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Congratulations to the Class of 2011 Upper School Acceptances
Turning Point is proud to announce another banner year for upper school acceptances for the Class of 2011. This extraordinary group of 24 students was accepted to 13 different schools. 95% have been accepted to their first choice independent school, three students have chosen to attend Beverly Hills High next year. Independent school acceptances include:
The Buckley School (3)
Campbell Hall (12)
Crespi Carmelite High School (2)
Loyola High School (1)
Marymount High School (6)
Milken Community High School (1)
New Roads (3)
Pacifica Christian (1)
Vistamar School (1)
The Changing Face of Advisory
Eight years ago, when Turning Point School first introduced the Advisory program, we wanted to set up an academic touchstone for our students where they could be assured advocacy, advice and assimilation in a setting designed to help them through the rigors of Middle School. The initial application of the program was similar to that of other independent schools, but was a clear continuation of the values and programs begun in our Primary Division and continued thematically throughout Elementary . The goal was to give the students a voice and an ally through their advisor and in their day-to-day management of academics, time, extra-curricular activities and socialization. Eight years later, the program has grown and expanded to become the character curriculum, working in conjunction with the already established academic programs for the success of the Turning Point student.
The Advisory program has grown to embrace stress management, human development, leadership, and conflict resolution. Advisors are deeply committed to tailoring the program to the needs of individual students. Their success in doing so has intensified the influence of advisory in creating well prepared graduates. The development of the whole student is the desired outcome of the Advisory program. We set up a scaffold for success constructed of a skill set designed to prepare advisees for a quickly changing world. Those skills include working in groups, solution based learning, and considering a world view in their approach to help in the community.
After navigating the transition from Level Five to Level Six, acquiring solid foundational study habits and organizational techniques, then embracing responsibility and understanding the obligation of a Turning Point Student in Level Seven, students enter Level Eight ready to fulfill the leadership roles that are asked of them. Those students are asked to lead not only in their daily interactions with peers and teachers but also in the Ambassador program, as Big Buddies, at the International Collaboration Consortium Conference trip, and in the Mentor program.
We have gained from our Advisory program valuable insight as to its contributions to our community and our day-to-day lives here at school. Students are more respectful, more responsible and more prepared. We have seen a drop in disciplinary incidents and a greater bond among students in all three years of middle school. Student accountability has risen as a result of more amicable relationships with their teachers. Through the advisory program and the environment and advocacy that it provides, the students involved have become more accountable members of their community. They are more eager to help, with greater participation in programs like Big Sunday and our Thanksgiving SAVES drive. Most importantly, an enhanced sense of community allows students to enjoy school and its programs more.
For the future, we see the inclusion of all the students in a community and service-based curriculum based on the foundations laid in Elementary and Primary. Further, we envision additional curricular links to our Service Learning Program and to our Global Awareness elective. There is a consistent need to apply skills such as conflict resolution and leadership in our Service Learning Program, in collaborations with international schools, and in global studies. Always the Middle School profits from students' Primary years, where they learn respect for themselves and others in the entry level to the school. Level 8 ambassadors hearken back to their excitement when they served as Level 3 ambassadors, and mentors recall having been mentees in Elementary. Middle School advisees can take pride in their own competence as they recognize the steps they have trod through Primary and Elementary.
It is a very exciting time to be an educator and an advisor working with such forward-thinking opportunities. Programs such as the Mentor Program and the Buddies Program provide wonderful avenues for the Turning Point student to showcase the skills and values that they have acquired in their time in Middle School. Those values are constantly on display on the playing field, in field trips and trips abroad, in performances and in the variety of leadership opportunities that students are given throughout the year. We look forward to sharing our program, its progressive nature and its successes through our partnership with you in the future.
Level 8 East Coast Trip
Level 8 recently returned from their six-day tour of Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. On the way to Senator Mark Udall's office on Capitol Hill, police officers stopped the class as the Haitian President, Rene Preval, drove by in a five-car motorcade. After weeks of seeing images of Haiti in the news, Turning Point students got to see the machinations of politics and power first hand. Level 8 students enjoyed a special exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History on the currency and coinage of the United States titled "Stories on Money". Other trip highlights in Philadelphia included visits to Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center's special exhibit on Ancient Rome & America. For the nighttime tour of Colonial Williamsburg, Turing Point students took turns holding the lantern as they visited a bookbinder and a wigmaker. Recent class projects on Mount Vernon and Monticello also helped students recognize architectural features in both homes. Although exhilarated from the social opportunities after this six-day trip to the East Coast, students returned to California with a special appreciation of American history.
Middle School Winter Musical
February was the month for the Middle School Winter Musical! Our talented Middle Schoolers took to the Turning Point Stage to present Once on This Island, Jr. This Caribbean retelling of the Little Mermaid story featured Afro-Caribbean rhythms, introduced us to the socio-economic struggles of the island culture, and was rich with powerful emotion and storytelling. The cast performed for the student body at 12:15 pm on Thursday, February 18th, and the performance for parents took place at 6:30 pm on Friday, February 19th. Thanks to everyone who supported our outstanding student performers.
International Students Convene on Sustainability
The ICCC (International Collaboration Consortium Conference) was first contemplated at the Pacific Basin Consortium Conference in Hawaii in July 2000. The schools started the trip to raise awareness about wetlands; however, in 2008 it changed to focus on sustainability. In the same year, the name changed from ICP (International Collaboration Project) to ICCC. The purpose of the program is to inform students about being eco-friendly and to make connections with people all over the globe. The leaders want their students to make goals to become more sustainable and to take these goals back to their schools and communities.
The ICCC takes place in different locations every year. Three schools are currently participating: Goulburn Valley Grammar School from Shepparton, Australia; Oregon Episcopal School from Portland, Oregon; and Turning Point School from Culver City, California. Forty middle-school students are participating in the ICCC- eight from Goulburn Valley, eight from Oregon Episcopal, and twenty-four from Turning Point. This year we are also lucky to have a representative, Mr. McDougall, from Hutcheson's Grammar School in Scotland. Hopefully, in the future, Hutcheson's will be a part of the ICCC! The trip is divided into two parts; the first of which is school based. The students go on many field trips and learn about sustainability through focus groups and workshops. The focus groups look at issues related to energy, water, transportation, waste management, and biodiversity. During the workshops, students dig deeper into conservation, but they have a little more fun through participating in journalism, a garbage band, photography, eco-fashion, and the creation of public service announcements. At the end of the week, all forty students will take a trip to Monterey Bay in California. Students will continue to work together as they kayak, visit an organic farm, conquer a ropes course, and learn more about one another. Some of the goals that the students will take back to their schools and communities are listed below.
Energy: Make sure the temperature is set to an energy-efficient level. Shut down and unplug appliances at the end of the school day.
Water: Minimize water usage. This can be done by individual schools/people using dual-flush toilets, shortening showers, and turning off the tap while brushing teeth.
Waste Management: Encourage recycling, reduce waste, and create compost bins.
Transportation: Carpool often and collect data about transportation.
Biodiversity: Raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity, and educate the community about threats to the ecosystem.
Although we come from different parts of the Earth, we only have one, and we need to take care of it.
S.A.V.E.S. and Leadership--A Level 8 Student Perspective
Leadership is usually thought of when someone mentions the words Level 8. I am proud of that, and glad I had a chance to show that quality in the recent S.A.V.E.S assembly. The S.A.V.E.S assembly is when the entire school comes together and brings the canned goods that they have been collecting throughout the week to be donated to a nearby food bank, St Augustine’s Volunteer for Emergency Services (S.A.V.E.S.) The Level 8 students usually lead this assembly, introducing the grades who perform at the assembly. This year, though, the 8th grade shook things up and talked about courageous heroes throughout history while introducing the performing grades. From well known leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. to lesser known historical figures such as Rigoberta Menchu Tum, the Level 8 students presented many great heroes who fought for independence, equality and human rights. When I stepped up to the podium with my partner to present our hero, I felt so great and thankful for my community. Every grade contributed greatly to the food drive, and my peers did a great job of leading the assembly. This was a great show of leadership and we all really enjoyed the experience.
Helping out the community always makes me feel good about what I have done and how I have contributed, hopefully, to someone else’s happiness. That is exactly how I felt after helping out at the S.A.V.E.S. Food Bank with the rest of my peers. After the S.A.V.E.S assembly, the 8th graders loaded all of the food that was being donated into cars of fabulous parents, who volunteered their own means of transportation for other people’s need. Then the class got on the bus and headed for the S.A.V.E.S. food bank. When we arrived we immediately unloaded the cars of their burdens, and carried the massive amounts of cans to the auditorium of St. Augustine’s. After successfully carrying all of the bags of food out of the cars, we started the long but fun task of sorting and counting all of the cans that Turning Point students had contributed. The class then teamed up and counted and sorted to the best of our ability, having fun while doing a great service for our city. It seemed all too soon when a lady from S.A.V.E.S told us that all of the cans had been counted and sorted, and thanked us for all of the hard work we had done. After organizing the food, we got treated to a tour of the food bank and saw how the volunteers bagged and gave the food to members of the community. Then, sadly, we had to depart back to school and leave S.A.V.E.S. With a lighter heart, I left feeling I had done a great deed in my community and felt a wonderful sense of gratitude for all I have in my life.
Student Animators Abound in Multimedia Design
Last trimester, students were hard at work creating their own original animated shorts using Flash. They began the project with storyboards and the seed of an idea. Storyboards were refined, sketches created, and elements were loaded into a computer animation program called Flash. Finally, the students employed their own unique graphic design and brought their original characters to life.
Multimedia Design is an elective in the Middle School that encourages students to create digital narratives in a variety of styles and media forms. The first trimester is focused on animation in Flash and Sound Design. Later in the year, students learn programming and design their own video games as well as projects in video production and digital music.
While all Middle School students have the opportunity to practice their craft in Visual and Integrated Art classes, a few dedicated souls commit themselves to pursuing great artistic heights in the Art Elective. Different from the regular art classes in that the curriculum stands alone and is partially student-led, the Art Elective is a class in which students can focus on learning technique and skills while making art “for it’s own sake.”
This fall, the Elective artists rapidly developed their drawing skills and chose to concentrate on the genre of landscape and perspective studies. Drawing three-dimensional space realistically on a two-dimensional surface has always been a challenge for artists through the ages. We spent a good deal of time learning the tricks of drawing correctly “in perspective”; many of these skills were developed by such Renaissance masters as Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael), so our Turning Point artists are in honorable company! Some of our younger friends may have seen us outside during their playground time, with our drawing boards, practicing our skills by drawing scenes on campus.
We worked on very large landscape studies in oil pastel. Each artist chose a scene outside (of our campus), and took several photographs of their scene to use as visual references. They blocked their compositions first on paper and then spent time drawing their scene carefully, in line only. Then they rendered their pieces, by using the Oil Pastels to build up layers of color, texture, and value in the scenes. Working with oil pastel is like working with oil paint only in a more solid form; to master this technique, students must let go of the idea of “coloring” as they know it, and work their piece in layers much as a painter works a painting. The process can be very challenging and rewarding, and the results are spectacular! As they worked through each phase of their pieces, our artists met in group critiques and gave each other feedback and support.
Ballona Wetlands--A Natural Partnership
For the past 8 years, Level 7 Environmental Biology students have visited the Ballona Wetlands to learn from this unique ecosystem. Our commitment to caring for the wetlands is our way of giving back to the community.
On our first visit in October, we watched snails slowly slide across rocks, lizards scurry into the underbrush, and kingfishers dive into the creek for a mid-morning snack. We began to identify some of the plants native to the wetlands, such as pickleweed, lemonade berry, and California sage. We had already visited Kenneth Hahn State Park earlier in the week and viewed some similar plants. It's fascinating to see how plants can adapt to such diverse habitats that are only a few miles apart!
We will continue to visit Ballona Wetlands throughout this school year. Each visit will be a new lesson spotlighting the importance of keeping this area healthy and functional. It is exciting to visit the same location throughout the seasons to observe the natural changes in this diverse ecosystem.
Mission Statement Project
The Level 6 students have adapted well to life in the Middle School. We don't know what we would do without them!
As a part of the Level 6 Advisory program, students examined the school's mission statement. They read and discussed Turning Point's Mission Statement, drew what the mission statement meant to them, and wrote their own mission statement for their Middle School years.
The students at first found it very hard to draw images that reflect honesty, responsibility, confidence, community involvement, and joyfulness, but they ultimately demonstrated their ability to think abstractly and completed some amazing drawings.
Before the Level 6 students could write their own mission statements, they had to reflect on what they want to get out of their middle school years. Each student had to consider what kind of person they are, what kind of person they want to become, their goals and hopes for their middle school years, and what kind of skills they want to develop in order to achieve those goals and hopes. Finally, they had to articulately explain their goals and the steps they will take to achieve those objectives over the next three years.
The purpose of the Mission Statement project is to help students become more aware of the role they play in shaping their middle school experience. Check out the Level 6 hallway to see their completed mission statements.
Middle School Math
This past trimester, Level 6 Everyday Math students studied collections, display and interpretation of data. They built upon their prior work with data and went more in depth into interpretation of different types of graphs. This unit illustrated that mathematics is strongly linked to the world around us. The students were asked to come up with a set of data to graph, and then they created a hypothesis and collected the data. Students then were asked to state whether the data they collected backed up their hypothesis. The students surveyed their friends and teachers. They collected data on sports teams, types of music and favorite animals, to name a few. Once the data was collected they displayed their findings in a graph. Students used bar graphs, line graphs and pictographs. We closed this unit with understanding samples and surveys and ways in which data can be presented to misrepresent or mislead.
This past trimester, Level 7 and Level 8 Algebra One students learned to graph points on the coordinate plane and analyze data using scatter plots. This knowledge was used to complete a project about the economic effects of Hurricane Katrina. Students researched two companies that were affected by the natural disaster and then created their own scatter plots to present.
Level 6 Choral Performance Is A November Tradition
The Level Six Concert is a November tradition at Turning Point. This concert offers an opportunity for our first-year middle school students to formally present themselves in public. In Performing Arts, students are awakened to the stories behind the songs they sing. It is vital that they learn aspects of the culture that surrounds the music and begin to recognize the power of song for survival, to restore spirits, to mourn our losses, and to document our history.
This year, our theme is Cajun music and songs that find their origins in New Orleans. From the first week of school, the students began learning classic Cajun tunes and even dabbled in the French language as they learned Le Hoogie Boogie (the Cajun hokey pokey). It is mid-November and they have learned thirteen new songs. They can tell you the symbolism behind the purple, gold and green of Mardi Gras. They can identify the fleur de lis and they are eager to try a King Cake and some jambalaya.
The twenty-five members of the Level Six class have also learned about Hurricane Katrina. They know of the devastation that was wrought on the people of New Orleans, especially in the Lower Ninth Ward. They watched the documentary films, After the Storm and Hurricane on the Bayou, and heard first-hand accounts from children and adults who lost their homes and have been separated from their families. They have researched charitable organizations that continue to help remove the debris of the storm and rebuild New Orleans. They grow ever more caring and compassionate, ever more aware of fellow Americans who are suffering. This care and compassion is evident in the poems they wrote in their Language Foundations class. Students learned parts of speech and poem structure by using the song lyrics of Le Hoogie Boogie, Down By the Riverside and Wade in the Water. These illustrated poems speak volumes and confirm that our students are learning far more than a handful of songs.
On November 23rd at 6:30 pm, the Level Six students will take the stage and present a theatrical concert entitled TROUBLE THE WATER. The text they speak is taken directly from the journal writings and poems of the children who experienced Hurricane Katrina, from the poetry our students created in Language Foundations, and from the After the Storm documentary. The children sing songs of celebration and lament and, in most cases, they find a way to skip to their blues. Laissez les bons temps rouler!!!
How to Practice Your Band Instrument
Teaching students how to practice can be one of the most valuable assets you can give a young musician. Just practicing and rehearsing a passage repeatedly may never achieve the results a student desires.
Instead one must be patient, and play a small passage of music SLOWLY and CORRECTLY. After the first two notes are played correctly, add one more note, in rhythm. Play it several times in a row before adding another note. Continue in this pattern until the passage is played correctly. However, do not speed up the passage; play the passage several days in a row at exactly the same tempo.
You can practice all at once or perform several shorter ten minute sessions. Set small goals for yourself, and this way you will possess a sense of accomplishment at the end of your practicing. Play for your friends and family. They will be a good audience for you after you have mastered your new music from band class. Making music is fun, and the more you practice your band instrument, the easier it will become.
First Week of School
It's official! The first week of school has passed for the Middle School. It has been eventful, experimental, relieving and invigorating. It is always wonderful to have the students begin the school year with such promise and energy. The limitless potential, the innocence, the confidence--the students display it all. September always brings renewal, warmth and promise at Turning Point.
This week generally begins with discussions about the accomplishments and maturations of summer. We call them the "summer miracles". The students walk taller, broader, with added grace and elegance. Level Six marvels at the machinations of their lockers and their new freedoms and responsibilities, while Levels Seven and Eight display pride in their new place in the Turning Point hierarchy. Teachers become benchmarks for height and wisdom, and classrooms are filled with instruction, questions, and an ebullient human energy.
The teacher's voices echo in the halls and students are rapt with attention. Contrary to what most students may say, they all like to be back; their excitement and enthusiasm are palpable. This excitement forms bonds and the sense of community that the students create. These bonds form the bedrock and foundation for their experience. And what an experience!
The teachers overflow with ideas and enthusiasm, and their humor and good graces are an inspiration. We had the pleasure of creative planning meetings, and I, as always, was impressed by the intelligence and diligence that they displayed in their craft. Work filtered through able hands becomes inspiring and engaging. So, as the scuffs appear on new shoes, and the doodles adorn the binders, know that these are the hallmarks of learning. After all the new outfits have been worn and the work begins in earnest, realize that the comfort level settles, everything is as it should be, and off we go on yet another fantastic journey.
Creating Memories at WOLF Camp
On Wednesday, September 2, eager students entered Turning Point School ready to embark on a Middle School adventure that would create memories to last a lifetime.
Sleeping bags, pillows, duffle bags, and suitcases adorned the grassy area early Wednesday morning. The upstairs hallway was filled with new and returning students eager to board buses and head to the Malibu Mountains. "Will there be showers?" "Is the food good?" "What time is lights out?" These were just a few of the questions that needed answering. Leaving Turning Point right on time, faculty and students enjoyed a bumpy ride down the 10 Freeway and headed smoothly onto the PCH. We arrived at WOLF camp in time for introductions and Trail Group teambuilding. Different groups headed up to higher points on the mountain, quiet shady areas, or wide open spaces to get to know one another and learn how to use the wilderness surroundings for their survival. After a much needed but brief afternoon rest, students were put to the test. They participated in sensory awareness activities at night ranging from stellar navigation to bat and moth blindfold games.
Thursday began with brave campers hiking up the mountain at 7 am. All the participants returned hungry and devoured their justly deserved breakfast plates! The fun continued with Trail Groups participating in beach hikes, slingshot challenges, blindfolded string mazes, and other "trust" building activities. Once lunch gave campers an energy boost, they were ready to visit the Primitive Village. The Primitive Life experience comprised hot stone cooking, wikkiups, archery, tomahawks, medicine bag making, shell drilling for jewelry making, and the infamous dream catchers. As nightfall approached, campers headed indoors for an animal presentation by Wildworks followed by a campfire celebration filled with group skits and s'mores!
Friday morning was bittersweet, marking the conclusion of camp, yet filled with memorable events. Level 8 students conquered fears and demonstrated excellent partner skills on the high ropes events. From climbing on the Giant's Ladder to taking the Leap of Faith, Level 8 students demonstrated that they possess the power to conquer all challenges. Level 6 and 7 students took on fun and challenging group games that kept everyone engaged. WOLF camp staff reminded us what group unity was all about. The closing circle allowed everyone to express their gratitude towards individuals and the camp as a whole.
This Middle School adventure marks only the beginning of a great year ahead! Cheers!
Level 8: Mapping the Future
Level 8 Humanities students have been seeking inspiration from maps. In an effort to capture their path toward graduation, students made individual maps of their experiences and memories. Using the poem "Ithaka" by C.P. Cavafy as a model, students also started writing their own graduation poems. Below is an excerpt from the poem:
Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now.
As a separate assignment, students used davidrumsey.com to compare historical maps of Washington D.C. Students found numerous differences between a 1795 map of the "Territory of Columbia" and an 1880 map of Washington D.C. Besides pointing out differences in streets, nautical depths, bridges, and historical monuments, students commented on the tremendous growth that occurred in our nation's capital over an eighty year period. Level 8's map investigations will come in handy for this April's study tour to the East coast; navigating the streets of Washington D.C. and Philadelphia should be a great deal easier!
Pi Day in Middle School!
The Middle School celebrated Pi Day (3/14) early this year, on Friday the 13th. Each mathematics and science class had unique activities to illustrate the definition and use for the irrational number Pi (3.14159). In Algebra, class members brought in food that is circular (pizza, donuts, cookies, etc). They measured and calculated the circumference of each item, using Pi. In Level 6 math, students elected to compose songs and raps to celebrate the special day. Please enjoy the following video created by Math 6Y.
Middle School Science Fair is Approaching!
The Middle School Science Fair marches its way into the curriculum in Spring, with the final results presented in the gymnasium on Friday, March 20, 2009. Students are currently working very hard on display boards and oral presentations both in and out of school. Careful planning for data collection has occurred beforehand, as partners spent their weekends carrying out their experimental designs. Topics range from work on fire ecology and bio-diesel fuels to behavioral work on human subjects and plant species. It is now time to unveil the results. Research reports were submitted on Friday, March 6. Display boards and all materials for Level 6 will be brought to school on Thursday, March 19. Display boards and all materials for Level 8 will be brought to school March 20. Level 7 students are making special appointments to present their work to the judges, since the International Collaboration Project trip to Australia prevents some participants from demonstrating their conclusions on March 20.The Science Fair will be open to parents from 8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. on March 20. Primary and Elementary students will view the fair from 9:00-12:00 a.m., with Elementary students then hosting their own fair on April 17. See you there!
Book Club: A Unique Journey
Book Club is an elective course that focuses on complex novels and investigates them thoroughly. Students are asked to do a fairly heavy volume of reading per week and to be ready to discuss the works, in detail, in class. Some of this year's works include Huckleberry Finn, Interpreter of Maladies, The Life of Pi,The Tao of Pooh, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet.
The discussions in class are student led and have a tendency to focus on theme, plot, character development, and, often, the practical application of the lessons learned. We encourage each other to be passionate about our opinions and to back those opinions up with facts from the book.
One of the best aspects to come out of Book Club is that students explore novels that they might not otherwise choose to read. One of the most popular books this year, for example, has been The Life Of Pi . The students truly enjoyed vicarious life on a boat with a Bengal tiger and the twist that the author provides at the end. Not an easy read, The Life Of Pi required some serious comprehension and deliberate reading, both of which the class accomplished with aplomb.
Book Club encourages students to enjoy reading and gives them the impetus to explore new avenues in literature, winding down roads that they may not have taken and enjoying their journeys.
International Collaboration Project: Destination AUSTRALIA!
The International Collaboration Project (ICP) is a signature program for Level 7 students at Turning Point School. As part of the Environmental Biology curriculum, this program builds connections with seventh graders from Oregon and Australia. Each school participates in a long-term study of local wetlands, then shares information and ideas via e-mail, snail mail, or the shared web site. The ICP enables students to increase their knowledge of environmental issues with a global perspective.
Although all students participate in the ICP while in Environmental Biology class, there is an opportunity for more intense studies of environmental issues as an ICP Ambassador. Ambassadors will travel on a school trip to visit Goulburn Valley Grammar School in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia during March 9-19, 2009, to meet with students from the other ICP schools.
The ICP Ambassadors from each school will participate in several different workshops and topic groups. The workshops will provide an integration of humanities, mathematics, science, drama, multi-media design, and art through hands-on activities. The topic groups will enable the students to choose the environmental issue that most interests them and/or their school, and meet with the other students to brainstorm ideas and solutions. All of this work leads toward creating achievable goals to make each participating school a "Dream Green School." In the afternoon, the ICP group will tour various businesses, farms, and cultural landmarks around Shepparton.
Turning Point School ICP Ambassadors and chaperones will arrive a day early in Melbourne in order to adjust to the time change and to sight see in Australia's second most populous city. We will sleep in a hotel, and will visit such local sights as the historic Parliament buildings and the Yarra River.
Wilson's Promontory National Park
GVGS and OES will join us in Melbourne and then we will travel together by bus to the "Prom," the southernmost point of the Australian mainland. While there, we will sleep in cabins. Our planned activities include:
A walk to Squeaky Beach with its pure white quartz sand. The beach was once known as the "singing sands" because of the sound made when walking on it
A tide pool exploration.
An exploration of and swimming on the beautiful sandy beach along Tidal River at Norman Bay.
Discussion with Park Rangers of the environmental impact on the park and the future of the Prom.
We leave in the morning for a short drive to Phillip Island. The island is home to koalas and fairy penguins. We will enjoy a surfing lesson, a hike to see the penguins, and a visit to the Nobbies Centre, a marine animal education center. We will sleep at the Koala Park Resort.
Shepparton (GVGS) - International Conservation Consortium Conference
Upon arrival in Shepparton, students will meet their host families at a school picnic. During these three days, students will participate in Sustainable Art Workshops, Topic Groups focused on issues of environmental concern, and afternoon study tours to local businesses and cultural sites. On the final day of the conference, students will meet a Sustainability Panel of local politicians, business owners, conservationists, and dairy farmers. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions of these community members to further research the environmental work being done in Australia.
Spring Sports News
This spring season brings with it two sports for our middle school students. With both sports in their second year of interscholastic play in the Pacific Basin League, the coaches are looking forward to two stellar seasons. Boys' Volleyball players, coached by Coach Bueno, have begun working on their skills during practices. They are scheduled to play their first game on March 23, 2009, versus Crossroads. With some of Turning Point's top athletes on this team, it is sure to provide an exciting season. The second sport is Girls' Softball. Coach Spies and Coach Colley are thrilled about the number of girls that have come out for the team and the dedication that the girls are showing. The girls will play their first game next Tuesday, March 10, 2009, versus St. Matthews at 3:45 p.m. at Syd Kronenthal Park. Please come out and support our Tornado teams this season!
Square Root Day at Turning Point!
The unofficial holiday, Square Root Day, comes around but nine times a century, and Turning Point certainly knows how to celebrate it! The numbers of the calendar align so that the month and day are each equal to the square root of the year as expressed in two-digit form. (In today's case, 3/3/09, 3 is the square root of 9—in other words, 32 = 3 x 3 = 9.) Square root days arise in every year whose last two digits are a perfect square, or a number whose square root is a whole number: The last square root day was on February 2, 2004 (2/2/04), and the next occurrence will be on April 4, 2016 (4/4/16).
Because of the nature of perfect squares, the wait time between square root days increases by two years each time as the century unfolds—five years separated the previous square root day from today's, seven years will pass before the next square root day in 2016, and nine years will elapse before the following one in 2025. But after the final square root of this century, September 9, 2081 (9/9/81), there will be a slightly prolonged layover before the 22nd century starts its own run of square root days on January 1, 2101 (1/1/01).
Transformation: SHAPES IN MOTION in Geometry
The Geometry class recently completed a unit on how shapes transform through motion. The culmination of this unit was a class project. The objective of this project was to learn six types of motions. Students could create a comic book, movie, pop-up book, picture book, novel, newspaper, magazine, video, or game. Students worked in groups of three to complete the task. The students were asked to pick a minimum of four motions. Each motion had to be a chapter of the book. The chapters needed to show the development of motion and convey an understanding of how it is used in Geometry. Each chapter exhibited four examples demonstrating how the motion is used in Geometry. A definition, description and explanation of the motion were to be included. The final part of the project was an oral presentation of the project in front of the class. As you can see, these students were able to bring their knowledge to life through projects such as this comic book.
Creating Calendars in Pre-Algebra
Pre-Algebra Class for Level 7 students finds itself in the middle of a unit studying factors, fractions and exponents. First, the class learned about specific divisibility rules. Next, they explored and acquired more details about the use of exponents. Currently, the class is learning prime factorization and finding the greatest common factor.The project they completed for this unit involves investigating the ancient Egyptian calendar to understand why the Egyptian calendar was based on 360 days rather than 365. After analyzing our current calendar, students determined how leap years come into play. Finally students were asked to design and create their own calendars. They used their knowledge of factors and multiples to divide their calendar into different periods. Drawing on their graphic understanding of mathematics, they came up with everything from graphs, tables and number lines to circle calendars.
The history of SEUSSICAL is a story of perseverance, hard work, and, above all, faith. As Horton the Elephant sings, "I meant what I said/and I said what I meant/ an elephant's faithful/one hundred percent." The amazing odyssey of SEUSSICAL is in itself a remarkable reflection of many of the lessons Dr. Seuss himself intended to impart-- don't ever give up, use your imagination, your journey can take you to unexpected places, and rewards can indeed be great when you are "faithful, one hundred percent."
Join the Cat in the Hat as he weaves the tales of Oh the Thinks You Can Think, Horton Hears a Who, Horton Hatches an Egg, Gertrude McFuzz, Yertle the Turtle, If I Ran the Circus and Solla Sollew through a panoply of song from Gospel to Ragtime to Broadway to Soul. You will leave with a song in your heart.
SEUSSICAL touches on so many issues prevalent in the lives of young adolescents: bullying, identity, responsibility, decision making, and first love. This jam-packed musical also offers commentary on larger issues, such as slavery and bigotry. The ingenuity of Dr. Seuss is that he presents these weighty topics in curious shapes, bold colors, and wild characters and wraps them all in remarkable rhyme and meter. There is much to discover between the rhyme and rhythm, the joyful score and the cast of elephants, irrepressible birds, monkeys, cats, kangaroos and Whos.
This cast has set out each trimester to create art.We aim for the highest benchmark of performance and production. We embrace our innate ability to tell stories, to wonder and dream, to have THINKS more creative than previously imagined, and we are resolute in the statement that "What touches the heart, touches others." This cast takes the heart as their starting point.They know that by doing so, their stories will radiate through their bodies, into their minds and across the footlights into the hearts and minds and bodies of their audience. They are as sincere as they are comical, both inventive and whimsical, equally gifted at moments of joy and of heartbreak. Members of L.A.'s professional theatre community have volunteered their time and talent so that our Turning Point students are immersed in the entire art form of theatre, which encompasses musical direction, costumes, lighting, sound and set design with equal force. Costumes are crafted and reworked from dollar-rack thrift-store finds. Previous set pieces are reinvented to accommodate a new show. We embrace the school's Green philosophy and strive to craft our show from reused and recycled materials.
How lucky we are to have a place to make theatre. How lucky we are.
The Winter Sports Season has just ended. Each team--Soccer for Boys and Girls, Basketball for Boys and Girls-- had a wonderful season in which the players learned a great deal, worked hard, and had fun. Closing our their undefeated season, our Girls' Basketball team won the Pacific Basin League (PBL) Championship.
The Spring Season begins February 23. In the new season are Girls' Softball and Boy's Volleyball. See the Sports Calendar for the new schedule of games, which will be finalized by March 2.
Finding Your Space in the Holocaust: A Humanities-Art Collaboration
Discovering an appropriate venue for a Humanities-art Holocaust collaboration was challenging, especially given the painful reality and sensitivity of the subject. Reading Elie Wiesel's Night certainly underlined the poignancy of this era. However, the topic clearly provided an opportunity for artistic expression in both Humanities and Art courses, and for making connections in science.
The collaboration was presented in three stages, starting first with art. Students were asked to close their eyes and meditate about the Holocaust: Where are you? What do you see? Who do you see? What do you feel?
After the meditative visualization, students made a 2-D picture of their vision by using only construction paper, scissors and glue. These striking, poignant images are the basis from which a 3-D cardboard model of this space is being created. Students are designing these sculptures to appear as if they were physically within these spaces. When completed, these models will be personal memorials that reflect the students' first mental images of the Holocaust.
In Science, Level 7 students are researching comparisons of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection and Nazi practices of eugenics. Among the research topics are timelines of intersections of Darwin's life and Hitler's life, and practical collection of data on peppered moths and finches. Students organize data on the eating habits and survival rates of finches, and they learn the significance in offering a variation of species in building a population.
Meanwhile, in Humanities, students repeated the meditative visualization exercise using their 2-D construction paper picture as a focus. The students were allowed to briefly write whatever words, phrases or sentences came to mind. This free-write formed the foundation of a more fully-developed reflection that will ultimately accompany the 3-D cardboard model of their image.
The final activity will involve writing a poem that reflects the students' knowledge of and sentiments toward the Holocaust and their visual image. All creations will be displayed in one of the middle school hallways as a personal testament to one of the greatest human tragedies in modern times.
Winter Sports News
This has been the most committed and hardest working group of Middle School ball players at Turning Point in the last eight years. Whether or not a team has won most of its games, as many of our teams have done this year, or lost most, as a few have done, this group of athletes has come to practice every day, worked hard every day, and played every game to win, without ever sacrificing sportsmanship. Playoffs have begun for the winter season. Our soccer girls played an incredible game against Willows, which went to overtime and then a penalty kick shoot out. Their season was by far the best any girls' soccer team has ever had at Turning Point. Our boys' soccer team will begin playoffs on Tuesday against Windward. They are a very young team that has improved greatly this year. We expect them to compete for a championship in years to come. Our boys' B basketball began playoffs on Friday. They, too, are a young team who have improved greatly. The boys' A basketball team could be the best basketball team we have ever had here. Their approach to the playoffs has determined that. They gave valiant effort against Crossroads yesterday, losing by just 5 points. The girls' B basketball team is undefeated. They will play Wednesday, February 11, at 3:00 p.m. at Turning Point School in the semi-finals. These girls are incredibly hard workers. Each knows her role and accepts it, and has shown great improvement this year as a consequence.
Middle School Welcomed Back with Whim n' Rhythm
Yale University's premiere all-female a capella group, Whim n' Rhythm, welcomed back our Middle School with a morning performance on Monday, January 5th. The group sang songs from Ira Gerswin, Linda Ronstadt and the Indigo Girls.
Ms. McEneaney's Musical Theatre elective class enjoyed a "Master Class" with the group, following the performance.