Sixth graders started working on their birdhouses, an annual library project created by librarian Esther Frazee. Sixth graders each choose a picture book that is meaningful to them from their time at Tenacre. Then they paint a wooden birdhouse and decorate it with illustrations from their picture book. Frazee uses old picture books that are damaged in some way so as not to waste books. The birdhouses are a charming addition to Rendell Library.
Fifth graders hosted their annual fine arts assembly, in which members of the class perform for the school community. Students performed a variety of acts—singing, dancing, karate, drums, and even basketball!
Today was Orchard Day, Tenacre’s longtime tradition of honoring the sixth grade students. First and sixth graders plant an apple tree in the Tenacre orchard. After that, grades 1-5 honor sixth graders with poems and songs. The tradition finishes with everyone standing around the sixth grade apple tree and singing the Tenacre Song.
The sixth grade class hosted a panel discussion this morning, with five guests invited to speak about their experiences in education. Guests included best-selling author Barbara Delinsky, the grandmother of two Tenacre students; Tenacre alumni Jason ’94 and Jonathan ’96 Jenkins and Martha Somes ’00; and Tenacre librarian Esther Frazee. Sixth graders prepared questions for the panelists, who provided thoughtful and engaging answers.
Sixth graders worked on their programming skills this morning during Technology class. They are in the midst of a unit to program Lego EV3 robots. They have already built the vehicles and worked this morning to program them to perform specific activities. As with any programming, there were many trials and errors before success.
Kindergartners presented their play this morning, an original production called “Under Construction.” The play details the experiences of a small school school in Wellesley undergoing construction on campus. There was even a guest appearance by some real construction workers!
Pre-kindergartners presented their class play this morning, “Four Nanny Goats Gruff.” In a spin on this classic Norwegian folktale, the nanny goats manage to get past the mean trolls guarding the bridge and make it to the grassy side of the bridge. PKers ended their play with “The Tenacre Song,” a longtime PK tradition.
Tenacre artwork can be found all over the walls at the Wellesley Free Library during the month of May. Art teachers Barbara Owen and Cathy Gruetske-Blais, with the help of room parents, staged the exhibit yesterday. There are close to 200 items of art, representing most Tenacre students in grades 1-6. The exhibit will be up through the month of May.
Sixth graders spent the morning yesterday working the earth at Gaining Ground, an organic farm that grows produce to donate to area meal programs and food pantries. The farm, located in Concord, relies on volunteers to plant and harvest the 150 varieties of produce it grows. Tenacre students got down and dirty, preparing the soil for spring planting. Sixth graders also volunteered their time at Gaining Ground last fall. The visits are part of the Grade 6 service learning curriculum.
Tenacre third graders presented their final Native People projects this morning. The presentation was the final component of a three-month study of three regions of the United States: the Northeast Woodlands, the Plains, and the Southwest. The projects, which were all made by students, ranged from bows and arrows to moccasins to dioramas of different parts of life for the Native People.
Fifth graders presented their artist biography projects this morning to the Tenacre community. For the past few weeks, they have been researching various artists during library. During homeroom, they used the research to write briefs about their artists. In art class, fifth graders learned to draw, paint, or create like their artists, making reproductions of the original works. In technology class, they built websites with informative details about their artists, who include everyone from Claude Monet to Harriet Powers to Josef Albers.
Spring sports have started at Tenacre! Fifth and sixth graders play softball and baseball. The fifth graders defeated Chestnut Hill yesterday, 5-3. This afternoon, sixth grade girls take on Fay, and sixth grader boys play Fessenden. Go Tigers!
First graders performed their class play this morning, a musical called “Lemonade!” In this story, a host of fairy tale characters are having a bad day. Thanks to Mother Goose and her cheerful wisdom, they learn to make the best of life’s ups and downs!
Second graders performed an amusing adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” this morning. In the short tale, two weavers promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are not wise enough to see. Needless to say, the emperor ends up with a very interesting “outfit!”
In honor of National Poetry Month, Tenacre held an “open mic” assembly this morning, in which students and staff were invited to read a poem of their choosing on stage. Interest was so high that Wednesday’s assembly will also feature the open mic format. This morning, a group that included second, third, fourth, and sixth graders – as well as three faculty – read poems. Most of the readers read poems they had written. It takes courage to read one’s own work on stage, and we commend our students and staff who stepped forward!
At assembly this morning, sixth graders introduced the Tenacre community to the Tenacre LEADS program, in which sixth graders assume a variety of leadership roles in their final year at Tenacre. Leadership opportunities start for Tenacre students in Pre-K and culminate in sixth grade. Providing leadership opportunities has always been a Tenacre goal, and Tenacre LEADS formalizes the process. T-shirts with the Tenacre LEADS logo launched the program, and sixth graders modeled their new gear at assembly. Some of the leadership opportunities for sixth graders include leading Student Council, managing the daily lunch announcements, and speaking and giving tours at Admissions events. In addition, sixth graders are expected to be positive role models for the younger students, show strong character by “doing the right thing,” and represent Tenacre well when outside of school grounds.
Children’s author Linda Urban visited Tenacre today and spoke with students in every grade, grabbing students’ interest with her engaging presentations. She stressed the importance of listening to your heart and following your passion, no matter what people say. She used her own fear of rejection—and how she overcame it—as an example.
Urban always loved writing stories when she was in elementary school, but ended up using her writing skills in advertising and marketing in college and beyond. She spent 10 years as the marketing director of a large, independent bookstore in Southern California, before going back to her first love – stories for children. Once she got started, well, the rest is history!
Eight Tenacre fifth graders were honored for essays they wrote for the 2017 Will McDonough Writing Contest. Every member of the fifth grade class at Tenacre submitted an essay to the contest as part of a class writing assignment. Tenacre students took first and second place and received six honorable mentions in the Grade 5 category. The Sports Museum holds this contest every year and honors students from across the state in grades 4-12 for their essay submissions. The winners were chosen by Boston Globe Sports Editor Joe Sullivan. First-place winners were honored in a ceremony at TD Garden, hosted by legendary sportscaster Sean McDonough, son of Will McDonough. The contest honors Will McDonough, a former Boston Globe columnist of 44 years, and the only Globe sportswriter to be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He passed away in January 2003 and was best known for his coverage of the Patriots and the National Football League.
Tenacre music teachers took to the stage this morning and performed for the Tenacre student body. Sarah Kornfeld, a professional singer who teaches PK-Gr. 2, and Emily Yandoh, a classically trained pianist who teaches Gr. 3-6, wowed the students with their mini-concert. Ms. Kornfeld sang an aria from “The Marriage of Figaro” and a selection from the musical “She Loves Me,” and was accompanied by Ms. Yandoh on the piano. Before starting their performance. Ms. Kornfeld explained that even though she is a professional and has performed hundreds of times on stage, she still gets nervous. Ms. Yandoh agreed that she, too, gets nervous before going on stage. This was a great lesson for Tenacre’s budding performers: It is a normal reaction to have jitters before taking the stage!
Leland Faulkner presented an all-school assembly this morning, eliciting “ooohs” and “aaahs” from everyone in the audience. His “World of Wonder” performance included shadow-theater, story-telling, illusion, and characters from around the world.
Art adorns many of Tenacre’s hallways, adding splashes of color at every turn. Kindergartners have worked recently on their drawing and painting skills. In a recent project, kindergartners observed and drew the lines and shapes of animals. Then they put them into imagined scenes and painted with tempera paint.
Tenacre third graders performed their class play this morning, “A Bad Case of Stripes,” based on David Shannon’s book. In the story, Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but she never eats them. Why? Because other kids at her school don’t like them. And Camilla Cream is very, very worried about what other people think of her. In fact she is so worried that she’s about to break out in… A Bad Case of Stripes
Tenacre’s Glee Club performed two routines this morning for an all-school assembly, singing “In the Arms of an Oak” and dancing to One Direction’s “Drag Me Down.” The group of fifth and sixth graders, who asked if music teacher Emily Yandoh would start a Glee Club, participate in Glee Club as a volunteer activity and rehearse after school or during recess. The performance was a great way to start the day!
Tenacre sixth graders recently completed a social studies unit on inventors. This interactive unit was loosely based on ABC’s hit program, “Shark Tank.” Students worked in pairs to come up with an invention they could pitch to a group of “mentors” (aka fellow students). The mentors provided constructive feedback on everything from the invention itself to presentation skills and props. It was a great lesson in collaboration, public speaking skills, and creativity.
Tenacre’s P.E. program completed its annual Jump for Heart unit today. During the month of February, students from Pre-K through Grade 6 learn about heart health in P.E. They also learn new jump rope skills and review the importance of cardiovascular fitness. Grades Pre-K - 1 have specific lessons on how the heart works, have the opportunity to listen to their hearts with a stethoscope, and learn how blood flows through their circulatory system. Students play many games that reinforce the importance of healthy eating and exercising to keep our hearts healthy.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY FROM TENACRE! Students in Pre-K and Kindergarten made valentines for their big friends as part of the Big Friend/Little Friend program. Kindergartners and fifth graders exchanged valentines this morning, and pre-kindergartners and fourth graders will have an exchange tomorrow. Pre-Kers were busy this morning decorating their valentines mailboxes.
Sixth graders channeled their inner “grotesque” in art class, designing clay gargoyles. The basic forms could be slabs, domed slabs, cylinders, pinch pots, double pinch pots--or any combination that would help them create their vision for this project. They researched animal faces to use for features, in combination with what they have learned about human faces. The glazes were more subdued colors to evoke the look of stone.
Third graders hosted an assembly this morning, explaining the history and meaning of Groundhog Day, which is tomorrow, February 2. They took a poll of the audience—with most voting that winter will be six weeks longer--and showed the bar graphs they made of an in-class poll. Third graders also explained that historically, the groundhog has seen his shadow in 102 of the past 119 years that data has been recorded – which is not good news for those who want an early spring!
First and second graders went ice skating this morning as part of the P.E. class. Students go multiple times to the rink at Babson College, where they take a skating lesson and enjoy some time for free skating.
Architect Dario DeMare visited Tenacre today to talk about his work. DiMare, who designed the community center and performing arts space that are currently under construction, engaged students in speaking about the design process. After giving an all-school assembly, DiMare worked with fourth and sixth graders in their art classes.
Yesterday, fourth graders visited the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, where they participated in a Discovering Justice program. Tenacre students toured the courthouse, participated in a mock trial, engaged in a Q&A session with a federal judge, and observed part of a real criminal trial. This eye-opening program was a great learning opportunity.
Sixth graders made their mark on the new construction space last Friday, signing their names on a steel beam above the Casey Hatheway Dunne '11 Stage. Since the sixth grade class will have graduated by the time the construction is finished, this is a nice way for the Class of 2017 to be a part of the new space. The students were very excited to see the construction up close, standing in the space that was their lunch room less than a year ago!
Head of School Chris Elliot kicked off 2017 at Tenacre by reading a story during assembly this morning. "What Do You Do With a Problem?" tells the story of a child who has a problem and can't seem to escape it or make it go away. The child eventually decides to confront the problem head-on and discovers new opportunities within the problem. The moral of the story is to look at your problems and find the possibilities they hold, instead of focusing on the negative.