The Season for Giving

December 12, 2017

The Season for Giving

The Lower School has been awhirl with gift giving this season. We started with all-school projects like the canned food drive and mitten collection and then most of the grade levels had their own special projects during this time of year.

Kindergarten students exercised their new writing skills by sending letters to the servicemen and women overseas.  What could be more fun in a far away place away from home than receiving an individual letter in invented spelling from a five year old with a kind message!

First grade stayed closer to home and sent Angel Letters to their first grade friends.  The sentiments were very thoughtful and reflective of the individual students.  What gift could be better than knowing that someone else appreciates who you are!

Second grade has had a flurry of projects.  In November and December they decorated lunch bags for Meals on Wheels and stuffed socks with toiletries and goodies for homeless teenagers. 

The Christmas trees in their classrooms were hand decorated by the students and will be donated to two needy families.  Throughout the rest of the year classes will take turns visiting the Clermont Park Assisted Living Community once a month.  Our community is certainly brightened by second grade kindness!

Third Grade participates in the Jared Project.  Students pack up boxes full of games, toys and other exciting items for children of various ages who must spend the holidays in the hospital.  These gifts send messages of joy and add some happiness to what could otherwise be a "less than fun" experience.

Fifth Grade has been busy over several months with their readathon; collecting money from sponsors to go to books for 1st and 2nd grade students at Bishop Elementary.  With their efforts many of the Bishop students will be able to take home their own books to read over the holidays.  We certainly know how important it is to all students to be able to practice those early reading skills in order to be proficient readers!  I am sure that they appreciate all of our fifth graders for their gift of literacy.

Last, but not least, some of our fifth graders in the Changemakers Club have been collecting new socks and gently used shoes for the homeless.  In 2016 we gave over 300 shoes to Clothes to Kids, a local charity.  This year the goal is 400 or more.  They are collecting new socks for Sock It to 'Em, another local charity that supplies thousands of socks yearly to homeless children and adults.   Changemakers is also making what they call Gallons of Love.  These are handmade packages with a bottle of water, a food bar, hand warmers and a note.  They keep them in their cars and hand them out to people asking for help.  These are the projects Changemakers are involved in for the season, but they sponsor many other projects throughout the year.

As you can see, we take every opportunity to encourage our students to give of themselves to others now and throughout the year.  All of us in the Lower School would like to thank you for the irreplaceable gift you give us everyday; the opportunity to work with your precious children.  What they do and who they are fills our hearts with joy on a daily basis.  Have a very happy holiday filled with special times that stay etched in memories. Sincerely, Dr. T.

What could be more fun than fourth and fifth graders enjoying a variety of activities in the out of doors!  Groups participated in rock climbing, canoeing,  kayaking and a group challenge called the Spider Web.   Hear about their adventures in their own words.

Kayaking by Janie McGawn

Splish splash my shorts were soaked already and we had just gotten on the water.  I knew the surprise we were in for.  It was slightly breezy and at first I thought for sure I was jumping in. But now that I felt the water, I wasn't so sure.  We were in kayaks and the surprise, I knew from past experience with Avid, was piano keys.  We rafted up and I waited and waited for my turn.  Finally, it was my turn. I would be the only one to run in my group so I got up and out of my kayak and sprinted across.  On my third step I slipped, and fell in.  Although it wasn't as cold as I had

expected, it was freezing!  As soon as I hit the water, I scrambled into the closest kayak, ran back across, jumped back in, and went back to shore!

Field trip to Bear Creek by Gabriella Brower

It was a super fun day.  We did rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking.  I was good at the rock climbing, but when I tried doing it blindfolded with my legs tied together, it did not go well.  We were the fastest group to make a square in canoeing.  So we got to explore the lake.  The counselor said five minutes, but we only got two.  We called ourselves the Fat Assassins.  We would also slap our bellies.  Whenever our instructor said, "fat," we would say, "assassins."  People also tried bottle flipping of the rock climbing wall.  Nobody made it, but it was a good day!!!!!


Avid Was Very Fun by Tate Ritacco

I had a very fun time at Avid.  I did the spider web.  The spider web was where they tied ropes together up against three posts.  There were slots.  You and your team had to go through one slot each and, if you touched one rope you and your team had to start over.  Finally, we went rock climbing.  It took me a few tried to get to the top.  My counselor really encouraged me to get to the top and, finally, I did it. 


Avid 4 by Brooks Wiley

I loved Avid 4 because my guide was really nice to us.  It was also fun because Mr. Bredar fell in into the lake running across the kayaks.  Canoeing was great because we did a scene from "Pirates of the Carribean."

Avid for Adventure 5th Grade 2017 

by Lucy Nadolink

This year I had a great time at Bear Creek Lake Park. We did team building, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing. I love the rock wall!  I especially loved rappelling down it.  It felt almost like you were flying as the thing gently lowered you down as you pushed off the rock wall.  I pretended that I was a different thing each time.  One time I was a bird and I flew down.  Another time I was an eagle.  Finally, I was Superman (which I crashed into the rock wall doing).   Canoeing was also really fun.  The couselor said our group did all the challenges in record time.  We even played sharks and minnows in our kayaks.   I loved our counselor, Cyrus.  He was really funny and super nice and helpful.  I had a really great time.  I hope we can go next year.

"The Accidental Fall" by Ryan DiTanna

“Okay everybody, you can get into the kayaks now,” the counselor said. Everyone rushed to the kayaks and got in. Everyone started to paddle off and follow the counselor. “This is gonna be fun!” I say. We paddled for about five minutes and lined up side by side in the kayaks. The counselor told everyone how to turn and stuff like that. “Can we play piano keys?” I ask. Piano keys is where we all line up side by side. One person gets out of the kayak and crawls, walks, or runs across the kayaks. “Well if we're gonna do that then we should move more toward the middle of the lake.” he says. The majority wanted to play, so we paddled toward the middle of the lake. “Now everyone, the water is really cold.” my counselor says. “So if I were you, I wouldn't jump in.” “Okay,” we all said in despair. But I thought to myself, “This is the last time my grade is gonna come here so might as well just jump in.” “Okay, who wants to go first?” she asked. I slowly raised my hand “Okay, how about Ryan?” “Okay,” I replied. I slowly got out of my seat. The kayaks were pretty wobbly so at first I walked but then I ran across them. But at the end when I was turning around I pretended like I fell in. “Whoa, Whoa!” I exclaim. I fall “accidentally” into the water! Wow that water was cold. I swam as fast as I possibly could back to the kayaks. “Is it cold?” everyone was asking me. “Duh” I say. “Its freezing!” “Alright who's next?” the counselor said. “I will,” Julia said. She made it to the end but she actually fell in not “accidentally.” A bunch of other people went but the only other that fell in was Katherine. Ward was next. He made it all the way to me and Julia's kayaks. He was stepping from my kayak to Julia's when she suddenly pushed off my kayak! Ward was slowly going down into the splits! Five seconds later he was doing the complete splits. He tried to jump to my kayak but the  bottom half of him got soaking wet. I was laughing so hard I was pretty much crying it was so funny. That was definitely the funnest thing I did all day.

Fifth Grade Writing

April 7, 2017

Fifth Grade Writing

By Deena Tarleton


Our very talented fifth graders are ratcheting up their skills of persuasion by taking opposing positions concerning various issues.  For one assignement, they researched information about zoos and what various experts considered to be the plusses and minuses of having zoos with captive animals.  After much class discussion about both sides of the issue, each student wrote a persuasive piece supporting a particular point of view.  If you recall the persuasive writing in third where students explored considering their audience (e.g. Alan, teachers, parents, me) in developing an argument for more recess time, staying up later and other topics, reading the next two articles will give you a sense of the development of student writing from younger grades to fifth grade.  These two pro and con papers are illustrative of the excellent work by our fifth grade students.  I think you would agree with me that critical thinking is certainly a part of that development.


Why  Zoos Are Good

by Chattin

Did you know if we don't do something to protect animals the next generation may not see some species such as the Sumatran Rhinos, Red Panda, or the Silverback  Gorilla? Do zoos provide more benefits for animals or are they more harmfull? I believe that zoos are more beneficial to animals because they provide education, they rescue and rehabilitate injured or sick animals, and they keep endangered species from becoming extinct.

One reason zoos are needed, is that they are a great source of education.  For example, if you live in the city and wish to see wildlife,  you can go to your local zoo to interact and learn about any species. Some of these species that you see, you may never get the chance to see again if you don't go to a zoo. The Zoology Lost World Article states that zoos also give you a better education by describing all about the animal and its habitat. Without zoos, you might not know as much about an animal as you do today. This gives you  more information and knowledge because it shows you what sound an animal makes and can tell you a lot about the animal.

Another reason we need zoos is that zoos take in injured animals and nurse them back to health to later be released into the wild again.  According to the zoology lost world article this is important because if there were no zoos, then many of these species would become extinct. For example, if zoos get an eagle with a broken wing that doesn't know how to live in the wilderness,  they would take it in, nurse it back to health, and teach it how to survive in the wilderness. This is also important because if you released an animal that doesn't know how to fly, would not survive on its own. Many zoos such as the Big Bear Alpine zoo are working on releasing animals that they have rescued back into the wild once they have healed.

Lastly, one of the biggest ways zoos help is by keeping many endangered species from becoming extinct. The article 8 Zoos Helping Animals Edge out of Extinction states "Without their dedicated conservation efforts, some animals would be lost to us forever." Take the Red Panda for example. The only reason that there are Red Pandas still living is because zoos have given Red Pandas a protected place inside zoos and started breeding the species. Zoos breed endangered species which helps boost their population and bring the animals back to healthy numbers.

In conclusion, we need zoos because they provide education, they rescue injured or sick animals, and they save endangered species. As you can see, zoos provide important services for both animals and for people, and these are the reasons why we should keep and expand them. "There are bad zoos and bad individual exhibits but there is always room for improvement," Dr. Dave Hone stated in the Zoology Lost World Article.


Why We Should Not Have Zoos
by Ryan

Imagine that you're a bird and people have put you in an enclosure in which you can barely spread your wings. That's how it feels to birds and many other animals when they are captured and put into zoos. If you're a cheetah, you need to be able to run and if you're a fish or a sea creature of some sort you need to be able to swim in a large area.

Many animals, mostly carnivores,  should not be in captivity.  According to the Science AAAS carnivores such as polar bears and leopard should not be held in captivity. The study shows that a polar bear that is in a zoo paces back and forth and a leopard plucks out its hairs.  They think this is because the animals are being held back from doing what they normally do. A heated topic today is whether or not zoos should still be in business.

I believe that zoos should not be in business because a zoo is like a prison for animals. Animals need to be able to do what comes naturally to them like swimming for fish and flying for a bird, and some animals are losing their natural instincts because they've been held captive for too long. Also, after being in zoos for a long time.animal's behavior changes may become different. Let's say that they were let back out into the wild, they might not know how to respond if a predator attacks.

Secondly, people usually say that zoos provide a good learning experience, but really they don't. In a recent survey by CAPS (the Captive Animals' Protection Society) of 2,800 people, 63% of them did not have a good learning experience. This survey also stated that many children have a negative response to their zoo experience. They do not learn about how animals actually live because the animals are kept in unnatural habitats. Children also do not feel that they can change how animals are treated and do not feel empowered. Clearly, it is false to assume that zoos provide valuable education.

Finally, animals were not put on this earth for our entertainment. In my opinion, animals have the right to live on there own. According to the Zoocheck Canada, on average people spend less that two minutes (117 seconds to be exact) at one exhibit at the zoo. This is why we should not have zoos.

In 2010 an undercover investigator for CAPS filmed animals that were sick and untreated and dead left to rot on the floor of the Tweddle Farm Zoo. Police also confiscated a monkey that had been left alone and was being fed junk food like cakes. These are some examples of zoo keepers not taking care of the animals. Some zoos (especially in the UK) train their animals to do tricks. CAPS found out that there was an elephant that had been previously trained using an electric goad. (Which is an electric shock) This is a  deal of harm to an animal. This is why we should not have zoos.