Spanish Immersion Camp 2018: Fun Times! Tiempos Divertidos!

The New Century School was fortunate to welcome Señora Begoña Bredberg to teach the 2018 2-week Spanish immersion camp this summer. Read about Sra. Bredberg in TNCS Spanish Immersion Camp 2018 Features Talented Guest Instructor from Spain!.

This post, titled by one of the camp attendees and a huge fan of both Spanish immersion camp and of Sra. Bredberg, will explore what campers actually did during their 2 weeks of Spanish-speaking fun! Camp started July 23rd and ran through August 3rd, with 9 students (including TNCS’s first-ever camp raffle winner) attending Week 1 and 16 in Week 2. They ranged in age from 4 years to 11 years, and the level of Spanish spanned from none to quite proficient. This meant that Sra. Bredberg had to determine how to differentiate classroom activities right away. “They can all follow instructions, and I use some English only when it’s essential, along with the instructions given in Spanish. But to get this many different children to speak,” she explained, “means having enjoyable activities to do at all times, that do not take very long, to keep their interest.”

Habilidades Fundamentales

Her approach was to first give campers a chance to get to know her as well as each other so they could acclimate to the environment and feel comfortable. This also included explaining the differentiated areas of the classroom so they know the structure and also for classroom management, given the age and proficiency ranges. On Day 2 and henceforth, she moved into her curriculum, introducing more learning-related activities now that the students were familiar with expectations. Mornings meant convening in a circle to get an overview of the day’s events; from there, the day progressed quickly from one activity to the next.

For practice work, she used Aprendo jugando—actividades de español para niños de 6 a 9 años (I learn playing—Spanish activities for children 6 to 9 years) and Español para ti—Iniciación en ambientes comunicativos multiculturales (Spanish for you: initiation in multicultural educational environments). These workbooks of games and other activities provided the foundational vocabulary campers would need for application in real-world settings—from sports, to clothing, to food, and so on.

“I also used this YouTube video to show the students some of the popular songs I used to learn at their age,” said Sra. Bredberg. “At that time there were a group of clowns—all family—who created a television program, ‘Había una vez un circo,’ and all the kids loved them. This video shows a modern animated video of their most popular songs. The kids learned two of them: ‘La gallina turuleca’ (the first camp) and ‘Susanita tiene un ratón’ (second camp).”

tncs-spanish-immersion-camp-2018Susanita Has a Mouse
Susanita has a mouse
A little mouse
She eats chocolate and nougat
And balls of anise
Sleep near the radiator
With the pillow on your feet
And dream that you are a great champion
Playing chess
He likes football, cinema and theater
Dances tango and rock ‘n’ roll
And if we arrive and notice that we watch
We always sing this song

The Hen Turuleca
I know a neighbor
Who has bought a hen
That looks like a canned sardine
It has the wire legs
Because she is very hungry
And the poor thing is all plucked
Put eggs in the room
And also the kitchen
But she never puts them in the corral
The hen Turuleca
It is a singular case
The hen Turuleca
She really is crazy
The hen Turuleca
She has laid an egg
She has put two
She has put three
The hen Turuleca
She has put four
She has put five
She has put six
The hen Turuleca
She has put seven
She has put eight
She has put nine
Where is that little hen?
Leave her, poor thing
Let her put ten

Desfile de Moda

One day in Week 2 saw many of the foundational lessons being put into practice. On this day, students made muñeca de papel (paper dolls), dressed in all of the various clothing they had learned to identify and name in Spanish. “With clothes, it’s a lot of words to learn, so we have been practicing to say what they are wearing,” said Sra. Bredberg.

“When they are active, it’s good. I can do Spanish with them individually or in groups because I see that that helps a lot. They are able to say many more things and understand many more things now. Even those who had no Spanish on entering camp have picked up an amazing amount.”

The muñeca de papel exercise was then followed by a highly anticipated event—a desfile de moda! Fashion Show!

Each student had the opportunity to walk the “catwalk” and describe what he or she was wearing. It was a hoot!

Al Final del Día

At the end of each day, campers once again convened in a circle to debrief the day’s events. They reviewed and reinforced vocabulary, and everyone had the chance to contribute.

Said Sra. Bredberg of Spanish immersion camp:

The experience to teach Spanish immersion camp at TNCS has been great—to work with kids in this way. I had worked with kids before, but only for private lessons. Spending the whole day with them is a lot different. A lot of what I’ve been doing is improvisation but also getting to know them. To see what’s important to them allows me to adapt as I go along. I get them engaged in an activity, and I keep the classroom very dynamic at all times. They come together in groups, then we stop, disperse, and do something else. We come back together, and the day flows like this to they will not get bored or tired, which will not help them speak or learn.

Her and her husband have loved their time in Baltimore, as well. “This area is so great,” she said. “We love to look at the architecture and take in all that Fell’s Point has to offer.” TNCS hopes to welcome you back soon, Sra. Bredberg!

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TNCS Strengthens Community Partnerships with Southeast Baltimore Area Schools!

Summer camps at The New Century School are not just for TNCS students—any student age 2 through 8th grade is welcome to attend. This year, TNCS collaborated with the Development Committee of Patterson Park Charter School to donate two specialty camp “scholarships” as part of a raffle fundraiser for PPPCS, as shown in the flier below.

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MeHeading up the raffle was Development Coordinator Heather Savino, who describes her position as comprising two roles: “first and foremost, it’s fundraising, and, second, external communications.” She explains that the Development Committee is relatively new, and she took over as Coordinator for the 2017–2018 school year. The summer fun raffle was an effort to both raise funds for PPPCS as well as represent an activity that benefits students and families. Ms. Savino explains, “Someone on the committee mentioned that spring is the time that all of the parents are talking about where they’re sending their kids over the summer. Because not everyone at our school can afford summer camp, we decided to try to find a way to make summer camp more widely available.”

Sharing Values, Sharing Resources

Dr. Liz Obara, PPPCS’s Community School Coordinator, who oversees the school’s relationships with other Baltimore schools, organizations, and businesses, then suggested reaching out to these partners to see what kind of opportunities they could provide PPPCS families. Enter TNCS. TNCS Co-Founder/Executive Director Roberta Faux agreed to donate two summer camps for this very worthy cause: Spanish Immersion Camp and American Music System Camp. “We are very grateful for the collaboration between TNCS and PPPCS, and for TNCS’s support of our students,” said Dr. Obara. “We are all supporting this City’s children, so we recognize it’s all hands on deck—and collaboration is key. I love to see how organizations can work together to support each other.”

The raffle, which also included chances to win admission to American Visionary Art Museum, Maryland Science Center, Sky Zone, and more, was held June 15th. Tickets were $5 each, and the reception to PPPCS’s first-ever fundraiser of this kind was great. Not surprisingly, “the winners were ecstatic,” said Ms. Savino. Much of the success of the raffle is probably owing to its two-pronged approach of raising money and also providing community enrichment. “PPPCS’s vision is cultivating lifelong learners and helping families create strong neighborhoods, and so we want to make sure in everything that we do that we are striving to achieve that through our partnerships. We are so grateful to everyone who donated incredible opportunities and services for our families,” said Ms. Savino.

Meet a (Very Cute) Camp Winner!

Spanish Immersion Camp began July 23rd, and the winner of that raffle was none other than Dr. Obara’s family! As a parent of a 1st-grader at PPPCS and the PPPCS Community School Coordinator, Dr. Obara says, “I wear (at least) two hats at PPPCS, so I am doubly grateful for the donation of Spanish Camp at TNCS!”

For many important reasons, she is glad for this opportunity for her child:

As a parent, I am really looking forward to my son’s participation in the Spanish Immersion Camp. As a bilingual family, we value both our languages, but really find it difficult to sustain fluency in both languages. Spanish Immersion Camp will not only offer our son more exposure and practice in Spanish, but it will also give him such a fun association with the language—so that learning won’t be a chore! I also find it valuable that the camp will emphasize the culture of Spanish-speaking countries as well, so that the language-learning won’t be isolated from the culture. Finally, I think it’s important that my son sees the importance of language learning, and can be in the company of other kids and families that also share this value.

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PPPCS hopes to do a similar raffle next year, and TNCS will continue to support their efforts to establish positive, collaborative partnerships among southeast Baltimore schools and organizations.

Like TNCS, PPPCS is a school that recognizes its impact in a neighborhood—not just for its students, but for the whole community. Schools that are committed to ensuring this impact is beneficial to all community residents are educating students in ways that go far beyond numbers and letters. As Dr. Obara put it, “Collaboration is key.” Research backs this up: When families, community groups, businesses, and schools band together to support learning, young people achieve more in school, stay in school longer, and enjoy the experience more.

TNCS Debuts New Summer Camp: Musical Theatre!

For summer 2018, The New Century School expanded its already spectacular lineup of fun and exciting summer camps to include some new offerings. One of these was Musical Theatre camp, taught by TNCS’s amazing music director, Martellies Warren.

This camp focused on allowing campers free self-expression through exploration in set design, pairing dialogue with music and movement, and exploring the technical aspects of the performance stage.

Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical—humor, pathos, love, and anger—are communicated through the words, music, movement, and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole.

Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it is distinguished by the equal importance given to the dialogue, movement, music, and other elements.

Exit Stage Left!

After first learning the all-important jargon–what upstage versus downstage means, for example—campers spent the week practicing a scripted humor piece as well as breaking out into groups to write, direct, stage, act (and even sing!) in their own short plays. They also designed their own playbills, which graced the front of the stage.

Here are two of the younger campers performing the humorous piece, to thunderous applause.

(Stars in the making?) All campers performed this piece. To see more examples of this funny little clip and maybe catch a glimpse of your rising star, visit TNCS’s YouTube Channel and look for “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Without Further Ado!

tncs-musical-theatre-summer-campAnd now for the four plays, which, to put it simply, brought down the house. They are brought to you here, scene by scene. Scene changes in between were handled by the set team of each group, and they did a wonderful job. Mr. Warren emphasized that he intervened as little as possible to let each play troupe own the production from beginning to end. He was called on to help out with some sound effects, however, and played both a very convincing doorbell as well as a rotary phone. Other props were contributed by the players themselves.

The Perfect Slice

First up was “The Perfect Slice”—a compelling food metaphor for what we all seek, deep down. (Or deep dish?)

Murder Mansion

Next up was “Murder Mansion.” tncs-musical-theatre-summer-campWatch out, Agatha—the horror genre apparently has crowned a new queen!

Warning, “Murder Mansion” may not be suitable for all audiences. Use your discretion. (Just kidding.)

One by one . . .

Finding a Pet

tncs-musical-theatre-summer-campThird on the roster was “Finding a Pet,” a delightful romp through the process of welcoming four-legged friends into the family.

It’s one that nearly everyone in the audience found relatable, and kudos to the way the actors really inhabited their roles as animals.

Watch Out for the Witch

tncs-musical-theatre-summer-campThe final performance of the day featured a solo sung by one of the actors.

“Watch Out for the Witch” starts out as a suspenseful nail biter, but, in the end, all is well. This heartwarming tale about witchcraft mixed with sisterly love is sure to have you spellbound!

(Psst—the solo is in Scene 2!)

 

Curtain!

What a wonderful week of musical theatricality and general hijinks upon the stage. Although Friday was the final act, let’s hope that summer 2019 will include an encore of this amazing camp!

tncs-musical-theatre-summer-camp

TNCS Chinese Camp 2018: Life Cycles!

Just because it’s summer, The New Century School does not stop bringing the language-learning! This week, Immersed is so happy to present this blog by Guest Blogger and TNCS Chinese Lead Teacher, Wei Li (a.k.a., “Li Laoshi”)!

The theme of 2017–2018 Chinese summer camp is “Life cycle.” The duration of this summer camp is 1 week, and the range of students’ age is from K through 8th grade. Joining me in the classroom was our brand-new intern, “Xu Laoshi” (a.k.a. “Nina”).

The main idea of the camp is combining the Chinese language and the subject of science together, with lots of fun, meaningful, hands-on activities and projects, which means our students are learning by doing. We started each day with a little movement to warm up our bodies and minds, in fact.

An important component of our camp was to encourage peer teaching. For example, we had a student who is currently in 8th grade. This student was assigned in the position of director when we were practicing our role play. She felt very proud of this and showed a lot of leadership. Other peer learning happens when students work in small-group activities since our students are both in different ages and levels.

In the camp, our students have learned three life circles: tomato, butterfly, and frog. Our students planted some tomato’ seeds on the first day for observing how they sprout and grow up. They took turns to water the seeds daily.

We next made a poster about the life cycles of tomatoes and butterflies and did a very nice presentation.

In the middle of the week, we learned a story and made a book about “Tadpoles Look for Their Mommy” and shared it in the front of whole class.

On Thursday, we went to Patterson Park for a field trip. Our students picked some leaves and made beautiful art work about the things that we have learned in the camp.

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On Friday, we we had a fun cooking activity, making (and eating!) Chinese pancakes.

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We also did Chinese painting about the story of “Tadpoles Look for Their Mommy” for reinforcement of the bookmaking we did earlier in the week.

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In addition, we put on a play, that was the culmination of all our lessons for the week. For those of you who don’t speak Mandarin Chinese, here is the script of “Tadpoles Look for Their Mommy”:

Narrator: Spring is coming. The eggs have changed to tadpoles. Tadpoles swim around and see a duck mommy.
Tadpoles: Duck mommy, duck mommy, where is our mommy?
Duck mommy: Your mommy has two big eyes and a big mouth.
Narrator: Tadpoles swim around and see a goldfish.
Tadpoles: Mommy! Mommy!
Goldfish: I am not your mommy. Your mommy has four legs.
Narrator: Tadpoles swim around and see a turtle.
Tadpoles: Mommy! Mommy!
Turtle: I am not your mommy. Your mommy has a white belly.
Narrator: Tadpoles swim around and see a goose.
Tadpoles: Mommy! Mommy!
Goose: I am not your mommy. Your mommy wears green clothes.
Narrator: Tadpoles swim around and see a frog.
Tadpoles: Mommy! Mommy!
Frog: Dear Babies, I am your mommy!

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What a great week had by all. Thank you for hosting such a wonderful camp and for contributing this fantastic blog about it, Li Laoshi! 谢谢! Xièxiè!

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Meet Brittany Jackson, TNCS’s New Summer Camp Director!

Summer camp at The New Century School is always exciting, but summer 2018 promises to be extra special. Not only is this year’s camp lineup the best yet, but TNCS welcomes a new Summer Camp Director to oversee daily operations!

Brittany Jackson is a native Marylander, from Chesapeake City in Cecil County. “I grew up there and spent most of my childhood on the water, especially since that area is known for its water-based recreational activities, such as fishing and crabbing,” she said. After graduating from Bohemia Manor High School, she attended Salisbury University. There, she participated on the cross country and track and field teams and double majored in English and Secondary Education. She then went on to obtain a Master’s of Education from Loyola University in Educational Administration and Leadership.

She began her teaching career at Dulaney High School in Cockeysville in 2015. “I have had the pleasure of teaching all levels of English and Language Arts as well as Journalism and AVID, and I will be returning to Dulaney for the foreseeable future,” she said. Lucky for TNCS, however, she lives in the Fell’s Point area and had become familiar with the school: “The past few summers, I have worked closely with families who have either attended TNCS or who know of others who have, and I have only ever heard great sentiments about the experiences they had here. When I initially applied, I had no idea if they were still hiring or not, but I figured if not this year, maybe next year. I knew that TNCS was a place I wanted to get the experience of working at eventually.”

When Ms. Jackson was approached about her application and met with a few members of the current administration, everyone agreed that she is a great fit to take the summer helm. Her initial goal is to acclimate to the TNCS environment, by familiarizing herself with the classes and curriculum offered. “I want to immerse myself in the learning and experiences that the students are offered so that I can speak better to it,” she explained.

tncs-new-summer-camp-director

She also feels it’s important to connect camp curriculum and activities to the local community. “I want to find attractions, shows, exhibits, museums, and even restaurants that go hand-in-hand or build upon a topic that students were exposed to in their camp and send that information out to parents in a weekly newsletter. I think that could be a neat way to involve the families in the community and for the students to see what they are learning and doing translated into the ‘real world’.”

That goal aligns perfectly with the TNCS ethos of being an active part of the city, and Ms. Jackson’s enthusiasm will ensure a wonderful summer camp experience. It will probably be a fun change for her, as well, to temporarily work with younger students rather than high-schoolers and to be in a city rather than county school.

“Simply put,” she said, “I am eager to work with the TNCS community and to learn all that I can about the learning experience of the students.” Welcome to TNCS, Brittany Jackson!

Building a Strong Foundation in Math: Tips, Resources, and Activities to Foster a Love of Math at Home

The New Century School is unique in combining a robust music and arts program; triple language-learning; and a student-driven, inquiry-based approach with a competitive academic environment. Although TNCS embodies the antithesis of the “three r’s” (reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic) approach to education that focuses on rote learning, math is a paramount discipline that is duly emphasized.

Math Programs at TNCS

While doing math includes a certain amount of repetition, the purpose of math does not reside in knowing the times tables for the sake of knowing them. Applying math to real-world problems makes math dynamic, interactive, and meaningful at TNCS. Math hones powers of reasoning, creativity, abstract/spatial thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving ability, and communication skills. Math opens up possibility.

At TNCS, math starts early. The youngest preschoolers on up through the primary division have access to Montessori math materials, for example, which help children progress from concrete/discrete “manipulatives” to abstract concepts. Once TNCS students graduate to the elementary program, they have dedicated math classes that consist of some combination of a Daily 4 rotation. They work independently, in small groups, one-on-one with the teacher, and with a computer.

The crux of the elementary math program is Singapore Math, the basic components of which are 1) a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach, 2) model drawing, 3) teaching to mastery, 4) spiral progression, 5) and metacognition. In middle school, the Go Math! curriculum is used that emphasizes conceptual understanding, fluency, and application.

Differentiation is a part of every math division—wherever a student happens to be on his or her math journey, that student is supported and guided forward. Moreover, math is taught as a uniting, globalizing force. While students are doing math, everyone speaks the same language no matter what country they are from. This concept is conveyed best by TNCS’s annual participation in the Math Kangaroo competition, a math contest with 6 million participants worldwide. In Maryland alone, over 800 students participate. TNCS has had multiple students place nationally since joining the competition.

tncs-math-kangaroo-national-winners

In the 2018 Math Kangaroo competition, three TNCS students placed in the Top 20 nationally!

Math in Summer: Practice Makes Progress!

Beloved-School-Building1Math is a constant presence in our lives, whether or not we are always conscious of its ubiquity. Sunflowers, snowflakes, nautiluses, and even Romanesco broccoli are geometrically inclined examples of how the Golden Ratio, also known as the Fibonacci sequence, manifests in nature. (Need a Fibonacci refresher? Each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede it: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on, ad infinitum). This cosmic numbering system is phenomenal enough, but animals even down to the Arthropoda actively employ math–cicadas count years, butterflies use physics to plot and adjust complex flight trajectories, ants calculate the fastest paths to their destinations, and now bees are thought to understand zero.

Just as math is a part of everyday life, for students to excel in math, they should do math every day. Summertime is no different: Daily math is critical for optimal student success. Each summer, TNCS offers resources to support student gains made during the school year and to combat the summer slide. (Scroll below for a list of where you can access past years’ offerings.)

Research has shown that math achievement is often the hardest hit over the summer months, if math practice is not kept up. TNCS administrators recommend that TNCS students practice math every day (or at least three to four times per week) and have made summer workbooks available to help students get in the habit of daily math.
The workbook is ideal for summertime, because it can be done in the car during road trips, while vacationing, before and after mealtimes, and on days of inclement weather. Its convenience makes it easy to work in frequent small increments.tncs-summer-math-resources

“My strong feeling is that children should do math daily,” said TNCS Co-Executive Director/Co-Founder Jennifer Lawner. “Just like music. It is hard to get kids to practice if you make them do it intermittently, but easy if it is a required part of the day. Even if they only do 15 minutes of math on a given a day, it keeps the mind going.”

An essential component for daily summer math success is parent involvement. Parents are encouraged to review work completed periodically to ensure students are staying on the right track. Make and post a schedule to help your student maintain discipline and to avoid fights.

If daily math is not possible, encourage as many days of the week as possible with a schedule like this:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: Math practice from 8:00 am–8:15 am
  • Sunday: 15 minutes of math practice for bonus

Bonus can be whatever your family enjoys doing together, such as taking a walk or bike ride in the park, making a trip to the library or the zoo, and so on.

The workbooks will be collected and reviewed the first week of the 2018–2019 school year by your child’s math teacher.

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“The reality is that there is an entire globe of students doing daily math through the summer, and, if our children are not doing it, they are not going to be competitive,” said Mrs. Lawner.

Although workbook practice is the preferred method of doing daily summer math, math game apps and websites are another option that can be used supplementally. However, these are not as effective at keeping skills sharp, and they have the added disadvantage of contributing to screen time, so, ideally, they should not be the exclusive means of math practice during summer. A more effective supplemental way to encourage daily math is to help your child work it into other daily activities. Find some creative ways to “Get into the Daily Math Mindset This Summer” on TNCS’s brand-new web page: Summer Learning Resources.

The bottom line is, if you set expectations and work with your children at home, you will foster strong mastery and a love of math that will serve them well academically and professionally. As math is necessary for art and music, it is also a bridge between the humanities and the natural sciences. Said mathematician-turned-philosopher Bertrand Russell: “Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere . . . without appeal to any part of our weaker nature . . . yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.”


RecyQueen Returns to TNCS!

The New Century School was pleased to host local artist-activist Bridgett Parlato, a.k.a., the “RecyQueen” for a presentation on the dangers of pollution during the 2016–2017 school year. Read about that visit in TNCS Elementary Talks Some Serious Trash!

Last month, TNCS was thrilled to welcome back the Queen of Green for a collaborative art project with TNCS K/1st-graders. Ms. Parlato’s art generally has a social message, and the ocean-themed project she undertook at TNCS was no different. Tying into the oceanography unit the lower elementary students were doing, Ms. Parlato first spoke to the classes about the art they would be creating together and why. “We’ll be making a mandala, which is a special symbol that shows how things are connected. How are we going to use this art to help people, the ocean, and the world?” she asked them. After getting some very thought-provoking audience responses, she thanked them and summed up their ideas: “Your art is going to make people think about why it’s important not to litter.”

Art with K/1st Classes

Ms. DeMatteo’s and Prof. Caceres’s classes launched the project. With the younger students, Ms. Parlato’s focus was on textures. They first discussed different types of textures that might be found in the ocean (“squishy like a jellyfish,” “wiggly like an anemone,” “gooey like seaweed”).

“Now your job is to paint some of these ocean and water textures, using some recyclable materials like cereal boxes and cardboard I have brought in for you,” the RecyQueen explained. “Once you make all of the textures for me, I’m going to make a special kind of collage out of them.”

 

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She also likened their task to that of the Japanese puffer fish, “nature’s great ocean artist.”

Art with 1st/2nd Classes

Mrs. Jenks’ and Sra. Sanchez’s classes took over phase 2, which was making the fish that would swim through the oceans created by the younger group.

Here, the focus was more on ecosystems and the delicate balance ocean life requires to thrive.

 

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La Reina de Reciclaje

After her two visits to TNCS and having accumulated four classrooms’ worth of mandala components, Ms. Parlato put it all together and unveiled the masterpiece at TNCS’s 2018 Art Show on Thursday, May 31st. It speaks for itself.

tncs-ocean-mandala

“These kids want something else,” commented Ms. Parlato. “They don’t want an environment full of styrofoam and trash. They are speaking change through this art, and kid art is powerful.”