Turning Point School Blog
To celebrate their unit on bees, Ms. Britton’s Primary friends enjoyed a honey tasting activity. Several flavors of honey were available to choose from, and toast and honey were a great snack for the day! Much was learned about the importance of bees to the world, both in food and flower production. One of our Primary friends even brought in beeswax crayons for Share Day! Do you know that bees dance? We do!
Level 1 Science teacher, Ms. Mayemura, recently utilized some SmartLab resources for a lesson on Simple Machines. Students constructed small levers with K'Nex building blocks, which then became a part of their Science presentations for Parents at School Day. This is an excellent example of how students at Turning Point embrace opportunities to be involved in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Look at these photos of Level 1 engineers at work!
The Faculty and Staff of Turning Point School would like to extend a big thank-you to the Teacher Appreciation Committee for organizing a wonderful Flower Day today!
Thanks to the generosity of our parents, students, and the PSA, every classroom and office is filled with the wonderful colors and scents of spring. The thoughtfulness of our parent community and the creativity and hard work of this morning's volunteers are much appreciated and treasured.
As part of Turning Point's Mentor/Mentee program, students in Levels 4 and 7 visited the Aquarium of the Pacific last week. Both levels are studying marine biology in their science classes so it was a great opportunity to share knowledge.
The Turning Point Mentor Program effectively bridges our Primary, Elementary, and Middle School Divisions, allowing older students to engage in authentic, inspiring interactions with younger classmates. Under the guidance of Middle School Advisors and Elementary Teachers, leadership skills are developed and community strengthened. Mentors and Mentees form close bonds by engaging in an integrated curriculum that includes academic problem-solving and character development.
Last week, Level 2 parents were whisked away to the country of New Zealand during Parents at School Day. Students shared research about New Zealand's landmarks, culture, history, and economy. They performed Kiwi songs and made Maori masks, and engaged in a writing project to explain the history of the masks. Parents were also able to travel the world through the students' passports, where students have been writing about the countries they have studied so far this year. Thank you to all the parents who were able to make this event so fun and exciting!
This past Tuesday, we were thrilled to invite all of our Level 1 parents to join us in their children's classrooms to watch and participate in learning opportunities with teachers and specialists. Parents were welcomed with song, participated in U.S.A. center-based activities, and completed three specialist workshops. These workshops included a fruit-tasting in Spanish, a process-based music exercise, and student-led science presentations on simple machines.
Thank you, Level 1 parents. Your attendance helped make this a meaningful experience for our students and teachers alike!
Level 4 students are deepening their understanding of angles by playing games and doing collaborative activities in Math Stations. This morning, they wrapped up the lesson by reviewing the “All Types of Angles” poster together.
As part of the Middle School TED-Ed program, Global Awareness Elective students have been participating in virtual meetings with other students from around the globe. This time, students from Canada, Alaska, New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, and Turning Point discussed local culture and climate change.
Sharing North American recreational activities broke the ice; for example, students from the Hupa Tribe in Alaska told of their dance traditions, and Canadian students shared about indoor and outdoor sport competitions. A lively discussion about weather, climate change, and endangered species ensued, and it was a highlight of this conversation.
The students look forward to their next video conference, where they will continue a dialog on the world’s pressing issues, and learn more about the daily lives of Middle School students from near and far!
Turning Point Middle School students have been contributing toward an online “Green Map,” a collaborative project as an outgrowth of their participation in the Los Angeles Independent Schools Environmental Summit. Students at eight Los Angeles Independent Schools are working together to create a resource for their shared communities in order to promote sustainable practices and raise awareness about environmentally responsible sites and businesses around the city.
From the www.greenmap.org website:
In 2013, several Los Angeles-area independent schools met at an Environmental Summit to share concerns and strategies about our work as environmental representatives and advocates in our schools. There were many common concerns, one of which was the lack of general community buy-in and participation, as well as the lack of visibility and support for our environmental efforts.
At our third Summit in the spring of 2014, green mapping was considered as a constructive and creative way to address these issues. Creating environmental maps for our campuses and surrounding areas was seen as a way to promote environmental awareness and action not only for members of the school community, but also for vendors and others in the Los Angeles community. It was also seen as a way to highlight our efforts generally in order to gain more support from administrators, teachers, parents, and most importantly, other students.
The participants in the Summit identified a core group of icons focusing on resource use, culture, and sustainable practices. Focusing first on our campuses will allow schools to get started in a manageable way, gaining momentum and experience that will be applied to mapping beyond the campus. Using a common set of icons will eventually allow our schools to knit together a larger LA-area map that can be of general use. Parents of one school living closer to another school will be able to utilize whichever map is most helpful based on their geographic location and activities. The Summit also determined that in order to promote student participation, the map had to be digital in nature--a dynamic, interactive map that can grow in real time.
Our group includes the following schools: Campbell Hall, Crossroads, Harvard-Westlake, Marlborough, Mirman, Turning Point, Viewpoint, and Wesley. Other schools may also participate once the project is up and running. Our initial audience is the members of our own school communities, but our ultimate audience includes vendors and members of the larger Los Angeles community.
Photo: The four Middle School students who participated in the Environmental Summit in the spring of 2014 (from left) Sasha K., Zoe D., Miles C., and Nick M.
In Level 6, students fused math and art in order to complete a visually stunning project using the Fibonacci Sequence. Students used an example of a Fibonacci or Golden Ratio, doubled its proportion by measuring, and laid out the “perfect spiral” on a 15”x 8” page.
Meanwhile, they looked for plants or other forms in the Garden which seemed to resemble the Fibonacci sequence, and drew these from direct life observation.
They then mapped out the contours, or edges, of these plants along the spiral on their paper, adding line quality for more visual interest.
The last step was to cut the contours with Exacto knives and mount the forms on a different color background. The completed project is currently on display outside of Ms. Purvey's room in Building 2.
Levels K and 1 had a great time celebrating the 100th Day of School this week! Activities included writing down 100 words, counting 100 yummy pizza toppings, making structures out of 100 cups, cutting out 100 different colored circles for a gumball machine and 100 colored fish for a fish bowl, and making 100 ice cream scoops! Students also had a blast dressing as 100-year-olds for the day and seeing the 100-Duck Parade outside of Ms. Britton's classroom.
The Elementary division was pleased to welcome back Mr. Michael McCarty to campus on Friday, February 20. Mr. McCarty is a multicultural storyteller of African, African-American, and International folk tales, historical tales, stories of science, and spiritual stories. He has been an invaluable guest speaker in the Turning Point community over the years, sharing his captivating stories and knowledge with varying grade levels. This year, we were pleased to extend his visit to all of our Elementary students in Levels K-5.
Students were entertained and enlightened by various folk, historical, and personal tales, and had an opportunity to ask questions and share their knowledge. Many thanks to Mr. McCarty for a wonderful presentation! For more information on his work, please visit www.havemouthwillrunit.com.
Level 7 student, Rachel S., is a vital member of Turning Point’s theatre program and our production of STILL LIFE WITH IRIS. In this play, the characters all wear Past Coats, which contain all their memories. We chose to embellish our Past Coats with memory patches, and Rachel designed and crafted over 90% of the patches in our costumes. The entire Turning Point Community then created paper patches of their most cherished memories, and Rachel combined those memories onto a series of coats that will be on display in the theatre lobby.
Do you have a favorite memory? Come to our beautiful show and add your paper patch remembrances to our Past Coat Installation. Performances take place Thursday and Friday, February 19 and 20, at 6:00 pm. We hope to see you there!
Level 1 students were enthralled by guest artist Gary Jones, whose interactive puppet show promoted healthy self-awareness and pride in oneself, regardless of appearance. Mr. Jones has performed for national and international audiences and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including The Crystal Castle, from the Walt Disney Corporation, for his outstanding work with children. Mr. Jones states that, “Art speaks directly to our souls... it is from this place that we can begin again in joy."
While Turning Point students enjoyed a day off from school last week, our Faculty members took on the role of ‘learners in the classroom’ by participating in a Staff Development Day.
As part of the day’s activities, Faculty and Staff attended a workshop with Turning Point’s new artist-in-residence, Michelle Weiner*. Michelle’s medium is altered book forms based on the principles of origami and the idea that a book can itself be a sculpture. Examples of her work can be found here.
Faculty and Staff learned how to create sculptures by folding pages in old books. The sculptures they created will be painted by Primary students and displayed in the Student Gallery as part of the Festival of the Arts.
Later in the afternoon, the Garden Team gathered for some hands-on learning with Ms. Baron and Coach Snyder. The team learned about crop rotation, good versus bad insects, and thinning after planting. They also identified all the different weeds that need pulling, learned how to clear mold from leaves using an organic compound made here at Turning Point, and discussed how to harvest routinely so as to facilitate continued growth of vegetable plants. The goal for this training was to help the Garden Team members develop expertise so they are able to train other Faculty who want to bring students into the Garden for hands-on learning opportunities.
* Michelle Weiner received her M.F.A. from Otis College of Art and Design and her B.A. in Painting from the College of Creative Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. She has exhibited in galleries such as Monte Vista Projects, CB1, Samuel Freeman, and Lora Schlesinger. She is well-versed in running workshops for schools, and her current work involving ancient love letters is currently on display in the Turning Point Gallery in Building 2. Michelle lives and works in Los Angeles.