Our Stories

Kids Delve into the Issues – An Election Project Update

October 6, 2016 by Janet Collier (Faculty and Staff)

As the JPDS-NC Election Project 2016 continues, students in all grades have been conducting research on their grade’s assigned topic and engaging in deep conversations with guest speakers, with students in other grades and at other schools, and with each other.

Sixth Grade – Political Messaging:

Sixth Grade students produced videos summarizing the positions of the major political parties on key issues. The videos cover the topics that students in Second through Fifth Grades are researching for the JPDS-NC Voters Guide. Sixth Graders created the video summaries for use by the other students at school to enhance their learning and to highlight some of the ways in which adults consider these issues. Sixth Graders continued their exploration of the topic of political messaging. Last week, they met with JPDS-NC parent Kenneth Baer who discussed with them the nuances of political messaging, including the impact of content, timing, and the messenger in relaying the value and feeling of a political position.

Fifth Grade – Immigration

Fifth Grade students researched the topic of immigration policy and practice, past and present. Their study led them to explore the U.S. Customs and Immigration website along with other resources in order to better understand the complexities of this issue and to answer their own questions about immigration policy.

Fourth Grade – Global Engagement vs. Isolation

Fourth Grade students met with JPDS-NC parent Ilissa Shefferman, who serves as an International Trade Policy Analyst for the Department of Commerce. She helped students think through why we import and export goods including comparative advantage, excess supply, basic needs a country cannot meet, and resources. The Fourth Graders also learned about the basics of tariffs and the ways in which countries control trade, including how trade affects different nations. Last week, students heard from JPDS-NC alumni Max Manasevit (’02) who captivated our Fourth Graders by speaking about his two years in the Peace Corps in Mongolia.

Third Grade – Use and Protection of Public Lands

Third Grade students delved into the topic of Public Lands, reading news articles and engaging in small-group discussions about the arguments on both sides of the issue. They then visited the Center City Public Charter School (CCPCS) to share their research and to learn what other children think about public lands, their uses, and their protection. JPDS-NC Third Graders met with the school’s Fourth and Fifth Grade students during their Social Studies class and helped them learn about the issue of public land use in our country while at the same time learning about the perspective of the students at CCPCS.

Second Grade – D.C. Statehood

Second Grade students have been engaging in deep and thoughtful discussions about the importance of everyone having a voice on issues of importance. Each class has worked to identify issues they think are important to our city, our country, and our world, including why these issues (and kids’ perspectives) matter. In preparation for their visit to the Horace Mann School in two weeks, Second Graders have also been brainstorming strategies for surveying Horace Mann’s Second Grade students about the issues that matter most to them.

First Grade – Encounters with the Natural World

First Grade students explored Rock Creek Park and identified its features as part of their investigation of encounters with the natural world. After spending time in the National Park in our own backyard, the students reflected on their experience and what “stayed with them” following their visit.

Kindergarten – Community

Kindergarten students engaged in deep dives into one of three values in order to understand its importance, learn how to live the value, and then use the value to become a “changemaker.” The Tmarim class discussed Hachnasat Orchim (Welcoming the Stranger), Rimonim explored Derech Eretz (Thoughtful Conduct), and Anavim dove into Tikkun Olam (Transforming the World). The students will be zooming in on how these three values connect to their image of leadership, allowing them to define what qualities they want to see in the leaders of their community.

Pre-Kindergarten – Identity

Pre-Kindergarten students continued to explore the topic of individual identities. They discussed their topic as a class and at their homes. Students deliberated whether grown ups do listen to kids and why they should listen to the opinions of children.