A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

One thing Latin students say frequently is that our buildings “feel like home” to them. Making kids feel at home is something that all adults, from classroom teachers to reception staff, strive to foster. On March 12, 2020, this sentiment took on a whole new meaning when Latin shifted to a remote learning model for all students due to COVID-19. Suddenly we were faced with making homes across the city feel like Latin.

Our vision for educational excellence compels us to expand each learner’s capacity for purposeful learning, and never before has that vision been more imperative. As the pandemic has progressed, each and every one of us has had to expand our capacity not only for learning, but also for teaching, for communicating, for decision-making and for leading.

We are strong together. We are loyal and true together. And we will remain Romans together.

No one could have imagined back in August how the meaning of our annual theme, Together, would be tested over the last months. We have proven it does not describe only physical closeness, but rather a feeling of connectedness that can withstand shelter-in-place orders, can withstand quarantine and can withstand social distance. Now, the meaning of “together” is much more synonymous with our school motto, fidelitas, which is the Latin word for faithfulness. On the day we first had to close the doors of our buildings we adopted the hashtag #RomansTogether because: We are strong together. We are loyal and true together. And we will remain Romans together.


See how students, faculty and alumni have proven that learning something new, making memorable experiences and giving back to the community can happen anytime and anywhere.

 

Blue and Orange Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games may have been postponed, but the Lower School Olympics went off without a hitch. All the events are designed to be completed indoors or outdoors using common household items, including a laundry basket or bucket, paper, a towel, a blanket, painter’s tape, string or streamers, pillows, a timer, a paper ball or sock ball, paper plates, markers or crayons, and a mop or broom. Six activities per grade level (JK–4th grade) were posted on Seesaw along with the details of the event as well as a “how to video.” Based on the videos students submitted via Seesaw, they definitely took home the gold!


Egg Drop at Home

The Egg Drop changed a little this year due to remote learning. Fourth grade students still engaged in the engineering and design process and considered the problem and materials they could use to solve it. However, this year, they were tasked with designing a container built from any household materials of their choice that would protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a minimum height of six feet. All 64 students in the grade submitted videos of their egg drop, and the vast majority had success. A silver lining to completing the egg drops at home was that whole families got involved.


Family Music Makers

On any given day, if you were to walk into the lower school music room during class, you’d probably see students collaboratively singing, moving, composing, and playing drums, xylophones, shakers, triangles and all sorts of percussion instruments. So what better way to kick off the remote music learning series than to re-create the joy of music-making together with families. The instrument choices were boxes (drums), cutlery, lids, pots/pans/cans or other items that could creatively be turned into musical instruments. Everyone could join the band – babies, toddlers, younger and older siblings, grown-ups and even pets.


Sixth Grade Foodies

Middle school students don’t just take computer science (CS) courses; they also incorporate CS techniques into their classwork, which provides a more real-world experience utilizing those skills. An example of this collaboration is the one between middle school CS teacher Bobby Oommen and middle school Language Arts teacher Sarah Abaza on the sixth grade food writing unit. Back in January, Oommen and Abaza planned for students to take on the role of food critics and compose food reviews, then publish them online by coding their own websites. Despite transitioning to remote learning in March, Oommen and El-Abaza moved forward with the plan so that students could share their published sites with others. Oommen’s detailed, step-by-step tutorial videos helped the students create and personalize their sites once they finished composing the review. Warning: These reviews will make you hungry!

Minnie Zhou

Millan Bhandari

Lauren Hanover

Sebastian Lee-Yee

Caitlin Creevy

Shozib Wasim

Chase Miller

 

 

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Going Remote: Togetherness Holds a Whole New Meaning for the Latin Community #RomansTogether

One thing Latin students say frequently is that our buildings “feel like home” to them. Making kids feel at home is something that all adults, from classroom teachers to reception staff, strive to foster. On March 12, 2020, this sentiment took on a whole new meaning when Latin shifted to a remote learning model for all students due to COVID-19. Suddenly we were faced with making homes across the city feel like Latin.

Our vision for educational excellence compels us to expand each learner’s capacity for purposeful learning, and never before has that vision been more imperative. As the pandemic has progressed, each and every one of us has had to expand our capacity not only for learning, but also for teaching, for communicating, for decision-making and for leading.

We are strong together. We are loyal and true together. And we will remain Romans together.

No one could have imagined back in August how the meaning of our annual theme, Together, would be tested over the last months. We have proven it does not describe only physical closeness, but rather a feeling of connectedness that can withstand shelter-in-place orders, can withstand quarantine and can withstand social distance. Now, the meaning of “together” is much more synonymous with our school motto, fidelitas, which is the Latin word for faithfulness. On the day we first had to close the doors of our buildings we adopted the hashtag #RomansTogether because: We are strong together. We are loyal and true together. And we will remain Romans together.


See how students, faculty and alumni have proven that learning something new, making memorable experiences and giving back to the community can happen anytime and anywhere.

 

Blue and Orange Olympics

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games may have been postponed, but the Lower School Olympics went off without a hitch. All the events are designed to be completed indoors or outdoors using common household items, including a laundry basket or bucket, paper, a towel, a blanket, painter’s tape, string or streamers, pillows, a timer, a paper ball or sock ball, paper plates, markers or crayons, and a mop or broom. Six activities per grade level (JK–4th grade) were posted on Seesaw along with the details of the event as well as a “how to video.” Based on the videos students submitted via Seesaw, they definitely took home the gold!


Egg Drop at Home

The Egg Drop changed a little this year due to remote learning. Fourth grade students still engaged in the engineering and design process and considered the problem and materials they could use to solve it. However, this year, they were tasked with designing a container built from any household materials of their choice that would protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a minimum height of six feet. All 64 students in the grade submitted videos of their egg drop, and the vast majority had success. A silver lining to completing the egg drops at home was that whole families got involved.


Family Music Makers

On any given day, if you were to walk into the lower school music room during class, you’d probably see students collaboratively singing, moving, composing, and playing drums, xylophones, shakers, triangles and all sorts of percussion instruments. So what better way to kick off the remote music learning series than to re-create the joy of music-making together with families. The instrument choices were boxes (drums), cutlery, lids, pots/pans/cans or other items that could creatively be turned into musical instruments. Everyone could join the band – babies, toddlers, younger and older siblings, grown-ups and even pets.


Sixth Grade Foodies

Middle school students don’t just take computer science (CS) courses; they also incorporate CS techniques into their classwork, which provides a more real-world experience utilizing those skills. An example of this collaboration is the one between middle school CS teacher Bobby Oommen and middle school Language Arts teacher Sarah Abaza on the sixth grade food writing unit. Back in January, Oommen and Abaza planned for students to take on the role of food critics and compose food reviews, then publish them online by coding their own websites. Despite transitioning to remote learning in March, Oommen and El-Abaza moved forward with the plan so that students could share their published sites with others. Oommen’s detailed, step-by-step tutorial videos helped the students create and personalize their sites once they finished composing the review. Warning: These reviews will make you hungry!

Minnie Zhou

Millan Bhandari

Lauren Hanover

Sebastian Lee-Yee

Caitlin Creevy

Shozib Wasim

Chase Miller

 

 

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Grid method in action

The Grid Method is a way of teaching that has proven successful in many classrooms at Latin across the middle school.

The Grid Method is an instructional framework for standards-based, mastery learning that is used in several science classes, language arts classes and language classes. Working from recognized standards, teachers create a grid of assignments and assessments for students to work through at their own pace. These assignments increase in complexity, from basic vocabulary up to higher-level thinking.

Grid method in action

A middle school science classroom has students working on a variety of activities according to the grid: some students are reading the materials; some students are building models of viruses; while some are researching them; some students are reading text materials; and some are working on the lab portion of the project.

Listen to Clara D. '26 describe her experience with a science project following the Grid Method. Along each step of the way, students need to show competency or mastery before moving up to the next level. This method allows students to work at their own pace and get individualized attention from the teacher when they need it. Students who master concepts quickly are able to forge ahead and do independent advanced work, whereas students who need more time are able to take it, within reason. Perhaps surprisingly, this method allows for a lot of personalized learning and one-on-one time with the teacher during class time, in small bursts right when the student is ready for it. Teachers monitor student progress for interventions and provide real-time feedback. It's an engaging way to meet the needs of all the learners in the classroom.  

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I Am Every Good Thing book

“I Am Every Good Thing” by Derrick Barnes, a book full of nourishing words and illustrations, was chosen as the lower school’s all-school read this year.

Written as a poem, "I Am Every Good Thing" encourages young readers to celebrate everything that makes you, YOU. This book affirms that kids can achieve anything they want to achieve and that it's okay for kids to make mistakes. It concludes with a beautiful message at the end:

"I am worthy of success, of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness. And without a shadow of a doubt, I am worthy to be loved." I am worthy of success, of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness. And without a shadow of a doubt, I am worthy to be loved.
"I Am Every Good Thing" by Derrick Barnes

On Thursday, October 15, all lower school students were excited to attend a virtual author visit with Barnes. Check out his presentation on the Lower School Library page on RomanNet.

Derrick Barnes author visit

Derrick Barnes, author of "I Am Every Good Thing," joined lower school students for a virtual author visit.

During a workshop over the summer, lower school teachers discussed "I Am Every Good Thing" and what ways the words and images will resonate with their students. They also talked about the concept of windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors in books best described by National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) member Rudine Sims Bishop, "Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author." Their reflection on this concept included a series of questions:

Who in your class will identify with the characters & storyline? (mirrors)

What will other students learn from the characters & storyline? (windows)

How will this create a deeper understanding of the world? (sliding glass doors)

Classroom activities will include deeper dives into the affirmations in "I Am Every Good Thing," relating to our school year's theme, Nourish.

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Graphic about intersectionality

According to Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, identity is shaped by individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts. However, the concept of identity can be complex because the answer to “who am I?” largely depends on who the word around me says I am. (For more information on Tatum’s work, please refer to this essay, “The Complexity of Identity: Who Am I?”
Students at Latin begin learning about identity as early as junior kindergarten. In addition to thinking about the question, “who am I?”, young students begin building an understanding of intersectionality, a term used to describe how race, class, gender and other individual characteristics “intersect” with each other.

An exercise that helped prepare Latin’s lower school teachers for working through conversations around identity and intersectionality with students was thinking about this series of questions:

“How do you identify yourself? And͑ what is the most important part of your identity? Is it your sex, your race or ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your class status, your nationality, your religious affiliation, your age, your physical or cognitive abilities, your political beliefs? Is there one part of your identity that stands out from the rest or does your identity change depending on who you’re with, what you’re involved in, where you are in your life?” (SOURCE: Critical Media Project)

In the classroom, students have been working on creating identity maps and writing “I Am” poems and talking about “single stories.” Ask your student about the classroom discussions they are having related to these topics.