Each Friday we gather six classes together to do some community building. For the last few weeks we have been lucky to have Jennifer Buckley (a parent) lead us through some “serious” dance moves. Here she is with some Lane School celebrity back up dancers.
Today we had three visitors from Pakistan as part of a cultural program sponsored by the US State Department (information on the program was detailed in this recent Bedford Citizen article). All three visitors were very complimentary of our staff and of the warmth the teachers demonstrated in their classrooms. In addition, they were surprised at the diversity in the Lane classrooms (one of our classrooms had students with families from Iraq, India, Palestine, Dominican Republic, and Somalia). Our students had all sorts of questions for the women (“What is the weather like in Pakistan? What food do you eat? Do students learn the same subjects as us? Do students have the same homework we do?). I was surprised to learn the average size of Pakistani public school classrooms was close to 100 students!
The delegation expressed to me how they hoped their visit could be a small step in bringing a positive connection between the two countries.
4 Bedford Destination Imagination (DI) teams advanced to Global Finals this weekend after the Massachusetts Destination ImagiNation (MADI) State Finals held at WPI in Worchester MA on Saturday March 30th. 6 Bedford teams qualified for the state final after the region 4 and region 8 tournaments held in March. 2 teams from the Lane School as well as 2 other Lane students on a JGMS team participated
The two teams from the Lane School that competed Saturday March 30th included POISSNN A+ team who performed the Project Outreach challenge- Real to Reel. This challenge is community service based and focused teams on identifying and addressing a real community need. As project managers, the participants use local resources to conduct a project in which they address the community need then present their results at the DI tournament in an entertaining and informative manner. Their presentation included a movie, press conference and project review.
This third grade team included members Nikhil Bahadur, Shrey Bahadur, Owen Goss, Pranav Kaundinya, Niles J. Liu, Ittai Weisman and Andy Zhou. This team chose to make Lane school healthier, germ-free and more kid-friendly. They worked with Mr. Ackerman to design and implement bathroom cleanliness, improve way-finding by adding school maps & Spanish signs and healthier kid programs in Lane School. At the DI tournaments, they presented an 8-minute movie about their project. This Lane School 3rd grade team POISNN A+ won first place in the Destination Imagination Region 8 tournament and went onto participate in the State Tournament. At the State finals, they competed against 9 other teams from all over the state, most of these teams were made up of 4th and 5th grade kids. Their presentation was informative and very entertaining. Their 3rd place showing in central challenge represented a fantastic achievement against several other older and more experienced teams. We are exceptionally proud of their accomplishments.
One Middle school team also performed Project Outreach but had 2 Lane School students represented on that team, Michael Bossi and Kai Chun. The Power Busters focused on power consumption at JGMS and how it relates to town energy guidelines. This team also included JGMS students Alexa Francesconi, Evan Graf, Eleanor Lowen, and Ryan Richard. This team made up of 5th and 6th graders faced several very experienced 8th grade teams at states placed second in instant challenge and placed 3rd overall beating several 8th grade teams. Their 3rd place finish represented extraordinary effort. The second Lane School team, the Ninja Sombreros were represented by Joseph Girifalco, Thomas Griffin, Nicole Hebert, Aneesha Manne, Ashley Tonini, and Jackson Warhover. This team won Challenge A In the zone at the State tournament. This challenge was a technical challenge involving movement of vehicle into specific zones for points and a presentation about the dangers vehicles face on the road. This team placed first and was part of a 3 level 3 team sweep of Challenge A. The first time Bedford has ever swept a challenge. This team will represent all Bedford DI teams from Lane School at the DI Global Finals Tournament in Knoxville, TN, May 22-26. All the following students from Lane School participated in Bedford’s DI program in 2012-2013: Joseph Girifalco, Thomas Griffin, Nicole Hebert, Aneesha Manne, Ashley Tonini, Jackson Warhover, Brandon Gordon, Joshua Young, Brendan Coyne, Alexander Natalizio, Douglas Dussault, Rohan Manne, Declan Garriety, James Staknis, Aram Eskandarian, Andrew Caron, Caleb Barnes, Isabella Santiago, Tsoline Gevorkian, Rica Ray, Annie Bernstein, Max Alper, Koa Chun, Ellie Mitchell, Nikhil Bahadur, Shrey Bahadur, Owen Goss, Pranav Kaundinya, Niles J. Liu, Ittai Weisman, Andy Zhou, Lochan Karthikeyan, Maxwell Adam, Sarah Wirth, Adrinan Pangiotou, Alex Doherty, Tommy Desjardin, Preet Patel, Kevin Chen, Kyle McGinn, Isabella Fernald, Catherine Chen, Narineh Gevorhian, Kai Chun and Michael Bossi
About Destination ImagiNation
Destination ImagiNation is an educational and creative problem solving program that encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus, and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts, and service learning. Participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams showcase their solutions at a tournament.
Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imagination and take unique approaches to problem-solving.
Bedford DI (bedforddi.net) is administrated by Bedford Creativity Inc [501(c)3 pending] and supported in part by the Bedford Public School System, The Rotary Club of Bedford and the Millipore Foundation. Sign-up for the program begins each September and culminates with competitive performances in March (Regional and States) and May (Global Finals). Teams of up to seven students meet with their coaches once a week to select and execute from the current year’s challenge options, developed by the Destination Imagination global organization (www.idodi.org).
Last week I joined Mrs Lerra’s class on a field trip to iRobot. For those unaware, iRobot is at the forefront of creating robots which help on the home-front and in the military. The students had a guided tour of the robot museum, as well as an opportunity to control one of the defense and security robots. As you can imagine, the students thought it was very cool (so didn’t I!!!!).
I had a few other big takeaways from the visit. First, I was impressed with the simple but clearly communciated mission statement, which greets all visitors in the lobby.
It made me think how I need to do a better job of communicating the Bedford Schools Mission at Lane (Are parents aware of the Bedford Schools mission?).
“The Bedford Public Schools will develop skillful, reflective, lifelong learners who think
critically and creatively and who are informed, responsible, and productive global
citizens. The school community will provide a safe, respectful, and inclusive
environment in which the unique intellectual, social, ethical, and emotional growth of
each learner will be realized.”
Another takeaway from our visit, were the connections between what we emphasize at Lane, and what is part of the culture at iRobot. Several terms kept cropping up during our stay: collaboration, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, mathematics, science, and technology. All of these are a part of the learning experience at Lane. But it was great for the students to hear it from someone outside our school. It really confirmed a lot of what we are doing and what we are trying hard to improve.
Yesterday was Grade Three Maker Day. This was our attempt to hold a midwinter celebration of “all things making.” We had kids sewing, hammering,drawing, designing, programming, building, and ……having fun doing it. There is a resurgence of the DIY (Do it Yourself) movement in the US and combined with the Maker Faires being planned all over, the timing seemed right to try something ourselves.
What was most inspiring for me was seeing the learning occurring-
figuring out angles for marbleboard slopes
using “if , then” statements for programming
understanding the “cause and effect” of electric circuits
troubleshooting sewing mistakes
analyzing the components of a PC
Schools have to find ways to integrate this type of hands on learning, especially at elementary school levels. As one student said to me, “this was the best day ever.” I can’t disagree.
Last night’s annual Lane concert was another reminder of the importance of music in our students’ education. Bedford has always been at the forefront of supporting the arts and making sure all students can access the creative opportunities the arts provides. This is not easy for our schools to pull off, due to scheduling and sharing of staff across schools. But thanks to the wonderful and talented teachers, Mrs O’Toole, Mrs Lang, Mr Maffa, and Ms. Parker, our students are able to get a great well-rounded education.
Unfortunately, the arts still takes a back seat when it comes to the government emphasizing test scores in literacy and math. And there is something to be said for the arts being valued, not because it can indirectly or directly help test scores, but because it is an important part of being a learner and a member of society. Last night was a reminder for us all.
A big CONGRATS to a current group of third graders for being selected as an Elementary School Finalist in the 2011-12 Siemens We Change the World Challenge, sponsored by Siemens and the National Science Teachers Association. The current grade three students did their work last year at Davis. They worked closely with Mrs Dorer and Richard Jones (Director of Bedford Facilities) to help conserve energy at the Davis School.