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Zoom Platform an Asset for Seventh-Grade Environmentalism Project
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager
 

In the spring of their seventh-grade year, students dive into a semester-long humanities study of nature. They explore nature and adventure, nature and connection, nature and commodification, and nature and activism. While this study is normally tied to the grade-level trip, the seventh-grade humanities team of Colin Tribble, Gretchen Kellough, and Emily Robertson still felt it would be worthwhile to continue with this study, even without the trip component.

“At Nueva, we don’t pick a trip location and then create curricula around that,” Colin explained. “We pick something that is worthwhile to study and then we find a place to go that will support that study. Just because we couldn’t go on the trip this year doesn’t mean that what we picked to teach our students isn’t worth teaching them.” 

Using the video panels in a Zoom call as inspiration, the teaching team created a culminating project for the unit on nature and activism in which students created their own comic strip. After dividing into four groups and selecting a decade to research—1948–59, 1960–69, 1970–79, and 1980–90—students worked together to select an important environmental event from the assigned time period and create a storyboard of the event. The last step for students was to take a screenshot of themselves in their Zoom room, organized in the correct order.

“This project was special because it really took advantage of online learning: instead of Zoom being a setback to the class, this project used Zoom as an asset,” student Carly B. said. “For our group, we chose to focus on the Ocean Dumping Act of 1988, which, as you can probably guess, banned a lot of ocean dumping. We had a good time making all of the props and getting in a position to take a screenshot. Even though one of the members in our group forgot to hold up her whiteboard, we were easily able to Photoshop it in! Overall, this project was a great example of teachers creatively using Zoom to make fun and interactive activities.”

 



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Fifth Grade Earth Science “Rocks” in Remote Setting!

Toward the end of October, fifth-grade Earth Science classes completed the fall study of Earth’s composition and the rock cycle. To help students solidify their learning and set it in stone, students created models of the rock cycle using upcycled or ephemeral materials found in their homes. 

“Poem-Worthy Noodles” Connect Community to History and Each Other: Jennifer Lin-Liu, Author of On the Noodle Road ‘Visits’ Nueva

After school on Thursday, October 21, about 40 students and teachers gathered on Zoom to enrich and extend their current interdisciplinary study of the Silk Road. They were participating in a noodle-making workshop by author and restauranteur Jennifer Lin-Liu that covered centuries of history and was generations of cross-continental journeys in the making. Organized by Jennifer Paull in conjunction with the seventh- and eighth-grade humanities teachers, this event is one of many the new Humanities Center will showcase in the years to come.

Catching Up with . . . Sarah Powell

We sat down with Sarah Powell, middle school student support specialist, to hear about her passion for supporting gifted students, particularly during this challenging time. In this interview, Sarah shares how she helps to create pathways for students’ academic development, and she provides insight into the importance of relationships between parents, teachers, and students—and superpowers!—in our middle school support program at Nueva.  

Nueva Students Welcome Families to the Mid-Autumn Festival

This month, students in Weixia’s class celebrated 中秋节 or zhōng qiū jié (the Mid-Autumn Festival), a traditional event celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian people. With their parents, students watched the full moon, recited an ancient poem, and gave their parents a handmade card of appreciation. These activities were part of their process of immersing themselves in Chinese culture, an important part of learning the language, and they also offered an opportunity for students to share their learning with their families.

Middle School Students Explore Social Justice in Lit Clubs

Founded in 1982, the Nueva Lit Club curriculum has provided middle school students with many opportunities over the years to practice reading strategies and literary analysis. This year, students have been faced with a challenging and changing world—in all of their classes, Nueva students have engaged in complex conversations and have raised important questions about race and social justice issues that were reignited this past summer. 

Catching Up with...Karen Tiegel

About one month into this unprecedented 2020–2021 school year, we sat down with new interim head of the middle school, our own Nuevan Swiss Army Knife, Karen Tiegel, to hear her thoughts about the start of the year, learn a bit more about our continuously evolving middle school electives program, and provide a space to reflect on moments—both past and still to come—that are at the heart of her Nueva experience.

The Great Nueva Zoom-School Plant Project 

Eighth-grade biology students have dived straight into an exciting study of genetic variation. One of the major themes of eighth-grade science is to understand humanity’s relationship with the living world. So, the teachers asked their students to grow Wisconsin Fast Plants to discover for themselves why plants produce offspring with variation. This led to a discussion about how humanity has modified species for food and other purposes. 

So What is the Nueva Middle School Tutorial?

Nueva middle school teachers are excited about student-led tutorial sessions this year. Introduced last fall to help students to get caught up after absences, ask questions about assignments, and ask for more challenging extensions on their work, tutorial has expanded to offer far more during remote learning.

Middle School Assembly Celebrates the New School Year

For more than two decades, Nueva's lower and middle school students have gathered together weekly during assemblies to share ideas, entertain each other, and be entertained. While assemblies look different in remote learning, Division Heads Megan Terra and Karen Tiegel still see great value in assembling together. So during the first week of school, they made sure their students gathered on Zoom.