A Concert of Original Songs! Future City Expos! Greek Tragedies! It's a Culminating-Event-a-palooza!

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!

The Second Grade World’s Fair: Future City Expo!

Learning about the past to imagine the future ... that’s what second graders have been doing all year long, and they were unbelievably excited to share all of their hard work, learning and creativity with their families at the Second Grade World’s Fair: Future City Expo. 

This year, the second graders dove into NYC’s history while focusing on the innovative ways that New Yorkers solved problems. With a solid grasp of the city’s past, they then identified problems New Yorkers currently face in the broad categories of housing, transportation, the environment, and community services, and worked in mixed classroom groups based on their areas of interest to design futuristic solutions to these problems. 

At the Future City Expo, they proudly showcased their innovative ideas, as well as historical fiction journal entries and "artifacts" from the perspectives of immigrants to NYC in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their amazing food trucks featuring "cuisines" from their own heritage, an interdisciplinary project that spanned across Spanish, art, and math. With our second graders at the ready, the future certainly looks brighter!

A Third Grader’s Guide to Overcoming Obstacles!

The Boulevard transformed into “A Third Grader’s Guide to Overcoming Obstacles” as our third graders presented their examples of obstacles they have seen, both in books we have read and different times in history to their families. 

These obstacles included: being treated unfairly, not having a voice, language barriers, a lack of resources, struggling with leadership, and navigating and adapting to change.  

To start their project, the students filled out graphic organizers for both our literary and historical moments. From these organizers, they created written pieces and a group poster representing our obstacle.  All of the characters and historical people used strategies to overcome their individual obstacles.  Usually the strategy someone used was directly related to the obstacle they were trying to overcome.  

Even during the “journey” of this project, our students all faced at least one obstacle. As they created their writing pieces, it was especially hard during the editing process -- sometimes they would have to start over or use outside resources to make sure their information was correct. When their pieces went to the publish phase, it could be stressful for the students, knowing they had to give our best effort.

In addition, as the students worked in  groups and had to combine their ideas into a single project, they faced even more obstacles such as agreeing on the same thing, how to assign jobs to certain people, and the time limits to finish the projects.  In the end, they all finished and navigated these obstacles using different strategies.

In all, from this project, the third graders learned a valuable lesson they will take with them throughout their educational path and even outside the classroom: that obstacles are faced by everyone.  No one is excluded whether you are a character in a book, an important person in history, or a third grade student at Speyer. While obstacles are hard to overcome, using different strategies and not giving up will help you to move past them.

A Concert of Original Songs from the Second, Third, and Fourth Graders!

A long-held Speyer tradition, it was the fabulous concert of original songs by out second, third and fourth graders! During their semester with Music Educator Ms. Hentoff, the students went further in their study of music composition and song theory, writing and composing their own original songs! From brainstorming the theme or hook of the song to composing the chorus, bridge, and melodies, our students channeled their inner Bob Dylans and Randy Newmans, creating some amazing works. 

Not just composing little dittys, our students chose to tackle some heavy topics with their songs. The themes: what it means to be a Speyer Dragon, a (very meta) song about a song, questions, gender equality, breaking barriers of racism, and how to conquer obstacles in our lives. We have the truly remarkable lyrics HERE that you can read! 

Fifth Grade’s Greek Tragedy Performances of “Iphigenia in Aulis" and "Hecuba"!

What is also becoming a Speyer tradition, the fifth graders once again donned traditional Greek costumes and transformed the Dining Hall into a Speyer-ized version of a Greek theater! 

During their last unit of study of the school year, the students read and studied the Iliad and discussed the themes of revenge, the depiction of powerless but influential women, and the heroic but trivial feats of men. They also debated over whether the tragic end of all of the characters were fated by the gods or the will of the characters. 

The fifth graders connected and understood how the same themes ran through the two class plays, "Iphigenia in Aulis" and "Hecuba." Their two performances of these plays by Euripides portrayed the psychological horror of the aftermath of war through the portrayals of Hecuba and Clytemnestra, who became victims and vehicles of revenge and bloodshed. Going one step further, students wrote lines for the epilogue for each tragedy.

Huge shout-out to all of our students and our fearless faculty as they presented these wonderful events!

PS Thank you also to our parents for sharing photos capturing these moments!