Our Global Town
Town School for Boys
Through the Halls of Town School and Beyond
Town School Boys have been immersed in many global/glocal experiences and projects this year. We truly believe that by creating opportunities for our boys to develop global competence we will be a more inclusive community. We hope you enjoy some stories from this fall.
Town School for Boys builds students' inter-cultural competencies and character through academic experiences and global and local partnerships. Beginning with an awareness of multiple perspectives, students develop respect, empathy, and kindness through authentic inquiry and engagement. By fostering non-judgmental curiosity, teachers guide students toward a rich understanding of their own identity within the tapestry of their community, the importance of belonging and including others, and the value of acting as allies and engaged global citizens.
2nd Grade Boys Study Hunger
The boys connected with Glide Memorial and made bread to donate to help those who are food insecure. Subsequently, the boys decided to also have a school-wide food drive in December for the SF Marin Food Bank. They have researched and learned many facts about hunger in our own community. Over 200,000 families face food insecurity. The students have also created posters to help educate those in our community about this problem and what we can do to help! We are excited about the compassion the boys have shown and their willingness to take action and begin to solve a real world problem that affects many in our own community.
5th Grade Humanities Explores Current Events
5th graders commenced the year by discussing Colin Kaepernick and the meaning of the kneeling protests throughout the NFL. The boys discussed what issues these players were really protesting, to what movements these protests were connected, and what they thought of this form of protest in general. They utilized the question: "Is raising awareness around an issue effective in itself, or does top-down change need to occur?"
More recently the 5th graders looked at the Dakota Access Pipeline and the protests surrounding this issue by asking a similar set of questions. The students were able to compare and contrast these protests and discuss what makes a protest effective. Moving forward, we will continue to explore relevant national issues and will also be looking to "go global," all while considering what human rights different populations do and don't have.
Kindergarten Explores Their Heritage
The students created their family trees and mapped their family's journey to San Francisco. They built floats out of shoeboxes and added elements that represented different parts of their identity including family pictures, self-portraits, and interests. The Kindergarten celebrated the end of the unit by parading around Town, sharing their floats with different grades, and lastly by presenting their float to their 4th grade buddies. The following day students and families shared their favorite foods as part of the longstanding Multicultural Family Traditions Tasting Party.
Read Around the Library and Reading Without Walls
Educator and author Rudine Sims Bishop is most famous for stating that books are mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors, through which children can see themselves and others. Unfortunately, many children are underrepresented in books, while those who often see themselves don’t gain an accurate view of the world.
WeNeedDiverseBooks.org is trying to change this with one simple hashtag: #WeNeedDiverseBooks. This viral campaign has raised awareness that the publishing industry should "produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people" (http://weneeddiversebooks.org/mission-statement/). The Town School Library has embraced this statement, and has introduced students to new books in various ways.
In 2nd grade, Ms. Alonso extended the "Read Around the Library" genre challenge to include books with diverse characters. She gathered rarely checked-out books that feature non-white or female characters and encouraged students to try them in order to expand their minds, learn new perspectives, and develop a deeper sense of empathy. A few students were up to the challenge and tried these books.
In 4th grade, the students joined the movement with their own statements on why we should read diverse books. They also browsed through some books that depict a variety of experiences, including (but not limited to) books that include characters who are LGBTQIA, people of color, girls/women, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, or religious minorities.
Gene Yang, the National Ambassador of Young People's Literature and author of the graphic novel American Born Chinese, encourages everyone to explore new worlds through books through the Reading Without Walls challenge. The library offered their version of the challenge during the November break to students in grades 7 and 8. Thirteen students took the challenge and were served a special pizza lunch on December 2, during which they discussed their book choices. This challenge will be repeated during future school vacations.
The library hopes other people in the Town School Community challenge themselves to explore new worlds through books!
4th Grade Participates in MOSAIC Project
If you hear fourth graders talking about Peanut Butter Booger Snot Fire monsters, waving imaginary key chains with the the keys to peace (jingle, jangle, baby!), or singing and humming throughout the hallway, it can only mean one thing: MOSAIC week is here. For the last 7 years, Town has partnered with The MOSAIC Project as a part of our character education efforts. During the week of October 24-28, all fourth graders were immersed in learning about the MOSAIC values to help the world become a more peaceful place. The MOSAIC values are:
M utual Respect
S elf Respect
A ttitude (A positive one!)
Nineteen 4th grade students had the opportunity to attend the Outdoor School in Napa Valley along with other Bay Area schools, while twenty-six students lived the experience at Town School. Through “gametivities”, stories, and lessons led by the MOSAIC staff, the boys tackled tough questions about stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Students learned about the three keys to peace: listening (giving respect and full attention with your mind, ears, and heart), empathy, and assertiveness (standing up for yourself and others in a way that’s neither passive nor aggressive). Recognizing that even when using the keys to peace, conflict can arise, students spent significant time learning about I-Statements as a conflict resolution tool and applying them in real life situations. With this training, the 4th grade boys are eagerly taking on the role as MOSAIC Peace Ambassadors who lead the school through their words and actions.