Learning with Legos in third grade.
Message from Head of School
How Do I Love Numbers? Let Me Count the Ways
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: September 13, 2019
Happy Palindrome week, everyone.
Here is an interesting fact to carry with you this weekend. From September 10 through 19 this year, our dates will be a palindrome (they look the same forwards and backward). So today, for example, is 9/13/19. What makes this so interesting? It is the last time this will be true of any date until the next century. Ninety-two years from now!
I’ve always loved numbers. Strangely, perhaps, I have loved them for reasons that others may not. Most folks may love their consistency. A six is a six all day long, and there is no other interpretation. Leave the metaphors to the English students. Give me my rock-solid whole number six. Consistent as ever. True enough, and perhaps my love of numbers derives from that consistency. But, what I love most is the way numbers inspire play.
There is a card game called 24 that appeared in my Christmas stocking as a child that I simply loved. The concept is a simple one: using any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, take four single-digit numbers and determine how to come up with a solution of 24 when you are done. You must use all four numbers on the card, and you do not have to use all four operations each time.
Some cards proved ‘easier’ than others, where the sum of the four numbers was 24, or, for example, a card with four 5s would result in this: 5 x 5 = 25, 5÷5 = 1, and 25-1 = 24. Tada! Others were more involved, asking for multiple operations and creative grouping to get the job done. Anyone looking to lose some time this weekend bending their brain, try 3,3,5,7 as your four numbers. For those brave souls who want to take this one on, apologies for disrupting any plans you may have made this weekend…
The upshot of this game, of course, is rather trivial. 24 presumably has little impact on some of the more meaningful moments that may transpire in your day. But, for the elementary school version of myself, this game gave me license to be a fearless mathematician. It made numbers a plaything, and brought me joy, even as I tinkered and iterated with ways in which the same set of numbers might get to 24 by means of a different route. Who needs a six to be so consistent when you can make it work in such curious and different ways?
I think that is why I am so excited about the rollout of Singapore Math and Connected Math Project this year as the result of our curriculum review work over the past eighteen months. What inspires me about both of these programs is not only that they produce research-backed results that will serve our students well today and into the future, but also that these results are achieved by putting numbers into play. They visualize and make auditory an otherwise written and graphic experience. They approach the study of math from a variety of perspectives in the pursuit of mastery through process, not product. They are equally rigorous and joyful, challenging and inspiring.
So, on this Palindrome week, I hope you take some time to remember the joy that numbers can create in our lives and the lives of our students. And I wish you the very best of luck getting to 24 — happy 91319 everyone.
The fall athletics season has begun! Go Blue & Gold!
This Coming Week at BDS
September 16 to September 20
Wednesday, September 18
3:30 p.m., Boys’ Varsity Soccer at DCD; Cross Country vs DCD; Field Hockey vs DCD; Girls’ Varsity Soccer vs DCD
Thursday, September 19
3:30 p.m., Varsity Flag Football vs Solomon Schechter
6–8:15 p.m., Lower School Curriculum Night
Friday, September 20
8:50–9:35 a.m., Enrichment Assembly, Palandjian Arts Center
Collecting Donations for Hurricane Relief
Belmont Day is accepting financial donations on behalf of the Bahamas Red Cross Society that is working tirelessly along with many other organizations, NGOs, and individuals to assist those most affected by the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. A collection jar is located in the front entryway of the Schoolhouse if you would like to contribute. You can also donate directly on the Red Cross Society website. To see the Red Cross in action, follow them on Facebook. Thank you!
Lower School Curriculum Night
Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday evening for the Middle School Curriculum Night. We greatly enjoyed all the engaging questions and the opportunity to share and discuss what’s ahead for the new school year.
Next up is the Lower School Curriculum Night, which will be held on Thursday, September 19 from 6 to 8:15 p.m. Parents are invited to arrive at 5:30 p.m. for optional tours of the new spaces in the Schoolhouse.
Lunch & Snack Menu
September 16 to September 20
Snack: Teddy Graham; fruit cup
Lunch: macaroni and cheese; baked ham; broccoli; greens with balsamic
Snack: saltines; bananas
Lunch: grilled chicken; grilled tofu; green beans; sweet potato fries; broccoli salad
Snack: Tostitos; apples
Lunch: hamburgers; veggie burgers; pickles; sliced tomato; cheese; peas and corn; pretzel twists; iceberg lettuce, tomato, and ranch dressing
Snack: Nutri-Grain bars; pears
Lunch: roasted “BDS” butternut squash soup; wheatberry grilled cheese; roasted Mediterranean vegetables; Asian greens with peppers
Sign-Up Still Open for the Fall
Interested in joining a musical ensemble? There is still time to sign up! Students are welcome to drop in and try out the different ensembles through Friday, September 27.
Please refer to the Music and Ensembles Program Brochure for ensemble meeting times and requirements for joining. The program is also available in the Schoolhouse lobby area. Please reach out to the director of the specific ensemble(s) your student may be interested in via email if you have any questions. They will be happy to speak with you about their program(s).
Please note: The lower school chorus is full and is not able to accept any additional students at this time.
Sandoski, Buckley-Jones, and Colangelo All PR at Intrasquad Meet
Following the summer break, it usually takes our cross country runners a few weeks to get up to their in-season speed. Typically, runners won’t attain their PRs from last year until the middle of the season as their bodies acclimate to the distance. This year, someone forgot to tell that to Miles Sandoski (Grade 8), Henry Buckley-Jones (Grade 7) and Alexander Colangelo (Grade 7). On Thursday, the trio finished 1-2-3 during the team’s first intrasquad meet and all recorded PRs on the home course. With talent at the top of the lineup and the most depth (23 runners) in program history, expectations are high for Belmont Day cross country this fall.
More Athletics News
As veterans of the girls’ JV soccer team, seventh grade classmates Audrey Wu and Claire LaFarge will be counted on to provide leadership to a young team this fall.
Head coach Andy Rentschler has been impressed with the play of first-year goaltender Harry Reitshammer. “Harry brings great size and athleticism to the position”.
Colby Morris and Bernie Mattox were the lone sixth graders selected to the varsity teams in their respective sports. Morris (girls’ soccer) and Mattox (flag football) will each be counted on for significant play time.
Bree LeGrand and Emma Kass each had a great week of practice on the football field and are primed for a successful season on the JV team this fall.
Aaniya Riddick and Julia Clayton have provided strong leadership on the field hockey pitch thus far. With 20 athletes on the roster, every eighth grader will need to step up this season.
Launching into the Arts
It’s been a wonderful week of artists getting back to work in the studios at Belmont Day! Students in pre-kindergarten to grade five have various arts classes in grade-level half-groups or third-groups once a week for the entire year. In middle school, sixth graders participate in two different arts classes during each trimester. Dubbed the Arts Launch, the program includes a class in woodworking, music, theater, digital technology, 2D visual art, and 3D visual art, and serves as a terrific base and springboard for the seventh and eighth grade elective arts classes.
Seventh and eighth graders have mixed-grade level arts elective classes during arts block each week. Each student takes two different arts classes during each trimester and has the opportunity to participate in the musical during the winter term. This year, seventh and eighth graders chose from a slate of 38 elective classes from the different arts disciplines taught at BDS: visual art, music, performing arts, woodworking, and digital technology.
More Arts News
2019-20 Fall Trimester Grades 7/8 Arts Electives:
- Pottery Wheel
- Comedy Through the Ages
- Fiber Explosion
- Global Goals
- Latino Music
- ½ Cubic Foot of Wood
- Print Shop
- Costume Design & Costuming
- Piecing it Together: Collage
- Composer’s Forum
- Public Speaking
If you are on campus, be sure to check out the displays of student artwork currently hanging in the Schoolhouse hallways by Coolidge Hall, as well as on the mezzanine level in the Barn.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION NEWS
PE Gets Off to a Rocking Start
Our first full week of physical education classes was a blast! Our students came to the Barn and Downing gyms full of energy and ready to move. We learned the rules and procedures for transitioning to new spaces and delighted in getting to know one another through dynamic play. Partners worked together to toss and catch each other’s scarves, our students diligently followed the captain’s commands in the game of shipwreck, and line tag and turtle tag got everyone hustling. Our fourth and fifth graders even got to complete a scavenger hunt using the whole campus as a grounds for exploration and movement.
One of our FAQs this week was, “I’m already wearing sneakers, why do I need separate shoes for PE?” As we all know, this early fall sunshine won’t last, and we explained that to keep our gym free of debris, it’s essential that we change our shoes before class. Keeping our gym floors clean keeps our program safe, as does having proper footwear that is supportive and designed for movement.
As our students progress through the curriculum and join the athletics program, this will also reinforce the habit of preparedness that we expect of our athletes, who come ready to change into appropriate practice clothing every day. To this end, we’d like to remind parents that all students are asked to leave a dedicated pair of PE shoes at school. We have loaner bins in case anyone forgets their shoes, and are accepting donations of sneakers that no longer fit but are still in good condition. We look forward to building on our early momentum and staying active and inspired throughout the school year.
GRANDPARENTS’ & SPECIAL FRIENDS’ VISITING DAY
RSVP All Guests by Oct. 11
Our annual Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Visiting Day will be held on Friday, October 18.
We have a new RSVP process this year. We are asking parents to complete the registration on behalf of their child’s grandparents or special friends. Kindly reply for your child’s guests no later than Friday, October 11. And please note that grandparents and special friends do not receive an invitation from the school.
Guests will have the opportunity to attend an assembly, spend time in the classrooms, and enjoy connecting with BDS faculty. We understand that not all children can have their grandparents in attendance. We encourage these children to invite another special adult—a family friend, another relative, or a neighbor.
Click here to RSVP!
Pre-k Sibling Applications Due Early in the Fall
Parents of current BDS students who have a younger child who will be four-years-old by September 1, 2020 are eligible to participate in our early admission to pre-kindergarten process this fall.
Families with pre-k sibling applicants should visit www.ravenna-hub.com, create an account, and then add Belmont Day School. When you select the Pre-k Sibling/Faculty Child Application option, you will see detailed information about the necessary steps to have your child considered in this priority round of admission.
With interview and application deadlines approaching quickly on October 15, we encourage you to begin the application process right away. If you have questions, please email [email protected].
Library Committee Meeting
Monday, Sept. 23 at 8:15 a.m.
Join us to learn what the group is all about and how you can support the work of the Erskine Library.
Visiting Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Tuesday, October 1
Jennifer Nielsen, the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award winner for 2019, will be at BDS to discuss her latest historical thriller, Words on Fire. Students in grades 4 to 6 will all be attending her presentation and students in Grades 7 and 8 will have the option of signing up in advance to attend during the middle school clubs block. Pre-orders of her new book and other titles are available through Belmont Books. Please follow the instructions on this flyer if you are interested in having a book signed and personalized for your student on the day of the event.
Parent Resource Available
CommonSense Media is an excellent resource for parents that provides tips and guidance on a wide variety of subjects and content including cell phone use, cyberbullying, and movie reviews. Librarian Amy Sprung and nurse Liz LaRocque are updating the school’s digital citizenship and health and wellness programs using some of the materials found on the CommonSense Media site. Of note, the “Parents Need to Know” section of the site provides insights on the latest trends and apps. So, if you hear of some new app kids are using, we highly recommend making the site the first stop to learn more.
Password Changes for Guest Wifi and Parent Site
The password for the BDS Guest wifi network will be changed on Monday, September 16. An email will be sent out at that time and signs will be posted in the gallery and other places throughout the school to inform the community of the new password.
A password is longer required to view the Parent Site, which can be accessed from the school’s public website by clicking “Communities” then “Parents” in the top navigation. The Parent Site is no longer password protected as the directory is now accessed securely via the DirectorySpot app.
New No-Idling Magnet on Its Way!
Belmont Day has a new NO IDLING magnet. Your student is bringing one home this week in their Friday Folder. Fourth grader Grace Sullivan created the new illustration last spring as part of an all-school design challenge.
As a community, we have agreed to only idle our cars as we are moving through the pick-up and drop off lines. Plan ahead as the weather gets cooler. At BDS we turn off car engines to help conserve energy, promote good health, and model good citizenship. Not only that, Massachusetts has an anti-idling law that states:
“No person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while said vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time in excess of five minutes.”
Every time you turn off your car engine instead of idling you will:
- Make the air healthier by cutting down on hazardous pollution in your town or community.
- Help the environment. For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released (carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global warming).
- Save money and save fuel. Save between 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel for every hour of not idling.
It’s Not Too Late to Get on the Bus!
If you have considered taking advantage of bus transportation for your student but have not signed up yet, there is still time. Limited enrollment is available on the Cambridge and WAM (Winchester, Arlington, Medford) lines. Please complete a Bus Enrollment Form by Tuesday, October 2. If you have questions, contact bus coordinator Anderson Santos.
Parents’ Association News
Thank you to all who have contributed your PA dues! We appreciate your support in helping to create engaging enrichment assemblies, supporting our school, and helping our children have a marvelous year at BDS. If you have not paid your dues, we suggest $50 per family (any additional amount is tax-deductible). You can pay by check or cash, and leave your contribution in the mailbox by the front desk or mail it directly to the school (Attn: PA Treasurer). If you have any questions, please contact Alex Min, PA Treasurer, at [email protected].
Please join the community at our first enrichment assembly on Friday, September 20 at 8:50am in the Palandjian Arts Center. The assembly will feature an interactive performance by Gene Shinozaki, a world-famous beat-box artist. He will perform and demonstrate techniques interactively and answer questions. Visit geneshinozaki.com for more information.
PA Book Club
The parent book club will meet on Friday, October 3 at 8:15 a.m. to discuss our summer reading book, War and Peace. The location is TBD and will be announced in a future Scoop. If you have questions, please contact Nareeluck Stephenson at [email protected]
Would you like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at BDS? There are several ways to get involved and meet people along the way. Click here to see all the great PA volunteer opportunities.
Get In Touch
We encourage all parents to connect with the parents’ association. If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch at [email protected]
Two Exhibits Explore Climate Change
The Belmont Gallery of Art will present two shows in the coming weeks on the environmental crisis. “Impact: Climate Change,” features a collaboration of work by members of the Tapestry Weavers West and the Tapestry Weavers in New England. “Plastic Sea/Changing Earth,” presents the textile works of Melrose-based artist Agusta Augustsson.
“Impact: Climate Change” will be on view at the BGA from September 8 through October 13 in the Homer Building, third floor, at 13 Moore St., Belmont. “Plastic Sea/Changing Earth” will be on display at the Belmont Library, 336 Concord Avenue, from September 7 to October 23. For more information, visit the Belmont Gallery of Art website.
You can share a link to the entire newsletter here—or share individual articles using the icons to the right of each article.