Turning Point School Blog
Come experience "Joyful Learning" through the eyes of a Level K student at Turning Point School!
Travel to Canada on a school day? Yes, we did! Level 4 students in Mrs. Habib’s class “visited” a class from Edmonton, Alberta recently. They played a game called “Mystery Skype” where students used deductive reasoning and map skills to ask 20 yes or no questions in order to guess the city of the other class. Both classes were successful on question #20, so Americans and Canadians were equally excited! We can’t wait to travel the world on our next Mystery Skype!
As part of their Poetry unit in Writer's Workshop, Level 2 students practiced staying within the rubrics of syllable count and rhyme patterns for certain types of poetry. To bring this one step further, they brought their poems to the Computer Lab!
Students learned how to create a PowerPoint presentation of their poems, practicing background design, animation, slide transition, and even how to present it to a group. The students had so much fun and created wonderful presentations for their peers.
Congratulations to our Turning Point Band for earning a silver rating at the Forum Music Festival at Knott's Berry Farm last weekend! Their silver rating earns them a spot in the top 20th percentile nationally. The band was adjudicated by two industry professionals, and ranked in the following categories on a 1-5 scale: Intonation, Tone, Technique, Balance/Blend, & Interpretation.
Kudos to Will G. for receiving a special award for his performance on baritone horn in Paul Lavendar's arrangement of Sergei Prokofiev's Trioka, and to the entire band for all of their hard work this year. The Festival provided a wonderful opportunity for Mr. Harrison and the band members to perform their three best festival-quality pieces, experience performances from other middle school bands, and celebrate their successful season.
We send a special thank-you to the parent drivers and chaperones who volunteered their time, and to Mr. Newman for the wonderful photos!
In Level 6 Humanities, students have been studying Ancient Greece by representing either Sparta or Athens. The two rivals are competing in a "Race to a Golden Age," trying to prove once and for all which city-state is the best!
Over the next week, a joint venture with the SmartLab will bring students to a virtual Ancient Greece in the world of Minecraft, where digital versions of famous philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates send them on quests in the Library of Alexandria and the temple at Delphi, and ask them to construct schools for Sparta and Athens. Once completed, students take the rest of the class on a virtual tour of their schools. Take a look at what they've built!
Charles Darwin, Babe Ruth, Sacagawea, Julius Caesar, and Jane Goodall all in the same room? Level 4 students made it possible at the annual Living Gallery, where these and other historical figures performed in a runway show and then stood on "display" for visitors to enjoy. Students decorated their gallery frames with unique artifacts to represent their historical figures, then came to life to tell their stories when their buttons were pressed.
The Living Gallery was the culminating activity of a biographical research project where students had to answer the essential question, “Why should my historical figure be remembered?” Students then wrote five-paragraph essays and crafted their own memorable oral presentations. Thank you to all who visited our gallery opening, and congratulations to our Level 4 students!
In Level 2, students have been reading a book called The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz. This story is about a ten-year-old girl named Ann Hamilton and her journey with her family to the western frontier of Pennsylvania.
As a complimentary project, Level 2 students are putting their construction hats on to build their very own cabins that are similar to the home where Ann would have lived. Students are working hard to keep their cabins true to the time period, while engaging in conversation about what life would have been like in the late 1700s.
In the Game Design elective class, students are using a design tool called GameStar Mechanic, a web-based software funded by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of Play, to learn about game design and create their own games. Students are graded on creativity and game balance (a level must not be too easy or too hard, but rather perfectly 'balanced' between the two).
Level 8 student Tyler A. was challenged to create a game level themed "Outside In," in which players have to work their way in and out of the center of the game level in order to win. Below, you can play Tyler's game. Can you collect all six gold tokens without hitting the red spikes?
Great job, Tyler!
Congratulations to all of our Middle School Track and Field athletes for finishing a strong season on a very high note during the season finals at West LA Community College on Tuesday. Among the many achievements, our Level 6 4 x 100 relay team took first place, Cayla K. came in third overall for the long jump, and Toshi S. claimed first place in the 60m dash and came in third overall for the 400m dash. Our boys' team came in 4th overall, competing against 11 other teams.
We are very proud of all of our students for representing Turning Point so well through their excellent sportsmanship. Go, Tornadoes!
Thank you to all of the Turning Point families, Faculty, Staff, and Administration who helped make yesterday's Community Service Day in partnership with Big Sunday a huge success!
Volunteers from both Turning Point and Hillcrest Drive Elementary came together for day of fellowship, community service, and lots of fun. Families worked hard painting, cleaning, and beautifying the Hillcrest campus while also creating crafts and other items to benefit area non-profit organizations. There was also plenty of time for food, face-paining, sno-cones, and games.
A big thank-you goes to the PSA Co-Chairs of the Community Service Committee, as well as our Faculty Community Service Learning Coordinators for organizing such a meaningful event. A fantastic time was had by all!
Is Mr. Fox guilty of stealing from the farmers? If so, should he be responsible for replacing the stolen items? Level 3 recently put Mr. Fox on the stand during a mock trial where students represented characters from the book and argued their side in this controversial case.
While our jurors worked hard to stay undecided until both sides were heard, our defense and prosecution councils did their best to back up the case in favor or against the accused. In the end, Mr. Fox was declared guilty, and our Level 3 students learned about the criminal justice system!
Level 3 visited Olvera Street last week. They learned about the history of early Los Angeles, and experienced some unique features including a walk through the Avila Adobe, the oldest house in Los Angeles, and the Pico house, the city’s first grand hotel built by Pio Pico, the last governor of California under Mexican rule. Students also practiced their Spanish by asking questions and ordering food at a Mexican café.
The afternoon was spent taking in the lively and colorful culture of the marketplace and shopping for souvenirs. A great time was had by all!
From the Director of Admissions and Placement
This year, 100% of Turning Point graduates seeking admission were accepted to competitive, highly selective Upper Schools. More than 80% of the class was offered admission at their first choice school.
Our placement process emphasizes the importance of finding the right fit for each student and family. The diversity of Upper Schools explored and chosen is testament to the diverse make-up of our community.
This journey began nearly ten months ago with our Level 7 Parents Meeting in May. At that gathering we outlined the steps each family would take to effectively research and identify school choices, explore and refine their lists, navigate the various application processes, and ultimately guide each student to a school that will set the stage for long-term success.
As the Placement Director, I have the privilege of cataloguing and presenting the many accolades and successes of our Level 8 students. While we celebrate their acceptances, on behalf of the entire Middle School Division I would also like to acknowledge their time, effort, and partnership.
This year’s graduating class includes talented artists, athletes, and actors. There are gifted writers, powerful speakers, and blossoming agents of change. Their experiences here in Middle School have fundamentally shaped their trajectory in academics and in life. It may sound like a platitude, but observing the growth and achievements of the Class of 2015 should give us all great hope in our collective future.
As future alumni of Turning Point School, these students have experienced unique learning and leadership opportunities. As mentors to our youngest friends they have planted the seeds of success for graduates to come.
They’ve been challenged to think and grow beyond their comfort zone by excellent teachers who honor the distinct development of each child.
And yet these graduates are much more than just well prepared for high school. Our graduates, on the cusp of young adulthood, are exceptionally prepared for the challenges that an increasingly complex, interconnected world will present to them.
It has been a true pleasure and privilege to work alongside each student and family as they make this transition. We could not be more proud of your accomplishments and wish you the best of luck as you traverse life’s many turning points in the future. Congratulations, Class of 2015!
Director of Admissions and Placement
2015 Upper School Acceptances
Chaminade College Preparatory School*
Crespi Carmelite High School*
Immaculate Heart High School
Lycée Français de Los Angeles High School
Loyola High School*
Marymount High School*
Milken Community School
New Roads School*
Notre Dame Academy
Notre Dame High School*
Pacific Hills School
Pacifica Christian High School*
*Denotes Turning Point graduate(s) enrolling next fall.
In Level 2 Science last week, students enjoyed an exciting visit from Inside the Outdoors Traveling Scientist, Marie, who gave a wonderful lesson on natural resources and how we can best protect our environment. The hands-on presentation allowed students to collaborate on how they could positively impact environmental sustainability.
Students also learned about the sun and started an experiment that uses the Scientific Method to understand how sunblock protects us from harmful exposure.
Last week in Level K Social Studies, students continued their Farm to Table unit by studying the different parts of a plant, including the roots, stem, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Students identified edible plants and discussed where they grow. They learned that carrots grow as roots underground, apples grow on trees, lettuce grows on top of the ground, and pumpkins grow on a vine. Finally, students created pictures of plants using actual fruits and vegetables. Great work, Level K!