Last month, 12 Intermediate School band students auditioned for the VBODA District 12 Honor Band, competing against 300 of the top middle school band students across Fairfax County. Five Potomac eighth graders were selected to be in the junior band: Luka Beslic, Sam Kim, Brandon Mayrhofer, Josh Reinecke, and William Shanmugam. The All-District Band event was held this past weekend. The students rehearsed for three days under the direction of renowned composer/conductor Brian Balmages, then performed a concert at Oakton High School. Congratulations to our band students!
Seventh graders recently visited the National Mall as part of their “What are Monuments (Memorials) For?” video project. Students have been researching monuments and memorials throughout May for their analytical documentary. While in DC, students captured photos and videos to supplement existing research. In some cases, groups had the opportunity to interview National Park Rangers. The memorials students analyzed included the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the District of Columbia War Memorial. Additionally, all students had the opportunity to explore and analyze the architectural design of the Lincoln Memorial and learn about the many symbols that were incorporated, including why there are 87 steps and 36 columns. The weather was beautiful, students were engaged, and it was a terrific day of joyful learning!
As part of grade 7’s genetics unit, students were able to extract enough of their own DNA to see it in a tube without using a microscope. Their cheek cells provided the DNA, which is now stored in a necklace. They will continue their studies next by exploring genetic crosses using Wisconsin Fast Plants – an ideal model organism for observing and learning about inheritance patterns.
In grade 8 Advanced Spanish, students have been studying works from various Spanish speaking artists. To begin their studies, students picked an artist featured at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. To better discuss these paintings, the class used the Visual Thinking Strategy method – a method that is used by the New York Times in their recurring column “What's Going On In This Picture?” The publication strips images of their captions and invites students to discuss them. Once students learned this strategy, they modeled its use on the field trip to the National Gallery and then painted either a replica or in the style of their selected painters.
On Tuesday, all eighth graders advisories engaged in their second Community Action Day of the school year, serving with six community partners addressing food insecurity across the DMV, including Red Wiggler Community Farm, Food for Others, and Capital Area Food Bank. Many advisory groups returned to the same community partner served in their fall CAD, providing an opportunity to deepen their connection with local organizations. In the afternoon, eighth graders participated in a reflection activity intended to inspire summer volunteering by creating an elevator pitch to volunteer with their CAD community partner that was presented to the entire grade. Thank you to our eighth graders for your service! Check out photos from the day.
On Tuesday, seventh graders participated in their first Community Action Day focused on the environment. This clean-up project at Piscataway Park in Maryland served new Potomac community partners, the Alice Ferguson Foundation and Accokeek Foundation. The project began with a land acknowledgment in honor of the cultural heritage of the park site, and students worked in advisory groups to pick up trash along the Potomac River. Additionally, each group recorded data from the clean-up, including the number of plastic straws, which will inform legislative initiatives. After lunch at the Alice Ferguson site, student groups participated in a trash timeline activity to reflect on the outcome of their service project. Thank you to our seventh grade students for their environmental service! Check out photos from the day.
Before the break, Potomac's Grade 8 Advanced Spanish class enjoyed a day at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. Students observed and discussed Spanish painters while practicing and leading discussions in Spanish. Afterwards, the group dined at Tia Pepa, an offshoot of the legendary Taberna del Alabadero restaurant which offers traditional Spanish gastronomy.