While I was teaching 3rd and 4th graders about sound and music, students dissected harmonicas to make technical drawings. Here, one student attempts to get inside my accordion so the class can compare reed instruments.
Our corridor is abuzz with election excitement – not Chuy v. Rahm – but the unfolding drama of which of twenty recent children’s books will win the vote of Illinois’ K-3 children for this year’s Monarch Award. Will it be the goose who outwits the fox? The crayons that quit their jobs? Hellen Keller or Jane Goodall? The winner of this statewide contest will be announced tomorrow, and Ancona’s students will learn whether they picked the statewide winner!
Ancona Librarian Marsha Stewart is on a personal mission to ensure that every Ancona student LOVES reading, because research consistently shows that students who choose to read for enjoyment have better literacy and overall school outcomes, not to mention great pleasure throughout their lives. Ms. Marsha’s annual Monarch election is a great complement to our Reading Workshops, creating genuine excitement about books and helping to imbue to our youngest readers with the passion for independent reading.
Ancona’s preprimary through second grade students have been voting in Monarch elections for over 10 years, and as with all great teaching, Ms. Marsha has continually improved and enhanced the experience. In January and February, Ms. Marsha reads 10 of the 20 nominated books to the children and places sets of books into the classrooms for the teachers and children to read and reread. The children are encouraged to read as critics, thinking and conversing about what they like, what makes a good book and what makes one book better than another. They learn about different genres, because the books include a variety of fiction, non-fiction, biography and poetry. Many children read all 20 books, and as the deadline for the election draws near, they are encouraged to campaign for their favorites. To do this, they must learn how to persuade others.
Campaign posters and large group presentations are a thing of the past. Using technology as an interactive learning tool, Ms. Marsha helped the children to make short video ads for their books. Individuals and small groups planned their own presentations. It’s interesting to compare the free-for-all ads of the 1st graders with the more organized, often written ads of the 2nd graders, showing the accumulated impact of their reading and writing workshops.
On the Monarch campaign display in the Umeh Foyer, QR Codes make it possible for anyone to view one or more of the videos. All week long, children have been using their iPads to scan the QR Codes and view the ads. As they decided how to cast their ballots, they could see that they are members of a community of readers, sharing the love of these books with one another. They also had a lesson in advocacy, learning that their voices matter and their votes count. They are a part of a wider community, and they can try to influence the outcome!
To see some of the videos yourself, scan these QR Codes with your mobile device. If you don’t have a QR Reader, try downloading a QR code reader app.
After their Spanish immersion classes, Ancona 8th graders took a local bus to the Santa Domingo Cultural Center of Oaxaca. The Cultural Center features the most baroque architecture found in Mexico. A former convent, it also houses some of Mexico’s historically treasured artifacts, ancient books, art and a picturesque Ethnobotanical Garden in the area that was once occupied by the convent’s orchards.
Our students discussed the indigenous people of Oaxaca and reflected on their 8th grade cultural studies in Art, Spanish and Humanities. They are given assignments before they leave geared specifically towards the cultural and educational trips they will take this week.
Views captured from inside the Cultural Center.
Our 8th graders are putting their many years of language and cultural studies at Ancona to work as they navigate Oaxaca, Mexico. It is truly amazing to see them mastering the language and engaging in authentic experiences that require confident risk taking. They may be visitors, but they are not strangers to their surroundings. Ancona’s educational approach coupled with our world- class World Language Program has prepared them for this week and as far as I can see, for life. Follow them here >.
The Instituto Cultural Oaxaca is Oaxaca’s oldest and most established language schools. They immerse students in the beauty of the Spanish language with an emphasis on understanding all aspects of the wonderfully diverse Oaxacan culture. Our 8th graders were dropped off this morning by their host families for Day One of immersion!
Ancona 8th graders enjoy a long walked down Alcalá, one of the main thoroughfares in Oaxaca. They use their Spanish skills to speak with the local artisans and street vendors. They are encouraged to be keen observers by their group leaders. They are guided to embrace not only what they see and hear, but pay special attention to how they feel about this experience for later reflection with the larger group.
After touching down in Mexico City, students are encouraged to know that their final destination
is only 45 minutes away via one more flight. It’s becoming very real!
Ancona’s confident risk takers are ready to take on Oaxaca! Immersion begins pronto.
Ancona’s class of 2015 arrive safely in Oaxaca, Mexico for their highly anticipated 8th grade trip . Shortly after retrieving their bags, they are greeted by their host families at the aeropuerto. This educational expedition is a culmination of the experiential, authentic education we offer children for eleven years of their young lives. Check back for updates on their experience and visit our Ancona School facebook page for uncut footage and photos.
For over three decades, Bonnie L. Wishne’s leadership and vision has grown Ancona into a living breathing educational organism, powered by the genius of all children. Ancona’s unwavering commitment to a world-class education and diversity is unparalleled because of Bonnie. Ancona’s mission is unbreakable because of Bonnie. It’s no surprise that Ancona stands strong at 53 years because of Bonnie.
Before she sets her sights on Ancona’s strategic activities, we invite you to join us for an all-community weekend celebrating the leadership and vision of Head of the Ancona School, Bonnie L. Wishne. Please mark your calendars for the weekend of May 29-31. We’re planning a 3-Day extravaganza of events and entertainment celebrating Bonnie. A formal invitation and event details are forthcoming.
We are sad to announce that Kendra Crowder will be departing Ancona. Kendra was hired as our Staff Accountant just a few months ago in November. Since then, she has been instrumental in supporting Ancona’s business operations. She has also been a true professional and a joy to work with.
Kendra will be joining Continental Anesthesia as their Senior Accountant. Her last day will be next Friday, March 13. Feel free to wish her well at 773.924.2356 ext. 247. Visit the careers section of the Ancona website regarding the position description.