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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

Leonardo and Lisa Visit a Class of Renaissance Kids

“Good afternoon, Lisa. I’m so glad we could take a break from painting to join this kindergarten class.”

“Hello, Leonardo.” 

So began Paul’s and Rashida’s kindergarten class just before Thanksgiving break, one that took students all the way back to 15th century Florence to meet Leonardo da Vinci (Paul) and Mona Lisa (Rashida). 

Environmental Citizenship Program Launches Ambassadorship Role

Kindergarten associate teacher Carrie Stouffer has been named Nueva’s first lower school environmental citizenship ambassador. The role of the environmental citizenship ambassador evolved from the school’s desire to build strong, responsive, and effective relationships with faculty and division heads in all three divisions.

A PreK student playing in a puddle in a sandbox

PreK students have been our pioneers of hybrid learning! Watch scenes from their life on campus and hear more from students about their experiences this year.

Lower School Mavericks Days Provide Teachers Time to Prepare for our Return to Campus

As the lower school plans to return to campus came into greater focus late last month, Lower School Head Megan Terra felt strongly that she needed to find an extended amount of time for her teachers to plan, discuss, and put in action all that is involved with welcoming students back to their in-person classrooms.

Lower school teachers were incredibly grateful for the time Megan and our Mavericks Days programs afforded them. They used the time to prepare, create, and discuss every aspect of the upcoming return to campus.

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.