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Showing posts from September, 2016

Author Steve Sheinkin Fascinates Boys with Stories from History

On Monday, our seventh and eighth graders were treated to a visit by Steve Sheinkin, the author of several award-winning historical nonfiction books for young adults, including Bomb, Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, Most Dangerous, and The Port Chicago 50, which was on the boys' recent summer reading selection list.

Mr. Sheinkin spoke of his early efforts to forge a career as a filmmaker and, after that, how his tenure as a textbook writer piqued his interest in writing nonfiction about little known stories from American History.  The boys were fascinated by the subjects of his books, and his writing and research process, particularly how he organizes all of his research.

As Upper School Librarian Gwen Kaplan noted, "We were all sad when his time with us came to an end!" I am sure that this session with Mr. Sheinkin has sparked the curiosity of several of our boys into exploring compelling true stories of history, and perhaps even writing some of their own.

Our appreciation to…

We are Sub Grade

Excavation of Graham House has moved sub grade with a full court press now on the removal of the old 1890 foundation walls.  The setting of new footings for the rear of the new superstructure is planned to begin next week.

Following the setting of new footings, the rear superstructure will begin to take shape and the demolition will move to the 89th Street (north) portion of Graham House.

Second Graders Build Mascots for NASA in STEAM Unit

In the spirit of scientists and engineers our boys in the second grade have been active in a STEAM unit designed to help NASA.

First as scientists, the boys explored objects and substances, making observations and asking questions that get at the essence of what makes these items unique. They learned to use scientific measurement tools to measure properties and to record their data.

Next, the boys were engineers tasked with designing and building mascots for NASA that will keep astronauts company during (hypothetical) extended space travel. The mascot must have a mass of exactly 173 grams to ensure optimal balance of the spacecraft during launch.

Boys were given an assortment of materials. They worked with triple-bean balances to measure and record the mass of each component, employing mathematical reasoning to add, subtract, and combine components to meet the mass specification while using their aesthetic sense to optimize their mascot’s ability to warm hearts in deep space.

This op…

Singing and Dancing in Spanish to Deepen Understanding

Today, first graders sang songs in Spanish and danced around the classroom as they acted out being a variety of shapes, reciting their number of sides.

For several days each week our boys learn Spanish and experience cultures of the Spanish speaking world through Saint David's school-wide Spanish immersion program.  The program uses visual, musical and kinesthetic activities to help our younger boys deepen their understanding of the language.

New Partnership with Guggenheim Begins for Grade 2

Today our second graders and their art teachers began an exciting new unit done through our partnership with the Guggenheim, right down the block from Saint David's.

Led by a museum educator, the boys first gathered in the rotunda of this architectural wonder and talked about the various shapes they could see within the museum, as well as how Francis Lloyd Wright was inspired by his love of nature.

When asked to comment about the shape of the building itself, boys said it brought to mind "a snake coil," an "upside down ice cream cone," and "tornadoes."

They then viewed Piet Mondrian's Dune in Zeeland, discussing how this work was done exclusively in two colors, and they examined the edges where the orange and blue meet.

Afterward, the boys moved to the art studio where they explored the relationship between color and shape, creating their own two-color collages by combining large and small shapes of torn paper.

This was the first of 10 sessions …


As the first days of school arrived, demolition of Graham House moved underground.  As you can see in the photos below we have broken through the floor of the back of Graham.  Once complete, new footings will be set, then all attention moves to the front of Graham and the easier and quicker demolition of the remaining floors in front.  Two of these front floors have already been demolished and the new steel inserted.

Year 66 Begins!

Day One. One of my favorites. The excitement on the boys' and parents' faces as they approach 12 East 89th Street--this year from the west--was energizing.

There's a lot of change afoot at Saint David's, as we stretch our school bigger and better than ever.

What doesn't change is that eager anticipation that sparkles in the eye of a boy as he meets his teachers and reconnects with his classmates after a fun summer, the commitment we have to our mission, or the caliber of the teaching and learning at this great "littler" school.

Happy 66th!

The Graham

For the current issue of Saint David's Magazine, I wrote the following about the history of Graham House and our school's plans for its next phase. I found my research into the history of The Graham fascinating, and would like to share:

And so it begins...

...the brink of a new age. As I write this letter for the Magazine, the walls of the old are literally coming down and the foundations of the new are being laid on its bones...and it’s not the first time. In 1953 after the school purchased 14 East 89th Street from the Cutting family, the second of the Delano and Aldrich townhouses, then Headmaster David Hume, with a group of hearty boys, took sledgehammers to the dividing wall. Their breakthrough officially initiated the first great expansion of Saint David’s.
Since then, the school has continued an eastward migration with large scale acquisitions — in 1963 of 16 East 89th, the last of the Cutting family homes, and in 1972 of Graham House — that have taken the school from mi…

Eighth Grader Places Second in World Backgammon Championships

Exciting news regarding Saint David's eighth grader Evan '17, who discovered the game of backgammon over the summer, reading books on the game and playing regularly with his dad.

He did so well and enjoyed the game so much, he entered the 41st World Backgammon Championships in Monte Carlo a few weeks ago, and placed second overall in the Juniors division.

Evan's competitors were from Russia, Turkey, Israel, France, England, Switzerland, Japan and Germany.

The photo, from the US Backgammon Federation website, shows the final match with Evan on the left.  His dad told me that Evan wore his favorite pair of red Saint David's shorts during the competition--for confidence, and to wave the flag of his beloved school. Congratulations!

One of the things I love most about summer is how it gives all of our boys the opportunity to indulge in new talents and interests, as Evan did.