Hello from Tower

March 5, 2019

 

What a busy few weeks we've had throughout the Lower School.

 

We rang in the lunar new year by parading loudly through the hallways to chase away the negative and welcome the bright new year. Students learned that the Year of the Pig is believed to bring good fortune, and is marked by honesty, generosity and a sense of humor. Happy Year of the Pig! Days later, students traded notes of kindness on Valentine's Day and celebrated the 100th Day of School, an important milestone.

 

We were glad to welcome everyone during our February parent-teacher conferences, and hope that your meetings provided valuable insight, assurance, and connection. As always, you know where to reach teachers or me for follow up as needed.

 

In the classrooms, our Pre-K students performed a Lower School favorite, "I Am a Pizza," on stage; Kindergarteners voyaged to outer space; 1st graders concluded their study of penguins with the much-anticipated Penguin Expo, and today they were off to experience maple sugaring; 2nd graders are well into their study of cursive writing and the U.S. States; 3rd grade is getting ready for their own geography bee and prepping for their project-based learning inspired National Parks project; 4th graders are studying perspective in landscapes and human figures in visual arts studios; and 5th graders took the Commuter Rail today to visit the African American Museum of History in Boston.

 

As Dean mentioned in his most recent email, we held an engaging math curriculum night in early February for Lower School parents. Teachers provided an overview of our math program and worked with parents on bar modeling, an important problem-solving strategy used by students in grades 1 and up. It was an informative and enjoyable evening. Stay tuned for future curriculum-focused events.

In my remarks that evening, I referenced a recent article on the benefits of children using their fingers in math class. One of my favorite quotes from that article is: "To engage students in productive visual thinking, they should be asked, at regular intervals, how they see mathematical ideas, and to draw what they see. They can be given activities with visual questions and they can be asked to provide visual solutions to questions."

This emphasis on visualization epitomizes our Lower School math program.

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/04/why-kids-should-use-their-fingers-in-math-class/478053/

 

Other articles that have led to important conversation recently:

"Is it bullying or just a playground conflict?" I offer this quick read from the Boston Globe on the differences between "bullying" behavior and conflicts that arise between children in their day to day lives. This is important work for schools and families, to help children sort through conflict, tough moments in friendships, and help children resolve, rise above, and thrive.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2018/10/12/bullying-just-playground-conflict-many-parents-find-hard-let-kids-work-out/7CuOAJANuVzTtgpkEayOxH/story.html

 

You may have heard me speak at the State of the School about the importance of early childhood - the importance of the play and the learning that happens in this process, the teachers that facilitate it, and the young children themselves. I'm proud that our Early Childhood program at Tower puts an emphasis on play. This TED Talk is an interesting listen:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m7y6ZgQCnvw&feature=youtu.be


I hope your March Break brings some welcome change in routine, perhaps some quieter moments, and some time to play. I'm looking forward to an exciting spring, including our auction on April 6; I hope to see you there.

 

Best,

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Liz Buchan

Head of Lower School

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75 West Shore Drive, Marblehead MA 01945 | towerschool.org

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