Last month Tenacre fourth, fifth, and sixth graders had the opportunity to participate in the Noetic Math Contest, a national problem-solving competition. Tenacre students did very well, with two fifth graders and two sixth graders making the national honor roll. In addition, honorable mention was awarded to five fourth graders, eight fifth graders, and four sixth graders. Congrats to all!
Sixth graders visited Gaining Ground this week to help prepare planting beds and plant vegetables. Gaining Ground, a nonprofit organic farm in Concord, Massachusetts, grows vegetables and fruit with the help of several thousand community volunteers and donates all of this fresh food to area meal programs and food pantries. The sixth graders visited by cohort over two days and loved getting their hands dirty.
Nine fifth graders at Tenacre School were honored for their essays in the 2021 Will McDonough Writing Contest. One Tenacre student earned first place, one earned second place, and seven earned honorable mention.
The Will McDonough Writing Contest, named in honor of the legendary Boston Globe sportswriter, takes place every year. In 2020, over 1,100 students from across New England participated in the contest. The winners are chosen by Globe Sports Editors. The contest is open to all students in grades 4 through 12. Every member of the fifth-grade class at Tenacre submitted a 400-word essay to the contest as part of a class writing assignment.
Kindergartners recently completed a Leadership unit, where they learned about community leaders and activists who create positive change. Inspired by a 13-year-old Chicago activist who puts together “Blessing Bags” for people experiencing homelessness, Tenacre kindergarteners initiated a community service project in which they created their own version Blessing Bags. Their goal was to raise money to buy toiletries and personal items for individual bags, which would then be donated to Cradles to Crayons and Horizons for Homeless Children. Kindergarteners learned how to explain their cause, ask for a donation, and fill out a pledge sheet. They put their lessons into action by calling and Facetiming family members and friends for a donation to their cause and raised close to $4,000 for Tenacre Blessing Bags. Kindergarten teachers Megan Delaney ’03 and Margot Portnoy ’05 bought items for the bags, and kindergarteners assembled 300 Blessing Bags this morning.
Sixth graders spent the days at Farm School yesterday, taking on the chores of a working farm. They fed the animals, mucked out stalls, and assisted with gardening. They also had free time to roam the farm and relax with classmates. Usually, the fifth-grade class spends three days at Farm School in the spring, a highly anticipated overnight trip for the class. Due to COVID, this year’s sixth grade class was not able to have the overnight field trip last year or this year. Sixth graders were thrilled to have the opportunity to spend the day at Farm School.
For the past month, third graders have been participating in a pilot program with iCode Wellesley, a computer science education company that offers after-school and summer programs. Students recently tackled their first major challenge, a user-oriented design project. This project required students to review eight character profiles, design a home for one based on the character’s preferences, and participate in formal and informal feedback sessions. Yesterday, students presented their final designs for review live via zoom, sharing their screens in a livestream format with our iCode panel. This project synthesized the design process and 3DCAD skills students practiced in previous, single-class build challenges that also introduced students to Minecraft controls and navigation.
Each workshop begins with an introduction and real-world connection, a demonstration, and a design challenge. iCode instructors participate via Zoom and collaborate with Tenacre Instructional Technology Specialist Melissa Roper, who in the classroom with the students.
Fourth graders tested their balloon-powered vehicles in science class today, the culmination of an engineering project. In this STEM project, fourth graders learn about Newton's Laws of Motion and the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Students follow the EDP to design, build, test, modify, and retest balloon powered-vehicles.
Sixth graders attended a Tenacre Art Gallery (TAG) reception this morning to recognize their pencil sketches, which are currently displayed in the gallery. Art teacher Molly Rosenthal organized the gathering, during which students browsed and enjoyed the art and wrote comments for their classmates.
In art class, first graders learned about sculpture artists like Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, and Edmonia Lewis, and then created paper sculptures of their own. Students used their imagination to fold, twist, and collage different pieces together on their platform.
Sixth graders hosted their annual immigrant panel discussion today, concluding a social studies unit on immigration. Students invited members of their families who have immigrated to the United States to join the Zoom panel discussion and share their “coming to America” stories. Nine relatives of sixth graders volunteered, enough to hold two sessions. Students prepared a series of questions to ask the panelists, who represented Cape Verde, China, India/UK, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, and Uganda.
As the culmination of their unit on Black people in Latin America (which heavily focused on the documentary “Blacks in Latin America”), fourth grade Spanish students were treated to a special class with Robin Offley-Thompson, who works in Tenacre's front office. Ms. Offley-Thompson, who is also a dancer, taught fourth graders about the African rhythms that influenced Latin American music and dance, especially in Cuba where African culture profoundly influenced music, and food.
Sixth-graders are hard at work on their Big Bridge Fail project in science class. In this interdisciplinary STEM project that integrates science, technology, engineering, and math, students work in teams to research, design, and build popsicle stick bridges. The goal is to build a bridge that can withstand a minimum load capacity of 12,000 grams. Students began load-testing in class this morning.
Second graders presented their class play today, an Ashanti folktale called “Anansi and the Moss Colored Rock.” Anansi is a classic spider trickster who ends up getting a taste of his own medicine. Second graders recorded their voices in music class to create the audio. In art class, they learned printmaking and collage skills to create characters and backgrounds for the scenery. The audio and visual parts were combined and presented on video using stop-motion animation.
Kindergarteners celebrated the 100th day of school today by making special “100” glasses and participating in other crafts. It feels especially celebratory this year to have made it this far! Happy 100!
Sixth graders have been working in art class on pencil sketches, learning lessons about how to create and use a drawing grid, scaling, and shading. Each student chose a black and white sketch from the Web to replicate, printed it out, and then created a grid on a larger sheet of paper to scale the drawing up to a bigger size. Students created their sketch and then started the shading process, learning how to use different pencils to achieve a lighter or darker look.
Fourth graders are working hard on their balloon-powered vehicles in science class. In this STEM project, fourth graders learn about Newton's Laws of Motion and the Engineering Design Process (EDP). Students follow the EDP to design, build, test, modify, and retest balloon powered-vehicles.
In recent weeks, students have been busy in art class creating heart-themed pieces of art, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Kindergarteners took inspiration from expressionist painter Peter Max, creating brightly colored hearts filled with happiness and joy. First graders learned about different types of lines and complementary colors to create sunburst heart designs; and second graders learned about the works of Peter Max and Jim Dine, using acrylic paint and oil pastels to paint hearts.
Fifth graders have been putting their math lessons to practice with a “food truck” project. This project was created as part of the math unit on decimals. Students create a themed truck that sells different items. Students shop at each other’s trucks; the transactions require students to use their knowledge of decimal operations.
Wakanda Style, Tenacre’s Black affinity group, took a leadership role in planning this morning’s Black History Month assembly. Members of Wakanda Style interviewed students and staff members about why they think Black History Month is important and shared information about the origins of Black History Month. These students also talked about why having a Black student affinity group is important to them.
In social studies, sixth graders tested their memories when they each had the opportunity to recite the Gettysburg Address, a Tenacre tradition. Everyone dressed up as Abraham Lincoln—complete with black top hat, beard, and long black coat--for the performance. At the end of the individual recitations, they recited the Address as a group.
Tenacre sixth graders learned how to calculate speed in math class and conducted experiments to test their estimates. Using the distance/time equation, they worked together to calculate the speed of balls of different sizes and weight to see if the outcomes matched their estimates.
Fourth graders are excited to be learning the play the ukulele in music class—a unit they missed during remote learning last spring. This week, they have been practicing the A and C chords, as well as strumming. They will continue to learn and play the ukelele through sixth grade, progressing in difficulty over the next few years.
Chinese New Year is the festival that celebrates the beginning of the new year on the traditional lunar calendar. Celebrated on February 12 this year, Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China. A group of Tenacre students, ranging from pre-kindergarten to grade 6, volunteered to share with the community their family traditions for this holiday.
Jaleesa Anselm, Tenacre’s director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, is teaching a Civil Rights unit to students in Grades 3-6 this month. The lessons will cover numerous topics, starting with what led up to the Civil Rights movement, including direct connections to enslavement. Students will then start a focused study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his life, and his beliefs, as well as other activists like Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin, Thurgood Marshall, Claudette Colvin, Ella Baker, and John Lewis. Students will conclude the unit by learning what it was like to be a student at that time, using first-hand accounts from The Little Rock 9 and The Greensboro 4. The lessons will culminate on February 2 with a virtual visit from Ruby Bridges, an activist who was the first Black/African American child to desegregate the William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana in 1960.
Fifth graders recently finished producing this year’s first issue of The Tiger Paw. The Tiger Paw is an online magazine written by fifth grade students as part of their writing curriculum. Students wrote about a variety of topics, including popsicles, flamingos, dreams, and why sharks are going extinct.
Tenacre P.E. teacher DaJaun Owens hosted an assembly this morning, streaming live from the Tenacre Art Gallery (TAG)—the first time this has been done. Mr. O, as he is known throughout school, is a huge fan of puzzles and shared his collection of framed puzzles that he has completed since the pandemic started 10 months ago.