fund (TCF) at the Hackensack University Medical Center. LS 5th grade teacher Mr. Ostrer shares that “Gabi ’23 and Anya ’23 thought of this project all by themselves. They created a plan and presented it to Ms. Lewis, Ms. A and the D-E Fundraising Committee. The plan was slightly modified based on experience of other fundraisers here on campus and then the girls were set loose. They ordered and purchased products off the web to sell here at the LS and organized a group of 5th graders to help. They even advertised customized bracelets for an extra $3 and did the customization at home. Their creativity and ingenuity are truly inspiring.”
Submitted by Mary Heveran
On Tuesday, Dec. 1 the Different Voices Opera Company attended a final dress rehearsal of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. It was an amazing experience! Prior to attending the performance, students were introduced to the music, setting, and plot of the opera. They also learned about the different voices for each character – soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and bass. The students also acted out various scenes from the opera and discussed the relationships of the characters to one another.
Students were also very excited to learn a little about the opera house itself, including facts such as a single African rosewood tree was used to panel the walls, and that the ceiling of the opera house is covered with over one million 2 ½ square sheets of nearly transparent 23-carat gold leaf!
We were all very fortunate to attend a performance that included Susanna Phillips and Susan Graham, as well as the genius of the great conductor of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, James Levine. Speaking of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra, the parents of 5th grader, Annalise, are members of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and came up to speak with us during one of the intermissions. They shared information about the music, their work and what it is like working with Maestro Levine and other conductors.
The students were truly excited to see a professional opera production and see how the job they have in their 5th grade opera company leads to a live production. It was such a privilege to have the opportunity to hear their excitement about the full experience. We all left the opera house filled with joy and excitement as we continue our process of creating our own original opera!
Submitted by Ms. Blaustein and Miss Sussmann
This year, third graders are participating in a very special curriculum called “Third Graders Making a Difference.” Each month they help different groups, both locally and internationally, through a variety of student-driven projects.
In September, third graders brought in used shoes that were given to “Soles 4 Souls,” an organization that distributes the shoes to those in need. In October, a school wide Box Tops for Education collection began. We have already collected over $50 worth of box tops thanks to the support of the whole Lower School. The money we raise will go to St. Joseph’s School for the Blind in Jersey City. In November, we joined the entire D-E community and collected canned food products for those in our area who are in need. We are also playing the online game called FreeRice.com, which helps us feed people all over the world.
For the month of December, we invited the whole Lower School to participate in our pajama drive. During the drive, we collected 176 pajama sets to donate to children and adults who are living in group homes, shelters and orphanages. Thank you for helping us to help others who are less fortunate.
Visit the fourth-grade classroom of Mr. Rodenbush and you will see a large, multi-level game board that is the center of an exciting social studies unit and experience called the World Peace Game. The World Peace Game is a hands-on, political simulation, created by renown educator John Hunter, that gives fourth-grade students an opportunity to explore how our world is linked through economic, social, and environmental connections. Working in teams that represent countries, students reenact the types of scenarios that exist in our very own world – from economic crises to natural disasters to conflicts over values and resources – they strive towards the goal of not only extricating their own country from these situations, but also towards working collaboratively with other countries to bring as much peace and prosperity to their simulated world as they can.
The experience of the World Peace Game puts children in situations that require them to think critically and strategically, listen carefully and consider perspectives other than their own. Anticipating the world they will inherit, the game helps them become problem-solvers.
Abi says, “I like the game and the way it connects to the real world. There are wars going on in the world, but in the World Peace Game we are trying to solve the problems causing the wars. We find out how to solve the problems so we can stop the wars before they happen, and we are helping each other and connecting the countries to one another in a good way.”
River adds, “I like that we get to work as a whole grade. The two classes work together, and we are all learning world problems and the kinds of things that can happen in the world. It’s important for us to learn about the world so we can know about it when we are older and help stop problems.”
The World Peace Game asks children to consider the types of problems the world faces and come up with creative strategies to new and unknown situations: just as they will need to be able to do as they live their lives and work towards the mission of our school which asks us all to “meet the challenges of a changing world and make it better.
Listening to Gabby describe her experience, it’s easy to see how the World Peace Game is helping our students do just that. Gabby states, “I think it’s fun that we get to learn about different types of problems that can happen in the real world. If I grow up and I become president or secretary of state then this game will help me understand what to do because I will have had an idea of what I could have done to solve these very serious problems.”
As part of our Lower School Book Fair (photos), children and their families collected small change to raise money for All for Books, a program sponsored by Scholastic Publications, which helps raise money to provide books for children in need. The Lower School raised over $500 – which was matched by Scholastic – to purchase books.
During their recess times Lower School students in kindergarten through fifth grade volunteered to visit the book fair and select books for local children. We were able to purchase over 90 books, and this week students put together packages organized around a theme such as “Biographies for a Second Grader” or “Newberry Winners for a Fifth-Grade Reader” and wrapped them in festive paper. We are now getting ready to work alongside the Center for Food Action right here in Englewood to distribute beautifully gift-wrapped book packages to local children.
According to fourth-grader, Danny, this was a fun project to be involved with “because it’s going to help children in Englewood to have a happy holiday, and I think it’s nice that kids who can’t afford books can have them.”
The Lower School would like to thank all the families, faculty and friends who helped us raise money for All for Books! We are thrilled to be able to give back to our community at this time of year and always.