19 May

A Day with Dan Gutman

Wednesday was a banner day in the Lower School.  Dan Gutman, award-winning author of 130 children’s books, spent the day visiting with our students.  Mr. Gutman read to our kindergarten and spent a great deal of his time with grades first through fifth, sharing his stories of growing up and learning to love reading, which didn’t always come easily.

Asked what he liked the most about Dan Gutman’s presentation, fourth grader Victor said, “I liked the way he told us never to give up by showing us a big book of all his rejection letters from publishers!”

Perseverance in writing, or anything you set yourself to accomplish, was Dan’s big message for the Lower School! Dan lunched with 10 Lower School students. He listened to all their opinions on characters and plots in his books, and then he asked each one to share hopes and dreams for the future!  “He said important things in a funny way,” reported Ellie, one of the students who shared lunch with Mr. Gutman.

Time flew! It always does when you are having fun!

Contributed by Sheila Sienicki, Lower School Librarian

19 May

A Day with Don Quixote

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, the hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha traveled across fictional time and space to visit our fifth-grade students. Rumor has it that he was fighting giants with strange arms somewhere in Spain. He was immersed in the reading of his book of chivalries, when he walked into Mr. Swanson’s classroom. He was astonished to arrive at the village of young people who learn Spanish. The Don answered questions in Spanish from the students about himself, Sancho Panza and his battles. We learned that he is over 400 years old, and he is not crazy as most people believe. The conversation was lively with much laughter, energetic long handshakes, and a few attacks by immoral monsters (aka the projector and the whiteboards.) The Don also conducted the dubbing of Sir Elliot and Lady Sierra who are now honorary knights. He left promptly at fourteen hundred hours because his niece and housekeeper were preparing lentejas (lentil soup) back home, one of his favorite meals. However, Don Quixote promised to return next year to the village of the young people who learn, laugh, sing and speak Spanish, where he spent such a lovely afternoon.

09 May

The Great 48! – 5th Grade Opera Production

The 5th graders of Dwight-Englewood School have worked all year long to create an original opera, entitled If It’s Broken… Who Will Fix It? which they performed to a full house on Thursday, April 27.  The theme they chose for the opera was “perseverance”, because the 5th graders all related to the experience of not giving up when facing an obstacle, whether it be physical, academic or personal.

The Great 48 Opera Company was made up of 48 students who each had a different job, including composer, performer, writer, public relations officer, electrician, stage manager, set designer, costume & makeup designer, carpenter, electrician, historian, and production manager. Composer Davide Orlov thinks that being a composer was fun, although “you can’t fool around, because it’s a tough job.” Writer Uma Rajan adds, “Writing in the opera was very stressful, but you get to watch the opera over and over again, which was a good thing.”

D-E teacher Mary Heveran has directed this program from the Metropolitan Opera Education Department for the past 31 years. “Every year I continue to be amazed at what children can do on their own when given the opportunity.  This program is one of the finest examples of project-based learning,” she says. Ella Siminou, a public relations officer, summed up the experience, “The opera all came together because we all cooperated and persevered!”