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From the Lower School Student Newsletter Team
Lower School Students

Each week, Lower School Division Head Megan Terra sends out a Lower School newsletter. Recently, she’s invited interested students to contribute, and six students have begun writing articles for this newsletter. Read on for a sampling of their work about what's happening in Nueva classrooms, news in the world, and ways to stay connected and busy during this time.

Tuesday’s Community Meeting
By Bence O., fourth grader

Lee Fertig will be the head of school next year, and came to a community meeting to talk with us. He explained his long traveling journey to us. Lee was born in New York, then moved to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Barcelona in Spain, Belgium, and now he will come to San Francisco. It was a very long journey. 

He said, “It was a long but fun journey.” 

It really sounded fun. It took about 32 years, which would mean he spent an average of four years in each spot. 

Lee has had experience as a head of school before, and is looking forward to being the head of another school! After Lee told us about that, we went around and explained what we liked about Nueva. Some of our responses were:

  • "I like all the freedom we have and recess spots we’re allowed to go to."
  • "I like how kind and welcoming everyone is."
  • "I like that the teachers are so willing to teach us new things. I learn so many new things every day!"
  • "I appreciate the K lawn."
  • "I like that the teachers are so supportive and willing to help everybody."


What’s an Earworm? It’s Not What You Think!
By Kylie E.-M., third grader

Why do we get songs stuck in our heads? If a song is stuck in your head, it's called an earworm. Now you're probably wondering "What's an earworm?" Don't worry, it's not an actual worm in your ear. It's actually a song that replays on a loop in your head. They are quite common, but the reason for them is still a mystery researchers are trying to solve. Can't get a song out of your head? You've probably got an earworm. 

About 91 percent of people have earworms at least once a week, and once a day, 25 percent of people have them. Research suggests that it has to do with the motor cortex. It controls your movement. The movement is connected to the music by all the activity in the regions of the brain that plan and carry out motion.

After you’ve heard a song at least four or five times, it might randomly pop into your mind because you seem to remember some of it. How to get rid of them? You can distract yourself by listening to music, practicing or listening to language, or doing logic puzzles and things you like to do.


Guide Dogs and Service Dogs
By Helena G., first grader

On May 7, the first grade had a presentation about guide dogs and service dogs. We did it on Zoom. My grade talked about guide dogs and service dogs with a visitor. We  learned about the different things they do; they do different things but they’re very similar. Guide dogs are not a GPS but help you do some things safely if you're blind, like cross a road or not bump into anyone. A service dog is more like someone who sticks around with you and comforts you, because some people get very nervous. They both go through a lot of training almost all their life until someone who needs that dog comes along.  It’s a good thing that they love to work hard, and it’s even better that they were invented. 


Virtual Campfire Night: The Lowdown
By Elbert P., second grader

Lower School students are invited to join us for Virtual Campfire Night! The date (as a reminder) of VCN is May 28. We hope we can get our fun and joyful Nueva spirit back together and have some fun, getting back together as a community.

Our estimated schedule is

5:30 p.m.  Opening Campfire (Skits and Songs)

                   Pre-K & K                    1st & up   

5:50         Snack time                    Trail Games (Scavenger hunt, Best s’mores, etc.)

6:10         Storytime                       Trail Games

6:30          End                               Snack Time

7:00                                               Storytime

7:30                                               End

Despite the shelter-in-place, we hope to keep the Nueva spirit and the smiles on our faces. GO NUEVA! LET’S KEEP PUSHING THROUGH!


Videos to Watch While You're at Home
By Brandon N., third grader

There are lots of entertaining channels to watch in quarantine. Some educational channels you should check out are: Ted-ed, Vihart, CrashCourse, SciShow, Houston zoo, and Art for kids. I recommend Ted-ed and CrashCourse to people who like a lot of different subjects. Some of the subjects they cover in CrashCourse are: chemistry, history, physics, psychology, anatomy, physiology. I recommend Vihart to those math lovers and PI Haters/Lovers to check out Viharts video on Tau. (She might talk a little too fast!) SciShow is good for those who like learning about things. Science is involved, and you can learn about so many things. Houston Zoo is great for you guys who like animals. There’s really cool Web Cams and you can see all these animals. Art for kids is really great for drawing. Even if you don’t they’re really cool, you should check it out! 

Brown Bag Concert 
by Brandon N., third grader

Our last online Brown Bag Concert was held on Thursday, May 14. About 60 people were at the brown bag (including the participants), and 14 individuals/teams performed. The instruments that were played at the brown bag included piano, guitar, violin, and cello. Some of the people who participated were parents! Even though the audio cracks up a little, the online Brown Bag Concert makes participants work really hard, so their music skills increase. 

In my opinion, Nueva should never stop having brown bags because people really enjoy playing and listening to others play. Also, kids are motivated to practice their instruments for longer periods of time because they want to impress their friends and other people. It’s really nice for everyone to still be able to showcase their talents. 


Community Partner Project
By Beckett B., first grader

Community partners help students stay connected to Nueva. Starting in the first grade, students list five people who work at Nueva that they want to learn more about. The teachers then pick one out of the five people students suggested and assign them a community partner. My partner is Izzy Mayer, who is going to be a second-grade teacher next year. We write notes to each other and I ask her lots of questions that she can answer. I have learned that she lives with her family and that she loves teaching. The best part of having a community partner is that you get to write letters back and forth to improve your handwriting. I think that everybody should have a community partner in every grade.

Community partners are amazing!


Daddy's Back
by Elbert P., second grader


Read More

Investigation Provides Foundational Theme of Kindergarten

Questions abound in our lower school classrooms, and student inquiry is the driving force behind the yearlong theme in kindergarten. This theme of investigation provides a through line for a number of explorations that kindergarteners will engage in over the course of the year, the first of which is a focus on identity. 

Literably Literally Helps Build Student Literacy

With the move to remote learning, and the challenges teachers face of being able to meet one-on-one with their young students, reading specialist Liza Zassenhaus introduced the lower school faculty to Literably, a reading assessment tool that provides teachers with information on student accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. 

Lower School Social-emotional Learning Classes Equip Students with Important Remote Learning Skills

Since remote learning began, students have been faced with a multitude of challenges that are unique to the times. Dedicated weekly social-emotional learning (SEL) classes for students in 1st through 12th grades (SEL is integrated into the curriculum in preK and K) have proven to be particularly valuable during this time, equipping students with the tools needed to develop resilience, confidence, and well-being. 

In the spring, lower school SEL specialist Lisa Hinshelwood noticed there was a need for third and fourth grade students to develop executive skills, such as skills around organization, planning, and prioritization. 

Lower School Hosts Virtual STEAMlet Expo

The Lower School STEAMlet Expo was originally  scheduled to take place March 13, the first day of Nueva’s campus closure. While the event could not be held in person this year, it did move into a virtual space.

Traveling Back in Time

At Nueva, you can travel the world. From ancient Egypt and Mali to Suva, Fiji, we are constantly exploring. The fourth graders, on April 8, traveled back approximately 3,000 years ago to the School of Athens. 

Kindergarten Team Incorporates the “Nueva Way” into Remote Learning Space

Our Nueva teachers have worked incredibly hard to bring the “Nueva Way” educational experience to our students across all divisions in this new remote learning space. Kindergarten teachers have not only approached remote learning as student-centered, they have also approached remote learning as parent-centered.