The Weekly Bulldog

December 13, 2018

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From Tim: Understanding each student’s learning style

The first part of our mission reads, “We engage, challenge and inspire children to reach their potential and develop their own voices within an inclusive, diverse and collaborative community that values distinct contributions and abilities.” One of our primary responsibilities as educators is to continually reflect on what it means to “engage, challenge and inspire” children to meet the potential that lies within them. We do this by intentional differentiation of both teaching and learning and through ongoing refinement of our classroom practice. Classroom differentiation is designed to meet each learner’s need, from additional support or scaffolding to advanced thinking or problem-solving.

Differentiation in the British Primary model starts with understanding each student’s learning style and knowing what he or she needs to progress. Teachers develop that understanding through careful observation of the child, by reviewing assessment to data to support observations, and by collaborating with parents and with other teachers. Teachers build upon a foundation of knowing each learner to modify, adjust shape their own teaching strategies. They use one-on-one time and small group work strategically to address specific needs of students. They design lessons that draw on the many intelligences present in their students.

Teachers also promote student agency. Children develop a keen sense of themselves as learners over their years at Stanley. They reflect on what they need to be most successful- what challenges them, what inspires them, what strategies lead to success – and they also identify what’s not helpful. Students are often given the opportunity to decide how they will demonstrate their learning to a peer, a teacher, or a wider audience.

While our overall approach and objectives of differentiation apply across all the grades, each grade-level division employs intentional strategies to meet the developmental needs of children.


In our multi-age classrooms, over three years, we come to deeply understand our students – their interests, their identities, their challenges, their strengths where they are in their learning. We develop relationships of trust from which learners are willing to take healthy risks, challenge themselves develop confidence to learn on their own.

From knowing our learners well, we recognize the cusp or brink of where learners are in their growth and then open possibilities for development. We meet learners in their proximal zone, the zone in which learners learn best. At times, we plan differentiation in advance, such as reading just-right books, at other times, as learning unfolds in a given moment. This adjustment may include repeating, rephrasing, abbreviating/or extending. At moments when the students are actively engaged, we observe and listen and, decide how and at what moment to support – posing an open-ended question to extend ... <<continue>>

Top Five Things

1. Art classes making seasons bright in the Hambidge Commons

When you're on campus, take in some of the installations of student work from Chris and Jairo's art classes! Snowflakes and garland in the lobby, line and building projects from the 3-4-5s on the cafeteria ramp, and a middle school skills class skateboard project. <<pictures>>

2. Alumni back together again December 20

Stanley alums, students, natives and travelers alike are back in Denver for the holidays, and we open our doors to welcome them. Alumni families are warmly invited for this annual tradition, this year featuring musical "guests" Wrongway and the Mustang (David and Tim). RSVP for next Thursday, 5:30 p.m. in the ballroom.

3. Stop car. Stop engine.

Our carpool lanes generate considerable noxious fumes for the students and adults gathering along Rampart Way and the Quebec Court parking lot during pick-up and drop-off times. Please turn off your engine even for what seems a brief stoppage!

4. 8th graders share hard-earned funds with Urban Peak teens

Earlier this week, 8th graders took time out to donate plants and a portion of the proceeds from their England trip fundraising to Denver’s Urban Peak, a shelter for homeless teens aged 15-24. This is the second year for the budding tradition (see photo above Tim's letter). Students toured the shelter, delivered 30 plants, and presented the staff with a charitable donation of $216 from the Stanley Class of 2019.

5. Support your school with an end-of-year gift

Find someone to ring in the New Year with, and don’t forget charitable contributions made to The Stanley Fund by 11:59 p.m. December 31 qualify for a 2018 tax deduction. Year-end is also a great time to make a gift of appreciated stock -- avoid paying capital gains on the shares you donate, and you’ll generally receive a deduction for the full market value. Contact the Office of Community Engagement for details. You’ll be supporting all of the programs and people that make our school a great place to learn!