Dear Stoddert Families:
This update provides information on two current initiatives: the district-wide Cornerstone Project initiative, and our school-specific science initiative.
Here’s a summary of each grade level’s most recent Cornerstone Project:
Kindergarten students reflected upon the importance of Making Friends. Kindergarten teachers worked alongside our Information Literacy Team to engage students in taking selfies with a friend and to help them make “friendship bags”. Students considered key questions such as, “What are the qualities of friends? Why is it important to be a good friend? How is being a good friend like being a good citizen?”
First Graders experienced the value of Perseverance first-hand by participating in a team-building experience called the Marshmallow Challenge! Students considered key questions such as, “What is perseverance? How does perseverance help someone to achieve their goals? Who is somebody who demonstrated perseverance? How did they never give up? How does the support of other people help someone persevere?
Second Graders worked with their classroom teachers in collaboration with Mrs. Schneider to learn how to design hand pollinators for varying types of flowering plants. They introduced their second graders to the rewards and challenges inherent in agricultural engineering via a book titled, ‘Mariana Becomes a Butterfly’. This story is part of the Engineering is Elementary project which is a part of the National Center for Technological Literacy at the Museum of Science, Boston. Second graders ultimately learned that with some creativity and knowledge of the engineering design process, everyone can engineer!
Second Graders are also actively learning bike safety rules with Coach Wagner and they are actually learning how to ride bikes! For those second graders who already know the basics, practice will indeed improve foundational bike riding skills.
Third Graders researched Washington DC monuments, and other historical and cultural DC landmarks. Students culminated their Cornerstone experience by creating original high-quality illustrated DC-focused brochures that will soon be shared with the entire school community.
Third Graders also learned how to talk about themselves in Spanish via a World Language Cornerstone unit called “#My Profile” taught by Mrs. Villarraga. Students culminated this Spanish language Cornerstone unit with student-made ‘Passports’ that will be embedded in World Language lessons all year long!
Fourth Graders engaged in robust Cornerstones discussions around the theme, Heroic Adventures. They eagerly contemplated the attributes of modern-day heroes such as Malala as they read about her life journey and considered key questions such as, “How are heroes from long ago similar and different to modern day heroes? How can you use the “heroic quest” to evaluate heroism? What makes a strong piece of informational writing?”
Fifth Grade students learned how to, “Frame the Process of Discovery” by designing and explaining the purpose of an invention. Students considered key questions such as, “What is an invention and how is it determined to be successful? How has an invention been developed out of a problem or a need and eventually positively impacted society? What are some similarities and differences between the process of discovery for different inventors and how have their unique qualities and traits led to successful inventions?”
In other news, Stoddert teachers participated in their first SY15/16 science professional development activity on Friday, Oct. 9. The session featured Suzanne Thurston, Project Director from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Ms. Thurston started the session with an overview of the book Science for All Americans, which lays out a detailed framework for what it means to be scientifically literate citizens. This discussion led to discoveries of new topics and themes to use in the classroom. Another key aspect of the training was the discovery of new resources available to Stoddert teachers. Leveraging the resources of the AAAS, Stoddert teachers will now have access to hundreds of NGSS/ CCSS aligned lesson plans and interactive tools free of charge through the ScienceNetLinks program. For more information about ScienceNetLinks, please visit www.sciencenetlinks.com.
As always, I sincerely thank you for all you do for our school – your support is critical to our success.