Upper Grades: September 30 - October 4

Last week, we began our much-anticipated Ancient Rome block. The study of Rome is an opportunity to take the lens of history and apply it to a multi-disciplinary investigation where we will incorporate geography, critical thinking skills, mathematics, science, and literature. In the week prior to fall break, the students learned about the Trojan hero Aeneas and his epic journey to the Italian shore. This week, we studied the legends of Romulus and Remus and how the Sabine and Etruscan peoples were instrumental in the early history of Rome. We took a deeper look into how these two foundation myths blend fact and fiction to portray Roman values and ideals around duty, fate, gender, destiny, and the gods. We also learned about literary significance of "The Aeneid" and how it fits into the pantheon of ancient epic poetry. The students did not put the effort I had hoped for into their memory work of "The Aeneid" excerpt in Latin but were still able to pull off a convincing performance at our First Friday Assembly.

We will be taking a field trip to see a performance of "Julius Caesar" at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse next Wednesday, Oct. 16. We will leave from The Garden School promptly at 8:30 am. Please ensure that your student arrives on time or have an alternate plan to drive them directly to the theater. My best estimate for returning to school is 1:00-1:30 pm which is after the scheduled 12:30 pm dismissal time. I will keep you updated via text message when we have a more solid ETA.

As I mentioned in my previous email, our parent night scheduling didn't work out for most of the parents in the class and was canceled. I will share the information I had planned for that night during conferences next week. We are also planning another parent night in the spring semester. Here is the link to sign up for a conference slot: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/805084AABA82FA13-upper I have flexibility for conferences before school starts if that works better for anyone.

Mandarin Opportunity:
Ki Cerina asked me to share information with Upper Grades families about an opportunity for students to work on their Mandarin speaking skills at home: "I am excited to introduce you to the Chinese Exercise Online Course which is the program that I am teaming up with the international Chinese teaching program at Qingdao University in China. My purpose is to give our students more opportunity to practice Chinese. Since learning Chinese involves two ways learning. One is listening and speaking, the other is reading and writing. Both ways have to go hand in hand. I work with the master students in the international Chinese teaching program to build up a course for our students to help them to practice listening and speaking skills. I understand that our school is no TV and Tech school, so that I only promote this course to middle and upper class students who interested in learn more Chinese. Since this program involves different people, time and online app, I have to charge $5 per class to cover the basic cost, please understand. The class is 30 min to 1 hour long, students can choose what they feel comfortable. The content is about story and culture which is related to the context in class."

Reminder of The Garden School Media Policy from the student handbook:
"The Garden School is a community of families who choose to engage with media and screen time in a conscious and limited way. Screen time (movies, TV, video or computer games, or anything using a computer or smart phone) is not allowed during the school week except for students 5th grade and over who are completing foreign language or other homework. On weekends and school breaks, please try to limit your screen time to no more than 2 hours per week for students in grades 1-4, or one hour per day for students in 5th-8th grade. Conversations related to media consumption are not allowed at school."