Fourth graders learned about the Fibonacci sequence today in an integrated math and library class. The Fibonacci sequence, invented by Leonardo Bonacci, is one of the most famous formulas in mathematics. Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. The sequence goes: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. The sequence is used in computing, stock trading, and architecture and design. Tomorrow, November 23, is Fibonacci Day since the number sequence of the date is 1123 (the first four numbers of the sequence). Fourth graders learned about the sequence and then listened to a read-aloud about Leonardo Fibonacci.
Second graders worked on their 2-digit math skills this morning by participating in the interactive (and timely!) Save the Turkey game. Students worked in teams to unlock clues (math problems) that allowed them to progress through the game. The goal is to solve all of the math problems until you get to the final clue that will save the turkey from being Thanksgiving dinner!
In science class, fifth graders are enthusiastically engaged in a new STEM project that is part of their unit on electricity and alternate energy forms. As part of the unit, they read the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, about a boy who solved his problems by building a wind turbine to bring water to his family's drought-ridden farm. After researching different types of wind turbines over time and how they work, students were presented with a design challenge to engineer their own wind turbine. They were given design constraints, such as materials, size, and function (blades needed to rotate, and the turbine couldn't tip over). Working in pairs, students could choose between 3 and 5 blades and had creative freedom to design it how they wanted. After completing the design challenge, the next challenge was to figure out how to motorize their wind turbine. Students received two batteries and a small motor and figured out how to power the turbine through trial and error.
This morning, kindergarteners performed puppet shows for their Big Friends in fifth grade. Students worked in groups of three and created the background art and puppets, and based their shows on story books the kindergarteners have been studying.
This week, Tenacre students are participating in a school wide community service project sponsored by Students Rebuild, a group that partners with other non-profit organizations to strengthen communities around the world. In this project, called Welcoming Refugees Project, students designed a postcard that welcomes refugees into our communities. For each postcard Tenacre donates to Students Rebuild, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $5 to five refugee aid organizations that include UNICEF, Chose Love, and Little Amal. Last year Tenacre raised a total of $1,030 for the World Needs Challenge.
In tech class, third graders designed and built mini tree houses, incorporating all 5 steps of the design thinking process: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. The finished designs were displayed in Tenacre’s courtyard. Last week, third graders were on site in the courtyard Thursday to share their work and reflections with Tenacre staff.
Measuring and mixing, first and sixth graders worked together to make some delicious pumpkin bread this morning. An annual project of the Big Friend/Little Friend program, everyone looks forward to making the pumpkin loaves, which will be donated to a local food pantry.
Tenacre sixth graders visited the New England Quilt Museum today to see a traveling exhibit about sustainability. Artists from all over the world have used their creativity to educate and inspire others about many different environmental issues in this exhibit. This field trip laid the groundwork for the sixth graders for their spring symposium, where they will share their science and library research in English and in Spanish and present artwork asking the community to take action. In addition to seeing how quilts can capture history and present solutions for the future, students had lunch at a nearby bookstore run by a former elementary school to celebrate the beginning of Children's Book Week. Children's Book Week is the longest national running literacy event, found in 1919. What better way to celebrate than in an independent bookstore that is almost exclusively dedicated to children's books.
Tenacre students jumped into a newly built gaga pit during recess, excitedly playing the fast-paced game. Gaga is a high energy sport played in an octagonal pit. Often described as a kinder and gentler version of dodge ball, the game is played with a soft foam ball, and combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. Tenacre’s Term 1 Student Council, made up of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, came up with the idea and funded it through the Grub Day collection. Special thanks to Tenacre’s facility crew who built the gaga pit.
Fifth graders performed their class play this morning—a comedy with zany characters and entertaining stage action. Kid Frankenstein tells the story of Frankie and Irving, science nerds who have an unusual idea for the upcoming science fair. When Doctor Frankenstein's ancient secret book arrives from Transylvania, the friends are whisked into a sci-fi fantasy of time-warped, weirdly scary and lively adventure! Tenacre’s audience loved the entertaining rendition of Kid Frankenstein.
Tenacre students started the day with a joyful “lesson” about how to find joy. Sam Greenfield, Tenacre’s development director, led an assembly about how she tries finds joy every day—through work, family, friends, nature or wherever the joy is. The inspiring assembly ended with a surprise visit from the Tenacre tiger, who danced its way to the front of the room and provided a burst of joy for students and staff alike.
PKers are in the midst of their annual apple unit, an opportunity for PKers to learn everything about apples, including the importance of the apple orchard at Tenacre. In addition to stories about apples, mini math counting books with apple stickers, making apples for the class apple tree, apples integrated into the water table activity, and learning about the parts of an apple and the lifecycle of an apple, students make homemade pressed apple juice and sample different types of apples. The dramatic play area was transformed into and apple stand, where student pretending harvest, sell and cook with apples.
A sunny fall day was the perfect way to kick off the annual Apple Pie Run for the Tenacre community this past weekend. This family run/walk winds through the campus, finishing in the school’s Phyllis Scoboria Orchard. Everyone who participated took home an apple pie, courtesy of Hazel’s Bakery in Needham. A fun and delicious way to start the weekend!
Tenacre held a Spirit Day yesterday, where students and staff were invited to wear green and white or Tenacre gear. Students, staff, and families stayed after to school to cheer on Tenacre’s cross country runners and soccer players. Fans cheered with green pompoms and munched on warm popcorn, and Tenacre’s favorite tiger even made an appearance!
Fifth graders launched their hot air balloons yesterday on Centennial Field. Science teacher Leah Staffier had to wait for favorable weather conditions – low wind and cool temperatures. Students launched their 3-meter tall balloons into a clear blue sky and were cheered on by parents and other classes who came to watch the event.
Students construct the 3-meter tall balloons in class from tissue paper, glue, string, and a copper ring. This is a great example of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activity, because it integrates so much content across those disciplines. Some of the concepts and skills that students are exposed to during this activity are metric measurement, proportions, building models, density, gravity, buoyancy, convection, engineering, and design. This is by far one of the favorite Tenacre experiences and captures the imaginations of students.
Sixth graders visited Gaining Ground yesterday to help harvest 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 harvested peppers and helped pack 1700 pounds of butternut squash into boxes!
Pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade students held their first Schoolhouse meeting this morning. The Schoolhouse is an area in Tenacre’s main academic building that is home to these three grades. Teachers led a discussion about being a part of the Schoolhouse community and its theme of “Kind Thoughts, Kind Words, Kind Actions,” which plays an important part of life in the Schoolhouse. The meeting also focused on playground rules. Schoolhouse meetings are generally held once a month and provide an opportunity for pre-kindergarteners, kindergarteners, and first graders to reinforce their feeling of community and to get to know each other.
This morning pre-kindergarteners and fourth graders gathered as part of the Big Friend/Little Friend program, a cherished Tenacre tradition in which younger students and older students are paired up for the year. The group will meet regularly throughout the year and participate in different activities together. This morning, the Big Friends/Little Friends met each other and spent time on together on the playground.
The Tenacre playground has a new addition—the "Tenacre Little Free Library" where students can take a book to read and return when finished. This project was initiated by a second-grade student back in 2019. He drew a picture of how he envisioned a mini-library and showed it to then-second grade teacher Adrian Riseborough. The arrival of Covid put any plans on hold, but Mr. Riseborough, now the Director of Facilities and Operations at Tenacre, used the drawing build the mailbox last year. He then gave the mailbox to art teacher Molly Rosenthal, who enlisted fourth graders (the class in which the original student was a member) to paint the mini-library. This September, Mr. Riseborough installed the finished Little Free Library on the playground, where students of all ages can browse the selection and enjoy a story.
Sixth graders presented an assembly this morning about JOY, Tenacre’s school theme for 2022-2023. The sixth-grade class created a project called Joy Rocks, in which each of the 25 sixth graders painted a rock and hid it somewhere on campus where they have found joy during their days as a Tenacre student. These small bursts of joy can be found all over Tenacre, both inside and outside. The goal of Joy Rocks is to spread joy among the Tenacre community. When a student finds one of the Joy Rocks, they will find the sixth grader whose name is painted on the back to let them know their Joy Rock has been found. Then, the student who found the Joy Rock gets to hide the rock in a place where they have found joy at Tenacre. Sixth graders hope this spreading of joy will continue throughout the year, fostering both joy and a feeling of connection among the community.
Fourth graders visited the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence as part of a persuasive writing unit about whether animals should be in zoos. Students read news articles that showed both perspectives and used the zoo visit to engage in an educational program to learn more about this topic. Fourth graders also had the opportunity to tour the animal exhibits as part of their research. They returned to school and started to formulate arguments for their essay, which they will be working on in class.
Sixth graders recently returned from their annual class trip to Thompson Island–a two-night, three-day adventure. In this highly anticipated annual tradition, the class participated in various Outward Bound activities led by counselors from Thompson Island. In addition to beautiful weather, students enjoyed challenging activities, class bonding games, and downtime with their friends. They returned to campus a tired, but exhilarated bunch.
Fifth graders drew inspiration from local artist Mia Cross when creating their silhouette self-portraits in art class. Mia Cross’ art explores color, the human figure, and narrative. Her portraiture demonstrates a fixed fascination with pattern and skin, and she cross stitches her colors together like a quilt, often laying them down with a palette knife and leaving them untouched for the remainder of the painting process. Tenacre students start this project by carefully tracing a photo of their profile. Using a range of colors, they explore texture using a palette knife and make thoughtful connections with their color choices.
Kindergarteners and fifth graders gathered this morning as part of the Big Friend/Little Friend program, a beloved Tenacre tradition in which younger students and older students are paired up for the year. The group will meet regularly throughout the year and participate in different activities together. This morning, the Big Friends/Little Friends met each other and spent time on together on the playground.
Tenacre students are getting into the swing of things during their first week back at school. Students have reconnected with friends and teachers, learned new routines, focused on academics, and found joy throughout the day.