Origami Rockets

Origami Rockets

In today’s Origami Rockets Exploration, students tested for the first time how far their rockets would travel. There were two teams: Team Danielle, and Team Ryan-Rose. The goal was to cumulatively measure three tries by each team member, with the overall highest cumulative distance per team determining the winners.

Students used plastic straws to propel the little rockets with their breath. iLab Manager Patrick Neary had one stipulation: each student needed to propel his/her own rocket forward along the length of two tables.

“I did not say that they had to shoot them in the air, only that they had to go forward on their own,” said Mr. Neary. “The innovation that Danielle came up with, and which everyone immediately copied to their own benefit, was that she kept the rocket on the surface of the table! She determined a way to stay within the rules, but instantly tripled (or more) the absolute value in distance that her rocket traveled.”

Origami Rockets Exploration

Connor Johnstone’s rocket traveled the farthest of them all.. on each of his three tries! The incredulous roar of the crowd was so fantastic that Ms. Giacotto had to come down to see what all of the cheering was about.

“That was one of the best moments I’ve ever had here,” said Mr. Neary. “It was so great to see Connor achieve that!”

Head of School for the Day

Seventh Grader Cole Ramsey was our annual “Head of School for the Day” on Monday, March 28th. He greeted cars at the curb that morning, participated in yoga with the Fifth Graders, and then announced that there would be no homework that day (and a Pajama Day that Wednesday!).

Next, Cole met with school administrators and read to the Kindergarteners. He then helped Ms. Sherri with recess duty. He ended his day with a lunch meeting with Dr. Pernambuco-Wise, Mr. Thompson, and two of his friends before heading back to class at 1:00 p.m. Thanks for your service, Cole!

Head of School for the Day 2016

Head of School for the Day 2016

Head of School for the Day 2016

Head of School for the Day 2016

Creativity and Confidence: The All-School Musical

A key component of Sea Crest’s mission is empowering our learners to express creativity. This holds true for our core classes as well as our enrichment programs, and in each subject we focus on student-centered learning and curricular innovation.

For the performing arts, student-centered learning means that children are integrally involved in every aspect of the All-School Musical. Each student, from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, is part of either the cast or the crew for the production. In recent years, Middle School students have also taken on the role of scriptwriters, and they storyboard and write the Musical as part of a “Page to Stage” Explorations course. Middle Schoolers also learn the foundations of technical theater in a “Behind the Scenes” Exploration.

“We believe in finding and implementing the most innovative and creative ways to teach and learn with children at Sea Crest, and I think we get better at this endeavor every year,” says Spanish Teacher Michaela O’Connor, who led the backstage crew for the Musical. “Our core beliefs in hands-on inquiry, compassion, and character education, and in becoming more and more innovative, are what sets us apart from other schools.”

“This experiential learning opportunity gives students a chance to showcase skills and concepts they have learned in Drama and Music classes,” says Music Teacher Cathy Bleecker. “They develop perseverance, teamwork, and confidence through this wonderful tradition.”

“It is an amazing joy to watch students from all grades work together to create a work of art,” agrees Drama Teacher Michael Lederman.

The Musical involves the wider community as well. We partner with the Coastal Repertory Theatre to provide an authentic theater experience for students, and our families volunteer to coordinate costumes, supervise the green room, and lend their expertise. Each year – due to the number of people involved and the quality of the production – tickets sell out for every performance.

Last year’s Eighth Graders reported that the All-School Musical would be the experience they would remember most about their time at Sea Crest. It conveys our school’s culture and spirit, bringing the community together to express how much we value the arts as part of a well-rounded education. The confidence and poise students gain from the experience ensures that they not only learn to express creativity, but also learn to lead with courage.

“Education in the arts is just as important as education in Math, Science, or English,” says Sea Crest alumna Amanda Odasz. “Theater was where I learned about teamwork and valuing the people around me and what they have to offer. It was where I found a sense of family.”

“I got really close with a lot of people through the theater experience,” says Lucas Gust, who graduated from Sea Crest in 2007. “And I’m still friends with them today.”

To watch highlights from the 2016 Musical, visit vimeo.com/seacrestschool/mavericks.

To view a short film about Sea Crest’s All-School Musical, please click here.


Maverick of a Musical

Sea Crest’s All-School Musical was recently featured in the Half Moon Bay Review. The production took place March 8th – 11th, 2016. Read the story below!

Aspiring performers set out on “The Road to Mavericks” last week.

Fledgling young talent, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, sang and danced in multiple sold-out shows at the Coastal Repertory Theatre.

Sea Crest School’s “Road to Mavericks” followed four young whippersnappers as they set out across Route 66 in search of Mavericks’ monstrous waves.

Along the way, the entire school broke into song and dance, from kindergarteners dancing the hula in grass skirts at a Hawaiian-themed burger barn to saucy fifth-graders cutting it up to “Footloose” in Amarillo.

“What I like about having the kindergarteners and Lower School in the musical is that you get to interact with other kids,” said Nicole Cordova, who played the lead role of Jessica.

“Just seeing them perform and getting to do what you used to do when you were younger, it really brings back memories,” she said.

Finn Rollings and Kai Guevara had the audience in stitches as Colin and Josh, two guys determined to participate in Mavericks even though they have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

Jasmine Franklin, Taylor Keith, Zoe Grisim and Nicole Cordova sparkled during the New Orleans scenes, which included Madame Camilla’s Fortune Telling Shop and later a Masked Ball.

Behind the scenes, the lead crew, running crew and other support composed of Sea Crest Middle School students kept the entire show running smoothly.

Notable here is that the entire production was produced, performed and crewed by Sea Crest Middle School students. The entire performance, a full-length musical, was made possible by their collective brainpower.

“There’s a class, an elective, headed by Michael Lederman, who also directed the play,” said Rollings, who played the lead as Colin.

“He just sat down and gave the kids the idea. Then, the Middle School students would bring their computers and write a script,” Rollings said. “Once they narrowed it down to the script that they wanted, they’d take parts from some that they liked and some that they didn’t like and came up with the final script.”

In addition to learning the technical aspects behind producing and acting in a performance, students learned life lessons as well.

“The Sea Crest musical has helped me come out of my shell,” said Rollings. “I’ve developed confidence and people skills.”

Being in the musical also helped Cordova adjust to a new school. She started attending Sea Crest when she transitioned from elementary school to middle school.

“I came here in sixth grade from El Granada,” said Cordova.

“When I came to this school, I started performing in the musicals,” she said. “I thought it was really amazing because most schools don’t exactly have an all-school musical.”

Younger kids, who don’t normally have the lead roles, also have opportunities for character development.

During this production, the kids learned that sometimes life throws a curve ball, and, when that happens, you just have to keep on going.

“There was one time where we experienced technical difficulties,” said Cordova. “The fourth-graders handled it very well. They were just very professional. They just kept going without freezing.”

“They just kept singing,” agreed Rollings.

“Maverick of a Musical,” Half Moon Bay Review


Fourth Graders Team Up with Wildlife Associates to Design Safer Wind Turbines

As part of their recent unit on California raptors, Fourth Grade students investigated the impact of wind farms on birds’ ability to hunt, migrate, and survive.

“Over the course of three weeks, students learned about different California habitats, the species that live there, and how to better protect birds of prey,” said Fourth Grade Teacher Tyler Elliott. “Raptors are crucial to the diversity and sustainability of many ecosystems across the country. We want our students to understand humanity’s connection to other species and how we can preserve vital ecosystems, both locally and abroad.”

Wildlife AssociatesOne exciting aspect of this unit was the classes’ collaboration with Wildlife Associates, a 120-acre animal sanctuary in Half Moon Bay. A team of wildlife specialists came to Sea Crest with live birds of prey and worked with students in small groups to help teach them about raptors, conservation, and wind turbines.

“I was so impressed with the Sea Crest Fourth Graders,” said Michele Durant, Programs Manager at Wildlife Associates. “They embraced the opportunity to help local wildlife and eagerly accepted the challenge of learning to think like biologists and engineers.”

Wildlife AssociatesFourth Graders learned how hawks help manage prey populations to keep nature in balance, and they explored the challenges facing scientists as they work to maintain both wildlife and sustainable energy solutions.

Next, our students spent two weeks designing their own solutions to help wildlife and the wind power industry to better coexist. On the final day, representatives from Wildlife Associates returned to hear the presentations.

Students shared ideas such as…

  • Placing wire cages over wind turbines to let in wind but keep out birds;
  • Using sensors or lasers to detect birds before they get too close to a turbine, causing the turbine to stop spinning;
  • Projecting images and sounds of predators to scare birds away from turbine blades.

Wildlife Associates“These students were not only highly engaged on an academic level, but their kindness and concern towards the birds clearly motivated them,” said Ms. Durant. “It was so rewarding to see their excitement about having a chance to share their presentations. They demonstrated their creativity and compassion as well as their comprehension of the facts and curriculum of this unit.”

“They have built a sense of empathy and understanding about how we coexist with our environment, and they are making connections to how our lessons relate to alternative energies,” said Mr. Elliott.

Since many of the raptors the classes studied are native to our area, students have already been able to apply what they learned to real-life situations.

Wildlife Associates“One day after school, as I was closing up my room, three students came flying down the hall yelling, ‘Mr. Elliott, Mr. Elliott, come look! There’s a red-tailed hawk outside!’ There was a line of about 25 kids along the perimeter of the field, staring at what looked like a big chicken in the middle of the grass. When I walked closer, I saw it was a beautiful male hawk standing talon-deep in a puddle, sipping and arranging feathers, looking at us as we looked at him. Suddenly, he took off with two flaps, talons out, to the top of a 50-foot tree. The Fourth Graders spent the afternoon teaching all of the other students on the field about red-tailed hawks. I know they will never forget this experience.”


Watch a video clip of the Fourth Graders’ presentations:


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