Members of the 5/6 Service Council and their advisor, Mrs. Christi James, traveled off campus this week to give a presentation to the Highline Canal Conservancy as part of the council’s yearlong objective to improve the environment. According to member Celia McCarty (5), the council elected to partner with the Conservancy because students wanted opportunities to work hands-on in the community.
First graders’ Read to Feed project netted food for the hungry as they wrapped up their service opportunity this week. After learning about the challenges facing underprivileged Denver residents, they spent hours reading to “earn” cans of fruit (donated by their parents and sponsors) that will stock the soup kitchen pantry at Capitol Hill Community Services.
Seventh graders fresh from their trip to Washington, DC, spent the week working on Sacred Spaces projects, an opportunity to express how they were impacted by the museums, memorials, and other sites they experienced last week.
The Sam Loewi Unified Neighborhood Games have been hosted by Graland’s fourth graders for almost 20 years as the culminating event in their yearlong service-learning program. This year, using the innovation skills they have been cultivating at Graland, students used the design process to identify activities for their buddies. Basing their project on a model created by the Stanford d. School and the process used by students in the Gates Invention and Innovation Program, fourth graders started with empathy and thinking about the needs of their buddies.
Seventh grade teachers are implementing new ideas to enhance the Washington DC trip this year as a result of their professional development experience at High Tech High last fall. Their goal is to make the trip a more integrated project, rather than a stand-alone experience, that will impact students more profoundly, according to Kelly Gaudet, English teacher.
It’s been an incredible adventure in Odyssey of the Mind (OotM)! This year, approximately 63 students and about 15 parent volunteer coaches made the journey through OotM. Almost every team advanced from the Regional Tournament to the State Tournament. From the teams who advanced to the State Tournament, six teams have advanced to the World Competition in Lansing, Michigan, on May 22-27. Read more from Graland’s OotM site coordinator, Shannon Bell.
Kindergartners enjoyed some special visitors this week when Graland parent Susan Beatty brought real-life cowboys to campus. Her parents, Jim and Dora Cash, shared fascinating details about the cowboy “uniform,” tools and lifestyle with students as part of the annual rodeo unit.
Fifth graders finished a unit on geology this week by demonstrating their understanding of the rock cycle through presentations for their peers. Science teacher, Andy Dodge, allowed them to choose from six options or develop their own creative ideas. The rock cycle describes how rocks undergo changes of form — a metamorphic rock can become an igneous rock, or a sedimentary rock can become a metamorphic one.
First graders in Heidi Byczko’s class worked hard for the past two months creating animal reports and this week they hosted a publishing party to unveil their works. Each student read one page from their report, teaching animal facts to an audience of their peers, faculty and staff.
Eighth graders wrapped up a biology unit this week with a field trip to collect water samples from a nearby pond. Back in the science lab, teacher Dan Barklund guided them to use microscopes and observe the biodiversity present in the microorganisms. "We looked for protozoans and other single celled organisms, and found quite a few!" says Mr. Barklund. These includedStentor, Paramecium, Diatoms, Rotifers,among others. In the coming weeks, students will use these specimens to learn about how these creatures move, produce energy, and reproduce by using various cell organelles.
By Mimi McMann, Associate Director of Communications
Here’s the inside scoop on the Graland Parent Association leader for 2019-20, Blake Fisk! A member of the Graland community since 2013, Blake is the mom of three students and started volunteering with the GPA as a room parent when her oldest was in first grade.
Best-selling children’s author Stuart Gibbs visited Graland this week to talk about his career and to inspire future writers. With four popular series to his credit, and new releases coming this year, Gibbs shared how he got his start and where he gets his ideas.
As part of the goal to grow lifelong learners who are “engaged citizens and thoughtful leaders,” Graland Country Day School often invites alumni back to campus to share their experiences and their respective journeys beyond Graland. Through a program called UpWords, alumni are able to face middle schoolers and discuss how they live Graland Guiding Principles in their everyday lives.
Dr. Sarah Burgamy grew up in Hilltop and attended Graland with the class of 1993. She presented recently on the topic of honoring individuality and her message to students was, “Be as strange as you can … and do it visibly,” a motto she adopted after struggling with her own identity development.
Sixth graders in Betsy Metcalfe’s wellness class are taking a more critical look at everyday marketing messages to identify how gender, race and class perceptions are shaped. During a recent activity, they examined cereal boxes to analyze the target audience and strategies used to sell the products. Students were quick to note that Lucky Charms is aimed toward children, especially girls.
In conjunction with the Spring Book Fair, the Graland Parent Association held a bookmark design contest for K-8 students. This week, winners were announced and informed that their art will be printed as bookmarks and also as 8-foot banners to be displayed in the Hunt Family Learning Commons.
Graland alumna Dr. Sarah Burgamy ’93 visited a middle school assembly recently to give an UpWords speech on Honor Individuality. UpWords speeches allow members of the Graland community (students, teachers, alumni) to share how they live Graland’s Guiding Principles in their everyday lives. Sarah’s message to students was, “Be as strange as you can … and do it visibly,” a motto she adopted after struggling with her own identity development.
One hundred thirty-four inventors in the Gates Invention and Innovation Program took the spotlight at the annual expo where they shared highs and lows from their invention journeys this year. Finally, the moment arrived to give out the top prizes at this afternoon's all-school assembly. Congratulations to all our inventors who had the courage, determination and imagination to complete the Gates Invention and Innovation Program this year. We’re proud of you!
Since January, band musicians have worked in two small groups on a chamber music unit culminating in final presentations recnetly. “Chamber music is orchestra on a smaller scale, so each musician has to perform more independently,” explainsDanHazlett, band teacher. Students worked together to select and rehearse a piece of music as well as prepare and present facts about the composer.
Dressed in poodle skirts and “leather” jackets, Lower School students spent the morning before the Sock Hop immersed in a wide variety of activities designed to highlight the connection between math, art and science. At stations throughout the Corkins Center and in the art classrooms, they explored concepts in new and intriguing ways, prompting students to ask, “Can we do this again?” With thanks to the teachers who developed the activities and to the faculty and staff who managed the stations!
Following their adventure in sorting trash on the Graland campus last December, 5/6 Service Council members challenged middle schoolers to create and code a computer game that will help educate other students about the differences between trash, recycling and composting. This week, three entries were reviewed and judged, with a cash prize on the line for best concept and execution. After ideas were presented to the service council and adults on campus this week, Freddy Kneip (5) was awarded for his game, “Garbage Master.”
Second graders learned about Mardi Gras when they celebrated Fat Tuesday with support teacher, Rhemy Brezin this week. Ms. Brezin, who has family ties to New Orleans, explained that Fat Tuesday is observed the day before Ash Wednesday. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Catholics observe a 40-day time of self-denial, known as Lent, in pursuit of a more devout life.
“Places, everyone!” Fifth grade actors are staging a reading of the original play, School of Pop, written by our resident playwright, Gabriella Glyphis (3)! After seeing School of Rocklast summer, Gabriella was inspired to develop a similar story about a girl named Summer, played by Lauren Warot and Mia Terrazas (5), who convinces her class to enter a talent contest.
Kindergartners wrapped up a collaborative lesson last week inspired by the book, Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins. Last week during their concert, they sang, danced and shared their own treehouse creations. Over the summer, music and movement teacher Tara Neeley met with lead librarian, Ashleigh Finn, to select a book that had the right amount of variety and creativity to inspire a music program for kindergartners. After examining as many as 30 pieces of children’s literature, she chose Everything You Need for a Treehouse, which was illustrated by Emily Hughes. “All the pages are about using your imagination to envision different types of treehouses — like a treetop garden, a pirate ship, and a library in a tree,” she explains.
Third graders enjoyed a visit to Mars when their science classroom was transformed by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science recently. For one class period, they were dubbed Mars Space Station cadets and given four tasks that required innovation skills like problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. The activities were part of an astronomy unit that also included a design challenge in the Gates Lab where students developed shuttle landing systems that could absorb the shock of touching down on Mars, according to teacher Michelle Benge.
Graland students in Grades 6-8 recently went head-to-head against other middle schoolers in Arapahoe, Denver and Douglas counties in a math competition hosted by the MATHCOUNTS Foundation. Throughout the four rounds - Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown - these “mathletes” applied number knowledge, problem solving and collaboration to gain valuable experience using their math skills.
At a middle school assembly on Tuesday, student filmmakers demonstrated their skills in using camera angles, lighting, sound, the green screen, film editing, script writing, directing, acting and more when they presented six short films ranging from mysteries to a newscast to crime dramas.
Middle schoolers gathered last Friday to participate in a specially-programmed Community Day where they were encouraged to engage in dialogues of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in order to appreciate and learn from one another. With a kick-off presentation by Vishavjit Singh, cartoonist, storyteller and costume player, they learned that it’s okay to tell their own authentic stories.
During the month of January, PreK students have been studying forest animals from Colorado. To wrap up this unit, the Wold families (Court and Cullen, Matt and Katie) visited classrooms to present and share their collection of animal relics indigenous to Colorado. Students viewed white-tailed and mule deer antlers and handled beaver, coyote, raccoon, bison and sheep skins.
To complement a lesson on how amendments have helped the US Constitution adapt and grow over time, seventh graders used the Graland Library’s many resources to complete in-depth research project on an amendment of their choice. Then, collaborating with their peers to gain insightful feedback, students imagined, drafted and designed artistic tiles to represent their area of study.
A traveling artist with Cherry Arts visited Andrean Andrus’ class recently to demonstrate and lead a lesson on silk screening. Fourth graders learned all about this ancient Chinese technique that transfers ink onto paper or cloth.
As part of ongoing efforts to ensure a safe environment for our students, all Graland faculty and staff participated in training on adult-student boundaries and risk avoidance last week. Attorney David Wolowitz was invited back for a second year to directly address behavior awareness and approaches as they relate to roles, boundaries, power and accountability, specifically the importance of modeling professionalism while supporting students. “This training is about our whole community rallying around a clear focus on student safety and overall well-being,” shares Josh Cobb, Head of School.
Third grade artists in Cathy Naughton’s class have been studying Vincent Van Gogh, and this week they were at work in the clay room making plates inspired by the famous painter. Van Gogh was a post-impressionist artist who was influenced by Japanese art to use color and expression in his work, according to art teacher Cathy Naughton. “He painted outside quite a bit, where he studied how light affected the colors in nature,” she says.
Middle schoolers assembled this week to honor the man behind the coming holiday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Head of Middle School, Marti Champion, opened the program: “This holiday is an opportunity to recognize Dr. King and many others who fought for equality and who enabled me to stand in front of you today.” Dr. King was an activist who worked tirelessly from 1954 to his death in 1968 to advance civil rights in nonviolent ways. He is known for promoting the concept of peaceful resistance such as boycotts, marches and sit-ins.
We think our teachers are pretty ah-mazing, and we can’t wait until Teacher Appreciation Month in May to start recognizing them! Every day atgraland.org/celebratefaculty, we’ll highlight a faculty member who is making a difference at Graland by motivating and inspiring student excellence. Check back often for new, fun profiles!
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.