Dear Wise Families,

As we transition into Spring Break and a very much needed rest for our hard-working faculty, students and parents, we thought this would be a perfect time to celebrate the amazing learning that has been happening these past few weeks, albeit from a distance.  So, here is a collection of captured moments and student academic experiences that reveal the tremendous effort and ingenuity of our teachers and students!

Science – Younger students, learning about magnetism, were asked to locate objects and materials around their home that attracted or repelled magnets, and then chart their findings. Older students worked on research for their Science Fair projects, learning how to create different types of graphs in Google.

Kindergarten – Students being taught persuasive writing and how to “Write Letters to Reach Readers!”  Students wrote letters to Ms. Weiser about issues that matter to them. One boy wrote passionately and thoughtfully about the need to be more inclusive during recess and share the equipment with each other.
In Zoom reading groups, students are able not only to maintain social interactions and connections with their friends, but also work on essential Kindergarten reading readiness skills.

Physical Education – Coach Starr facilitating a 2nd grade work-out session via Zoom, with Mr. Meth participating!  Students were up on their feet, stretching, jumping, doing burpees and lunges and ab work, while Coach observed them and gave verbal pointers and reminders!  I even saw some parents doing the routines alongside their children!

1st grade – In one class, students had to use words from a word bank to write a long, multi-sentence paragraph about the last movie they saw that they really liked.  One student wrote about a show she recently watched about famous scientists, including Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, and Sir Isaac Newton, who formed theories about gravity. 

In another class, students had discussions in their Zoom session about the use of details and describing words (adjectives) in their writing, and then put their learning into practice through journal writes. One student wrote a long, descriptive narrative about a space adventure he’d had with aliens in their spaceship.

Judaic Studies3rd graders were given the writing prompt: “Miriam was a woman who inspired her people. Who is a woman who inspires you?”  Students’ finished pieces were a nice example of how we strive for integrated studies and cross-curricular learning experiences.  In this particular piece, students worked on their writing skills (proper paragraph structure and sequence, with an opening “lead” sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence) while at the same time focusing on themes within Judaic Studies.

2nd grade – Students used the Wise Learning Process (WLP), specifically the prompts of Depth and Complexity, to examine what is currently happening in our world.  Considering the topic of Safer-At-Home Distance Learning, students filled out an organizer in which they wrote down their Unanswered Questions, current Trends people are doing at home, things that have recently Changed, and new Rules that we have to follow.  Each of these prompts encourages students to think more deeply about ideas with which they’re grappling, and to make connections between topics and subject areas.

Visual Art – Ms. Navah walked our 5th-6th graders through the process of creating Found Object Imaginative Drawings.  Through video narration, Ms. Navah showed multiple examples of how to take ordinary household objects and, with a little imagination, turn them into engaging, humorous, and eye-catching works of art.  Kinder and 1st graders were taught how to create Found Art Robots.  They were asked to first draw a robot containing lots of different shapes, and then recreate that robot using objects found lying around the home or garden, or even the recycling bin.  Students were even encouraged to cut up the objects they found to make for smaller pieces of their robot.

3rd grade – Using various components of our Wise Learning Process, students undertook a Vending Machine Design Challenge. Considering the icon of Rules, they had to design a machine that fit within certain parameters that included offering healthier foods. Considering the icon of Multiple Perspectives, they had to write a persuasive paragraph of why their machine should be placed on our campus. 

Social/Emotional – Ms. Milonas had students discussing the skill of being able to see Multiple Perspectives when we are in a difficult situation. Students were asked to reflect on a time when they had a conflict and then, thinking back, think about how they could see the other person’s point of view – what Ms. Milonas calls the “helicopter view”. One of our 1st graders wrote about a time when her sister was reading and wouldn’t talk to her, and this made her upset. But in retrospect, taking her sister’s point of view, she now realizes that her sister was very tired at that moment and had turned to reading in order to relax, and that her sister “wasn’t sick of her at all”.

4th grade – Their recent focus in language arts has been on writing good leads – an opening paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention and has a clear thesis statement which pulls the reader into three strong and supportive body paragraphs, and finally a conclusion. In writing about a favorite toy, students proved adept at including attention-grabbing language, onomatopoeia, and dialogue to immediately engage their readers and start their writing pieces off with a bang!
4th grade also took a remote field trip this week. They are reading Number the Stars and, in the book, the characters talk about their memory of a place called Tivoli Gardens. During Zoom sessions this week, scholars looked at videos of the actual park in Denmark, toured it using Google Earth, and experienced first person views of some rides.

Music2nd graders learned Pesach songs, including physical movements to accompany the lyrics, with Mr. Marcos playing along on his guitar.  6th graders made music tracks using GarageBand with Maestro Kates.

5th grade – In Zoom breakout groups, the students analyzed one of five excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.  They defined the words, paraphrased their assigned excerpts, drew original art, and created political cartoons that illuminated the conflicts leading up to the American Revolution.  Over spring break, students will read and research a Founding Mother and Father. Upon return from break, they will compile the information into a report – all part of their year-long focus on American History.

Hebrew – Our language learners were eager to engage in havruta-learning in cooperative groups. One 5th grade class loved learning Hebrew via Zoom so much that they initiated a session when they were not even scheduled to have one!
Practicing for Passover took on new meaning. Through videos prepared by Wise teachers, online resources and virtual tools, students were able to practice reading from the Haggadah, chanting Passover blessings and singing their favorite Pesach songs in preparation for the S’darim at home. Students discussed the symbols of the Seder plate and offered an add-on to the traditional symbols; reviewed the essential question in the Mah Nishtana, and asked additional factual, analytical and evaluative questions. When learning the order of the Seder, students were reminded that now, more than ever, we value how order, routine and tradition play an important role in our lives.

6th grade – Students met through Zoom in their various reading groups to conduct in-depth discussions about the novel they are currently studying.  One reading group has been working on a “long term” assignment as a culminating project to “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1964”. They are completing a webquest that covers some of the major events of the Civil Rights Movement – specifically the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Little Rock Nine, Ruby Bridges, the March on Washington, the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing, and Civil Rights Act of 1964. Students answer questions based on videos, primary sources, and photography, along with some creative writing components.

In Social Studies, students used Lyrib Lab, a part of Flocabulary, to create songs/poems/raps about Hinduism and Buddhism and their parallel impacts on the daily lives of ancient Indians.

These are but a few of many examples of how Wise School continues to Make Great Happen, even in this altered environment!

Also, don’t forget about!:

Ms. Jillian’s Reading Corner – Each day our talented Jillian is adding video chapters to children’s literature such as Just Ella, Harry Potter, and Ella Enchanted.  **And we have added additional books for younger students, with special guest readers!

As always, thank you for your partnership as we keep our focus on our children’s academic and spiritual growth. Wishing you a restful Spring Break.  Chag Sameach and blessings of health to you and your loved ones. 

– John Heffron, Elementary Principal