Archive for the ‘Middle School’ Category

Differentiated Instruction in Mathematics

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

“Differentiated instruction” has recently become a buzz word in education, but Peninsula Heritage School has been actively engaged in differentiated instruction for years!
One example is the mathematics program throughout the school. Since math is taught during the first hour in the elementary grades, Explaining the Riemann Zeta Functiona gifted Kindergarten student, for instance, leaves his class during this time and walks to the First Grade room where he is a part of the First Grade math class. This is the same throughout the school, and we have students who are two (and sometimes three) grades above their age group in math. However, these students return to their age-appropriate class for the balance of their subjects as well as recess, lunch, and P.E. This configuration nurtures all the students’ social/emotional growth.
In the Seventh and Eighth Grades, the math courses offered at PHS include pre-algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry.
In addition to their coursework, Eighth Grade students in Geometry are assigned presentation topics in three categories on a rotating basis: Famous Mathematicians, Mathematical Current Events, and Subtopics of Mathematics. Today, one of our students gave a Current Events presentation about the latest work on the Riemann Zeta Function, complete with computer-generated graphs and equations.
While these student presentations are only four minutes in length, they introduce our students to the world of mathematics beyond Geometry and also give them additional practice in presenting information in front of a group.
Congratulations, Samantha, on today’s presentation!

VEX IQ Robotics

Friday, January 6th, 2017

A group of our PHS Eighth Graders have been selected to attend an advanced robotics course (VEX IQ & Robotics) at the PV Net, PV Net ReSizeda non-profit STEM/ technology education center located at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall, next to the Pottery Barn store. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about robotics and programming.
If you’re new to robotics, VEX IQ is a robotics platform designed to transform STEM learning for young students. Our Eighth Graders can immediately become engaged in individual and group robotics projects and create robots with this intuitive, toolless system.
Our thanks go to PHS parent Mrs. Kate McKenna, who has graciously offered to drive these students to the PV Net for these classes, and to Sixth Grade teacher Eileen Mahoney for coordinating the details of this course.

Ribbons, Ribbons

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Field Ribbon CuttingThis past week, we’ve had two wonderful Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies at PHS that mark the opening of new facilities for all of our students.
On Sunday, October 9th, we gathered with members of the PHS Board of Trustee; Rev. Sunny Kang of St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church; Eileen Hupp, CEO and President of the Palos Verdes Chamber of Commerce; and PHS parents, students, and faculty to cut the ribbon and formally open ourAll Invited Guests and PHS Board & Administrators beautiful new Middle School. We were delighted to be joined by Rolling Hills Estates Mayor Steve Zuckerman and California State Assemblyman, David Hadley. Guests toured the beautiful classrooms, science lab, and office while enjoying cookies and refreshingly cold waters.
The very next day, Monday, the entire student body eagerly assembled for the Ribbon Cutting at the grass area of our athletic field. (The new all-weather track had been completed in the prior month.) The novelty for the students of running, hopping, bouncing, and even rolling in the new grass continued all day!
Thank you all for your generous donations at last spring’s Gala as well as your gifts to our Annual Giving Fund that made these beautiful facilities possible for all PHS students! Merci!

Historic Ribbon Cutting

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Our school’s new membership in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Chamber of Commerce will be in evidence this Sunday at our Middle School Ribbon Cutting / Open HouseChamber of Commerce 2016 Membership Plaque starting at 1:00 pm on our Middle School campus. Chamber CEO & President Eileen Hupp, Member Services Director Ann Sidler, and the giant Chamber scissors will be present to actually cut the ribbon!
We invite each of you to come to the Middle School campus for this special event! Our Head of School, Patricia Cailler, will welcome Mayor Steve Zuckerman and a special visit by California State Assemblyman David Hadley. The pastor of St. Luke’s, Rev. Sunny Kang, members of the Chamber Board, members of our PHS Board of Trustees, parents, and PHS faculty will be joining us. Please enjoy our beautiful new classrooms and science lab, as well as the ambiance of the school patio with cookie treats.
This will be a historic day for PHS – see you there!

Zia Fitness

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

“During my experience at Zia Fitness,” writes one of our Sixth Grade girls, “I learned a lot of things that I never would have even thought about. I really enjoyed learning about self-defense, testing my reactions on the vision board, and using the TRX bands!”
A recent addition to our Middle School physical education program includes monthly visits to Zia Fitness Studio in south Torrance ( PHS parent and Zia proprietor George Toney, worked with our PE teacher, Mrs. Kim Nygaard, in designing programs to teach self-defense and physical fitness to our Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students. Through the generosity of Mr. Toney and using the incredible resources of Zia Fitness and its certified trainers, our students build self-confidence and real-world awareness, improve their self-discipline, and have fun through games and adventures at Zia.
In addition, Mr. Toney is offering fitness classes, gratis, for PHS faculty and staff, and Mrs. Nygaard has classes for PHS students on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. Sign-up information for Kindergarten through Third Graders is available in the School Office. PHS parents are cordially invited to visit this new facility (The Pyramid Building, 22939 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance) and learn all that it has to offer!

Construction Update

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

As you know, construction is well underway on our new 7th & 8th Grade buildings on the St. Luke’s campus across the street! The windows and a good portion of the outside work are completed, which is fortunate now that the “El Nino” rains have arrived. The construction focus is now on the interior of the three buildings. Dry wall is up, and carpets, tile flooring, counter tops, and cabinets have been selected. We are very excited about this fabulous new addition to our school, as we look forward to inviting our parents, alumni, and members of our community for an Open House to experience these beautiful new facilities.

Pali Institute

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

During the week prior to Thanksgiving Break, our Middle Schoolers experienced a new kind of classroom – the San Bernardino Mountains at Pali Institute! This customized outdoor education program included a range of activities and learning experiences from science and leadership to art in nature. Fueled by the Institute’s good food, our students learned specific science skills in connection with their science curriculum here at PHS. For instance, the Seventh Graders study Life Science, and in their Forest Ecology Class they learned to identify a range of tree species, bacteria, and fungi. Similarly, the Eighth Graders, who study Physical Science, constructed a shelter for themselves using materials available at the site.
The demanding ropes course was enhanced for the Seventh Graders with a zip line that all students did at least once. Even PHS teachers Ms. Liz Lomelli and Mr. Jeff Ahn were spotted on the zip line!
For a concluding activity, the 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders received a large cut-out puzzle piece on which they wrote and illustrated their favorite experiences at Pali, creating a visual memory of their learning and growth in the mountain environment.

Genius Hour

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

This past Tuesday, we were again amazed by the Seventh Graders’ “Genius Hour”! Their teacher, Ms. Lomeli, shares the details of this wonderful project:
After attending the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), I incorporated into our Seventh Grade curriculum Google’s concept of “20% time” when employees can pursue projects of interest to themselves. With our schedule, I named ours “Genius Hour,” and for one hour each week the Seventh Graders work on a project of their choosing. They first brainstorm ideas and then present them to me. I give approval according to feasibility criteria including likelihood of completion within the 10-week trimester, and the availability of supplies.
Tuesday concluded our Second Trimester, and the Seventh Graders gathered with their families, the Sixth Graders, faculty, and staff in the School Library to present their projects. One student chose photography and began taking many photos here on campus. I asked her to research the different types or genres of photography, and she chose to concentrate on macro photography – a focus on close-ups and details, as seen here in this beautiful photograph of a baseball found outside the Seventh Grade classroom.
Two other students used “Duolingo”; one learned German and the other, Italian. They created a PowerPoint presentation with subtitles in front of which the German-speaking student tried to buy a car from an Italian-speaking car salesman portrayed by the other student! It was hilarious!
Additional projects included building miniatures, learning coding on Kahn Academy, and recreating a song using digital instruments.
The enthusiasm for research continues for the Seventh Graders as they begin a new project for the final trimester of this year. Our Sixth Graders can’t wait to start their “Genius Hour” next year and are already talking with me about their creative ideas!

Library & Leadership

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Our School Librarian, PJ Charnofsky, offers our Sixth Graders a “Library and Leadership” course each week. Mrs. Charnofsky shares with us the key concepts of this approach:
We say that “Good leaders are good communicators!” Our Sixth Graders had the assignment to watch the President deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, and the following day we all discussed it. We focused on the method of presentation, not the content, and the students noted eye contact, hand motions, word selection, voice intonation, and other important aspects of public speaking.
In February, the Sixth Graders will present a leadership panel discussion for family, faculty, and administrators. Each child will make an invitation and invite one person. The students will have been divided into three groups, and will have researched their component of leadership. The team leader for each group will present the introduction and conclusion.
“Library and Leadership” also allows the Sixth Graders the opportunity to research the unique characteristics of outstanding leadership in many fields of endeavor, both past and present. Often our PHS students cite our Head of School, Mrs. Cailler, as a very effective leader.
Our goal in “Library and Leadership” is to enable all of our PHS students to be leaders as they move forward in their education, in their careers, and in their community service.

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