11 May

Summer 2018: The Clock is Ticking!

Enrich your summer with D-E 360° Summer Connections! An exceptional day camp for Preschool – Grade 12, June 25 – August 3, 2018.

Discoveries & Adventures for our youngest campers in Preschool – Grade 4 includes “Passports around the World”! Campers will learn about continents around the globe, from Africa and Europe to Central, North, and South America, exploring what affects everyday life on Earth.

For campers in Grades 5 and up, select from amazing ‘a la carte’ Enrichment courses in arts, athletics, business entrepreneurship, cooking, STEM, and more further enhance your experience. Courses available from 1 – 6 weeks in duration!

Hurry, space is limited! Register online today: de360.d-e.org

11 May

Talking with 5th Grade Students about Race Ethnicity, and Nationality

Submitted by Dr. Mirangela Buggs, Director of Diversity and Equity Engagement

In February and March, I had the pleasure of working with the 5th grade around matters of diversity and equity. Given our racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse community at D-E, Ms. Lewis and 5th grade teachers thought it was important for students to “lean-in” to some discussions that shape their lives and realities as young people.  For the first session in February, Ms. Lisa Wittner, the 11th grade Dean, came along with me, and we together created an experience for 5th graders to engage in some learning and open talk about race, ethnicity and nationality. We facilitated a workshop “Talking About Race, Ethnicity and Nationality” which involved some interactive activities and spaces for conversation. Students learned the definitions of and differences between race, ethnicity and nationality, and they were asked to work in small groups, to engage in some personal reflections, and to be in dialogue with their 5th grade peers.

In March, Upper School student members of the INSPIRE club— Autumn, Leroy, Angie, India, and Haley—along with Ms. Debbie Rivera Murphy, Upper School Director of Student activities and Community Services, Dr. Mirangela Buggs, and Ms. Wittner returned to co-facilitate a second workshop with 5th graders to help them continue the conversation. 5th graders had the opportunity to hear from, learn with and be led by older students in this important second dialogue where students reflected more deeply, sharing their personal experiences and observations about race and ethnicity in their lives and at school.

We were all so excited to do this work with 5th graders. The Upper School students, especially, were moved by the experience. They discussed later how they wished they had opportunities to talk about race, ethnicity and nationality when they were in lower school. Research shows that racial identity, attitudes about race, and racial bias develop among very young children in our society. Thus, the invitation to initiate a safe space for these conversations with young students at D-E was important, fun and hopefully impactful.

11 May

Unity is Strength

Submitted by Sophia Dorner, Ericka Collado, Ed. D, and Jennifer Koteles on behalf of the Lower School Diversity Professional Learning Group (Madison Farrar, Ashley Gray, Sandra Harrison, and Mary Heveran)

“In union there is strength.”

Aesop

Our Diversity Values statement reads “The worth and dignity of every person at all levels of work, study, and play are paramount at Dwight-Englewood across any artificial lines of exclusion.”

In aligning with this mission, the Lower School sought to become one with the Middle and Upper School during two special days of reflection in April-Holocaust Remembrance Day and A Day of Silence. The Diversity Professional Learning Committee under the guidance of our new Director of Equity & Diversity Engagement, Dr. Mirangela Buggs, took hold of the vision with a slightly different focus. The days leading up to Wednesday, April 11th, A Day of Unity, and Friday, April 27th, A Day of Acceptance were used to prepare students for a school-wide emphasis on love, kindness, individuality and acceptance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018-A Day of Unity:

To connect our students to the continued celebration of our commonalities and differences as they experience the concepts of unity and peace, we used the transformative art pieces created with Maureen Bennett last year. Bennett, a visual artist, who works in oils, acrylics, pastels, graphite, mixed media and collage helped us to create Giant Eames cards with photographs of each child’s hands holding a decorated egg they created on top of a color-coded backdrop.  A group photo with all of the eggs for each grade was taken showing the children the unification of their class, and grade level, bringing the focus back to unity and peace for us all. For the Diversity Professional Learning Committee this was important because this final concept solidifies the idea of how we need to unify despite our differences to stamp out hate that leads to disharmony in the form of hate crimes and atrocities like genocide. Last year’s Eames cards were distributed to the grades that the children are currently in so that they could revisit their work, with our youngest children, preschool 3 and 4, receiving the cards of our 5th grade graduates.

The classroom teachers led all children in reading and/or viewing the story The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf. They guided the children into reconfiguring the Eames cards to create a “Unity Tower”, as well as led the children in completion of a new art and literacy activity. In this activity, all children decorated their own crayon with their photo or self-portrait at the center. Students then used the other side to respond to the sentence starter “I am unique because…”. Crayons and towers were displayed in the halls for all to see.

Friday, April 27, 2018-A Day of Acceptance

Our support of the Day of Silence, is presented as A Day of Acceptance, and actually began the Friday before the national day of recognition with the creation of a Peace & Unity chain by the students of the Lower School. This chain was created using a specific color to represent each grade level. Each student was provided with a single strip of colored construction paper on which to write a word or draw a simple picture of encouragement. Classroom teachers linked the strips for their classes and then strips were linked by grade. The end product was delivered to the Upper School GSA as a gift of support to be used at their assembly program on Monday, April 23rd.

On April 27th teachers shared with their students that at D-E we believe in treating everyone fairly and equally. National Day of Silence is a day when some gay and lesbian people and their families and friends choose to be silent. The silence on this day is meant to show support for gay and lesbian people who are afraid to talk about who they are. The silence is meant to show others that it is wrong to treat gay and lesbian people and their families differently. Students had the option of wearing an anti-bullying sticker of support. The entire school read the story Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer. Each grade had a discussion about different types of families. This day and the activities align with the Dwight-Englewood diversity values statement and encourages our children to treat everyone fairly and equally because in union there is strength.

11 May

4th Grade Social Studies

Submitted by Michael Rodenbush, Kristin Geller, and Ronda Sowa

Throughout the fall, the fourth grade concentrated on geography and the economy. We learned about the seven continents, the hemispheres, longitude and latitude, countries, states and oceans. Also, we learned about the history of money. Roman soldiers were paid in salt! Hence the phrase, ‘Not worth his salt.’ We learned about the advent coins and paper money, the difference between a good and a service, and how scarcity can affect the price of a product.

In the winter trimester, we were invited to participate in an entrepreneur workshop by high school teacher Peter Waltman. The children worked in teams to develop a product and a business plan. They learned about SWOT Analysis – how to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Each team put together a PowerPoint presentation at the end of the workshop. The goal of the presentation to convince investors to put money into their business.

At the beginning of the spring semester, we began the World Peace Game with all three fourth- grade classes participating. There are four countries that are represented by a Prime Minister and three cabinet members—a Secretary of State, a Minister of Defense and a Chief Financial Officer. There are two Members of the World bank, a Saboteur, two members of the United Nations and 2 Weather Gods/Goddesses who are in charge of keeping the game organized and determining the weather and the behavior of the stock market. The players are faced with twenty-two problems, many of which interconnect. There military, ethnic, religious, ecological and economic issues that run through the problems. The children learn how to negotiate, draft a treaty that is enforceable, obey the chain of command, balance a budget and solve problems that have no readily apparent solution. The game is successfully completed when all countries establish peace for their nation and all nations, increase prosperity for their nation and all nations, and solve all military, social and economic problems.

We will be visiting the United Nations next week to tour and get some insight as to how countries come together and attempt to solve problems peacefully.

02 Mar

AfterCare & Enrichment (ACE) Spring Open House Events

Join us! We are hosting a series of “Open Houses” for families considering D-E 360° AfterCare & Enrichment for the Spring. Please join us for one or all of our festivities.  To register click here or go to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Bjd8uF35Slj6vmD13Gm6Wf6SDZljNp-NBs7Kb5PW_vM/edit?ts=5a957419

Students who are NOT currently enrolled in ACE must be accompanied by a parent.  These events are free to everyone.

All students – current or new – must enroll for the Chess Tournament and the Pasta Dinner, simply for matters of planning.

Friday, March 2:

  • Students participate in Gym Games 3:45-4:15 (parents observe, obviously!).
  • Fencing at 4:30, parents and students can watch a class in progress.

Tuesday, March 6:

  • Family Pasta Dinner, 5:30. Prepared and served by our current Snacktivities students. Bring the whole family for a delicious, simple meal of pasta, garlic bread and a little dessert.

Wednesday, March 7

  • 3:00 Join our Animal Visiting Class in Swartley
  • 3:15-4:15 Take a peek at Homework Club in action
  • 4:30 observe Chess and Coding classes.
  • 5:00-6:15 Open Chess Tournament for All Abilities!
    • Our current Chess Team welcomes their classmates to participate in a friendly, introductory Chess tournament. I expect to see an array of talent – from serious play to very basic introductions.
    • Please stop by!
    • Chess tables will be set up for parent play, too!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at keighs@d-e.org. Please  RSVP at THIS LINK HERE.

See you at the Clubhouse!

Sharon

Sharon Keigher

ACE Director

02 Mar

Black History Month

 

Submitted by Mary Heveran

On Wednesday, February 21, an assembly was presented in honor of Black History Month.  The assembly was entitled “Rosa Louise McCauly Park – the Spark for the Civil Rights Movement.”

This wonderful presentation included actress/historical presenter Scottie Davis who portrayed the life of Rosa Parks from a young woman up until the days before and after the bus boycott.  Also participating were fifth grade students Rik, Brandon, Ben, Lisa, Kobi, Gabrielle, Orli, Alia, Ethan, Guy, and Kennedi.

The performance included acting and singing as well as audience participation with songs such as We Shall Overcome and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.  We all enjoyed the assembly and were once again reminded of the struggles of the people during the Civil Rights movement as well as what courage looks like.

The assembly was part of an arts initiative with Arts Horizons, a company that strongly believes in the power of arts in education.

02 Mar

Lower School Wellness Week is All Heart!

Submitted by Kim Franco

Soon the sound of snapping ropes, stomping feet and bouncing basketballs will fill the hallways of the Lower School as we participate in our annual Jump Rope and Hoop for Heart event and fundraiser to support The American Heart Association (AHA). Over the past five years we have raised a significant amount of money thanks to the generous and thoughtful students and families of the D-E community. Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart is a fun and effective way to teach how to live a healthy lifestyle. It emphasizes the importance of physical activity, while students are doing something they enjoy.

The event will take place during the Health and Wellness Department’s Wellness Week held next week, from March 5-9, 2018. All students, from preschool through fifth grade, will participate in the program during their physical education classes. Families that choose to donate can begin raising money in a variety of ways prior to, as well as after the event. Collection envelopes will be supplied and AHA provides Dwight-Englewood with a web page for online donations. The final day donation envelopes will be collected April 6, 2018

During the event, there will be music and dancing, jump rope contests and basketball shooting competitions for the students which include the most consecutive jumps, the longest time jumping rope, jump rope tricks, foul shooting contest and hot shot contest. Students will use pedometers to track how many steps they can register during their class time. The event is going to be a BLAST!

02 Mar

Science Spotlight: Grade 1 – 4

Submitted by Beth Lemire

The science room continues to be a very busy place. While first graders have been studying animal homes to coincide with their study of human Houses and Homes in the classroom, second graders have been learning about the states of matter and molecules.  Third graders deepen their study of states of matter at this time of year.  Each grade learns songs appropriate for their studies and while learning about polymers they make “gak”, and non-newtonian fluids they experiment with “oobleck” (cornstarch and water). Finally, fun dry ice demonstrations abound in order to facilitate learning about sublimation!

Fourth grade combines the Hudson River study with simple machines, electricity and even a little technology to create some very interesting board games! This has been an on-going endeavor that involves a lot of creative thinking, planning and small group work. While utilizing facts about the Hudson River children have used woodworking, Paper Mache and their newly honed electrical skills to create fun and informative games to play and share. In the Spring, they will re-open their Hudson River models in the outdoor garden beds that they began in the fall. Liners will be measured and secured and they will install a pump so that that it becomes a working model. Bridges and points of interest along the way will finish the project. In May, the study will culminate with a sailing trip on the Clearwater Sloop, a replica of a 19th century sloop that sailed the Hudson. You can take a look at the sloop at http://www.clearwater.org/about/the-clearwater-story/. Of course they will be planning the garden as well so it will be a busy time indeed!

02 Mar

Science Spotlight: Early Childhood

 Submitted by Julie Pugkhem

Science in early childhood offers an opportunity to focus and build on the children’s awareness of the environment around them and the compassion that they can show to one another, to animals, and to our community.  When children arrive in science, their first questions are always about the animals in our room.  They care so deeply about the fish, the rabbits, “Katherine” and “Rube”, and our hamster, Einstein.

They always ask, “Did the fish eat today?”  “Are the bunnies cold in the winter?”  “Where is Einstein?  Is he still sleeping?”  They make observations about the rabbits and show an understanding that they must be careful, calm, and quiet when they enter the room so that we do what is best for the animals.

As well as caring for the animals in our classroom, the children have been making beautiful ice ornaments that also serve to provide food for the birds outside during the winter.  The children have been enjoying watching water freeze into ice and they very carefully choose branches on which to hang each ice ornament.

On days when it is far too cold to be outdoors, the children have been exploring magnets and their properties.  Inquiry guides their experiences as they wonder and ask many questions. “Which materials stick to the magnets?”  “Do magnets stick to all metals – even aluminum foil and coins?”  “Are there materials in nature that have magnetic properties?”

The children have experimented and learned that magnets stick to paper clips, the doors around the lower school, chair legs, and even some rocks!  They also learned that magnets do not stick to wood, plastic, or coins.  They discovered that magnets have two poles, North and South, and that opposite poles attract one another and like poles repel one another.

Having some fun with magnets, the children in preschool “painted” beautiful pictures using magnet wands and magnetic items such as disc magnets, ball bearings, and latch magnets. They were very successful and were able to be creative without getting paint on their hands or on the magnet wands! The kindergarten children carefully illustrated and created their own magical magnetic flying kites!

As the school year continues, we look forward to welcoming warmer weather and the beginning of spring where we can notice all the magic of that season — flower buds sprouting out from the ground and trees beginning to grow new foliage.  The spring at D-E offers more than just a time for the children to observe growth in nature, it is also a time for the children to grow cognitively and physically, to make connections with nature and their environment, and to look forward to the prospect of new beginnings.

09 Feb

Third Graders Making a Difference: Giving of ourselves to the Bergen Family Center and St. Joseph’s School for the Blind

Contributed by Michelle Sussmann and Roni Kanter

“Last night I dreamed about helping someone,” reported one third grader on the morning of our Third Graders Making a Difference trip.  Each month third graders work on a project that is carefully chosen to help different groups of people both near and far.  Equally important, the work is done by the children so that the amount of effort they put in is a direct correlation to the amount of difference they make.  January’s project was unique in that it provided an opportunity for third graders to truly participate in every part of the process – from start to finish.

As we do each month, we kicked off this project by gathering as a grade.  Together we listened to Ben Harper’s “With My Own Two Hands.”  The song begins with “I can change the world – with my own two hands.  Make it a better place – with my own two hands.  Make a kinder place – with my own two hands.”  Students immediately got the message that they would be working with their hands.  Students then learned that this month they would be helping The Bergen Family Center, a wonderful place right here in Englewood, that helps infants through senior citizens in so many ways.

With the support of the families, students spent two weeks “working” at home, doing certain extra chores and helping their families.  The more they worked, the more they got paid.  At the end of the two weeks, they were paid their wages, then they had a week to shop for specific items that the BFC needs.  Students were encouraged to shop with their parents, giving them a sense of the cost of the items and how much their money could buy.  Next the items were brought to school.  When they arrived, one student remarked that she was surprised by how they much they had collected.  Finally, on January 29th, students loaded the bus with their items and personally delivered them to the Bergen Family Center.

Bergen Family Center is a not-for-profit center in Englewood that serves families in need by working with people ranging in age from four months old to senior citizens. Once at the Center, third graders toured the facility so they could see first-hand where their hard-earned items would be going and exactly who they would be helping.  After completing the tour, one student said, “I thought it was amazing that they were able to grow this whole place with most people not even paying to go.”  Another student remarked, “I felt proud because we had so much to bring.”

So often when we make a donation or help a charity, our money is sent off, and we never truly get to see where it is going.  It is a rare and special opportunity when we can see, first hand, where our donation goes.  Third graders are lucky to have this opportunity twice this year.  During the month of February, not only did we take a trip to the Bergen Family Center, we also took a trip to St. Joseph’s School for the Blind in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Our students were able to tour the school and meet the amazing students of St. Joseph’s School.  They were also able to see some of the purchases that the school has been able to make thanks to our year-round “Box Tops for Education” collection.  Each experience seemed to have great impact on the students.   Several students said they want to continue to help these wonderful organizations in the future. This is precisely our goal, which is to foster a lifelong love of giving back and making a difference.