Sunday, December 14, 2008

Week of December 15, 2008

Last week, some of my photos ended up on top of one another while others landed on top of part of my narration. After talking with my tech guru Matthew Ross, I will try smaller pictures this week and see what happens. I took this first group of photos (at bottom) backstage before the beginning of the dance concert and then during the party that followed the final performance. Mike and I so enjoy the energy backstage before and during the concert. This is where one truly gets to see the community that has been built during the many weeks of rehearsals. Dancers are happy to help one another with make-up, costumes, movements, or just plain old support. Some students actually do try to get homework done while waiting to go on, while others manage to close their eyes for a quick nap. You can see a happy group of dancers who are warmed up and ready to go! The next group of photos were taken during the party--a time to celebrate an amazing performance and to thank our fearless leader, Annie Dwyer. I had to include a picture of Susannah Butters who appears with Miles, one of our talented dancers. Susannah has been Annie's stage manager for the past two years and she will be sorely missed! For those of you who were able to attend one of the concerts, I know you join me in singing Annie's praises...and those of all her dancers, techies, and musicians.

I included 2 pictures at the very top of our peer tutoring program in action. We are very pleased with the success of this program, which Bob Druhan supervises. At the beginning of each trimester, Bob asks staff members for a list of students who are willing to tutor, in which subjects they feel comfortable tutoring, and when they are available; and a list of students who need tutoring. He then begins the work of matching tutors and tutorees. Some pairings are able to find a period in common when they can work together in the library. Some tutoring takes place after school. Our peer tutors receive community service credit for this work.
Another example of student teaching is senior Susannah Butters who works as Dave's assistant in a beginning algebra class. Susannah is a strong math student who is taking Calculus. While working with Dave with younger students, she travels around the room assisting them with in-class work. She also teaches lessons, when needed. Georgia Valentine fills the same role in Rob's Spanish II class. Having older students work side-by-side with staff members in the classroom offers invaluable lessons for all concerned. We firmly believe in placing students in leadership roles. They are fulfilling a real need in the classroom, sending an important message to younger students, and learning important skills themselves.
Students will not be found in their classrooms on Wednesday and Thursday. Instead, you will find them working in one of the following locations: Ronald McDonald House, Duke Gardens, Durham Land Trust, SEEDS, Music Makers, Eno River, Carnivore Preservation, Gleaning out in farm fields, singing in nursing homes, or at CFS. One of the tenets of our philosophy is the Belief in the Spirituality of Life, which implies: "Effort to instill a sense of awe and reverence for nature; responsible stewarship of all our resources; intentional teaching of a humble interaction with, rather than an arrogant attitude toward, living things; commitment to serve and empower others; celebration of the inner life of persons; respect for the harmony of mind, body, and spirit." With these thoughts in mind, we will spend these days in the service of others.
Friday is our last half-day before winter break. We will begin the day with a holiday banquet that has been organized by the Clerks Committee. At 10am, we head to the Center for our annual talent show. Every senior must perform (loosely translated) and all others are invited and welcome to perform. This talent show is not open to the public. Our target audience is the Upper School community. It is a great celebration of the many talents that our students possess and a fun way to end the calendar year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Week of December 8, 2008

We have a big weekend ahead, as my husband Greg and I are babysitting for 3 year old Eden and 15 month old Uma for the weekend. In addition, we have dance rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday afternoons AND this weekend is CFS Visitors Day! For these reasons, I am rushing to get my blog done on Friday. I have had great fun buzzing around taking pictures of student work. At the bottom left, is Max Whelen's project on Cicadas for his Biology class. Frances called this their "Buggy Report." Each student chose a bug to research. Their assignment was to create a visual of some kind--booklet, Power Point, game, etc. They then made oral presentations to the class. Max created a beautiful booklet, complete with his own personal drawings. Next to the Cicadas (depending on the mood of my blog) is Andrew Meriwether's beautiful mask, which he created for his final project for American Fiction. Jon's query to the class was, "What is the fiction of America?" Students had to use two of the texts they had read in the development of their project. Andrew chose Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony and Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!
Working your way up, the next project is Alison Footman's final project for Advanced Yoga. She has created a beautiful rendition of a person in Triangle pose. Sherri's Yoga and Advanced Yoga classes have become so important to many of our students. She is teaching them how to breathe deeply, how to listen to their bodies, and how to move through the challenge of achieving certain poses--what a gift to our community. I have also included two shots from Jasmine Berry's final project for Holocaust Class. She wrote a children's book titled: We're Different--So What! Jasmine chose to focus on how children learn prejudice. After she finished writing her story, she contacted two younger students, Jessye Holmgren-Sidell and Emma Armstrong-Carter to help her with the illustrations. Jessye and Emma did an amazing job of capturing Jasmine's vision. We are hoping to get the complete copy of Jasmine's book on the CFS website. I will keep you posted about that. We are so proud of the many accomplishments our students have made. Through their thoughtfully created projects, they have demonstrated deep learning and the desire to share their knowledge with others.
Monsieur Ken is taking some of his French classes to the Playmakers' production of The Little Prince on Wednesday morning. Ken would rather the production be in French than in English, but figured it was a great opportunity for his students, many of whom read this book in class.
At the very top of the blog is a picture of some of Annie's 2nd period dance class. The actual concert will be performed on Thursday and Friday, December 11 and 12, at 8pm in the Center. There is an open dress rehearsal on Wednesdy night at 7:30pm. The theme for this year's concert is "Emotional Landscape." There will be 30 dancers, junior and senior choreographers, live music, and lots of excitement. Get in line early if you want a seat. The Center fills up quickly. Once again, Annie Dwyer and her students have created magic. We hope you will be able to join us for this event.
As I prepare to end this blog, great excitement is building around me. The JV Boys basketball game has already begun. Girls are baking cakes in preparation for their all-girls sleepover. They will cheer their teams on throughout the evening. Girls Varsity plays at 5:30, and the Boys Varsity at 7:00. The girls will then head to the Meeting Hall for the night. Sometimes I wonder if we are actually a boarding school in disguise??
Have a great week. December is flying by all too quickly!