February News from the Big Apple
Our Children's Voices
By Erica Reynolds Hager
We give voice to our students in so many ways at Applewild. First, we help them find their voice. Through writing, reading, theatre, visual art, singing, negotiating a difficult social moment, or speaking in another language, the seal is opened. In these middle school years, kids try on different voices in their quest for identity. As we teach them to be reflective, they will learn to honor their true voice once it emerges. No question, when our students leave us after eighth grade, they are not finished products. It will be some time before that final voice emerges; perhaps in high school, college, or maybe even not until their time out in our world making a difference.
It is always important then, to hear what these “voices in progress” have to say. When we read our students' poetry, listen to their insights about a novel or science experiment, hear their problem solving approach, or listen as they share a worry, we are giving them a way to practice, helping them listen to their own emerging identity. The Eleanor Crow Public Speaking Contest is a longstanding tradition at Applewild, and this year, as always, our eighth grade class blew us away with their insights and passions. Topics included the power of protest, what respect means, being the big kid, relishing childhood, the power of metaphors, the fight against cancer, being a control freak and many more! It's a privilege to listen.
We rang in the Lunar, or Chinese, New Year in style yesterday. Lanterns and banners are hanging around school along with informative posters made by the students. Our international students shared wonderful information about this important holiday and how they each celebrate with their families. It is such an enriching thing to have students from different cultures in our community; we all learned and lot and enjoyed sharing in the celebration!
The winter continues on with so much happening all over campus! Come see the US play on February 27 or March 1! Come see some basketball games! Art is being made, Shakespeare being rehearsed; there's never dull moment in Upper School. Our students arrive every day, ready to learn, work hard, and be good members of our community. I look forward to seeing you around campus!
It is an exciting time of the year on the hill. Upper School students have been engaged in a number of hands on activities and learning opportunities in their science classes. Here is a sample of what they have been up to:
Sixth graders recently completed their second unit, “Where are we in space and time?”. One of their culminating activities was a “field trip” to Montana, where they acted as paleontologists in search of dinosaur bones. They exercised their imaginations, critical thinking, and collaborative skills, and got a feel for the team work and challenges faced by real scientists. Students also completed short stories related to fossil discovery. They artfully incorporated scientific terms and vocabulary. Some stories were realistic and others trended towards science fiction. All were creative and well-done.
The next unit question for sixth grade is “What does it mean to be alive?” (another big question!) Last week, students thoughtfully pondered the question, “Is Fire Alive?” and were engaged and eager participants in the “Marty the Martian” trial. Now that they are familiar with the characteristics of living things, they will start to explore cell structure and processes and complete a microscope lab next week!
Seventh graders have completed their study of the properties of matter and physical science. They are starting their chemistry unit and have become familiar with elements and periodic table trends. Last week, each student selected one element to study and created a three dimensional Bohr Model for their element. They used household and craft items to represent the different subatomic particles (electrons, protons, neutrons) in the atom. The models were fun to make and helped students get a feel for how much atomic structure varies between elements. Next up is the periodic table t-shirt project, in which students will design a t-shirt logo using atomic symbols and will be required to demonstrate their understanding of periodic table trends.
In addition to modeling atoms and elements, students were able to get a firsthand glimpse of how different elements react. On January 29, Sandra Kelly, an Applewild parent and chemistry teacher at the Groton School, visited Mrs. Surette’s science classes. She demonstrated how different alkali and alkaline metals react with water. It was fun for students to get a glimpse of higher level chemistry and some explosively fun reactions.
Eighth graders have finished their ecology unit and are working on independent invasive species research projects. An invasive species is an organism, usually not native to an ecosystem, that has no natural predators and upsets the ecological balance of that ecosystem. Each eighth grade student has selected a specific organism that they will study and prepare a project for, which will be shared at a symposium type “Lunch and Learn “ later this winter. The project kicked off with a visit from irobot’s Direct of Engineering, Adam Cantor. Adam visited the eighth grade classes and talked about his experiences designing an underwater robot to combat the invasive Red Lionfish. The Red Lionfish has been dubbed “Darwin’s Nightmare” and is very problematic in the Caribbean and along the southern Atlantic coast. The robot he designed has been quite successful in capturing the fish! It was an inspiring story for students to hear and they appreciated the amount of trial and error that went into the robot. It’s okay to fail!
With the snowfall last week, eighth graders took advantage of the opportunity to get outside and look for animal tracks around campus. They identified white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, gray fox, mink, and weasel tracks, and what might be evidence of a bobcat! Hopefully there will be more snow to come, and with it, more opportunities for wildlife observation!
Here’s something to discuss at the dinner table-
At a conference I attended recently, the speaker mentioned a widely circulated video where Harvard graduates were asked a question that most were unable to answer correctly. The question was “Where does the mass of a tree come from?” I posed it to the eighth grade classes last week and was not surprised to find that they were able to respond correctly.
Feed the Pigs- Applewild’s newest sustainability initiative
According to the Chinese (lunar) calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig! It’s a happy coincidence that this year’s new sustainability project focuses on how Applewild can eliminate our food waste by partnering with a local farm and providing food for their pigs!
Megan Glennon with some of the Moonlight Farm piglets that we will be helping to feed
Photo from Instagram.com
Food waste is a major problem in the United States. According to a recent study, approximately 25 % of available food in the U.S ends up in the garbage each day. We are so glad that we can do our part to reduce this!
Starting two weeks ago, Applewild students have been collecting and compiling their food waste at the end of lunch. These scraps are being collected by Moonlight Farm and will be used to feed their pigs. Moonlight Farm is located in Ashby, Massachusetts and is owned by Megan Glennon and Aidan Davin. You might recognize Aidan Davin from the local florist, DeBonis & Davin Florist, located at the bottom of Prospect Street . This is a great opportunity for Applewild to connect to our local community and support our neighbors while being more sustainable.
Moonlight Farm is a ‘cide’ free farm, meaning they use 100% natural growing methods, and avoid pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. We are looking forward to this ongoing partnership and encourage members of the Applewild community to visit the farm! Check out this video to learn more about them: https://vimeo.com/116069481
Our 8th grade staffers have been working hard since the fall to produce another fine Prospector yearbook for the school community.
They are on schedule and have been able to meet their deadlines. All pages have to be submitted to the publisher, Jostens, before the March break, so the final deadline is looming.
Please note that our final order will be due 2/28, and anyone wishing to order personalization or optional items must do so by midnight on 2/22. After 2/28 we cannot guarantee that you will receive a yearbook, so please order soon if you haven't already done so. You may order your yearbook by going to www.jostens.com and following the online prompts.
2/11 Jazz Band
2/15 Ski Club
2/18 No School
2/19 No School
2/21 Family Math Night @3:45
2/22 After School Social @3:45-5:45
2/25 Spirit Week!
2/27 Play Cast Dinner @6pm
2/27 7/8 Grade Play @7pm
3/2 Regional History Day
3/2 SSAT Testing
3/4 Marshall Fund Residence Week w/Adam Ezra
3/11 Spring Break
3/25 Classes Resume
3/25 Spring Sports Begin