Turning Point School Blog
Many thanks to the parents and students who joined us for our Middle School Open House last night. Guests were treated to a performance by students in the Middle School Theatre Elective, who provided a sneak preview of their upcoming February performance, Still Life with Iris, by Steven Dietz. Afterwards, alum Surreal L. (Class of 2014) and current Level 8 student Kaylie Y. spoke about their experiences at Turning Point.
Following the presentation, prospective students and their parents had an opportunity to spend time with teachers, advisors, and coaches. We always appreciate the opportunity to showcase our exceptional students and Faculty to the greater community!
Level 4 explored life on the rocky and sandy shore at the Cabrillo Aquarium in San Pedro. Students got to dig in the sand and use sifters to find plants, worms, shells, and rocks. One group found part of a sea urchin! They also got to use microscopes to get a close-up look at hermit crabs and barnacles eating. Touch tanks allowed them to feel sea cucumbers, sea stars, and hermit crabs. It was an awesome experience!
Students in Level 3 have begun their very exciting unit on China, discussing the history of the unique and vibrant country, as well as its importance to the modern world. As part of their studies, students visited the Pacific Asia Museum last week where they saw artifacts from over 5,000 years ago, learned about the Silk Road, and made Chinese dragons.
The potential for student innovation and entrepreneurship reached new heights at Turning Point in the New Year. Thanks to generous contributions from parents Russell and Heidi Ziecker, and trustee and grandparent Joel Schneider, Turning Point’s future Maker Lab will soon be home to two new, powerful machines - the Makerbot Replicator, a 3D printer, and the Fabtotum, a personal fabricator that does more than just print. Stay tuned for more updates and inventions soon!
Congratulations to our students in Primary, Kindergarten, Level 1, and Level 2 for their outstanding performance at the annual Winter Concert on January 15, 2015. Entitled Storytellers, Raconteurs, and Cantastorie, the performance brought to life many beloved stories and fables through vocal and instrumental arrangements.
We extend the deepest gratitude to Elementary Music Specialist Mr. Gianluca Bersanetti, who not only conducted the concert, but wrote the music, lyrics, and/or arrangements for many of the pieces performed by our students that evening. A round of applause also goes to Performing Arts Coordinator Ms. Jane McEneaney, our middle school emcees, and all of the Turning Point Families, Staff, and Faculty who lent support and enthusiasm to a wonderful evening of song and celebration!
Level 8 Humanities students investigated current international civil and human rights issues in conjunction with their unit on Slavery and the Civil War. After watching the parts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech relating to the roots of the Civil Rights Movement, they were asked to reflect on some “dreams” they have for the progress of international civil rights in the future. The project culminated in a collaged “dream” poster which was eloquently presented at Monday’s All-school Assembly honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As part of Turning Point School’s Dirt-to-Dish and Garden program, all grade Levels on campus currently compost
their food waste except for meat and cheese. The goal is to create a biodynamic system in the School Garden; in other words, students are working to produce all their own soil and fertilizer in order to dry farm (meaning using only rainwater).
A closed system is our goal because the pursuit of environmental sustainability is of great importance to us as a community, and reducing waste and water usage plays a large role toward that end. Further, because we serve our produce to those in our community, including our youngest students, we want to know everything that goes into our soil and therefore into our food.
While we are especially proud of our composting project on campus, we still need far more compost if we are to reach our goal of a closed system. To that end, a group of students in Level 5 volunteered to be part of a unique opportunity to compost at home. Students were provided with composting buckets, which they fill and then empty into Turning Point’s compost bin. The buckets are rinsed, and students may take them home to be filled once again.
We hope this program not only helps our compost bins grow here at school, but also inspires meaningful conversations about the importance of compost at home.
Many thanks to Level 5 and the Staff/Faculty who serve on the Garden Team for their wonderful leadership with this initiative! We look forward to watching our garden continue to grow!
Each month during the school year, every Turning Point student and Faculty/Staff member meets with their assigned "Family" to work on a meaningful project. The "Families" include students from all Levels, and teachers and staff members from all areas of the school.
For the January project, our Families participated in the Literacy Challenge Bookmark-A-Thon to benefit the organization Students Rebuild. For each bookmark made, the Bezos Family Foundation donates $1 (up to $300,000) to Save the Children's Literacy Boost program in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The goal of the initiative is to increase literacy skills in children who live in developing countries by providing resources, teacher training, and learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom.
During this project, the Turning Point Families collectively made 740 bookmarks for a total of $1,480 raised towards this project. Great work, students and staff!
The Turning Point Family Program provides a multi-age environment that encourages continuity and builds a sense of community among Faculty, Staff, and students. Faculty and Staff “Elders” facilitate monthly Family meetings designed to help younger students benefit from interaction with older students, encourage older students to practice responsible modeling, and inspire all members of the Turning Point community to learn, share, and grow together.
In after school Survivor Scouts, students learn the fundamentals of survival tactics. Last week, students learned to assemble a tent. Afterwards, they made s’mores, then gathered nice and cozy inside their new tents and told silly ghost stories.
In Robotics, students are learning the fundamentals of assembly and programming. For many of these students it is the first time they are working with robotics, so the tasks can be rather challenging, but they have a lot of fun working and brainstorming as a group.
Students celebrated the start of 2015 with the first all-school assembly of the year, on Monday, January 11. To kick things off, Middle School students Jessica N. and Annette M. helped the community celebrate all the January birthdays, and Gavin O. led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Harrison conducted the Level 6 Jazz Band in "Festival Chorale" and "Procession of the Heroes," celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, students in Level 2 and Level 8 shared the meaning of MLK, Jr. Day and discussed the "dream posters" they made in class.
Students also learned about the upcoming Family Event which features a Bookmarker-A-Thon to benefit Students Rebuild, and Level 8 students shared details from their Mondrian Art Project. Finally, Level 5 students built enthusiasm and school spirit for the upcoming Hoop-A-Thon on Friday, February 6.
Thank you to all of the students who helped during this month's Assembly!
In Core Literature class last week, students in Level K made Community Soup. At the beginning of the day, each student had the opportunity to add their special ingredient into the crockpot. Once all the ingredients were in, they turned on the crockpot and waited for the soup to cook.
Then, they read the book On the Town by Judith Caseley, which is about a boy who is studying communities at school and walks around the town recording all the different people who are in his community. Students discussed the concept of a community and talked about why their soup was called Community Soup. Finally, at the end of the day, and after much anticipation, students were able to eat their yummy vegetable soup. Thank you to our Level K parents for contributing different ingredients for the soup. The students absolutely loved it!
Winter Sports are in full swing at Turning Point! Come cheer on our student athletes at a game this month. The game calendar can always be viewed at www.turningpointschool.org/calendar.
Level 2 students were visited by Valentine's Traveling Nature Class this week in Science class. They learned lots of great facts about amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and invertebrates. Many animals were in attendance including snakes, frogs, toads, lizards, tarantulas, hedgehogs, and even a pig! The students were able to hold and pet these animals, and witnessed firsthand how lizards shed. The students loved this up-close-and-personal interaction with Science learning.
One of the topics we explore during the Toddler Program series is how to raise a happy child. Below you will find some tips and pointers from that conversation. We would love to have you join us for our next class series, which runs from January 13 – March 17, 2015. Please visit us online to learn more!
A Happy Child is a(n):
- Well-nourished child that eats at appropriate mealtimes. Eating at regular intervals refuels toddlers’ growing bodies and brains, and keeps them from entering meltdown mode. Children can experience greater happiness when they are well-fed and calm.
- Child who gets enough sleep. Remember that healthy sleep habits are life-long, and they are learned. It is your job as a parent to establish this routine and ensure that your child is getting enough sleep. It is hard for a cranky child to be happy.
- Imaginative child who can engage in unstructured play. Just as you have a schedule busy with classes (gym, music, etc.), your schedule should be designed to include free play time.
- Expressive individual who is allowed to have feelings. Children need to express their emotions and feel safe doing so, knowing that their parents are trying understand them. Publicly shaming them will not help them be happy.
- Child who is given choices. As much as you can allow, give your child choices (Do you want to wear the green or red shirt? Do you want to have oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast?).
- Child who feels heard. When children feel that what they have to say matters, it helps them feel more connected to the family unit and allows them to develop honest relationships.
- Child who has unconditional love from parents. You need to forgive your child and love them, and let them know that you will always love and support them no matter what.
It is easy to always focus on the child’s happiness, but we often forget that it is hard for us to be good parents, be patient, and give our child the aforementioned things if we are unhappy.
Tips for Being a Happy Parent:
- Maintain open communication and dialogue with your partner/spouse regarding your plan/schedule for your child. Just as importantly, be sure to openly express what your needs are (date night, some spa/alone time, etc.).
- Engage in behavior that only benefits YOU! While it may make you happy to attend a music class with your child or do a work project, be sure to also schedule an activity that gives you time to focus on your own needs.
- Limit your expectations for your child. You will be happier if you stop comparing your child to others (when he/she should be doing what) and focus instead on feeling grateful that they are healthy and growing.
If you have any questions about the Turning Point Toddler Program, please contact Zach Hinkle at 310-841-2505 x160 or email@example.com. Please visit our website at to learn more or register for classes!
VANESSA KARUBIAN SAXE
Turning Point School Toddler Program
8780 National Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
In the After School Class Exploratorium, students have been learning about gasses; how they affect things in the environment and, more specifically, make things move. As a way to demonstrate, students filled film canisters with water and seltzer tablets, placed the canisters top-down on the ground, and waited for liftoff!
Students are also learning about how air helps create sound and fills the environment. Each student received a harmonica to take home, which helped them understand how breath creates vibrations.