Congratulations to the award recipients for excellence in the spring semester who were acknowledged at today's Middle School assembly. The recipients of the 2020 graduation awards were also revealed. Way to GO!
Mysteries are a classic genre of literature whose stories guide readers to uncover the circumstances behind puzzling situations, such as a missing person or object. Fourth graders tried their hand at this style of writing inspired by a series of illustrations that are part of a mystery of their own.
The biography project is a second-grade tradition that involves cross-departmental collaboration and engaged student learning. Each second grader is tasked with selecting a person to study and presenting their learning this year in innovative ways modified for the remote learning environment.
Virtual visits by young adult authors are a regular feature in Mrs. Kimm Lucas’s classroom, and recently enthusiastic fifth-grade readers were treated to a live session with Mr. Rob Buyea, author of the Mr. Terupt Series.
The Spring Art Show is an active way for students to express creativity throughout the school. Few are selected to be honored in the Permanent Art Collection. These pieces are elected by a legion of art teachers. Students who are chosen are recognized in the Art Show assembly the following year. Overall, we have over a thousand pieces in the Permanent Art Collection.
Third graders in Mrs. Julie O’Connor’s class had a poetry lesson with a guest instructor when Mrs. Sally Kennedy popped in. Mrs. Kennedy is a life-long educator whose relationship with Graland goes back to 1989 when she was a support teacher for Ms. Parthenia Williams in fourth grade. She then taught middle school, was the associate head of Lower School and was a high school counselor to Graland ninth-graders.
Remember learning to play the recorder in fourth grade? Fourth graders in Ms. Anna Phelan’s class have been handling this classic introductory instrument for the past three months as they continue learning to read and make music.
First-grade scientists and future Gates inventors are studying inventions -- what an invention is, biomimicry (invention ideas from nature), and how failing is an important part of inventing. To demonstrate their learning (and a fair amount of grit!)theydesigned and invented their own Rube Goldberg Machines, a series of chain reactions that result in a predetermined action.
After studying key events of the American Civil War, seventh-grade historians are working on independent research projects that report on a specific Civil War-era topic of their choosing. Ample resources and a thorough description of the assignment can be found on the LMS page for Grade 7 History.
Second graders who recently learned how to multiply and divide were given a new challenge by their teacher, Ms. Carrie VonderHaar. Using “dot paper” they were asked to innovate a multiplication or division sentence to show different ways to solve math problems.
Analyzing reports from four sources, both primary and secondary, fifth-grade historians developed educated opinions on a specific subject: Just how many Persian soldiers fought in the Battle of Thermopylae?
With calculators, formula sheets, pencils and scratch paper in hand, 20 students in Dr. David Hill’s class recently studied a geometry lesson on composite figures – shapes that can be divided into more than one of the basic figures.
DNA, chromosomes, and amino acids are big concepts, but not too big for scientists in Mr. Steve Collins’s class. Recently they shared the 3D models of DNA they created using materials like LEGOs, colorful rubber bands, popsicle sticks, marshmallows, Twizzlers, poker chips, and more.
At the kickoff to the Spring Book Fair, librarians announced winners in the bookmark design contest. These designs will be displayed in the Hunt Family Learning Commons for the next year. Congratulations to these student artists!
Competing against more than 140 of their peers, several students at Graland Country Day School took home cash prizes for their winning inventions in the Gates Invention and Innovation Competition, now in its 20th year. The students were selected by an independent panel of judges – all respected professionals in the Denver community.
Children’s author KA Holt visited Graland recently to share her thoughts on writing and finding inspiration as she spoke to groups of students throughout the day. Beginning with a middle school assembly, students learned that becoming a writer can happen to “regular people” like them.
While all fifth graders learned about structural engineering, built balsa wood towers and tested their designs on Andy Dodge’s “Crusher of Dreams” machine for their crush tower unit, one student took the project a step further on his own time.
Alumni from different decades arrived on campus to meet with eighth-graders and share about their careers. The visitors represented four areas addressed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global partnership among all countries to improve our world. Eighth graders are focusing on the SDGs for their capstone projects this spring. Thank you to our alumni for their work and their time!
Where do quesadillas come from? Following lessons on the carbon cycle and calorimetry, sixth-grade scientists studied the resources needed to take food from farm to table. Working in pairs, students selected a dish and identified three ingredients to research and present. “They all have to start with the sun,” said teacher Aaron Murray. “All food must either be grown to feed us or to feed the animals that feed us.”
First graders practiced important writing skills when they wrote research reports on birds they’ve studied. To prepare for their bird reports, they read books and wrote “dash facts” before organizing those facts into categories. The next step was making the dash facts into sentences.
To celebrate Heart Month, the PE department hosted a Heart Adventure! Teachers integrated science, anatomy, physiology, physical literacy and language arts into an obstacle course that taught students about the heart and how it functions. The adventure also emphasized how a healthy heart needs physical exercise. Kudos to PE teachers for developing an innovative program that has been recognized by the American Heart Association!
Wednesday, February 19, was the 100th day of school at Graland, a much-anticipated event in Kindergarten! As expected, 100 Day is a celebration of math, counting, and all kinds of numbers. Themed snacks, activities, games and lessons focused on math literacy made for a fantastic, math-tastic day, complete with a royal visit from the Queen of 10 and the King of 50!
What does it mean to be an engaged citizen and thoughtful leader? To know, you have only to look at four fourth-grade girls whose passion for helping disaster victims was turned into a Lower School event that raised more than $1,500 for Bahama hurricane relief.
Moving through 13 challenge stations set up throughout the Corkins Center, Graland parents had the chance to work alongside their children and practice perseverance, critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, experimentation and empathy -- six skills that lead to more productive problem-solving.
Young learners in Sara Flansburg’s class got to handle tools used for construction when Caleb Johnston brought his dad, Gareth, to class. Mr. Johnston works in global construction management and is currently renovating his home with his wife, Jodi.
Teachers are collaborating all across campus to bring a deeper level of learning and fun to the upcoming kindergarten concert. Based on the book “Journey” by Aaron Becker, the concert’s vision comes from music and movement teacher, Tara Neeley. Entirely illustrated and wordless, the book’s pages depict a young girl who goes on grand adventures using her imagination and a red crayon.
Following the South Trip to experience the locations, museums and monuments dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement, eighth-graders used their particular connection to this topic to lead a middle school assembly honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Classroom teachers, specialists, and innovation specialists are constantly collaborating to find ways to use design thinking to deepen the learning throughout the Lower School. When students approach a problem from an empathetic perspective, they can apply what they learn about that population or individual, and find a way to help them. This approach helps make learning more concrete, and allows students to connect deeply and empathetically.
By Jorge Chavez, Innovation Specialist and Co-Director of the Gates Invention and Innovation Program
While the Gates Invention Competition is instrumental in helping Graland promote the ideal of “children as inventors,” the vision of Charles C. Gates ‘34 was that curiosity and inventiveness would interweave into the overall curriculum. With the expansion of the Gates lab in 2016, this vision is being realized on a daily basis as teachers use Graland’s innovation skills to enhance their lessons. Take a look.
What’s your problem? This guiding question of the Charles C. Gates Invention and Innovation Program has inspired Graland students for two decades. Admittedly, the query can contain an edge of accusation, as if one was just jostled on a busy New York City sidewalk, but for the students participating in Gates, it is asked in earnest. It requires young inventors to identify a problem impacting others and go solve it. It both launches and fuels the inventive process.
By Mimi McMann, Associate Director of Communications
The four Romo-Nichols siblings, three Graland graduates and one current student, have likely set some kind of record with their family’s participation in the Gates Invention and Innovation Program. And not just because each of them competed every year in Middle School, which itself is exceptional, but also by earning top awards and even a United States patent.
By Martin Twarogowski, Charles C. Gates Director of Innovative Learning
Twenty years ago, a forward thinking Graland graduate established and endowed the Charles C. Gates Invention and Innovation Program. Although the title of this article might suggest the program has undergone significant changes over the past 20 years, it is in fact very much the same as day one. Mr. Gates’ original vision remains the heart and soul of the program.
Teachers are very good at planning. We build curriculums, calendars, collaborations, and assessments with both short- and long-term goals. However, being a Gates coach flips this responsibility on its head. To be sure, there are some very important targets and outcomes we want students to meet, but the path they take is entirely their own.
Throughout campus, the six innovation skills aren’t limited to Tinker Time or the Gates Invention and Innovation Program. Here’s how Lower School teachers say they are applying and reinforcing the skills in their everyday classroom activities to elevate student learning.
On December 19, 1998, Graland alumnus Charles C. Gates, Jr. ‘34 presented the school with a $1 million gift to establish the Gates Innovative Invention Science Competition. Initiated to nurture and support creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit in elementary school students, this unique program came to Graland five years after Gates established the Grubstake Fund at California Institute of Technology. The Grubstake Fund was designed to assist faculty members who have a technology that may be commercially viable by providing funding to advance promising projects to the prototype or proof-of-concept stage.
By Katie Bergsieker, Max Birner, Alia Bokhari, Ava Jacobson, Sofia Saavedra and Noa Sachs
Members of the Journalism Club, with help from their advisor, Ms. Kelly Gaudet, interviewed several Gates participants to get their perspectives on what it is like participating in the program and their experiences as young inventors.
My first entry into the Gates Invention and Innovation Competition at Graland wasn’t much more than two photovoltaic cells sandwiched together with a few bent paper clips and a substantial quantity of hot glue. The device was meant to recycle a room’s ambient light for use during the nighttime, but the machine didn’t work, this much I knew. What I didn’t know was that this malfunctioning little science project would catalyze my fascination with technology, boost my self-confidence, and most importantly, show me that I could solve real problems.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.