Danya Lanphear // Art Teacher
As children grow and learn, they each begin to discover personal strengths and interests. With more exposure to and experimentation in a variety of media and methods, kids learn to solve problems, take risks, and gain confidence and self-esteem. The Pond encourages an increased autonomy, with student-directed ideas, decisions and voice. Students are encouraged to explore in new ways, collaborate and problem-solve with others, and to make lots of “mistakes.” This approach encourages the creative process and spontaneous visual learning experiences. The art program approaches art as a window into cultures, or understanding the world through the lens of its art. In this way students are exposed to new ideas, peoples and places with a strong emphasis on social justice.
Aviv Kammay // Music Teacher
The music program in the Pond guides students as they discover patterns in music, compose original tunes, play percussion, string, and wind instruments, and explore music from around the world. Units integrated into classroom curriculum represent diverse cultures, customs, and traditions. By creating musical stories, our Ponders learn how music can express emotions and how to create effects such as contrast and surprise. They build pitch and rhythm literacy through movement and focused listening and by playing and creating musical games.
Instruments available for the students include pianos, keyboards, recorders, guitars, ukuleles, lap-harps, computers with recording and notation software, pitched and non-pitched percussion, electronic drum set, and more.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Sarah Melton // Health & Wellness Teacher
The Pond PE program is designed to help guide the students in discovering the joys and emotional benefits that come from play, teamwork, sportspersonship, perseverance, cooperation, effort and achievement. Class periods alternate between sport related skills and cooperative play and teamwork. Teaching friendly and inclusive game play and movement plants the seeds for lifetime love of physical activity. Individual physical development and progress is equally as important as effort, interest, and participation. We invite students to contribute their ideas to the curriculum and play. Student voice is an important component of the activities we choose and the guidelines or rules of the game. Integration with classroom thematic units and other all-school programming happens as often as possible.
We introduce exercise, sports and competition in an atmosphere of inclusion and shared celebration of our abilities and accomplishments. Through a wide variety of activities and learning goals students develop the foundation and tools necessary to understand how their bodies work and develop a physically active and healthy lifestyle. Students are able to have fun while learning to respect one another, challenging themselves and setting personal goals in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe.
Stacy Corona // Spanish Teacher
Pond Spanish reflects best practices in both world language and progressive education in a variety of ways. Students are exposed to large amounts of rich comprehensible input in Spanish – spoken language made accessible by careful word choice, repetition, gestures, and visuals – to strengthen their ear for the language. The language ear is an intuitive understanding of the inherent patterns, sounds and procedures in a language, an invaluable base for all further study. They have ample opportunity to work individually and in pairs, following their personal work rhythms while also encouraging collaboration. Language patterns are connected to real-life scenarios, student interests and hands-on experience, rather than abstract grammatical structures. Games, drama, music and illustration all play an integral role in bringing the language to life and activating all learning pathways. Students do individual reflections on which activities are the most fun, easy, challenging, useful, etc. and use this information to begin identifying their personal learning style for language.
Social justice concepts guide Pond Spanish work in multiple ways. Pond students are regularly exposed to other cultures, their traditions and ways of life through books, music, videos and artifacts. They are encouraged to practice demonstrating interest, respect, and an open mind while exploring these cultures and comparing them to their own. They also learn about historical and contemporary figures such as Dolores Huerta who worked to stop unfairness and make a difference. The classroom community embodies social justice as all members treat one another with fairness and support one another in “giving it a try,” and celebrating each other’s successes.
Miranda Waldman // Technology Teacher
Pond students build off of their tech knowledge foundation and begin to personalize their documents. They compare and evaluate programs such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs and explore different methods to present material and the advantages and disadvantages of each mode of communication. As their fine motor dexterity grows, their ability to type correctly and edit improves. Students begin to memorize the layout of the keyboard and create strategies to remember key locations adding the non-alphabetical keys, alignment, and other word processing features. We explore computer hardware and learn how each element communicates and functions together inside of a computer. Troubleshooting is a key component of the Pond curriculum. Students learn to assess a challenge in their environment to try to solve the problem. Pond students begin to think more abstractly and methodically and develop procedures like computer programmers. They set goals and find solutions to achieve them. Pond students continue to learn about digital citizenship and social justice. They learn what it means to stay safe on the internet. Ponders also look into the safety and appropriateness of online communications such as online chatting, commenting, and posting.
Angie Sparks // Librarian & Literacy Teacher
Cultivating a love of words, stories, reading, and writing continues to be a priority at the Pond level. Student read books are longer, more complex texts and they are writing longer stories. Their awareness and use of descriptive and figurative language is on the rise. They continue to be exposed to ideas of identity, diversity, and equity through picture books, biographies, folklore and mythology, poetry, beginning readers, and non-fiction. They model their own writing on a variety of mentor texts. Their fiction writing includes more elements of story, including characters in settings who have wants and needs and that need to overcome problems and find solutions. Pond students are increasingly independent in taking responsibility for finding, borrowing, renewing, and returning library books. They are beginning to write drafts and to revise with peers and teachers in their fiction, poetry, and research writing.