Lotspeich

Lotspeich Closing Exercises

Lotspeich bid a heartfelt farewell to its fifth-graders, sending them off to sixth grade during the 99th annual closing exercises. Fifth-graders walked up the aisle accompanied by music played by teacher Robin Wilson and took their seats on the stage in Founder’s Hall. Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox shared some interesting highlights from the school year, and commended the fifth-graders and faculty. “Thank you to our faculty and students for a lasting gift of wisdom,” she said. First-graders and fifth-graders then sang their buddy song in honor of the friendships they honed throughout the year. “That little song touches my heart every year,” Fox said. Fox also shared some of the fifth grade’s accomplishments, including reviving the fifth-grade newspaper and the founding of the Crazy Fun Community Service Club. Teachers Zoe Paraskevopoulos and Karla Balskus then shared personal reflections about each student. Head of School Chris Garten gave closing remarks and congratulated the students on their hard work and many accomplishments. The ceremony ended with fifth-graders singing Goodbye Lotspeich, written by art teacher Jody Knoop. Click here for more photos from the ceremony.

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Major Awards at Lotspeich

Each year, faculty and administration at Lotspeich select fifth-grade students to receive a number of awards based on academic achievement, a love for learning, citizenship, character, and leadership. The following awards were presented during the closing ceremony.

Aanvi Anand

 

Haeley Squire

The Joy in Learning Award was presented to Aanvi Anand and Haeley Squire for exemplifying the “Lotspeich philosophy of finding joy in the pursuit of learning; sharing that learning in a selfless, helpful manner with others; and enjoying the quest of learning in all its many facets.”

Siddha Shah

The Eileen Driscoll Literary Award was presented to Siddha Shah for “demonstrating a love of literature and joy in the printed word.”

Alice Bachelder

Alice Bachelder was awarded the Theodore C. Wuerfel Merit Award for academic achievement, breadth and scope of interest beyond the classroom, leadership, citizenship, and character.

Megha Gaitonde

Megha Gaitonde was awarded the Elisabeth Greenwald Mapes Scholarship for “best exemplifying the Seven Hills values of respect for others, striving for excellence, kindness and caring, honesty and integrity, fairness and justice, personal responsibility, and commitment to community.”

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Graduating Seniors Reunite at Lotspeich

Graduating seniors walked the halls of Lotspeich again, visiting their old stomping grounds for the last time as Seven Hills students. Seventeen former Lotspeich students visited the lower school’s library, looked through photos, reminisced about their time at the school, and visited their former teachers. After a visit with Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox and librarian Marcia Snyder, they made their way to the Young Family Library to watch a video that featured snippets of the second grade talent show, the Turkey Tango, and more. They also stopped by their former teachers’ classrooms to say hello. Retired Lotspeich teachers Ann Greenwald and Jane Claus also attended the event.

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A Sweet Farewell

Retiring librarian Marcia Snyder, with 43 years of service, and director of transportation and security Glenn Shillinger, 45 years of service, were honored at the final Lotspeich assembly of the year in early June. Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox shared touching words about Snyder’s time at the school, including how she was an integral part of making the library what it is today. Shillinger, our director of transportation and security, was also honored. “Mr. Glenn,” as he’s affectionately known, has driven students on many field trips and shuttled them between campuses. Seven Hills will miss you Mrs. Snyder and Mr. Glenn!

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Fourth-graders Present Project Math City Blocks

Fourth-graders in Liz Lorenz’s Project Math wrapped up their yearlong work of simulating the development of the four-block region about Fort Washington Way with a presentation for their parents. Throughout the school year, students learned about the Fort Washington Way area and delved into city development with the help of local experts. Fourth-graders created scale models of their designs and used CAD (computer-aided design) software to make a 2-D model. Students 3-D printed their buildings, complete with removable roofs to show how the spaces were laid out. They culminated the project with their presentations, telling their audience about city blocks and their associated costs, as well as the process of city development. Click here for more photos.

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Gods and Goddesses Take Over Kindergarten

Gods and goddesses paraded through the halls of Lotspeich and the ECC in late May. The unit is part of the kindergarteners study of mythology and geography. Students dressed as a number of mythological luminaries, including Hades, Eros, Aphrodite, and Athena. They visited their fellow students and shared information about their gods and goddesses. They then returned to the ECC to present their mythology lessons to their parents, including the symbols for each god and goddess. Students sat on their handcrafted thrones while they read what they learned about their figures.

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Tennis-Baseball Tradition Continues

Faculty and fifth-graders faced off during the annual tennis-baseball game. The teams gathered on the field to play tennis with a twist, using tennis rackets instead of baseball bats during the game. Students stood on the sidelines rooting for their favorite teams, chanting and holding up signs to show their unwavering support. Both sides had strong, vocal fans and even stronger players. Both teams played strong, with great showings from the fifth grade and the faculty!

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From The Buzz, May 26, 2017

May Fete

Seven Hills students on the Hillsdale Campus enjoyed the beloved tradition of May Fete in late May. As soon as students entered Kalnow Gym, they were off to bounce houses, hula hoop contests, cotton candy machines, Lotspeich’s traditional cake walk station, face painting, and so much more. And while students and their families enjoyed the event, they had opportunities to enter dozens of raffles with prizes from BMX bikes to an iPad, to a basket of items that would provide endless summer fun. If the sweet treats weren’t enough, a Catch-A-Fire pizza food truck did the trick. Many thanks to the Lotspeich Parents Association for coordinating the annual carnival. Click here to view pictures from May Fete.

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Arcade Day

Liz Lorenz’s second-graders in Project Math turned her classroom into an arcade on May 19. The exciting transformation, called Arcade Day, was the culmination of a project that started in January. Using recycled materials, students created their own games, complete with scoring systems and rules. They used coding tools, such as Makey Makeys and Little Bits, to add light, motion, and sound to their games. Students shared what they learned throughout the course of the project through formal PowerPoint presentations. The arcade was open to parents and Lotspeich students. There was a wonderful turnout for Arcade Day as pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students, teachers, and parents of second-graders all participated in the event,” Lorenz said. “This was an opportunity for students to build character, perseverance, and reinforce the Seven Hills values as they come together to put on an exciting event for the Lotspeich community.” Arcade Day was inspired by the film Caine’s Arcade, which tells the story of a young boy who built an arcade from cardboard boxes in his father’s auto parts store. During the day, students also gathered data, which they organized, analyzed, graphed, and drew conclusions from to share at an assembly. Click here to see more photos from Arcade Day.

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First Grade Visits Whole Foods

All year, first-graders in Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s classes have been studying nutrition and the food groups. They delved into their lessons by skyping with associates at Whole Foods Market and tested treats from the different groups on tasting days. The lesson culminated with a trip to the local Whole Foods. Braun called it “a wonderful way to end our yearlong study of nutrition.” “We enjoyed a full tour of the market, including a tasty sample from many of the food groups,” she said. “The children then had time to shop with their parents and choose nutritious foods to take back to school and enjoy at our lunch picnic.”

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Fifth-graders Travel to Dearborn, Michigan

For the 78th year in a row, Lotspeich fifth-graders traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, where they spent two days visiting Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum with teachers Karla Balskus and Zoe Paraskevopoulos. “This classroom-without-walls experience is the culmination of our experiential study of American history,” Balskus said. “In the 200-acre village, interpreters recreate daily life in historical buildings, including Thomas Edison’s Menlo Lab and the Wright Bros. Cycle Shop. Students can visit two working farms, watch glassblowers, tinsmiths, potters, and printers craft their trades, and travel in a Model T.” At the Ford Museum, students learned about the Revolutionary Era, the abolitionist movement, women’s suffrage, and modern Civil Rights movements. They also saw the evolution of planes, trains, and automobiles, and saw pieces of American history, including Rosa Park’s bus, Abraham Lincoln’s chair, and George Washington’s camp bed. Balskus said the tradition dates back to 1938. “Trips have taken place every year, except for once during World War II, when transportation to Dearborn wasn’t possible, and in 2003, when Greenfield Village was closed for a redesign of the grounds,” she said. “One of our Seven Hills chaperones, Glenn Shillinger, has accompanied students for over 30 years!”

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Kindergarten and Third Grade Continue Butterfly Study

Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ kindergarteners and third-graders in Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden’s classes have been studying the monarch butterfly all year—working together to examine their migration path, life cycle, and habitats. Schools in the path of monarch butterflies’ migration, which can be found in parts of the United States and Mexico, are also participating in the international project. In early May, they worked together on buddy projects related to the butterflies. They visited Middle School art teacher Elissa Donovan’s classroom to glaze their puddlers. The puddlers are ceramic stakes with a cup on the end that allow the butterflies to take a drink of water. They will be used in the “in motion” monarch weigh station in the ECC. The groups also tallied returning monarchs and completed a butterfly buddy project.

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From The Buzz, May 11, 2017

Hooray for Grandpersons Day!

The halls of Lotspeich and the ECC were filled with very special guests on Friday, April 28, when the Lower School celebrated its annual Grandpersons Day. The day began with a reception in the Hillsdale Commons, where Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox welcomed guests. Students treated their friends and family to a tour of their classrooms, a variety of projects, and even a musical performance in the ECC. Click here to view more photos from Lotspeich’s Grandpersons Day. 

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Third-graders Create Living History Museum

What makes Cincinnati unique? Third-graders in Kim Walden and Lynn Niehaus’ classes put the city’s many local treasures on display when they presented their Living History Museum projects in late April. Walden said students were asked to choose three Cincinnati-related topics, such as a homegrown restaurant, businesses, or sports teams. They were then assigned one of the three topics to research. Students involve their families as well. “This is a family project,” Walden said. “It is guided from home.” Students displayed their findings on a poster board and presented to the class. The next day, they set up a gallery, open to family and friends. “It was really a day for students to show off their knowledge,” Walden said. “They were so proud of what they have learned.” Not only did students learn about their hometown, they also garnered new skills along the way. They were encouraged to visit the place or business they were profiling and interview someone. Students practiced question development, and honed the process of learning how to write.

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Fourth Grade Takes Pair of Field Trips

In early May, fourth-graders in Sara Snyder and Melissa Foraker’s classes continued the Seven Hills tradition of an annual trip to Camp Kern. Students spent three days and two nights learning more about Ohio history in a hands-on way. “While we are at Camp Kern the students got to learn even more about the topic through hands-on experiences. We hiked to Fort Ancient, re-enacted the Treaty of Greenville, ‘met’ early settlers from Ohio, and completed team-building activities,” Snyder said. “The students had such a wonderful time and learned so much in the process.” The day after returning to Lotspeich, fourth-graders took their annual trip to a Reds game. “The students also were able to see the players whose statistics they have been keeping track of during the season so far,” Snyder said. “In math class, we graph stolen bases, walks, homeruns, wins, and losses. The students also calculate the batting averages and earned run averages of the players throughout the spring.” Students enjoyed the game, despite a little rain, and cheered on the Reds as they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2.

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Grandparents Share Egypt with Lotspeich

Lotspeich recently welcomed Drs. Wafaa and Behar Foad, grandparents of fifth-grader Laila Kerr, during a Monday morning assembly. The doctors talked to children about their childhood growing up in Egypt. “It was interesting to hear that Dr. Wafaa recalls a very similar experience with Seven Hills as she went to school with children of many different cultures and religions,” Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox said. “Both Drs. Wafaa and Behar learned to appreciate and respect both the differences and similarities of people.” Drs. Wafaa and Behar also answered students’ many questions about geography, history, and religion in Europe. Students were also able to identify the Nile River and learn about Egyptian clothing and artifacts. “Artifacts from Egypt prompted questions about the Sphinx and mummification, a popular subject,” Fox said. “One student was curious about the holiday of Ramadan and the meaning of the observance.” Overall, she said, it was a memorable experience for students and faculty alike. “We are grateful to Dr. Wafaa Foad and Dr. Behar Foad for providing firsthand insights into the country of Egypt,” Fox said. “Their words of care and kindness for others resonated with all of us, especially as we strive to live by our Seven Values.”

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First-graders Clean Up Hillsdale Campus Track

Keeping the Campus clean is no small feat. First-graders in Aimee Burton and Marilyn Braun’s class did their part on April 28 and pitched in to pick up litter dotting the Hillsdale Campus track. Students are currently studying the effects of littering and importance of taking care of the environment. After picking up the litter, first-graders sorted it to determine what could be recycled and what couldn’t.

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From The Buzz, April 28, 2017

Author Grace Lin Visits Lotspeich

Lotspeich opened its doors to a very special guest on April 20. Newbery Award-winning author Grace Lin spent the day at the school, speaking to students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Lin did everything from read books to the youngest children in the ECC, to discuss how a book is made with first- and second-graders, to teaching fifth-graders about the myths that inspired her Newbery Honor book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Lotspeich librarian Marcia Snyder noted how meaningful Lin’s visit was. “We are so fortunate to have her,” she told first- and second-graders gathered for their time with Lin. “She visits schools all over the country, and probably all over the world.” Lin told the students how books are made, pulling them in to illustrate the point with a hands-on activity. She even showed them the very first book she ever wrote. Lin kept the audience entertained with her engaging speaking, books, and illustrations.

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Arcade Day Creations Underway

Second-graders in Liz Lorenz’s Project Math class are preparing for Arcade Day, a Lotspeich-wide event that makes fun and games of STEM principles. Arcade Day was inspired by the film Caine’s Arcade, which tells the story of a young boy who built an arcade from cardboard boxes in his father’s auto parts stores. “Students researched, tested, and analyzed various games in order to prepare for their student-created Arcade Day,” Lorenz said. “After playing a variety of games in a Project Math class and brainstorming and listing games they have played previously, students categorized games, created Venn diagrams to compare games, and debated what makes a game a game.” Using recycled materials, students designed and built their own games, and will have to create a scoring system and rules. Second-graders began working with coding tools Makey Makeys, which will allow them to use circuitry and coding to create sound. They will also work with Little Bits, another piece of circuitry that adds not only sound, but also light and motion. Arcade Day will be held May 19. The day is open to Lotspeich students and faculty, and second-graders’ parents.

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Living Biographies in Fourth Grade

Historical figures have fascinating stories that captivate audiences for decades after they made their mark. Fourth-graders in Melissa Foraker and Sara Snyder’s classes brought these figures to life during the Living Biography Project. “As part of an in-depth research project about a person from history, students in reading class learned how to take notes and present their findings in a multi-genre scrapbook,” Foraker said. “For the culminating part of the project, students wrote and presented speeches to their classmates and parents, while dressed as their researched person.” Students presented on a host of figures. Henry Ford, Helen Keller, and author JRR Tolkien all made an appearance for the gathered students, teachers, and family members. “It is so much fun seeing my students bring their historical figure to life through careful research and interpretations!” Foraker said.

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Fifth Grade Travels Back in Time on Colonial Day

Fifth graders in Karla Balskus and Zoe Paraskevpoulos’ classes looked like figures straight from the pages of history when they participated in Colonial Day on April 13. Students donned colonial attire and prepared for a luncheon of traditional foods. They also spent the day completing crafts, including embroidery, basket making, cornhusk dolls, tin-smithing, and much more! Art teacher Jody Knoop was on hand to show students how to spin wool into yarn. The day ended with Colonial games. Colonial Day was just one piece of the two weeks of lessons and hands-on activities completed by fifth-graders. “Early in the first week, students learned 18th century rules of civility and language as calligraphy pens and copybooks were used in classes. Thursday was spent cooking Brunswick stew over an open fire, and baking numerous yeast breads and cookies. We even made cornbread in a cast iron ‘spider!’” Colonial education continued with a visit from Marvin Kuhn, who demonstrated his blacksmithing skills. Kuhn helped students make a triangle dinner bell. On Thursday, Knoop brought Lana the lamb to campus to shear for students, a Lotspeich tradition. “Students ended the unit with a visit from a skilled potter who demonstrated using a potter’s wheel and the pinch pot method of pottery,” Balskus said. “All involved gained a new perspective on Colonial life.” Click here to see more photos from Colonial Day.

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Sharing India

Lotspeich fifth-graders shared their recent travels to India with their first-grade buddies. Megha Gaitonde, Annika Kulkarni, and Aanvi Anand taught their younger friends about Diwali, the festival of lights, played an Indian pop song, and designed peacocks, the national bird of India. First-grade teacher Marilyn Braun said she enjoyed welcoming back the girls for a student-driven collaboration and presentation.

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From The Buzz, April 13, 2017

Fourth-graders Learn About Adaptations

Birds come in all shapes and sizes, with different beaks, bodies, and even wings. Each bird is unique because of adaptations, a lesson fourth-graders in Natalie Wildfong’s class learned from an expert. Sara Fehring, an education assistant with the Hamilton County Soil and Water District, visited Wildfong’s class to discuss some of the different bird adaptations and lead an experiment about bird beaks. Fehring explained to students that adaptation is when an organism evolves to fit a habitat. Each species of bird has special adaptations specially suited for its habitat. Fehring illustrated the point by giving each student a different type of “beak” on a stick, in this case a magnet, spoon, etc., and asked students to pick up different “food,” like marbles and foam blocks. The experiment illustrated the importance of adaptation by teaching students how beaks are suited for different foods.

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Community Service Club Update

The Crazy Fun Community Service Club is doing good around the community! Founded by fifth-graders Logan Symson and Megha Gaitonde, and led by teachers Liz Lorenz and Natalie Wildfong, the club is made up of Lotspeich students of all ages. Recently, Symson and Gaitonde, accompanied by their teachers, dropped off items collected during the spring food drive at the Madisonville Education and Assistance Center (MEAC). “The students had the opportunity to learn about the important role MEAC plays in the community and additional ways they can help support MEAC, as well as a tour of the facilities,” Lorenz said. The donations will do a lot of good, as the food drive collected enough non-perishable food donations to help support two weeks worth of emergency food needs for MEAC’s clients. On a recent Saturday morning, members of the club visited the Kennedy Heights Community Giving Garden to weed and prepare the garden for spring planting. The garden, overseen by kindergarten teacher Theresa Cohen, gives members of the Kennedy Heights community a gardening space they can use communally or rent. “The Giving Garden is one of the local Community Gardens affiliated with The Civic Garden Center,” Lorenz said. “Lotspeich students and their parents had a wonderful time enjoying the beautiful weather, working together, and giving back to the community.”

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Fifth-graders Work to Improve Sustainability

Fifth-graders in Liz Lorenz’s Project Math class have been given a problem to solve—create an initiative to improve Seven Hills’ environmental sustainability. In March, Oliver Kroner, sustainability coordinator for the city of Cincinnati, spoke to the class and shared his own expertise. “He led the students in a wonderful discussion about sustainability initiatives that he is working on around the city, why environmental sustainability is important, and ways in which students can improve their environmental impact,” Lorenz said. Students took the opportunity to use Kroner as a source of information, and learned about information that can guide their thinking as they begin their work to improve sustainability at Seven Hills.

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The Solar System in the ECC

Prekindergarteners and kindergarteners in the ECC explored the solar system together for a recent lesson on outer space. Each age group focused on a different part of the solar system. Prekindergarten teachers Dorothy Hogston and Christina Del Vecchio’s students learned about night and day, displaying stars in the hallway, while prekindergarten teachers Kiki Scavo, Cicely Knecht, and Michelle Foster’s students created the planets. Students in prekindergarten teachers Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s classes made the sun! Kindergarteners in Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes created the asteroid belt out of foil and plaster balls, hanging them along the hallway. McIlwraith and Slone’s students also had the special opportunity to present solar system facts to their younger peers. Each student shared an interesting fact about the planet he or she was assigned to present. The younger students were engaged and interested in the fascinating facts about our solar system!

 

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Prekindergarteners Enjoy Salad Day

Growing a garden is hard work that has a big payoff. Prekindergarteners in Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s classes learned this firsthand, and celebrated with a salad day! The prekindergartners first planted lettuce, radishes, carrots, and onions in the classroom. They cared for the plants and watched them grow, until it was time to harvest them. In addition to the vegetables they grew themselves, students cut up other veggies to add to their salad. “Students chose what they wanted in their salad,” McIlwraith said. “Many tried new foods for the first time since they grew many of the vegetables!”

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From The Buzz, March 17, 2017

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Día de Guatemala Benefits Cooperative for Education

Founders Hall came alive on March 11 with crafts, food, and fun during the annual Día de Guatemala, a Lotspeich-wide event that benefits Cooperative for Education. Cooperative for Education is a local nonprofit that creates sustainable programs aimed at ending illiteracy and alleviating poverty in Guatemala. Attendees of enjoyed a variety of crafts, including flower bombs, paper beads, and tortillas, and eating tacos from local Mexican restaurant Mazunte. A centerpiece of the event was a beautiful set of rainbow-colored wings painted by students in art teacher Jody Knoop’s class. Each grade level at Lotspeich painted a section of the wings. View more photos of the event here.

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Club 1

The Crazy Fun Community Service Club

Lotspeich students are finding new ways to help by participating in the Crazy Fun Community Service Club! The club, which held its first meeting Feb. 10, meets every Friday, at which time students brainstorm community service projects. Fifth-graders Logan Symson and Megha Gaitonde founded the club, and it is led by teachers Liz Lorenz and Natalie Wildfong. One weekend a month, the club will complete a service project. The interest in the club is strong, according to Wildfong. “At our first meeting we had around 30 kids!” she said “I have received a lot of great feedback from the children both involved and those wanting to become part of the club.” Recently, they finalized plans for the Spring Food Drive, which collected canned goods for the Madisonville Education and Assistance Center, and created posters to advertise the drive and their first service event, which was held at Seven Hills. “Many members from the Community Service Club went to the Kalnow Gym to cheer on the teams playing in the Special Olympics Basketball Sectional Tournament,” said Lorenz. “There were 20 students, accompanied by their parents, who joined us with their signs, posters, and spirit to help cheer on the players.”

Club 2

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Cities 1

Pre-kindergarten Builds Their Own Cities

Pre-kindergarteners in the ECC can now say they know how to build a city from cardboard boxes. Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s pre-kindergarten classes designed its own city, painting boxes to look like buildings, and strategically placing them around a city that featured roadways, grass, and a river. The cities were connected by a road. “We did a big unit on communities, which included transportation, community helpers, and the city we live in,” McIlwraith said. “We talked about what we love about our city and important structures in Cincinnati before deciding what we wanted to build with our cardboard.” Students got to play with the product of their hard work. They “drove” toy cars around their creation and played with toy people, navigating their miniature municipality.

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calligraphy

Fourth-grader Teaches Peers Chinese Characters

Fourth-grader Mei Wang is new to Lotspeich and the United States, moving from China last year with her family. She recently shared a piece of her culture with her peers. Wang taught them how to write Chinese characters using traditional pen and ink. “Mei was excited to show her classmates some of her heritage and how to create words and numbers,” said fourth-grade teacher Melissa Foraker. “Mei said it was really hard to learn to use the pen, but it’s fun, too.” Foraker said Wang taught her classmates how to write numbers one through 11 in Chinese, and one child even noted the similarities between Chinese characters and Roman numerals.

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Dairy Day

Dairy Day in First Grade

Lotspeich first-graders had their pick of delicious dairy treats during their dairy tasting day in early March. The tasting day was the culmination of their lesson on the dairy food group, and ties into their continuing study of nutrition and the food groups. “Students sampled a variety of foods from the dairy group including milk, a variety of cheeses, yogurt, Brazilian cheese bread, kefir, rice pudding, milk peda, and everyone’s favorite—ice cream!” first-grade teacher Aimee Burton said. “Everyone was encouraged to try a new dairy food and some students did find new favorites.” First-graders have already sampled fruits, vegetables, and grains. Students will wrap up their unit on nutrition with the study of the protein group.

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Kindergarteners Raise Money for Heifer International

Kindergarteners in Theresa Cohen’s and Diane Schulteis’ classes taught each other a lesson in kindness and helped a community as they sold pots of gold (wrapped candy) to benefit Heifer International, an organization that links communities and creates sustainable agriculture in areas with a history of poverty. The children worked hard to prepare and sell the pots of gold. During past fundraisers, students have been able to send more than $700 for the purchase of goats and honeybee hives. The donation will help families around the world!

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From The Buzz, March 3, 2017

 

Kindness Retreat

Kindness Retreat

Seven Hills teamed up with Youth Frontiers on Feb. 23 to host the Kindness Retreat, a special, daylong retreat for fifth graders on the Hillsdale and Doherty campuses. Students participated in a day filled with dancing, music, group work, and more during a retreat dedicated to building community. “This retreat truly brought out the best of Seven Hills and showed why this school is special and unique,” said Doherty school counselor Angie Bielecki. Bielecki said teachers and counselors were present, and supportive, of the retreat, demonstrating the value of kindness and social-emotional needs. “The Kindness Retreat helps our students understand that they can create their community, and make it one where they can feel safe and respected,” said Judy Arnold, Lotspeich school counselor and chair of the counseling department. “Our partnership with Youth Frontiers is great because of the organization’s thorough programming and amazing leaders who make the experience fun and educational for our students.”

Upper School students got involved as well, acting as facilitators throughout the day. “Upper School students served as role models through sharing, encouraging younger students to participate, and leading small group discussions,” Bielecki said. Upper students who participated in the retreat include seniors Harper Duncan, Emily Rauh, Katie Corbett, Jeremiah Weaver, Devin Williams, and Jake Moses; and juniors Cece Rauh, Kate Stein, Maggie Ellis, Rosie DeWitt, and Robby Shaffer. The retreat was a success, and students illustrated that at the end of the day. “At the conclusion of the retreat, students shared ways they wanted to be more kind to others and genuinely thanked their classmates for the kindness showed to them,” Bielecki said.

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Poetry 2

Students Present Poetry Projects

Third graders in Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden’s classes wowed their audiences during their poetry project presentations. As part of their independent reading program, students memorized a poem at least 30 lines long, found a prop, and presented their work to the class. “It’s a daunting task, but they’re really transformed at the end of it. I just think they grow an awful lot with the experience,” Niehaus said. “It will stay with them for a lifetime.” Niehaus said in addition to poetry and memorization, the project also encourages confidence with public speaking, poise, and self-esteem, and incorporates dramatic elements. Students in the audience also learn how to be thoughtful and respectful. “All of those things are great,” she said. Third graders picked a variety of poems, including works by famous children’s authors Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, and Jack Prelutsky. One student even picked the lengthy poem, Paul Revere’s Ride by Longfellow. “Everyone is very unique,” Niehaus said. She said in third grade, students complete several big projects, and poetry is taught throughout the year.

Poetry

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Students Learn About Heart Month through Super Ben

February was American Heart Month, and first graders in Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s classes had a special guest to teach them about its importance. Tiffany Messer, a former first grade teacher at Norwood School District, visited the students to talk about her son “Super Ben,” a true heart hero. “Ben and his twin brother Luke were born in June 2014. Luke was healthy, but Ben was born with heart and other abnormalities,” Burton said. “Ben was a fighter, but sadly, he passed away in July 2015. Mrs. Messer talked to us about Ben and what his family and friends do to honor his memory and help others.” Messer shared information about how the heart works, and explained the important relationship between the heart and the lungs. Messer also read Patch the Brave Heart Lion, a picture book about a little lion born with a heart defect, and how brave he is. She reminded students there are lots of things they can do to take care of their hearts now, including eating healthily and exercising. She also took time for questions, with students enthusiastically raising their hands to ask thoughtful questions about the heart and Ben.

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Book Fair 2

Book Fair was a Success!

In late February, Lotspeich Library had even more books than usual during the annual book fair. At the book fair, students were able to purchase and browse a wide array of books. Lotspeich librarian Marcia Snyder said the school looks forward to the event every year. “We are always excited about book fair,” Snyder said. “It’s one of the first questions they have at the beginning of the school year—‘When is book fair?’ They enjoy reading, but they also enjoy owning their books.” Snyder recognized the hard work of those who help support the event. “I’m always impressed with the thoughtful choices and hundreds of titles that Seven Hills alumna Betsy Schram from The Bookshelf in Madeira provides for our students,” she said. “Thank you for all of your purchases, which support the library.”

Book Fair

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Differences

How We’re Alike, and How We’re Different

Pre-kindergarteners in Kathleen Slone’s class recently learned that people’s similarities and differences are something to be celebrated! Lotspeich school counselor Judy Arnold visited Slone’s classroom to read The Colors of Us, a story about a young girl who learns she can create any skin tone using red, yellow, black, and white paint. Students also examined their many skin tones. Arnold said her curriculum focuses on the themes of self-awareness and social awareness. “At the pre-k level, students are developing the language skills to express how they feel, to recognize how others feel, and to see that people are alike and different in a number of ways, on the outside and the inside,” Arnold said. She noted that it was especially pertinent because children recently studied Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Arnold read Happy in Our Skin to the 4- and 5-year-old pre-kindergarteners. She tied the lesson to the students’ recent unit on the different systems of the body, noting that skin is the body’s largest organ. “I said that unlike lungs, heart, liver, our skin is on the outside, and it comes in many different shades of tan,” Arnold said. “Children also made the connection to Dr. King, and we talked about appreciating all of the different colors we are and being happy in our skin.”

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From The Buzz, Feb. 16, 2017

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A Trip to City Hall

Third graders in Lynn Niehaus’s and Kim Walden’s classes took an early February trip to Cincinnati City Hall, marking a thoughtful launch of the students’ Cincinnati history unit. The students arrived at City Hall eager to learn about Cincinnati’s infrastructure and architecture, followed by an introduction to civic responsibility. The students engaged in the docent-led tour, which included serendipitous meetings with Mayor John Cranley and council member Kevin Flynn. Niehaus said students came away with a better sense of Cincinnati history, as well as the role of local government. “In third grade we begin a conversation about social justice and community responsibility,” Niehaus said. “The students start to make connections about their role in our community and their ability to make a difference.” According to Walden, the trip marks the beginning of an extensive unit on Cincinnati, which culminates with individual presentations given by the students at the end of April. 

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CAD

Designing and Developing Buildings with CAD Software

Cincinnati is developing quickly, and Liz Lorenz’s fourth graders are making their (pretend) mark on the city in Project Math. Throughout the year, students have been simulating the development of the four-block region above Fort Washington Way, learning from local experts and delving into city development. The latest step in the project is creating a scale model of their block designs. Students drew their block designs in 2-D first. They incorporated street views, as well as aerial views of each floor of their buildings. With the drawings complete, fourth graders moved on to using CAD (computer-aided design) software to begin the process of making their buildings 3-D. Eventually, they will come to life as models. “The building models will be printed in pieces, as each story of multistory buildings will be removable so people can look in and see the floor plan,” Lorenz said. “The entire four-block region will be built by each homeroom class.” Lorenz said students used a variety of skills to create their models, from multiplication and division, to building on their knowledge of area and perimeter to design the buildings’ interior and exterior. “Students have also spent time enhancing their measurement skills as they determine the size of the actual spaces—comparing the size of the school’s soccer field to the classroom, measuring the heights of various ceiling heights in the building, measuring doorways, windows, tables, etc.—and then representing the scale size in their models in centimeters and millimeters,” she said.

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Lotspeich Celebrates 100th Day…and 100th Year

Feb. 7 marked the 100th day of the school year, and kindergarteners and first graders celebrated in style! After spending recess together, the young students gathered in Lotspeich’s Encore room. First graders shared the 100th Day of School hats and necklaces they created for the event, then helped the kindergarteners with their projects, which incorporated counting and measuring. “The first graders helped the kindergarteners display their collections of 100 objects in groups of fives and 10s, and helped them measure their items in a row,” said first grade teacher Marilyn Braun. Students sang the special 100th Day of School song, taught to them by music teacher Robin Wilson, as well as Happy Birthday Lotspeich. In honor of Lotspeich’s 100th birthday, students decorated a birthday cake poster with 100 candles. View more photos from the celebration here. 

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Penguins on Parade on Parent Day!

Kindergarteners have been studying penguins for quite some time, even seeing them in person at the Newport Aquarium. Teachers Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis hosted Parent Day on Feb. 7, which served as the culmination of the students’ study of the flightless bird and their home continent of Antarctica. Parents visited the kindergarten classrooms to do penguin math and crafts, and read the aquarium journals students wrote after their visit to Newport. Students gathered near the ECC stage to do a fun and factual presentation, as well. Wearing penguin hats, students stood up one-by-one to share a penguin fact. They then sang a few songs about the animals, including a new take on a classic children’s tune, I’m a Little Penguin. Click here to view more photos from Parent Day. 

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Book Club

Winter Break Book Club

The two-week winter break is a time to relax, kick back, and pick up a good book. Fifth graders did just that, participating in the Winter Break Book Club. Participation is voluntary, and fifth graders read Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. They recently met in teacher Karla Balskus’ classroom to discuss the book. “We discussed the book, a suspenseful historical fiction set in Norway during World War II, as we shared a special wintery drink and dessert,” Balskus said. The book club is an established tradition for Lotspeich’s fifth graders. “We have been doing the book club for over 10 years, and 23 students participated this time,” Balskus said. “Students do enjoy the novel.”

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From The Buzz, Feb. 2, 2017

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Catapulting through Science

Crafting a simple machine is as easy as the name suggests. Natalie Williams’ fourth graders found this out during a recent science lesson. Using a small plastic block that served as a fulcrum and a popsicle stick lever, students constructed miniature catapults. “Students created different levers to determine which type of catapult would make the load go farthest,” said Williams. “This is part of the simple machines unit.” Students adjusted their levers to determine the best lever arm length for launching paper wads. After launching their paper wads, students gathered data on their trials, recording the distance their projectiles traveled. They also recorded the length of the lever’s arm and its lever class.

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Kindergarten Visits the Aquarium

When you’re studying penguins, you just have to see them in person to understand what cool creatures they are. Diane Schulteis and Theresa Cohen’s kindergarten students recently visited the Newport Aquarium to take a closer look at the birds they’ve been learning about. “Our field trip to the Newport Aquarium was a huge success,” Schulteis and Cohen said. “We had a very informative session in front of the penguin tank. We learned a ton about the penguins there, as well as all about their behavior traits!” The penguin study also ties into kindergarten’s unit on Antarctica and the other six continents. Students will continue to learn about penguins, and then, on Feb. 7, will share a culminating presentation with their parents.

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Fifth Grader Wins Geography Bee

Fourth and fifth graders participated in one of the first rounds of the National Geographic Geography Bee on Jan. 11. Four million students around the country participate in the bee. After several rounds of questions and a good showing of geographical knowledge by all students, the competition came down to fifth graders Max Brown and Lauren Coulson. Brown was ultimately declared the winner and will advance to the state level. The teachers commended all the students for their hard work. “The fourth and fifth graders have worked so hard,” said fifth grade teacher Zoe Paraskevopoulos.

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Grain

First Graders Sample Variety of Grains

First graders in Aimee Burton and Marilyn Braun’s class continued their study of nutrition and the food groups in late January. As part of the unit, students earlier studied fruit and vegetables. Their recent lesson focused on grains. The lesson culminated in a grain tasting. Students shared their favorite dishes, including sorghum, barley, rice, and bread, and yummy staples like bagels, brownies, and croissants.

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Bears Take Over Pre-Kindergarten

Pre-kindergarten has gone to the bears! Teacher Tyler McIlwraith’s students have been learning about bears and hibernation, and have completed a number of ursine-related activities. Students created bear masks, as well as an activity to help the bears find their dens. Recently, in conjunction with “G” week, children were given gummy bears and graphed them by color. When they completed the activity, the class came together to discuss the graphs and the information they displayed.

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From The Buzz, Jan. 17, 2017

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Exploring Kwanzaa in First Grade

First graders recently learned about the importance of Kwanzaa. Earlier this month, Karla Dejean, a Seven Hills parent and staff member, visited Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s first graders to teach them about Kwanzaa. Dejean taught students that Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American heritage and is held from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. On each day of Kwanzaa, families ask each other, “Habari Gani?” (“What’s the news?” in Swahili). They then discuss the value of the day. Kwanzaa’s seven values are unity, self-determination, collective work and response, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Each day, families light a candle in the kinara to represent the day’s value.

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Fourth Graders Pitch Plans, Shark Tank Style

As fourth graders in Liz Lorenz’s Project Math class continue their yearlong project, they recently completed a hands-on lesson, which included feedback from professionals. “The fourth grade students had two special visitors who held a modified Shark Tank, the popular ABC show featuring entrepreneurs, to provide feedback for the students’ development ideas for the four-block region above Fort Washington Way,” Lorenz said. “They listened to each group’s presentation and provided helpful feedback and considerations to help guide the students with their projects.” The special guests included Hank Davis, Senior Director of Capital Markets at Cushman Wakefield, and Matt Jacob, Financial Analyst of Capital Markets at Cushman Wakefield. Following their presentations, students modified their development plans based on the feedback from Davis and Jacob.

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Spanish

Acting Out Skits in Spanish Class

Spanish teacher Megan Hayes knows that to learn Spanish best, students need to move and repeat vocabulary often. Hayes recently used this method while teaching second graders. Using props, students performed a skit based around a unicorn hiding in the classroom. Hayes ran through the skit once, and then students took the stage. One second grader would exclaim “Profe! Profe! Hay un unicornio en la clase!” to a student playing a teacher. Another student, wearing a unicorn mask, would then hide. Students recited their new vocabulary many times throughout the story. Hayes said she attaches a motion to the phrases used in the skit, which are practiced before the story. Through movement, repetition, and strategic questioning, students learn the story. “Eventually they will be able to tell it themselves,” Hayes said.

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Pre-kindergarteners Learn About the Human Body

Every part of the human body plays an important role in keeping us going. Pre-kindergarteners in the ECC are learning those roles during their unit on the body. “We recently reviewed the five senses the first day and created a paper ‘person’ who looked like the student,” said teacher Michelle Foster. “From there, we begin to focus on the purpose of each of the main organs in their bodies and how these organs all work together. This leads into our next unit of study, nutrition and food groups.” Foster’s class recently studied the lungs. She started the lesson by asking students, “What’s the job of the lungs?” Students eagerly answered. Foster also blew up a balloon to illustrate how they work. The pre-kindergarteners then colored the lungs to add to their human body projects displayed throughout the ECC. The Pre-K 4 classes study the human body for two weeks focusing primarily on the organs of the body. “The kids really seem to love this unit and are excited to ‘share’ what they know about these different parts of the body,” Foster said.

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Terrific Tuesday

Kindergarteners Explore Campus on Terrific Tuesday

Another day, another Terrific Tuesday! On Jan. 3, kindergarteners in Diane Schulteis and Theresa Cohen’s classes bundled up to explore campus during a day of outdoor education, taking their first nature hike of 2017. “We revisited our study on trees from the fall,” Cohen said. “The children used binoculars to observe the trees without leaves and look for items they may not easily see when the trees are full of leaves during the other seasons.” Cohen said students are beginning their study of backyard birds, and they looked for nests during their hike. They noted the sizes, shapes, and locations of the nests. “We found some unusual nesting places, as well as other interesting things just by slowing down and observing our surroundings,” Cohen said. “Our study of backyard birds leads into our next study of penguins found in Antarctica.”

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From The Buzz, Dec. 16, 2016

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Morning with Bridges

All semester, second graders have been extensively studying bridges. The unit culminated in the Morning with Bridges held Dec. 15, a fun event where students present a bridge they’ve been studying to their peers and families. Students crafted models of the bridges and meticulously researched their structure of choice. Earlier in the year, students honed their geography and map skills by studying a bridge in their city, state, country, continent, and world. They examined other aspects of the structures as well. During the Morning with Bridges, bridges ranging from Paris’ Pont Neuf Bridge to the Tower Bridge in London and even Ohio’s own Zanesville Y-Bridge were on display. Check out more bridge projects here.

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dsc_0161 Gingerbread Baking with a Buddy

The smell of gingerbread floated throughout Lotspeich on Dec. 15 thanks to the hard work of Karla Balskus and Zoe Paraskevopoulos’ fifth graders. The fifth graders spent the afternoon baking gingerbread for their first grade buddies in Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s classes. The fifth and first graders enjoyed the delicious holiday treat together.dsc_0140 ________________________________________________________________________

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Kindergarteners Celebrate Festival of Lights

The importance of light is on full display in the multitude of cultures that incorporate it into their holiday celebrations. Kindergarteners celebrated these holidays during the Dec. 13 Festival of Lights. Students have learned about Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, and St. Lucia—all holidays that use light to signify hope, peace, and love.

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Special Persons’ Day at the ECC

Pre-kindergarteners spent the morning with those most important to them during Special Persons’ Day, held on Dec. 9. Children and their special guests, parents, grandparents, and more, spent the morning doing a host of fun activities. They had a snack, completed learning centers in the classroom, and went to the Muscle Room to participate in a movement program. They also stopped by the Red Barn for a drama class with teacher Russell White. It was an exciting and busy day! Click here to view more photos of Special Persons’ Day.

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Breakfast with the Animals

Science teacher Natalie Williams has quite the menagerie living in her classroom and she relies on her students to help take care of them. The fifth graders who help are called junior zoologists. To show her appreciation, Williams recently hosted a Breakfast with the Animals. She provided students with hot chocolate, bagels, and fruit.

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Third Graders Visit Sharon Woods

In early November, Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden’s third graders visited Sharon Woods Heritage Village Museum. With their guide, the children travelled back in time to the early 1800s, visiting a flatboat construction, the Kemper family cabin, and an early Ohio mercantile store. “In each location, glimpses into the past and hands-on moments provided each child opportunities to experience firsthand what is was like to live in rural Ohio during this time,” Niehaus said. See more photos from the field trip here. 

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Fourth Graders Simulate Mars Rover with Egg Drop

It was one small step for eggs, one giant leap for egg-kind in Natalie Williams’ fourth grade science class. To close out their unit on space, students used an egg, balloons, and other materials to simulate the landing of the Mars rover. “Students were given certain materials and told to land the rover, or in this case, egg, on Mars without destroying it,” Williams said. “After students performed the first drop, they redesigned, rebuilt, and dropped again.” Williams said one group even had a successful first drop, with the egg staying intact on impact.

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From The Buzz, Nov. 22, 2016

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Bulletin Board Promotes Empathy, Mindfulness

Students in first through fifth grade are using an interactive bulletin board to spread kind and positive messages. Students are encouraged to “leave what they can,” by writing an inspiring message on a sticky note. The notes are then put on a bulletin board, asking students, parents, and teachers to “Take What You Need.” The messages range from the practical (Listen to your teacher), to the inspirational (You are not finished when you lose. You are finished when you quit). “Students have been busy leaving wonderful notes for the Lotspeich community, and taking those with which they most connect,” said Liz Lorenz, one of the teachers who organized the project. In addition to Lorenz, teachers Natalie Williams, Danielle Necessary, Megan Hayes, and counselor Judy Arnold, who are all members of the Cooperative for Education Committee, created the bulletin board. The project brings together Lotspeich’s focus on mindfulness, empathy, and The Seven Hills School’s values. “We discussed with students that sometimes peoples’ needs can’t always be seen, as they may be struggling with their feelings and emotions,” Lorenz said. “We encouraged students to be more mindful of their own feelings and emotions, aware of how others might be feeling, and reflective of how kind words, encouragement, and support can impact themselves and others.” The impact of the bulletin board will reach beyond Lotspeich. A videographer from WCPO visited the school to interview teachers and students. The segment aired Friday, Nov. 18. Click here to view more photos of the bulletin board. 

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Grant Proposals Reviewed by a Professional

Crafting a grant proposal takes time and practice. Fifth graders in Liz Lorenz’s Project Math class are working on their own proposals that tackle poverty, education, or homelessness in Cincinnati, with a helping hand from Jake Hodesh. Hodesh works with People’s Liberty, a philanthropic organization that operates in Greater Cincinnati. Hodesh visited Lotspeich in mid-November to review grant proposals, offer suggestions, and talk about how financing works. Students first gave a presentation about their proposal, and then worked in groups to improve them. Hodesh told students to first identify a problem, find a creative solution, and ask a question, i.e. Can you help me in this way? His visit is part of ongoing work in Project Math to write grant proposals. Fifth graders heard from Cincinnati council member and Seven Hills alumnus P.G. Sittenfeld earlier in the year. Sittenfeld discussed how poverty, education, and homelessness affect the Cincinnati area.

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Fruit Tasting Expands First Graders’ Palates

First graders in Aimee Burton and Marilyn Braun’s class kicked off their study of nutrition and the five food groups in October. They began the lesson with fruits, learning about their characteristics and why fruit is important to a balanced diet. “To further our knowledge of the fruit group, we Skyped with Whole Foods and had the opportunity to ask questions about the fruit group,” Burton said. “To culminate our study of the fruit group, we had a fruit tasting day. Students brought in a variety of fruits to share with the class and everyone was encouraged to try a fruit they had never tasted before.” First graders brought in tasty staples like grapes and pineapple, as well as more exotic fruits, like quinces, dates, rambutan, and dragonfruit.

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Everybody Counts

Lotspeich recently gathered for an assembly centered on the theme, “Everybody Counts.” The morning assembly opened with children singing a song about inclusiveness called Everybody Counts! Janet Smith, executive director of Special Olympics Hamilton County, spoke, along with athletes Jesse Shelton and Matt Graves. Smith shared videos of athletes, whom she said have “intellectual disabilities.” “They learn differently, but don’t we all learn differently?” Smith asked. Shelton and Graves talked about the sports they played and gave the floor to students for questions. Students in first through third grades also attended an additional assembly featuring speakers with specific disabilities. They spoke to children then answered their questions about their strengths and challenges.

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First and Fifth Grade Buddies Visit Zoo

Fifth graders and their first grade buddies recently enjoyed a special day at the Cincinnati Zoo. Each year fifth graders spend an entire day with their first grade buddies,” said fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus. “After a fun and educational morning exploring the zoo, the buddies shared lunch and recess.” The day didn’t end at recess. Students worked together to create 3D pictures with zoo animals in their habitats. Fifth graders drew the animals and their buddies to scale. The projects are displayed in a hallway in the Lotspeich building. Click here for more pictures of the zoo trip. 

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From The Buzz, Nov. 11, 2016

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Seven Hills Celebrates Diwali

First graders in Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s classes started a late October day with a festive lesson about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Students led by Seven Hills parent Priyadarshini Viswalingam, learned about and colored brilliant patterns of rangolis, received henna tattoos and bindi, and ate delicious Indian snacks, such as jalebi and murkul. The students learned that Diwali means “row of lights” and that the family-centered holiday is similar to Thanksgiving. “First grade had a wonderful Diwali celebration to complement our year-long study of India. We learned about the significance of Diwali and how people from India and across the world celebrate this special holiday,” said Burton“In the end, we learned that, even though Diwali is celebrated predominately in India, its message of light over darkness is one that we can all apply to our lives. A special thanks to our first grade parents for organizing this wonderful celebration! Happy Diwali to all!”

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Third Graders Conduct Rocks and Minerals Experiments        

Third graders in Natalie Williams’ science class learned about the “moving, grooving earth” from a guest speaker in late October. Sara Fehring, an education assistant with the Hamilton County Soil and Water District, brought five different experiments for students to conduct themselves. The experiments focused on weathering and erosion. Fehring gave a brief talk about the two concepts before students launched into experiments involving everything from sugar cubes and gravel, to rocks and nail files.

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Students Learning About Mindfulness During Morning Assemblies

For the next several months, mindfulness will be a focus at Lotspeich’s Monday morning assemblies. At a recent assembly, second grade teacher Danielle Necessary, who is training to be a mindfulness educator, led a lesson. She told students they we’re getting in touch with their surroundings. “We’re just noticing,” Necessary said. She talked about when mindfulness can be helpful, and how it changes a person’s brain so he or she becomes better at noticing. She then told students to remember to practice two things—mindful bodies and mindful listening. She gave examples of each, and had the children practice both. Necessary reminded everyone that mindfulness isn’t always easy to achieve. “It sounds really simple but it takes practice,” she said.

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Fourth Grade Visits Cincinnati Enquirer, Shares Book Reports

Fourth graders in Melissa Foraker’s class had a busy October! Students recently read the popular book The Landry News, by Andrew Clements. In the novel, the protagonist, Cara Landry has a teacher, Mr. Larson, who would rather read the paper than teach his students. So Cara decides to give Mr. Larson something else to read—her own newspaper. Before she knows it, the whole class is in on the project. “To make our novel study come alive, we travelled to the Cincinnati Enquirer,” said Foraker. “We learned how information is deemed newsworthy and if the editor and reporters face the same struggles that Cara and her classmates faced—how to report with truth and mercy.” Students also completed another book-themed activity in October. The fourth graders chose a Newbery Medal-winning book and prepared presentations designed to inspire their peers to read the same book. “In addition to gleaning new information from new books, students are practicing public speaking,” Foraker said. “They used notecards to help them deliver their book talk in a clear and organized way. Sharing is extremely effective, especially when kids receive recommendations from their peers.”

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Simple Machines in Pre-Kindergarten

Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s pre-kindergarteners are completing hands-on lessons to learn about simple machines as part of a six-week unit. Recently, they focused on inclined planes. They created their own ramps using boxes, cardboard tubes, and tape. They also looked for ramps around campus and visited the Middle School to look at the huge ramps in the school’s hallway.

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 From The Buzz, Oct. 31, 2016

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Lotspeich Celebrates 100 Years!

Lotspeich celebrated 100 years of excellence in education in late October. The day was packed with activities. Alumni and former faculty reminisced over lunch, then took a tour of the Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center. Special guests were the family members of the late Helen Lotspeich, who founded Lotspeich School, including her grandchildren, Sylvia Lotspeich Greene ’55 and David Lotspeich ’60, and her great-grandson Brendan Duckett. The Lotspeich family members spoke at an assembly for all current Lotspeich students before ending the day. The assembly began with a sing-a-long to Give a Cheer for Lotspeich and fifth graders sang the Happy Birthday song from their fall musical, The Hundred-Year Snooze. Lotspeich and Greene told funny stories and answered questions about Mrs. Lotspeich, who loved a good joke as much as she loved teaching children. Lotspeich commented on the building’s energy, love, and excitement. “In some ways, nothing has changed,” he said. Click here to view more photos of the event. 

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Lotspeich Halloween Parade

The annual Lotspeich Halloween parade was a fun time for all the monsters and mischief-makers who attended! Students and teachers wore a variety of interesting and unique costumes, ranging from a Pokémon go Poké Stop to Godzilla, complete with a skyscraper in hand, even a package from the Dollar Shave Club! Click here to see more photos from the Lotspeich and Doherty parades.

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Fairy Tale, Nursery Rhyme Characters Parade through Lotspeich

Old King Cole, Little Miss Muffet, and the Cat and the Fiddle were among the many prestigious guests at the Nursery Rhyme and Fairy Tale Character Parade held in early October. Students in Kiki Scavo, Cicely Knecht, and Michelle Foster’s pre-kindergarten classes dressed as their favorite characters to celebrate the end of their two-week long unit on nursery rhymes and fairy tales. The parade started in the Early Childhood Center and made its way through Lotspeich. Children stopped in the library to visit librarian Marcia Snyder, dressed as Mother Goose, and to recite their favorite stories. The pre-kindergarten teachers said the tales are important because they aid in language and literacy growth, as well as help with pitch, volume, inflection, and the rhythm of language. “On top of the rich vocabulary children become exposed to, research also shows that nursery rhymes help with a young student’s cognitive development,” the teachers said. “Because nursery rhymes are patterns, they help with memorization, sequence, and alliteration.”

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Students Soar Through Scientific Process with Paper Airplanes

The scientific process is one of the most important tools scientists possess. Natalie Williams teaches her fifth graders the process in a hands-on way. “We learned about the scientific process by flying two types of student-created paper airplanes,” Williams said. Each student designed two planes to learn which one flew the farthest. The lesson also incorporated measuring skills and calculating averages, and ties into a future lesson. “This is a part of our scientific thinking unit, which will lead to an open inquiry project in which the students will design their own investigations from beginning to end,” Williams said.

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Fifth Graders Make Biscuits for First Grade Buddies

Fifth graders rolled up their sleeves to make a special treat for their first grade buddies. Zoe Paraskevopoulos and Karla Balskus’ fifth grade students recently made biscuits and apple butter for Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s first graders. Balskus said first and fifth graders do an activity every month, and October is traditionally reserved for the homemade snack. “The apple butter coordinates well with the first grade apple unit, and gives fifth graders their first opportunity to cook the Colonial way, in a copper pot over an open fire,” Balskus said. “The activity furthers curriculum at both grade levels, while providing the chance for new friendships to grow.”

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 From The Buzz, Oct. 13, 2016

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Lotspeich to Celebrate 100 Years

Lotspeich will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Friday, Oct. 21. To commemorate the centennial, the day begins when alumni will gather at noon in the Lotspeich Library to enjoy lunch, followed by a tour of the Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center. From 2-3 p.m., current students will attend an assembly with guests Charlie Lotspeich ‘58, Sylvia Lotspeich Greene ‘55, and David Lotspeich ‘60. They will share their memories of their grandmother, Helen Lotspeich, and reminisce about their days at Lotspeich School.

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Cincinnati Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld Visits Project Math

Seven Hills graduate and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld recently visited Lotspeich to speak to fifth graders in Liz Lorenz’s Project Math class and offer insight into issues facing Cincinnati. The visit is part of the fifth graders’ project to write a grant proposal to alleviate a problem discussed during Sittenfeld’s visit. To prepare, Project Math students researched and evaluated social change initiatives from around the country. Sittenfeld talked about three issues facing Cincinnati—poverty, education, and homelessness. He told students to consider how the problems could be related. For example, if a child living in poverty doesn’t have enough to eat, he may have a hard time focusing in class because he’s hungry. Students asked a variety of questions, which Sittenfeld answered enthusiastically. He also mentioned his time at Seven Hills, reminiscing about his experience and former teachers. “I have a lot of very fond Seven Hills memories,” he said. “You’re very fortunate to get a Seven Hills education.” The grant-writing project will continue when Jake Hodesh, of the local philanthropic organization People’s Liberty, will visit the classroom later this month to review grant proposals, suggest improvements, and talk to students about financing.

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Kindergarten and Third Grade Team Up

Kindergarteners and third graders are teaming up to learn everything about monarch butterflies—from their migration path, to their life cycle, to their habitats. Kindergarteners in Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes, and third graders in Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden’s classes, are taking part in the lesson. Schools in the path of monarch butterflies migration, which can be found in parts of the United States and Mexico, are also participating in the international project. Recently, students decorated a small butterfly, and later, each of the classes will make a large butterfly to send to their sister school in Mexico. The butterflies, which Cohen called ambassador monarchs, will represent the classes and Lotspeich. In the spring, the students in Mexico will send butterflies back to Lotspeich.

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Extensive Unit Focuses on the Study of Bridges

Beginning in September, social studies students in second grade began a four-month-long lesson on bridges. According to second grade teacher Becky Swain, students started the unit with “Me on the Map,” a basic geography lesson that asks students to look at their streets, cities, state, country, continent, and planet. Second graders then study different bridges across the world. “We started in math lab by working in groups, with each group given certain supplies, and trying to build various bridge structures,” Swain said. Students recently learned the three basic types of bridges—suspension, arch, and beam. Swain said students will continue the study by looking at the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati, then a bridge in Ohio, followed by a bridge in the United States, a bridge on the North American continent, and finally a bridge on another continent. “We ask the students to identify the type of bridge, label the different parts, explain why we need the bridge, and then share other interesting facts about it,” Swain said. The project ends on Dec. 15 when parents visit the classroom. Each student will pick a bridge to present to his or her class, and then share with their parents what he or she has learned.

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Composting in Kindergarten

Kindergarteners celebrated a “Terrific Tuesday” in September with a lesson on composting. On Terrific Tuesdays, kindergarten teachers Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis hold class outside for the entire day. Students visited the compost bin behind the ECC to learn about the FBI agents (fungus, bacteria, and invertebrates) of composting. Cohen showed kindergarteners the nutrient rich “black gold” from her home bin, and students examined the content with magnifying glasses and tweezers. They also threw leaves and other organic matter into the bins. To make the lesson even more hands-on, students will bring their own items to compost. “We ask kindergarteners to contribute from home,” Cohen said. “They made composting rings that consisted of 10 things they can find at home to compost.”

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 From The Buzz, Sept. 22, 2016

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Students Learn City Development from a Pro

Fourth graders in Liz Lorenz’s project math class have a building-sized assignment this year—simulate the design and development of the four-block area above Fort Washington Way. To get the project rolling, John Deatrick, project executive for the Cincinnati Streetcar, spoke to Lorenz’s class. Deatrick is also the former project manager of Fort Washington Way and The Banks. He gave a history of the development of the two locations, and explained the streetcar project in detail. He told students about the importance of public transportation, and the reasons why the city pursued the project. Throughout the presentation, students asked lots of questions. When Deatrick finished, Lorenz encouraged the fourth graders to think critically about their projects. Deatrick left students with great advice as they moved forward, reminding them to put themselves in others’ shoes.

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Foraging and Learning at Knoop Farm

Fifth graders took their annual trip to art teacher Jody Knoop’s farm in New Richmond to kick off their year of Colonial education, foraging and gathering items in the forest around them. Fifth grade teachers Karla Balskus and Zoe Paraskevopoulos took advantage of their outdoor classroom as students gathered natural materials they will use for their colonial dye baths this school year. “It’s an active day of experiential learning which provides raw materials for lessons throughout the year,” Balskus said. “Students will watch the tinder and kindling they gathered fuel our many Colonial dye baths, and the collected marigolds, pokeberries, and walnuts transform yarn that they will use for their own weavings or crocheted caps later in the year.” Students hiked and explored a creek, and completed a parkour course. They also visited the animals who live on the farm, including a pig, horses, and Lana, the “fifth grade sheep,” who comes to Lotspeich each spring to be shorn. “This outdoor classroom experience is empowering for our students,” Balskus said. “It’s a miniature nature trek that spurs collaboration and builds community spirit.” Click here to view photos of the 2016 Knoop Farm visit.

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Spanish in Motion

In Megan Hayes’ Spanish classroom, learning the language requires students to use more than just their minds. Recently, first grade students focused on the vocabulary word “vive en,” (lives in) as well as three habitats—el mar (the sea), el bosque (the forest), and la casa (the house). Each first grader then selected a model animal from one of the habitats. When Hayes said a verb, such as dance, students had their animals respond with the action. The idea of the lesson was “total physical response,” something that Hayes incorporates into her lessons through the use of motions, visuals, video, and more. She also has students create stories and build on them as they learn new words. “I’m setting up the stage for this bigger story,” Hayes said. Hayes pulls the first grade vocabulary from the Spanish version of The Three Bears. By spring, first graders will be able to read the book themselves. “The goal is they can do it all on their own and feel really successful,” she said.

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Local Geologist Talks Rocks and Fossils

Local Geologist Dave Swain, and husband of second grade teacher Becky Swain, recently shared his knowledge, and rock collection, with third graders in Natalie Williams’ science class. He spoke as part of an ongoing lesson about rocks and minerals. Swain opened his presentation with a demonstration of what geologists wear in the field. He dressed a student volunteer in head-to-toe safety equipment, complete with white suit, safety vest, and helmet, to demonstrate what geologists wear in the field. He explained that geology is “all around you.” “Geology is a big subject,” Swain told students. “It covers a huge amount of different things.” He discussed the three types of rocks—sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic—before giving the third graders rocks to examine up close. Swain then shared fossils, asking students to identify if the item was an animal or a plant, and whether or not it would exist on earth today.

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Bee Field Trip

Fourth graders were abuzz during their annual field trip to Greenacres in Indian Hill to study bees. According to fourth grade teachers Sara Snyder and Melissa Foraker, the field trip expands on what students are learning in science teacher Natalie Williams’ class. While at Greenacres, students extracted honey from a real hive and tasted different types of honey. They also learned bee communication and observed a live hive. Click here to see more photos from the bee field trip.

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 From The Buzz, Sept. 8, 2016

Rocks and Minerals

Defining Rocks and Minerals

Science teacher Natalie Williams’ class rocks! Recently, third graders created their own definitions for rocks and minerals based on their observations. Students were given a box containing both rocks and minerals, and then examined them using magnifying glasses, diligently taking notes. They then came together as a class to share their findings. Williams said the activity kicks off the third grade’s rocks and minerals unit. She said the lesson lays “a good foundation for earth science.” Students will continue to learn about the natural resources around them, which, according to Williams, is “part of being sustainable.”

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dsc_0624Garden Bed at the Center of First Grade Project Math

Later this year, first graders will have the opportunity to plant their own gardens, but they have to build the garden beds first. Constructing the beds and planting the garden will be a yearlong activity in project math, said project math teacher Liz Lorenz said there is currently one large bed behind the Lotspeich building, but students need to build four smaller beds as part of the assignment. In early September, the class discussed which dimensions they thought would be best. They visited the existing bed and gave their feedback and ideas to Lorenz. Lorenz showed the first graders how the garden was sectioned in one-foot blocks, and how to count the blocks to get the dimensions. First graders will also be getting some help from kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes in the ECC. “We’re all going to work together on this project,” Lorenz said.

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One-Point Perspective Drawing Makes Artwork Pop

Using rules and a ruler, fifth graders in art teacher Jody Knoop’s class recently learned how to make images pop from a one-dimensional surface. Knoop taught students about one-point perspective drawing, which makes a hand-drawn, 2-D shape look like a 3-D form and creates the illusion of depth. The lesson goes beyond art. “It connects with what the children learn in math class with shape vs. form, shape and form names, 2-D vs. 3-D, and how to create this change, from one to the other visually, by using a point of reference,” Knoop said. Students practiced the technique by writing two words in the one-point perspective style. Knoop gave students a set of rules to follow when doing one-point perspective drawing and encouraged them as they worked. “Some children suddenly feel that they can really draw once they have some rules and a ruler in their hands to guide them,” she said. “It is a different way of thinking about drawing and some of the kids really connect with it.”

 

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Second Graders Travel through Instruments

Second graders in music teacher Robin Wilson’s class recently explored rhyme during a hands-on game, aptly called “Rhyme.” After learning the rhyme, “Go!Go!Go!,” Wilson had students travel from instrument to instrument, in this case xylophones and metallophones, playing the poem. Wilson led the group and all students had an opportunity to play. Wilson said students are in the stage of “imitation and exploration” learning, and the exercise helps them learn the concept of form.

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ECC Footprints 2Who Has These Feet?

There was no shortage of paint as students in ECC pre-kindergarten teachers Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s classes prepared for a fun guessing game based on the book Who Has These Feet? McIlwraith and Slone painted each child’s foot and created a footprint on paper. The footprints were then displayed in the ECC. “The children tried to guess each other’s footprints,” McIlwraith said. “After the guess, they lifted up the footprint to reveal the face of the footprint’s owner underneath.” The game is part of the “All About Me” unit. The lessons are based on celebrating all things that make each of the students special.

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 From The Buzz, June 6, 2016

Closing ExercisesLotspeich Closing Exercises

Lotspeich said goodbye to its fifth graders during the Lower School’s 98th Closing Exercises, held May 31. The ceremony began with opening remarks from Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox. Students also performed several songs, including For Good from the musical Wicked. With their first grade buddies, they sang about the importance of their relationships with their younger peers. Fox noted how touching the song was because of this special bond. “I hear it every year and I still get that feeling,” she said. Fifth grade teachers Robin Vanover and Karla Balskus prepared presentations about each student and what makes them unique. Vanover and Balskus talked to the fifth graders’ former teachers to capture a comprehensive snapshot of each student. In his closing remarks, Head of School Chris Garten spoke about the class, complimenting them for being extraordinarily talented. He emphasized the role fifth graders have in Lotspeich, and how they set the tone for the lower grades. He also applauded Fox and the Lotspeich teachers and their efforts in creating a great school community. The ceremony closed with “Goodbye Lotspeich,” an original song written by art teacher Jody Knoop. The touching song is a reflection for students, from their first day to their last. To view photos of Lotspeich Closing Exercises, click here.

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Major Awards at Lotspeich

Each year, faculty and administration at Lotspeich select fifth grade students to receive a number of awards based on academic achievement, a love for learning, citizenship, character, and leadership. The following awards were presented during the closing ceremony.

Garrett Licata
Garrett Licata
Mark DeBlasio
Mark DeBlasio

The Joy in Learning Award was presented to Garrett Licata and Mark DeBlasio for “exemplifying joy in the pursuit of learning and sharing that learning in a selfless, helpful manner with others.”

Lauren Roberts
Lauren Roberts
Max Steinman
Max Steinman
Joy Luh
Joy Luh

The Eileen Driscoll Literary Award was presented to Lauren Roberts, Max Steinman, and Joy Luh for “demonstrating a love of literature and joy in the printed word.”

Jack Ringel
Jack Ringel

Jack Ringel was awarded the Theodore C. Wuerfel Merit Award for academic achievement, breadth and scope of interest beyond the classroom, leadership, citizenship, and character.

Elias Buttress
Elias Buttress

Elias Buttress was awarded the Elisabeth Greenwald Mapes Scholarship for “best exemplifying the Seven Hills values of respect for others, striving for excellence, kindness and caring, honesty and integrity, fairness and justice, personal responsibility, and commitment to community.”

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Instrumental Recital at Lotspeich

Lotspeich first graders shared their musical skills with their peers at a mid-May assembly in the Lotspeich Library. The students performed an instrumental piano and violin recital, produced by music teacher Robin Wilson. Students performing were Julia Lee (piano), Arielle Lewis (violin), Marshall Mert (piano), Nikhil Hariharan (piano), Aditya Khanna (piano), and Madison Zortman (violin). The first graders played across genres, delighting fellow students with Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, and classics Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and When the Saints Go Marching In.

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Fourth Graders Learn Ohio History at Camp Kern

Local history paired well with camping for students in fourth grade teachers Melissa Woodard and Sara Snyder’s classes. After studying Ohio history, students attended Camp Kern to get hands-on experience with the past. They hiked to Fort Ancient, reenacted the Treaty of Greenville, met historical re-enactors playing early Ohio settlers, and completed team-building activities. The students had a wonderful time and learned about history firsthand.

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Documentary Inspires Second Graders to Build Arcade Games

Second graders held the first ever Arcade Day on May 13. Inspired by the documentary, Caine’s Arcade, students worked in pairs, beginning in January, to create and design their own games. Liz Lorenz, Lotspeich math resource teacher & math enrichment coordinator, said students researched, tested and analyzed games to prepare for the day. Students practiced different STEM concepts throughout the project, such as data and measurement, as well as language arts. “Long-term projects like these enable students to utilize their academic knowledge, as well as enhance their creativity, collaboration, perseverance, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills,” she said. Students constructed the games using cardboard. They added sound, light, and motion with the help of LittleBits and Makey Makeys. LittleBits are comparable to electronic building blocks and contain a small circuit or switch. Makey Makeys allow users to turn items into touchpads. “The students determined ways in which coding and circuitry could enhance their games, and used a critical eye to determine when it would be appropriate and beneficial to utilize the technology,” Lorenz said. Second graders planned Arcade Day, with teacher guidance and support, ranging from creating prizes to preparing an opening presentation. In the weeks following the event, students worked during Project Math to break down the data. They then shared their findings at a Lotspeich assembly.

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Ninth Graders’ Children’s Book Explores Commas

As part of a cross-divisional effort between the Upper School and Lotspeich, the Lower School students learned about comma usage during a recent assembly. Upper School English teacher Meredith Brown’s ninth graders Andrew Brown, Amisha Mittal, and Aryan Katneni presented a children’s book authored by students in Brown’s class, Comma Cal and His Pals, during the Lotspeich mid-May assembly. The book features lessons in comma usage with the help of a giant comma named “Comma Cal.” Brown’s students study grammar all year, and take a closer look at commas in the second semester. Comma rules are important, but can seem “overwhelming” to students, according to Brown. “Having the chance to demonstrate mastery, at least of most of the ‘big rules,’ was meaningful,” she said. “It also got the creative juices flowing and facilitated learning through different modes than grammar study usually does.” Ninth graders wrote out the versions of each comma rule, chose the title and picked where Comma Cal was photographed. “Both the writing and the photographs required that the kids think about their audience, which is a hugely important aspect of writing but one that often doesn’t have a lot of palpable import to kids day-to-day,” Brown said. Brown was thrilled her students could share the book with the younger Lotspeich students. “This book was designed for an elementary audience specifically, so the experience of reading it to that audience and seeing how rapt they were was great and allowed the Upper School students to see that we did pretty well in shaping our work to the audience,” Brown said.

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Third and Fourth Graders Take Musical Trip Across the World, United States

Third and fourth grade choirs, directed by music teacher Robin Wilson, performed in Founders Hall on May 24. The third graders opened the concert with a variety of songs focused on the theme, It’s a Musical World. Some were even in different languages. Students performed a medley of French songs called Viva La France, as well as A Rainbow of Peace, written in Spanish. The children waved flags of all colors while performing A Rainbow of Peace. Staying in Europe, the choir sang the Irish folk song The Little Beggarman. They then moved to a more tropical locale for inspiration, performing the Banana Boat Song, commonly known as Day-O. Fourth graders songs were based stateside. The students studied the 50 states and incorporated the lesson into their music. They sang Lights of Freedom, naming the states and holding up posters as they performed. The fourth grade choir also performed partner songs, or two songs that share a harmony and can be sung together at the same time. Partner songs included Have You Seen a Yankee Doodle? and I Love This Grand Old Flag. The students dedicated the song, American Tears, to veterans in the audience. They closed the show with an upbeat rendition of Three Cheers for America.

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Gods and Goddesses Visit Lotspeich

As part of their focus on mythology and geography, kindergarteners on the Hillsdale Campus studied Greek gods and goddesses. In May, students in kindergarten teachers Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes dressed as a number of mythological luminaries, including Zeus, Athena, and Apollo, to name a few. The students paraded through Lotspeich and Early Childhood Center and talked to other students about their gods and goddesses. Kindergarteners’ parents visited to hear more about the students’ mythology lessons, including the symbols for each god and goddess. Students sat on their hand-crafted thrones while they read what they learned about their figure.

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May Fete

May Fete

The annual Lotspeich May Fete drew a great crowd in mid-May, as students and their families joined in the fun playing games of skill and chance, jumping and sliding on the giant inflatable bounce-house, sampling treats, and bidding on many amazing gift baskets. This special event could not have been possible without the help and support of the Lotspeich Parents Association. The Parents Association hosts the carnival-style funding event each year. Many thanks to Lotspeich Parents Association and the volunteers who hosted this great evening of fun and games. Click here to see more photos from May Fete.

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Seven Hills Network of African-American Parents Honors Students

 

Students and families who are members and supporters of The Seven Hills Network of African American Parents (SNAAP) honored Seven Hills students of African-American descent during an annual end-of-year SNAAP banquet on the afternoon of June 5. The Rev. Jerome Weaver, a Seven Hills parent, gave the invocation. Head of School Chris Garten and Head of Upper School Matt Bolton applauded the students and their families for a year of dedication, persistence, and purpose. Retired Procter & Gamble engineer and CEO of the Bearden Group, LLC, Pervis Bearden, Sr., delivered an inspiring address, congratulating the students for their achievements and asking them to reflect upon the hard work of their families who have supported them along the way. “Your families have allowed you to bend but not break, to stumble but not fall,” said Bearden. “Your families have empowered you with a great source of inspiration and instilled in you that not having is no excuse for not getting.” The banquet also included a libation memorial ceremony, an African tradition, which was officiated by the Rev. Weaver. The ceremony concluded with remarks from Seven Hills 2016 graduates Nia Page and Brandi Bryson, as well as Seven Hills alumni Lauren Weems ’15 and Joshua Weaver ’15. Many thanks to parents Chantal Weaver, Leslie Bryson, and Erica Vaughn, and several other parents on the SNAAP committee for organizing the event. We also thank community members Felicia Maupin, of Felicia’s Events and Designs, and Monique Colbert, of Pounds of Faith, who provided decorations and desserts, respectively, as well as Millie’s Place Restaurant, and Muzic Company. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

The SNAAP honorees for 2015-16 school year are as follows:

Rising sixth graders

Xavier Coach

Dylan Cooke

Ric DeLyons

Jaden Sims

Sohana Thompson

Aiden Williams

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Faculty Falls to Fifth Graders in Tennis-Baseball

Fifth graders took on faculty in the Annual Tennis-Baseball game, held in late May. Students and staff alike gathered on the field, ready for a sports showdown. Unlike regular baseball, teams played the game using tennis rackets instead of bats. Lotspeich students in lower grades turned out to root for their favorite teams, cheering when a player cleared a base or earned points. The younger students decorated posters declaring where their loyalties lay and broke out in the occasional chant from the sidelines. Faculty members put up a good fight, but fifth graders won in a landslide victory of 12-6. The game ended with teams lining up for quick, sportsmanlike handshakes, high fives, and fist bumps.

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 From The Buzz, May 13, 2016

DSC_1116Grand Day for Grandpersons’ Day

Students at Lotspeich, including our youngest students at the ECC, spent a day with the grandparents and grand people in their lives during the Lower School’s annual Grandpersons’ Day on April 29. Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox kicked off the day with a festive reception and welcome in the Hillsdale Commons. During the half-day event, the students introduced their guests to their classes, attended lessons, and completed projects with their guests. Click here for a gallery of photos from Lotspeich’s Grandpersons’ Day.

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Cross-Divisional Lesson in Nature

In a cross-divisional student-led lesson, Upper School students in Linda Ford’s environmental science class shared their knowledge of capturing nature in photography with fifth graders in Lotspeich science teacher Natalie Williams’ class. After studying notable nature photography, the older and younger students discussed the significance of the pieces to human understanding and appreciation of nature. The student pairs then headed outside with iPads to capture their own photos. With Williams’ help, the fifth graders composed a PowerPoint presentation that was shown during the visit of nature photographer and author David FitzSimmons.

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DSC_0007Exploring Life Cycles in Pre-kindergarten

Pre-kindergarteners at the ECC participated in a very hands-on lesson as they experienced an up-close visit with a few mammal friends from Sunrock Farm in early May. Beginning her discussion with a lesson on mammal characterization, Farmer Georgia, of Sunrock Farm, asked the students to observe two billy goat kids and discuss the differences between the two. The students also had an opportunity to feed the goats, further bringing to life the pre-kindergarten curriculum on the life cycles of plants and animals. Farmer Georgia emphasized the importance of habitat, life cycle changes, and animal care with the children. The traveling farm animals allowed for a hands-on experience for each child, as they had a chance to care for the animals and understand the role of farming in everyday life.

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  DSC_0645 Living Biographies

Lotspeich fourth graders recently completed their annual Living Biography project.  As part of an indepth research project about a person from history, the students learn how to take notes and present their findings in multi-genre scrapbook. For the culminating part of the project, students wrote and presented their speeches to their class, while dressed as the subject of their studies. Said fourth grade teacher Melissa Woodard, “It was a delight to see all of the people from the past come back to life during our project.”

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DSC_1208Kindergarten and Third Graders Track Monarch Butterflies

As part of a yearlong, ongoing partnership to study the migration of the Monarch butterfly, kindergarteners on the Hillsdale Campus recently charted, tallied, and discussed the insect’s migratory patterns with their third grade buddies. Since launching the joint project in October of 2015, the students have tracked the path of Monarch butterflies that have migrated from different areas of North America; participated in creating symbolic Monarchs for each class and child that incorporated science, visual art, teamwork, and global education; and began a pen pal project with children in Mexico. In early May, the students paired up with their buddies to locate on a tracking map the states and countries that sent symbolic Monarchs from other schools also participating in the project. After sharing the states during a group lesson in the ECC Commons with kindergarten teachers Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis and third grade teachers Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden, the students found that their butterflies had originated from14 states and three countries. The students’ culminating activity will include planting host and nectar plants in the gardens around the ECC for Monarchs and other pollinators.

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IMG_2576Nature Photography in Pre-kindergarten

The signature stark-white backgrounds in the photos of visiting author David FitzSimmons’ children’s books recently became subject matter for the three- and four-year-olds in Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s pre-kindergarten classes. “After studying FitzSimmons’ work and reading many of his books, including, Curious Critters, we decided to make our own photographic art,” said McIlwraith. “We first created a white light box to use for our photographs. Then the students picked a ‘curious critter’—a plastic animal figure—to photograph.” The students positioned their animal figures then used their teachers’ iPhones to take the pictures. After photographing, they dictated what the animal might say about itself—just like FitzSimmons does in his books. McIlwraith said the books were presented to FitzSimmons and are currently on display in the ECC.

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From The Buzz, April 14, 2016

DSC_0845Dinosaur Walk

Pre-kindergarteners in Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s classes studied dinosaur tracks and created their own versions of the Mesozoic creatures’ tracks during a unique science workshop with Lower School science teacher Natalie Williams. The dinosaur walk wrapped up a two-week, hands-on study of dinosaurs, which included a collaborative art installation of recycled box sculptures currently on display in the ECC. To illustrate the different types of dinosaur tracks, Williams asked the students to dip their feet in tempura paint and walk the length of white paper in their classrooms. The students walked, jogged, tiptoed, and bear walked, all in different colors, which highlighted the diversity of footprint shapes. Williams then explained to the three- and four-year-old students that paleontologists study fossilized tracks of animals to determine how the animals walked, lived, and moved about the earth.

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DSC_0788Colonial Days

Seven Hills’ yearlong tradition of Colonial education at Lotspeich immerses fifth graders in a broad range of experiences. Again this year, the studies culminated in mid-April on Colonial Day, which included a Colonial Dinner in the Lotspeich Library. Students dressed in Colonial costumes and dined on an authentic meal featuring Brunswick Stew, home-made yeast breads, cornbread baked in the campfire, home-churned butter, and Colonial desserts including stack cakes, pound cake, Honey Drops, and Williamsburg Jumble cookies. With fifth grade teachers Karla Balskus and Robin Vanover as their guides, students participated in Colonial activities throughout the day, including tin-smithing, basket making, corn husk doll making, whittling, spinning wool, embroidery, writing letters with quill pens and sealing wax, and playing the Colonial game of Graces with a decorated hoop and sticks. Said Balskus, “Many members of our Seven Hills community work together to make this special day possible. Our wonderful cafeteria and maintenance staff provide important support. More than 20 parents volunteered; they helped students make all the food, set up the library, and they also supervised our numerous craft activities, and students made beautiful colonial plates with art teacher Jody Knoop, who teaches students to use the spinning wheel and brings her own Lana the Lamb to school to be shorn.”
Click here to view photos from Colonial Day.

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DSC_0857Cross-Divisional Student-led Presentation on Social Media

Equipped with information recently gleaned from their digital citizenship unit, students in ninth grade advisories presented their findings to fifth graders on the Doherty and Hillsdale campuses. The students shared a number of points on the safety and appropriate use of the Internet and social media. The ninth graders, who were invited by school counselors Judy Arnold and Mitzie Moser, shared their insights and experiences with the fifth graders with information ranging from the importance of time management when using social media, to using common sense. The ninth graders offered smart advice that encouraged students to think before they post, post only pictures and information they “wouldn’t mind their grandparents reading,” and only interact with close friends on social media. Ninth grade advisory leader and Upper School English teacher Meredith Brown said the ninth graders will also meet with Middle School students for a second time this spring, to answer questions and share suggestions and experiences.

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DSC_0713Pre-K2 Students Make Gifts for Second Grade Buddies

Students in pre-kindergarten for 2-year-olds crafted colorful placemats for their second grade buddies in early April. In a new partnership between the Lotspeich second grade and pre-kindergarten for 2-year-old students in the ECC, the students have been working in pairs on different activities throughout the year. Pre-kindergarten for 2-year-old teacher Rose Truong said her students have built meaningful relationships with their older buddies and even recognize and speak to them when they see each other during playtime and outdoor trips to class. Truong said the partnership highlights the beauty and benefit of having the school’s youngest students just steps away from older children, who can share in the joy of learning at Seven Hills.

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DSC_0774 (3)Litmus Tests in Second Grade

As a continuation of the second grade chemistry unit, students used litmus paper in early April, to determine whether a number of unknown elements were composed of acid or base. Using their knowledge of the litmus color reaction when mixed with water, the students determined that five unknown elements—all basic household products not yet revealed by science teacher Natalie Williams—were base if the red litmus paper turned blue, and acid if the blue litmus paper turned red. If nothing changed color, the students learned that the substance was considered neutral. Students worked in pairs and recorded their findings in detail in their chemistry journals. The students later observed the physical and chemical properties of the unknown elements under the microscope. Williams said the lesson gave students the opportunity to become familiar with lab techniques they will use throughout Middle and Upper schools. “The students are measuring with graduated cylinders and beakers, learning to make solutions and suspensions while testing for acids and bases,” said Williams.

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From The Buzz, March 17, 2016

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Studying Australian Aboriginals

Students in Kim Walden and Lynn Niehaus’s classes are studying the history and culture of Australian Aboriginals. Two elements that are being focused on are Dreamtime stories and Aboriginal dot paintings. During class this week, the students, working in pairs, have been writing their own Dreamtime stories. Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, is the Aboriginal understanding of the world, of its creation, and how things came to be the way they are. The students also created their own Aboriginal dot paintings to go along with their stories. The students’ unique unit has been enriched by Walden’s recent travels to Australia and New Zealand, which was funded by the Miriam Titcomb Memorial Fund grants for enrichment.

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P1010722Big Boxes, Big Ideas

As part of their second project of the year, Lotspeich second graders are researching, testing, and analyzing various games in order to prepare for their student created Arcade Day based upon “Caine’s Arcade,” a movie about a 9-year-old who spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto parts store. After playing a variety of games in a project math class, brainstorming, and listing games they have played previously, the students created Venn diagrams to compare games and debate what makes a game a game, said project math teacher Liz Lorenz. “Students are working with partners to design and create/build their own game for the second grade Arcade Day,” said Lorenz. “They are creating the games using a variety of recycled materials as well as creating rules and a scoring system for their game.” Lorenz said the students recently were introduced to circuitry and will soon be introduced to computer coding programs. The students are encouraged to incorporate these technologies as appropriate to add sounds, lights, and motion to their games. Students will have the opportunity to “test” their games with their classmates, and gather data via a student created survey.  Students will use this data to make improvements and modifications to their games prior to the Arcade Day they will put on for the Lotspeich students.

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DSC_0457Let’s Build a City

After completing a unit on communities and community helpers, the pre-kindergarten students in Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s classes designed their own city. The children brainstormed a list of different buildings that their city would need, including a football stadium, airport, parking garage, department stores, and more. After painting the roads and grass, they used the Internet to research what their buildings would look like and painted them accordingly. Once their structures were complete, the students worked together to plan where each piece should be placed in their community. “The students enjoyed looking at a map of their city and discussed the names of the different occupations of their city’s residents,” said Slone.

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DSCN1215Día de Guatemala

Students and families enjoyed Día de Guatemala, a day of arts, crafts, and learning fun designed by Lotspeich teachers, which took place on March 12, in Founders Hall. Students and their families had an opportunity to make Guatemalan worry dolls, create Easter carpets, take culturally inspired pictures in the photo booth, repurpose old broken crayons into new beautiful shapes, illustrate a page for a book about Cincinnati to share with La Trompeta school in Guatemala, make felted wool bookmarks, and create “flower bombs” at the charitable event. All proceeds benefited Cooperative for Education (CoEd), a non-profit organization started in Cincinnati with the purpose of ending illiteracy and lifting children out of poverty in Guatemala. Lotspeich partners with CoEd as part of a Lower School community outreach program. Click here to view photos from Día de Guatemala.

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DSC_0539The Musical Sound of Math

If math were a song, it would sound like the melodies fifth graders played on their Orff instruments in Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson’s music room. As part of a collaborative lesson between Wilson and the fifth grade team, students used the first 31 digits of pi to play a musical piece on Orff instruments. “The students have been learning all kinds of interesting facts about pi in math class and studying circles intensely,” said fifth grade teacher Robin Vanover. “They brought math to life musically through numbers, notes of pi, and creating harmonies.” Wilson said the numbers of pi can be played as music because the numbers represent the notes of the major scale. For example, because C is the first note on the musical scale, the first 3 digits of pi, 3, 1, 4, would be played as musical notes E, C, F. “The students are able to play the digits as whole, half, and quarter notes using the xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiel Orff instruments.” Playing the numbers of pi results in a beautiful melody. Listen!

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From The Buzz, Feb. 25, 2016

IMG_5562Continental Study

As part of the kindergarten unit of study focusing on the seven continents, students in Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes recently completed a unit of study involving Antarctica and the seven species of penguins that live primarily in that region. Over several weeks, the students studied the habitat and characteristics of the penguins, researched the climate and biomes present on the continent, studied icebergs and glaciers, and crafted models of the natural resources found throughout the continent. Cohen said the kindergarten social studies curriculum focuses on the earth and its seven continents. “The children are challenged to think beyond their own community and conceptualize the greatness of our planet,” said Cohen. “They are exposed to different cultures, traditions, animals, landscapes and landmarks.” The Antarctica study concluded with a demonstration to parents and families. The students’ presentation incorporated recitations and a Venn diagram.

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IMG_3004Studying Letter Sounds and Transportation in PK for Two-year-olds

Students in pre-kindergarten for two-year-olds are exploring the concept of the alphabet and letter sounds. As part of their studies, their teacher Rose Truong is introducing letter-themed events to help students solidify and associate their new lessons. Seven Hills’ youngest students studied the letter “P” throughout February, with a culminating event to which the students relate. “We recently also enjoyed an especially warm and cozy day at school for Pajama Day, complete with Popcorn and Pears for snack to extend our letter ‘P’ learning,” said Truong. “We also just began our transportation unit.” Truong said the students have been building social and cognitive skills as they “drive” and “fly” with toy vehicles in their dramatic play classroom station.

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DSC_0529Simple Machines

As part of their study of simple machines, Lotspeich fourth graders visited Green Acres in Indian Hill. The annual field trip supports and expands the knowledge that they have gained during science class, said fourth grade teacher Sara Snyder. “We were able to learn about simple machines in a hands-on way and use many farming tools,” said Snyder. “The students split wood and used an auger, wheelbarrow, and pulleys. They also had an opportunity to see a Rube Goldberg machine, which had many of the simple machines that we were studying incorporated in the workings of the machine.”

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Cultivating Kindness in Writing

As part of a lesson blending the culture of kindness and historical literature, fifth graders have been participating in read-alouds of books that represent and highlight acts of kindness. “To encourage student empathy and help students prepare for their Kindness Retreat in February, all of our class has been reading books, such as A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon, The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and Wonder, by R. J. Palacio,” said fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus. “The students also responded regularly in their kindness journals.” The students’ reading assignments and discussions culminated in the Feb. 24 Kindness Retreat, a daylong, interactive seminar with Upper School student leaders and the Minnesota-based Youth Frontiers organization.

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From The Buzz, Feb. 4, 2016

DSC_0307Fifth Graders Begin Chemistry Unit

As fifth graders begin an extensive unit on chemistry, Lotspeich science teacher Natalie Williams is asking them to think like early scientists, which will help set the foundation for their knowledge of the complex subject. To launch their studies, Williams gave each group samples of the elements aluminum, silicon, copper, iron, and zinc. Using the techniques of early chemists, the students determined the physical properties of different elements and categorize them by odor, color, malleability, whether the element was shiny or dull, and what they had in common. Williams said the next step is a project based on learning the periodic table.

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P1010490Project Math Meets GE

As a part of their project math class, Lotspeich fourth graders recently heard from General Electric engineer Mike Cloran, who spoke to them about 3D printing and additive manufacturing. “It was a wonderfully educational presentation on how various methods of 3D printing work, an overview of the progression of manufacturing and technological improvements that have moved it forward, and ways in which GE Aviation is using 3D printing to create prototypes and improve parts that are used in GE airplane engines,” said project math teacher Liz Lorenz. Many thanks to Lotspeich parent Lynee Campos, who helped arrange the visit.

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IMG_3808 2100th Day of School

In preparation for the 100th day of school, first graders in Marilyn Braun and Aimee Burton’s classes tied in a hearty math lesson with their reading work. The students read One Hundred Hungry Ants, in which 100 hungry ants try to decide the quickest way to get to a nearby picnic. Directed by the smallest ant, the ants try a number of different arrangements, including, two rows of 50, four rows of 25, and five rows of 20. The first graders used Unifix cubes to model the different configurations of ants and created equations that equaled 100. Burton said the students also discussed the relationship between repeated addition and multiplication.

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IMG_5445Second Graders Define Leadership

With African-American historical figures and Black History Month as their backdrop, second graders in Danielle Necessary and Becky Swain’s classes are studying parts of speech, honing their writing skills, and engaging in discussion as they learn more about what it means to be a leader. The students partnered up to share adjectives that, to them, describe leaders. Some of the students came up with “kind,” “socialable,” “non-violent,” and “elderly.” The students had an interesting discussion with Necessary, however, and later decided that young people could also be leaders, based on their previous understanding and growing understanding of the definition of leadership. “We have been researching information about Martin Luther King, Jr., Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman,” said Necessary. “We also asked the students to bring in pictures of someone they know who is a leader.” Necessary said many of the students brought in pictures of their parents, grandparents, and teachers.IMG_5443

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Health and Bodies Unit in Pre-Kindergarten

For a brief moment, students in Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s pre-kindergarten classes ran the trail in late January, in the newly-named Dellie’s Garden and Playground. But it wasn’t yet recess time. The three- and four-year-olds were the subjects of their own study of heart function, as they listened to their heartbeats with a stethoscope, set off on a brief run, then stopped to employ the stethoscope again. Once broad smiles spread across the students’ faces, their teachers knew the students had made a connection. “It’s pumping faster, isn’t it?” asked McIlwraith. “I can feel your heart beating too! Your heart is pumping the blood fast through your body because you just ran.” After the outdoor lesson, the students gathered around an activity bin filled with water tinted with red food coloring, in order to further their understanding of heart function. The students took turns drawing and squeezing water from turkey basters, as their teachers explained the idea of the heart pumping blood to circulate oxygen throughout their bodies. McIlwraith said the students would continue their health and bodies unit with more lessons on lung function and the skeletal system.

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100_0178School Community Celebrates Dedication of Dellie’s Garden and Playground

Pre-kindergarteners, kindergarteners, faculty, and administration gathered on Jan. 22 to celebrate the dedication of Dellie’s Garden and Playground, situated just outside the Early Childhood Center on the Hillsdale Campus. Present at the dedication were Dellie Schiff, for whom the playground and garden are named; her son and daughter-in-law Seven Hills parents Jim Schiff, former Board chair, and Seven Hills current Board chair Beth Schiff; and one of their sons, Hayden Schiff `14. Also present were Dellie’s granddaughter and her husband, Meredith and John Borchers. During the dedication ceremony, Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox thanked the Schiff family for their generosity. Head of School Chris Garten asked the assembled students to name the people in their lives to whom they were grateful. Students raised their hands, naming parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and caregivers. He then asked the children to think about other people in their lives who helped in other ways, working behind-the-scenes. He mentioned the efforts of policemen and firemen and soldiers—people who support us and help keep us safe—in ways we often never see. “Such a person,” he added, “is Mrs. Adele Schiff. For decades, she and her family have helped this school in ways almost too numerous to count. She has helped us build new buildings, made it possible for students from all over this city to attend our school,” said Garten. “She has helped support teachers and their families, and helped teachers learn and grow, to be the very best they could be.” Students then brought a collection of cards, notes and drawings they had made to thank her and to mark the opening of Dellie’s Garden and Playground.

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From The Buzz, Jan. 14, 2016

Anatomy Lessons in Pre-K

Pre-kindergartners began a unit of study on the human body in early January. Teachers Kiki Scavo and Cicely Knecht began by tracing on paper an outline of each student and displaying the artwork in the halls. As their students learned about the major organs in their bodies, how they function, and why they are important, they were able to add each organ to their displays through different mediums of art. Students heard and felt their own heartbeats, used a stethoscope to listen to their stomachs digesting food, experienced how lungs work by using balloons, and engaged in many more science experiments! “This unit of study is an appealing, hands-on learning experience linking facts, visual learning, and our physical selves together,” said Scavo. “It is a child-guided inquiry opportunity for both teachers and students.”

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P1010316Medieval Feast

The fourth grade participated in the annual Lotspeich Medieval feast in late December. The students are in the middle of reading the book The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, which is set during the Medieval time period. As an experiential learning piece of the Medieval Study, done in reading class with Melissa Woodard and Anne Vanoy, the students enjoyed a feast. The Lotspeich library was transformed into a great hall by fourth grade parents. The menu was soup, chicken legs and grape juice. The students even enjoyed a cake with the Seven Hills coat of arms. Retired NKU professor Margo Jang came to speak to the children. She arrived in character as the Wife of Bath from the Canterbury Tales and told the students many details about life in Medieval times. The fourth graders had many questions for Jang about food, clothing, daily life, knights, and castles. __________________________________________________________________________________________

P1010233Project Math in First Grade

First graders at Lotspeich are using project math to plan a raised garden bed outside of the first grade classrooms. “Students planned the dimensions of the bed and completed a survey to determine what herbs and vegetables will be grown,” said project math teacher Liz Lorenz. “They graphed the survey results, and created a square foot gardening plan for the bed, determining what fraction of the garden bed will be dedicated to each vegetable and how many plants are needed per square foot, and for the garden as a whole.” Before winter break, the first graders worked with two members of the maintenance crew in order to build the garden bed and learn how tools such as tape measures and squares are used in building! Lorenz said the students would continue their work to prepare for planting in the early spring.

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IMG_2756 (1)PreK Studies All Things Bears

Pre-kindergarten for 2-year-old students are currently engaged in a study of the characteristics and habitats of bears. “This will round out the last two weeks of our ‘bears’ theme,” said teacher Rose Truong. “In the classroom we’ve had a ‘bear cave’ in the dramatic play center, cotton ball ‘snow’ and toy bears in the sensory table, and many bear stories in the reading center and during Circle Time.” Truong and teaching assistant Christina Del Vecchio invited students to bring in their own Teddy Bears to make a more personal connection with their unit of study. During a “Teddy Bear Picnic” with their stuffed friends, the class had a special snack, which included food bears love to eat (berries and “fish” crackers).  As an art project, students made small bear caves using paper bowls, paint, and cotton balls, and the unit also extended into other curriculum areas: in science, the class learned about how fat helps keep bears warm in winter; the students moved and roared like bears in P.E.; and their Spanish lessons included comparative words in Spanish, including oso grande vs. oso pequeño.

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photo 1Early Childhood Collaborates With Third Grade for Community Service

Throughout the month of December, pre-kindergarteners helped out their third grade school mates by collecting new and gently used gloves/mittens, scarves, and hats for a community service project. The activity was tied in to pre-kindergarten’s unit of study of Holidays Around the World, focusing in particular, on the Boxing Day, a Christmas holiday celebrated throughout the world, including, in the United Kingdom and parts of the Caribbean. Third grader students then collected the contents of the Lotspeich Mitten Tree and sent donations to those in need at the Madisionville Education and Assistance Center (MEAC) in time for the Winter Holidays. “The Holiday Mitten Tree is third grade’s annual community service project. Children in grades 1-5 are asked to bring in warm winter mittens, hats, and scarves to decorate the tree,” said third grade teacher Kim Walden. “The third grade then sends all contributions to MEAC to help less fortunate children in our own community in need of mittens and hats. With the pre-kindergartens joining in with their donations, the tree was overflowing.”

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From The Buzz, Dec. 18, 2015

P1000944Godzilla in Spanish

In a very colorful lesson, fourth graders are learning their target vocabulary words. Lotspeich Spanish teacher Señora Megan Hayes brought in a few fun, unconventional ideas to help solidify lessons for her students. “First, we learned our target vocabulary: ‘quiere ser,’ which means ‘wants to be,’ and ‘viaja,’ which means ‘travels.’ Then, we acted out a story about Godzilla, who wants to be a person, not a monster, and travels to Hollywood in his quest,” said Hayes. The students read the Godzilla story, then modified the Godzilla story to create an original story with different characters and personalized the details. “The kids were able to insert people or animals they like and make the story their own,” said Hayes. “We used the computer application “Book Creator” to add text, visuals and audio, and created digital storybooks.” Hayes said students shared their stories with their parents via email shortly before the break.

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IMG_3040Spelling Bee

Congratulations to the fourth and fifth graders who participated in the Spelling Bee, which took place in early December in the Lotspeich Library. Each homeroom had a winner and runner-up compete in the school spelling bee. Fourth graders who participated are Max Brown, Nicholas Choo, Logan Symson, and Savi Thompson. Fifth graders who participated are Isabelle Beaver, Elias Buttress, Jai Chaudhary, and Lauren Roberts. The winner, Logan, will go on to complete an online test to see if she qualifies for the next round.

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P1010451Bridge Study in Second Grade

Lotspeich second graders wrapped up an extensive four-month unit on Bridges. Students honed their geography and map skills by studying a bridge in their city, state, country, continent, and world. “After spending time during project math further exploring and constructing various types of bridges, students used their observations from previous bridge and structure challenges to identify common types of bridges, supports, and structures,” said second grade teacher Danielle Necessary. “Students discussed how they are helpful and when they are used in bridge construction.” As a culminating project, students selected a bridge, created a visual representation of the bridge, and presented their project during class time and the annual “Morning with the Bridges” with visiting parents and students. Click here to view a photo gallery of some of the students’ bridge projects.

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DSC_0037Kindergarten Festival of Lights

Lotspeich kindergarteners studied a number of multicultural holidays that share the commonality of lights as a major component in their celebrations. The students learned about Los Posadas, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas, and St. Lucia, all holidays that use light as a symbol of hope, peace, and love. Thank you to the many kindergarten families who shared their family traditions, recipes, and activities with the kindergarten class, which further enhanced the children’s studies.

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From The Buzz, Dec. 3, 2015

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Socratic Seminars in Fifth Grade

As part of their second Socratic seminar for the school year, fifth graders in Karla Balskus and Robin Vanover’s classes discussed a number of points based on the history of the Columbian Exchange, which is the name used to describe the historical movement of people, plants, animals, and germs across the Atlantic Ocean. The students, who sat in a circle with their teachers as the facilitators, used the appropriate Socratic method to observe the discussion without criticism or interruption. Students in each fifth grade class engaged in content-rich discussions for about 40 minutes, using the Socratic Seminar rules, which were designed by the students. Some of the rules, which varied by classroom group, included “be respectful,” “discuss, don’t debate,” “include everyone,” “use kind language,” “participate as a critical thinker,” and “share the air” (give others a chance to speak).

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DSC_0720Lessons in Poetry

Using the book of poetry Autumnblings by Douglas Florian as their muse, third graders in Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden’s classes began work on a poetry project in late November. Niehaus and Walden launched the project by reading poems from Florian’s collection, then explained the importance of using very descriptive words. Niehaus then asked the students to brainstorm not just the ordinary color descriptors for Thanksgiving and Diwali, but unusual words that painted pictures for the reader. During the brainstorm, the students were bursting at the seams to offer a number of words, including “goldenrod,” “cosmic blue,” and “sunset orange!”

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DSC_0806Turkey Tango!

After weeks of practice to get the steps and the music just right, second graders brought in the Thanksgiving holiday by strutting their stuff in the Turkey Tango during the Celebration of Thanksgiving assembly in Kalnow Gym. In traditional fashion, the young students performed the dance alone, then concluded the dance, side-by-side, with the seniors, directed by Lotspeich music teacher Robin Wilson. The assembly, which also focused on gratitude for those who serve in our community, began with opening remarks from Head of Upper School Matt Bolton and director of experiential learning Nick Francis, followed by musical selections by the Upper School Instrumental Ensemble, directed by instrumental music teacher John Rising. Several Upper School student service club representatives also presented, including sophomore Maya Gleich, junior Vaibhav Vagal, and seniors Carly Cohen and Hasani Harrigan, who all shared descriptions of their service throughout the community at organizations such as the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, Stepping Stones, and University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Middle and Upper associate librarian Gail Bloom was also recognized for initiating and organizing the “Big Readers” program, in which Upper School students read to pre-kindergarteners. Head of Lower School, Lotspeich Campus Carolyn Fox offered the closing remarks, thanking everyone and wishing them a happy Thanksgiving.

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IMG_3124Skyping Whole Foods

First graders in Aimee Burton and Marilyn Braun’s classes Skyped with Danielle Reynolds from Whole Foods in early December to learn about the broad variety of vegetables that go beyond the ordinary. “Reynolds introduced us to some interesting vegetables — rainbow chard, baby bok choy, celery root, and pea shoots,” said Burton. “Then we had the opportunity to ask Danielle questions about vegetables.” The students asked a number of questions, including “what is the biggest vegetable?,” “do any vegetables grow in winter?,” and “why are vegetables good for us?” The first grade unit on nutrition will continue in January with the grain group, said Burton.

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Cookie Amendment and The Bill of Rights

A Lotspeich fourth grader recently took his newly-acquired knowledge of The Bill of Rights to a practical level. After reading the book The Landry News by Andrew Clements, Nate Firestein had the idea to create a petition to amend a rule on cookie sales at school. The rule on cookie sales focused on moving the sales to the end of the week if no school was held on a Friday, as opposed to the previous rule of nixing cookie sales altogether for that week. “Nate wrote a persuasive paragraph to (Head of Lotspeich) Carolyn Fox explaining why he thought if a week was short and we missed school on Friday that cookie day should be moved to the last day of the week. Nate then got signatures of all willing fourth graders and delivered his petition,” said fourth grade teacher Melissa Woodard. After a few days, Fox made the announcement to students during the Lotspeich morning assembly that Nate had used his rights as an American to make a change to the cookie sale rules. In addition to the cookie amendment, Woodard and Snyder’s students are finishing up The Landry News with newspaper projects, which are posted in the hall across from the fourth grade classrooms.

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From The Buzz, Nov. 19, 2015

IMG_4525Everybody Counts

The Lotspeich Parents Association launched a series of Everybody Counts presentations in mid-November. Lower School students participated in a number of presentations from people who live with different abilities. Everybody Counts is designed to inform and guide students in understanding and accepting those with physical and developmental disabilities. Guest speakers from the Autism Society and Special Olympics, as well as visitors with physical, visual, and hearing impairments, shared information with the students. Everybody Counts takes place in kindergarten through fifth grade, and focuses on helping children understand that we have more in common than our differences.

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First Graders Star in Local TV Special

First graders in Aimee Burton’s class had more than a brush with fame in mid-November. Many of them sat down, got comfortable, and had a nice conversation in the spotlight with one of Cincinnati’s celebrity faves. Brad Johansen, a former play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Bengals and a current sports anchor for WKRC Channel 12, was in Burton’s Lotspeich classroom on the Hillsdale Campus in early November, to gather footage for his popular Monday show Child’s Play. As part of the show’s charm, the humorous Johansen interviews youngsters about everything Bengals, allowing the children to drive the tone of the interview. Johansen, who rested his towering frame on toddler-size couches in order to sit beside his interviewees, said he enjoyed his visit. The students enjoyed the casual on-camera chat, which aired Nov. 16 just before the 6 p.m. news. “We were all so excited and happy to be chosen,” said Burton, a Bengals die-hard who, working with Seven Hills’ communications team, contacted TV news producers with her interest to have her students on the show. If you missed it, click here to view the video, which had more than 10,000 views by Nov. 18.

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IMG_2782Buddy Zoo Trip

First and fifth grade buddies recently spent the morning at the Cincinnati Zoo doing research on animal habitats. First grade teacher Marilyn Braun said each buddy team researched a zoo animal and took note of what the animal needed in its habitat. After returning to school and having lunch together, the buddies spent the afternoon designing a 3-D display of their animal in its habitat. The animals were drawn to scale and added to the habitats, which made use of natural materials found on the school campus. The buddies enjoyed a great day of outdoor learning!

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DSC_0577Happy Diwali!

Students in the Lower School enjoyed learning about Diwali’s rich culture and brilliant festivities. In Diane Schulteis and Theresa Cohen’s kindergarten classrooms, parent Shaher Banu Vagh told stories that explained the origin and customs of Diwali. She also applied tamarind paste to the foreheads of the children as part of a blessing from Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity. Diwali is a five-day holiday that marks the beginning of the fiscal year in India. The holiday usually falls between October and November. This year, Diwali began on Tuesday, Oct. 11. Thank you to the parents who shared the history, stories, and principles of Diwali with the school community this month.

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Fossil Hunting at Trammel Fossil Park

Third graders recently went on a fossil hunting field trip at Trammel Fossil Park in Sharonville. Trammel Park is special because there are many different time periods represented in one area, said Lower School science teacher Natalie Williams. Throughout the park students read signs with information about the different time periods and which types of fossils can be discovered in each area. Williams reminded the students that Cincinnati was once covered by an ocean, so there are amazing oceanic fossils to be discovered.

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From The Buzz, Oct. 30, 2015

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Anatomy of a Corn Stalk

Students in Kiki Scavo and Cicely Knecht’s class broke down, literally, their study of corn during a plant biology lesson in mid-October. During the students’ new biweekly curriculum entitled “Thrilling Thursdays,” in which the students spend a portion of their learning day outside, the students diagrammed the anatomy of an ear of corn, labeled it, then shucked the corn to reveal the kernels, silk, and shank. The lesson falls in line with early childhood curriculum to understand the lifecycles living things, said early childhood director Kara Meador.  ____________________________________________________________________________________

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Outdoor Learning at California Woods

First graders enjoyed a wonderful October visit to California Woods Nature Preserve on Kellogg Avenue. The students, teachers, and parent volunteers spent the day exploring the habitats of local wildlife in the forest, the creek, and the meadow. “We dug under logs in the forest, used sweep nets in the meadow and turned over many rocks in the creek to get a close look at these wildlife habitats,” said first grade teacher Marilyn Braun. “We learned so much on this day of outdoor learning.”

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zoom_photo429451_5603782Bridging Learning

Second graders are conducting extensive research on bridges for their unit in social studies. The unit will include a bridge-building project that required students to study the history, geography, design, and structure of a bridge, build it in some format, and present their work in class. The students are also using the information in project math class with teacher Liz Lorenz. The students are also preparing for presentations, which will take place in December.

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P1010770Biscuits with a Buddy

Fifth graders and their first grade buddies recently enjoyed a project that incorporated cooking, friendship, and mouth-watering treats in early October. As part of the beloved tradition, “Biscuits with a Buddy,” the younger and older students shared homemade biscuits and made apple butter cooked over the fifth-grade campfire. “This tasty activity was a perfectly blended lesson incorporating outdoor education, history, mentorship, and collaboration,” said fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus. “Our fifth graders look forward to it every fall.”

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abbAfter The Bell

Registration is now open for winter 2015-2016 Enrichment Programs on our Doherty and Hillsdale Campuses. For registration form and detailed program descriptions click here

One-day Special Events:

  • Acting Workshop – 4-5 p.m., Nov. 11 on the Lotspeich campus. (Gr. 1-5)
  • Yoga & Creativity – 4-4:45 p.m., Nov. 13 & 20 on the Doherty campus. (Gr. Pk-1)
  • Photography – 4-5 p.m., Nov. 18 on the Doherty campus. (Gr. 2-5)
  • Soccer fundamentals and agility skills – 4-4:45 p.m., Nov. 18 on the Lotspeich Campus (Gr. Pk-1)

Winter Session: November 30 – February 5:

  • Books Good Enough to Eat – 4-5 p.m., Mondays on the Doherty campus (Gr. Pk-K)
  • Drawing & Painting – 4-5 p.m., Mondays on the Doherty campus (Gr. 1-5)
  • Bricks 4 Kidz – 4-5 p.m., Tuesdays on the Lotspeich campus (Gr. 1-4)
  • Tennis – 3:30-4:15 p.m., Tuesdays on the Lotspeich campus (Gr. Pk-1)
  • Photography – 3:30-4:30 p.m., Wednesdays on the Lotspeich campus (Gr. 5)
  • Chess – 4-5 p.m., Wednesdays on the Lotspeich campus (Gr. 1-5)
  • Creative Expressions – 4-4:45 p.m., Wednesdays on the Doherty campus (Pk-K)
  • Discovery Kids: Puterbugs – 4-4:45 p.m.,Thursdays on the Lotspeich campus (Gr. Pk-K)
  • Tennis – 3:30-4:15 p.m., Thursdays on the Doherty campus (Gr. Pk-1)
  • iPadding – 4-5 p.m., Thursdays on the Doherty campus (Gr. 1-5)
  • Yoga & Creativity – 4-4:45 p.m., Fridays on the Lotspeich campus (Gr. Pk-1)

 

Please contact Jill Romerill at jill.romerill@7hills.org or Linda Clark at linda.clark@7hills.org with any questions.

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From The Buzz, Oct. 15, 2015

DSC_0050Bengals Math

First grade teacher Aimee Burton teaches math and geography using Bengals scores and geographic locations of teams during weekly Monday lessons. Each Monday after a Bengals game, Burton starts off her lesson with a projected map of the United States. The students point out the home state of the opposing team. Burton then asks the students to build the numbers involved in both teams’ scores. For example, on Monday, Sept. 28, first graders used math blocks to build the numbers 28 and 24 – a recent score in the Bengal’s powerhouse undefeated season. Overall, Burton’s students worked through a discussion, which incorporated communication, navigation, and math skills. Go Bengals and Go Stinger first graders!

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IMG_0003Bee Field Trip

Fourth graders learned the language of bees during a recent trip to Green Acres in Indian Hill. The annual field trip supports and expands the knowledge that they have gained during science class, said fourth grade teacher Melissa Woodard. “We were able to see how honey is extracted from a real hive, taste varieties of honey, learn bee communication, and we even saw the queen when we saw a functioning hive.”

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DSC_0073Buddy Project

As part of a letter writing assignment that incorporates science, writing, visual art, teamwork, and global education, kindergarteners recently completed a pen pal project with children in Mexico. After studying the lifecycle and migratory patterns of the Monarch butterfly, the students in Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes worked with their third-grade buddies to complete pictures of butterflies. The butterflies, which bear the name of the student artists, will then be mailed to pen pals in Mexico, to model the annual migration of the Monarch, which is currently taking place. Cohen, Schulteis, and third grade teachers Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden said the activity is part of a yearlong project.

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Growing a Food Garden in Pre-K

Planting season has just begun in Tyler McIlwraith and Kathleen Slone’s pre-kindergarten classes. As part of the yearlong scientific study of gardening, the students will use their classroom grow lab to grow plants that produce vegetables for a salad through the fall and winter seasons. The students started out by sprouting beans, then planting their bean and squash plants in small pots. The pots, which are now sitting under grow lamps, are thriving in the classroom. The students will next plant lettuce and various herbs. McIlwraith said she hopes the students will have grown enough produce to eat a salad in late winter/early spring.

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Scientific Discoveries in the Early Childhood Center

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students have been using the kitchen classroom in the Early Childhood Center Commons for more than baking. As part of a new science program, Lotspeich Lower School science teacher Natalie Williams has been converting the kitchen counter into a science lab where students are exploring a number of reactions, tactile activities, and observations. Using food coloring, vinegar, and baking soda, the students are experiencing the effects of carbon dioxide, observing the relationship between oil and water, and learning more about the results of color mixing.

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From The Buzz, Sept. 24, 2015

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Continental Studies in Third Grade

Beginning with a focus on the Paleozoic-era supercontinent Pangaea, third graders in Lynn Niehaus and Kim Walden’s classes created a timeline entitled “how the world has changed.” The project also included a review of the geological time periods, a current view of the world today, and a review of the seven continents and four major oceans. “We discussed how the equator creates the northern and southern hemispheres and how the prime meridian creates the eastern and western hemispheres,” said Walden. “We also talked about how the world clocks are set from the prime meridian.” The students’ unit culminated in a world map activity.

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IMG_3868Lessons in Literature in Pre-K

As part of a collaborative lesson pairing literature with a review of colors, shapes, and directions, pre-kindergarten students in Cicely Knecht and Kiki Scavo’s classes recently worked as a team to cook, hunt, and decorate the Gingerbread Man. The students read and discussed the story, then worked through the process of making the treat in their kitchen classroom in the Early Childhood Center. Waiting patiently, they soon found out if the Gingerbread Man would indeed make his way out of the oven and across the campus, as he did in the classic tale. “This experience incorporates new literacy, math, chemistry, directional, and social skills for our children,” said Knecht. “It’s a wonderful team-building opportunity that brings a sense of community to our classrooms.”

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Hunting and Gathering at Knoop Farm

In one of many favorite Lotspeich traditions, fifth graders recently explored, gathered, and foraged at art teacher Mrs. Knoop’s farm in New Richmond. “We all had such a fun time helping each other as we hiked down a creek bed and explored the farm,” said fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus. Balskus and fifth grade teacher Robin Vanover transformed every step of the rural journey into an outdoor classroom as students gathered lots of tinder and kindling, along with black walnuts and marigolds – some of the natural materials they will use for their colonial dye baths this school year. A special treat was visiting the animals who live on the farm, including Lana, the “fifth grade sheep,” who comes to Lotspeich each spring to be shorn. Click here to view a gallery of photos from the trip.

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CaponeStudy of Life in the 1930s

Fourth graders in Melissa Woodard’s reading class delved into American history, namely the 1930s, to further understand the premise of their current book, Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko, a 2006 Newbery Honor book. As part of the preparation for their studies, they are using iPads to build background on what life was like 80 years ago in Alcatraz, where the story takes place.

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The Kindness Tree

Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers, along with Lotspeich counselor Judy Arnold, recently shared a moving message of kindness in the Early Childhood Center. Arnold and kindergarten teacher Diane Schulteis began the presentation by using the metaphor of a heart that breaks when children say unkind things to others. During the teachers’ skit, Schulteis tore a piece of the paper heart when something unkind was said. The children discussed ways to mend the broken heart with kind words, hugs, and friendly invitations. Early childhood director Kara Meador later informed the children they would add paper leaves and apples to the tree decals in the commons meeting area every time teachers witnessed random acts of kindness among the children.

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From The Buzz, Sept. 12, 2015

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A Dream Come True

Students, teachers, families, and friends of Seven Hills joined for a ribbon cutting and exuberant celebration of the opening of the school’s Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center on the morning of August 28. The joyous occasion included a performance from Lower School students and statements from Nellie Taft’s brother Dudley Taft, Sr. and Seven Hills Head of School Chris Garten. “Today, it’s like we are moving into a new house – and we’re excited,” said Garten. “We miss our old home and all the memories we made there but we’ve packed up all our things, we have all the people who love us here, and we’re ready to start a new chapter of our lives.” Click here for more on the ribbon cutting.

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DSC_0694Predator or Prey?

First graders in Natalie Williams’ class observed and journaled their findings during a comparative study of their class pets – gerbil vs. hamster – to determine body types and whether the animals are predators or prey. In a very hands-on activity, Williams and her students sat in a circle in the Leyman Science Building, surrounding the small pets Williams had set loose to roam the hardwood floor. The students observed the animals and wrote down the similarities and differences of the pets. Williams said the students enjoyed the exercise, which helped hone their observational and writing skills.

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DSC_0630Project-based Math

Fourth graders at Lotspeich are researching and “managing” urban revitalization scenarios from start to finish as part of a new project-based math curriculum directed by Lotspeich math resource teacher Liz Lorenz. Lorenz launched the students’ projects with a presentation by 3CDC Executive Vice President and CFO and Seven Hills parent Stephanie Gaither, who took our students through the process of her work revitalizing Over-the-Rhine. The students will use information gleaned from Gaither’s presentation to design their class projects.

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Pre-K for Two-year-olds Opened this Fall on Hillsdale Campus

For the first time in the history of Seven Hills, pre-kindergarten for two-year-olds classes are now taking place on both the Hillsdale and Doherty campuses. Teacher Rose Truong and teaching assistant Christina DelVecchio welcomed the students to their classroom in the Early Childhood Center this fall. Truong received a 2015 summer grant to build a pre-kindergarten curriculum for her students, working throughout the summer to establish all aspects of the general classroom, including literacy, math, multisensory exploration and science, social and emotional development, and community building for her students. “My role, as well as that of the teaching assistant, is to plan and provide opportunities for intentional play and to facilitate children’s learning and development with sensitivity and encouragement,” said Truong. Pre-kindergarten for two-year-olds was launched in the fall of 2013-14 on the Doherty Campus by early childhood teachers Julie Brackett and Nikki Ravenscraft.

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Outdoor Education in Kindergarten

As part of an addition to the kindergarten curriculum at Lotspeich, students will take learning outdoors once a week for “Terrific Tuesdays.” The weekly program will incorporate all of the indoor learning experiences students have daily – only they will take place outdoors. Teachers Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis, along with early childhood director Kara Meador, will introduce the formal outdoor education to students on Sept. 15. “The children will be working directly with native materials, such as insects, plants, birds, and weather,” said Cohen. “They will be using composting bins and rain barrels. Our students will develop and use critical thinking, observation skills, the scientific method, problem solving, and teamwork.”

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DSC_0639Lotspeich Closing Ceremony

Congratulations to our 36 rising sixth graders on the Hillsdale Campus. The Lotspeich fifth graders said goodbye to their beloved Lower School Tuesday morning, with lovely musical selections led by music teacher Robin Wilson. Each student heard reminiscent messages written just for them and read by fifth grade teachers Karla Balskus and Kate Fischer. The students also listened to inspiring, congratulatory messages delivered by Head of School Chris Garten and Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox. The students concluded their beautiful ceremony with a tradition of singing “Goodbye Lotspeich,” written by Lotspeich art teacher Jody Knoop. Click here for more photos from the closing program on the Hillsdale Campus.

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IMG_0643Living Biography

After months of extensive research, writing, and revising, fourth graders presented Living Biographies, one of the culminating projects in the fourth grade. Living Biographies has a unique mission to engage students in experiential learning on a number of levels. Students chose the historical leader they would like to get to know better and wrote a persuasive paragraph convincing homeroom teachers Melissa Woodard and Sara Snyder of their ability to portray their leader. In late April, students presented their research in character, showcasing their hard work and bringing their leader to life. “The students did a wonderful job presenting in front of their peers and parents, dressed as their researched person,” said Woodard. “It was a delight to see all of the people from the past come back to life during this project.” Click here to view a gallery of Living Biographies.

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Major Awards at Lotspeich

Each year faculty and administration on The Hillsdale Campus select fifth grade students to receive a number of awards based on academic achievement, a love for learning, citizenship, character, and leadership. The following awards were presented during the closing ceremony.

Joy in Learning Award

Evan Michelman
Evan Michelman

The Joy in Learning Award was presented to rising sixth graders Evan Michelman and Ella Jo Piersma for “exemplifying joy in the pursuit of learning and sharing that learning in a selfless, helpful manner with others.”

Ella Jo Piersma
Ella Jo Piersma

Eileen Driscoll Award

Isabelle RingswaldEgan
Isabelle RingswaldEgan

The Eileen Driscoll Literary Award was presented to rising sixth graders Isabelle RingswaldEgan and Naina Purushothaman for “demonstrating a love of literature and joy in the printed word.”

Naina Purushothaman
Naina Purushothaman

Theodore C. Wuerfel Merit Award

Allie Nathan
Allie Nathan

Rising sixth grader Allie Nathan was awarded the Theodore C. Wuerfel Merit Award for academic achievement, breadth and scope of interest beyond the classroom, leadership, citizenship, and character.

Elisabeth Greenwald Mapes Award

Josh Rising
Josh Rising

Rising sixth grader Josh Rising was awarded the Elisabeth Greenwald Mapes Scholarship for “best exemplifying the Seven Hills values of respect for others, striving for excellence, kindness and caring, honesty and integrity, fairness and justice, personal responsibility, and commitment to community.”

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DSC_0132Seven Hills Network of African-American Parents Honor Students

Students and families who are members and supporters of Seven Hills Network of African American Parents (SNAAP) honored Seven Hills students of African-American descent during an annual end-of-year SNAAP banquet on the afternoon of June 7. Seven Hills parent Theo Nelson gave an invocation. Head of School Chris Garten applauded the students and their families for a year of dedication and purpose. Global Research & Development Director at Procter & Gamble Illya Thomas delivered a poignant keynote message entitled, “Success is a journey, not a destination.” The banquet also included a signature libation memorial ceremony, officiated by Seven Hills parent and Board of Trustee member Jan-Michele Kearney. Many thanks to parents Erica Vaughn, Leslie Bryson, and several other parents in the SNAAP committee for organizing the event. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

DSC_0156The SNAAP honorees for 2014-2015 school year are as follows:

Rising sixth graders

Gabrielle Christmon

Ric DeLyons

Jack Fechter

Kamaia Hall-Edwards

Asher Kearney

Rising eighth graders

Khepri Campbell

Jarin Davis

Brandon Dinan

Brice Hill

Ty’Asia Hudlin

Class of 2015

Adam Buford

Isaiah Daniels

Bryden Goings

Sydney Jones

Jared Nelson

Joshua Weaver

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DSC_0492Tennis-Baseball with Fifth Grade

In a fun tradition, Lotspeich students played the Seven Hills faculty and administration in a fun game of Tennis-Baseball. Using their best swinging arms, students, teachers, and administrators, including Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox and Head of School Chris Garten, wielded tennis rackets to hit softballs out of the park on the turf field on the Hillsdale Campus. The game brought laughter and lighthearted ribbing as students and faculty enjoyed the competition that came down to a 15-14 score in favor of the students.

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3rd and 4th gd. musicThird and Fourth Grade Spring Concerts

Third and fourth graders on the Hillsdale Campus performed a number of lively tunes Focusing on patriotism, the global community, the 50 states, baseball, and all things American during a wonderful concert in Founders Hall in May. One of the many highlights of the performance led by music teacher Robin Wilson was a musical rundown of all 50 states and their capitals. The students held up posters they designed depicting all 50 states!

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DSC_0098Kindergarten Mythology Unit

As part of their focus of mythology and geography, kindergarteners on the Hillsdale Campus studied a number of Greek gods and goddesses and in early May dressed up as their chosen mythological figure. The students in kindergarten teachers Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes came to school dressed as a number of characters, including Aprhodite, Venus, and Artemis, to name a few. Kindergarteners’ parents visited with their children to hear more about the students’ mythology lessons.

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Seniors Visit Lower Schools for Culminating Activity

As part of the seniors’ culminating activity, seniors participated in a number of projects, partnerships, and activities with students at both Lower and Middle schools. Led by experiential learning director Nick Francis, the seniors worked alongside the students, on both the Doherty and Hillsdale campuses, in music and drama classes, as well as in Spanish, physical education, and art classes. Several students also had lunch and participated in activities with Middle School students.

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IMG_2136Tell a Friend! Now Enrolling: Pre-Kindergarten for Two-Year-Olds

The Seven Hills School’s Pre-Kindergarten for Two-Year-Olds program provides a warm atmosphere where young children can explore and learn, guided by our Early Childhood expert teachers. We are excited to now accept applications for the Pre-kindergarten for Two-year-olds Program on the Hillsdale and Doherty campuses. Students who attend the program must turn 2 by Sept. 1 of their enrollment year. To learn more about the Pre-kindergarten for Two-Year-Olds program visit www.7hills.org/ec/prek2.

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DSC_0966Good-Bye, Wuerfel, Hello Taft Early Childhood Center

After more than 40 years serving as a home for the curiosities, discoveries, and achievements of the youngest students on the Hillsdale Campus, the Wuerfel building will be excavated in June. For decades, Seven Hills families have endeared themselves to the little gray building just behind the Red Barn, enjoyed the climbing tree, the “big toy” jungle gym, and the meandering paths that led little feet through a number of whimsical, make-believe adventures. Some things will stay the same: the Red Barn and the climbing tree will remain. However, once the Wuerfel building is razed and removed, the landscape will give way to our nearly-completed 17,500-sq.-ft. Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center, which will house several early childhood classrooms, including Beginnings Parent & Toddler Enrichment Program, pre-kindergarten for 2-year-olds, a pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten. The Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center opens August 2015! Learn more at https://www.7hills.org/ece/construction

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From The Buzz, May 28, 2015

Pre-kindergarteners pose in authentic English football team fashion with Nick Francis and Ryan Levesque.
Pre-kindergarteners pose in authentic English football team fashion with Nick Francis and Ryan Levesque.

Seven-Week Study of England in Pre-kindergarten

Over the past seven weeks, pre-kindergarten students on the Hillsdale Campus have studied the culture, history, geography, and people of England. The study began with children creating a large map of England. They located specific cities, recreated their own subway system (called “the tube” in Britain), and heard from guest speakers Dr. Rajesh Davit, father of pre-kindergarteners Krishen and Aarya Davit, and director of experiential learning Nick Francis, both of whom are from England. The students also learned about well-known English authors and ended the week reading The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. “The students have experienced a pre-kindergarten version of the Roman Baths, created clay structures to help them understand Stonehenge, and built a castle large enough to play in,” said early childhood director Kara Meador. Polo and cricket were among the English sports introduced alongside a mini soccer clinic led by parent volunteer Ryan Levesque, father of James Levesque. The students, who learned a number of British terms, enjoyed using the term “football” when describing their soccer games. Just in time for the birth of the newest Royal baby, Charlotte, the children learned about the Royal Family, with each student receiving a “Royal” name and creating their own family crest. The unit culminated with a very proper tea party at 2 p.m. on May 29, and a “football” game!

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IMG_5729Camp Kern

Fourth graders on the Hillsdale Campus spent three days in early May bringing the fourth grade social studies curriculum to life. Prior to going to Camp Kern, the students studied Ohio History. While at Camp Kern the students learned even more about Ohio’s history and geography through hands-on experiences. “We hiked to Fort Ancient, re-enacted the Treaty of Greenville, met dramatic interpreters depicting Ohio’s early settlers, and participated in team-building activities,” said fourth grade teacher Sara Snyder. “The students had such a wonderful time and learned so much in the process.” Click here to view gallery of photos from the field trip.

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DSC_0891Pre-K in Flight

In a beloved tradition in conjunction with the celebration of the study of birds in the Middle School, pre-kindergarten students in Tyler McIlwraith and Rose Truong’s class, and Kiki Scavo and Cicely Knecht’s classes studied various North American birds indigenous to the region, designed bird costumes, and “migrated” over to the Middle School to meet Miami University ornithologist and licensed bird bander Dr. Dave Russell and his wife, ornithologist Dr. Jill Russell. After a visit with Dr. Dave Russell, who allowed some of the students to hold tagged birds in the palms of their hands, students “flew” back to their “nests” in Wuerful. The following day, students concluded their ornithology unit with a visit from Cincinnati Museum Center outreach educator Valerie Horobik, who taught a lesson on the variety of bird eggs. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

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DSC_0142Sassmannshaus Recital

Twelve Seven Hills student violinists serenaded family and friends in the Lotspeich Library during the The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills spring recital in mid-May. Each student played songs from a number of composers, including Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Suzuki, and Vivaldi. Some students also played traditional and folk music. The student musicians played under the direction of teachers Michaela Luchka and Lydia Woodin. The Sassmannshaus Tradition at Seven Hills is part of the school’s afterschool enrichment offerings.

Sassmannshaus Musicians –

Lotspeich: Daniel Choi, Mark DeBlasio, Xavier Dejean, Ryan Homer, Elan Little, Maya Little, and Hannah Sprigg, and Madison Zortman

Middle: Shriya Kilaru and Anika Parameswaran

Upper: Scott Arnold and Leah Blatt

Congratulations, musicians! Click here to view a photo gallery of the recital.

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_LHC8027May Fete

Seven Hills families thoroughly enjoyed May Fete, a beloved tradition and carnival-style funding event for the Lotspeich Parents Association. Students and families enjoyed a number of games, and the opportunity to bid, via silent auction, for a number of theme-based gift baskets. One of the most unique baskets featured a chance to shadow a member of Seven Hills’ facilities department. First grader Griffin Osher enjoyed his winning opportunity in mid-May as he spent time with head of maintenance Tim Poff. Griffin rode the John Deere Gator vehicle with Poff, visited the chiller plant, and gained a better understanding of how the facilities department helps to maintain the climate and every-day operations of the school. Many thanks to Lotspeich Parents Association and the dozens of parents and staff who worked together to transform Kalnow Gym into a world of sheer fun! Click here to view event photos taken by Len Cohen.

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P1000612Book Buddies

Each year fourth graders on the Hillsdale Campus visit Mt. Healthy North Elementary. The students are paired with a pre-kindergartener or kindergartener from the Mt. Healthy school. “Our students really enjoy meeting their buddies,” said fourth grade teacher Sara Snyder. “They have earned seven dollars doing chores and jobs so that they can purchase a book for their buddy.” Upon their return visit in May, the students will read to the Mt. Healthy students and donate the books to their library.

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From The Buzz, May 14, 2015

_LHC7445Grandpersons Day

Lotspeich students regaled and honored the grand people in their lives during Grandpersons Day in late April. In a longstanding Seven Hills School tradition, dozens of grandparents and grand persons joined Lotspeich students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade to participate in a morning of activities. Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox greeted the visitors during a morning reception and welcomed them to Seven Hills. Families and friends in attendance beamed with pride as they learned through the eyes of the young people in their lives what it is like to be a student at Seven Hills today. Many thanks to Mrs. Fox, Lotspeich faculty, parents Chrissie Blatt and Ali Bernstein, and the Lotspeich Parent Association. Click here to view a photo gallery of the day’s exciting events.

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DSC_0937First Grade Show and Japan and China Day

On the annual Japan and China Day, second graders performed songs and folktales from Japan and China, and students participated in an origami workshop with the help of parent volunteers. The early May performance, along with the Japan and China Webquest project presentations, culminated the second grade’s study of the two countries. During the first grade show students dazzled an audience of friends and family at the first grade spring show in mid-April Congratulations to all students, music teacher Robin Wilson, and theater teacher Russell White for both brilliant performances!

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_LHC6523Colonial Studies in Fifth Grade

Fifth graders traveled back in time to Colonial Days, an annual event that highlights their in-depth study of American History. Led by teachers Kate Fischer and Karla Balskus, students worked with whittled wood; cooked; learned tin-smithing, basketmaking; and embroidery; and wrote letters with quill pens and sealing wax. Balskus said the students learned just how it felt to be part of turn-of-the-century ideas and events that are cornerstone events in the history of American culture. “Our fifth grade research project is a colonial trades report, where all students become an expert on a chosen trade,” said Balskus. “They will demonstrate for their peers how to make their chosen product.” Students also engaged language arts and reading in their Colonial studies as they learned calligraphy to write Ben Franklin’s proverbs and George Washington’s “Rules of Civility.” They also read historical fiction, such as Sign of the Beaver, Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Johnny Tremain. Students wrapped up their studies with a traditional Colonial Dinner featuring Brunswick Stew, homemade yeast breads, cornbread baked in the campfire, and colonial desserts including stack cakes, pound cake, Honey Drops, and Williamsburg Jumble cookies. Click here for a gallery of photos from Colonial Day.

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simple machinesStudying Simple Machines

The fourth grade class traveled to Green Acres in Indian Hill in mid-March to study Simple Machines. The field trip supports and expands the knowledge students have gained during science class. “We were able to learn about Simple Machines in a hands-on way and use many farming tools,” said fourth grade teacher Sara Snyder. “The students split wood, used an auger, wheelbarrow, pulleys, and even got to see a Rube Goldberg machine that had many of the simple machines that we were studying incorporated in the workings of the machine.”

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DSC_0672Visiting Illustrators

Lotspeich students enjoyed a very animated and colorful April visit from children’s book illustrators Jeanette and Christopher Canyon. The event was organized and hosted by Lotspeich librarian Marcia Snyder. The Columbus-based illustrator and singing duo shared with students energizing musical presentations that matched their multi-media artwork. The Canyons’ visit inspired a number of art projects, including papier mache goldfish and sunshine mobiles in Jody Knoop’s art class. The artwork can be found throughout Lotspeich classrooms. Students enjoyed learning about Jeanette Canyon’s polymer clay technique – she uses a pasta maker to squeeze out threads of clay. They also enjoyed Christopher’s acoustic guitar tunes. Because many of the Canyons’ children’s books are inspired by the lyrics of singer and songwriter John Denver, the Canyons sang a number of Denver songs. To the students’ surprise, they also had the opportunity to hear Knoop and Head of School Chris Garten sing a John Denver duet during a recent morning assembly. The Canyons have illustrated a number of books, including Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef, Over in the Jungle-A Rainforest Rhyme, and Sunshine on My Shoulders, to name a few.

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From The Buzz, April 16, 2015

DSC_0138Literature Circles

Fourth-graders in Melissa Woodard and Sara Snyder’s classes engaged in layered discussions during their literature circles. The students, who worked in groups of four and five, asked open-ended questions and summarized their reading. The students’ discussions were based on their reading choices, which included Al Capone Does My Shirts; Out of My Mind; Maniac Magee; and Bud, Not Buddy. Woodard said all of the books share a theme of overcoming adversity.

 

IMG_1266Sheep Shearing

As part of their spring unit on Colonialism, fifth graders took part in a fun Lotspeich tradition – shearing “Lana” the beloved sheep from Seven Hills art teacher Jody Knoop’s farm. Knoop also shared her lesson with all Lotspeich students, as well as families in the Beginnings Parent and Toddler Enrichment program, who made rotating visits throughout the morning. The students learned about the benefits of the lanolin oils Lana produces, as well as the art of shearing, washing, carding, and treating the wool. The students will later dye the wool in a separate Colonial lesson, using natural pigments they have stored at different times throughout the school year.

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March Madness and Math Skills

Fourth graders worked hard on their math skills throughout the college basketball season. They followed the teams weekly through AP Poll’s Top 25 teams. Each week the children calculated the ever-changing winning percentages by converting fractions to decimals, using the movement of scores of teams on the Top 25 list. At the end of the season, students also graphed information to determine the maximum, minimum, range, mode, and median. The students also learned how to find and graph the average scores of teams on the list.

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IMG_1039Learning about Urban Planning in Pre-K

After completing a unit on communities and community helpers, the pre-kindergarten students in Tyler McIlwraith and Rose Troung’s class designed their own city! The children brainstormed a list of different buildings that their city would need including a water tower, mall, park, airport, hotel, office building, a zoo, and more. After painting the roads and grass, they used the Internet to research what their buildings would look like and painted them accordingly. Once their structures were complete, the students worked together to plan where each piece should be placed in their community. When they were satisfied with how their community looked, the children were then able to use cars, planes, and their own personalized figurines to manipulate their project and see how a community actually functions.

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DSC00215Third and Fourth Grade Instrumental Recitals

Congratulations to our Lotspeich Third and Fourth Grade musicians! The students performed this spring in the annual grade-level recitals, directed by music teacher Robin Wilson. Students who participated in the third grade recital are: Isabelle Anthony, Sam Blatt, Kalin Brown, Nicholas Chu, Lauren Coulson, Max Brown, Annie Gaither, Megha Gaitonde, Layla Kerr, Elan Little, Ermaan Srivastava, and Savita Thompson. Students who participated in the fourth grade recital are: Sarah Croog, Mark DeBlasio, Josie Domet, Fionnuala Donovan, Margaret Withers, and Daniel Yi. Fifth grader Naina Purushothaman played as well. Click here to see pictures of the student performances!

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mf tMay Fete T-Shirt Orders Due April 20

May Fete is just a few short weeks away. Parents who would like to pre-order May Fete T-Shirts must turn in forms no later than April 20 in the blue box in the Lotspeich office, or in the Wuerfel building. Please Note: No pre-order forms will be accepted after this date. Pre-ordering will ensure a T-shirt is available in your size and reduce your wait in line at May Fete by accessing the special “will call” line. All proceeds from May Fete go to the Lotspeich Parents Association.

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From The Buzz, March 12, 2015

DSC_0758Invention Fair

They invented hats that zap static from your hair, indoor clotheslines, a bathroom tissue refiller, wheel enhancements for lawn mowers, remote-controlled bird-feeders, shoes that also serve as stepstools, and much more. Fifth graders in Karla Balskus and Kate Fischer’s classes intrigued, educated, and wowed their classmates, teachers, and families during the annual invention fair on March 2 and 3. The clever, innovative array of gadgets were the result of several weeks of brainstorming and planning that incorporated the same processes used by professional engineers and designers. The finished products were all impressive. Click here to view a photo gallery of the fair.

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FullSizeRenderFifth Grade Kindness Retreat

The fifth graders from Doherty Hillsdale and campuses spent the day together in early March, dedicated to building community during their annual Kindness Retreat, led by Youth Frontiers of Minneapolis. Ten Upper School students were trained as small group leaders for the day. The Youth Frontiers Kindness Retreat inspires character by engaging a single grade level of students in activities that emphasize the value of kindness. The program empowers students to be everyday heroes by using kindness to include others, be respectful, and make the school a better place. Students learn that bullying is much more than physical fighting, and includes verbal taunting and social exclusion. The retreat also helps teach students a positive and safe way to handle bullying situations. Thank you to our Upper School students who served as Kindness Retreat facilitators. They are: Margaret Cox, Audrey Ditty, Kevin Jarmusik, Andrea Johnston, Maddie Samson, Jacob Stavsky, Jules Baretta, Jackson Callow, Jeff Dedeker, and Lindsay Finn.

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FullSizeRenderApplying the Periodic Table to Real Life

Fifth graders studied the periodic table and later applied their extensive knowledge to practical use during a science project in February. With guidance from science teacher Natalie Williams, the students examined the different elements that compose the body. Williams said the project allowed students to take knowledge typically designated to rote memory a step further. “We studied atomic mass and what needs to happen to determine the number of neurons and protons an atom has,” said Williams. The students also listed by most abundant and least abundant elements in our bodies and the atoms present. Students then used that data to build graphs that are on display in the Lotspeich building.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 11.10.48 AMCreating Conversations – April 16

Parents of children in pre-kindergarten through second grade will not want to miss the final Creating Conversations event of the school year. Child psychologists Dr. Andrew Sweeney and Dr. Shelby Werner will share evidence-based parenting techniques for improving the parent-child relationship with children in pre-kindergarten through second grade. This final event for the 2014-15 Creating Conversations series will take place on April 16 in the Lotspeich library. The Seven Hills School speaker series, Creating Conversations, welcomes you, your family, and friends to attend these free-of-charge events. To learn more or register for the April event, go to www.7hills.org/CreatingConversations.

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DSC_0828Skyping Whole Foods

First graders conducted interviews with Rookwood Whole Foods healthy eating representative Kelsey Schottmiller during a 20-minute Skype session on March 4. Students worked with their teachers, Marilyn Braun and Margaret Vitz, to craft their questions, which focused on the benefits of the dairy group. The students asked a number of outstanding questions, including “are any dairy products not good for you?” and “does all dairy come from animals?” Schottmiller explained that dairy mixed with a lot of sugar and fat is not good for you, and that dairy products also come from nuts. The students were most intrigued by Schottmiller’s response to a question about the biggest piece of cheese – it was made in 1954 from 170,000 quarts of milk and measured 14×6 ft!

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From The Buzz, Feb. 26, 2015

DSC_0618Recorder Concert

Third, fourth, and fifth graders serenaded their families and friends during the annual recorder concert, directed by music teacher Robin Wilson. Students played a number of animated songs, which featured rain sticks, xylophones, claves, triangles, guitars, autoharps, and many more percussion instruments. Wilson, who transformed the stage in Founders Hall into a musical wonderland, said the students have worked several months to produce the musical selections. Congratulations to the three ensembles for their musical accomplishments and hard work.

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DSC_0617Lotspeich Book Fair

Dozens of students and their families stopped by the Lotspeich Library to get lost for a moment in the brilliant array of books for young and old at the annual Book Fair. Librarian Marcia Snyder and bookseller Betsy Schram (H `70) of The Book Shelf greeted families as they visited the fair, which ran from Feb. 18-20, with an extension on Monday, Feb. 23, due to inclement weather. Snyder said families had the opportunity to choose from books for each grade level and great titles for all ages, including gardening, cooking, and sports titles for parents. Many thanks to the school community for their continued support of the Book Fair. The Lotspeich Library receives 20 percent of all Book Fair purchases.

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DSC_0309Pre-kindergarten Students Learn about Germs

At a time when sniffles and sneezes abound, pre-kindergarteners in Tyler McIlwraith and Rose Troung’s class learned all about germs from two special visitors in late January. Samir Shah, a Seven Hills parent and infectious disease doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hosptial, handed out small bandages for students to use for pretend play. Joy Copfer, a Seven Hills school nurse and Seven Hills parent, gave students pretend check-ups. Both visitors presented hands-on lessons that offered students a glimpse of the waiting room experience, how doctors and nurses use otoscopes and stethocsopes, and what students can do to prevent the spread of germs.

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DSC_0566Special Persons Day

Lotspeich pre-kindergarteners welcomed their special guests during Special Persons Day, held in early February. Pre-kindergarten teachers Cicely Knecht, Kiki Scavo, Tyler McIlwraith, and Rose Troung led the classes, which included activities designed to engage the young students and encourage their organizational and social skills. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends enjoyed learning all about their student’s day as they participated in circle time and engaged in activities at different centers. Each student learned how to manage a schedule as they checked off different activities they performed with their loved ones. Click here to view a gallery of photos from Special Persons Day.

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IMG_0693Learning Spanish, Naturally

Kindergarteners in Senora Hayes’ Spanish class are enjoying the regular and cyclical practice of thematic Spanish words for parts of the body. “We practice in a variety of ways including kinesthetic movements, drawing, and storytelling,” said Hayes. “In mid-February, students sang Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Spanish (Cabeza, Hombros, Rodillas y Pies).” After practicing their vocabulary using movement, the kindergarteners listened to Hayes’ directions in Spanish to draw pictures of different body parts on their individual white boards.

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DSC_0635Beginnings – Session II.

Families and caretakers in the Beginnings Program for Toddlers and Parents joined pre-kindergarten for a study of transportation, along with a tour of The Seven Hills School bus in late February. After the tour, Beginnings parents and their children painted tire tracks by dipping toy cars in paint and rolling them across paper. They also used soapy water and vehicles to wash the car, and they used cardboard pieces and blocks to create ramps for various vehicles. “The children matched colors by parking toy cars in corresponding color garages,” said Hillsdale Beginnings Director Kara Meador. “We also participated in a Spanish class with Sra. Megan Hayes.”

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From The Buzz, Jan. 29, 2015

IMG_1849Dia de Guatemala

More than 100 Seven Hills students and their families learned about and enjoyed Guatemalan culture during Dia de Guatemala, the Lotspeich event to help fund Cooperative for Education, which took place on Jan. 24. The festive event incorporated a day of arts, crafts, and learning fun designed by Lotspeich teachers in Founders Hall. Students and their families learned how to make Guatemalan worry dolls, create Easter carpets, build forts out of clothesline and sheets, cook Guatemelan dishes, and more at the charitable event. Students also practiced their Spanish during games with Lotspeich Spanish teacher Megan Hayes. “All of the stations were designed to aid in understanding Guatemalan culture, and included crafts, story telling, food, writing, math, Spanish vocabulary, and recycling,” said guidance counselor Judy Arnold. “It was exciting to see parents and children working collaboratively on all of the wonderful activities.” Proceeds from the event benefit The Cooperative for Education (CoEd), a non-profit organization started in Cincinnati with the purpose of ending illiteracy and lifting children out of poverty in Guatemala. Click here for photos from the event.

 

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34819206Trip to Cincinnati Art Museum

First graders’ art history lessons will take them to the Cincinnati Museum of Art, where they can apply their knowledge with teacher Jody Knoop. “They are studying a number of styles, including realistic, abstract, non-objective art, portraits, still-life, and landscapes,” said Knoop. “I will be the guide as we look for examples of these kinds of art in two and three dimensions throughout the museum.” Knoop, students, and their teachers Margaret Vitz and Marilyn Braun will travel to the museum on Feb. 17.

 

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2015GeoBeeGeography Bee

Congratulations to fourth and fifth graders who recently participated in the annual National Geographic Geo Bee. Finalists were chosen earlier through classroom competitions to represent each homeroom. The Unit III winner from the Doherty Campus, and Margaret Withers, fifth grade winner from the Lotspeich Campus, will now take written exams. The top 50 local scores will qualify students for the state competition in Columbus this spring.

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bookClubWinter Book Discussion

Fifth graders who volunteered to read over the winter break gathered in mid-January to discuss Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. The students held a discussion with fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus during a lunchtime book club. “We discussed the book, suspenseful historical fiction set in Norway during WWII, as we shared a special wintery drink and dessert,” said Balskus. “This is something I have done for more than 10 years to encourage winter break reading and more informal book conversations.” Snow Treasure is dramatic historical fiction, about courageous children in Norway during the time of Nazi occupation.

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abbAfter the Bell

Much is in store for the next After the Bell mini and spring sessions. Seven Hills families will have the opportunity to register students for a number of enrichment activities on the Hillsdale Campus, including A Day in Paris and Einstein by Design for one-day mini sessions, and Bricks4Kidz, yoga, Storybook Stew, dance, and Discovery Kids: Puterbugs for the regular spring session. The deadline for spring session registration is Feb. 4. Click here for more information on After the Bell offerings in February.

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From The Buzz, Jan. 15, 2015

DSC_0279Comparisons with India

As part of a yearlong intensive study of India, first graders in Margaret Vitz and Marilyn Braun’s classes recently completed a study of the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty – taking a virtual tour of each landmark and sharing the results of their research on a hallway bulletin board. “We continue to study and compare India and the United States – finding what is the same and what is different,” said Braun. “Our focus now will be on the lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with the theme of Peace.” For their unit on peace, students will work on a display that will show facts about the life of each man as well as their Pictures of Peace Gallery. Braun said students also will see India for their own eyes during a Skype session in late January with the relatives of one of their classmates who will be in India at the time of the call. “The children will have a chance to ask questions about life in India,” said Braun. “This will be our second Skype call this year with relatives of students.”

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DSC_0277Study of Europe in Kindergarten

Kindergarteners in Diane Schulteis and Theresa Cohen’s classes are wrapping up their virtual travels to Europe, as part of their yearlong curriculum guided by their study of the continents. Students recently used math concepts to craft three-dimensional gondolas as they studied Italy; they discussed the history of Russian nesting dolls and painted in watercolor onion dome structures resembling the Kremlin; and they most recently focused on the steps to telling time as they learned about England’s Big Ben. Schulteis said the students’ next stop will be Antarctica, where they will begin a study of birds.

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Dia de Guatemala

Students and families are invited to Dia de Guatemala, a day of arts, crafts, and learning fun designed by Lotspeich teachers, which will take place from 10 a.m. – noon on Saturday, Jan. 24, in Founders Hall. Students and their families will have an opportunity to make Guatemalan worry dolls, create Easter carpets, build a fort, cook Guatemelan dishes, and more at the charitable event. Students also will practice their Spanish during games with Lotspeich Spanish teacher Megan Hayes. All proceeds will benefit The Cooperative for Education (CoEd), a non-profit organization started in Cincinnati with the purpose of ending illiteracy and lifting children out of poverty in Guatemala. Lotspeich is partnering with CoEd as part of a schoolwide community outreach program. The cost for a family ticket is $20 ahead of the event, $25 at the door. For more information about Dia de Guatemala, click here.

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nu2jpgAfter the Bell

Much is in store for After the Bell mini and spring sessions. Seven Hills families will have the opportunity to register students for a number of enrichment activities on the Hillsdale Campus, including A Day in Paris and Einstein by Design for one-day mini sessions, and Bricks4Kidz, yoga, Storybook Stew, dance, and Discovery Kids: Puterbugs for the regular spring session. Mini Session II Special Events registration deadline is January 26. The deadline for spring session is February 4. Click here for more information on After the Bell offerings in February.

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Beginnings

Seven Hills is thrilled to offer our successful Beginnings Parent and Toddler Enrichment Program for the winter session. The program is designed for parents or caregivers and their 12-36 month old children. Session II of Beginnings on the Hillsdale Campus is offered on Wednesdays, from 9 – 11 a.m. on Jan. 14 – May 6. Click here to learn more or to register, or contact Beginnings Hillsdale Director and Director of Early Childhood Kara Meador at Beginnings.Hillsdale@7hills.org.

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From The Buzz, Dec. 19, 2014

DSC_0049Holiday Show

Second graders dazzled the audience as they ushered in the holiday season with a celebratory performance, the culmination of a cross-curricular unit about the different holidays around the world. The students acted out skits and performed a number of songs, including La Fiesta De La Posada, December Nights, December Lights, and O Kwanzaa. Congratulations to our second graders for a stunning performance, to creative dramatics teacher Russell White, who worked for a month with students to master their dialogue lines in acting class, and to music teacher Robin Wilson, who worked with the students on the event for seven weeks. Click here to view pictures from the holiday show and other festive events on campus.

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DSC_0829Open Inquiry Project

Fifth graders in Natalie Williams’ science class took the reins on a three-week inquiry-based science project. Working in groups of four, students selected a scientific question to pursue, set up their materials, collected data, and conducted their experiments. Students concluded their work with a class presentation, in which they walked their peers through the steps involved in their inquiry. Williams said students focused on a number of questions, including, will a bean plant seed grow in soda? Does food coloring affect the growth of carnations? And do crickets gain weight if they are exposed to a heat lamp? Students concluded with a Q & A with their classmates, including discussion around what worked and what didn’t work throughout the inquiry process.

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DSC_0840Building Bridges

Second graders in Danielle Necessary and Becky Swain’s classes wrapped up an extensive three-week unit in social studies. The unit concluded with a bridge-building project that required students to research the history, geography, design, and structure of a bridge, build it in some format, and present their work in class. Students chose a number of bridges, including the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in the Kobe area of Japan, and many more. Shortly before the holiday break, students presented details of their projects to their parents during class.

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DSC_0874Traveling the World in Kindergarten

As part of the kindergarten unit of study focusing on the seven continents, students in Theresa Cohen and Diane Schulteis’ classes are learning about traveling with passports, and studying the customs, culture, and languages indigenous to various continents and countries. Throughout the month of December students learned about the many festivals of light throughout the world, with studies of the celebrations involving Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and St. Lucia. Cohen said the kindergarten social studies curriculum focuses on the earth and its seven continents. “The children are challenged to think beyond their own community and conceptualize the greatness of our planet,” said Cohen. “They are exposed to the different cultures, traditions, animals, landscapes and landmarks.” In addition to being a fun art project, the kindergarten passport also serves as documentation for each child’s learning experience.

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DSC_0091Medieval Feast!

Fourth graders celebrated their study of Newbery Medal Award-winning novel The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, by having a medieval feast in mid-December. Students enjoyed getting into character among the medieval place settings, costumes, and foods for their feast in the Lotspeich Library. Former NKU professor Margo Jang spoke about the medieval lifestyle while students feasted on chicken legs and soup. Click here to view a picture gallery of the event.

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From The Buzz, Nov. 25, 2014

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Turkey Tango!

After weeks of practice to get the steps and the music just right, second graders brought in the Thanksgiving holiday by strutting their stuff in the Turkey Tango in front of the entire school community in Kalnow Gym. In traditional fashion, the young students performed the dance alone, then concluded the dance, side-by-side, with the seniors, directed by Lower School music teacher Robin Wilson. The Celebration of Thanksgiving assembly also focused on gratitude for those who serve in our community. The assembly began with opening remarks from Head of Upper School Matt Bolton, followed by selections by the Upper School Instrumental Ensemble, directed by instrumental music teacher John Rising. The following service club representatives also presented: seniors Grace Cawdrey, Ellie Pasquale, and Mona Scheiber, and junior Michael Heldman. Sophomore Charlie Goldsmith shared information about the Lotspeich Letter Writing project, in which Upper School students helped Lower School students write letters of thanks to friends, family, and those who serve throughout the community. Guest speakers from the Firehouse and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital also offered words of thanks. Head of Lower School, Lotspeich Campus Carolyn Fox offered the closing remarks, thanking everyone and wishing them a happy Thanksgiving. Click here for a photo of the day’s Thanksgiving festivities.

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My Heritage

Over the last few weeks fourth graders in Sara Snyder’s class have been studying immigration, both past and modern. The students built upon their knowledge of immigration by reading stories about various journeys through Ellis Island and Angel Island, as well as modern immigration. Students also interviewed family members to gain more knowledge of their ancestry. Each student chose one country from their heritage, researched that country using various online sources, and created a poster to display the information. For the final part of the project, the students chose recipes that pertained to their heritage. The children all brought in the food to share their heritage with the class as an International Thanksgiving. They each submitted their recipe to an international cookbook organized by iEarn.

 

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Skyping Spain

Fourth graders in Señora Megan Hayes’ Spanish class came face-to-face via a fun, educational Skype session with their friend and classmate Max Steinman, who recently moved to Madrid, Spain. Max, who moved over the summer with his parents, Sarah and Steve Steinman, was all smiles as he spoke to all of his old friends gathered around Hayes’ projection screen. Max told his friends all about his classes, his new friends, and the significant time change – six hours! “Science and Spanish are very hard here,” said Max. Hayes’ class concluded their visit with Max with waves, big smiles, and a hearty “Adios.”

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Socratic Seminars in Fifth Grade

The fifth grade began holding Socratic Seminars in late November. The latest 45-minute discussion centered on the book, Seeds of Change, a collection of essays about various topics relating to indigenous food, people, and history of the Americas. Fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus said Socratic Seminars actively engage students of all ability levels in close reading and critical thinking of complex texts. The students sit in a circle/oval and directly address each other respectfully. Students practice active listening as they learn to engage in dialogue, rather than debate, to think deeply on teacher-created essential questions.

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Please help spread the news!

Seven Hills is thrilled to offer the successful Beginnings Parent and Toddler Enrichment Program for the winter/spring session on both campuses. The program is designed for parents or caregivers and their 12-36 month old children. With the session II registration now open, we are reaching out for your help. We know you are the best ambassadors for informing others in the community and we invite you to please let your friends and acquaintances know of this unique program, or join us yourselves. Session II of Beginnings on the Hillsdale Campus will meet on Wednesdays, Jan. 14 – May 6, from 9 – 11 a.m. To learn more or to register, please visit us at www.7hills.org/beginnings or contact Kara Meador at Beginnings.Hillsdale@7hills.org.

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From The Buzz, Nov. 13, 2014

Collaborative Project on Native Americans

 

Third graders recently completed a collaborative project on Pacific Northwest Coast Native American tribes, such as the Haida, working in teams of three to create an informational poster. Teacher Lynn Niehaus said the students would use researched words and pictures to present their final product – a poster categorized by shelter, resources, and culture – to the class over the next several days. Niehaus said the activity allowed students to guide each other and share information as they worked to produce their first group project of the year. November is National American Indian Heritage Month.

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Immigration Lesson in Poetry

Using the work of celebrated poet and teacher George Ella Lyons, fourth graders wrote poetry during the week of Nov. 10 to tell the story of their heritage and family history. “Where I’m From is a famous poem written by Lyons that defines, with vibrant descriptors, Lyons’ childhood environment and memories,” said fourth grade teacher Melissa Woodard. “The students will brainstorm to begin crafting their version of the poem, which also goes along with our novel on immigration, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.” Woodard said the novel also ties in with teacher Sara Snyder’s fourth grade social studies unit on immigration.

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Please help spread the news!

We are thrilled to offer our successful Beginnings Parent and Toddler Enrichment Program for the winter session. The program is designed for parents or caregivers and their 12-36 month old children. With the winter registration now open, we are reaching out for your help. We know you are the best ambassadors for informing others in the community and we invite you to please let your friends and acquaintances know of this unique program, or join us yourselves. Session II of Beginnings on the Hillsdale Campus will meet on Wednesdays, January 14 – May 6 from 9 – 11 a.m. To learn more or to register, please visit us at www.7hills.org/beginnings or contact Kara Meador at Beginnings.Hillsdale@7hills.org.
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DSC05931Buddy Zoo Trip

First and fifth grade buddies spent the morning at the Cincinnati Zoo doing research on animal habitats. First grade teacher Marilyn Braun said each buddy team researched a zoo animal and took note of what the animal needed in its habitat. After returning to school and having lunch together, the buddies spent the afternoon designing a 3-D display of their animal in its habitat. The animals were drawn to scale and added to the habitats, which made use of natural materials found on the school campus. The buddies enjoyed a great day of outdoor learning! Click here to view a gallery of the zoo visit.

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IMG_1343Everybody Counts

The Lotspeich Parents Association launched a series of Everybody Counts presentations, which began in early November, and will take place over the next several weeks. “Everybody Counts takes place in kindergarten through fifth grade, and focuses on helping children to understand that we have more in common than our differences,” said Seven Hills parent Mark RingswaldEgan. Students will participate in a number of presentations that include lessons from people who live with differences and disabilities. Everybody Counts is designed to inform and guide students in understanding and accepting those with physical and developmental disabilities. Guest speakers will share their experiences with growing up with a disability and the skills they have developed based on their individual gifts. With the help of parent volunteers, the children continue through the week learning from simulated experiences and conversations with various visitors about gaining understanding and empathy for people who may be different from themselves.

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lincoln_penny_obverse1Penny Project in Second Grade

In a unique study of math and currency, second graders worked in groups to create a tally chart using pennies as their subject. Teachers Danielle Necessary and Becky Swain asked students to work in small groups to find and record the mint date of their assigned pennies. Once students retrieved their data, they recorded the mint dates on a tally chart, and later graphed the tallied information. The pennies were minted mostly over a 40-year period.

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From The Buzz, Oct. 31, 2014

DSC_0238Project-Based Math

As part of a 12-week project-based research math unit, fifth graders are working in teams to gather the necessary data and information to answer a number of student-generated queries. Fifth grade teacher Kate Fischer and math resources teacher Liz Lorenz asked students to develop and conduct math-based experiments. Students came up with a number of word problems, including calculating how many people can stand on the athletic track, how much food is needed to feed families at Homecoming, how much feed is needed for all classroom pets that are mammals, and how changes could be made to make Lotspeich dismissal faster and more efficient. These word problems, however, will not be solved inside the classroom. Students will be in the parking lot, on the track, and looking in animal cages throughout Lotspeich classrooms to gather data for their projects. Students will be expected to organize their work, data, and information in a logical manner and, as a group, draw conclusions, summarize, and support their recommendations. Students will utilize laptops and iPads in order to create presentations sharing their findings and recommendations.

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IMG_0141Happy Diwali!

Students in second and third grade enjoyed learning about Diwali’s rich culture and brilliant festivities. The students made rangolis (colorful art patterns usually made of geometric shapes) and diyas (small clay pots holding a candle), ate sweet treats, and received gifts during the Hindu festival of lights. Diwali is a five-day holiday associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and marks the beginning of the fiscal year in India. The holiday usually falls between October and November. This year, Diwali began on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

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Planting Bulbs for Spring

Theresa Cohen’s and Diane Schulteis’ kindergarteners took a little time to plan ahead as they toted spring flower bulbs, trowels, and watering cans to the courtyard just outside Lotspeich and the Briggs building in mid-October. The children dug holes with parent volunteers and placed the bulbs in the earth as they learned about seeds and germination in their classes.

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Greek Mythology Unit

To complete their study of D’Aulaire’s Greek mythology, fifth graders worked in small groups to create and present to their classmates skits on the classic stories of Heracles, The Trojan War, and Theseus and the Minotaur. “Good storytelling is key to audience understanding, so the concept of clarity is introduced and encouraged,” said fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus. Student collaboration is practiced as groups compose and rehearse, and creativity is displayed in their colorful choices of handmade props and costumes. At the end of the project, students reflected on their learning by completing both group and self-evaluations.

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IMG_1336Lessons in Español

Señora Megan Hayes’ students enjoy learning Spanish in the same way they learn English – through reading, natural interaction, movement, and storytelling. From pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, Hayes uses the Teaching with Comprehensible Input method. While students are dancing and singing, they are also building and solidifying their Spanish vocabulary in a natural way.

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From The Buzz, Oct. 16, 2014

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Building on What They are Learning

For the past two weeks, Ms. Scavo’s and Mrs. Knecht’s pre-kindergarten classes have discussed the process, procedure, tools, terms, symbols, and experiences involved in construction. In early October, the students enjoyed meeting with a home builder who shared the process of construction with the students. Students also met recently with a representative from Messer Construction, who explained the project right outside their classroom windows. “The children have all turned into little architects and builders themselves and thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the building that is going up right in our back yard,” said Mrs. Knecht. “It has been a magical unit of study for us all as we watch the development of our Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center.” Click here to read quotes about the construction that teachers collected from their pre-kindergarten students.

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DSCN1626To Lotspeich, With Love

First graders are studying geography by spreading the word to friends and families across the globe. “Our goal is to try to receive a postcard from each of the 50 states as well as from each continent of the world,” said first grade teachers Mrs. Braun and Mrs. Vitz. “We ask the first grade families to think of us whenever they are traveling and to send us a postcard. We also ask them to spread the word about our project to their friends and families all over the world.” As part of the yearlong project, each first grader keeps track of our postcards on a large USA map by coloring in the states from which we have received postcards. The students are learning many facts about each U.S. state and different countries by looking at the front of the postcard as well as from any message written on the back. Mrs. Braun and Mrs. Vitz said the project is a wonderful way to connect geography lessons to friends and families of the first graders.

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P1000604Learning about the Fire Pit

For more than 30 years, fifth graders have made history come alive as they dye yarn the Colonial way. The yearlong process begins with a trip to art teacher Mrs. Knoop’s farm to gather tinder, kindling, and “dye stuff,” including marigolds, black walnuts, and pokeberries. Students also gather goldenrod they find on campus, and bring in purple onionskins from home. “During each dye bath, groups of students collaborate closely,” said fifth grade teacher Mrs. Balskus. The fire committee develops persistence and grit as they attempt to light a fire with flint and steel on a cold or damp day. The dye bath team preps the materials to be boiled over the campfire. The water committee fills buckets using a wooden yoke, and the wool prep crew adds alum and/or vinegar, which are mordants that guarantee lasting color. “We have found the fire to be a true community-building activity, which is made possible because of the help of parent fire tenders,” said Mrs. Balskus. “People in the wider Seven Hills community are drawn to the flames, so it also provides students an opportunity to teach and explain the process behind the activity.” Later in the year, students will use this hand-dyed yarn to crochet hats and to create colorful weavings.

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_LHC3773Life Boxes in Third Grade

Third graders in Mrs. Niehaus and Mrs. Walden’s classes presented their Life Boxes to their classmates in early October. The unique project, which incorporates six objects that have special significance to each student, is an activity designed to help the students become comfortable speaking in front of their peers. “Each child decorates a box of any size or description,” said Mrs. Walden. “The only caveat is that they must be able to carry the box into the classroom by themselves.” Each child then presents their Life Box to the class, sharing the items they have chosen, and explaining why each particular item is special to them.

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_LHC3719Meet the Buddies

Each year the first graders are paired up with a special fifth grade buddy. The buddies get to know each other and work together on many learning projects, including numerous events on and off campus throughout the year. While friendships and partnerships grow within a year’s time, students find that they truly enjoy keeping in touch with their buddies throughout their Seven Hills school career, and beyond.

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From The Buzz Sept. 28, 2014

DSC_0847Public Speaking in First Grade

In Mrs. Braun’s and Mrs. Vitz’s first grade classes, Student of the Week is an effective engine for acquainting new and old friends with the featured student. As students tell their classmates about themselves, explain details in family pictures, and pass around prized possesions, however, the activity becomes a powerful lesson in relationships. Our Star of the Week program is designed to promote community building as well as give an early opportunity in public speaking,” said Mrs. Braun. “It begins with a homework project where the children fill in a booklet with information about themselves.” Mrs. Braun said each student begins to learn skills necessary to speak in front of an audience while in the comfortable setting of the classroom. They also learn to answer questions and listen to comments made by their classmates, while students in the audience learn the skills needed to be good listeners and ask appropriate questions.

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DSC_0731Kindergarten learns French on “French Friday”

Bonjour! Merci! Fueled by their love for new words in any language, kindergarteners in Mrs. Cohen’s and Mrs. Schulteis’ classes participate in French lessons called “French Friday.” On a mostly weekly basis, Seven Hills parent Mrs. Isabelle Thomas stops by with books, songs, and outdoor games that prompt and encourage students to speak French. On Sept. 12, Mrs. Thomas, mother of second grader Chloe Thomas, taught students about the Eiffel Tower in Paris and read them the book Everybody Bonjours by Leslie Kimmelman. She also led students through a lesson of colors indoors, then later, outdoors as students ran relay-style to drop off plastic fruits of different colors. The students were asked to say the color of their fruit in French before running back to their lines. The students and teachers enjoy these special lessons that incorporate vocabulary, geography, and culture.

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IMG_1007Pre-kindergarten’s Nursery Rhyme Parade

Pre-kindergarteners wrapped up a unit on nursery rhymes on Sept. 22. During their lessons, students and their teachers, Mrs. Knecht and Miss Scavo, read rhymes, portrayed characters, and paraded to a surprise visit with “Mother Goose” (librarian Mrs. Snyder) for a special reading activity. Mrs. Knecht and Miss Scavo shared that the two-week lesson incorporated literature, vocabulary and spelling. Students were asked to describe their nursery rhyme characters, write the names of the character, and write their character’s nametags for their costumes.

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DSC_0788Kindness in Second Grade

Second graders explored and discussed ways to be kind and show empathy during a Sept. 17 discussion led by guidance counselor Mrs. Arnold. Mrs. Arnold read a story, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, which told a fictional tale of the unwelcoming way children treated a new girl at school. Students reacted to the storyline with their own observances, comments, and suggestions, many referencing Seven Hills’ values as an important moral guide in such an example. Mrs. Arnold concluded with an activity that asked students to write down something they think would add a positive ripple effect to make someone happy in their daily routine. Teachers Mrs. Necessary and Mrs. Swain said kindness and empathy are an important social building block in their second grade curriculum.

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bee1All About Bees

Students in Mrs. Cohen’s and Mrs. Schulteis’ classes enjoyed a lesson on bees under the pavilion on the Hillsdale campus. Mrs. Cohen, who also is an apiarist, demonstrated beekeeping with empty versions of the boxes she uses in her apiary. Students watched Mrs. Cohen don her beekeeping suit and ignite her smoker. They learned about the many items that can be made from bees wax, the importance of bees in our ecology, and held and smelled honeycomb. Mrs. Cohen concluded her lesson with a nectar tasting and an art project using recycled egg cartons.

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From The Buzz Sept. 11, 2014

DSC_0671Grounded Nouns

Third graders in Mrs. Walden’s and Mrs. Niehaus’ classes brainstormed parts of speech using chalk and teamwork during an outdoor lesson in front of the Donovan Arts Center last week. The students worked through a number of timed directives from their teachers, including writing one- and two-syllable nouns, words that name rectangular objects, and words that name circular objects, to name a few. Students raced to their chalked-out boxes to write down their responses before the opposing team. Both teams performed very well in this kinesthetic language arts lesson, said their teachers.

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DSC_0659Colonial Pillows

In a creative blend of social studies, math, and art, Mrs. Knoop’s fifth-grade art class designed patterns and made Colonial-style pillows. Said Mrs. Knoop, “Fifth grade has an elaborate Colonial unit and every year we work with the classroom teachers to make Colonial objects. This year students are learning to use a pattern, cut out their own pieces, sew the pillow, and stuff it. They will have a complete piece to take home with them.”

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constructWatching Day-by-Day

Pre-kindergarten students spent some of their outdoor time to view construction of Seven Hills’ Nellie Leaman Taft Early Childhood Center through a wall made especially for them. The new building will feature spacious classrooms and learning “neighborhoods,” innovative learning and performing arts space, a beautiful atrium, library, several common gathering areas, and inspiring spaces that will be used in many ways. The academic building, which will house pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, as well as the Beginnings Program for Parents and Toddlers, is scheduled to open August of 2015!

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collecting 2Hunting and Gathering at Knoop Farm

In one of many favorite Lotspeich traditions, fifth graders recently explored, gathered, and foraged at art teacher Mrs. Knoop’s farm in New Richmond. “We all had such a fun time helping each other as we hiked down a creek bed and explored the farm,” said fifth grade Teacher Mrs. Balskus. Mrs. Balskus and Mrs. Fischer transformed every step of the rural journey into an outdoor classroom as students gathered lots of tinder and kindling, along with black walnuts and marigolds – some of the natural materials they will use for their colonial dye baths this school year. A special treat was visiting the animals who live on the farm, including Lana, the “fifth grade sheep,” who comes to Lotspeich each spring to be shorn.

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abbAfter the Bell Mini Sessions

After the Bell will soon offer registration for Mini Session I, which will take place from Nov. 4 – 14, 2014, and the Winter Session, which will take place from Nov. 17, 2014 – Jan. 30, 2015. The sessions for students attending Doherty and Lotspeich will include, but not be limited to, children’s theater, mad science, and Bricks 4 Kidz, lessons in building and playing with LEGO bricks. Program descriptions will be available online on Oct. 6 via the parent login at 7hills.org. For more information, contact Jill Romerill at 513-728-2380.

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From The Buzz June 12, 2014

 

Lotspeich 5th moving upClosing Ceremony

Lotspeich students enjoyed a culminating ceremony of memories, musical selections, and special acknowledgements with their families and teachers during closing week. Head of School Chris Garten and Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox congratulated students and faculty for a year of purpose, hard work and friendship, and wished Lotspeich’s fifth graders well as they prepare to enter the Middle School next school year. In a beloved tradition, fifth grade teachers Karla Balskus and Kate Fischer shared reminiscent and congratulatory comments about each fifth grader as part of their farewell to Lotspeich. Click here to view a photo gallery of the events.

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Major Awards at Lotspeich

Joy in Learning Award

The Joy in Learning Award was presented to fifth graders Olivia Theders and William Hawgood for “exemplifying joy in the pursuit of learning [and] sharing that learning in a selfless, helpful manner with others.”

Eileen Driscoll Award

The Eileen Driscoll Literary Award was presented to fifth graders Lara Geiger and Eli Perlin for “demonstrating a love of literature and joy in the printed word.”

Theodore C. Wuerfel Merit Award

Rising sixth grader Shriya Kilaru was awarded the Theodore C. Wuerfel Merit Award for academic achievement, breadth and scope of interest beyond the classroom, leadership, citizenship, and character.

Elisabeth Greenwald Mapes Award

Rising sixth grader Charlie Ringel was awarded the Elisabeth Greenwald Mapes Scholarship for “best exemplifying the Seven Hills values of respect for others, striving for excellence, kindness and caring, honesty and integrity, fairness and justice, personal responsibility, and commitment to community.”

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_LHC5117End-of-Year Lunches for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten

Lotspeich families celebrated a year of learning and fun with their children and bade farewell to teachers during special picnic lunches for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Students and their families enjoyed looking through their yearbooks, provided by the Parents Association, and reviewing the progression of student work throughout the school year. Many thanks to parent Joanna Huey, the Parents Association, and teachers who saved and bundled numerous projects that will be certain to go into the scrapbooks of Seven Hills’ youngest students.

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IMG_0712Fifth Grade vs. Faculty Tennis Baseball

In a fun tradition, Lotspeich students played the Seven Hills faculty and administration in a whimsical game of Tennis-Baseball. Using their best swinging arms, students, teachers, and administrators, including Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox and Head of School Chris Garten, wielded tennis rackets to hit softballs out of the park on the turf field on the Hillsdale campus. The game brought laughter and lighthearted ribbing as students and faculty enjoyed the competition.

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Living BiographyLiving Biographies

After months of extensive research, writing, and revising, fourth graders presented Living Biographies, one of the signature projects in the fourth grade. Living Biographies has a unique mission to engage students in experiential learning on a number of levels. Students chose the historical leader they would like to get to know better and wrote a persuasive paragraph convincing homeroom teachers Melissa Woodard and Sara Snyder of their ability to portray their leader. In late April, students presented their research in character, showcasing their hard work and bringing their leader to life. Click here to view a gallery of Living Biographies.

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_LHC4341Japan and China Day

On the annual Japan and China Day, second graders performed songs and folktales from Japan and China, and students participated in an origami workshop with the help of parent volunteers. This, along with the Japan and China Webquest project presentations, culminates the second grade’s study of the two countries.

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prek1Pre-kindergarten/Upper School Reading Program Celebrates First Year

Upper School and pre-kindergarten students celebrated the new reading program with ice cream and playground activities. Middle and Upper School Library Assistant Gail Bloom said she would like to continue the program next year as well. “We all believe that this unique experience benefits our young and older students in myriad ways,” said Mrs. Bloom. The 30 Upper School students who participated in the program are: Jack Sizer, Hannah Silverman, Mollie Rouan, Brandi Bryson, Emma Uible, Arjun Dheenan, Turner Anderson, Michael Heldman, Abigail Schneider, Nicole Malofsky, Mitch Polonsky, Sydney Miccoli, Andrew Head, Tucker Robinson, Maggie Gosiger, Madeline Gold, Maddie Samson, Sammy Head, Hailey Samson, Connor Rouan, Adam Buford, Carly Cohen, Claire Stewart, Marney Briggs, Paige Hagerty, Ellen Sizer, Mac Bassett, L.A. Zenezini, Margaret Cox, and Devin Williams.

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P1010248Camp Kern

In early May, fourth graders spent three days at Camp Kern. They hiked down to stone formations, or effigies created by the Native Americans who lived in Ohio in 1200 A.D, used for marking the winter and summer solstices. Along the banks of the Little Miami river they collected fossils and visited an old tavern from the 1800s. They participated in a reenactment of the treaty of Greenville and had the opportunity to meet General Wayne. After lunch, the students were divided into groups of pioneer families and transported back to the 1800s as they trekked through the woods visiting with a schoolteacher, a farmer, and a frontiersman. Everyone had a wonderful time! Click here to view a photo gallery of the trip!

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5th Gd. playFifth Grade Production

On May 23, the Lotspeich fifth graders put on a lively performance of the musical “Thwacked!” by Dave and Jean Perry. The clever production is a fractured tale of frogs, folks, and falling skies. Congratulations to the fifth graders for an entertaining production and to the directors, music teacher Robin Wilson and creative dramatics teacher Russell White. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

 

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From The Buzz May 16, 2014

IMG_0443Day Without Shoes

 

On April 29, Lotspeich students walked in the shoes of people who don’t have them. As part of an activity designed to spread cultural awareness about impoverished children in the world who do not have basic clothing and shoes, Spanish teacher Megan Hayes, Second grade teacher Danielle Necessary, and Lotspeich guidance counselor Judy Arnold coordinated a “Day Without Shoes,” in which students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade participated. After a collaborative discussion, Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox and faculty decided to engage all Lotspeich students by having them walk barefoot through different earth textures, including sand, pebbles, and dirt. Throughout the week, students were asked to bring in gently used shoes. Through the effort students donated hundreds of gently used pairs of shoes to the Su Casa Hispanic Ministry center, a local ministry located in Carthage, Cincinnati. Click here to view a gallery of the event.

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_LHC3591 - Version 2Grandpersons’ Day

Lotspeich students regaled and honored the grand people in their lives during Grandpersons Day on April 25. In a longstanding Seven Hills School tradition, dozens of grandparents and grand persons joined Lotspeich students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade to participate in a morning of activities. Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox greeted the visitors during a morning reception and welcomed them to Seven Hills. Grandpersons in attendance beamed with pride as they learned through the eyes of the young people in their lives what it is like to be a student at Seven Hills today. Many thanks to Mrs. Fox, Lotspeich faculty, parents Brooke Guigui and Beth Sims, and the Lotspeich Parent Association. Click here to view a photo gallery of the day’s exciting events.

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_LHC4256Pre-K in Flight

In a beloved tradition in conjunction with the celebration of the study of birds in the Middle School, pre-kindergarten students studied various North American birds indigenous to the region, designed bird costumes, and “migrated” over to the Middle School to meet Miami University ornithology professor and licensed bird bander Dr. Dave Russell and his wife Dr. Jill Russell. After a visit with Dr. Russell, the pre-kindergarten students sat in groups with Middle School students who read bird-related stories. Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.

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P1010060Dearborn Trip – 75th Year!

Fifth graders spent two days in May studying the numerous collections and displays at Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum. Fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus said the “classroom-without-walls experience is the culmination of the fifth-grade class’ experiential study of American history.” In the 200-acre Greenfield Village, interpreters recreated daily life in historical buildings, including Thomas Edison’s Menlo Lab and the Wright Bros. Cycle Shop. Students visited two working farms, watched glassblowers, tinsmiths, potters, and printers craft their trades, and traveled in a Model-T. Mrs. Balskus said a key Ford Museum exhibit entitled “With Liberty and Justice for All,” focused on four transformative eras in America’s quest for freedom: the revolutionary era, the antislavery movement, the women’s suffrage movement, and the modern civil rights movement. This year marks the 75th trip Lotspeich students have made to Dearborn, Michigan. The Lotspeich tradition, which began in 1938 was interrupted once during World War II, when transportation to Dearborn wasn’t possible, and in 2003, when Greenfield Village was closed for a redesign of the grounds. One of our Seven Hills chaperones, Glenn Shillinger, has accompanied students for 25+ years!

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simpleSimple Machines

The fourth grade class went on their annual trip to Green Acres in Indian Hill to study simple machines in late March. The field trip supports and expands the knowledge students have gained during science class. The students were able to learn about simple machines, such as the pulley, wheel and axle, and lever, in a hands-on way and use many farming tools. Fourth graders were able to split wood; use an auger, wheelbarrow, pulleys, and view a Rube Goldberg machine that incorporated the simple machines in their study.

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From The Buzz April 24, 2014

_LHC3309

Colonial Day

Fifth graders donned bonnets, pinafores, stockings, and knickers as they traveled back in time to Colonial Days, an annual event that highlights their in-depth study of American History. Led by teachers Kate Fischer and Karla Balskus, students worked with whittled wood, cooked, and learned just how it felt to be part of turn-of-the-century ideas and events that are cornerstone events in the history of American culture. Colonial activities also included a visit from Marvin Kuhn, master blacksmith, as he demonstrated the colonial trade and helped students make their own dinner bells. Fifth graders also learned the art of calligraphy as they composed original maxims inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, and worked with colonial currency. The traditional Colonial Dinner, held on April 11, involved two days of food preparations and lots of fun activities from the time period. Click here for a beautiful gallery of photos taken by Len Cohen.

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Solartour1Solar System Tour

Lotspeich science teacher Natalie Williams’ fourth graders recently navigated the Hillsdale Campus on April 8, while checking in with their iPads at numerous educational “hotspots” around Campus on set up by Middle School science teacher Karen Glum’s seventh grade class. Peering down at their screens after making a connection to a new student-installed website, the fourth graders learned about all nine major planets as they walked through a real-time, kinesthetic experience of traveling through the solar system.

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J. Patrick Lewis

Poet Laureate Visits Seven Hills

Lotspeich students enjoyed a special visit from former Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. They had an opportunity to have their books signed by the author, who visited on April 24. He told the students that they are “lucky” because they have their whole lives to read books. “The best way to learn how to be a great writer is to become a great reader,” Mr. Lewis told the students. Known for his popular style and book of outrageous holidays, World Rat Day, J. Patrick Lewis is an American poet and prose writer noted for his children’s poems and other light verse. He worked as professor of economics before devoting himself full-time to writing in 1998. Thank you to Mrs. Snyder and Lotspeich faculty for setting up this special visit!

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Pre-K City Project3_1

Civic Planning in Pre-K

After completing a unit on communities and community helpers, the pre-kindergarten students in Tyler McIlwraith’s and Kiki Scaavo’s class built their own community! The children brainstormed a list of different buildings that their city would need including a water tower, mall, park, airport, hotel, office building, a zoo, and more. After painting the roads and grass, they used the Internet to research what their buildings would look like and painted them accordingly. Once their structures were complete, the students worked together to plan where each piece should be placed in their community. When they were satisfied with how their community looked, the children were then able to use cars, planes, and their own personalized figurines to manipulate their project and see how a community actually functions.

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Fifth Grade Poets and Photographers

Three fifth graders won awards in the statewide “River of Words” contest. In mid-April Lotspeich received news that the students’ fall submissions won the awards. “I was proud of all the beautiful poems/photos that more than a dozen of my students produced last fall as an optional writing activity,” said fifth grade teacher Karla Balskus. “I am extremely pleased that three students earned statewide recognition.”

Fifth graders who placed are:

Katherine Withers -1st place photo, Audrey Howard -1st place poem, and Aaron Ziegler – 2nd place poem.

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From The Buzz April 10,2014

Binkley1Bonnie Binkley Grant

Students in pre-kindergarten through third grade participated in “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” a unique learning experience led by musician Stan Ginn that incorporated percussive sound with math principles. “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” was supported through the Bonnie Binkley Grant, a fund that was established by Lotspeich faculty who sought to dedicate an annual assembly in Mrs. Binkley’s name. The fund has supported a yearly program that all the children of Lotspeich can enjoy. Mrs. Binkley was a beloved French teacher at Lotspeich for many years who loved creating interesting and fun activities that taught not only the language but the culture of France as well. “Mrs. Binkley passed away about seven years ago after battling a long illness. Everyone mourned the loss of our exuberant French teacher and the faculty at the time were committed to finding a way to honor her memory,” said Head of Lotspeich Carolyn Fox. “There are few former students who wouldn’t remember the French cafe project or the study of French master artists.” Mrs. Binkley’s three chlldren, Anna, Lisa, and Nicholas, all attended Seven Hills and are “lifers.” Mr. Binkley expressed to the audience that he hopes all of his grandchildren will be “lifers” of Seven Hills. The Binkley family joins our Lotspeich School community each year to share the joyful sights and sounds of other creative minds. Mrs. Fox said everyone at the School appreciates having such a strong and lasting partnership with the Binkley family. “It is such a pleasure to welcome the Binkley family to our programs each year,” said Mrs. Fox. “Mrs. Binkley’s creativity was evident in everything she planned both curricular and extracurricular. It is wonderful to share these creative experiences together while honoring the memory of Mrs. Binkley, who was a vibrant and creative Lotspeich teacher.”

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Lotspeich Pi Day

Fifth Grade Pi Day

Pi Day on March 14 (3.14) is a much-anticipated event for the fifth graders! Pi Day is filled with both pi and pie activities, including solving math problems involving circumference and area of Moon Pies, pizza pies and homemade pies; competing to see who could write the most digits of pi from memory; and performing pi skits and songs. Fifth graders in Karla Balskus’ and Kate Fischer’s classes enjoyed the pie-ing and creating a Pi sign! Click here for a photo gallery of pi day events in fifth grade and across the campus.

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Heifer projectKids-to-Kids Service Project

Kindergarteners in Theresa Cohen’s and Karen Martin’s classes taught each other a lesson in kindness and subsistence as they participated in the Kindergarten Kid-to-Kids Service Project. The donations of candy and help selling and buying are priceless and most appreciated. The children worked hard to prepare the pots for the candy, advertising posters. Through their fundraiser, the students were able to send $790.10 to Heifer International for six goats and two hives of honeybees in honor of our Stinger Bee mascot. The donation will help families around the world with the gift of dairy goats. Many thanks to everyone for all the support and help to make the Kindergarten Kid-to-Kids Service Project successful.

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good apples3Good Apples

Fifth graders in the Good Apples program have served their communities very well all year. The students have worked hard to encourage recycling and maintain the recycling bins, as well as clean class pet cages throughout the Lotspeich and Wuerful buildings. Students also help to organize students artwork and tidy up learning areas in the pre-kindergarten classrooms. The Good Apple program, led by Guidance Counselor and Lotspeich Diversity Coordinator Judy Arnold, takes place on Thursday afternoons.

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Visiting Author/Grandperson’s Day

Lotspeich students will enjoy two days of exciting visitors during the month of April – visiting author J. Patrick Lewis and special guests for Grandperson’s Day. Students had an opportunity to have their books signed by Lewis, a former Children’s Poet Laureate who will visit with students on April 24. On April 25, students will spend the day with grandparents and other special people in their lives from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Grandparents (or anyone special who shares in the life of your child) are invited to be our special guests for a morning of classroom activities. Please RSVP with the number of guests attending to grandpersonsday@gmail.com or call 513-708-3334 by Friday, April 18th. If you would like to have a name tag featuring your child’s picture, you must RSVP by Friday, April 18. In order to plan accordingly for lunch, please state whether you would like a vegetarian or non-vegetarian lunch.

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From The Buzz March 13, 2014

Kindness

Kindness Retreat

Lotspeich and Doherty fifth graders and their teachers worked together in a very unique day-long program called the Youth Frontiers Kindness Retreat at the Hillsdale Campus in late February. The fifth graders sang and danced in organized groups with retreat leaders Jorge Figueroa and Maddie Lenarz-Hooyman before huddling together in small groups to discuss the importance of kindness. The students discussed several points, including naming an adult or classmate who often shows kindness and taking action to ban certain unkind acts from the School. The Kindness Retreat, based in Minneapolis, is sponsored by the Guidance Department. Upper School students who served as retreat facilitators were juniors Alexander Hunter and Sydney Jones, and seniors Zachary Abraham, Ashok Dheenan, Samuel Ellis, Molly Ellis, Devin Garrett, Alanna Quinlan, Reena SenGupta, Sarah Shim, Hannah Silverman, and Phoebe Um.

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OlympicOlympic Research

When the winter Olympics began earlier this month, fourth graders were just finishing up their persuasive writing unit. Students in Melissa Woodard’s class used this historic occasion to apply her students’ writing skills to an opinion-writing project. After researching the Sochi 2014 website, students wrote an opinion piece and surveyed their classmates on their favorite sport. One student made a voting box and directions for the class, while others produced a list of all Olympic sports. Students graphed the results and included a roundup of the top six medal-earning countries. They found that among those students surveyed, figure skating received the most votes, followed by snowboarding, and ramp skiing. “The students came up with much of this on their own,” said Miss Woodard. “Their leadership and initiative made it easy for me to foster and support their passion for learning.”

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pre-K OlympicsPre-kindergarten Olympics

In celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Lotspeich pre-kindergarten studied and held their version of the Olympic games. The unit consisted of each class choosing a country to represent. Students learned about their country’s flag, foods common to the country, and where each country was located. Students in Cicely Knecht’s, Tara Meador’s, and Tyler McIlwraith’s classes created torches, Olympic wreath crowns, flags that represented each country, and salt dough medals. The unit concluded with an Olympic Parade of athletes followed by paper plate ice-skating, scooter bobsledding, and pillow hockey. At the end of the games, each child was awarded their medal on a podium. Students also prepared and enjoyed an Olympic Feast with foods representing each country in their studies. Click here to view a gallery of the Olympics. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From The Buzz Feb. 20, 2014

DSC_0344Special Person’s Day

Whether it was for “Nana” or “Auntie,” Lotspeich pre-kindergarten students recently rolled out the red carpet for the special people in their lives. The students and their guests started off with a show in the Red Barn with creative dramatics teacher Russell White, and attended classes led by pre-kindergarten teachers Tyler McIlwraith, Cicely Knecht, and Kara Meador. Students completed projects with their loved ones, including a special math/art lesson for the 100th day of school, and ended their visit with a motor exercise obstacle course with guidance counselor Judy Arnold and Lower School physical education teachers Robert Starkey and Amy Dyer.

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cinti art museumCincinnati Art Museum

First graders visited the Cincinnati Art Museum with art teacher Jody Knoop, who led the children on an adventure to find realistic, abstract, and non-objective styles of art. The students studied landscapes, genre, and still life paintings on their adventure. Students later wrapped up their trip with a classroom discussion about their favorite works of art.

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DSC_0322Book Fair

Lotspeich librarian Marcia Snyder encourages families to visit the library for the Book Fair, which runs Feb. 19 – 21. Mrs. Snyder said parents are welcome to shop for books with students. “We have chosen a variety of books for each grade level and great titles for all ages, including gardening, cooking, and sports titles for parents,” said Mrs. Snyder. She added that this year’s Books for Lunch title, The Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel, also will be available at the Book Fair. Mrs. Snyder thanks the School community for their continued support of this event. The Lotspeich Library receives 20 percent of all purchases.

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st. rita2Disability Awareness

As part of an Everybody Counts program focus on disability awareness, second graders in Danielle Necessary’s and Becky Swain’s classes participated in hands-on activities to learn more about living with a hearing impairment. The program culminated with a visit and presentation from the second graders at St. Rita’s School for the Deaf. Thank you to the many parents who volunteered their time to make this opportunity possible.

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From The Buzz Feb. 5, 2014

civil rights4Grandmother Shares Civil Rights History

Most people have heard the I Have a Dream speech, but not many can say they witnessed Martin Luther King’s speech firsthand on the Washington Mall on August 28, 1963. Lotspeich second graders in Danielle Necessary’s and Rebecca Swain’s classes had the opportunity to meet someone who was there. Mrs. Patricia Brown, grandmother of second grader Max and kindergartener Vivian Brown, shared her story of involvement in the Civil Rights movement. Mrs. Brown was present when Martin Luther King gave his speech and she also participated in sit-ins and other peaceful demonstrations in the 1960s for racial equality. Mrs. Necessary and Miss Swain said Mrs. Brown’s visit was a treat because she brought history from the pages of a book right into their classrooms.

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crochet1

Life-long Lesson

Art teacher Jody Knoop’s recent crocheting lessons came at just the right time as fifth graders delved into crocheting hats to keep their heads and ears warm during the recent cold front. Mrs. Knoop said students often think crocheting is difficult but after a few days, “students can’t put down their yarn and hooks.” She incorporates the lesson in her art classes because it is a practical skill that students can pass along to their family members. Mrs. Knoop said this year’s students took crocheting to a new level, making not only the designated hat, but also scarves, mittens, and blankets! “I learned to crochet when I was about 10 years old and loved it so much I decided years ago to try teaching it to my classes,” said Mrs. Knoop. “I have seen kids form crochet circles and spend hours at stores choosing colors and textures. I have even seen boys waiting for basketball practice sitting on the bleachers crocheting.”

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bird2Avian Studies in Kindergarten

Kindergarteners in Karen Martin’s and Teresa Cohen’s classrooms are exploring a unit on birds in a number of ways this season. The students have incorporated art and literature into their studies, as well as public speaking, as they present their findings to their classmates.

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Technology and Innovation

January marked the beginning of a new fifth-grade social studies project, Technology and Innovations. Students in Kate Fischer’s and Karla Balskus’ classrooms have used an extra math period each week to develop a long-term project involving an invention or innovation. The project incorporates various steps, from determining a problem that can be solved with an invention, to building the invention, to marketing and presenting the creation. The students are expected to complete much of the project at home but they also meet each week as a class. During class time, students paired up to coach each other through the project and to be sounding boards for evolving ideas.

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From The Buzz Jan. 17, 2013

 

keystone1Fact and Fables

In a uniquely collaborative lesson, Linda Ford’s Upper School environmental science students paired up with Natalie Williams’ first grade science students for presentations of original fables about keystone species. The pairing was a blend of academics and storytelling that both groups thoroughly enjoyed. The environmental science students wrote fables about keystone species and read the stories to the first-graders. The first graders are familiar with keystone species – animals that have disproportionate affects on the environment – because they are studying it in science class with Mrs. Williams. Mrs. Williams especially appreciated the activity because last summer she studied keystone species in the southeast Asian island of Borneo, mainly the orangutan, pygmy elephant, and proboscis monkey.

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Medieval3Medieval Feast!

Fourth graders celebrated their study of Newbery Medal Award-winning novel The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, by having a medieval feast in mid-December. Students enjoyed getting into character among the medieval place settings, costumes, and foods for their feast in the Lotspeich Library. Former NKU professor Margo Jang spoke about the medieval lifestyle while students feasted on chicken legs and soup.

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lungPre-K Learns about Lungs

Students in Cicely Knecht’s and Kara Meador’s classrooms received a different kind of doctor’s visit during the first week back from holiday break. Dr. Jason Woods, Director of the Pulmonary Imaging Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, explained the parts and function of the lung using a lung model. Dr. Woods, parent of pre-kindergarten student Margaux Woods, also allowed the students to view a portion of a lung specimen used for science education. Following Dr. Woods’ presentation, students blew up balloons to further apply their lesson. The special visit was part of the students’ unit on parts of the body.

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atb

After the Bell Winter Schedule is Here!

Students will have the opportunity to participate in another round of animated and collaborative afterschool fun in Seven Hills’ After the Bell programs on the Doherty and Hillsdale campuses. This season, students have choices of dance class, yoga, chess, and more! Please click here to view the new schedule. For more information, please contact Jill Romerill at jill.romerill@7hills.org, or return the registration form at the link.

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From The Buzz Dec. 20, 2013

P1000074Exploring Their Roots

Fourth graders in Sara Snyder’s class explored their heritages as part of a unit on immigration, both past and modern. The students read stories of various immigration journeys through Ellis Island, Angel Island, and researched modern immigration. As part of the heritage project, students also interviewed family members, researched the country of origin, and created posters to display information. They wrapped up their project with an international Thanksgiving, which featured ethnic foods. Click here to view some of the students’ recipes in an international cookbook organized by iEarn.

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_LHC9270St. Lucia Day – Dec. 13

Kindergarteners in Theresa Cohen and Karen Martin’s social studies classes recently learned that most observances around the world incorporate celebrations of light. One European celebration that features candlelight is St. Lucia Day, a 200-year-old observance which is celebrated on Dec. 13, the Winter Solstice in Sweden. As stories explain, St. Lucia delivered food to hungry families who lived in catacombs in ancient Rome. Since there was no light and St. Lucia needed her arms to carry supplies, she would wear a crown of candles on her head. Dressed in St. Lucy and Star Boy hats, the kindergarteners delivered cinnamon rolls to teachers.

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DSC_0336Kindergarteners Learn About Knee Surgery

Kindergarteners donned scrubs and caps in preparation for “knee surgery” with joint specialist Dr. Haleem Chaudary, in Karen Martin’s classroom. Dr. Chaudary, a joint specialist at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and parent of three Seven Hills students, gave the students an overview of why some patients benefit from joint replacements. Accompanied by his real assistants at Beacon, Dr. Chaudary used authentic medical tools and joint models as he walked students through the steps of knee surgery. The visit from Drs. Haleem and Rekha Chaudhary certainly was a treat, and offered the young students a real-life glimpse of the specialized medical practice.

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_LHC7995Budding Zoologists

Fifth graders who serve as junior zoologists in science teacher Natalie Wildfong’s classroom enjoyed a special thank you breakfast with the animals this Friday. Mrs. Wildfong held the special event to celebrate the dedicated students’ work in the Leyman Science Center. The junior zoologists care for the classroom animals by feeding them, making health observations, and cleanings the animals’ habitats.

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From The Buzz Nov. 26, 2013

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Math and Music

Third graders recently polished their multiplication tables in Mrs. Wilson’s music class. In keeping with the strong interdisciplinary approach at Seven Hills, the lesson was in response to a conversation Mrs. Wilson had with third grade teachers. “I just asked the math teachers what they would like for me to reinforce and they said 6, 7, and 8 and 12 times tables,” said Mrs. Wilson. The end product was an effective, succinct math lesson wrapped in a rhythmic music exercise using Orff instruments. Seven Hills incorporates the Orff method in its musical education lessons. Orff is a way of introducing and teaching children about music through singing, chanting, dance, movement, drama and the playing of percussion instruments.

Improvisation, composition and a child’s natural sense of play are encouraged.

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DSC_0308Happy Thanksgiving!

How can you tell that Thanksgiving is around the corner? When you see and hear second graders in Mrs. Wilson’s music class practicing the Turkey Tango! Seven Hills students in Pre-Kindergarten for Two-year-olds through grade12 enjoyed a number of festive exercises and events leading up to Thanksgiving Day as they geared up for assemblies, art projects, and dances that showcase just how thankful we are for our families, friends, and the Seven Hills community! Click here for a gallery of the events surrounding Thanksgiving at Seven Hills.

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Buddy Zoo Trip

On a beautiful fall morning the first graders enjoyed exploring the Cincinnati Zoo with their fifth grade buddies. Each buddy team researched a zoo animal and took note of what the animal needed in its habitat. After returning to school and having lunch together, the buddies spent the afternoon designing a 3-D display of their animal in its habitat. The animals were drawn to scale and added to the habitats, which made use of natural materials found on the school campus. The buddies enjoyed a great day of outdoor learning!

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DSC_0176Planting for Spring

Mrs. Cohen’s and Mrs. Martin’s Kindergarteners took a little time to plan ahead as they toted spring flower bulbs, trowels, and watering cans to the courtyard just outside Lotspeich and Briggs in mid-October. The children dug holes with parent volunteers and placed the bulbs in the earth as they learned about seeds and germination in their classes.

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From The Buzz Nov. 7, 2013

IMG_4794Happy Diwali!

Seven Hills students made rangolis (colorful art patterns usually made of geometric shapes), diyas (small clay pots holding a candle), ate sweet treats, and received gifts during the days leading up to Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Diwali is a five-day holiday associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and marks the beginning of the fiscal year in India. The holiday usually falls between October and November. This year, Diwali began on Sunday, Nov. 3. In many classes on the Hillsdale and Doherty campuses, parents brought in treats for children and faculty, and told stories about the history of the holiday.IMG_4761In Mrs. Braun’s first grade class, parents Dr. Parinda Mehta and Rekha Chaudhary decorated the room with diyas and rangolis. To the backdrop of the brilliant decorations, they told the story of Diwali, explained that it is similar to Christmas, Hannukah, and Halloween in some ways, and placed bindi decorations on the children’s foreheads. The celebration concluded as the parents gave shiny bangles to the girls, mazes to the boys, and offered treats to everyone!

Students in the Pre-K for Two-Year-Olds program craft beautiful diyas out of colorful construction paper
Students in the Pre-K for Two-Year-Olds on the Doherty campus program craft beautiful diyas out of colorful construction paper

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DSC_0172Helping the Homeless

Student volunteers in third through fifth grade recently put some of their free time to use for a good cause. At the request of community leader and Seven Hills former parent Paul Sittenfeld, Lotspeich Division Head Mrs. Fox asked students to design decorations for a Red Cross luncheon to benefit the homeless. Several students offered to help. They used popsicle sticks, decorative beads, and other crafts to design colorful centerpieces for the mid-October event. The result was a variety of colorful, bright miniature houses to signify the need for housing for hundreds of homeless families in the Cincinnati area.

“We really went through all the ways people are homeless in the world, from Hurricane Sandy to the way the storms and a cyclone in India wiped out people’s homes,” said Mrs. Fox. “This art project is a community service piece that I believe will give our students an understanding of people who are homeless. It really encourages the children to have empathy for people in need.”

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is Nov. 16-24.

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IMG_0334Five Little Pumpkins

Kindergarteners in Mrs. Wilson’s music class got into the fall spirit as they sang “Five Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate.” Using music class as the engine for a cross-curricular lesson involving language arts and music, Kindergarteners also performed “new” versions of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” The songs were “new” because Mrs. Wilson asked them to use a thesaurus to assign synonyms to the original song. Once students chose their new words, they rewrote and performed their song. Mrs. Wilson said the exercises allowed students to broaden their vocabularies. She said she incorporated the lesson into her Kindergarten music class after learning that Mrs. Leonard’s fifth-grade students recently substituted words in a fairy tale in a similar project.

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P1010530 2Laying Boring Words to Rest

There once were some tired words found dead.

That turned into ghosts flying overhead.

Don’t make a peep

Let them sleep

And try a synonym instead.

The clever limerick set the tone for Mrs. Necessary and Mrs. Swain’s second-graders, as they worked on a challenging writing unit designed to broaden their vocabularies. As a way to drive home the point, the students held a ceremony in which they laid boring words to rest. Gone are the words “good” and “sad.” The students paid their respects, quickly moved on, and vowed to carry on the pursuit of active writing and evocative words.

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DSC_0189_1Pre-K has a “Hay” Day at Shaw Farms

They visited with pumpkin people, took a bumpy hayride through an enchanted Halloween-inspired forest, sank their hands into bins of surprise-filled grain, and came face to face with baby farm animals—all in two hours. The Pre-Kindergarten trip to Shaw Farms in Milford is a favorite of Seven Hills’ youngest students, and there was no question why, as students capped off their fun morning with a mini-feast of fall-time foods on picnic benches on the farm grounds. Although the day was jam-packed with fun, Mrs. Knecht, Mrs. Meador, and Miss McIlwraith debriefed students the following day with a special project asking them to draw pictures of their favorite moment at Shaw Farms. According to student reports, the Hhayride was a big hit! Click here to see more to view a photo gallery of the Shaw Farm field trip.

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From The Buzz Oct. 10, 2013

DSC_0141Schoolhouse Symphony

Pre-Kindergarteners recently enjoyed an exciting visit from Schoolhouse Symphony, a program composed of six professional musicians who provide music education for Lower and Middle School students throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions. Each lesson, provided by the group of musicians, helps teach musical concepts such as high and low, fast and slow, and soft and loud, as well as instrument families. The program focuses on the flute, clarinet, French horn, trombone, violin, and cello. The lessons also introduced a wide range of musical genres from musical composers Mozart to John Williams. The symphony visits Lotspeich three times each school year and performs for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade students.Schoolhouse Symphony is funded by a number of local foundations, including ArtsWave.

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Hands-on Geography

Mrs. Danielle Necessary and Mrs. Rebecca Swain’s second graders started their unit on Geography and Map Skills. They discussed types of communities (urban, suburban, and rural), what components help makeup a community, and how a community can be represented on a map. In small groups, they planned a community, discussed the main components, and constructed models. Students then sketched the community from two perspectives — ground view and birds’ eye view.

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atbAfter the Bell

Lower School students are enjoying lively enrichment opportunities after school as they participate in After the Bell. The program offers a number of classes in yoga, chess, and hip-hop dancing on the Lotspeich Campus. Although classes began two weeks ago, lessons can be prorated to accommodate students who are interested in taking classes from now through the week of Dec. 9. To register, please call 513-728-2830.

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Kindergarteners' impressions of the Phoenix atop the Lotspeich building
Kindergarteners’ impressions of the Phoenix atop the Lotspeich building

History of The Seven Hills Phoenix

Mrs. Karen Martin and Mrs. Theresa Cohen’s Kindergarteners engaged in a series of unique activities that helped tell the story of a fire that gutted Lotspeich in 1987. Also part of the lesson was the Greek mythological story about the Phoenix, and how a new bird would rise from the ashes of another bird. Students learned about the mythological tale, drew pictures of the Phoenix-shaped weather vane atop the Lotspeich building on the Hillsdale campus, and read stories about the fire for their special history lesson.

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DSC_0205Folk Music Fun

A musical medley of mandolin and guitar folk tunes filled the air in the library during the weekly assembly in the Lotspeich Library. First through Fifth Graders tapped their feet, clapped, and swayed to the beat. Students were especially excited because they knew one person in the musical trio very well–Art Teacher Mrs. Jody Knoop! The trio, which is composed of Knoop and fellow musicians Spencer Funk and Ed Stapleton, played several folk tunes, including “American Roots Music”–or contemporary folk. Mrs. Knoop said she enjoys performing in the trio because it is a fun challenge.

“I have played a variety of instruments, starting with ukulele at age six,” said Mrs. Knoop. Students especially enjoyed a song Mrs. Knoop sang, about a wolf that comes “scratching at your door.”

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From The Buzz Sept. 25, 2013

DSC_0157Solving Real-World Problems

Lotspeich fifth graders entered the Leyman Science Building with measuring tape, notebooks, and iPads. They teamed up with their classmates as they circled various animal cages and measured a number of surfaces.

As part of a 12-week project-based research unit, the students are working in teams to gather the necessary data and information in order to be able to complete the calculations required to determine a range of bedding that would be used in the science lab over the course of the year.

The project is based on a request from Science teacher Natalie Wildfong Williams, to find the most efficient amount of bedding needed for the various animals on campus. Based on their findings, each group will make a recommendation regarding the estimated cost. Throughout the project, students will be asked to identify the mathematical concepts, skills, and strategies they used in order to work toward their solution.

Students will be expected to organize their work, data, and information in a logical manner and as a group, draw conclusions, summarize, and support their recommendations. Students will utilize laptops and iPads in order to create presentations sharing their findings and recommendations. The students will then share their findings and as a class, discuss the various plans that were proposed, identifying the pros and cons of each plan. The students will then vote on what they think is the best recommendation and as a class they will make any necessary adjustments and changes needed prior to presenting the final solution to Williams.

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DSC_0151The Art of Making Rocks

Fourth graders are modeling the development process of sedimentary rocks by creating different layers of shaved crayons to represent sediment. Once the students have a few different layers, they will compress the layers by adding pressure. This is the first step in their rock cycle journey. Students will have the opportunity to model metamorphic and igneous rocks as well.

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DSC_0152Pre-K Welcomes Very Special Stars of the Week!

Seven Hills Head of School Chris Garten and Head of the Lower School Carolyn Fox enjoyed giving their Star of the Week presentations to Pre-K students this week. Mrs. Fox was recently Star of the Week in Pre-K, and this week Mr. Garten holds the title. The students gathered outside the Wuerfel building as Mr. Garten read Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh, a fun story about three white mice who mix primary colors to create new colors. The students enjoyed story time with Mr. Garten and even learned that Mr. Garten’s favorite color is green, and that his favorite place to travel is Canada! Mrs. Fox read Fox by Kate Banks. She shared that her favorite color is yellow, and that she loves plants and cats!

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From The Buzz Sept. 12, 2013

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Hiking, Hunting, and Gathering: fifth graders Visit Knoop Farm

In one of many favorite annual Lotspeich traditions, Fifth Graders recently explored, gathered, and foraged at Art Teacher Jody Knoop’s farm in New Richmond. “We all had such a fun time helping each other as we hiked down a creek bed and explored the farm,” said Fifth Grade Teacher Karla Balskus.

Teachers transformed every step of the rural journey into an outdoor classroom as students gathered lots of tinder and kindling, along with black walnuts and marigolds – some of the natural materials they will use for their colonial dye baths this school year. A special treat was visiting the animals who live on the farm, including Lana, the “fifth grade sheep,” who comes to Lotspeich each spring to be shorn.

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P1000437Fizz-tastic First Day for First Graders

Lotspeich first graders continued a Lotspeich tradition of making First Day Fizzies. By carefully following the recipe and working together they made a refreshing drink to enjoy on the first day of first grade.

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Exploring and Learning in Pre-Kindergarten

Pre-Kindergarteners at Lotspeich enjoyed a day full of surprises and comforting certainties. In a short time, the students, ages three through five, have learned to follow a schedule, answer the popular “Question of the Day,” and prepare for their learning centers designed especially for their wonderful minds. The young students’ worlds are expanding in every way as they receive academic instruction, as well as Physical Education, Spanish, Music, and Drama lessons.

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Fourth Graders Study Life of Bees

The fourth grade went on their annual trip to Green Acres in Indian Hill to study bees. The field trip supports, integrates and expands the knowledge students have gained during Science class. Students were able to extract honey from a real hive, taste different varieties of honey, learn bee communication, and were able to observe a live hive. Many students also had opportunities to hold drone bees.

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