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Posts Tagged ‘IB’
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Alumni visit the school for lots of reasons: to see their former teachers, coach our athletic teams, lead an outdoor trip, and even to teach. But last week, one of our alumni, Trevor Wallace (’11), visited our Gr 3 class to talk about his favorite authors when he was in elementary school. Trevor is currently a film major at Wesleyan University and donated many of his books to Ms. Wallace’s class library. He spent quite awhile sharing with students who were interested in finding new, more challenging authors to try. No one gives a book talk quite like a person who has loved and lived through the stories many times!
As you can see by the photos, the students loved Trevor and were hanging on every word. Thanks Trevor!
Kari Rasmussen Boazman
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, Cindy Stohlgren
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Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
The following blog entry was written by Middle School Science Teacher, John Pedersen:
Having taught the current Grade 8 students since sixth grade, I have seen them mature and grow academically. Many of these students have expressed the desire to pursue a medical degree so this year, I have placed an emphasis on topics associated with the medical field as we have progressed through the Grade 8 curriculum.
After completing our taxonomy unit and discovering how the anatomies of different species differs, the students were interested in the similarities and differences between humans and other species. As it turns out, the fetal pig’s organs, organ systems, and tissues are very similar to those of a human, as are its external features such as birthmarks, hair, and skin. Together, we decided to explore the anatomy and physiology of a fetal pig and compare it to a human’s anatomy. These similarities are what allow students to dissect a fetal pig following the protocol of an actual human autopsy.
During an autopsy, the body is examined with the utmost care and professionalism. The forensic pathologist carefully records all of the minute details of his or her examination of the body’s external and internal structures for clues to what could have caused the person’s death. Upon completion of the autopsy, students place all organs and connective tissue back into the body cavity and suture the Y incision closed using a curved suture needle and thread—much as a forensic pathologist would close a human subject. They then discard the specimen in accordance with our laboratory waste disposal procedures. This lab not only ties in the completion of our taxonomy unit but is also a precursor to our upcoming forensics unit.
I have been very impressed with the care, attention to detail, and genuine interest in scientific discovery that the students have demonstrated. This has been a great learning experience for all.
Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Reposted from Trevor Lindsay and Stacey Walker’s Gr 5 blog:
This afternoon we had a unique opportunity to learn how technology is used in the native countries of Riverstone’s international students. Students from China, Norway, Germany, France, Israel, Spain, and Albania shared the technology use in their home schools. It was a great way to make international connections, learn from the experts at our school and inquire further into our line of inquiry. Surprisingly, Riverstone uses technology more than any of the other students’ home schools. Students from China shared how many teachers view technology as a distraction and entertainment rather than an educational tool. Norway was the only country similar to Riverstone’s technology use in school. In relation to our central idea, technology enables individual expression while diversifying interactions with others, these students shared how frequently they use technology to communicate with their friends and family in their home countries.
Some of these students also shared their family’s email address so we can make contact and share our summative assessment, a creative articulation of expressing themselves to communicate internationally.
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Congratulations to Science teacher, Samantha Cole, whose teacher grant application, Hands on Biotechnology, was selected by the Idaho CapEd Foundation to be funded.
The CapEd Foundation made a surprise visit to Samantha’s Gr 11 Diploma Programme Biology class where they announced her grant was funded. Well done, Samantha!
Friday, November 14th, 2014
For the uninitiated, orienteering is a little wacko. Essentially, it’s a running sport in which participants locate and visit a series of stations, or controls, as quickly as possible. But underlying the “running” part of the sport is complex decision-making process; in orienteering the route between the controls is not defined. Instead, each orienteerer makes his/her own decisions about the fastest or most efficient routes, and as the old saying goes, the shortest path between two points isn’t always a straight line. In fact, in orienteering, a convoluted route can be surprisingly fast!
During October and November, students in Grades 8 and 10 have been learning how to read maps to identify those fast and convoluted paths between points in courses around Riverstone, as well as in Ann Morrison Park, Stewart Gulch, and Idaho City. On the Riverstone campus, students used familiar paths, buildings and roads as “handrails,” “attack points,” and “catching features.” In Ann Morrison Park, Gr 8 students got a little trickier, “aiming off” to simplify the longer routes through unfamiliar terrain. With a bit more experience under their belts, the next stop for Gd 10 were the hills of Stewart Gulch near the base of Bogus Basin Road where “spurs” and “reentrants” complicated every decision; students had to stop, think, and decide, “Up and over, or contour around?”
Finally, this Tuesday, Gr 10 students travelled to Idaho City for orienteering with a twist. In a “Score” course, instead of being told to complete the course in a prescribed order, students were given 45 minutes to visit 12 controls in any order they wanted; collect points for every control, but get penalties for going over 45 minutes. In addition to making small decisions about getting from control to control, students had to identify the most efficient way to connect all the dots. Impressively, some students completed the nearly 3km course, with almost 150m of elevation gain, in terrain riddled with knolls, reentrants, spurs, old mining ditches and paths, in forest that obstructed their view, making critical route choices and reassessing their position every step of the way, in just over 30 minutes. Needless to say they were breathless as they sprinted back from the final control, sweating despite the near-freezing temps!
Spatial awareness, critical decision-making? Check. Initiative? Yep. Personal responsibility in environments with elevated risk? You bet. Fresh air and exercise? Absolutely. Oh, and they can read a map!
How would you fare on this course….?
Friday, November 7th, 2014
We asked Director of Outdoor Education, Ben Brock, to write a testimonial for our Annual Fund. His letter was so moving we wanted to include it on our blog, especially for our alumni to see.
In the 14 years since I joined Riverstone I have known (yikes) hundreds of students.
I have had many in class, sat around campfires with most, and encouraged a few stragglers along trails around the west.
Whether they are Preschoolers or Seniors, I am amazed at how our students carry conversations, staggering in both depth and breadth, with each other, with their teachers, with total strangers, and sometimes in languages I can’t even identify.
I watch with pride as wins are starting to rack up on the hardwood and on the soccer fields. I watched with pride as students held their heads high through the tough, early winless seasons too.
I’ve read dispatches from adventures through the years to Peru, Alaska, D.C., McCall, knowing that new perspectives are on their way back to this little campus in the desert.
I can remember what many of our Seniors looked like in Kindergarten. I marvel at how they have welcomed late-comers into our community. Alumni gatherings are the highlight of my year; our community extends long beyond commencement.
Another significant time of the year is when I can listen, on the last night of the annual Senior Trip, to students reflect on how far they have come through the years. In many ways, I think it catches them off guard to see how much they’ve grown.
As I write, however, trying (probably in vain) to highlight the mind-boggling range of experiences that have guided Riverstone students as they’ve grown through the years, I’m struck by how much I’ve grown here as well.
I was 25 years old. I’d never taught before. Aside from my four year stint at college, I’d never really lived away from home. Riverstone teachers took me in; rare was the weekend or vacation that I didn’t get asked to join a crew of teachers on the river or in the mountains. Riverstone families took me in; I was invited to Bar Mitzvahs, citizenship ceremonies, and weddings. Riverstone students took me in. They asked me to help them start a soccer team. They invited me to their competitions and performances. Their artwork decorates my house.
Riverstone is not only where I’ve seen kids grow into amazing young adults, it’s where I’ve grown up. It has challenged me, taught me, and rewarded me. I can’t think of anywhere else I would have rather spent the last 14 years.
And I give proudly to the Annual Fund knowing that it helps make My Riverstone an even better place for my daughter, in her first year of Riverstone Preschool to grow up too.
Monday, November 3rd, 2014
In the IB Primary Years Programme, one of the most important elements of learning is that students are presented with opportunities to make connections. Connections between math, language, music, and art for example. By experiencing the same concepts in different subjects and manners, students can better internalize what they are learning and then connect that learning into their own lives. What they are learning becomes much more powerful and relatable to everyday life.
The previous blog post introduced our Gr 1 students learning about measurements. To make the connection between their Unit of Inquiry and art, their art teacher led a discussion of how measurements will impact the mixing of primary colors to create secondary colors. For example, a paint-brush full of yellow mixed with a paint-brush full of blue creates one color of green. On the other hand, paint-brush full of yellow with a dab of blue will create a different hue of green. The students experimented with different primary colors and different measurements throughout art class.
According to Jay Nelson, our Elementary art teacher, by connecting their general classroom conversations to the art classroom, “The students think about what they are doing much differently. They understand the impact on mixing of colors faster because they see how it is connected to the concept of measurement they’ve had with respect to other things like height, weight, time, pressure, distance, etc. Plus, they are having a lot of fun experimenting which is the best way to learn!”
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
Reposted from Tina Morgan’s Gr 1 blog:
The first graders have officially started their Measurement Unit of Inquiry. One of our students brought in a giant sunflower from home which gave us the perfect opportunity to front load the unit. We weighed “C” solo and then weighed “C” holding the sunflower. With assistance the first graders were able to write a representative number model and then solve for the unknown (50 + ? = 56). They found that the sunflower weight 6 pounds. Following this, the first graders each made an estimate of the number of sunflower seeds in the flower. The estimates ranged from 5 to 10,000. Sometime during the unit we will remove the seeds and count them. We will keep you posted on the other fun sunflower measurement activities that will follow.
We also did a measurement pre-assessment activity to help me understand the knowledge that the children have going into the unit. This helps me plan engagements according to the interests and needs of our group. This pre-assessment showed me that at this point the first graders are all thinking of “measurement” as a term that refers to linear calculations only. I am really looking forward to opening their minds to the idea that “measurement” applies to almost every aspect of their lives everyday! During this unit the children will be learning about linear measurements, area, volume, capacity, time, temperature, and monetary value. They will have many fun measuring activities to do at home as well as in the classroom.
Please keep track of measurement-related things your child says or does throughout this “How We Organize Ourselves” Unit of Inquiry. I would like to post these student-initiated inquiries, statements, and actions on our PYP Parking Lot. These questions and actions help guide me as I plan measurement units for future first graders.
I hope you share the enthusiasm that your child is already demonstrating for our new Unit of Inquiry. Let me know if you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to share your expertise in an area associated with measurement!
Photos include the day the students started counting all the seeds!
Monday, October 6th, 2014
Reposted from Mrs. Sterling’s Preschool Class Blog:
“This week, as we’ve continued our discussions on friendship, ‘working together, otherwise known as cooperating, has been our focus. Over the past couple weeks I’ve concluded that active participation seems to make the greatest impression on these young minds so we stuck with this learning model and I capitalized on every opportunity to point out when members of our preschool team were in cooperation mode. Fortunately, I’ve had lots of great examples: when the kids go through their morning routine; when they participate in circle each morning; when they discover ways to work together in free play time; as we clean up our room; when the kids responsibly complete their daily duties and/or respect each other in the process; when they respond to a call for help and provide assistance throughout the day; and how they generally interact with each other in positive and helpful ways. Many of these cooperative efforts have allowed us to revisit past lessons on being a responsible member of a community, using helping hands, and sharing.
To really emphasize the concept of cooperation and give the kids additional examples we could explore, we read and discussed a variety of relevant stories: Swimmy, Rainbow Fish and Rainbow Fish to the Rescue, David’s Drawings, Stone Soup, Burgoo Stew, and Fandango Stew. Next came the creative explorations. We made paper-bag rainbow fish complete with flashing scales. We painted other fish shapes and added glitter to represent the community of fishy friends that developed after Rainbow Fish shared his scales. We worked together to create a colorful and super-sized Rainbow Fish who, in the second story, encouraged the other fish to join forces to rescue a fellow fish in danger. We replicated the giant fish created by Swimmy and friends when they all swam in formation. When working together, they found courage to face predators and swim in the open sea. Inspired by David and his classmates, we created a cooperative drawing, each member of our preschool team offering their individual contributions to one paper. Most of these creative efforts are incorporated in the hallway bulletin board display just outside our classroom. The projects were intended to reinforce the power of cooperation present in the stories but also to allow the kids to directly experience the value and success of combined effort.
The reinforcement didn’t end there. After reading the variations of Stone Soup, we branched out from art into food. On Tuesday the kids helped to prepare our own chicken noodle Stone Soup. Our proverbial ‘watched pot’ did take a long time to cook but excitement remained high. Before the day was out, we’d not only enjoyed it ourselves, but we’d shared the bounty of our cooperative efforts with various members of our Riverstone community. Then Wednesday, each child contributed to our Friendship Fruit Salad. By combining our efforts, we enjoyed a delicious and varied snack. (PS Thanks Parents for making it possible!) We’re also discovering that sharing and working together is so much more fun than not.
Also during the week, unrelated to any literature, we found fun ways to be cooperative. We formed an impromptu band, making music together, focusing on playing together with coordinated stop and go rhythms. Self control is a pretty hard thing to master at such a young age but they all tried. We also banded together to build a tall block tower. The tower did topple several times but we were laughing together, rebuilding it together, and having fun … together! We focused on working as a group, invested in a common goal. Every afternoon before going home, we’ve been playing a round or two of Memory. In some other games the kids have been vying to be the “winner” but in this game, they’ve been celebrating each match that is made, regardless of who makes it. The kids worked on patience, taking turns, and finishing the game together. We’ve continued to play our balloon games – keeping the balloon aloft for as long as possible. Maybe I imagine it but the mayhem in this game seems to have diminished a bit as the kids become accustomed to playing it together, trusting they will get a turn.
Encouraging each other and letting go of individual preferences to embrace a group effort is a long process. Not every activity noted above went off without a hitch. Reminders were needed, encouragement was given, hurt feelings were soothed. As with all skill development, the more we practice it, the easier it will become. Here’s to a year of productive practice by Team Preschool!”
Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
Grade Seven’s final piece of literature for the semester was Michael William’s “Now Is the Time for Running.” It is the story of two brothers who flee the massacre of their small village in Zimbabwe for the “safety” of South Africa. Soccer is a way the boys are connected to their vanished home, each other and the people they meet during their journey to safety. There are many scenes and vignettes in the book that describe how they use their homemade soccer ball to play the game they love with the people they meet.
Kids love soccer. They play it on manicured fields, debris strewn lots in cities, open dirt patches and, as in Ben Stiller’s “Mitty” at the top of the world in the Hindu Kush. Unfortunately, not every kid owns a soccer ball. Like kids everywhere, our Grade Seven students discovered what it is like to work together to make a ball for the game they love.
Their ball was made from 100+ Winco shopping bags and duct tape (thanks Ben!). They played happily with the ball for an hour – just like kids across the developing world. Sport, particularly soccer, does unite us.