For the Grade 8 interdisciplinary milestone project, students are currently analyzing the effectiveness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) through a careful examination of human rights violations that have occurred since this document was adopted.
This study began by examining World War II through the lens of human rights violations, looking at both the Holocaust via Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl and human rights issues related to the internment of American citizens of Japanese, German, and Italian descent as well as the lasting impact of the decision to drop the atomic bomb. Students then selected an individual topic to study in greater depth, such as red-lining, transgender rights, human rights issues in North Korea, and the US prison system. Using a memoir related to this issue as well as research, students selected four articles from the UDHR that have been violated and wrote an analytic research essay.
Based on this work, students will be creating artwork, in the style of a 20th Century artist, that depicts an aspect of their selected human rights issue and will also be writing a proposal for a new agreement aimed at protecting human rights that addresses the shortcomings of the UDHR. Through this project, students demonstrate their ability to transfer information and skills between the disciplines of Language and Literature (English) and Individuals and Societies (History), which supports the development of their critical thinking and provides vital skills for their success in high school, as they tackle more challenging material.
My son is a Sixth Grader at All Saints Episcopal Day School, and I am writing to highlight the school’s recent authorization as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme World School. It’s an incredible accomplishment within this community.
IB is an internationally recognized program of study that is offered by elite schools around the world. The program emphasizes intellectual challenge and develops creative, critical, and reflective thinkers. Research has shown that students in an IB Middle Years Programme outperform non-IB students in crucial academic skills.
As a former IB student, I can certainly attest to its academic rigor — and I am thrilled to have my son immersed in such a program. I feel it’s important that other families in Hoboken realize this academic gem within our Mile Square City.
I asked my son recently what he thought of the IB program. He said there is a lot of homework, but he is learning by doing and really likes it. He noted that teachers use hands-on activities to help him connect what he’s learning in the classroom to the larger world. As a parent, that is wonderful to hear. I can tell that my son is engaged and building confidence through the IB program.
I have no doubt that the IB Middle Years Programme at All Saints is preparing my son for high school and beyond. Imagine this: every day after school my son comes home and works quietly at the dinner table until his assignments are done. All Saints has taught him to take responsibility of his own education. We’ve never had to nag him about doing homework, not once. He manages his own learning. That’s amazing, if you ask me.
Every year in Spanish class, we celebrate the language by having a Tongue Twister Day. Students in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade participate. This year we expanded the celebration by producing a Flipbook with several videos to share with the entire school and parents.
It was important to connect Tongue Twister Day with the Reading Olympics to encourage reading in different languages. This is a fun activity that helps students develop their accents, build on their vocabulary, reading, and speaking skills.
Tongue Twister Day wasn't just for Spanish classes - we collaborated with the French and Latin teachers to create a schoolwide event. Tongue twisters are challenging at first, but students enjoy watching the videos they created to see their improvement each time they attempt the tongue twister!
Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, written while its teenage author spent more than two years hiding from the Nazis along with her family and four others, has always been one of the most resonant and vivid testimonies to humanity’s resilience. However, the text takes on a more heightened significance one year into a deadly pandemic that will undoubtedly stand as one of the most traumatic historical events of any of our lives. All Saints' current Eighth Grade class is uniquely positioned to encounter this timeless book, written eighty years ago by a girl about their age, experiencing the same changes and discoveries, and living, as they are now, through an unsettled and dangerous time (albeit one that makes our current situation look like nothing more than a trifle).
Reading Anne Frank’s diary in 2021 grants this year’s Eighth Grader students a unique perspective on the events of the past year. All of them, much like the rest of us, have had to make sacrifices: staying indoors for long stretches of time, postponing visits to family and celebrations, making do with a life that feels disrupted and very different than what they were once used to.
Taking a glimpse into Anne’s mindset as she makes much deeper sacrifices, under fear of arrest and death, made for an important piece of historical context. After reading passages of the diary, students were asked to write journal entries of their own determining which personal possessions they would take with them if forced to go into hiding in a secret annex. Students came to understand the gravity of the situation Anne faced, and in doing so recognize how many things they have to be thankful for. At the same time, they also realized the challenges faced by those who came before them and the power of the human spirit.
This year's Virtual Spring Auction is not your average Zoom meeting - it will be an evening of interactive fun for the entire family! Students will be engaged in Fun Day @ Night, entertained by a magician and an escape room experience. Parents will be socializing with each other at the auction, making cocktails with a mixologist from Birds & Bees Bar, playing bingo with Harmonica Sunbeam, and posing for pics in the digital photo booth! Adding to the excitement is a variety of items up for bid - vacations homes, unique experiences with teachers, dining, shopping, and so much more! Make sure to purchase your tickets today!
Every winter, the All Saints dedicates six weeks to the Reading Olympics. This reading campaign signifies to students the importance or reading and is designed to support growth in reading at all levels. Students are encouraged to read whatever interests them- fiction, non-fiction, comics, mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction. The goal is to get everyone reading and challenge themselves!
All students participate in the school-wide read; this year The Tale of Despereaux was chosen; participate in a read-a-thon, invite guest readers to class, and several other reading-related activities. In addition, all students are challenged to read daily to meet the goal of earning a gold, silver, or bronze medal. Students may read, be read to by parents and other family members, as well as complete reading-related assignments. The amount of minutes spent reading by the class as a whole is recorded and displayed throughout the campaign.
Each class celebrates the completion of Reading Olympics in its own way. Early Childhood students invite family members to a ceremony (this year will be done via Zoom, of course!) at which they are awarded their medals, share their favorite books, and sing a song. Older students participate in a raffle (students are challenged to read from a different genre each week and earn a raffle ticket); the winner receives a book aligning with their reading interests. The annual Reading Olympics fosters a connection to reading, which we hope will last throughout their lives.
First Grade scientists are naturally curious and enjoy hands-on investigations. Our Mystery Science lessons encourage students to use their curiosity as they explore given topics. During the first trimester, students focused on the sun, moon and stars. When answering the question “Could a statue’s shadow move?” they considered the pattern of the sun’s movement across the sky in relation to the movement of shadows throughout the day. First Grade scientists also learned how the sun and stars can help you if you are lost. To conclude our space unit, each student made models, posters, and trivia games about the solar system and presented their projects to the class.
During the second trimester, students have been focusing on properties of light and sound. They learned that sounds are caused by vibrations and tried to make their own silly sounds using household materials. Students were challenged to send a secret message to someone across the room without making any sound. They discovered that they could create a secret code with their partner and use light signals to convey their message.
As they prepare for our Open Science Morning at the end of February, students will use the design process to “think like scientists.” First students will identify a problem that has meaning to them & build or design a full or partial prototype to solve the problem. These problems should be local to Hoboken, school, or home. The problem’s solution should answer the question, “What can we improve?” We look forward to seeing what they come up with! Ideas in the past have included flying cars to combat traffic, various inventions that collect trash from the streets and water, and creations that provide food and shelter to animals in winter.
Fifth Grade students spend the year studying the human-animal bond in their Essential Questions class. Students carefully investigate all aspects of this special bond and work with partners to interview community members who benefit from it.
This year, students are hard at work investigating the benefits of pandemic pets. They learned that a positive outcome of this pandemic is that animal shelters have had a high rate of adoption. Students are interviewing individuals who brought a pet into their home during the pandemic and are writing a special chapbook about their subject. The Fifth Grade looks forward to sharing these stories at the end of the year celebration, the Brad Ost Memorial Blessing of the Animals.
Hybrid learning and the safety protocols for in-person learning have made teamwork challenging this year. In Second Grade students spend significant time developing their coding skills. Often students rely on each other to learn coding through guided discovery of DOT and DASH robots. This allows students to prepare for the coding involved with completing a Makey Makey project for the Reading Olympics Reader’s Theater interactive Cat in the Hat Museum.
This year, students have demonstrated stronger coding skills than any previous year. By dividing the class and allowing each group one week to work in Kodable and one week to work on challenges with the DOT robot, students have had even more time for guided discovery. Without a partner to “lean on,” students were able to rise to the challenge and work through each coding opportunity presented.
In addition, the class is exploring conductive materials, which they will apply to the the Cat in the Hat characters they build. They will use scratch technology and a Makey Makey board to code their statue to talk!
We are proud of how hard the Second Grade students are working and how flexible they have been during this very different, and definitely memorable, school year.
In a school year filled with more twists, turns, and uncertainty than ever before, we constantly find ourselves facing new challenges. But rather than seeing every challenge as an inconvenience, they are met as opportunities to chart a new course and embark on adventures unknown. One such challenge could be found in the Sixth Grade Design.
Implementing the design process has been a part of the All Saints curriculum, but now as an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme, we are more intentional about Design Thinking. The Design Process asks us not only to be creative with our ideas, but also reflective about our process and be confident that failure leads to meaningful learning and innovation.
Noah Guzman who taught the Sixth Grade Design class in the fall quickly discovered that the Design Process was not only something he was already familiar with, but he engaged in it on a daily basis in both his personal and professional life. “As both an artist and a teacher I had been using the Design Process for many years. I easily established correlations between Design and the other classes I taught as well as finding ways to easily integrate Design Thinking into my Creative Writing and Ethics classrooms.” Students have embraced the Design Process and even teach our teachers through their exploration and ideas!
Amina O'Kane, Director of Admissions and High School Placement
All Saints Episcopal Day School is a diverse community committed to academic excellence and social responsibility for students from Nursery to Grade 8. We are pleased to extend the standard application deadline to January 25, 2021.
As students progress through All Saints their knowledge of and skill in portraiture art expand. Beginning in Kindergarten, students study the Cubist style, learning about the work of Picasso and use basic shapes to create faces. One year later, as First Graders, they learn proportion and create more realistic self-portraits inspired by Illuminations and the contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley.
Faces are expressive and, in Second Grade, students create portraits of themselves using facial features to show feelings, in the vein of Kaethe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, and Judy Chicago. Sculptural faces are explored in Third Grade when students build armatures and model magic Shakespeare characters in honor of their Bard Bash. The gain inspiration from sculptures by Artis Lane, Duane Hansen, and George Segal.
Fourth Grade students are introduced to several new artists, including Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, and Tawny Chatmon, and their unique styles. This year begins more independent research into artists and exploring greater detail and symbolism in the artists’ work – and the students may choose to work in a style that best suits their personality. The work of all our student artist are on display throughout the year – this year, during several virtual events!
Amina O'Kane, Director of Admissions and High School Placement
We are excited to invite prospective families to a Virtual Q&A on Tuesday, December 15 at 6:30pm. Join us for this evening opportunity to engage with our Head of School, students, alumni, parents, and teachers.
Fifth Grade students recently completed a unit on matter, during which they explored different materials and their properties. After being introduced to the periodic table of elements, the students selected an element to create their own personal superhero or villain. Since every element has unique physical and chemical properties, the Fifth Graders used their imaginations and wrote a profile of their character. The students shared the powers of their superheroes and villains with the class – accompanied by a portrait. Interdisciplinary projects like this help reinforce lessons learned, while also allowing students to nurture their creativity.
Sixth Grade students recently finished their study of early civilizations of the Americas. The unit culminated in the Mesoamerican 3D Box Project. Each student incorporated three-dimensional hieroglyphics, original artwork, and details about the era in their boxes. They also shared interesting facts discovered while researching the topic.
Adapting to the challenges of hybrid learning and COVID safety measures, Sixth Graders assembled their projects in small groups (via Zoom breakout rooms). During their virtual presentations, students were able to travel back in time to get a feel for what life may have been like in these the early civilizations.
In her third year at All Saints, Alex Schmidt, our Academic Enrichment Teacher, works with students in Kindergarten through Grade 8, providing them with added resources to support their learning. Partnering with classroom teachers, Ms. Schmidt develops individualized plans to reinforce lessons and introduce more challenging topics.
Ms. Schmidt teaches students in small groups and one-on-one, in addition to entire classes. Academic Enrichment is a unique position and Ms. Schmidt feels honored to watch students progress not only academically, but also as they mature into young adults over the years.
Ms. Schmidt shared, “As an educator and member of this amazing community, I hope to instill in students how wonderful it can be to continue exploring and learning, even after they graduate!”
Every fall, Third Grade students try to solve environmental issues facing the community. Using the design process, the students explored eco problems and experimented to find unique solutions. While some aspects of the unit needed to be altered this year, such as working individually instead of in small groups, the students were engaged and the lessons learned remained the same.
During Open Science Morning, the students shared their recommendations for reducing litter and air and water pollution. They demonstrated their thoughtfulness and creativity, while parents watched the presentations virtually.
World Languages are an important component of the All Saints curriculum and are incorporated at all grade levels: students in Nursery – Grade 4 take Spanish; Middle School students choose between continuing Spanish or switching to French; and all students in Grades 7 and 8 also study Latin.
Nursery and Pre-K students who participate in our Extended Day program are also introduced to French. Through play and imagination, the children interact with new, French-speaking “friends,” learn about their lives and build relationships. Simultaneously, the students begin to acquire French naturally with joy and purpose. They understand that by learning French, they are able to strengthen the bond with their new friends – Monsieur Boulanger, the Parisian baker; Madame Martinique, who sells flowers at the market; Frere Jacques, who needs to be woken up to ring the bells at Notre Dame; and Violette, a young girl, who rides her bike around Paris, giving the students a tour of her beautiful city and all the fun to be had there. This continues with a trip around France, taking the TGV trains to go skiing in the Alps, and to Normandy to enjoy a wonderful picnic at Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny and paint flowers in his Impressionism style.
The goal in these early years is for the students to become more confident and excited to use the language when meeting new people and encountering new experiences in a French-speaking country. Embracing that which may be unfamiliar is a theme that runs through the entire French curriculum.