Camping article

Last Thursday morning, the Middle School was buzzing as students arrived with tents and backpacks, cooking equipment and sleeping bags, Frisbees and playing cards, and a healthy dose of excitement. It was departure time for the Middle School camping trip.

ICOC Page 1Nueva will be hosting a workshop on October 14 on how to identify gifted students of color to provide educators with knowledge on giftedness and how it manifests in early childhood, with a specific focus on what it may look like in children of color.

Sept23 NNA grand tradition begins again in the coming weeks as Nueva students meet in their new Lit Clubs. This tradition started 33 years ago when a teacher saw a need for a space and time for students to discuss their reading in depth. What began with one small group of Lower School students has since expanded to include all second through eighth graders, who now meet weekly to think critically and creatively about reading and to practice sharing their thoughts in conversation with their peers.

Librarian Marilyn Kimura, who leads the program, explains, “We are a population of readers at Nueva. We have kids who are precocious readers and who think deeply about their reading.”

Grounded in constructivism and Louise Rosenblatt’s theory of reader response, Lit Club allows students to explore their relationship with the literature they read. Rosenblatt believed that every reader brings their own thinking and experience to a text, and that by sharing these thoughts and experiences, a group can come to a deeper understanding of what they read. As seventh-grader Harrison K. puts it, “Sometimes you can read a book and not get what it’s saying, but if you stop and discuss it, you can think about it more, and get more out of it.”

There is an old parable, originally from India, which describes six blind men approaching an elephant. Each man feels a different part of the animal, and when asked what is in front of them, each gives a different response. One feels its side and says it is a wall; another feels its tusk and describes it as a spear; a third feels its trunk and says it is a snake. Similarly, Nueva students read the same literature and draw widely different meanings from it. In the parable, the men do not listen to each other and thus never really see the elephant. In Lit Club, students practice listening to each other’s responses and learn to value the perceptions and experiences of others. Lit Club gives students a space to dive deep and pull apart the meaning of a book with their peers, and allows them to see the full picture of the elephant.

In second through sixth grade, students are in mixed grade groupings, and facilitators use student input to help guide their choice of books. In seventh grade, students can choose their own Club by topic and are given a large voice in what their group reads. In eighth grade, students are grouped based on the language they take, giving them a deeper understanding of the culture they will be visiting in the spring. In all grades, students are not given any specific instructions on what to look for in their Lit Club reading; instead, they bring their own responses back to the group.

Stepping into a Lit Club group, no matter the grade level, you hear remarkable conversations. Students come prepared to drive the discussion by sharing their thoughts about the reading, asking questions of each other, and making connections between literature and the world. Facilitators are there to encourage everyone in the group to participate and to keep the discussion on target, but it is the students that take ownership of the process. They are the ones asking the questions and exploring the answers, working in a space where there is no right or wrong analysis of literature and where all thoughts and opinions are valued. They might even be silent for several minutes as they look back through their reading to find textual evidence to support their opinions or explore a passage that another student interpreted in a different way. They are constructing the elephant and making meaning of the world together.

It takes skillful facilitation to create the space students need to do this deep and collaborative thinking. This week, facilitators met with Marilyn for a training on how to do just that. They learn to help students ask questions, to draw out ideas from the whole group, and to recognize the validity of all of the thoughts in the room. Facilitators learn to step into a Lit Club discussion and be a reader among readers, as opposed to a leader.

Kimura says, “The part that I’m proudest of is the community-wide support. This is a labor-intensive program, and it depends on teachers, specialists, and parent volunteers to pull it off.”

Through the work of teachers, volunteers, and the students themselves, grand conversations will begin in Lit Club once again.

September 23, 2016

Sept23 NN 3The Middle School cross-country coaches are trying to instill a lifelong love of running in the cross-country teams while also teaching the athletes how to set realistic goals.

College CounselingFor the first time in the school’s history, Nueva will be graduating a senior class, sending its first round of students off to college. To make the process as smooth as possible, the College Counseling department has developed a highly individual and personalized process.



6565 Skyline Blvd.
Hillsborough, CA 94010





131 E. 28th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94403


© The Nueva School 2016 · Sitemap · Terms of Use