Acera Snapshot: October 2014
Acera is two months into the 2014-2015 school year, and our 100 students are thriving! Our new families and teachers now feel like they have been part of the school all along. Our community is filled with laughter and exploration every day!
Here are some observations from a brief walk-through each classroom during one October afternoon:
- In Eva’s lower elementary classroom, students are discussing daily residential water use as part of their “Block City” project. In order to determine how much water their Block City will need, the children have collected data in their homes about daily water usage in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. The children now compare their data, exploring the connections between the number of people in the family and the amount of water used, and extrapolating their data to the number of families that might live in their Block City. Later that afternoon, students are moving between learning stations, one of which is a Cubelets robotic station. A student explained the station to me, “You make a simple and a complex robot. You take a picture of them on the iPad and print it out, and then you glue the picture of your machines under labels for simple and complex. Then you write about each one.”
- In Katie’s intermediate elementary classroom, students are problem solving in small groups. Each group is moving among stations that explore conceptions in magnetism, such as polarity, paramagnetism, and diamagnetism. The students are also learning about the relationship between magnetism and compasses and are using a compass to discover and trace magnetic field lines. They also discovered how a magnet’s poles can be flipped!
- In Amy’s intermediate elementary classroom, students are working on their rock museums as part of a geology unit. The rock museums are displays of rocks and minerals which the students have collected themselves. Students are using the different properties of minerals to sort and classify their collections. Meanwhile, in the breakout area, one book group meets with Miss Kim to talk about the Phantom Toll Booth.
- Nicole’s upper elementary class is calculating the volume of pumpkins. Later that day, they are working on microbiology experiments in which various types of bacteria are grown in petri dishes under different experimental conditions.
- In Christine’s upper elementary classroom, students are working with partners to design and build games that use electricity. One interesting example is a game that uses electric switches that light up when a math problem is answered correctly.
- In Middle school, various groups of students are either in an elective class (signal processing with Gus, church history with Sean, or introduction to text based programming with Kate) or are in the science lab with Michael. Middle School students have 4 hours of science lab time per week this year!
Here are some answers from some of our staff members when asked: What is something you’ve observed this year?
- Heather (Co-Director & Head of Admissions): “I love the way the new kids don’t feel like new kids. I enjoy being on the playground every day and seeing new relationships being formed across ages and genders and seeing the palpable joy as they create their own play environment. Also, all the students get out of the cars in the morning giggling and happy! They want to come to school. For parents, I see many new parents in the building volunteering, and it is very exciting to see them become part of the larger community.
- Christine (Upper Elementary 2 Teacher): What surprised me the most at the start of this year was how quickly my class gelled, even though it was a mix of kids from different classrooms last year and new students to the school. It was great to see how welcoming the kids were to each other! It just proves the benefit of being a small community.
- Anthony (Integrated Arts & After School Teacher) I’ve really enjoyed the intense collaboration among teachers and staff at Acera. There is a lot of trust put in the staff here, and that pays off.