Turning Point School Blog
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!
The After School Class, Ooey Gooey, is made possible by the students' curiosity, smiles, and willingness to explore and get messy! In a recent class, they had a shaving cream treasure hunt and learned how to make Oobleck. Oobleck is smooth, a little wobbly, and can be molded into shapes! Getting their hands...and arms…and sometimes their faces…messy is a lot of fun!
In February, Level K boys and girls spent their morning professing their adoration for their parents during the Valentine’s Day-themed Level K Parents at School Day. After performing three songs, one of which was an original Level K creation, Level K students read poems to their parents honoring what they love about their moms and dads. We’re sure that our Level K students will certainly be their parents’ sweethearts this Valentine’s Day! Check out the video for part of their special performance.
On February 4, Turning Point and BabyTalkLA hosted an adult education event with a panel of experts including Jason Collins, made famous by both his NBA career and his political activism, and his twin brother Jarron Collins, 10-year NBA veteran and current basketball commentator. The event was sponsored by The Banc of California, which donated $1,000 to the charity “Let’s Give Them A Shot,” a group that trains High School students to coach in public schools lacking athletic programs.
The panel offered parents support and guidance on the benefits of team sports, the developmental aspects of skill acquisition, how to balance skill acquisition with maintaining a love for the game, and the application of skills acquired in sports to other aspects of life (grit, resilience, perseverance, leadership, collaboration, understanding your role on a team, etc.).
Be sure to click here for a news story covering the event!
Mrs. Habib's Level 4 class and Ms. Cockerham's Level 2 class recently began a Book Buddy partnership. Each week they meet with their Book Buddies and do a variety of reading and writing activities. Recently, the Level 4 students wrote stories that featured their Level 2 buddy as the main character, and then read them to their Level 2 buddy! The Level 2 students loved hearing a personalized story written by their new Level 4 friend. Throughout the year, the students will read to each other, write other stories or cards for each other, and get a chance to make new friends.
In our SmartLab After School Class, the students are exploring the SmartLab LaunchPad and deciding which programs to use in order to design a computer game. The programs available are Computer Graphics, Simulations, Multimedia and Publishing, Circuitry, Mechanics and Structures, and Robotics and Control Technology. Most students are currently exploring the Scratch program as they set the foundation for their computer games.
On March 3, 2014, Turning Point Faculty and Staff will be attending the CAIS Southern Regional Meeting at Campbell Hall. The Regional Meeting offers attendees a broad spectrum of workshops in twelve discipline areas, plus a Featured Speaker, who this year will be Dr. Yong Zhao. Dr. Zhao has previously visited Turning Point School as a speaker in our Parent Speaker Series, so we are very much looking forward to hearing him speak again. The meeting also provides an opportunity for classroom teachers and administrators to share their ideas, knowledge, and expertise with their colleagues from the CAIS community by presenting workshops. The following members of our Faculty submitted proposals for workshops that were accepted, and will be presenting at the Regional Meeting:
- Diana Bender and Peter Boylan - Advisory: The Next Level
- Diana Bender and Peter Boylan - Emotional Currency and the Positivity Override
- Traci Demuth and Tessa Short - A Constructivist Approach to Developing Strong Readers
- Maria Escobedo and Noemi Garcia - Around the World through Imagination, Play, and Stories!
- Travis Reynolds - Fortifying the Flipped Classroom in Middle School
- Saran Richard - I Screen, You Screen, We all Scream for Green Screen!
- Jacob Snyder - Making Sense of the Elementary and Middle School California State Physical Education Standards
- Kameron Spies - Roundtable in Physical Education: Assessment in P.E.? How, When, and Why?
- Jami Wagner – Project-Based Learning
We look forward to gleaning new and innovative ideas from our fellow independent school colleagues, and are confident that our own Faculty will represent us well during their presentations.
Science is fun! In Wacky Science, students have been exploring the five senses as they tasted, smelled, touched, saw, and heard a variety of items such as spices, crackers, optical illusions, and much more. They also got up close and personal with some creepy crawly friends known as spiders, focusing on those that are native to California. Students have also been discussing the importance of seeds and plants and the contributions of each to our planet. Most recently they explored the structure and buoyancy of water as they made bubbles and “floating” paper boats. Moving forward, students will be exploring such concepts as solids, liquids, and gas.