February 2016


Students in second through fifth grade actively participated as WFS was selected as a beta test site this past week for Google Expeditions. The programs added a new dimension to what they were studying in the classroom. For example, third graders had a wonderful opportunity to travel to some of the National Parks they are studying in the classroom. They traveled to some of the places their Flat Ranger had traveled to and saw them in 3d!

What's all the Talk about Makerspace?

It seems as if Makerspace is the hot new buzz word in education. I'm proud to say that the idea originated in libraries first! Many schools have jumped on and adopted this idea to encourage innovation and creativity in students. Perhaps "teaching to the test" had zapped some of students' originality. We at Friends have had many conversations about "Makerspace." It really is a marketing term for the bigger idea of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathmatics.) We strongly believe that we have transcended the idea of this learning being limited to a physical space. Instead this idea has always been interwoven in all of our disciplines. You can see it evident in Tim's electrical explorations, Math Club, Teal's Open Studio, robotics, Scratch and programming with Teacher Carol, the 3d Computer aided design (CAD) work that first graders and third graders have engaged in to create both a city and global landmarks respectively. It is the foundation of our Genius Hour, the Shark Tank unit, and just everyday life here at Friends.

Fifth graders

Fifth graders had an opportunity to showcase their work as they worked in pairs to create an i-movie travel commercial for a country in Africa. The objectives were simple. We wanted to create an awareness that Africa is a continent, not a country. We wanted to highlight points of interest that people may not be aware of. Students researched using books, databases and websites, citing all of their sources. Students chose copyright free images as well as royalty free music. They developed a slogan. They compiled it all and presented at Tuesday Gatherings.

They also uploaded their projects to their website/digital portfolio. Many students also uploaded their 2nd Grade Wax Museum video. They certainly enjoyed taking a look back at each other in this landmark unit!

Fourth Graders-the research begins with a Non-Fiction Book Tasting

Fourth-graders embark on the process of research. The first step is the "book tasting" where they have an opportunity to explore and engage in questions about space, inventions, germs, animal adaptations. human rights, lost cities, engineering and more. Did you know they have Destiny accounts so they can log-in, see what books they have checked out and create lists of books they want to read or lists of resources for their research. This list will include books, vetted websites as well as video streaming.

Third Graders Make Global Connections

Third graders learned about many structures built in the United States that used recycled materials. This ties into their role as stewards of the school who promote recycling and composting throughout the school. They listened to stories that highlighted recycling including Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village, Watts Towers and the Heidelberg Project. They also read about building the White House in the picture book Brick by Brick and about the construction of Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC in Me and Mama and Big John. This then extended to global landmarks where students worked in pairs to research their landmark, using books and databases and then ultimately constructing the landmark using 3D software. Many of the landmarks chosen had cultural significance to the student. They had either visited it or had a connection through their heritage. Come see the display on the world map!

Second Grade Inventors

Second graders were inspired by many books that highlighted creativity, inventing, and yes, failure! It is times when we fail, that we also learn! This became evident as students teamed up, brainstormed ideas, built prototypes from recycled materials and presented to the "Sharks". Most impressive was their ability to communicate, collaborate, work through obstacles and present to our panelists (including Tr. Annette, Tr. Julie, Mike Benner and a parent entrepreneur!)

First Graders

First Graders immersed themselves in the Quaker Spice simplicity as they listened and discussed books that centered around their Social Studies theme of Wants and Needs.
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Read this new 2016 Newbery Prize winner-yes, a picture book won the Newbery which very gently speaks to wants and needs and socio-economic differences.

Kindergarten - Yes, they do Research Too!

It is never too early to learn that we find information in many ways, especially in books. Our young students have selected an animal and are researching about its habitat, food and young. This was done in the library with non-fiction books and in the Lab through Zoom Animals.

What Does Reggio Emilia Look like in Library for Pre-K?

Having a flexible schedule in the library means that the library can respond to the interests of our students. As pre-K students became interested in kites, they came into the library to listen to a story and browse many books that were displayed that featured the world of kites.