Turning Point School Blog
During the month of August, Turning Point Middle School art teacher, Ms. Faith Purvey, worked with the M12 artist collaborative 's International School of Rural Experiences (ISRE) program, based in the High Plains of Eastern Colorado. There, she built a site-specific artwork called Resonant Outpost.
Based on Native American legends of fairy circles and the creation of the constellations, the work was a circular area with eight different objects hanging in sections. Formerly junk from the creek bed, Ms. Purvey built a contact microphone at a maker house in Arizona, and recorded the vibrations or 'inner voices' of these very old objects. She plans to put together a sound/video composition in the coming months as a finished piece.
In addition, Ms. Purvey assisted an Irish visiting artist, explored different ecological and historical areas around the region, and wrote the first five entries for the ISRE archive: http://www.ruralexperiences.org/.
Science is in full bloom for students in Level 2. They explored our ever-growing garden with Science Specialist Ms. Mayemura and recorded their experiences. They were even able to taste-test garden grown tomatoes. Students will continue to learn about vegetables in the weeks to come, and will get to visit a real farm just in time to pick Halloween pumpkins!
Each fall, Middle School begins the year with a two-night Camping Trip that highlights the benefits of social learning at this formative age. The purpose of the trip is to help students reinforce positive self-esteem, practice leadership skills, and develop a sense of community around being a Middle School student -- all of which set the stage for positive achievement and growth in the coming year.
What did you do over Summer Break?
As the school year drew to an end, we found ourselves in a flurry of festivities and ceremonies, all of which celebrated the competence and confidence of our students. Our Level 5 students stood proud and poised at the Candle Lighting Ceremony, filled with enthusiasm for all that Middle School will bring. The Class of 2014 Graduates radiated brilliance and vibrancy at the Commencement Exercises, well prepared to begin a new path towards a bright future. Our strong and supportive community filled our campus on the last day of school, as we all reveled in the happy end to what has been an enriching school year.
I want to wish our community safe travels and a wealth of stories to see you all through the summer and into the new school year. We invite you to keep our Turning Point stories alive as you depart for your various summer excursions, whether they are ones enjoyed from your back yard, at the kitchen table, or from distant destinations. We would love to know what has captivated and inspired you and your children this summer! We invite you to share your school year and summertime stories with us via email, as well as follow all that will be happening on campus in June and July at Summer Camp via Facebook and Twitter.
The fun has officially begun for so many students and friends at Summer Camp. We will be posting pictures and blogs from camp online throughout the summer, so be sure to check in. I look forward to seeing all new and returning faces in the fall for what will surely be another exciting and rewarding year along the path.
Until then, I hope you delight in the joys of summer!
- Ms. Richman
After an in-depth study of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Level 8 hosted a “Mockingbird Tea” on May 15. At the tea party; guests were transported to rural Maycomb County, Alabama by students who greeted them in costume complete with southern accents and 1930’s vocabulary. Each student had taken on the role of a character from the novel and developed a sense of him/herself through a comprehensive character study. By thoroughly analyzing a particular point of view, students were able to incorporate the characters’ hopes and fears in a speech they wrote from the character’s perspective. In their speeches given as Harper Lee’s characters, imagined secrets were shared, fears revealed, traumatic moments discussed, personal letters read, and graduation speeches rehearsed. Each presentation ended with a question for the audience to consider and discuss, and thoughtful conversation ensued over tea and treats throughout the morning. Level 8 students hosted a memorable event that demonstrated their strong critical thinking skills, as well as their creativity and compassion.
Level 2 students recently learned about Persuasive Writing in Writer's Workshop. They learned how to express their opinions fairly while trying to persuade people to feel the same way. As a culminating project, students wrote to their favorite companies trying to persuade them to make a product, make more of that product, bring products back, or tell them why they should continue with their great work. Our first response just arrived and the students are very excited to see who will hear back and what they will learn. Paige heard back from American Doll and learned that they put dolls in the archives to make room for newer dolls, and that they are in the process of making new historical dolls!
A favorite Primary tradition is the annual Week of the Young Child Art Exhibit. Each artist selects their canvas size and shape and the medium they choose to create their picture – watercolor, dot paint, tempera, or markers, and sometimes a combination of those choices. All the classes and parents are invited to view the exhibit throughout the Festival of the Arts. Enjoy a virtual tour of this exhibit!
In honor of Memorial Day, Levels 2-4 had the pleasure of welcoming guest speakers to Turning Point's campus. One of the two presenters, Chris Rushing, is the president of the Condor Squadron, a WWII Air Force Veterans group based at Van Nuys Airport and an Air Force Vet and Reservist who flies his own WWII AT-6. The Condor Squadron is a nonprofit that aims to honor veterans and promote the history and legacy of the AT-6.
Students were enthusiastic to welcome our guest speakers to Turning Point, and asked thoughtful and insightful questions throughout this rewarding experience.
Books and Cooks…what could be better than a good story paired with a tasty treat? This month, one of the first festive pairings in the Books and Cooks After School Class honored Dr. Seuss’s birthday. To celebrate, they read Green Eggs and Ham, and then made “green eggs” out of green vanilla pudding and Nilla cookies. Another popular, healthy, and tasty treat began with A Fine St. Patrick’s Day and led to shamrock shakes using a mystery green food. After the Cooks shared examples of naturally and artificially colored foods, and had a chance to guess, SPINACH was revealed as the mystery ingredient. The cooks couldn’t believe their taste buds! In their last class, they put on their baker’s hats for Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake and practiced patience like Betty Bunny, as they prepared and then waited for their delicious chocolate cake to bake.
On Friday, April 25, Level 3 students traveled to another time and place on their trip to La Plazita Olvera, a charming Mexican style marketplace and plaza, located in the birthplace of modern day Los Angeles. Their adventure began with a scavenger hunt that led students to historic monuments including the Avila Adobe, the oldest house in Los Angeles, and Pio Pico House, the town’s first luxury hotel named after the last Mexican governer of Alta California. Students also practiced their conversational skills to locate unique Olvera Street finds, including a giant 80 year old candle, and authentic Mexican sweet treats. They then joined together for a tasty Mexican meal, which our students ordered in their very best español. Their adventure concluded with a stroll through the marketplace for an afternoon of shopping and bargaining for souvenirs. Our students’ excitement, curiosity, and participation made this day a truly memorable experience for all.
In keeping with Turning Point’s global awareness initiatives, we are pleased to announce the addition of a world map wall mural located in the Level 2 hallway of Building 1. The mural highlights examples of wonderfully engaging, internationally-driven lessons by connecting blurbs/photos to the country being studied via "Turning Point postcards."
We hope that our parent community can stop by the wall mural when next at Turning Point to see the fabulous student work displayed.
The Robotics class has been progressing quite impressively! Students have been working in teams to design, construct, and program some very intelligent robots. While some robots have been programmed with more elaborate tasks, others have been designed with more complex features. Beyond this, students are learning to trouble shoot, work effectively within a group, and most importantly have fun with their newly acquired science and engineering skills.