Distance Learning Roundup, Part 4

Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

As the end of the school year draws near, students at Gaynor continue to experience days filled with learning, imagination, and talent.

Blue Cluster students in Head Teacher Rebecca Felt’s advisory class discussed the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, on Tuesday in honor of Memorial Day.

WASP was created in 1942 in order to help with a severe pilot shortage. Leaders decided to train women to fly military aircrafts so male pilots could be released for combat duty overseas.

Students in Ms. Felt’s advisory did a reading from NPR and watched a section of a documentary on the group. 

The documentary had interviews with members of WASP talking about their experiences in their youth.  

The advisory also discussed how the women of WASP were not recognized for their military service until 1970, and how they were given Congressional Medals in 2010. 

Murphy Bright ’01 visiting Ms. Tucker’s class

“The content connects with the American History 2 curriculum, since the students are studying World War II,” Ms. Felt said. “The students did a really good job identifying how traditional gender roles were barriers affecting the longevity of the program.”

Students in Green Cluster Head Teacher Alyssa Tucker’s class received a special visit from a guest speaker on Tuesday.

Murphy Bright ‘01, a Gaynor alumnus and Marine, came to speak to the class about the meaning behind Memorial Day and some of the history behind the holiday.

He also helped explain the chain of command from the Executive Branch all the way down to him and his men. 

Yellow Cluster Variety Show

This was an incredible real-world connection that the students found fascinating!” Ms. Tucker said. “We just finished learning about the three branches of Government, so this felt very meaningful!”

This week in the Yellow Cluster, students showcased their special talents and skills during the first Yellow Cluster Variety Show.

The idea was born after a Coffee Talk earlier this month that discussed ways parents can support their children during social distancing. 

During the discussion, the attendees discussed how they could connect their children outside of school during quarantine. 

Yellow Cluster parent Ilicia Silverman, mother of Mark, mentioned that her son’s piano school hosted a Zoom recital to help the kids bond.

Upon this suggestion, Ms. Silverman and Yellow Cluster parent Dori Raskin, mother of Nico, created the idea for the Yellow Cluster Variety Show. They decided on a variety show after many parents expressed that their children were not performers, so this way they could perform whatever they wanted. 

Yellow Cluster Variety Show

Ms. Raskin said, “We also stressed the importance of the audience and cheering for each other, even if they didn’t want to perform.”

They designated Red Cluster Head Teacher Joyce Macedo as the host for the show, because they said she is a great speaker and is familiar with distance learning instruction.

“There was a great turnout, and the range of activities has been amazing to watch, including cooking, sports, singing, instrumentals, dancing, animal display, and more,” said Ms. Raskin. 

During their Morning Meeting last Thursday, a group of Orange Cluster students boarded an imaginary plane headed to South Africa.

A trip to South Africa!

The students in Head Teacher Jackie Dobish’s class packed their bags and headed on their trip in order to begin their unit of study on the country. 

Students were assigned the task of packing for the trip on Wednesday afternoon, as well as printing out their boarding pass and passport, sent by Ms. Dobish, in order to board the plane and pass through customs in South Africa.  

Thursday morning, students started on their journey. Ms. Dobish welcomed students aboard the plane and played a short video that simulated the beginning of a flight, with Ms. Dobish as the flight attendant.

Once they arrived in South Africa, the students went through customs one-by-one in alphabetical order, with the customs official (also Ms. Dobish) asking students how long they would be in the country and if they were there for business or to learn. 

“Clearing customs” in South Africa

Ms. Dobish said the activity was a lot of fun for the whole class, and a great way to introduce the new unit.

She said, “This activity was such a special way of integrating the kids’ energy and excitement into our new chapter of distance learning, even for an 8 a.m. flight!”