Archive for November, 2013

Fifth Grade Colonial Week

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

This is Colonial Week in the Fifth Grade. Mrs. Lynn shares some of the details about this wonderful social studies unit that is integrated across the curriculum:
“Our goal in Colonial Week is to help the children experience this important period of colonial America through simulations, role playing, journal writing, storytelling, science experiments, arts, crafts, and games. Of course all the children, plus Ms. Terry and I, dress in colonial attire, use colonial language – with a British accent (!), and practice colonial manners.”
“When we are crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the Mayflower, the children must be on top of their desks, simulating the extremely crowded conditions onboard the ship. Once we land in the New World, the children begin building their settlements. They have a certain amount of time to chop down the trees, cut the boards, and build the cabins and protective structures.”
“Prior to each phase of their colonial progression, I verbally share with them the historical background of that time period. If their answers are correct when I quiz them, they earn rewards such as a good harvest of their crops, additional cabins, and other favorable circumstances that can assure their survival in the New World.”
“Our specialty teachers’ contributions to this week are incredible. For example, in Science Lab, Mrs. Mallon helped the children experience how rapidly food can spoil, how carefully they used salt, vinegar, and spices to preserve food, and how detailed they had to be in baking something as simple as a loaf of bread!”
“At the conclusion of Colonial Week on Friday, we begin the day with a delicious breakfast provided by the parents, followed by a Trade Fair with colonial objects that the children have crafted. This is economics in a day, as the students learn supply and demand, which objects are well-received and in demand, and some of the important tips in bartering.”
“We love this week – the amount of learning that our students experience is amazing!”

Learning Opportunities

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Peninsula Heritage students are taking advantage of learning opportunities outside of our campus through the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY). This unique program was begun in 1979 at Johns Hopkins in response to students seeking additional course work during summer vacations and beyond their schools. Today, the CTY summer programs for Grades Five through Twelve serve over 9,000 students and CTYOnline is reaching over 13,000 annual enrollees.
Recently, Sixth Grader Brian Macdonald took the CTY above-grade-level test. On that examination, Brian scored in the top twenty-five percent of those taking the test in the US and abroad. In addition to a certificate of achievement, Brian will be honored in a CTY awards ceremony this coming spring. Sixth Grader Aaron Mearns has also participated in this CTY program.
The Center for Talented Youth offers a wide range of summer courses on college campuses, and last summer Brian took “Math Zoom Academy” at California State University, Fullerton. He found the work interesting and challenging with classmates in middle and high school coming from various geographic locations. Congratulations to these students and to their PHS teachers for preparing them to participate in these enriching experiences!

Teacher Support Personnel

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

On the first day of school, one of our new PHS students arrived home and declared, “Mom, school is great! If you need a little extra help, there’s an angel who quietly goes around the class and helps kids.”
That angel, Mrs. Lori Vidovich in the Fourth Grade, and all the other Teacher Support personnel at Peninsula Heritage provide our students with differentiated instruction and individualized attention that is one of the hallmarks of our school.
Mrs. Patty Chavez, a 16-year veteran of PHS, and Mrs. Mervette Tolentino, who has been at PHS for 15 years, share how they add to the learning environment in the classroom.
“We can walk over to a child who is struggling and quietly assist with a problem or a paragraph. We encourage other students to move ahead, individualizing and working on a one-to-one basis. We can sit with a child to review material for higher retention or in preparation for a test.”
“In reading groups, we work with four or five students at a time. Additional support personnel join us, so that in a larger class we have four separate groups with four to six children in a group, each led by the teacher or one of our teacher support personnel.“
“We also assist the classroom teacher by setting out the materials for the next lesson or learning activity while the teacher is concluding the prior instruction. We also do filing, making copies, and providing that extra hug that can make such a difference in a child’s day.”
“The playground is another area of our responsibility. Wear our stylish vests (!), we do a great deal of observation, seeing how children are playing in small groups. If children resolve their differences by themselves in an appropriate manner, that’s great! But we practice conflict resolution where necessary, while at the same time teaching our school’s Character Qualities. Student safety is a key issue on the field and in the various play areas, and we remind students of their boundaries and the rules of the playground. Nutrition is another important concept where we encourage the students to eat their sandwich or healthy lunch food before their treats and to try to eat the proper amount to sustain them through the afternoon.”
In reflecting on their work here at school, these two wise instructors enthusiastically share the rewards of their efforts.
“It’s so rewarding to do what we love! The children we see in September are completely different from the ones who leave us in June – seeing their growth and maturity is very exciting! When a child overcomes a challenge, either academically or socially, and feels that success, we do too! When a child is hurt, we hurt too, and when a child brings joy, we feel that joy also!”
These sentiments are echoed by Mrs. Vidovich (“Mrs. V” as she is known by her students): “Where else can you have a job where you are greeted each morning by energetic children who are so glad to see you? Helping these children learn and grow is a great privilege!”
Sincere thanks go to all of our fantastic Teacher Support staff who accomplish this work each school day here at PHS: Carol Woo, AnaLiza Palma, Dave Cullum, Lori Vidovich, Terry Metzenbaum, Carolina Loza, Patty Chavez, and Mervette Tolentino. They are such a crucial ingredient in what makes PHS so unique!

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