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Stories from Sea Crest School

The official blog of Sea Crest School in Half Moon Bay, California.

— In the News: Annual tradition draws grandparents from near and far

The Half Moon Bay Review published an article about our traditional winter concert and grandparents and special friends day — what a spectacular celebration of community!

2016-12-16-Winter-Concert-Grandparents-Special-Friends-Day-12By Kaitlyn Bartley

The performers belted out their hearts in front of perhaps the most devoted audience ever to attend a rock concert. Even in their red plush Santa hats, some vocalists were shorter than the microphones they sang into, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd, where glowing iPhone and camera screens bobbed and waved with the music like hundreds of Bic lighters.

Clearly, the musicians had practiced extensively for their big day, but it was also clear from the proud smiles in the standing-room-only crowd that the performances brought far more joy than could be expected by just hitting right notes.

The event was Sea Crest School’s winter concert program, held the morning of its annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day. The audience included more than 100 grandparents who had traveled from as far as Texas, Massachusetts, and even the United Kingdom, for the yearly celebration.

Winter Concert

Winter Concert“I love the joy of the children,” said Anne Mingus, who traveled with her husband Bill from their retirement village near Modesto to hear their granddaughter. Femke, a first-grader at Sea Crest, performed Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” with her class.

At least some in the audience were relieved that rehearsing for the concert was over.

“We listened to a lot of Johnny Cash in the weeks leading up to the concert,” Femke’s father and Half Moon Bay resident Kory Mingus said with a laugh.

“We are so impressed with the school,” said Ardis Tobin, of Nevada City, who drove for five hours in the rain with her husband, Patrick, to hear their first-grade grandson sing. “It seems like a wonderful, safe place.”

With the guidance of the school’s newly formed Grandparents Circle, this year’s special event featured a morning concert with each grade singing hits from previous decades. Featured artists included Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Coldplay.

 2016-12-16-Winter-Concert-Grandparents-Special-Friends-Day-213After the concert, families gathered for a snack reception, took photos in a photo booth, and explored a then-and-now display, which featured household items from previous generations. Later in the morning, students showed off their classrooms to families and grandparents and built gingerbread houses.

Janet and Ron Reed, of El Granada, attended Grandparents Day to see their fifth-grade granddaughter perform songs by Cyndi Lauper and The Cure and visit their daughter, who herself is a fifth-grade teacher. Although this is only their second Grandparents Day, it has become one of the most special days of the year for them.

“We like to see all of the grandkids perform,” said Janet Reed. “It’s so wonderful.”

 

— A magical journey of music through generations

What a spectacular celebration of community at our Winter Concert and Grandparent and Special Friends Day! We enjoyed a magical journey through the decades with heartfelt songs of generations sung by our students. After the concert, our guests participated in classroom activities and enjoyed a Then and Now display created by members of our Grandparents’ Circle. We had well over 100 grandparents and special friends in attendance. Some coming from across the country from Texas and Massachusetts and others from as far away as the United Kingdom. We also welcomed our neighbors from Half Moon Village.

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We thank you for all your support of Sea Crest School now and throughout the year.
We wish you peace and joy during this holiday season and into the new year!


 

— Invention convention in the iLab

In science, our second graders completed their unit on Simple Machines with an Invention Convention in the iLab. They discovered that simple machines are part of bigger, more complex machines that make our work easier. The students designed, sketched and built their own inventions using recycled/scrap objects. They tested different ways to move loads more easily using less force. They shared them with their classmates and took them home. We have a lot of inventors in this group! The students also participated in a handy dandy gadget scavenger hunt, where they needed to identify the types of simple machines found in household items like scissors, can openers, nutcrackers, etc.

Invention Convention Innovation Lab Second Grade Invention Convention Innovation Lab Second Grade

Invention Convention Innovation Lab Second Grade Invention Convention Innovation Lab Second Grade

Invention Convention Innovation Lab Second Grade Invention Convention Innovation Lab Second Grade

Parents, thanks for your help gathering materials and for the extra hands in the iLab!


— Parenting in a digital age

By Dana P. Blum, Bay Area Director for Common Sense Media

After my Common Sense Parent talk at Sea Crest School on November 17th, it is obvious that the school cares deeply about supporting your kids. We also know that all parents are struggling with their family’s 24/7 digital life. At Common Sense, our job is to ensure that all kids, parents and educators are harnessing the power of technology for life-long learning. Our motto is “sanity not censorship!”

We believe the best place to begin the conversation with your family about the digital rules in your home is to start with our simple Family Media Agreement. This is an easy tool to start the conversation and “have the talk.” You can also use our Customizable Device Contract to be very specific about what you expect from your kids and what your kids should expect from you in regard to device usage. I recommend you design the contract together with your entire family.  You are the primary role model for appropriate digital behavior, so be sure to set the example you want your kids to follow. Remember, your kids hear 20% of what you say and see 100% of what you do!

The next place I would like to guide you to is our Parent Concerns Platform. We have 13 different parent concerns and each one can be filtered by age. For example, take a look at Technology Addiction and click on teens. You can go deeper and find out if teens can be addicted to video games. This is a great place to go to with specific questions you may have about too much usage of a specific game or app.

Check out our Family Guide platform, specifically the Essential Apps. This particular platform is filled with information on how to pick the best tools for learning. Something I know you are going to love is our live Digital Glossary. The glossary has a complete definition for every platform you have heard about, every acronym you may have wondered about, and a lot of stuff you didn’t know existed. This is a great place to go when you have questions about new apps. Remember, if your kids are using platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, they have agreed that they are 13 and they will be marketed to by companies. Also, I wanted to make sure to send you the link to our Technology Addiction Research and our Common Sense Census: Tweens and Teens Media Use.  The research will help you better understand the usage patterns and differences in gender, income and ages. Be sure to keep an eye out for our “soon to be released” research on parent usage!

Also, think about how your daughters can start playing games to increase their math and spatial skills. Not all games are bad, so check out a few of our favorite and be sure to read about them so you can have a meaningful conversation with your kids about what’s happening in their world. Here are a few of my favorite games for kids: UnravelMission US: Flight to freedomThomas Was AloneChild of Light.

Lastly, I want to share an important short video to watch with your girls (and boys) about the reality of what they see in the media.  I think this Dove commercial is a fantastic way to help our kids understand the reality of advertising.


Common Sense Media is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.

— In the News: Challenge within a chair’s construction

The Half Moon Bay Review published an article about our seventh graders’ project in the Innovation Lab: Challenge within a chair’s construction: Educator looks at everyday objects in a different way. They prototyped four chairs out limited materials as part of their Explorations and the results were remarkable.

Sea Crest School students were recently challenged to think outside the box — outside the cardboard box, to be exact.

As part of a semester-long exploration class, aspiring makers were required to enhance an old office chair using nothing more than masking tape, cardboard and hot glue.

The lesson took place in the Innovation Lab, a maker-space where tinkering is not only encouraged, it is expected.

“During the summer, I saw a lot of old chairs in the hallway that were going to be thrown out,” said Patrick Neary, Innovation Lab manager at Sea Crest School. “There was a lot of cardboard that was also going to be thrown out. I thought maybe there was a way to upcycle both slightly and see what we could do with them.

“It occurred to me that the curved, rotating chair was a common thing, almost in contrast with these big square boxes,” he continued. “One of the things that I was concerned with was challenging the kids about their basic assumptions about things.”

Before the course, most students would look at the chair and disregard it as a utilitarian object. After completing the project, it was clear that the students would no longer take the art of sitting for granted.

Innovation Lab Chair“To get started, the kids had to think about how does this chair come about?” said Neary. “Once they re-examined this common object, they could start to reinvent it.”

Part of that process included deconstructing a few samples in order to gain a clear understanding of how the chair worked.

Innovation Lab Chair“Some of the students used power tools, like drills, to pull out the screws,” said Neary. “The students then had to figure out how many screws were used and why.”

Once the kids understood how the chair worked, they were challenged to improve upon the design. Neary created four teams. Students drew lots to determine who was in each group.

“It was random,” said Neary. “Some students liked the partners they were grouped with, others had never really talked before as partners.”

The newly created groups started sketching out their ideas as they began working to build a better chair.

Once the drawing was complete, the makers-in-the-making moved into the physical world of construction.

“The students experienced obstacles of different viewpoints and agendas that required that the students collaborate, negotiate and corporate,” said Neary.

The students worked hard on their final designs, pieces of cardboard that were held together with nothing more than masking tape and hot glue.

The groups then presented their projects to a panel of judges that assessed the projects on the basis of collaboration, the mindful use of the materials, the overall design aesthetic, and the cleanliness of the final construction.

There was also one more catch, the completed prototype had to support the weight of the intended user, whether a student or an adult.

The results were stunning to say the least. One group opted for a minimalistic design going heavy on the masking tape. The end product was a sleek chair sure to hold up under the average adult. Others were more creative, adding butterfly wings, cup holders, and slots for books.

 

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