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MIDWEEK CHECK-IN August 14, 2019

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Service & Social Justice Creative Challenges & Little Hoppers Nonfiction Writing & Sketch Noting Math: LS Math 6th grade math 7th grade math Pre-algebra Algebra 1

AUGUST 14, 2019


Service and Social Justice

In Service and Social Justice, students are serving the community by planting trees and learning how to protect the trees already here. Monday, students took a trip to Kingman Island where they volunteered around the site helping plant trees. Tuesday, students visited Casey Trees, a Washington, DC-based urban forestry nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to educate adults and youth about the benefit of trees. The staff works with elected city officials and developers to protect and add new trees. A Nature Conservancy group is coming to GDS on Thursday to do advocacy work with the service learning class and Friday students are going to City Council to talk with members about environmental advocacy work.


AUGUST 14, 2019

Creative Challenges: Session 8 Playgrounds

This week we learned about playgrounds and their functions. We discussed playground safety, playground equipment as well as imaginative games. Some students designed a new playground equipment, while others thought of ways to improve or add to current playground equipments. During our field trips this week, the students had a blast at Palisades Park and Watkins Park. They drew inspiration from their trip to create a miniature playground made with clay. The kids had a great week learning about playgrounds and can’t wait to share all they have learned.

Little Hoppers

We have had a fun and exciting week so far at Little Hoppers camp! We have been exploring several topics including different types of weather, insects, ocean animals, and zoo animals. Throughout the week students have been using their creative minds and fine motor skills while engaging in STEM activities, arts and crafts, and playing outside. We are excited for more fun activities planned for the rest of the week!

AUGUST 14, 2019


Nonfiction Writing

To start the week, students in nonfiction writing took time to get to know each other better by pairing up for interviews. They took the information we learned about our partners to write biographies and share interesting facts we learned about each other with the class. Next the class started the research process by discussing how they can determine what is a reliable source. Campers learned to evaluate sources by asking questions like "Who wrote the source?" and "When was it dated or updated?"  Then they spent some time exploring reliable online sources to research a topic of our choice.  Each writer picked to research either a person, animal or place and developed questions to guide our research.  They took notes on the information we learned about our topics and later this week students will compile their notes into a research piece. This camp will also add a creative element like a poster or brochure to display facts about the topic. The field trip this week was to the Newseum.  The group explored the exhibits and engaged in a hands-on activity about the First Amendment.  It was a fun-filled week!  Ask your camper to share more about what they learned with you! 

Sketch Noting

This week during sketch noting camp, students continue to practice their skills and learn new ways of not taking and writing. These skills help the students think more about the lectures and information presented to them. With research showing that students with pen and paper listen more intensely than those with a computer, sketch noting can help students focus better in their classes this fall. Their teacher, Lauren Kinnard, has her own website for sketch noting called Sketch Noting for Change. She has posted on her blog about the GDS Summer Sketch Noting camp if you would like to check it out and read more, follow the link below!


AUGUST 14, 2019

Math Review Camps: LS Math

It is hard to believe that we are almost to the end of our second week of our Lower School Math Workshop. It has been a lot of fun working with all of our campers and our hope is that they will take much of what the learned with them as they enter a new school year. The Four Math Boosting messages (1. Everyone can learn math because there is no such thing as a "math person" 2. You have to believe in yourself 3. Mistakes and struggle are important to our learning 4. Depth of thinking is more important than speed) will be a great way for them to remember that mathematics is beyond simple calculations. We spent some time early in the week finishing up our Four 4s Challenge by getting an expression for every number from 1-20. We encouraged the kids to keep challenging themselves by looking for other expressions through 100! Please encourage your camper to share their work with you at home. How many expressions can you come up with using four 4s? While helping our campers to continue to see math visually, we explored number combinations using Cuisenaire Rods and they enjoyed challenging each other as it became clear that some campers were repeating some of the combinations. There were some lively discussions and debates as campers began to formalize specific strategies to help them find each solution in a more efficient way. We continued the week tackling other challenges where students had some choice about what they wanted to engage in first and who they wanted to engage with while solving the problem. It was so exciting to see so many of our campers using some of the specific problem-solving strategies we worked on last week. Several groups acted out the problem while others guess, checked, and then refined their strategies. We also spoke with campers about what really worked for them when it came to working together to find a solution. Several of them mentioned that they appreciated people taking turns, everyone participating, listening and appreciating each other's ideas, and being okay with making mistakes and enjoying the support of their peers. These were many of things we talked about on day one of our time together so it was exciting to see them internalize what they wanted people to "Do" when working in a group. We will end the week by asking campers to complete another Mindset Assessment Profile to see if students were able to strengthen or develop more of a growth mindset around mathematics. In addition, we will ask students to write a letter to themselves, which we will mail to them about a month into the school year, highlighting some of the things that they did during camp that they really want to remember and continue to work on during the school year. Thank you for sharing your camper with us this summer and we hope that they each have a fantastic school year!

AUGUST 14, 2019


Math Review Camps: 6th Grade Math

The Intro to 6th Grade math class has been exploring fractions, decimals, & percents along with reviewing skills around subtraction (particularly subtraction involving negative numbers). They are working hard to develop strategies to tackle non-rote problems!

7Th Grade Math

This week, 7th grade math started graphing lines and working with angle relationships. They will end the week working with the Pythagorean Theorem.


The Pre-Algebra Review camp has been challenging themselves as they review Integers, Simplifying and Evaluating Expressions and Solving Equations. They've explored various types of problems, took on higher level thinking tasks, and continue to expand and strengthen their mathematical skills. They'll finish the course by reviewing all of the contents they've studied these two weeks, evaluating their current strengths and areas for growth, and by writing goals for their upcoming school year.

Algebra 1 Review

The Algebra 1 Review course has covered a great deal of material this week, with students working hard to maintain the pace. Topics covered this week include adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing polynomials, translating phrases to algebraic expressions, working on a wide range of word problems and applications, solving systems of equations, using graphing to solve systems of equations; graphing systems of inequalities, factoring and working with radicals. With just a couple of days to go, we will finish up by reviewing quadratic equations, including completing the square and using the quadratic formula. The class works well collaboratively and has enjoyed their time together as a group.  With this short, but intensive review, they should feel better prepared and more confident as they begin their next level of math this school year.


AUGUST 14, 2019


WE HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! - the teachers and staff of Summer at GDS Camps and Classes

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