Tenacre students and staff participated in a schoolwide community service project today. Students Rebuild is a collaborative program of the Bezos Family Foundation. Since 2010, more than one million participants in 83 countries have created more than six million works of art and raised more than $6 million dollars for a variety of initiatives, including ocean conservation and world hunger. This year Students Rebuild is sponsoring the Changemaker Challenge, which will support changemakers working across the United States and around the globe. A “changemaker” is defined as someone who takes action to help and show kindness to someone else. This person might be a friend, neighbor, nurse, grocery store worker, firefighter, teacher, or family member.
Tenacre students and staff each created an artistic award for a changemaker of choice (i.e., a ribbon, a certificate, or a colorful star). For each award (piece of artwork) submitted to Students Rebuild, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $5 (up to $1,000,000) to organizations such as BUILD and Peace First that support educators and train youth changemakers working around the world. Last year Tenacre raised $453 with its artwork, which was used by UNICEF and 12 projects that addressed world hunger.
First graders gave a class performance based on the book “Giraffes Can't Dance,” by Giles Andreae. This story tells the tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants to do nothing more than dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it's hard for giraffes to dance! Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend. The first-grade performance included elements from theatre, and art and tech classes, which were all incorporated to create a video, which was shared with the Tenacre community this morning. Bravo first graders!
Yesterday pre-kindergartners and fourth graders held their first Big Friend/Little Friend Zoom gathering. This longtime tradition is eagerly anticipated by both PKers and fourth graders. PKers were invited to share one of their favorite items over Zoom. Students in both grades loved meeting with their new friends!
Alice Peisch, a Massachusetts State Representative since 2003, spoke with Tenacre sixth graders this morning via Zoom. She led a Q&A session that is part of the Civics Unit in Grade 6 social studies. Ms. Peisch has worked with Tenacre sixth graders for many years and provides a first-hand account of how government works.
Tenacre sixth graders invited students and staff to participate in a Tenacre election today, giving everyone the opportunity to vote on their favorite Grub Day, a Tenacre tradition in which students wear clothes according to a theme. The options for this election are: pajama day, animal day, wacky tacky day, and throwback day. Students from PK to Grade 6, as well as staff, will vote at polling stations (i.e. classrooms!) around the school. Everyone who votes will receive an “I Voted Today!” sticker. Sixth graders will count the ballots and announce the winning Grub Day, which will be held on November 17.
Fifth and sixth graders attended virtual workshops today with music producer Brent Daniels, who spoke to the students about making movie trailers. In Tenacre’s Unified Arts classes, fifth and sixth graders have been working with Soundtrap, a digital composition tool, and WeVideo, a video production tool, as part of their Ed Tech for Chromebooks units. Recently, they rescored and reproduced an animated short movie of their choice. This workshop provides a fantastic opportunity for students to make connections between their own work and Brent's professional expertise.
Tenacre students arrived at school in their Halloween costumes this morning, ready for a celebration that included dressing up, participating in a Halloween-themed craft, and enjoying one of Chef Bill’s famous apple cider donuts for snack. Happy Halloween!
Students and staff jumped in with enthusiasm for Tenacre’s first Spirit Day of the school year. Students and staff were encouraged to dress in Tenacre gear or green and white. In addition, all students and staff received custom Tenacre face masks this week as part of the Class of 2021 Class Gift, which made a perfect addition to Spirit Day gear!
Students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade worked together in their Spanish classes to create a community display honoring Day of the Dead, a Mexican and Central American celebration that honors the lives of departed loved ones. First grade had done an extensive study of this celebration in homeroom and in art.
Day of the Dead or "Día de los Muertos" is a festive occasion where family members celebrate their loved ones who have died.
Pre-kindergartners created tissue paper flowers that represent marigolds that families use in their displays to call the souls of departed ones to their homes.
Kindergartners used construction paper to create butterflies, and first graders used tin to create their own monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies are significant, as they fly from all over North America to Mexico, migrating there for the winter. They usually arrive at the start of Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration. People believe that the monarchs bring the souls of the departed and memories of their happy lives together.
Second, fourth, and fifth graders created Day of the Dead skulls, which in the Huichol tradition represent humanity. The skulls are colorfully decorated with flowers and intricate designs to show that death is nothing to fear, that it is just a passage to a new life. Second graders created skull masks; fourth graders created sugar skulls and suncatcher skulls; and fifth graders created candles with skulls, as well as 3D skull pendants.
Sixth graders used Pixilart or Google Canvas software to design COVID face masks with Day of the Dead themes, which were then printed onto fabric face masks.
Tenacre students’ colorful and festive creations now line the Tenacre Art Gallery (TAG) hallway.
Tenacre PK and fourth grade students “met” via video as part of the Big Friend/Little Friend program. Fourth graders made short “hello” videos for their PK friends, and PKers are working on a video to share with their fourth-grade friends. In the Big Friend/Little Friend tradition, PK and fourth grade students form a relationship over the course of the year. For PKers, this friendship demystifies the "big" kids and begins an ongoing friendship that is truly a favorite student tradition at Tenacre. Fourth graders love this tradition, because it is the first time they become a "Big Friend" -- having already been a “Little Friend” in PK and first grade. PK and 4th graders usually meet in one of their classrooms once a month to play. The teachers devised the video option in an effort to stay socially distant and not mix cohorts. PK students are currently creating their own “hello” videos to share with their fourth-grade friends.
Fun Fact: Shortly after PK students watched the “hello” videos from their fourth-grade friends, they happened to see a group of fourth graders walking to science class. Several PKers shouted excitedly, "Hey, that's my big friend!"
The Tenacre community completed its first virtual Apple Pie Run, a new twist on a 26-year-old tradition. Students, staff, parents, and alumni were invited to run or walk a mile or more from October 10-17 and take a photo at their finish line to share with the community. Congrats to the many students, parents, and alumni who participated! Some students even continued the tradition of enjoying an apple pie after the “race!” This year, Tenacre donated apple pies to all of the vendors and workers who helped prepare us for a successful year and who continue to keep school safe and operating successfully.
For years, fourth graders have looked forward to the annual pumpkin project, where they design a pumpkin to look like a character from one of their summer reading books. Librarian Esther Frazee started this tradition about 20 years ago. Mrs. Frazee always displays the pumpkins in the library, where they are admired by the school community. This year, because the library is closed, Mrs. Frazee altered to project and asked students to decorate a face mask with their favorite character from summer reading. She provided each student with a plain white face mask and fabric markers. In addition, students wrote a paragraph in the first person as this character and described themselves. At the end of the project, Mrs. Frazee gave each student a small sugar pumpkin.
First and sixth graders had their First Big Friend/Little Friend meeting of the year last week in the Tenacre orchard, a highly anticipated tradition for both grades. The new friends interviewed each other to learn more about their Big Friend/Little Friend. The group meets monthly throughout the school year.
Fifth grade teacher Jess Kato thought it would be nice to have small footstools for students whose feet don’t touch the ground under their desk—enhancing their learning environment and allowing for proper balance while working. With a little help from some friends, the project is off and running. Ms. Kato’s father precut and drilled the wood. Tenacre Facilities Director Adrian Riseborough helped students use the screwdrivers to insert the screws. And art teacher Molly Rosenthal will work with fifth graders in art class to paint and personalize the stools. Teamwork at its best!
Tenacre is in the midst of hosting its first collection of the year for The Wellesley Food Pantry. The drive started October 5 and will run until October 16. The Pantry hopes to stock up on the following items: paper towels, laundry detergent, spaghetti, and baking mixes (pancakes, waffles, muffins). These items may be dropped off at arrival and dismissal, where collection containers have been set up. Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far!
The TPA hosted its first TPA Talk yesterday, a virtual lunchtime gathering to inform and connect the Tenacre community. Jaleesa Anselm, Tenacre's new Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness (DEI), was the first guest of this series. She provided an overview of Tenacre’s DEI work and highlighted some specific priorities for her at Tenacre. If you could not attend, a recording of the talk is located on the Tenacre website Resource Board (log-in to the website required for access).
The next TPA Talk will be held Tuesday, October 20, 12:00-12:45. This talk will focus on the TPA and its resources and provide the chance to meet the TPA leadership team and chairs of two new committees, the Tenacre Family Support Committee and the Schoolhouse Welcome Committee.
On October 6, Tenacre sixth graders participated in Interview Day, in which students interviewed with teachers and administrators in preparation for possible interviews at secondary schools. While all children may not participate in a school interview, Tenacre feels this type of exercise helps students gain valuable skills. Since this year’s secondary school interviews will be conducted on Zoom, Tenacre offered the same structure for this practice session.
Groups of three students interviewed with a staff person. The two students who were not being interviewed took notes about what they observed while waiting their turn. After the interview, students logged into another Zoom meeting to debrief with Head of School Will Crissman and Enrollment Director Meg Burke. Next week, sixth graders will continue to practice in mock interviews with their classmates.
Fifth graders participated in Tenacre’s annual egg drop challenge this morning at the Waban Arches bridge on the Wellesley aqueduct trail. The egg drop challenge is a fourth-grade project that usually takes place in the spring. Last year’s fourth graders were unable to participate because of the pandemic, so the challenge was held this fall.
For this project, students attempt to defy gravity by engineering a protective container that will keep a raw egg from cracking or breaking when dropped. Traditionally, the challenge has been held inside at Tenacre, dropping the egg from a distance of about 26 feet. This year, science teacher Leah Staffier researched socially distant outdoor locations that would work and found the 50-foot high Waban Arch bridge. Students walked as a group from the science center to the Arches and used the bridge as the dropping point for the challenge.
During this unit, students learned about the physics of falling, air resistance, gravity, and Newton’s Laws of Motion. Most eggs survived the 50-foot drop thanks to ingenious contraptions devised by the students.
Creating self-portraits is part of the fifth grade art curriculum, but it had a new twist in 2020-2021. Art teacher Molly Rosenthal provided each student with paper that, when folded and unfolded, showed students with and without their masks. This clever, 2020 rendition of a Tenacre tradition made the project current and fun for students.
Second graders have been working on their “math scrolls” in class, helping students learn about place value and number patterns. The second graders love the project, which generates conversations about what happens when you add different amounts together and change the numbers.
Sixth graders spent most of today at a class retreat to foster team building and leadership skills. They walked to Ridge Hill Reservation for the official launch of Tenacre LEADS, our sixth grade leadership development program. They participated in team-building exercises led by Tenacre’s P.E. staff, spent reflective moments writing in a journal, and engaged in group discussions about what leadership means to them, before returning to Tenacre.
In a year full of new routines and different ways of doing things at least one thing has stayed constant -- annual school photo day. Tenacre students all had their individual photos taken today in a safe and socially distant manner, officially marking the 2020-2021 school year.
Pre-Kindergartners had a special visitor today when Jaleesa Anselm, Tenacre’s new Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (and a former kindergarten teacher) introduced herself and read a story to PKers.
Sixth graders ventured into the wild this morning for science class in Beebe Meadow. The to-do list? A “treasure” hunt for milkweed, bumble bees, spiders, and other items related to their classroom studies.
Tenacre fourth graders created custom-made “hands” this week to use for high-fives with classmates. Students each created their own hands, which were attached to a stick, allowing for touchless highfives throughout the day.
Welcome back Tenacre! Students in Grades 3-6, plus half of the PK class, attended the first orientation day today—and it was great to see everybody back on campus. PKers participated in their first Tenacre tradition, when Head of School Will Crissman presents each PKer with a special school bag. Students love this tradition, as Mr. Crissman “very seriously” hands out the bags amidst plenty of smiles and giggles.
Tomorrow, we look forward to seeing students from Kindergarten to Grade 2, as well as the other half of the PK class during Tenacre's second day of orientation.
There were smiles and excitement this morning as Tenacre students reconnected with each other in a new virtual classroom. Students, who have been on spring break for the past two weeks, started the morning with a livestreamed assembly hosted by Head of School Will Crissman. Mr. Crissman followed the usual assembly protocol of saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, giving announcements, and then wishing happy birthday to students who recently celebrated their birthdays. Mr. Crissman even sang a “Happy Birthday” solo (and a cappella!) to those students. After assembly, students went on to meet virtually with their respective classes. The students were so excited to see each other and chat with both their peers and their teachers. It has been a great “first day!”
A group of students participated in Tenacre’s Math Club this afternoon, using their logic to solve puzzles and problems. Math Coordinator Regina Barrett presented these fifth and sixth graders with a series of challenges that they enthusiastically tackled.