Heritage Happenings from the Head of School

Patricia Cailler

Head of School


Behind the Scenes

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Once again, our youngest students amazed us with their recent performance at our All-School Assembly on Dads & Granddads Day.
So let’s take a peek behind the scenes and see how our talented faculty plan and rehearse for this amazing event. At Peninsula Heritage, this is never a cookie-cutter approach. Rather, the songs and the choreography are selected to highlight our students’ particular likes and abilities.Dancing
Way back in December, Miss Deborah Wilcox, our Dance and Drama teacher, came to the Primary Center and began leading movement games with the children; the children learned to know and trust Miss Deb, and vice versa. She taught the students the songs and provided the teachers with the written words and a CD of the songs, so the teachers could incorporate these in the course of a day’s activities.
For the speaking parts, each child shared with one of her teachers what things they like about their dad. These thoughts were transcribed onto strips of paper, and during rehearsals in the classroom, each child stepped to a pretend microphone and spoke his part.
“These children are like sponges!” remarked teacher Christy Burden. “Within a short time, each child knew everyone else’s part!”Three Beards
For their costumes, the children brought in several of their favorite t-shirts, and working with Miss Deb, the best shirt was chosen for the performance.
Now it was time to bring it all together, still in the classroom in order to build the children’s confidence. With tape strips on the floor to aid the students in their dance and speaking positions, they rehearsed and became comfortable with the flow of the performance. Only then did they go out into the Amphitheater for their final rehearsals. This approach is designed to build self-assurance at each level of the performing process.
We all saw their fabulous performance! The children were enthusiastic and projected energy and happiness as they sang, danced, and spoke their parts – a wonderful example of our extraordinary Performing Arts program AND our talented students!

Volcano Eruptions in Science

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

This week our Primary Center students learned about volcanic eruptions. Starting with a diagram of a volcano, science teacher Mrs. Wendy Nguyen explained how hot lava Ingredients for Volcanorises from a subterranean magma chamber, erupts out of the mouth of the volcano, emitting an ash cloud, with hot lava traveling down the side of the volcano.
Some of these young students knew that there are volcanoes in Hawaii and even knew of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. Mrs. Nguyen explained that some volcanoes are sleeping (dormant) and others are awake (active).Demonstrating Volcano
Using a clay model volcano filled with baking soda and a drop of red food coloring. Mrs. Nguyen poured in vinegar so the children could see an acid-base reaction taking place, producing a gas (carbon dioxide) and water, seen as red liquid bubbling out of the mouth of the volcano model.
“We want to see it again!” exclaimed the children. Each student then had the opportunity to replicate the demonstration, followed by a delicious treat. Mrs. Nguyen had created a model volcano made from chocolate Rice Crispy treats. Using red soda poured onto lemon fizz powder, the students witnessed another volcanic eruption – except this one they could eat! Slices of the chocolate volcano were enjoyed by all!

Differentiated Instruction in Mathematics

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

“Differentiated instruction” has recently become a buzz word in education, but Peninsula Heritage School has been actively engaged in differentiated instruction for years!
One example is the mathematics program throughout the school. Since math is taught during the first hour in the elementary grades, Explaining the Riemann Zeta Functiona gifted Kindergarten student, for instance, leaves his class during this time and walks to the First Grade room where he is a part of the First Grade math class. This is the same throughout the school, and we have students who are two (and sometimes three) grades above their age group in math. However, these students return to their age-appropriate class for the balance of their subjects as well as recess, lunch, and P.E. This configuration nurtures all the students’ social/emotional growth.
In the Seventh and Eighth Grades, the math courses offered at PHS include pre-algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry.
In addition to their coursework, Eighth Grade students in Geometry are assigned presentation topics in three categories on a rotating basis: Famous Mathematicians, Mathematical Current Events, and Subtopics of Mathematics. Today, one of our students gave a Current Events presentation about the latest work on the Riemann Zeta Function, complete with computer-generated graphs and equations.
While these student presentations are only four minutes in length, they introduce our students to the world of mathematics beyond Geometry and also give them additional practice in presenting information in front of a group.
Congratulations, Samantha, on today’s presentation!

VEX IQ Robotics

Friday, January 6th, 2017

A group of our PHS Eighth Graders have been selected to attend an advanced robotics course (VEX IQ & Robotics) at the PV Net, PV Net ReSizeda non-profit STEM/ technology education center located at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall, next to the Pottery Barn store. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn more about robotics and programming.
If you’re new to robotics, VEX IQ is a robotics platform designed to transform STEM learning for young students. Our Eighth Graders can immediately become engaged in individual and group robotics projects and create robots with this intuitive, toolless system.
Our thanks go to PHS parent Mrs. Kate McKenna, who has graciously offered to drive these students to the PV Net for these classes, and to Sixth Grade teacher Eileen Mahoney for coordinating the details of this course.

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