Grade 3 Shark Unit and Transliteracy
The magnificent and colorful works of shark art lining the hallways of Grade 3 (a project led by art teacher Kara Angeloni-Williams) gives only a brief, but artistic, glimpse into all that transpired in a two-month unit of study on sharks.
This collaboration involving homeroom teachers and specialists in the areas of science, library, language, and technology showcases the power of transliteracy unfolding in our classrooms at Nashoba Brooks School.
Science teacher Kelly Western began the unit by giving students the ability to track sharks that were individually assigned to them with an attached beacon. Our budding marine biologists used an online resource called Ocearch on their Chromebooks to chart their movements to learn more about their surfacing patterns, how far out into the ocean they travel, as well as potential migratory patterns. Students learned that sharks are a keystone species: if they are stressed or are dying, it is a signal that our oceans are not healthy.
This integrated unit extended into the library through literature. Students read two books about sharks: The Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark and Sea Creatures from the Sky. The students compared and contrasted how sharks were portrayed, especially timely when considering the swirl of attention around these creatures due to increased sightings and recent encounters with humans on Cape Cod.
Students also watched part of a documentary series on sharks by Madison Stewart called Shark Girl. They learned about a girl on a mission to protect our sharks, a battle that began when she “put her studies on hold, grabbed a camera, and set out to save these incredible, misunderstood creatures.”
Using Skype technology, students also had the opportunity to interview Madison Stewart, asking questions they had prepared in advance with the help of their teachers. Director of Educational Technology and Innovation Hank Bryant taught our Grade 3 researchers how to use Google slides to present their findings about their specific type of shark. With Spanish teacher Amy Riddle, students found their shark names in Spanish with PebbleGo Spanish, and some students found developed a slide in Spanish about their shark, translating their learning into another language.
For the culmination of this unit of study, students will embark on the next leg of their journey: a trip to the New England Aquarium to see these wonderful creatures up close and personal, bringing with them all they learned through multiple platforms.
Alongside the book fair and poetry month, April has been a wonderful time for literature at Nashoba Brooks School. Sharon Draper and Jen Campbell, two celebrated authors, left their mark on the community over the past few weeks.
More than 75 parents responded to this year’s annual School survey and numbers were well balanced across all grade levels. The results of the survey are impressive and the feedback the parents offer to the School is glowing.
As Black History Month comes to a close, students and faculty alike celebrate diversity, acknowledging that a school is not only classrooms, gymnasiums, and fields, but also the people within these walls. Each year and at every grade level our students contemplate the presence and importance of different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs. And this month provides community members with an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Black in America.
Rachel Adams graduated from Nashoba Brooks School in 2001. She went on to study at Lawrence Academy followed by Maine College of Art and Design. Now living in Portland as a successful artist, textile designer, entrepreneur, wife and mother of two, Rachel shares her journey from student to full time artist.
Guida Mattison, Nashoba Brooks School's director of secondary school placement, wants to remove as much stress as possible from the high school application process that Grade 8 students go through each year.
Nashoba Brooks' school counselor, Liz Joyce, was accepted as a 2021-2022 fellow by The National Coalition of Girls' Schools' Global Action Research Collaborative. NCGS is an advocacy group that helps connect schools and organizations that educate and empower girls.
On Wednesday, October 20, the School held a dedication event to officially name the Sureau Family Discovery Barn. While the pandemic limited the size of the event, the community looks forward to a larger spring celebration of this compelling new addition to our campus facilities.
This year our students celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by investigating a myriad of Hispanic and Latinx scholars, writers, and activists. In the first half of the month, students explored fifteen impactful individuals and events, selected by the Inclusivity Leadership Team (ILT).
To start the school year, Grade 8 students traveled up into Maine's cooler weather. Almost three hours north, Camp Chewonki is a staple of the Grade 8 experience at Nashoba Brooks, and after a hiatus last year, students and teachers alike were happy to return. For years, Camp Chewonki has provided a place for the leaders of the student-body, the new Grade 8 class, to come together, bond, and think about the year ahead of them.
In August, our Middle School Latin Teacher Maritere Mix was invited to present at the OER conference for Social Studies educators. The conference is run by the Open Educational Resources Project, “a coalition of educators and historians solely focused on boosting student engagement and achievement through transformational social studies programs.” The project is dedicated to providing teachers with high quality curriculum and engaging content to help bring history to life for students. Ms. Mix presented in the track focused on “arguments with evidence.” Her track talk considered ways teachers can help students connect more meaningfully with the past.
Ms. Mix explores how to structure activities that support student investigations of primary sources, and helps them to think critically about the past with empathy for the people who lived through it. Ms. Mix’s goal is to empower students to make informed claims and to enable them to relay captivating historical accounts. In addition to her track talk, Ms. Mix participated in a live panel discussion with Bob Bain from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Nate Otey, a fellow in Philosophy at Harvard. She says she found the live discussion “a great opportunity for us to delve deeper into our topic and address some of the questions from the more than 200 conference attendees.” This was Ms. Mix’s first time presenting in this forum and she admits to feeling outside of her comfort zone. Her risk taking is a great model for her students and she hopes for the opportunity to do it again in the future. You can view Ms. Mix’s track talk on the OER website.
Are you ready for a design challenge? This week’s Nashoba Brooks Notion invites you to practice the iterative process of design thinking by participating in a STEAM building activity! The challenge is to build multiple versions of a tin foil boat and then test the buoyancy and strength of your boat by adding pennies progressively. Here is a document that explains the challenge and lists the necessary supplies. There is also an optional chart for recording your data and an optional set of reflection questions. We encourage you to work together with your family to build your boats. Good luck!
Situated on a beautiful 30-acre campus in historic Concord, Massachusetts, Nashoba Brooks School enrolls all genders in Preschool through Grade 3, and students identifying as girls in Grades 4 through 8. Nashoba Brooks is an independent school designed to build community, character, and confidence in its students.