— Walk in my shoes and you’ll know that…

As part of their Character Education curriculum, fifth-grade students shared their personal stories with the school. As they transition to middle school, their footsteps in the hallway enabled us to walk in their shoes.

In this lesson, students were encouraged to think about their feelings and emotions. They wrote their responses on footsteps that they placed in a hallway that leads to the middle school. This form of art intervention allowed the rest of the school to get involved as well. Other students walking by would often stop to read and follow the steps, usually touched by the feelings and situations represented there.

Students practiced kindness and compassion, and also celebrated uniqueness in our inclusive community!

Art Intervention Kindness Footsteps Their footsteps in the hallway allow us to walk in their shoes. Their footsteps in the hallway allow us to walk in their shoes.


 

— Astonishing, student-driven behind the scenes

Our students were widely involved in putting on Seussical, The Musical. Middle School students were given the choice to perform or support the behind the scenes through various elective classes during their second trimester, what we call explorations. Some of those who decided to work on the behind scenes were able to design, 3-D print and craft all sorts of props in our Innovation Lab. Others used their artistic skills in the Art Room to create the artwork that served as backdrops during the performances and the cover of the program. Amazing examples of collaboration and creativity, and how we all came together as a community to put on the most colorful, animated show that we have ever created!

Seussical Props

Seussical Props

Seussical Props
By Ambar Pina

— Five winners at the San Mateo County STEM Fair

Congratulations to our 7th grade Sea Crest School representatives at the San Mateo County STEM Fair this past week. The five of them won a recognition at the event!

  • Matthew Spink with his project “True Green Hydro: Expanding the use of hydro electric power by going small and portable” received the honorable mention award in the Engineering category.

San Mateo STEM Fair

  • Callisto Lodwick with her project “Effects of different liquids on amount, pH and specific gravity of urine” received the honorable mention award in the Biological Systems category.
  • Emma Steadman with her project “Cookie Sheet Bake-Off” received the 3rd place award in the Materials Science category.

San Mateo STEM Fair

  • Thomas Cevasco with his project “Is Fresh Air Killing You? Radon: A Deadly Gas” received the 2nd place award in the Earth, Space and Environmental Science category.

San Mateo STEM Fair

  • Olivia Cevasco with her project “Diabetes: A Bloody Mess, Non-Invasive Glucose Testing” received the 1st place award in the Biological Systems category. Olivia will be going to the California State Science Fair, April 24-25 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

San Mateo STEM Fair

Many thanks to our incredible Science Teacher, Rob Kashima, for guiding our students to this level of excellence!


 

— Managing our middle schoolers’ screen time and use

By Jessica Patti, Director of Middle School

Our Middle Schoolers are digital natives – they have grown up immersed in technology. However, our students’ familiarity with technology may unintentionally mask their need for guidance with how to engage appropriately with peers in ways that support boundaries and maintain personal integrity. Among Snapchat, messaging, Instagram, and group texting (or grext) there are a myriad of ways for students to connect with one another and share (at times near constant) communication.

While our students are growing up in a social construct that invites sharing profusely, the screen (vs face-to-face) simultaneously creates enough separation such that students’ inhibitions are lessened. This results in exchanges that would be deemed “over-sharing” in person, but are socially acceptable when sent electronically. Middle School is also the time when many parents are grappling with providing a personal device to their child and then with how to monitor use while supporting the emerging adolescent need for perceived “space” and personal privacy.

Here are some helpful tips and things to think about for navigating these sometimes tricky waters:

  • Have regular conversations with your child(ren) about social media.
  • Find out about the new apps they are using and how they are being used.
  • Ask your child to share current examples of how they have recently communicated.
  • Ask if your child has ever had interactions with others on social media that made them uncomfortable and why.

Create clear parameters around social media use:

  • Tell your child what you think is and isn’t appropriate to say and do online. (A helpful framework: If it would be uncomfortable in person, it should not happen on social media.)
  • Explain the difference between bystander and upstander. A bystander may “like” or “favorite” something hurtful an upstander calls out cruel and hurtful behavior and supports targeted students.
  • Let your child know if they may not use certain apps or sites.

Limit access to the device; students should not have cell phone and computer access 24 hours a day.

  • Set a time when you take the device in the evenings and when it is returned in the mornings.
  • Charge personal devices outside of student bedrooms.

Create clear expectations about the expectation of privacy.

  • Have students work on the computer in a communal space in your home.
  • As parents you should decide how frequently you will check the phone.
  • Go through phones and computers together with your child(ren) and talk about topics as they arise.
  • Always ask about new apps or apps you don’t recognize.
  • Have your child(ren) share all passwords for phones, computers and apps.
  • For more extensive resources, Common Sense Media has wonderful information.

For more extensive resources, please visit other related articles from our Parent Education Series: Parenting in a Digital Age, and more to come!


 

— 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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