Archive for February, 2014

Conference for the Gifted

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Representing Peninsula Heritage School last weekend at the 52nd Annual CAG Conference were two of our Trustees, Zita Macdonald and Robin Mearns. Sincere thanks go to these two current parents for sharing the details of our school with the state-wide audience at this California Association for the Gifted event. Zita recounts the experience:
“On Friday and Saturday at the Anaheim Marriott, educators from around the state visited our exhibition booth. These teachers and administrators were amazed at what we offer our gifted students here at PHS through our differentiated teaching and our enrichment classes.”
“Since other schools at the conference were solely for gifted students, we could easily differentiate PHS from the others. We explained that Peninsula Heritage’s students possess a range of talents, rather than solely gifted children. Robin and I talked directly to the value of the PHS program and the outstanding opportunities for very important social and emotional growth in addition to advanced academics. PHS offers a real-world experience for our students.”
“Sunday at the conference was specifically for parents of gifted students. They were interested in PHS’s small class size, our excellent student-teacher ratio, and the wide range of classes offered by our specialty teachers – as well as the outstanding talents and experience of these teachers.”
“This was PHS’s second year at the CAG conference, and it’s a wonderful way to share our school with the entire state!”

Grandparents/Special Persons Day!

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

I say this each time, but last Friday’s assembly for Grandparents/Special Persons/Fancy Nancy/Fabulous Fred was the very BEST!
Having our Kindergarten children display their talents in song and dance was too much for words – they were adorable! In fact, they enjoyed performing so much that we almost had to get a hook to allow the next presentation to proceed.
Our student Choir was stunning, starting with “All You Need is Love,” fostering the wave in the student/guest audience and adding a wonderful atmosphere to our assembly.
Our Sixth Graders, in costume, enacted their recent social studies unit about ancient Egypt, impressing all of us with their academic prowess. Bouquets of gratitude to parent Lydia Rich for sharing her amazing couture talents in creating the costumes.
Our program concluded with the Fifth Graders giving us a sneak preview of “History Comes Alive!” to be presented at the Norris Theatre on Thursday, March 6, 2014.
Thank you to each of our grandparents and special persons; you graciously made the day unique by your attendance. Grandparents and special people add so much to our children’s lives in so many ways!

Professional Development

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Several weeks ago, three members of the PHS staff traveled to Orlando, Florida for the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC). Ms. Stella Demis, computer teacher; Ms. Liz Lomeli, math enrichment teacher; and Mrs. Debbie Schwartz, Director of Admissions, were among participants from the US and foreign countries who selected learning experiences from over 100 workshops and 200 sessions offered at this highly regarded conference. From cloud computing to mobile learning, they gleaned instructional and administrative strategies to better serve Peninsula Heritage students and the entire PHS community.
“When I would meet with Debbie and Stella after our sessions,” relates Ms. Lomeli, “we would immediately share information that we felt would be beneficial to the other person’s role at PHS. Some of my workshops were device-specific (iPad or laptop) where I learned teaching strategies or free online tools for use in the classroom.”
“In addition, while I was at the four-day conference, I continued to teach my students here at PHS via Face Time, giving instruction and going over homework.”
“When other teachers saw Liz at breaks conversing with her students on her laptop,” recalls Mrs. Schwartz, “they were clapping for her, as she was putting into practice teaching strategies highlighted at the conference.”
“I have already integrated into my teaching some of the new approaches I learned at the conference,” continues Ms. Lomeli, “and I’ve shared other ideas with teachers here at PHS. We’ll do more sharing at upcoming in-service meetings so everyone here can benefit from this great conference.”
“I especially liked the final keynote speaker, Rushton Hurley (founder and executive director of NextVista for Learning). He emphasized that we are all gathering information and learning new tools to UNLEASH the creativity in our students! I fully agree!”

Chinese New Year

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Bouquets of gratitude to PHS parent Lynn Tien who orchestrated last Friday’s Chinese New Year celebration in our Amphitheater. Lynn and her husband Sken Huang are parents of First Grader Dylan Huang and Kindergartner Brooke Huang. Lynn shares the details of this event:
We began with everyone learning and singing “Gong Xi,” meaning congratulations to the New Year. Then we were treated to beautiful dulcimer music played by PHS parent Wulantuoya. She and her husband, Yi Li, are parents of Lucas Li (3rd Grade) and Lucy Li (Kindergarten). At age eight, “Tuoya” began her musical studies on this unique instrument, which originated in Persia and was introduced to China during the Ming Dynasty in the 1300’s.
Next, our Kindergartners paraded for us with their handmade kinder-dragons and noise makers, created with the guidance of teacher Christy Burden and teacher support Wendy Nguyen.
Two elaborate lions then sprang into the Amphitheater. The red lion symbolizes the color used to scare away the legendary sea monster “Year” who appears on an annual basis, and the yellow lion signifies the royal color. Mrs. Cailler offered lettuce to the lions, as the Chinese word for lettuce and wealth are almost identical. The dancers in the lion garb portrayed eating the lettuce and spitting it out, signifying good luck and wealth for our school. Mrs. Cailler, representing the entire school, also offered the lions red envelopes with lucky money, and each student at Peninsula Heritage also received a red envelope with a gold (chocolate!) coin.
Our students had the opportunity to try on two small dragon heads brought by the dance team. Third Grader Lukas Stockton also brought a dragon head from Singapore, as well as Chinese candy for all the students.
I feel grateful to be allowed to share our culture with the school, and I hope the children learned from this. Everyone here was very receptive. I think the world is really round and the more we learn the better!

Up Close & Personal – With Sharks

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Petting a shark? That’s what our Second Graders, their teacher Mrs. Leslie Bakkila, and parents experienced at the class’ overnight this week at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific! Our Science Lab teacher, Kathy Mallon, who also accompanied the group, shares details of the outing:
Two Aquarium docents began the “Spotlight on Sharks” program with our Second Graders at 6:00 pm this past Monday. We selected this experience for our students since the many adaptations of sharks mesh perfectly with the Second Grade’s science unit on environmental adaptations.
Outside in the “touch tanks” we petted numerous small sharks, feeling the rough dermal denticles covering these creatures. With over 470 species of shark in the world, there are only about nine human attacks each year (mostly from mistaken identity) while over 12 million sharks are annually killed for various purposes. Many sharks are less than three feet long and play an important role in the food chain.
We were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Aquarium, viewing the largest tank from above. We also talked to the divers in the tank, asking questions about the sharks in the water. The children loved the 4-D presentation (the fourth dimension being water sprayed on us!) with tips on how to care for the marine environment.
It was past 10:30 pm when we settled down for the night in our sleeping bags next to the coral reef tank. A delicious breakfast greeted us early the next morning, followed by a visit to the penguins, seals, and sea lions habitat. Then it was home for the Second Graders and their teachers to enjoy a no-school day of rest!

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