Bell-Bannon 2013-14

Bell-Bannon Crew Events Calendar (click 'Bell Crew' checkbox at the top)

The Bell crew email list is ''. To get added to this list, please contact Elizabeth or Maura.

Bell Crew

B Crew News: Nov. 17, 2013

Expedition News

Title: Building Community

Guiding Questions:

  • How do we build community?
  • How do we contribute to community?

Case Study #2: On the Job!

Learning Targets:

  • I can describe the behaviors of a good crewmember.
  • I can identify the SIERRA norms.

We have been "On the Job" now for several weeks, working on our second case study. This portion of our expedition focuses on the uses of tools as well as on the building process.

The kindergartners have become experts on particular tools and have honed both their writing skills and their drawing skills as a result of their studies. They have learned how to peer-critique each other's drawings and effectively incorporate the feedback into second and third revisions of their drawings. Through their non-fiction writing, they are being introduced to our kindergarten informative writing rubric. The criteria being evaluated are as follows: naming a topic; providing two or more facts; using evidence from a source. This week we will put together a book, entitled Our Toolbox, which spotlights their factual writing as well as their initial sketches and final drawings.

The kindergartners have also put their tool expertise to work by building geo-boards from start to finish. Each child cut, sanded, painted and nailed his/her own board to use for math exploration. They were extremely proud of their hard work!

Last week, we worked with three experts to better understand the steps of the building process. Jenna Shropshire and her son, Sutter (SELS student, Seaborg Crew), visited our classroom to teach us about the sequence of steps in creating a project: sketch, blueprint, model, build. Jenna brought actual drawings from Faulkner Architects firm and Sutter shared the building sequence he and his crewmates went through as kindergartners two years ago when building the SELS balance beams. Your children were thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from Sutter and Jenna.

Later in the week, our crew went out into the field to visit the Faulkner Architect office. We saw a variety of models and had a chance to see how their CAD computer can create 3-D images. Next, we were very fortunate to work with expert, Seamus Gallagher, a local contractor and SELS parent. Seamus, with a large book of blueprints in hand, led us through one of his houses and showed the students how the 2-D drawings matched up to the 3-D building. There we were amidst masons, plumbers, builders and more machines and tools than you could count. It was a huge thrill for us all! Many thanks, again, to our experts and to all the chaperones and drivers who made the day a great success.

Crew News

  • SIERRA norms: Daily "behavior" learning targets focus on one of the norms, and we each challenge ourselves to demonstrate that norm throughout the school day. Talk with your child about ways in which they have upheld the norms with their actions or words. Empathy (making an effort to understand how someone feels/walking in their shoes) and integrity (doing what's right even when no one is watching) are two of the most abstract and difficult norms for young children to grasp. Be sure to make time to highlight both of those norms when you notice them being used at home!
  •       Indoor shoes/slippers are recommended:  Sending a pair of indoor shoes or slippers to school for the winter makes the learning environment more comfortable.  Send in a pair of rubber soled shoes for your child.

Dates to Remember:

Nov. 20: Minimum Day; 1:00pm dismissal

Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving Break; no school

Dec. 5: Gratitude Dinner

B Crew News: Sept. 25, 2013

We have had a wonderful start to the Kindergarten year!

Your children have become comfortable with the classroom routines and are beginning to form new friendships with their crewmates. It has been a pleasure to get to know each and every one of them. Here is the news...


Expedition News

Title: Building Community

Guiding Questions:

  • How do we build community?
  • How do we contribute to community?

Case Study #1: Building Our Community

Learning targets:

  • I can describe the behaviors of a good crew member.
  • I can identify and explain the SIERRA norms.

Our fall expedition, Building Community, is well underway! In our first case study, Building Our Community, we are working hard to identify the attributes of a good crewmember. We have read stacks of picture books and nursery rhymes in search of examples of "good crewmember behavior." Your children have become quite skilled at finding evidence of this behavior in the literature we have read and at articulating their findings. We are impressed with their willingness to work together in small groups and to cooperate on challenging tasks. In the upcoming days we will complete small-group assessment interviews. Your children will determine which nursery rhyme characters would be good crewmembers--based on clear evidence from the text. Literary analysis in Kindergarten! It promises to be a year steeped in great learning!


Next week we will begin our work with the SIERRA norms-Strength, Integrity, Empathy, Respect, Responsibility. We will model/act out examples of each norm and begin to hold ourselves accountable to those norms both in and out of the classroom. We encourage you to begin using/discussing these norms at home to support our classroom learning. Thank you!


Crew News

We had a fabulous adventure hike in Martis two weeks ago! Thank you to the many parents who were able to drive and chaperone. We loved your company and your assistance! Your children did a beautiful job supporting each other in the "challenge-by-choice" creek crossing and blindfold/trust walk. We were pleased to hear them encouraging and congratulating each other along the way.


Literacy/Shared Reading Time is a bustling part of the Kindergarten day! Your children work in small groups to practice reading skills, listening comprehension skills as well as beginning math concepts (yes, we know it's called "Literacy Time!"). We greatly rely upon our volunteers during this time. If you are interested in helping in our classroom, please come in and sign up on the calendar. We would ideally like 1-2 volunteers each day. If you are unable to come in on your assigned day, please try to find a substitute if at all possible. Thank you so much! Here are some literacy skills learned thus far:

  • 3 ways to read: read the pictures/read the words/retell a familiar story
  • reading strategies: Look at the pictures...Use the beginning sound.
  • rhyming: critical building block to reading success! Keep practicing at home!




Goal-setting conferences are two weeks away! Start talking with your student about possible character and academic goals for the year. We will send a sign-up calendar soon via email.



Dates to Remember:

Oct. 14-18th: Goal-setting conferences; Students dismissed at 1:00pm. all week

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On top of all the teaching and learning, I'm struck by the joy in the faces of all the children as they go about their quest for knowledge. Thanks to all the courageous and energetic people who had the vision to make this school a reality. With all the challenges the world faces today and predictions of disaster, these committed teachers/staff, these engaged families, and these beautiful children are a beacon of hope.

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What an amazing place. It has been everything for my son that I had hoped he could experience in school. Great teacher, stimulating learning environment, and a deeply caring and nurturing place.

I am grateful that my child is encouraged to interpret concepts and think about how they apply to his life, not just memorize and repeat material. I love that SELS asks kids to think about who they are and how they contribute to the community, locally and globally.

I greatly appreciate that SELS is a heart-centered school that teaches ethics and values along with academics. That approach makes SELS a unique and special place.

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Our son is bubbling over with excitement for learning. This environment is gifting him with life long skills to succeed. We are so thankful for this school.

All the Adults and students challenge each other the THINK!

SELS is amazing in the way they teach topics hands on and allow the children to learn in practical settings. We couldn't be happier seeing our son flourish so much! Thank you.

I am very grateful to the SELS staff for offering my 5th grader their hearts, as well as their knowledge. Better yet, they make learning fun and adventurous! My youngster is THRIVING at your wonderful school!!

We are thankful for many wonderful ideals and principles at SELS, but what really brings those into reality is the caring, hard-working teachers and staff. We wouldn't have thought that someone else would care as much about the whole education of our daughter as much as we do, but there is a whole team of such people at SELS.

I am so thankful that my 5th grade daughter is a member and student of this beautiful community and school. She is receiving a fantastic education with hands on learning, caring, understanding, creative, out of the box thinking and intuitive teachers. She feels included, important, confident and is growing tons in her knowledge and place in this wonderful community. Thank you SELS for being an amazing part of my daughter's education and Life!

I truly appreciate all the staff, students, parents and families at SELS. It is these people that make SELS so wonderful.
This has become a new 'family" for us!

I am so grateful for the amazing staff; they are the most amazing guides. It is an inspiration to watch them help our children learn and grow into thoughtful, independent, productive human beings!
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