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March 2019 E-Newsletter
Directors Note

The cherry blossoms are almost here and we are ready to celebrate spring! Happily shedding our heavy jackets, we are becoming more active in the longer days of warm sunshine. Alongside the seasonal increase in activity, this newsletter focuses on active learning, or "Experiential Learning:" learning through and experience. 

The faculty and staff at KTS provide interactive and fun hands-on activities to enhance learning and infuse real-life experience into our lessons for students. We want learning to be engaging, and for our students to fully utilize their creativity to problem solve. Here's to sunny days filled with colorful activities and meaningful experiences!
Rhona Schwartz, Director,
High School Program

Nicole Abera, PhD,  
Director, Lower and Middle
School Programs
Lunar New Year

The lower and middle school drama classes learned about and actively engaged in traditions of Lunar New Year, led by the dynamic drama teacher Ms. Becky Tai. In a collaborative effort with Mr. Herzet and Ms. Bernabe, students had the opportunity to make their own individual zodiac animal in art, and further flexed their creative muscles making paper lanterns. Students came together in a “Story Circle” to celebrate what they had learned. The gathering was not so much a performance, as it was a community gathering where everyone from kindergarten to middle school could contribute and feel a part of something bigger than themselves. The students painted paper towel tubes to make firecrackers, learned the song Gong Xi Gong Xi, played traditional Chinese instruments like the bead drum and the gong, and danced around parade style, chasing the “monster.” The activities helped students learn how to become more well-rounded citizens of the world, be more flexible and kind in our interactions with fellow KTS students, and reminded us that inside, we all desire love and a place to belong.
Peace and Kindness
Led by Rebecca Abrahams (Senior Social Worker), Wendy Epstein (PE/Health Teacher), Joy Thibeault (Social Worker), the lower and middle schools met together at an assembly to kick off the theme of peace and kindness for this year’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day in May. Students were introduced to young Mattie Stepanek, a boy who had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, lived in Rockville, and spent his short life promoting peace, through a slideshow. Students were then split into multi-grade, multi-level groups to peacefully and kindly build a structure together out of Legos, Mattie Stepanek’s favorite activity. The groups’ amazing structures can be found on display in the front lobby.

Students then broke off into their homeroom teams where they were peace seekers by completing more learning about kindness and peace. Students set out to become peace makers by brainstorming and settling on a “peace project” for each homeroom that students will work on together over the next few months. In May, on Grandparents and Special Friends Day, students will become peace bringers by sharing the projects with visitors. Mattie’s mother, Jeni Stepanek, will be a guest of honor at this year’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day , which was inspired by her very special son.
Active Learning in the
Lower-Middle School
Mrs. Colton has been using art (making a story quilt or drawing) as a means of retelling or summarizing stories. She is also using art to help teach critical thinking skills. Mrs. Colton and Mr. Herzet have been working together to integrate more of the arts into reading class. Integrating art and reading builds engagement and confidence for our struggling readers while supporting reading skills. Mrs. Colton and Mr. Herzet were awarded a grant to use art to work collaboratively to support reading of a novel.

Second and third grade students are working on an animal research unit. They spent one day following QR codes to learn some information and watch videos about animal choices, then completed a ballot for their favorite animal, which they'll be assigned in a project. They will be completing a research booklet and then making a display using our tri-fold dividers and parents will be invited to look at our "Zoo Exhibits" . Economics Unit - The students have just reviewed the basic principles of economics. They just learned about the process of making money and using it for business and will have just recently completed a job application for a classroom job. They will spend one day doing their job and making money to start a business that they choose with their grade-level peers. The grade-levels will create their projects, decide how to sell them (2nd graders will be selling physically, 3rd graders will be selling online). This should be pretty cool to see and see what they think of. 

In Middle School Math Skills, students are working on time and money. Please review these topics with your students at home. Ideas: Take them to a store and make them add the $ up even if it takes a couple of minutes. Talk about the pizza/subway money needed each week. Make a lesson out of the money they are giving their children. Talk more at home about time. What time is it? What time will it be in 2 hours? Teach them to use the washer, what time will it be when we need to come back and put the clothes in the dryer?
High School Supreme Court Simulation
Two U.S. Government classes participated in a Supreme Court simulation activity based on the 1969 decision, Tinker v. Des Moines. This decision determined that students in school do have First Amendment rights of free expression as long as long as a safe learning environment is maintained. This court case began when students in Des Moines, Iowa sued in federal District Court. The students lost their case at both the District Court and Court of Appeals levels. Following this, they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they won. 

KTHS Government students worked in small groups to prepare their court arguments in the pretend case, "Silent Protest." Some students also worked with the high school drama teacher to practice and present skits depicting the background story of this case. Students presented their skits and court arguments to visiting classes, who played the roles of Supreme Court Justices. Following this activity, students studied the real case, Tinker v. Des Moines.
The first week in February, the high school had its fantastic intersession, focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) . The students worked with Artist-in-Residence Jen Abramson from FutureMakers in making their own kinetic electromechanical creatures with distinct personalities. They spent the week creating the creatures and on the last day the robots danced away at the dance party finale. In addition, in their other classes, the students participated in team building activities, created and shot ping pong balls from catapults, built robot hands, made smores from solar ovens that they built, learned about propaganda and the use of art and technology to promote it, explored the brain and its functions, and so much more!  
2019 TLC/KTS Spring/Summer Programs

We have several exciting variety of programs this fall!

Social & Emotional Skills Groups
5:30 to 6:30 pm
Ages: Elementary-Early Middle School
Location: Gaither Rd Office
Sign up:, 301.424.5200, ext. 226

Great and Small Therapeutic Horse Riding Camp
Session 1: 08/12/19 - 08/16/19
Session 2: 08/19/19 - 08/23/19
Contact Tina Morrissey for more info or to enroll: 301.424.5200 x141 or 

July 1 – August 9
M-F, 9am-3pm
Contact Dr. Nicole Abera, 301.738.9691 x205 or 

July 1 – August 9
M-F, 8am-2pm, or 8am-12:30pm
Contact Vanessa Vera, 301.738.9691 x126 or

Look at the website link for specific camp details

And more programs offered!
Call Lisa Torvik for more info, 301.424.5200 x306
Get outside and enjoy spring!
The Katherine Thomas School |301.738.9691 | Email KTS |
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