Lion's Share: May 23

News from The School at Columbia University: May 23, 2014

Monday, May 26
(Memorial Day)

Tuesday, May 27
(Teacher Report-Writing Day)

May 28-30
Grade 8 D.C. Trip

Wednesday, May 28
Grade 7 Philadelphia Trip

May 29-30
Grade 5 Black Rock Trip (rescheduled from May 8-9)

Thursday, May 29
Grade 3 Field Trip: Highline Ballroom
KA Curriculum Share, 8:15 am

Friday, May 30
Kindergarten Bake Sale
Grade 3 Concert, 8:15 am

Tuesday, June 3
Grade 5 Band Concert, 8:15 am
Tech Tuesdays Parent Coffee, 8:15-9:30 am (Library)
Athletics Award Ceremony, 5:30 pm (MPR)

Wednesday, June 4
PA/Year-End Rooftop Party, 5:45-7:30 pm

Thursday, June 5
Grade 4 Curriculum Share (details to come!)
Lion Awards Ceremony, 5:30 pm (MPR)

Friday, June 6
Field Day

Monday, June 9
Grade 4 Black Rock Trip
Grade 8 Graduation, 6 pm (Low Library Rotunda, Columbia University)

Tuesday, June 10
Last Day of School!
Grade 1 Family Celebration, 8:30 am (MPR)

HYPOTHEkids Summer Science Camp
HYPOTHEkids, Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Columbia University Teachers College collaborate to present a summer science program for children in Kindergarten through Grade 5! Camp runs July 7 to August 29, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, at Dwyer Cultural Center (123rd Street between St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard). Each week explores a theme in science through hands-on experiments and activities. Sign up and learn more at!

CU Basketball Camps
Columbia University Women's Basketball is hosting camps this summer for girls interested in basketball! Camps will be held at Columbia’s Levien Gymnasium on the Morningside Heights campus.

Day Camp, July 14-17: 9 am to 3 pm daily, open to all girls entering first through ninth grade in fall 2014. This camp will focus on the fundamentals of basketball and improving overall basketball knowledge.

Advanced Camp, June 17-19 and August 1-3: Overnight or commuter camp, open to all girls entering eighth through twelfth grade in fall 2014. With a focus on refinement of skills and advanced concepts, camp will have high-intensity drills, competitions, and 5-on-5 games.

Please contact Michelle Bilek (, 212-854-9202) or visit to learn more and register!

Learn or Hone Birding Skills!
Adults and children age 12 and older are invited to join one of Black Rock Forest Consortium’s new Saturday morning birding workshops, held May 31 and June 7, 8:30-10:30 am, at Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, New York! Workshops are led by Barnard College forest ecologist Dr. Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch and are $10 per person. Participants will learn and/or practice skills in bird identification by sight and ear during a two-hour, easy-to-moderate walk. Please RSVP by contacting Emily Cunningham,, 845-534-4517, ext. 26.

The Gallery
Middle Division Performing Arts Spring Concert
Grade 2 Art: Wood Sculptures
Grade 6 Water Collection
PA/Culture Night

The Tube
Grade 1: SOS Invention Dances (and more)

PAL Pizzazz!

Students missed a ring, but no students missed a beat at last night’s Middle Division Performing Arts Program Spring Concert! Ensembles once again wowed the audience, performing everything from The Beatles and Pharrell Williams to original compositions and choreography. Beautiful collaborations and talent were on display, and Columbia University’s Miller Theatre hummed with energy from the opening drum beat to the jazz band’s last flourish. Congratulations, congratulations to all PAL directors and students, especially our eighth-graders in their final PAL performance. Bravo! Footage of the concert will be available soon, and photos are on The Gallery.

Commencement Season
Graduates abound! The School is proud to congratulate the following teachers and staff members who received degrees in 2013-14:

Dan Bogart, Grade 2 Teacher
Jessica Colonel, Grade 4 Associate Teacher
Shauna Dixon, SEL Intern
Matthew Graziano, SEL Intern
Arielle Krieger, Grade 4 Associate Teacher
Kim Lane, Art Teacher
Trang Nguyen, Grade 5 Teacher
Dena Rothstein, Grade 6 Social Studies
Massiel Santos, Kindergarten Associate Teacher
Jamie Schrager, SEL Intern
Jazmin Sherwood, Columbia University Work-Study Student

Amazing work, grads!

It Was the Lark!
Students in Grade 6 have been studying Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," and on Monday, May 19, they welcomed two special visitors: actors Valorie Curry and Sam Underwood (of the television series "The Following"), who came to school and performed scenes from the play for students. The actors portrayed Act 3, Scene 5—in which Romeo and Juliet debate the birdcall they hear, whether it is the lark heralding the coming of morning, or the nightingale signaling the continuation of night—in varying moods for students, demonstrating how Shakespeare's language can be interpreted in different ways. They also invited students up to read with them, and answered questions about Shakespeare, life as an actor, favorite types of roles, and more. Thanks to Laura Strausfeld, Valorie and Sam for sharing their work with The School community, and to all who helped coordinate the presentation!

You can read coverage of Sam and Valorie’s visit in the student-run newspaper The New Roar Times. Both Sam and Valorie tweeted the piece, writing “Favorite review EVER!” and “Sam and I were honored to be there.”

Studying Water
As part of their Science unit on water, Grade 6 students have been involved in a project to help repair a well at a Nicaraguan school where students do not have access to clean water. Last week, as part of the project, sixth-graders drew their own water from the Hudson River. Below, a report on the experience from students.

On Wednesday, May 14, Grade 6 students went to the West Harlem Pier at 125th Street, where we used bottles and string to create a makeshift “fishing line” for water. We used the bottles to fill up five-gallon buckets. Then we ran these buckets to the end of the pier and tipped them into 16-gallon containers. This proved to be challenging, as it didn’t provide the best means of getting water from the Hudson River. We did this so we could gain understanding of what millions of people undertake every day when they don’t have access to a tap close by.

We learned that the labor of all people collecting water across the world sums up to 200 million hours a day, and every twenty seconds a child dies from a water-related disease. It is very tragic.

A certain anticipation was amongst the sixth-graders as they crowded into the train in preparation for the trip ahead. Throughout the train, buckets hammered together noisily, bottles crashing together—these sounds reverberating throughout the lively train car. The train weaved its way through the tracks in one swift movement, stopping at 116th Street. These short minutes were stretched, as many were eager to do the event ahead. Finally the train made its stop at the 125th Street station, and we all got off, making our way to the pier that could be seen faintly in the distance. As we neared it, groups already were assembling and devising plans to transfer the water into the bottles. Many groups chose to make their bottle so that there was string tied around the rim of it, and toss the bottle into the Hudson. This proved to be an unsuccessful design, and we had to improvise. The new idea was to cut the top two inches of the bottle off, and then poke two holes to put string into. This also wasn’t working. So, we conceived another way of getting water from the Hudson into our buckets by going down a ramp, and simply filling our five-gallon buckets—where we would then bring it to the 16-gallon tub. Many liked this idea, running to fill up their team’s five-gallon container with water from the Hudson. They rushed, while still cautious, to bring the water to fill their 16-gallon tubs, cautious not to spill the water they collected. At the end, there were three filled tubs out of the eight total. The teams all cheered with joy, even the ones who had been less successful. There was no prize for winning, but we were all proud of our accomplishment.

See photos of the project on The Gallery.

Discovery in Nature

Kindergarten families, teachers, and students came together for a grade-wide integrated curriculum share in Morningside Park today, focused on Discovery in Nature. The share began with a sing-along, followed by dancing and a rotation of activities where children showed families all they learned in their Discovery unit this spring. The morning ended with a lovely picnic lunch—and no rain!

Important End-of-Year Events!
These last weeks of school are packed with family events, ceremonies, celebrations and more! Here, a few key upcoming end-of-year events for your calendars:

Tuesday, June 3: Athletics Ceremony, 5:30 pm (MPR)
Wednesday, June 4: PA End-of-Year Rooftop Party, 5:45 pm
Thursday, June 5: Lion Awards Ceremony, 5:30 pm (MPR)
Friday, June 6: Field Day
Monday, June 9: Grade 8 Commencement Ceremony (6 pm, Columbia University’s Low Library)
Tuesday, June 10: Last Day of School!

Lunch Program
As we near the end of our school year, we have reopened The School’s Lunch Program feedback links, for families and students to submit thoughts and comments regarding food service. If you have anything you’d like to let us know, please submit the forms found here:

Families: Submit Lunch Program Feedback
Students: Submit Lunch Program Feedback

Thank you!

Rock the Block Fall 2014: Planning Committee!
Rock the Block will be back this fall on Saturday, Oct. 18—and, for the first time, it will be on Columbia University’s campus! Mark the date on your calendar! The PA is organizing the planning committee and needs your help. If you are interested in chairing a committee, please contact Julie Jacobs (, Kate Nelson (, or Barbara Roman ( Let’s get ready to rock!

Culture Night

The PA’s Kaleidoscope hosted a lively, fun, informative and festive Culture Night celebration on Friday, May 16. Special guest performers, cuisine and music from around the globe, cultural artifacts and dress, and more made the second floor feel like the entire world! Thanks to our PA for once again coordinating a special evening for families to celebrate our community. More photos of the night can be found on The Gallery.