Learning about Character Traits

Students in third grade read a biography called The Man Who Invented Basketball. They learned about James Naismith and his tough love and tough life in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. They used a graphic organizer to write about key moments in his life, major accomplishments, and the power of perseverance. Students worked together to come up with character traits to describe James Naismith. They learned that although he faced many hardships and challenges, Naismith rose above. Not only did he invent the game of basketball in 1891, but he also: became a minister, director of the YMCA, becomes a medical doctor, helped American soldiers in WWI as a military chaplain, and was honored at the Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. 

Black History Month Projects

Second grade has been learning about famous African Americans throughout the month of February. In addition to learning about people like Marian Anderson, Wilma Rudolph, Duke Ellington and others, students also chose an African American person to research. They shared their new knowledge and doll replicas with each other last week! Below is a sample of a few of the projects.

6th Grade Science’s Journey to the Center of the Earth!


The 6th grade science students are finishing up their introduction into Earth Science this week after studying the spheres of the earth and the layers of the earth over the past couple weeks. Students participated in many critical thinking concepts, focusing on the two questions: “What is inside our earth/Could we dig to the center of the earth?” and “What are the layers that make up our earth?”. During this time, we created a model of the earth on a small sphere. The students had to incorporate math to figure out the scale of the earth and the layers to the sphere they were given. The models turned out great! Students also spent a day using their creative side making a ‘graffiti wall’ where they expressed why it is important to know the layers of the earth. The 6th grade is looking forward to getting out of this world and leaping into the atmosphere next! 

Pi Day in Middle School

March 14 marked Pi Day, an annual celebration of the mathematical sign pi. Founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, March 14 was selected because the numerical date (3.14) represents the first three digits of pi, and it also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday—the perfect pi-incidence.

Sixth graders participated in Pi Week and all middle school math students participated in Pi Day on Friday, March 13. During Pi Week, math students were able to make discoveries related to the extraordinary number pi (π)! Students participated in the following activities: decorating Pi Day t-shirts that they wore on Pi Day, watching videos about Pi, completing a discovery activity involving circles, drawing a Pi City skyline, completing a creative research project about Pi facts, working on a collaborative Pi poster in small groups, writing Pi Poetry and much more! We also had our Annual Pi Bee (a memory competition where the student in each class who memorized the most digits of pi went home with an apple PIE)!


The 2020 Annual Pi Bee Winners are:
8th Grade Winners

  • Chloe A. (71 digits)
  • Mariah J. (63 digits)
  • Gabi W. (24 digits)

7th Grade Winners

  • Sebastian V. (135 digits)
  • Brady A. (45 digits)
  • Kevin G. (16 digits) 

6th Grade Winners

  • Danny M. (122 digits)
  • Autumn E. (108 digits)

Learning about Animals in PreK

The friends in PreK 103 have spent the last month exploring all things ANIMALS! We even went on a fun field trip to the Shedd Aquarium. We participated in interactive read alouds using Picture Exchange Communication Systems and felt story boards. Our stories included: “Goodnight, Gorilla,” “”I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” and “The Three Little Pigs.” We explored all things sensory in our sensory bin which had animals, hay and/or water each week. The students marble painted animals and created their own jelly fish as well. To top off the unit, Mr. Ben came for music and played animal-themed songs! 

Culinary Arts in French

Middle school students studying French went to Alliance Française this month for a scrumptious field trip. The students worked with a French culinary instructor to make a delicious French meal that included a salad with home-made vinaigrette, Croque-Monsieur sandwiches, and Madeleine cookies. The students did an awesome job cooking and at the end were able to enjoy the meal they prepared with their classmates. Miam-miam!

4th Grade Mi Ciudad Projects

Students in 4th grade showcased their understanding of 2nd quarter’s theme: En la Ciudad by designing and building a 3D model based on Chicago, our city of study (Buenos Aires) or a fictional city. The students used their city models to discuss with their classmates the various activities to do, places to visit in their city, and the ways they travel to different places (modes of transportation). The students did a phenomenal job creating unique city models and are very excited to share them with you!

6th and 7th Grade Career Week

Last week, 6th and 7th grade students heard from 24 different professions and professionals across many fields of work and from a diversity of backgrounds. Students were exposed to a variety of paths which could take them to college, training programs, and more on their way to a future career. Hopefully they will be thinking about their future plans as they finish out their time in middle school and choose a high school! Thank you to ALL of our presenters for donating your time to meet with our students. See below for one of the fan favorites, the CFD!

March SEL Theme: Perseverance and Grit!

As the winter draws to a close, we look to focus on perseverance and grit this March, since we can all probably use a little bit of those to get us to spring break! Perseverance, defined as persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success, and grit, courage and resolve/strength of character, are highly valuable attributes in life and in education. We want our students to know that facing challenges makes them grow, failure helps them learn a different way to approach a task, and when obstacles are hard, it makes them all the more worth doing. Students will watch videos related to perseverance and grit this month, and at home you can discuss times when you have overcome obstacles and shown that failure is not the end, but merely another stepping stone to success.

1000 Days in School!

With careful calculations, 5th grade discovered that by this time in the school year, the students academic careers (k-5th grade) is 1,000 days long! We spent the afternoon of February 14th celebrating this!. Students attempted a 1,000 piece puzzle, a STEM activity with 1,000 toothpicks and marshmallows and tried to come up with 1,000 memories. We wrote letters to our future selves, and even made 1,000 day glasses to wear! Being 1,000 days smarter is truly a cause for celebration.