Mission Hill School Out in the World

There has been a great deal of buzz about MHS lately. Books have been written about us, our teacher leadership model has been highlighted on several occasions, and a four-year long film project will culminate in a nationally-aired documentary in the fall.

Please read more…

New England Cable News Network (NECN) met up with our two grade 3/4 classrooms last week, on their annual visit to The Farm School. The segment focused on the deep relationship MHS shares with The Farm School and aired on television Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

Learning Matters, an organization who airs news stories on PBS News Hour, spent the day filming and speaking with Ayla and MHS teachers about teacher leadership for a new campaign Teacher Powered Schools. The piece will be aired nationally during the last week of May (date and time TBA).

Jenerra Williams, Kathy D'Andrea, and Nakia Keizer are interviewed by John Tulenko of Learning Matters for PBS News Hour.

Jenerra Williams, Kathy D’Andrea, and Nakia Keizer are interviewed by John Tulenko of Learning Matters for PBS News Hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning Mission Hill (GMMH) was recently accepted as a submission to the National Education Television Association. The hour-long documentary about MHS was created by filmmakers Tom and Amy Valens.  Based on the year that Tom and Amy spent filming the school, GMMH picks up where the ten-part video series, A Year at Mission Hill, left off. GMMH will air on a variety of PBS stations, nationwide in the fall of 2014.

Democracy & Education, an education journal, recently published a favorable review of former MHS teacher Matthew Knoester’s book, Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School.

 

Carrot Soup from the Farm School!

Last week, The Farm School joined forces with Boston Public Schools Food & Nutrition Services to serve up fresh and delicious carrot soup for MHS students! Students from the Margarita Muñez Academy helped dish out the soup, which was created by The Farm School’s chef, Cristina Garcia. Classes did taste tests and posted results.

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Most students tried the unfamiliar carrot soup. Many discovered that they liked it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to our Cafeteria Manager, Chris Whitley and staff for supporting this fun and nutritious event!

Here is the recipe:

The Farm School Carrot Soup
Serves 10-12.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Butter
2 cups Yellow onions, chopped (2 medium)
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced (4 cloves)
5 cups Carrots, diced (2 lbs)
3 cups Potatoes, diced (3/4 lbs)
3 cups Turnips, diced (3/4 lbs)
5 tsp Cumin, ground
2 tsp Salt (to taste)
10 cups Water
4 tsp Lime Juice
1 Tbsp Honey
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
2 tsp Pepper (to taste)

Directions:
1. In a large pot melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onions, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add garlic, continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
4. Stir in carrots, potatoes, turnips, cumin, salt and water.
5. Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are easily pierced with a knife.
6. Puree soup with an immersion blender. Or carefully blend in small batches in a regular blender.
7. Pour soup back into large pot. Whisk in lime juice, honey and heavy cream.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Optional Toppings: chopped cilantro, crema, toasted pepitas.

Learning with Legos

On Tuesday afternoons the Mission Hill staff participates in professional development meetings. This week, the focus was on learning with Legos. Many thanks to parent, Steve Banzaert, who helped facilitate.

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MHS parent Steve Banzaert works with K1/K2 teacher Liz Borson and art teacher Jeanne Rachko.

Teachers investigated Duplo kits with simple machines and structures, by following designs. These are a great way for young children to get their hands on materials and start to think about coding.

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Principal Ayla Gavins and Grade 1/2 teacher Jenerra Williams study a design map while building with Duplo Tubes.

Duplo tubes were also used.  Here pre-made designs were followed and then teachers created their own. One challenge was to make a structure that would allow a ball to travel a distance and hit a wall.

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Grade 7/8 teacher Khury Petersen, tests out a Duplo Tube structure with KO paraprofessional Donna Winder and K1/K2 teacher Jada Brown.

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7/8 grade teacher Ann Ruggiero and K0 teacher Geralyn McLaughlin build an EV3 robot.

WeDo is another kit that was examined.  Staff built robots and programmed them, while also teaching themselves new programming techniques.

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Real Life Learning at MHS

Mission Hill School eighth graders are participating in their second Apprentice Learning ‘apprenticeship’ this school year, where each student travels to a local business one afternoon a week for six weeks and works alongside of an adult mentor.

Apprentices gain career knowledge while applying good habits of work to the world beyond the classroom. At the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Apprentice Engineers participate in the design process and test their mini robots,  “Bristol Bots” under the tutelage of Crystal Knodel, Staff Electrical Engineer.

Siobhan and Kaya test their mini robots at the Wyss Institute during Apprentice Learning.

Siobhan and Kaya test their mini robots at the Wyss Institute during Apprentice Learning.

A New Schoolyard and a Visit from Mayor Menino

On Friday, the entire MHS community celebrated our two new outdoor play spaces. We also had a special visitor: Mayor Menino! Wearing new green MHS t-shirts, students, staff, families, and visitors sang songs and enjoyed the beautiful warm weather. Special guests from BPS and the Boston Schoolyard Initiative joined the Mayor as he cut the red ribbon (held by two MHS students) with a pair of gold scissors!

Mayor Menino cuts the ribbon!

Mayor Menino cuts the ribbon!

Many thanks go to the Boston Schoolyard Initiative and the teams that designed these spaces. James Sessum and Nancy Leask from the City, Kathy D’Andrea, Jenerra Williams and Ayla Gavins as school staff members, and parents Jessica Parsons, Diane Abrams, and Deborah Gregson.

Families are fundraising to complete the project with an Outlast Block set for children to explore and play with. Donate to the project by visiting tinyurl.com/MHSyard. Thank you!

The Boston Neighborhood Network News reported about the event:

MHS Debate Team takes First Place at Harvard Competition!

On Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12 debate team students from Mission Hill School traveled to Harvard University to participate in the day long 2013 Debate Mate Boston competition against other Boston middle and K-8 schools.

DebateMate_SignThree teams of four students each participated in three rounds of debates addressing possession of nuclear weapons, equal access for men and women sports teams to TV coverage, and fines for sagging pants. Our teams won seven of their nine debates. Judges evaluated each debater and awarded points for content and style. We placed second out of 22 teams on points, and qualified for the final championship round against debaters from the Edison School.

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Faces were serious during the final debate.

Our debaters argued in support of making gun possession illegal. The judges awarded the win to the Mission Hill team on the basis of number and depth of arguments and rebuttal.

The MHS Debate Team at Harvard University.

The MHS Debate Team at Harvard University.

The Mission Hill Debate team, comprised of students in grades five through eight, has been meeting after school since February with debate coach, Brandeis student Sarah Pizzano, and MHS mentor and middle school teacher, Ann Ruggiero. The team is eager for next year’s debate season to begin, and promises to work hard to defend their title.

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The Cup!

A Team Effort

Check out the new article in Community Playthings about project-based learning, co-written by MHS teachers Geralyn McLaughlin (K0) and Kathy Clunis D’Andrea (K1/K2).

The Project Approach: Using Schoolyard Ecology to Support Student Learning

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Farewell to Ancient Greece!

This morning, the Mission Hill School community celebrated the final days of the school-wide Ancient Greek curriculum. Families and friends gathered for a Greek-inspired potluck breakfast, which featured everything from Greek salad to honey cake and stuffed grape leaves. Harpist Mason Morton played exquisite music while children showed off art work and discussed architecture and history with adults. Displays ranging from detailed mosaics, to myths and renditions of the Greek alphabet covered the walls, adding to the festive atmosphere. Below is a slideshow with some images of our last few months, studying this fascinating ancient culture.

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A green day at Mission Hill School

Last week’s Ecoteer Day at Mission Hill School was a great success. Students and teachers dressed in green and took advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather-a welcome sight after a week of rain and indoor recess. While most activities took place out-of-doors, there were also some indoor alternatives on this special day of school-wide environmental volunteerism.

Ecoteer Day Activities included making bird-feeders and eco-friendly cleaning solutions.

We were joined by friends from area environmental organizations: teacher/naturalists Andrew MacBlane and Ben Driscoll from the Mass Audubon Society Boston Nature Center; Wendy Simard from the Boston Natural Areas Network’s SLUG Program (students learning through urban gardening); and Green Schools Fellow for BPS, Phoebe Beierle, a sustainability coordinator working with the school district to advance whole-district sustainability initiatives.

Sixth graders making signs for the recycling bins.

Workshops were offered to students of all ages throughout the day. Early on, Sarah’s class (grade 6) created signs to label recycling bins with (K/1 teacher and event organizer) Kathy D’Andrea, while Nakia and James’ students (grades 4/5) built worm composting bins for classrooms with Andrew and Ben.

Worms, worms, worms!

The fun continued mid-morning for Jenerra and Jacob’s classes (grades 2/3 and 7/8), who did plantings in the schoolyard garden and created bird feeders, also with Andrew and Ben. Kathy lead Emily’s class (grades 2/3) in making eco-friendly cleaning solutions for classroom use.

Planting in the schoolyard garden with Andrew.

Ecoteer Day culminated in a tree-planting event for our neighbors at the Parker Hill/Fenway Headstart. Kathy D’Andrea’s K/1 class, along with the help of Andrew, planted an apple tree in front of their building on Parker Street.

Digging the hole for the apple tree planting!

All of the students had an opportunity to dig, add compost and plant the tree, which was generously donated by City Farm. Many thanks to all who participated!

Planting the apple tree for our neighbors at Parker Hill/Fenway Headstart.