Turning Point School Blog
The After School String Ensemble class is making beautiful music this Trimester! The group has been working hard with Ms. Ying, who has been impressed with student work ethic, enthusiasm, and they ways the students seek to support each other. In this video, you will see that Ms. Ying arranged Bach’s Fugue in G Minor (otherwise known as “Little Fugue”) so that each young musician could play a role in creating something special.
Level 8 students participate in an independent reading book club within one of three year-long themes: Award Winning Novels, Heroes and Heroines, or Where Science Meets Fiction. This week, students held enthusiastic discussions in their book club groups. Students who read Catcher in the Rye analyzed the importance of opening one’s self up to community and creating meaningful relationships with peers. In another group, eager debate filled the room where students discussed Asimov‘s I, Robot and the challenges of responsible invention. Those who read How Angel Peterson got his Name, Gary Paulsen’s memoir recounting adventures from his childhood in the 1950’s, were inspired to question the motivation behind his daredevil acts and discuss the impact technology has on children’s free time. These conversations illustrated a high level of critical thought about decision-making (real or imagined). They also exemplify our graduating students’ grasp on the role that community-focus, curiosity, and innovation play in analyzing literature. They are looking forward to the next book club meeting in May!
Level 6 students recently developed an art installation with Ms. Purvey, based on scenes from Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which they read in Humanities. The project incorporated sketches and conversations, dioramas built from materials collected from “Trash for Teaching,” and integrated math in glowing 3D Tesseract sculptures, ultimately transforming the Story Room into a multisensory journey. Students performed characters in the book, touring parents and younger students through the exhibit during the Middle School STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) Expo.
Mr.Reynolds, the SmartLab facilitator, helped the group integrate technology via pulsating sounds and intricate construction of “It,” the omniscient and omnipresent antagonist in the story. “It” utilized open-source software and a microcontroller hardware produced by Arduino. Students will explore more of this technology this spring.
In students’ words:
“I enjoyed looking at people’s faces light up while they walked through the installation.” - Mirabelle
“It was cool to see the book come to life. Not on a screen, but actually tangible.” – Cleo
“The project was loud, fun, hard, and exciting.” – Sasha
This exhibit was a collaboration between Level 7 Integrated Arts and Environmental Studies. The project was inspired by the documentary film, Wasteland, in which artist Vic Muniz travels to Brazil to create art with the “pickers” at the largest landfill in South America. Through his work, Muniz attempts to give a voice to the individuals who work in the landfill.
This project is a culmination of a study unit on the issues caused by plastics and other trash that has ended up in our oceans. Level 7 has worked with two local organizations, Heal the Bay and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, to learn about this issue. The art pieces are made from debris gathered during a beach clean-up in February. The backdrops are made from photographs that students from the Photography Elective class took on the same day. The exhibit is currently on display in the Building 2 Lobby.
The goal was to give a voice to the various living organisms that make their homes in our oceans and on our beaches. What do you think they are trying to say?
Big and Little Buddies Field Day was a hit! As a preface to our Spring Celebration, the Level 8 Big Buddies and their Primary Little Buddies gathered to have fun in the sun. Buddies played rousing games of Duck, Duck, Goose, ran relay races, and had a large game of “Red Light, Green Light.” This energetic game included some impromptu dancing and a lot of laughing. What a wonderful way to spend time on a beautiful spring afternoon!
A traditional event in Primary is the making of Stone Soup. This project is the culmination of reading the classic folk tale Stone Soup. In all the many cultural versions of this story, the consistent theme is sharing and the realization that when each person makes a small contribution, the collective impact can be huge. After they enjoyed making and eating their Stone Soup, the children had a wonderful and caring discussion regarding how many people in our community haven’t ever had Stone Soup to enjoy. As the magical ingredient in Stone Soup is sharing, they talked about ways they could share soup with those in need. They quickly realized they did not have a soup pot big enough! Nor was making several pots of soup and putting portions in plastic bags to share a practical solution. They did realize, however, that everyone could bring in cans of soup to share. Over several weeks, 128 cans of soup were collected. The soup was donated to S.A.V.E.S., and the Primary students were happy to share their soup with many other friends in our community!
Sports Nuts wrapped up the Winter Trimester of After School Classes with some rousing games of Dodge Ball. As it was a beautifully rainy day, the Beginning Sports students and the Level K and 1 Sports Club students were also in the gym, on the other side of the partition, playing their own games. Many of the younger “Future Nuts” were seen peaking their heads around the partition to take a look at the current Nuts as they had the time of their lives throwing and catching, juking and jiving, laughing uproariously all the while.
Level 1 Parents at School Day engaged students and parents in a variety of student-inspired, teacher-made, and authentic learning centers from across the United States of America. After performing the “Fifty Nifty United States,” singing all 50 states in ABC order and waving their homemade fingerprint flags, children invited their parents to their classrooms for USA Centers. Each class wrote a story about their class mascot venturing across America and read the story as Reader’s Theater with their parents. Additionally, children played a homemade board game using Math in Focus strategies to travel from the Santa Monica coast past Turning Point and downtown LA to Hollywood. They engaged in coin activities predicting and determining how many droplets of water fit on each coin, which type of solution best cleans a dirty penny, and made patterns for coin rubbings. Finally, students and parents communicated by writing letters back and forth. It was a delightful morning where students were able to share their hard work and learning with their parents in a very special, hands-on way.
Recently in the After School Class “Wild Science,” students got the hot glue and duct tape out one last time in order to carefully and thoughtfully piece final airplane parts into place. Each airplane was equipped with cardboard and styrofoam for the wings, paint stir sticks and PVC pipe for the stability of the body/base, and optional door hinges and wheels for the mechanics. What fun it was to see the aircraft machinery come alive over the past few weeks! In the last class of the trimester, students learned about chemical reactions; they played with ice blocks, pouring salt in various locations and watching the reaction as dyed water was poured over and consequently seeped into the ice. Then they created homemade ice cream using rock salt, milk, vanilla, sugar, and ice. What a tasty way to experiment with chemistry!
The Level 2 students were so happy to share the hard work they have been doing this year with their parents. Students began with a wonderful musical performance and a spirited United States Presidents themed readers' theater. Parents then spent time in their children's classroom participating in math, writing, and game centers. Parents even saw presentations based on Turning Point's Global Awareness Initiative that included information on Spain, two inventions from Spain (the quill and stamped paper), and the Stamp Act. Thank you to all of our parents who participated in this day!
During the last class of Yoga, Tumbling, and Dance, students shared a healthy snack of veggies, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and hard cheeses. After reading Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer in weeks prior, they spent some time slowing down to enjoy their food and engage in conversation – practicing mindfulness while they ate. Once everyone was finished they moved through some animal poses from the book, My First Yoga: Animal Poses by Abbie Davies. To end class, students worked together with the parachute to make a bubble they could all sit under. It took team work to simultaneously lift the parachute, wrap it under their bodies, and sit down at the same time. They had to practice a few times to get it right!
The past trimester in Speech and Debate has been filled with the drafting and presentation of phenomenal speeches and debates! Students have presented informative “how-to” Speeches, showing off creations of root beer floats, guacamole, Rainbow Loom bracelets, and more. They enjoyed presenting “Infomercial” speeches on topics such as Nutella, adopting animals from shelters, skateboarding, and more. They ended the trimester with a unit on Debate, practicing and making final preparations for their Public Forum Debate on “Is TV good or bad for kids?” This topic certainly generated a good deal of spirited debate among the students!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Level 5 students had the opportunity to participate in Turning Point’s first “Blind Date with a Book” event. Students were invited in random order to choose a wrapped book to read. The classes will meet again soon to share the books they read, speed-dating style. At this event, students will sit in two rows opposite each other. They will have five minutes to share their thoughts with the student sitting opposite them, then will rotate seats until they have shared shared their book with all their classmates. The hope is that through the activity, students will become acquainted with an author or genre they hadn’t considered reading before.
Our friends in After Care have had a fantastic time learning about different cultures. Ceremonies are different in every country and sharing those differences has helped our friends to remember that there are many ways to celebrate.
Recently, the celebrated Chinese New Year by learning how to use chopsticks! Some students had a rough beginning but they faced the challenge and found some success. Then they made a delicious Chinese salad that our friends found delicious and many wanted seconds.
Through the literature read to our After Care friends, they learned how the color red signifies good luck and fortune during Chinese New Year. Most of all they had a great time making their own dragon and swaying them to their own dance.
Recently, they also took a detour to Italy and prepared a meal that nobody can resist...Spaghetti! Our friends enjoyed the independence of preparing the dish to their own liking.
As part of a continuing study about the history of Civil Rights and Equality in the United States, Level 2 and Level 4 students were able to take part in a special storytelling performance by Michael McCarty. Through his animated narratives, our students learned about Ruby Bridges's contribution to social equality in schools and William Kamkwamba building windmills in Africa. Mr. McCarty even told a Folk Tale that reminded our students to treat others how they would want to be treated themselves. The students really enjoyed Mr. McCarty's stories and asked many insightful questions throughout his presentation. It was a wonderful culmination to this important topic!