Turning Point School Blog
When I heard that I would be Head of School for a day, I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t the faintest idea about how the school was run, and I was interested to find out. I was so excited to be able to fill the shoes that I’ve been looking up to my entire life.
As a Level 8 student, I’m used to having a fair amount of responsibility and leadership opportunities, but nothing prepared me for the amazing whirlwind of a day I was about to have.
First thing in the morning, I prepared extensively to give a speech about our latest Speaker Series Presenter, Lori Getz. I was honored to give that introduction. After giving my introduction, I went back to Building 1 and got ready for my close up! We took some really great photos, especially for that early in the morning.
After photos, I was ready for my first, of many, meetings throughout the day. I was amazed to see how Division Heads like Mr. Segar and Mrs. Akana check in on classes and meet with so many teachers. Then, much to my enjoyment, I went back three years and visited a Level 5 class to discuss one of my favorite books, Maniac Magee.
I have to admit, though, my favorite parts of the day happened just before lunch. I went back to my roots on the Primary Playground and supervised the children playing. That was really touching for me because I was once playing there with the same carefree smile plastered to my face that I could see on all of theirs. It was really special for me, because that was the playground that cultivated me into the person I am today. I gained so many foundations there.
Another highlight for me would have to be going to lunch at The Point (which despite the na
me isn’t owned by Turning Point) with Ms. Richman. After a refreshing walk there, upon which we discussed social media opportunities for the school and the stylistic decisions that some buildings had made, we were there. During lunch we also talked about common interests like reading and writing.
That concluded my day and my taste of being part of the Administrative Team, but I had a blast. It was an amazing opportunity, and the twelve years I’ve spent at Turning Point made it all the more sweet.
During this trimester of After School Classes, students in Wacky Science have explored the concept of the five senses as they tasted, smelled, touched, saw, and heard spices, crackers, optical illusions, and much more. Then they got up close and personal with their crawly friends known as spiders that are native to California. It was fascinating and a little creepy!! They have also discussed the importance of seeds and plants and the contributions of each to the planet, and created their very own “Chia Pets.” Recently, they explored the structure and buoyancy of water as they made paper boats, tested them for efficiency, and made adjustments to fine-tune them. They are learning so much about Wacky Science!!
The Administration, Faculty, and Staff are focused on the advancement of international and intercultural learning for students as we move beyond the CIS membership phase and towards International Certification.
The CIS community includes more than 660 schools and 490 colleges and universities representing 104 countries. We are committed to working collaboratively with CIS to further enrich our curriculum and program throughout this process.
This month we will join ten other schools around the world as a part of the CIS International Certification Pilot Program. Our participation in this program promulgates our school mission to graduate “responsible, well balanced adults who are confident, honest, knowledgeable, community-focused, globally oriented, joyful, and well prepared to face a challenging and changing world.” We are honored to have been asked to join in this program with schools from Australia, Argentina, Canada, The Netherlands, and China.
We look forward to sharing the developments of this process with our community along the way, so be sure to look for updates on our website, Facebook page, or Twitter account more frequently.
The first of its kind, Turning Point’s year-long garden project with Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School, in partnership with Enrich LA, is almost finished. Click on this link to read what Culver City Observer reporter, Sandra Coopersmith, wrote about this richly unique project. This meaningful ongoing service learning experience engaged the entire school community. We also hope you will all come to see the garden when both communities gather at Weemes for Big Saturday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 17.
Recently, Levels K and 1 visited 826LA, a nonprofit writing center. With the help of the amazing volunteers at 826LA, they worked together to write an original story. They each wrote their own endings, and received bound copies of their book! They had a wonderful time and learned a lot about the writing process and what goes in to making a great book.
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!