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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Recollections

We congratulate our fifth grade students and families who celebrated their Mission Hill School Recollections today!

Recollections is a tradition which acknowledges the first six years (or less) of a student’s time spent at Mission Hill School. It is a year-long collaborative project which uses an archived collection of work to help the student reflect on his or her past and also consider his or her future as a middle school student. Fourth/fifth grade teachers James McGovern and Nakia Keizer, work with tutor/newsletter editor Betsy Caruso and long-time volunteer Caroline Hoppin, to help children translate their memories into finished essays. Students then create self-portraits with art teacher, Jeanne Rachko, and the two pieces are edited and bound into a book, which is presented at the event.

An excerpt from the Recollections booklet welcome letter reads: “The Recollections project began one evening ten years ago in May, when children shared work from their Mission Hill School archive folders with their families. On that night the children’s work spoke eloquently-the self portrait from Kindergarten, the science journal from third grade, the King Tut poem from fourth grade-telling the story of our thematic curriculum as well as the history of each student’s individual journey. What our students did that evening-recollecting, making connections, and demonstrating what was most relevant to them-we now do in a more deliberate way with our fifth grade class each year.”

Below is a slide show of student self-portraits alongside their learning record photo portraits from this year.

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.

Building the Forbidden City…With Blocks!

If you have visited MHS recently, you may have noticed a hive of activity in the first floor hall  outside of the Family Resource Room. Groups of children color in a large replica mural of the 9 Dragon Wall, while others paste small Chinese and African-themed drawings and pictures under the appropriate letter on the newly-created Wall of Words.

When you make your way into room 101, you are met with a  colorful variety of books, maps, and objects all   sharing the same African and Chinese themes. And in the middle of all of this, stands the central focus of the student work: a large, scale model of Beijing China’s Forbidden City.Welcome to Malindi’s Journey: The Forbidden City Project, an interdisciplinary, global elementary school project, created by former MHS teacher and BPS New Teacher Developer, Alicia Carroll. The Forbidden City Project focuses on the study of the Forbidden City during the Ming Dynasty. Ms. Carroll developed the project as a vehicle for standards-based learning in a range of academic disciplines in the classroom.

For the next month, Ms. Carroll and a support team of artists, former MHS students, and para professionals will lead students through the task of building the Forbidden City model. Ms. Carroll will work with students in grades K-5 and families of students are welcome to join in the fun!

There is a website devoted to Malindi’s Journey: The Forbidden City Project at Mission Hill School, which describes the entire project in detail. Visit it to read about the extensive curriculum, learn more about the people involved, and see a slideshow documenting the progression of the project. Click to Visit the Malindi’s Journey Website.