25 May

4th Grade Hudson River Study

Submitted by Beth Lemire

On Tuesday, May 22, the fourth-grade classes took a trip to the Clearwater Sloop.  The sloop is a replica of the 19th-century sloops that once sailed the Hudson.

Singer/songwriter/environmentalist Pete Seeger created it along with programs to educate others about the Hudson River.

Children participated in six different activities onboard including turbidity tests, navigation, living animals, knot tying and more.  Although it was a bit rainy, they were still in awe at the majesty of the river and the natural beauty of Storm King Mountain.

By giving children the opportunity to experience the Hudson away from the city area along with the educational activities provided, it is my hope that they will better understand the importance of keeping our waterways clean.

If you are interested in a family sail and to find out more about the Clearwater visit https://www.clearwater.org/  .


Photo credit: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Daniel Mennerich https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielmennerich/

25 May

We Are Making A Difference!

Submitted by Ms. Kanter and Ms. Sussman

It’s been four years since the start of Third Graders Making a Difference, our curriculum for giving back, and the program continues to grow and flourish.  Students enthusiastically participate in each project while growing a greater appreciation for making a difference in the lives of others and the world.  In the last few months, we have been very busy doing just that!

In March Third Graders learned about the homeless and people who are having trouble paying for the things they need to survive – things like shampoo and soap.  We asked the whole Lower School to help with this collection and in the end, we collected 1,253 toiletries. We gave them to the Center for Food Action to give to families in need. Over the past four years, the Lower School has helped us to collect over 4,500 toiletries!

In April Third Graders worked to help the whole world.  First, we read about how plastic bags are bad for the environment.  After learning this, we wanted to make a difference not just in our lives, but in the lives of others.  So, we took what we learned in writing workshop and we wrote persuasive letters to people trying to convince them to use reusable canvas bags instead of plastic bags.  Then, we designed and decorated two canvas bags. We kept one for ourselves, and we gave the other to the person we wrote the persuasive letter to. This was our way of helping make a change so that people use less plastic and more canvas bags.

In May, we continued the long tradition of the used book sale.  We, once again, asked the Lower School to bring in their gently used books.  Then we held a sale where everyone could shop for great books at really good prices.  We raised over $2100! Even after making all that money we still had books leftover. The books will be donated to a school in Africa that doesn’t have many books.  Over the past four years, not only have so many of us purchased great books, but we have raised a total of over $7,200!

This month’s project was especially exciting because by this point, Third Graders had had learned so much about making a difference that they got to be in charge of where all the money would go.  First students chose a charity that was close to their hearts, then they did research on that charity. Next students wrote a persuasive speech about why they feel that charity should get the book sale money.

Here’s an excerpt of what one student wrote for his persuasive speech…

Can you imagine life without sight?  Would you even know what to do? In an unprepared school, you would be stumbling, bumping into objects and other people and have no way to study reading.  Not so with the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind.

St. Joseph’s School for the Blind is a very charitable and welcoming organization.  They give without getting back anything except gratitude. We need to give something back to this organization that has done so much for people with visual impairments – the considerable proceeds of the Third Grade Used Book Sale.

This is where you come in.  You need to vote for St. Joseph’s for the world to reap the full benefits of this generous nonprofit organization.  Additional funding could help St. Joseph’s students access the community more easily and thoroughly and in turn, we could learn more about their lives and how we are connected.

Give people with visual impairments a proper education.  Vote for St. Joseph’s School or the Blind!

Everyone in the grade and even some 4th graders came to our presentations.  Then everyone voted for the charity they thought the money should go to.  The votes have been tallied, and the money will go to The World Wildlife Fund and Hope for Paws—two worthwhile charities.

This year the Third Grade created a piece of art and poem to commemorate our year’s work of making a difference. We’re going to donate it to the Lower School, so we can all be reminded to make a difference every day.

Our year of giving was celebrated with an assembly on May 23rd.  Third Graders shared all they accomplished throughout the year.  Hoping their audience was inspired to make a difference over the summer, they announced this summer’s call to action.  All Lower School families were asked to clean out their Halloween costume collection and bring any costumes they no longer need to school in September.  These costumes will be donated to the Bergen Family Center right here in Englewood. They will be able to provide a “pop-up shop” for families to get great costumes for free.

Not only were so many helped in so many ways this year, but Third Graders learned important, lifelong lessons.

Upon reflecting about the year, Lucy said, “From our work this year, I learned that you should always be thankful for what you have because a lot of people around the world don’t have what you have.”

Ade said, I learned that if you give a little bit, it will make a BIG difference in the world.

And Chelsea said, “A lesson I learned is that you’re never too young to make a difference.”

Thanks to all community members who supported our year-long efforts.  We all helped to Make a Difference!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.”


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.