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Updated Thu, May 24th
Updated Thu, May 10th
Updated Thu, May 3rd
Updated Thu, Apr 19th
Updated Thu, May 24th

Under the twinkling lights party goers wandered the enchanted forest, feasting on magical bites, drinking potions, and casting spells in hopes of winning prizes.

From Snow White, to forest elves, to horned deer people, the Village party goers arrived in fine fantastical form. There were class snack services, margarita and tea party invites, and a year’s supply of Ike’s sandwiches to be won. A marvelous time was had by all Villagers at the Enchanted Forest.

And in the end, at final tally, we raised over $20,000 to support our children’s education. Thank you to the Auction Team for their tireless efforts to make this a memorable evening, and to all of our wonderful community for your support.

Updated Thu, May 10th

Our Village community is wonderfully diverse! Our families hail from all around the world, practice a variety of religions, and speak many different languages. We’ve compiled a fascinating glimpse into the lingual diversity of our student body. Prepare to be amazed!

Data does not reflect all of the languages spoken by students at Village. It was compiled by survey of raised hands in each classroom and teacher/parent input. Results may not be 100% accurate.

 

Updated Thu, May 3rd

By Amilia, Village School Parent

Our second graders are officially engineering geniuses — at least, that’s the conclusion perpetuated by my proud-mom-bias. Last month, in a culmination of their one-month STEAM study on structures, the Surfin’ Second Graders and Wise Watermelons presented their popsicle stick bridges for strength testing in front of the entire school and throngs of excited parents.

For those of you new to Village, our second grade curriculum consists of a unit on Structures. Although science and engineering is the focus, the unit incorporates geography, art, reading, writing, public speaking, teamwork and social emotional learning. It really is a classic example of cross-disciplinary, project-based learning.

Students begin with a study of bridges. They learn about the different types of bridges, how to identify them, their design and structural integrity and the pros and cons of each. They visit the Tech Museum to learn about roller coaster design. Their focus then moves to structures around the world. Students bring in examples of structures that are meaningful to them, their families or their cultural heritage. In class, they arrange these structures on the wall by continent to get a view of aesthetics and design from around the world. They each pick a structure to research in depth, creating both a written report (showcased to parents during a publishing party) and a slideshow (presented complete with microphone and movie screen) in front of their classmates. Finally, students study science and engineering, learning about different materials and their properties, and about shapes and which create stronger and more stable structures. They are visited by an architect (also, a former Village parent), who discusses this topic in more depth and — as a prequel to their popsicle stick bridges — the students endeavor several challenges to build towers and other structures out of various classroom items for strength and stability. Finally, just a couple of weeks before the 100th day of school, students are presented with their 100 popsicle sticks to be used to build a bridge of their choice using only glue. The goal? To support 50 pounds of weight for at least 5 seconds!

Although some bridges survived and others didn’t, all of these students triumphed. Their pride and bravery were inspiring. Their joy at each others’ successes, and their empathy for those whose structures fell short of the 50 pound mark, were touching. And their love for their friends, teachers and this wonderful learning community was palpable. I felt so grateful to be a part of the experience.

A huge thanks to Teachers Chris and Elizabeth for their energy and enthusiasm. They were as excited as their students on Bridge Strength Testing Day!

Updated Thu, Apr 26th

By Lynn L.,  Parent Educator and Parent of 2 Village School students

The topic of community has been on my mind a lot lately. As I watch the news, I am saddened by what is going on around us. I also just watched the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which made me think even more deeply about this topic. I want to focus on the idea of community and explore how we can make a difference by helping our children build assets, such as the 41 Assets from Project Cornerstone (many of which will be referenced in italics in this article). 

What is community? How big or small is it, and who is in it? I recently sat in on the Project Cornerstone “Take It Personally” class, and was reminded of all of our roles in our communities. We have a wonderful chance to make an impact on those around us.

When I think back on those who have influenced me, I realize that family, teachers, school counselors, neighbors and others in my life may not know the impact they had on me. Now, fast-forward to my children — who will influence them? As a parent, I put a lot of thought into who my daughters are around, what they do, and who they will be when they grow up, as I am sure most of us do. I also think about the individuals I interact with and what type of impact I might have on their lives. All of us can make an impact in the lives of those around us, and sometimes the smallest gestures can make a huge difference.

Many of us chose Village because of the sense of community. At Village, we have a chance to connect with both children and adults. My children see that I am participating and helping our school community. Whether in the classroom, on the playground or at lunch time, we are building valuable assets (other adult relationships, a caring school climate, parent involvement in schooling, adult role models, bonding to school, to name a few). These assets help our children feel supported, and in turn will hopefully help them make positive choices. I am also so grateful that my children have other adults to turn to. When I ask, “who are the adults you can go to if you need something?” they give me a list of names, many from Village. Why is this important? Because I cannot be there 24/7, and I know they are not alone. More importantly, they know they are not alone.

We can also be proud of the work our children do at Village. One example is Rise Against Hunger. Recently, for the third year in a row our school participated in this wonderful event that brings awareness to those around the world who are hungry and live in poverty. My girls love Rise Against Hunger and feel very proud to be part of it. Events like this bring awareness on a local and global level. By participating in these types of acts, our children are aware of the needs of others, are building empathy, and are further developing assets (caring, equality and social justice, sense of purpose and service to others).

Our children can be negatively influenced by the media. But they are also watching and learning from us and others around them all the time, giving us many opportunities to counter negative messages. Children learn about boundaries, honesty, respect for self and others, and conflict resolution from family, friends, other caring adults, and during activities outside of school (corresponding assets are other adult relationships, safety, caring, interpersonal competence, honesty, integrity, self-esteem, peaceful conflict resolution, service to others, and many others).

As a therapist, I have had the opportunity to work with diverse groups of people. I have worked with individuals who do not have many assets, and who make decisions that have negative consequences. Research on the 41 Assets shows that the more assets a young person has, the more likely they will engage in positive behaviors. Hence, the fewer assets one has, the more likely they are to engage in negative behaviors. The individuals who are making negative choices to hurt others, hurt themselves, and be destructive, usually do not have many assets. If they had people in their lives supporting them, reaching out to them, modeling for them, would they have made different choices? I believe most of the time, they would.

So how do we make a difference? We can be involved in numerous ways. It can be as simple as saying hello to a child, sitting with a child at lunch, reaching out to someone who is sad, helping someone in need, donating to others, being an upstander, modeling good choices, etc. Even the smallest gestures can make a huge impact on someone’s life. This responsibility falls on all of us, but let’s remember that we are not alone. We are all part of one or more communities where we can find support. Lastly, if you haven’t taken the Project Cornerstone “Take It Personally” class, please do so. It is a wonderful class that educates and inspires adults to make a commitment to support children and teens, and it gives you an opportunity to connect with others at Village.

If you would like to learn more about Project Cornerstone and the 41 Assets, please visit Project Cornerstone’s website or past Village Voice articles on this topic:

Asset Building While Increasing Productivity

Reflections on Asset Building in our Kids

Updated Thu, Apr 19th

By First Grade Teacher Talia

It was a typical morning. The kids were eating breakfast at a snail’s pace. “We have five minutes until we have to leave, and you still have to brush your teeth. Please finish eating!” I said to them as I walked out of the kitchen and down the hall to brush my own teeth. An all too familiar feeling of anxiety was beginning to creep in, and I silently told myself that today would be the day we get out the door without a fight. A few minutes later, Robby came into my bathroom.

“Mom, I have a ques-”

“Have you brushed your teeth yet?” I interrupted.

“No but-” he answered, trying to ask me again.

“Go brush your teeth! We’re going to be late!” I could feel my voice and anxiety rising. We were about to fall into our same routine of me shouting to get the kids to finish their tasks, and all three of us leaving the house a little grumpy.

“But Mom, can I ask you a question first?” He tried again. To be honest, I wanted to say no. I wanted everyone to just focus on the tasks until they got done, and for no one to complain or say another word. But today was going to be the day that we changed that routine, I reminded myself. I took a deep breath.

“Of course you can. What’s your question?” I said.

“If the same water has been on Earth for millions of years, then is it possible that there is a drop of water somewhere that has never been touched by a living thing?” he asked me earnestly.

Wow. Where did that come from? Although the question seemed to come out of nowhere, it didn’t really surprise me. Robby has always asked thought provoking questions, questions that I have no clue how to answer sometimes.

“Hmmm. I’m really not sure. That is such an interesting thing to think about!” I answered. “Maybe we should try to find the answer after school today.”

“Ok. I’m going to brush my teeth now.” he said.

As he walked away, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of his thoughtful questions I’d missed, simply because I was unwilling to take the time to listen. Although I do my best to use Positive Discipline to influence my parenting, I’m human and I’m guilty of sliding back into what seems easy in the moment. Taking a moment to connect with my children before offering a criticism or giving feedback sometimes seems to take too long. It’s quicker to just shout to get what I want. But that’s not what I really want. I want to build a trusting and caring relationship with my children, and that won’t happen without taking the time to remain calm and listen, especially when times get stressful.

Later that day, I saw another example of connection before correction at work. This time it was on the softball field. Aubrina is on a new team this year, with a coach who has a reputation for always having a winning team. He has a loud voice, and he always knows what every girl is doing. Aubrina is on a team with girls who are taller, stronger, and older, so it’s not hard for the coach to find things to coach her on. Watching practice that day I realized a pattern with how the coach communicated with each girl. He would first say something positive, and then afterward he would give his feedback. For example, when Aubrina fielded a ball and then threw it to first base, he said “Aubrina! Nice job getting behind that ball. Next time follow through with your whole body on the throw and you’ll have more power.” The entire interaction was simple, quick, and demonstrated that he sees the positive and not just what needs to be fixed — a way to connect before offering correction.

It’s easy to forget that as adults we don’t get a lot of feedback on our behavior from others, whereas kids get criticism and correction all day, everyday. Connecting with our kids first is one sure way to build a relationship where they feel safe, supported, and loved.
 
 
For more about the “Connect before Correct” tool card, visit the Positive Discipline web blog. For more Positive Discipline Parenting tool cards, visit the Positive Discipline website.

Updated Thu, Apr 12th

Spring 2018

Not the mission project you remember: Our 4th grade students were assigned a portion of the mission grounds to research. They built a 3 dimensional model and programed a Dash Robot to negotiate their model. Some groups were assigned the orchards, some the actual mission structure, some the gardens and so on. The Dash Robot then moved about the map on a student-programed route stopping at programed spots. The robot then delivered a student-created script describing the unique features of the location on the map. The individual maps were then combined to create an entire 3D mission grounds with multiple Dash Robots moving about the programed routes and giving tours. During this complex, multi-day learning exercise every student found an access point to engage in the learning. Some students found their level of expertise in building the map layout, some in building the 3D structures, some in programing the robots, some in conducting the necessary research – every aspect required students to work collaboratively and problem solve in a real life context on a project they were all connected to. Every student found a way to be heard and valued.

Teachers are pioneering a vital shift in education, being re-energized by the level of student engagement and their role in igniting the fire and passion in students that results in real, honest, purposeful, meaningful and contextual learning. Teachers are communicating this passion and their colleagues are listening and adopting. The purposeful use of technology allows students to work in a reality that is contextually appropriate to their lives and virtually limitless.

Updated Thu, Mar 29th

By Jennifer, Village and Young Triton Parent

Young Triton’s Running Club (YTRC) is a before and after-school running club and self-development program for boys in grades 1–5. In its third year at Village School, YTRC instills strength, self-compassion, empathy, cooperation, balance, character, perseverance and teamwork through a structured bi-weekly, eight-week program.

Without a doubt YTRC is about far more than physical performance. This year’s curriculum was Mindcraft-themed. That’s not a typo but an intentional play on words as the boys collected bricks in their inventory and strengthened their minds while training for the Run. Sweat. Love. 5K.

Teaching young boys to become well-rounded, feeling, and caring young men requires role models that demonstrate the behaviors we hope to see them develop. We are extremely blessed at Village to have 6 dedicated parent coaches.

Coach Caesar shares his experience with YTRC: “The impact of the program is very personal to me. Not only do we as Coaches get to share our passion with the children and watch them develop before our eyes, but we also get to build relationships. Most parent participants are moms at Village. Having some “Dad Time” gives us the opportunity to make friends, share experiences and start new relationships that probably would not have happened without YTRC,” explained Coach Caesar. “[My son] sees that I go out on runs but rarely makes it to my events. When we first started doing our runs, he would not push himself nor would I want to push too hard and discourage him. Now running with 15 plus friends, he loves to run, loves to push himself and loves to help his teammates!”

Results of the program: 68 Happy Hearts, 136 Strong Legs, 34 5K Teammates, 6 Dedicated Coaches and 23 Young Tritons who have discovered that the finish line is just the beginning. 

 

Updated Thu, Mar 22nd

Village is unique in so many ways. Of course, our students learn traditional subjects like reading, writing and arithmetic, but where else (other than ‘The Farm’) can one train to be a spy or study the art of Jedi mind control? Learn more about two of our newest and most unique STEAM Centers to date, and beware the skills your budding secret agents and Jedi bring home!

Spies Among Us

By Amy, Spies Center Lead and Village Parent

Students in the brand-new Spies Center try their hand at investigative activities such as fingerprinting and cryptology while gaining a basic understanding of skills that secret agents use in their work. As one of the center leads, I (Amy, aka Blue Raven), developed the curriculum with the collaboration of Kindergarten Teacher Lori, Lead Amy (aka Silver Ninja), and Day Manager Allie (aka Green Hornet). The goal is to create an opportunity for students to have fun while they use creative thinking and deductive reasoning.

Students create a unique spy name and choose whether to share that name with their fellow spies, or remain incognito (only use their actual name) during the four weeks of centers. I enjoy watching students’ enthusiasm when I reveal my Harry Potter inspired spy name, “Blue Raven” and name badge at the start of centers. We added the option for students to conceal their spy name when one student pointed out that keeping your identity a secret is important for spies. When asked what he enjoyed about Spies Center, this student said, “The good stuff is making your spy name.”

In subsequent weeks, students use an alphanumeric code to create a corresponding Secret Agent ID number for their spy name and design a unique Spy Symbol which they replicate using invisible ink pens. They decipher codes, reveal secret messages using multiple methods, and try their hand at walkie talkies.

The center culminates with the Campus Mystery Scavenger Hunt when students don disguises and use the skills they have practiced to solve a crime (details omitted to avoid spoilers). Students almost unanimously agree with one student who said, “My favorite part of Spies was when we were looking for messages and clues.” The initiation of these new junior sleuths, who so eagerly collaborate in this final mission, is a fitting conclusion.

Jedi Mind Tricks

Q&A with Priya, Jedi Mind Tricks Lead and Village Parent

What exactly is the Jedi Mind Tricks Center? How was the curriculum developed?
The Jedi Mind Tricks Center, originally called the Brain Powers Center, is a brand new upper grade Center led by Village parents, Priya and Dorothy. The curriculum is based on the work of Marie Nathalie-Beaudoin in her book, Boosting All Children’s Social and Emotional Brain Power. Weaving together social-emotional skills and themes from Star Wars, we’ve tried to make this center a playful way to learn important life skills that we’ve termed “mind tricks.” We begin by explaining that the Jedi can’t control other people’s minds they way they show in the movies until they learn ways to understand and strengthen their own minds. We jokingly tell the kids, “mind control will be discussed in the sequel ‘Jedi Mind Tricks Center, Episode 2.’

Each week we teach the kids a new skill and practice using it with examples and in-class skits. Often the kids share examples from their own lives, exploring ways to resolve disappointments, disagreements, or general mishaps and mix-ups.

What are some of the Mind Tricks you work on?
Shrinking Power — the ability to shrink problems (solving problems)
Double Vision — the power to see what’s going on inside of someone else (empathy)
Choice Mind — the ability to weigh options and make better choices (non-reactivity and self-awareness)
Foresight — the ability to see the future (foreseeing the consequences of actions)

The kids have a great time acting out ways to handle tricky situations using their mind tricks!

What are you hoping students gain from the Center?
The Center helps kids to develop stronger coping skills and emotional regulation, but we don’t really tell them that. Our approach to teaching is playfulness. We bring out props like Jedi robes, lightsabers, brain hats, walkie-talkies, and more! In our last class we bring all the mind tricks together and then share some Jedi Jello.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
One of the highlights from this year was one student’s response to the question, “Why are we even learning about this?” His response, “Because they help us with the M&M’s.” Yes! It was a powerful moment of integration.

Updated Thu, Mar 15th

By Amilia, Village Parent

I like to consider myself a world traveller. I love to visit new places where the language, culture, food, geography and general way of doing things are different. But, despite a good deal of experience on the global scene, the second graders at Village have me beat on at least one intriguing measure. Although I have visited a fair number of countries, I have certainly never created my own.

Yes, you heard me correctly! Our second graders created their own countries, complete with constitutions, laws, national flags, currencies and even national anthems. What sparked this exciting undertaking? 

Well, our second grade teachers, Chris and Elizabeth, started with a unit on Government. Students learned about how our government is structured, from our school, local (city) and state governments right up to our national government. They learned who the current people in charge are (president, governor, mayor, etc.), about the three branches of government, about how we vote in elections, about rules and laws and why we need to follow them. They studied government jobs — police, fire, teachers, librarians, park rangers, etc. — and even took a field trip to Campbell City Hall to meet some of these government workers, seeing firsthand where they work and how their offices are structured. 

While at city hall, students toured the police station, quietly observing the 911 Call Center, and more boisterously exploring a fully-loaded police car! The most memorable part of this field trip, though, was when students had the opportunity to conduct a mock city council meeting. They were assigned parts — City Council members, Secretary, Fire Station Chief, Police Chief and concerned community members — and given an agenda item to debate, ‘Should the city spend available funds on 2 new fire trucks or 5 new police cars?’ It was a delight and surprise to see how creative and bold our 7 and 8 years olds have become, and how thoughtfully they were able to consider and analyze the issue at hand. All voices having been heard, the ‘mock’ City Council member voted and passed a motion to purchase the police cars, rather than the fire trucks.

In past years, this is where our second grade unit on government would have concluded. But, not this year! Our teachers discovered a delightfully tongue-in-cheek, but informative, book about, How to Build Your Own Country by Valerie Wyatt and decided that, indeed, that is what our second graders should do!

And so, their foray into government and all of its institutions culminated in this final project — to create their own countries, complete with a name, a population, a location, a government, a constitution, laws, an economy, neighbors, a flag, currency, a national anthem, national holidays, etc. In full disclosure, students only had to choose a handful of these elements to develop, but the results were a dazzling array of interesting, creative, and often funny lands, and a wonderful insight into the thoughtful and honorable citizens whom we are raising… not to mention, a host of new and exciting places to add to my bucket list of global travel destinations!

Here are just a few of the many creative and inspired countries that our second graders envisioned:

  • The Kingdom of Donuts, where the citizens are donuts of all different colors and types, the language is called ‘donya’ and whose neighbors include the Republic of Cupcakes and Cookie Land
  • Empire of Vikingland, whose currency is in denominations of the lucky number 7, the President is chosen by Ro Sham Bo, the capital city is Hawking (named after famed physicist Stephen Hawking), and there are absolutely no guns allowed. 
  • Candyland, whose people are only a few inches tall and where everything is made of candy
  • Circus Land, where every citizen 10 or older must work in the circus once per month and the day cotton candy was invented is celebrated as a national holiday
  • United Gabes of America, where everybody is named Gabe and you must have President Gabe’s permission to use the restroom
  • Drawing Land, which is ruled by King Mateo and is the only monarchy created by the second grade class
  • Ultraland, an island in the Pacific Ocean where there is free housing and free education for all. They also manufacture tree houses as their primary export.
  • Costanzoe, which is the biggest and most powerful country in the world and whose land is under great threat of super volcanoes
  • Pokeland, a republic located on a planet called Pokeworld. Leaders are voted into power and citizens are not legally allowed to use weapons.
  • Loveable Land, where there are no laws and red roses everywhere
  • Super Trio, named for a combination of the student’s favorite superhero (Superman) and favorite number (3), where everybody over 4 is required to go to school and you are not allowed to swim in a pool unless you are 6 years or older.
  • L Island, where the most important law is that you cannot hurt anybody or use weapons.
  • Baile, which is an island country known for its dancers, where everybody is welcome and everybody has freedom of speech. Pomegranates are the most popular produce and, by law, all citizens must respect each other. Also, all young people must go to school, but can attend any school they choose.
  • Beachside Land, whose population of 900,000 all have equal rights
  • Living Joy, located in the student’s living room. No pets are allowed.
Updated Thu, Mar 8th

By Bev, Library Team Lead and Village Parent

By now you probably know that the library team is just plain crazy for books, authors, and reading! You may not know, however, that one of us (Lisa) is an aspiring children’s book author and participates in many writers’ groups and organizations in pursuit of her dream of one day being published.

It’s because of this connection to the literary world that Lisa was able to grant Village 3rd graders a very unique opportunity. In the fall, she participated in an online charity auction to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Lisa bid on and won a classroom Skype visit with Debbie Levy, author of I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark as well as many other children’s books.

As the date for the visit approached, the kids, their teachers, and the librarians were all excited! Ms. Roberta and Ms. Aisling read I Dissent aloud to their classes and engaged the students in thinking up questions they’d like to ask Debbie about the book and being a published author.

Then, on the Friday before Thanksgiving break, the entire third grade packed into Teacher Aisling's classroom to digitally welcome Debbie to our school. The students saw her home office and met her 15+ year old cat Zoe. They heard all about her childhood love of books and writing, including seeing her first “published” works: Something Happened to Tuggy, and Fish, both of which she wrote in school at age 7. They learned that before becoming a published author, she earned a law degree as well as a master’s degree in politics, and worked as a newspaper editor.

Then it was on to questions the students had prepared:

Where did she go to college?
Debbie attended both the University of Virginia and University of Michigan.

How many drafts of I Dissent did she write?
Debbie estimated she had written about 20 drafts for I Dissent and finished the manuscript for the book in 5-6 months. She said this was a more accelerated timeline than most of her other books, and she showed the students a closet where she stores the many drafts from all her books (the students seemed very impressed with this!).

Is she friends with Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
No, she is not friends with RBG but she has met her and has a picture of the two of them together.

How did she find out so much about her?
To write the book, Debbie sent a letter to RBG asking for permission, and she got a reply saying yes! From there she researched everything she could about Ruth’s life and career. She went to the Library of Congress and read through all the information they had on her, which is contained in 180 boxes of materials!

What’s her favorite book she’s ever written?
The Year of Goodbyes: A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells, which is a book she wrote for and about her mother, who left Germany as a child with her family in 1938 during World War II.

Is she writing another book now?
Yes, she is currently working on another nonfiction book about a brave young woman who stood up to segregation in the south during the 1950s.

Debbie was kind, generous with her time, engaging with the kids, lovely and gracious. In addition to donating the classroom visit to the third grade, Lisa received four of Debbie’s other books and donated them to the Village library collection: Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil WarWe Shall Overcome: The Story of a SongDozer’s Run: A True Story of a Dog and His Race; and The Year of Goodbyes: A True Story of Friendship, Family and Farewells. Debbie autographed all the books, and provided an autographed bookplate for library’s copy of I Dissent.

A huge thank you to Lisa and her family for sharing this amazing opportunity and experience with Village!

Bell Schedule

  • In Session8:25–10:40
  • Snack Recess10:40–11:00
  • In Session11:00–12:40
  • Lunch & Recess12:40–1:20
  • In Session1:20–2:30 *

* Wednesdays end at 1:30

  • In Session8:05–10:40
  • Snack Recess10:40–11:00
  • In Session11:00–12:40
  • Lunch & Recess12:40–1:20
  • In Session1:20–2:30 *

* Wednesdays end at 1:30

 

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