12/6/19 Weekly Reflection

Written by Chelle Wabrek Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs

Need an inspirational message to start the weekend?  Look no farther than the community building:
It’s a valuable message, not just as we encourage our students’ lives as authors, but for us to hang onto when the pressure is on….as it might be for teachers who are preparing for report cards, performances, exams and holidays simultaneously.  Your heroism is evident across the Lovett campus, always striving to help our students better know themselves and value the learning process. 

While I was able to sneak out of physics class before I was called on to answer a question about the horizontal displacement of a projectile, I did get to see strategies in action.  Color coding trajectory lines allowed students to improve memory and categorize difficult information with greater ease. Color stimuli activate several regions of the brain improving recall.  
In support of John Hattie’s maxim that the greatest impact on student achievement comes when students become teachers of their own learning, AP Lit students took to the boards, assigned to teach their classmates the ins and out of sonnets, sestinas and villanelles. 
Ninth grade English were “wowed” by guest lecturer Rev Allen who explored Holden Caulfield’s religious philosophies (“I like almost everyone in the Bible better than the Disciples,” the famed teen notes.) with them.  He launched their time together by asking them to explain the book to him, included detailed descriptions of Holden and his foil in the “disciple discussion,” Arthur Childs. His strategy required them to give detailed information for an authentic reason -- an excellent form of review to which they responded far better than if the teacher had simply asked for the plot points of the text. 
Middle school math was ablaze with productive teaching strategies as well as students drew images on a coordinate plane, listed the point required to produce the image and then created a set of instructions that would require a classmate to reproduce the image. They enacted the skills explored in class and had to shift perspective to create the detailed instructions.  
Math talk was also alive and well in that division as students talked through strategies for solving inequalities. Explaining to one another they way to solve a problem and the reasoning behind it is well-supported in the research to improve memory and understanding and boost math confidence. 
All the while, outside in the courtyard students engaged in a simulation of water scarcity and insecurity.  Divided into families, students had to find the water source on campus, in this case a teacher with a bucket on the tennis courts, and use a variety of tools to bring water back to their family. Some of the tools used to retrieve water were broken, others had to walk too far impacting the amount of water that could be carried, while other families received contaminated water. The social simulation required some families to band together, while others separated to cover more ground. Students debriefed the simulation with serious tones and generous hearts, looking for ways their everyday actions could impact this global challenge. 
A stop by Lower School left me fully informed on a variety of important factual issues.  Students investigated nonfiction text features and created their own fact sheets based on individual research.  Did you know that:
  • It is too cold to breath on Saturn.
  • It is impossible to walk on Uranus. 
  • 1,300,000 Earths fit in the Sun.
  • There is a firefighting foam that can be sprayed on homes if a wildfire is coming. 
Other students explained the beauty of a big bin of legos over the store bought lego sets that come with lots of directions and make only one thing. 
  • “We can make almost ANYTHING out of these legos and then we can make a story with them.”
  • “These legos let you make a space ship in whatever way YOU think a spaceship should be.”
  • “My mom even can’t follow those directions from those set.”  
What a valuable gift time for play of this kind is for students.  Eva Lovett notes that schools should see to it that students “work and play constantly” to build collaboration and authentic use of the imagination.  

And speaking of Mrs. Lovett, Lower Schoolers have embarked on deep dive into the history of Lovett, hearing stories and devouring primary sources to help them piece together the origin story of our school.  Most recently they have turned their attention to the “future of Lovett,” and have interviewed a wide variety of faculty and staff to hear their plans for the future. Gray Kelly was the most recent interviewee and he faced a large number of questions about sustainability and the long term use of Lovett’s physical spaces. 
Thank you for all of these hero moments that make up the magical days of our students!  “There’s nothing more boring than an easy hero’s journey.” Thank you for journeying with us!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend and most importantly, Geaux Tigers!


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