Roycemore School



Roycemore Weekly Newsletter - December 4, 2018



This Week's Calendar


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Thursday,  Dec. 6: Winter Program Dinner, 5:00 pm (Register here) 
Thursday, Dec. 6: Winter Program, 6:30 pm
Friday, Dec. 7Hour of Code Family Celebration, 3:15-4:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9 - Saturday, Dec. 15: Book Fair


 

 



From the Head of School


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Interdisciplinary Learning at Roycemore School

By Elizabeth Shutters, Director of Curriculum and Innovation

This week's 'From the Head of School' article features guest author, Elizabeth Shutters, Director of Curriculum and Innovation."

 

 

For many decades, traditional schools have divided what students learn in school into a few content areas: language arts, social studies, mathematics, science, fine arts, and so on. Of course, outside of school, our lives are not usually so succinctly divided. A simple trip to the grocery store involves reading food labels, calculating prices, and making healthy choices.
 
At Roycemore, we strive to make connections between content areas as much as possible. In all Lower School grades, students are taught in thematic units for part of the day. Themes include weather, simple machines, Chicago, rainforests, heroes, and many others. These units cover both basic and higher order thinking skills, as students work on applying their knowledge in reading and writing, math, social studies, science, and art.
 
Though our Upper School students are mainly taught in traditional content area courses, students and teachers still work to make connections there as well. A recent example involves an Upper School history teacher working with an art teacher to study and then recreate ancient cave drawings. Roycemore’s signature January Short Term (JST), now in its 46th year, epitomizes the interdisciplinary approach. All Upper School students apply knowledge from multiple content areas when they embark on their 3-week JST project, whether they undertake an individual project or participate in one of the group projects.
 
Many Middle School students recently completed a significant interdisciplinary unit around the theme of WATER. Fifth and sixth graders learned about various aspects of water in Humanities, Arc-en-ciel (a unique Art class that is immersively taught in French), and Science, throughout the first quarter of this school year. Students also took various field trips to support this interdisciplinary learning.
 
The fifth and sixth grade water unit began with students reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This novel tells the true story of a Sudanese Lost Boy, as well as the fictional story of a young Sudanese girl who must walk a long way for water. While reading the novel in Humanities, fifth and sixth graders created several relevant art projects in Arc-en-ciel, including portraits of the characters, landscapes of South Sudan, and clay Sudanese cows, all while learning new French vocabulary. In fact, all Arc-en-ciel art projects for the first several weeks of school involved water in their creation: a call back to the main theme of the unit. Reading A Long Walk to Water, learning about Sudan, and applying this knowledge helped students understand what water is like outside our own community, and to explore challenges related to water access faced by people in other parts of the world.
 
Classes then began to focus on what our own water, and access to it, is like. Students learned about this in many ways at school, including conducting a water filtration lab during science class, during which students also reviewed the scientific method. They focused on the concept during various field experiences outside of school. On the overnight trip to Indiana Dunes, Middle Schoolers conducted water quality testing. A trip to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago also included a water lab, where students learned what microorganisms might live in our water. Lastly, a trip to the Evanston Water Treatment Plant on Lake Michigan helped students understand how our water is cleaned and delivered from the lake to our school and homes.
 
All of this water-related learning could have taken place in isolated classrooms at different times of the school year. However, research shows that brains grow best when connections can be made to existing knowledge, and among the varied topics students are learning. The water unit allowed students to apply their knowledge to real-world concepts and to go deeper in their learning. They are now able to make connections to current events, such as the Cape Town and Flint, Michigan, water crises. Students will also be able to make connections to future units of study, such as how water has affected civilizations throughout history - an upcoming unit in Humanities.
 
Another benefit of thematic learning is that it models positive teamwork to our students. To plan an interdisciplinary unit, teachers must work together to plan lessons and discuss the theme well before actual lessons are taught. They must make sure all relevant content is thoroughly covered, and that all students are learning at the right level during the various projects. They must work through scheduling difficulties, and even disagreements at times. As a result, teachers implicitly teach students to become more resilient, flexible, and confident learners.

Occasionally, Roycemore is able to make interdisciplinary connections that bring the entire school together. Throughout this week, students around the world, including Roycemore students, will be working to make connections between what they are learning in classes to computer science. The Hour of Code, a worldwide movement to encourage young people to spend at least one hour learning computer programming (or coding), takes place this week: December 3-9. Many Roycemore students will try coding activities during the school day. The week will end with our Hour of Code Celebration on Friday, December 7, from 3:15 to 4:30 pm. All students and families are encouraged to attend.
 
 
For many decades, traditional schools have divided what students learn in school into a few content areas: language arts, social studies, mathematics, science, fine arts, and so on. Of course, outside of school, our lives are not usually so succinctly divided. A simple trip to the grocery store involves reading food labels, calculating prices, and making healthy choices.
 
At Roycemore, we strive to make connections between content areas as much as possible. In all Lower School grades, students are taught in thematic units for part of the day. Themes include weather, simple machines, Chicago, rainforests, heroes, and many others. These units cover both basic and higher order thinking skills, as students work on applying their knowledge in reading and writing, math, social studies, science, and art.
 
Though our Upper School students are mainly taught in traditional content area courses, students and teachers still work to make connections there as well. A recent example involves an Upper School history teacher working with an art teacher to study and then recreate ancient cave drawings. Roycemore’s signature January Short Term (JST), now in its 46th year, epitomizes the interdisciplinary approach. All Upper School students apply knowledge from multiple content areas when they embark on their 3-week JST project, whether they undertake an individual project or participate in one of the group projects.
 
Many Middle School students recently completed a significant interdisciplinary unit around the theme of WATER. Fifth and sixth graders learned about various aspects of water in Humanities, Arc-en-ciel (a unique Art class that is immersively taught in French), and Science, throughout the first quarter of this school year. Students also took various field trips to support this interdisciplinary learning.
 
The fifth and sixth grade water unit began with students reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This novel tells the true story of a Sudanese Lost Boy, as well as the fictional story of a young Sudanese girl who must walk a long way for water. While reading the novel in Humanities, fifth and sixth graders created several relevant art projects in Arc-en-ciel, including portraits of the characters, landscapes of South Sudan, and clay Sudanese cows, all while learning new French vocabulary. In fact, all Arc-en-ciel art projects for the first several weeks of school involved water in their creation: a call back to the main theme of the unit. Reading A Long Walk to Water, learning about Sudan, and applying this knowledge helped students understand what water is like outside our own community, and to explore challenges related to water access faced by people in other parts of the world.
 
Classes then began to focus on what our own water, and access to it, is like. Students learned about this in many ways at school, including conducting a water filtration lab during science class, during which students also reviewed the scientific method. They focused on the concept during various field experiences outside of school. On the overnight trip to Indiana Dunes, Middle Schoolers conducted water quality testing. A trip to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago also included a water lab, where students learned what microorganisms might live in our water. Lastly, a trip to the Evanston Water Treatment Plant on Lake Michigan helped students understand how our water is cleaned and delivered from the lake to our school and homes.
 
All of this water-related learning could have taken place in isolated classrooms at different times of the school year. However, research shows that brains grow best when connections can be made to existing knowledge, and among the varied topics students are learning. The water unit allowed students to apply their knowledge to real-world concepts and to go deeper in their learning. They are now able to make connections to current events, such as the Cape Town and Flint, Michigan, water crises. Students will also be able to make connections to future units of study, such as how water has affected civilizations throughout history - an upcoming unit in Humanities.
 
Another benefit of thematic learning is that it models positive teamwork to our students. To plan an interdisciplinary unit, teachers must work together to plan lessons and discuss the theme well before actual lessons are taught. They must make sure all relevant content is thoroughly covered, and that all students are learning at the right level during the various projects. They must work through scheduling difficulties, and even disagreements at times. As a result, teachers implicitly teach students to become more resilient, flexible, and confident learners.
 
Occasionally, Roycemore is able to make interdisciplinary connections that bring the entire school together. Throughout this week, students around the world, including Roycemore students, will be working to make connections between what they are learning in classes to computer science. The Hour of Code, a worldwide movement to encourage young people to spend at least one hour learning computer programming (or coding), takes place this week: December 3-9. Many Roycemore students will try coding activities during the school day. The week will end with our Hour of Code Celebration on Friday, December 7, from 3:15 to 4:30 pm. All students and families are encouraged to attend.
 


This Week in Sports


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The Upper School Boys Basketball team lost their first game of the year to Beacon Academy in a hard fought, physical game 55-33.

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 4:45 p.m.: Middle School Boys Basketball game at Bannockburn

Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.: Upper School Boys Basketball HOME game vs. Cristo Rey St. Martin

Monday, Dec. 10, 4:15 p.m.: Middle School Girls Baasketball at Solomon Schecter Day School

Monday, Dec. 10, 30 p.m.: Middle School Boys Basketball at Hillel Torah



Featured Events


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Pre-Winter Program Dinner

Thursday, Dec. 6, 5 p.m.

You'll want great seats for this Thursday's Winter Program. Why not sign up for dinner before the program? We'll save you some time and some really good seats.

RSVP here.


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Roycemore's Hour of Code Celebration!

Friday, Dec. 7, 3:15-4:30 p.m.

To celebrate Computer Science Education Week, December 3 to 9, we will be offering coding activities school-wide in class all week, culminating in an Hour of Code Celebration for students, families, faculty and staff in the Multipurpose Room. We've also added some new activities this year, so it will surely be a great time. The celebration is open to all, Pre-K through 12 and will feature lots of fun things to do--and cookies! 

 

Parents: Volunteers are still needed. If you have time, we'd love your help, too!

 

The hour of code is a global effort to introduce computer programming to millions of people. RSVP & read more here.

 

For questions or to volunteer to help, please contact Beth Shutters at 847-866-6055 or eshutters@roycemoreschool.org.

 


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The December Lunch Menu is Now Available!

Handcut Foods Chef, Michelle Chamberlain, and Regional Director Sam Miligan meet with a focus group of students for feedback on lunch service.



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Need a Sitter?

Roycemore students make great babysitters! Many are also first aid or CPR-certified. Find the perfect match for your family from our list here.


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Roycemore School Book Fair

Seeking volunteers for the Book Fair. View the flyer.

 



Griff-ing Around...


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Griffin Buddies and Cards for Hospitalized Kids

Last week Upper School students paired with Lower School Buddies to create Cards for Hospitalized Kids.



Community Happenings


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Evanston Children's Choir Holiday Concert

Celebrate the holidays by enjoying the Evanston Children's Choir's most popular concert of the year. The free multicultural Holiday Concert takes place on Sunday, December 16th, 2018 at 3:00.  Students and families of Roycemore School are warmly welcomed to attend.   

Students and families may also contact the ECC about joining for next semester starting in January 2019.  ECC accepts all ability levels, grades 1-12, and nobody is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.


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Events at Northwestern


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A New Season of FAN talks!

 

Karamo Brown

Know Thyself: Using Your Uniqueness to Create Success

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, 7:00 PM

Television host and culture expert on the Emmy-winning Netflix reboot of Queer Eye. Co-author of the forthcoming book Queer Eye: Love Yourself, Love Your Life. Co-founder of 6in10.org, and recipient of the 2018 Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award.

Location: Evanston Township High School Auditorium, 1600 Dodge Avenue, Evanston IL 60201

Building doors open at 5:30 PM; auditorium doors open at 6:00 PM.

Event Sponsors: Connections for the Homeless, Evanston Township High School D202, Fusion Academy, New Trier High School D203, the New Trier Parents' Association, North Shore Country Day School, The Family Institute at Northwestern University, and Youth and Opportunity United (Y.O.U.).

The event will not be recorded.

VIEW FLYER



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1200 Davis Street - Evanston, Illinois 60201
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