Highlights from a Triumphant 2020–2021 School Year at TNCS!

The New Century School closed out the 2020–2021 school year with quite a bang. From preprimary through middle school, TNCS students made the most of their last few weeks together! And, events involving all divisions are covered at the end of this post.

Preprimary End-of-Year Highlights

Family Picnic

“Our students also made invitation cards to invite their parents to a preschool picnic that was our first school in-person event,” said Song Laoshi.

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“They also grew beanstalks,” said Song Laoshi: “First, they put a paper towel into a clear cup. Then, they placed a few of the dried beans and push them down the edges of the cup. Finally, they poured the water to moisten the paper towel. Our students enjoyed watering their seeds with a teapot, which is also great for fine motor practice. This science experience allows our students to observe the changes in plant growth over time.

Primary End-of-Year Highlights

Homemade Dog Treats for Happy Tails Pet Resort

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Patterson Park Cleanup by Primary Students

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“The children enjoyed their efforts and are excited to do it again soon,” said Mrs. Waldron.

Teddy Bear Picnic and Lots of Other Last Week Activities

We made our traditional class t-shirts (marbled), had a drama/improv class with Mr. Waldron, met Captain Tim Frush from Living Classrooms, and had a teddy bear picnic,” said Mrs. Waldron. Awwwwww!

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They also did a play!

Elementary and Middle School End-of-Year Activities

Walking Tour of Historic Fell’s Point 

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Fantastic Field Day

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TNCS Visits B’More Licks

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Whole-School Efforts

123 Andrés Concert

Students even made posters for this first-of-its-kind event! (More on this to come!)

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Trex Was Also a Huge Success This Year!

Top 10 list of highest recycling families:
Last Name of Student or Staff Member / Total weight (lbs)
Antelo 120.4875!!
Davino 38.30601
Grewal 36.35
Horvath 32.3
Uradomo/Gurman 18.27375
Odabashian 16.725
Casanova/Shah 15.775
Maxson 15
Mallinson 14.9
Pulford 14.25

What a year! What a fantastic year!

TNCS Bids Fond Farewell to the Class of 2021!

As of Wednesday, June 9, 2021, The New Century School has graduated its third class of 8th-graders!

The graduation ceremony was moving and beautiful and took place under a tent on the playground. In addition, TNCS celebrated the Moving Up ceremony for 5th-graders, who are officially now done with elementary school and ready for Middle School in September. Our four graduates, meanwhile, are headed for Friends School of Baltimore, Baltimore City College, and Cristo Rey High School. The TNCS community could not be happier for them as they embark on this chapter of their lives . . . and no more proud of these four wonderful, talented, kind human beings.

The event included good luck messages from all divisions, speeches from the students themselves, a lovely speech from Señora Duncan, and even a Tribute to our dear Head of School, who is stepping down after 3 years of superb leadership.

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All in all, it was a lovely way to close out a simply amazing school year.

TNCS Elementary and Middle Students Perform Standup Comedy for Theatre Class!

In late 2020, theatre teacher Alex Hewett returned to The New Century School, much to the TNCS community’s collective delight. Ms. Hewett has been with TNCS in various capacities since 2013. (Read Embrace the Bard from 2019, A Week of Wonder from 2016, Theatre Workshop and Drama Camp from 2014, and Summertime Theatrics from 2013.)

Here, we give you Immersed’s latest conversation with this artist, activist, and all-around wonderful human being just before her culminating project with her elementary and middle school students was about to begin.

Immersed: Since the last time we sat down for an interview, a lot in your professional life has probably changed.
AH: Yes! Currently, I teach a class at Johns Hopkins that I’ve developed on creativity inspired by The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I took a workshop with her a few years ago, and it changed my life, so I’ve incorporated some of her teaching. Each unit is different, from visual arts to music to writing and then performance. And in the past year the class was looking at how do you overcome trauma using creativity so that that’s how the class was structured. I have also produced a storytelling show called “Mortified*” for the past 6 years or so. We were not having live shows last year, although we did a few zoom shows to raise money for the Creative Alliance. In this show, adults share their childhood diaries, love letters, poetry—things they created as kids. So we look at the submissions and curate them, and then they share these things on stage. And it’s funny because at the time they were writing they never think they’re going to share it with anyone so it’s messy and hysterical and ultimately very cathartic. I’m also getting an MFA in creative writing and publishing arts at the University of Baltimore.
Immersed: Are you still doing anything with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company?
AH: I am not actively teaching classes with CSC now but have been involved with their Veterans ensemble.
Immersed: When did you actually come back into the school?
AH: I started teaching in person about 2 months ago and virtually in November.
Immersed: Teaching theatre virtually—was that difficult?
AH: I was working with an acting teacher taking classes as a student myself all last year, and I learned that there’s so much you can do to create some of the intimacy of being on stage through zoom. That really helped me. I also usually don’t teach as young as kindergartners, but I have lots of puppets so with them we were able to move around a lot and keep the younger students engaged. It helped keep them going because they spend so much time on the screen, so much of my class was up and active. It was interesting because they would listen more to the puppets than to me!
Immersed: That sounds wonderful (and funny!). So how was physical reentry for you and when are you here?
AH: On Mondays I’m here for the K through 2nd-grade classes and Wednesdays I’m here for 3rd through 8th grades. Also on Mondays the 3rd through 8th grades get an asynchronous assignment from me, and the K through 2nd-graders get one on Tuesdays. The first day back was a bit overwhelming because some students were still at home and some were in the classroom. I talked to my actor friends who also teach theatre to ask how they approach this, because we can’t be together in this space, we can’t hold hands, we can’t see each other’s whole faces. How do we do this? But this collaboration with my peers and a lot of creativity paid off. We started with the kids writing their own stories—kind of creating their own model of who they are. We did scenes from Shakespeare, “Into the Spiderverse,” and “Harry Potter the Musical” to start with material they’d be more familiar with. After that first day, though, it was pretty joyous.
Immersed: Wonderful. And yet it’s difficult to imagine how you pulled it off with students in two very different spaces.
AH: Oh, well, there were challenges. Sometimes they couldn’t hear each other, for example. But we did lot of yoga and movement and breath and meditation. With the younger kids, especially, we played more theater and movement games. Or, I’d read them a story and then have them act out the scenes according to their own interpretations. We’ve also done a lot of improvisation.
Immersed: Tell us a little more about how you created your curriculum.
AH: You know, theatre is fun, and I think the stuff that I’m teaching is fun. I know I was leaving the classroom each day feeling good, and the kids were laughing. I really tried to do things with them that they would enjoy and ask for their feedback. Sometimes I pull stuff from the Kennedy Center or from live theatre performances and have them watch a play or a musical or even some dance. It’s different for each class depending on what we’re doing at the time. I often had to adapt my curriculum in the moment, so that was stressful in a fun way. I also feel like I’m on stage all the time and, like,
‘Oh no, what am I not getting through to them?’ Because I ultimately just want them to believe in themselves. Theatre does that. So it has definitely been exciting and a creative challenge, but I’m up for that!
Immersed: If we know anything about you, it’s that you are certainly up for creative challenges! And now here we are at the end of the year! What are students presenting for you today?
AH: Well, I knew we couldn’t pull off a traditional play, but I thought, why not do some standup? The past year has been really difficult; let’s end with a laugh! I interviewed a few of my friends who are professional comedians, and I presented the interviews to the kids as their asynchronous assignments to familiarize them with how to craft standup. Unfortunately, standup is usually geared toward adults and not appropriate for kids, so I had to be very careful. But, basically, kids are the funniest creatures in the world, so it’s not that hard to access the funny. I think the biggest part of it is getting over the fear of being by yourself up on stage with a microphone. The microphone makes it so much more real.
Immersed: So what kinds of things did you teach them to “access their funny”?
AH: In crafting comedy, you look at the things that are the most difficult in your life . . . things that bother you, things you want to change, the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. We’re seeing more of that sort of comedy, and it shows that everyone has problems.
Immersed: And through comedy, we can start to come to terms with them.
AH: Exactly. Everyone’s life has been affected this past year, so how can we reflect and talk about it? As you’re talking about the things that bother you the most, everyone’s going to connect maybe not on the exact same things, but it’s that you’re honest and you’re respected for being up there. That takes a lot of courage, so I really tried to stress that we must be supportive of each other, and we’ve been working on helping each other with crafting our pieces. Everyone gave a pitch of what they want to talk about, and we provided feedback about what was funny, what we liked, or how to use your body your body language to tell the story more effectively. So that’s we’ve been working on, and everyone is going to come up on stage for 2 minutes and do their thing!

“I ultimately just want them to believe in themselves. Theatre does that.”–Alex Hewett

Without further ado, we give you the TNCS Comedy Troupe! We even have a recording from a student who was virtual the day of the presentations (and she slays!).

“The microphone makes it so much more real.”

 

*Read more about “Mortified” in this great writeup!

TNCS-Curated Academic Resources for Summer 2021!

Each year at The New Century School, teachers offer resources to families to help prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon that can happen to kids over summer break when they might be less academically engaged than during the school year and lose scholastic ground as a consequence. Although this problem disproportionately affects underserved communities, it is nevertheless felt to a certain degree across the board, as teachers find themselves re-teaching concepts that were learned the previous year and then forgotten. Some research has shown that students can lose as much as 3 months of reading and math achievement over the course of just one summer. (See Making Summer Count for more details on relevant studies.)

To negate this effect, here are this year’s recommended resources in core subjects. (Look for your child’s division within some subjects.)

English Language Arts

For elementary and middle school students, ELA teacher Jalynn Harris assigned a mandatory novel and a secondary novel (middle school students) and gave Summer Writing Prompts to encourage a minimum of 30 minutes of writing twice a week. Grammar Review and keeping a Reading Log are also encouraged.

Mandatory Middle School Novel: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Secondary Middle School Novel: Choose from the list below or from your own library.

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  • Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Finally, i-Ready, TNCS’s online reading and vocabulary program, will be available all summer. Students should complete a minimum of 30 minutes of i-Ready lessons per week.

Math

In addition to making practice workbooks available for purchase to elementary and middle school, math teacher Nameeta Sharma recommends these sites:

  1. iReady math is available to students over summer. Please encourage your child to do  iReady lessons at least an hour per week. This will help them stay on level, especially since they will have the first math diagnostic test in fall for the next school year.
  2. Khan academy. – Please remind students to use the school gmail account to log in so as to save their progress.
  3. Free printable math worksheets are available at these sites too:

Mandarin Chinese

“Wow, what a year!” said Li Laoshi. “To better state that what a complicated but great year!” Please see the following information and resources that will help your child can review and maintain their Chinese proficiency during the summer holiday. 

Websites

  • Duolingo
    • Target Age: 1st–8th grades
    • Target Level: Beginner and up
  • Hello-World
    • Target Age: 1st–3rd grades
    • Target Level: Beginner
  • Epic
    • Target Age: 1st–8th grades
    • Target Level: Beginner and up

Books

  • Better Chinese, Volumes 1–4
    • Target Age: 1st–8th grades
    • Target Level: Beginner and up

Global Studies and Science

Mr. Brosius offered the following optional summer activities with detailed instructions for Global Studies and Science extended projects.
The Summer Road Trip was primarily designed to be a global studies assignment, but does touch on a few science themes. The Time Lapse was primarily designed to be a science assignment, but can be adapted for various uses.
Also, check out citizen science projects in the United States!

Spanish

For 3rd- to 8th-graders, Sra. Noletto strongly recommends continued exposure to Spanish language during the summer fun days. “The more practice, the easier for them to remember what they learned,” she said.

Collection of Spanish Books

  1. Go to https://www.getepic.com/students
  2. Enter class code gun8437
  3. Select your child name
  4. Check his/her mailbox
  5. Enjoy!

Practice Reading Skills: Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grades:

  1. EL Mono Silabo has a complete collection of educational videos of the Spanish “Silabas” to teach and practice reading in Spanish for emerging readers. Kindergarten students already have practiced reading skills using this educational resource. Ask your children to tell you what sounds “Silabas” they remember from classes and then watch the corresponding chapter from EL Mono Silabo.

  1. 123 Andrés has a complete collection of educational videos for every letter of the Spanish alphabet (samples shown below, but there are 24 more!).

3. If you want to make a good investment, You can pair the experience educational videos of El Mono-Silabo with the collection of books made by Scholastic of 36 different books, one for each silaba. Or you can buy just a few depending on the level of engagement of your student.

4. If your student hasn’t finished the entire book of “Silabas” called “El Silabario,” you can find this interactive book at the summer resources folder from the Google Classroom along with other printable materials ideal for summer reading.

Apps and Websites

  • Spanishdict.com: The students are familiar with this app, and my classrooms are linked to it. It has grammar lessons, conjugations, vocabulary, conversations, videos, quizzes, and assessments that the students like to practice with.
    • Target Age: Elementary school and up
    • Target Level: Beginner and up
  • Conjuguemos: This website is packed with Spanish learning games that your student can use to practice verb conjugations, new vocabulary, and tricky grammar rules like “por versus para.” It is easy to navigate and helps students retain what they learn by reviewing their mistakes and providing explanations for the correct answers. For students looking for additional instruction, Conjuguemos also provides a reference section with clear, straightforward explanations of Spanish verb tenses and how they function.
    • Target Age: Elementary school and up
    • Target Level: Beginner and up
  • Duolingo: This gamified language-learning app can help your student learn Spanish on-the-go through short, daily practice sessions. Duolingo is based on a communicative model of language teaching, so it focuses on getting your child to use Spanish from the start and skips the long, technical grammar lessons.
    • Target Age: Middle school and up
    • Target Level: Beginner and up
  • Mango Languages: This popular language-learning program is available for free through many public libraries. Through its innovative multimedia platform, it helps students build proficiency in reading, writing, listening and even speaking in Spanish.
    • Target Age: Middle School and up
    • Target Level: Beginner and up
  • Spanish Playground: This is an amazing resource for parents who want to help their children learn Spanish through fun, hands-on activities! You can search through their activities by age, theme, or type (e.g., curricula versus music), so there’s something for everyone.
    • Target Age: Preschool and up
    • Target Level: Beginner and up
  • Spanish con salsa: Originally developed as a television series to teach Spanish to young children, Salsa Spanish is now available online, with free activities designed to accompany its 42 video lessons. The 15-minute videos are similar to Sesame Street and focus on a single Spanish concept—like food vocabulary or colors. The dialogue is easy to understand, so it’s appropriate for students who are just starting to learn Spanish, although true beginners might benefit from some additional parental support.
    • Target Age: Preschool through Elementary
    • Target Level: Beginner (best with some prior exposure to Spanish)
  • FluentU Spanish: Language teachers often tell their students to watch television in Spanish to further improve their listening and speaking skills. While this is a great suggestion; sometimes what students like is too challenging for them, not challenging enough, or even terribly scripted because of the direct translation. This is what makes FluentU Spanish a unique app for all Spanish students. First, browse through their library of multimedia content ranging from Spanish music videos, world-issue related interviews, and sporting events. While watching the video, users can click on any word in the script to read the definition before continuing. What’s even cooler is you can save these words and add them to a reference list which FluentU allows users to save and go through any time afterward. The app goes even further to suggest videos and other media content featuring those specific words.
  • Think Bilingual!: The basis of this game-based educational app is for Spanish students to not only memorize new words; but also act them out. Listening and doing is Think Bilingual’s way of teaching. Students will be introduced to two aliens who they will have to guide through everyday situations from cleaning, cooking, and driving on different levels. Before the start of each new level, a vocabulary list is shown so students can have a look and study. Once ready, students have to write out the words correlating to the actions the aliens must do to continue onto the next level.
  • Memrise: Like its name, Memrise, uses the technique of memorization and repetition for users to reach their next level language skills. Before each level’s test; users can listen to words and see how its spelled. Right under the word there’s also attributes to the word such as the phonetics and seeing how to pronounce it correctly. Each level is categorized by different subjects; greetings, cooking, directions etc.
  • Mosalingua: Mosalingua knows that motivation is the key to learning another language, therefore the app combines both motivation and repetition so learners don’t quickly forget everything they learn. Rather than quickly forgetting all that new information, Mosalingua builds new exercises that are repeated but simply delivered in different ways so users continue to be motivated and absorb all there is to know about Spanish.

Books

Kindergarten:

Beginner:

Intermediate:

Advanced:

Spanish Songs Playlist

You can also make a Spotify or Apple iTunes playlist with the most popular songs that we sang during the school year by these popular children’s groups:

  1. Una idea tengo yo, 123 Andrés
  2. La semilla, 123 Andrés
  3. El baile de la fruta, de Pica Pica
  4. El Baile de los Animales
  5. Chocolate de Jose Orozco
  6. El Pirata Benjamin, 123 Andrés
  7. Salta, Salta 123 Andrés
  8. Buenos Días, Jose Orozco
  9. Vamos a contar mentiras de Enrique y Ana
  10.  De Colores, 123 Andrés
  11. Un elefante, 123 Andrés
  12. El Girasol, 123 Andrés
  13.  Soy una serpiente
  14. Hola amigo, 123 Andrés
  15.  El Pirata capirote de Juana la Iguana

Whatever activities and summer fun your child has planned this summer, make time for reading, writing, speaking, and tinkering!

Talking the Talk: Benefits of Multilingual Education at TNCS!

Ever wondered about the potential benefits your child could gain from a multilingual school? The list of benefits is impressive!

Your child’s education is one of your top priorities. You want them to have every possible advantage for a happy, healthy, and prosperous future.

Our children are growing up in an increasingly multilingual society. Studies show that children who have exposure to languages at an early age have an academic advantage

Choosing a school that offers multilingual opportunities for students provides many benefits for your child. And these benefits go far beyond the ability to adapt within a different country or culture.

Here are some of the foremost benefits of multilingual education.

Facilitates Cognitive Development

Children who learn more than one language as they grow up can benefit cognitively. For example, children exposed to language education perform better in pattern recognition, problem-solving, and creative thinking tasks.

Young learners have the ability to soak in new concepts, which makes early childhood an ideal time to begin multilingual education. Plus, learning another language is fun for children.

It helps them develop greater linguistic awareness and a deeper understanding of their primary language as well.

Boosts Academic Achievement

Exposure to more than one language provides an academic advantage for children as they get older. In addition, multilingual education challenges them to communicate and find meaning in multiple languages.

This gives students an edge in communication skills, social interaction, and understanding of complex ideas. However, some educators believe students should master their primary language before learning another.

But children have the unique capacity to learn more than one language simultaneously. As a result, children who understand and can communicate in more than one language have a distinct academic advantage over their monolingual peers.

Furthers Career Possibilities

In an interconnected global economy, a multilingual education can be a huge asset. As a result, many employers look for multilingual candidates who can communicate with business leaders and customers worldwide.

Within global companies, multilingual employees are highly valued. Starting your child off at a young age with a quality multilingual education can lead to a solid career and income potential in the future. 

Multilingual adults are more sensitive to cultural differences and are comfortable interacting with diverse populations. All of this makes multilingual employees an asset for any globally focused business.

Promotes Brain Health

Multilingual education increases cognitive function and enhances brain health. Although learning another language isn’t a miracle cure, research suggests improving memory and delaying dementia in some older adults.

People who think and speak in more than one language switch back and forth between languages on an ongoing basis. This is an effective exercise for the brain.

It’s best to begin multilingual education at a young age. However, it’s never too late to learn a new language. Learning a new language at any age is beneficial for cognition and brain health.

Expands Educational Opportunities

Multilingual students are also multi-literate. This provides a firm foundation for academic achievement and expanded educational opportunities.

A multilingual child may have more options for higher education and more opportunities to go to their college of choice. In addition, they may find more opportunities to study abroad or participate in exchange programs.

Multilingual students benefit from opportunities to immerse themselves in another language and culture. All of these opportunities can help to guide or enhance their future career paths. 

Broadens Cultural Exposure

As children participate in independent school multilingual education, they don’t just learn new words. They learn about history, geography, and other world cultures.

Students engage in language through songs, stories, play, and art in multilingual education. As students are immersed in print, sound, and play, they absorb language. In addition, they develop a deep appreciation for other ethnicities and nationalities.

You want your children to thrive and value others as they grow. In an ever-changing world, children who can communicate within various cultures may have an advantage over those who cannot.

Multilingual education provides so many opportunities for students to grow in their knowledge of languages, other cultures, and the beauty of a diverse world.

Cultivates Collaboration

Learning to work well with others is an important skill for any child. In addition, dual language programs offer students a broader world view.

They encourage communication and working within diverse groups. Multilingual education programs allow students to work together, learn from each other, and appreciate diverse viewpoints.

Students in quality multilingual programs learn to appreciate cultural differences and the value of the individual. This leads to enhanced social and communication skills.

These ideas help students become better collaborative learners as they learn about other cultures and value systems.

Enhances Lifelong Learning

Students who begin multilingual learning at an early age benefit in so many ways. But students of any age benefit from learning another language. 

Students learn the value of learning something beyond the traditional curriculum, enhancing their learning potential for life. In addition, studies suggest multilingual or bilingual capabilities can improve brain health and slow the aging process of the brain.

Young children can absorb new language and concepts easier than adolescents or adults.  These benefits enhance a child’s potential for success in school and for learning throughout their lives.

Amazing Benefits of Multilingual Education

As a parent, you have many things to consider when choosing the best private education for your child’s needs. However, as you make this important decision, don’t overlook the value of multilingual education.

Choose a school that values global awareness, critical thinking, and language learning. We would love to talk with you about your child and all that The New Century School has to offer. 

Contact us to learn more.