It’s that time again when our Lower School students get their groove on in the most amazing way. We’re so excited to have Kelly, Lizzie, Tim, Jaimie, and Seiko, our artist-educators from the National Dance Institute (NDI) back for another year of exploring dance and music through the lens of a specific year-long theme. They will be sharing different styles of dance to each grade, providing new challenges in their sequential NDI curriculum, and working with the Lower School teachers to find connections between this year’s theme and grade-specific curriculum. Of course, all of the hard-work will culminate in a fabulous performance next May!
It was once again time to kick off Speyer’s Financial Literacy Program, with members of the eighth grade officially “handing off” the responsibility for management of Speyer’s Financial Literacy Fund Portfolio to a very eager seventh grade. Watching the events of the morning, one could say the seventh graders are very invested in this aspect of their curriculum...c’mon, we had to go there!
“What makes a great Speyer teacher?” It is a question often asked, and we recently posed it to one of our first grade teachers, Samantha Gabrielli. Among other insights, she noted, “The Speyer teacher makes sure everyone gets what they need, academically and socially, in order to reach their potential. They let great ideas flourish and are constantly reflecting and refining, while teaching students to do the same…when you see how accelerated students thrive in an environment that balances freedom and guidance, you see the purpose in being fearless.”
But how do our teachers know how to do this? By being students themselves. Our teachers are just as curious and passionate as the children in their classroom. Over the summer, our faculty used their time away from Speyer learning – exploring new skills, examining classroom practices, and talking with experts, many specifically in the field of gifted education. Each of them brought what they learned back to Speyer, sharing with their fellow faculty members what they discovered. Wondering what they learned? Read on for more details!
Speyer’s Middle School took a break from its usual Friday schedule and held the Third Annual Academic Bootcamp. The day-long “bootcamp” allowed our Middle Schoolers to become oriented with the various technology tools they will use over the course of the year, discuss key executive functioning skills, and foster a sense of community.
In the first Lower School Assembly of the school year, the Lower School Team brought to life the book ish by Peter H. Reynolds. The book follows a little boy Ramon as he rekindles and rediscovers his love of drawing…even though his pictures aren’t perfect. Exploring the book’s themes of believing in yourself and remembering the beauty of the non-perfect “–ish” ness of learning was the best way to wrap up our first full week of school!
They are about to graduate, but that didn’t deter them from one final culminating event. In a project that truly pulled together all they had learned in the nine years they were here at Speyer, our eighth graders studied Advocacy as their last Humanities unit. Humanities teacher and Deputy Head of School Mr. Deards challenged them to start an analysis of another person’s plight, first by asking, “Do I understand what it is to live his or her life?” He has more on this amazing final culminating event!
With mere days left in the school year, it’s been only what can be called a Culminating Event-a-palooza, with concerts, presentations, and more as many of our students welcomed their families, our faculty, and other guests as they shared months and months of work, learning, and creating! We’ve got the full round-up for you!
It’s one of our favorite annual end-of-year happenings! This week, the gym transformed into a performance space as our K-4 students celebrated the theme "Voices of Change" in their "Event of the Year" with National Dance Institute. This event is a culmination of their year-long learning about activism, social justice, innovation, and togetherness.
"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." Thomas Jefferson. Knowing the power of words is one of the many skills Speyer students learn…you could even call them WordMasters. That nickname would be quite appropriate, as Speyer students placed FIRST in the nation in the latest WordMasters Challenge and THIRD nationally in the culmulative year-long competition!
This year's Middle School Financial Literacy curriculum recently wrapped for the year with some pretty nifty events: the final visit by professionals from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC); a seventh grade field trip to Goldman Sachs; and the upcoming eighth grade vote on their class gift to Speyer!
Using our amazing city and all it has to offer as an extension of the classroom, Speyer fifth graders went to the theater last week, taking in a performance of the hit Broadway show Hadestown in connection to their unit of study on ancient Greece.
City Champions + State Champions + National Champions = a trifecta of championships! Yes, Speyer’s K-6 Chess team ended the scholastic chess year as champions three times in a row! Speyer Chess trekked to the National Scholastic Elementary (K-6) Chess Championship in Nashville, TN, and conquered the field again!
Just call them Ishmael! Our sixth graders had an amazing experience as they embarked on their three-day trek to Cape Cod! It was a fabulous adventure to explore whaling — the unit of study they have been exploring in Humanities and Science — in a hands-on, tangible way.
Margaret Atwood noted, “A word after a word after a word is power.” Some Speyer eighth graders were honored for their power on the page, earning top recognition at the 2019 NYC Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!
It was a Wednesday, so we asked “Where is Speyer?” The answer: welcoming their parents to a Hall of Literature! Yes, it was the First Grade Hall of Literature, where our first graders shared books they authored with their families, which was the culmination of months of preparation!
Spotted on the Boulevard: lockers covered with Post-it notes. A curious sight, for sure...so what’s the story here? We think it had something to do with our sixth grade’s latest literary studies of the YA novel Posted and the classic To Kill a Mockingbird. To find out the scoop, we went to Middle School Learning Specialist Ms. Goldstein!
Spring is here! Birds are chirping, flower buds are blooming…and Speyer Math-letes are emerging as champions once again! We have a full round-up of the latest math competitions where Speyer’s MATHCOUNTS team and our Girls Adventures in Math (GAiM) teams amazed us and other teams from around the city and state!
Spotted in the library: two – count’em – two wonderful authors talking about their craft to Speyer students! Yes, Speyer welcomed authors Gordon Korman and Stephanie Calmanson as part of a large overview to discuss the writing process and the life of a writer with multiple grades! Click to read how they in-Speyered our students!
Our Dragon Debaters dominated the NYC Debate tournaments and took their stellar skills to the two-day Urban Debate League State Championship this past weekend. Having the greatest number of Parliamentary debaters who qualified to attend, Speyer was, once again, a force for other schools’ teams to contend with. We have all of the details and results from our Debate Coach Mr. Glasser!
Speyer launched its first-ever celebration of Brain Awareness Week! Taking part in the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research, different subject teachers came together in a collaborative effort to engage students to explore ways the brain processes information, how we can improve self-regulation, and and how exercise and mindful breathing play an important role in brain development.
What was it like for immigrants coming to America at the turn of the century? What happened at Ellis Island? How did new immigrants live in our city in the late 1800s? Our second graders have been exploring these questions and more during their Immigration at the Turn of the Century unit. To further their study, they traveled to the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side and “time-traveled” during a dramatic role-playing exercise at school!
Before heading off to Spring Break, the entire Kindergarten welcomed one and all to their Agents of Change Library, transforming the area outside of their classrooms into an interactive and informative collection about their Agents of Change.
We came, we checkmated, we conquered! Speyer Chess made their way to the 2019 NY State Scholastic Championships in Saratoga Springs, NY…and brought home not one but TWO State Championship titles and multiple individual awards!
It’s an explosion of creativity on the Boulevard, featuring art from our youngest students. Led by art teacher Ms. Keener, our Kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders explored a variety of African American artists to celebrate Black History Month!
That’s right…three straight wins for the Dragon Debaters! Going head to head or should we says argument to argument with all of the top schools from New York and New Jersey, Speyer’s debate team trekked uptown to Hamilton Grange School…and, once again, everyone knew Speyer was not going to give away their shot to take the top prizes.
Financial planning, debt management, environmental stability…all of these topics (and more) were tackled last week when the folks from PricewaterhouseCoopers took over the Boulevard and Middle School classrooms to work with Speyer's students for the second session of this year's Financial Literacy curriculum. Moving beyond the "what" to the "how," each grade explored a different financial concept.
The motto in the Dining Hall was “Move over the dumplings and make way for Macbeth,” as it became a stage for Speyer eighth graders to presented their own unique take on the Bard's famous tragedy. The second annual performance was a direct result of their exploration of the themes in the play and their weeks-long in-depth analysis of the text. In their presentation, they depicted a trial of Macbeth, with speeches from attorneys and excerpts of the play and the eigth graders' writing exercises — all to present various arguments to the audience, who was serving as the jury. With more explanation of the process and the extraordinary path from the first lines of text the students studied to their final bows, we have a guest View writer: eighth grade Humanities teacher and Deputy Head of School Mr. Deards!
It’s official: other schools tremble when the Dragons are in the house! Case in point: the recent victories at MATHCOUNTS Manhattan on Saturday, February 2! Speyer's Middle School math team took THIRD place out of 43 teams, finishing FIRST among all independent schools. As a top-five team, Speyer qualified for the state MATHCOUNTS championship in March! But the awards didn’t stop there!
Quick: state a few reasons to close Rikers Island. Now, come up with many to support it remaining open. Now, do the same exercise with the topic of safe injection sites or significantly increase funding for space exploration. This gives you a little glimpse into the life of a Speyer Debater. In two recent tournaments, the Speyer Debate Team took on teams from schools around the city and with all of the fabulous results, we have guest writer Debate Coach Mr. Glasser!