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!

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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.

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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!

TNCS Spanish Immersion Camp 2018 Features Talented Guest Instructor from Spain!

Even after the official school year ends, summertime at The New Century School is no less full of wonderful adventures in the Arts; physical activity; and, especially, language-learning. TNCS has run summer day camps for several years and has hands-down the most diverse line-up of camps available in Baltimore for 2018.

Among the most popular TNCS summer camps are the Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language immersion camps. TNCS specializes in language-learning during the school year, but immersive camps are the best way to preempt the diminution of knowledge and skills that can happen over summer (known as “summer slide”) by providing a fun, engaging environment to practice in. Moreover, the cultural themes and activities explored during camps—like cooking, game-playing, singing, and dancing—boost and round out that knowledge, making it more meaningful and whole by connecting it to real life and real people.

In addition to being great opportunities not found elsewhere in Baltimore, they’re also just plain fun!

And, this year’s 2-week Spanish camp promises to be even more extra special, as TNCS welcomes Begoña Tocino Bredberg as guest instructor, all the way from Gävle, Sweden (although she is a native of Avilés, Spain). She comes to TNCS thanks to her relationship with Admissions Director Dominique Sanchies, who has worked with Sra. Bredberg through the education tour company Education First (EF). With EF, Sra. Bredberg has accompanied Spanish students to the United Stated to practice English, and she has stayed in close contact with Mrs. Sanchies ever since.

Meet Begoña Tocino Bredberg!

Living in Sweden, Sra. Bredberg has “[become] a la10402881_10204140141889513_8716699874326478148_n.jpgnguage learner again,” she says. “I have developed a better understanding of what it means learning to speak a new language. It is by being on both sides how a teacher develops their best teaching. My belief is that a teacher’s focus should be on the learning, i.e. how the learner learns. By doing this, the teaching will achieve the best results. Last but not least, it is communication that helps a better understanding, in all layers of work or life itself,” she explained.

She currently teaches English and Spanish language courses at the Swedish high school Vallbacksskolan and was at Murgårdsskolan 7-9 before that (in addition to having taught in the United Kingdom as well as Spain). When she first arrived in Sweden, her first teaching position was at the Internationella Engelska Skolan which is part of a network of bilingual schools created by American teacher Barbara Bergström. Sra. Bredberg also writes Teaching & Learning English—Enseñar y Apprender Español, a blog about language-learning that includes tons of helpful resources.

She comes to TNCS having just completed the Transatlantic Educator’s Dialogue program at the University of Illinois, a program “for educators in the United States of America and the European Union to come together online for shared exploration and examination of a variety of educational topics, such as immigration, religion in education, active teaching methods and issues related to identity and difference. TED represents a unique experience in educational diplomacy and facilitates the exploration of new and diverse cultures. It is also a fantastic chance to build networks with European colleagues and foster global learning opportunities.”

The program coordinator, Jeremie Smith, had this to say of Sra. Bredberg: “Begoña Tocino Bredberg is a passionate educator that has dedicated her life to helping young people develop language skills and knowledge essential to living in a global society.”

Additional high praise comes from some of her former students, who credit her with “making them smart,” “making them smile,” and “making them do their homework”!

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Even with all of her experience and credentials, you’ll get the best impression of Sra. Bredberg from this salutation she wrote to her soon-to-be TNCS campers:

Hola, chicos y chicas!
My name is Begoña Tocino Bredberg, and I will be sharing a summer camp week with you full of exciting activities, where you will be able to practice Spanish with me. You will learn more about my country as well as what kids of your age do to enjoy themselves. I come from the north of Spain, but I lived in Madrid for many years. Now I live in Gävle, a medium-sized town in Sweden, the north of Europe. I live with my 15-year-old daughter and my Swedish husband. Naturally, we like to go to Spain in the summer. Here in Gävle, I teach Spanish to students who, like you, want to be able to communicate in Spanish with other kids and learn more about Spanish-speaking countries.

I like teaching and interacting with young kids. I’m enthusiastic, flexible, out-going, curious, and friendly. I like reading and traveling, and my favorite sport is swimming.

I truly look forward to learning many things from you.

Ready to register your chicos y chicas? It’s easy—simply click here to be taken to TNCS’s camp registration page and ensure that your kids will make the most of summer 2018!

¡Hasta el verano!

TNCS Chinese Immersion Summer Camp 2017!

tncs-chinese-immersion-summer-camp-2017Over 2 weeks in July, The New Century School hosted a Mandarin Chinese Immersion summer camp that not only boosted participants’ language acquisition and speaking skills, but also emphasized the importance of having fun while learning. Xie Laoshi (a.k.a., Jewel) believes that young learners will gain fluency faster when they are doing something while learning a new language, rather than focusing just on the language itself. Thus, camp was built around activities, and specific lessons in vocabulary and grammar related to those activities.

Jewel has a lot of experience in teaching Mandarin summer camps for children. She taught Startalk camp at TNCS in summer 2014 and again in summer 2015 as well as developed her own camp last year. She employs the 5 Cs of language acquisition developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) that TNCS has been using all along in its multilingual language program curriculum. Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities inform every language-learning activity the day holds. The most effective language program designs activities in which these five concepts intersect, which is exactly what Chinese Immersion Camp achieves, as photos throughout this post eloquently demonstrate.

This year, Jewel was joined by assistants Monica Li and Maggie Tao and 15-year-old volunteer Dylan Wang. Each week had a unique focus.

During week 1, campers “去中国旅游 Visit China,” in which a group of friends sign up for a trip to China. Students first decided the city that they want to travel to and then researched basic information about the city: the price of tickets, the weather, the transportation, the hotel, and the attractions in the city. Their learning objectives, which were differentiated based on the student’s current skill level) included:

  • Purchasing tickets
  • Making a hotel reservation
  • Developing itineraries
  • Conversing with taxi drivers
  • Creating a passport

tncs-chinese-immersion-summer-camp-2017For week 2, campers paired up and studied Chinese endangered animals. Each pair selected an animal to research, such as both of Chinese and English names, current population, where they live, what they eat, and why they became endangered, and used their findings to make a poster as a culminating project.

They also made papier-mâché masks of their selected animals as well as animals of their choice (or bowls of wontons in a couple of cases) with air-dry clay.

Side activities included lots of cultural activities—origami, singing, dancing, cooking, and eating . . lots of eating including during a Chinese tea and snack session.

Attendees really did learn by doing—another TNCS Chinese program tenet. Plenty of movement and physical activity also took place each day to work off all of that delicious Chinese food they made and consumed!

Their last-day party was also an occasion to be remembered—campers gobbled up take-out Chinese with gusto!

If you notice a bump in your child’s Mandarin skills over the next few weeks, you have the rich cultural experience of TNCS Chinese Immersion Camp 2017 to thank. If you notice a simultaneous craving for green onion pancakes, well, thank Jewel for that, too (and see slide show below for how to make your own—they’re delicious)!

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TNCS Spanish Immersion Summer Camp 2017!

Just as with last summer, The New Century School is hosting language immersion camps in both Spanish and Chinese for summer 2017 to keep students’ minds engaged and provide practice during the summer months. They’ll return to the academic school year refreshed from the break but revved up to hablar!

Spanish camp took place from June 19th through June 30th. The 2-week camp immersed campers in Spanish language—from vocabulary to activities to culture, TNCS Spanish campers improved their pronunciation, willingness to use the language, and confidence in speaking it.

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Camp daily schedule!

This increased skill and fluency can be attributed to the fun students are having both inside and out of the “camp-room.” Instructors Gloria Jimenez (who is originally from Spain and already known to the TNCS community as the assistant Spanish teacher most recently in Sra. Hackshaw’s primary classroom) and Yurisan Gonzales (from the pre-primary Spanish classrooms) make sure of that. Sra. Jimenez says she believes strongly in interactive learning: “For Week 1, we were concentrating on food, so we talk, learn some food-related vocabulary, which is important for the unit, and then we cook!” They also engage in role-playing such as acting out going to a restaurant and interacting with the waitstaff. This is training for real life, she explains.

In between, campers get plenty of opportunities to “vamos” to the playground and get some physical activity in. This is essential for keeping kids happy and focused, especially because the camp roster comprises students of widely varying abilities. Some have never spoken any Spanish, while at the other end of the spectrum, others have been learning Español for 6 or more years. Sra. Jimenez nevertheless finds way to differentiate the lessons and make sure each camper is benefiting. Ages also vary from age 6 years through 9 years.

For just a “taste” of the activities they undertook, see these photos of tortilla-making . . . and eating. Note that in order to prepare this ages-old Spanish recipe that Sra. Jimenez has been making her whole life, campers needed to be able to follow instructions given in Spanish. This is no easy feat but certainly attests to their understanding of the language if the results below are any indication. Sra. Jimenez handled the actual cooking, but her campers took care of all preparations. Also note that tortilla Español is quite different from a Mexican tortilla, as it is made with eggs, onions, and potatoes and resembles an omelette. Delicioso, indeed!

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Another cultural activity Sra. Jimenez introduced her campers to was salsa dancing. She made utterly sure that her campers didn’t have time to feel bored or restless—let alone to realize how much Español they were steadily absorbing! Learning by doing is unquestionably the most effective way to learn a language. Gracias el campamento de inmersión de Español en TNCS*!

*Immersed would like to once again thank former TNCS Pre-primary Spanish Immersion Lead Teacher Raquel Alvarez for translation assistance :)!