Festive spirits were in abundance at Ross Lower School this week as students, faculty, and staff prepared for the long holiday break.
On December 20, the fourth graders presented an “Immigrant Feast” where they brought in foods that represent their countries of origin, as well as the recipes for these dishes. In Cultural History, they have been studying how people populated the globe and settled the continents. Reading about immigration, they have been exploring the question, "What does it mean to move?" and looked into their own heritages.
After enjoying foods from all over the world, the students gathered together, with their parents looking on, and shared stories about how their family came to America. They also brought in artifacts or heirlooms that represent one of the cultures with which their family identifies—for example, a silver napkin ring, a monogrammed towel that has been passed down three generations, and a pocket watch with a stamp of a heraldic seal that was once owned by James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States.
Meanwhile, across the campus, the first graders busily decorated their gingerbread houses. Icing and candies of every flavor and color were scattered about the tables; some students couldn’t help but sneak a few tastes in between decorating. Some really got into the holiday spirit, squeezing icing onto their noses and sticking red candies on top in honor of Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. Ever since the first graders returned from Thanksgiving break, they have been conducting a weekly holiday show and tell, where they bring one object from home—an ornament or nutcracker, for example—and talk about why it has meaning to them. The gingerbread house project was the idea of first grader Katherine, who decorates sweet abodes every year with her parents.
The next day, on December 21, the Lower School Parents Association organized a special holiday bake sale, which commenced early in the morning by serving parents and students light breakfast treats before school began. Upon arriving at their classrooms, students enjoyed casual festivities with their parents and friends. The first graders even shared stories that they wrote about their favorite holiday memories. Known as the Small Moment Author Share, this project was the first official opportunity for these young scribes to practice their writing skills.
After the in-class celebrations, the entire campus filed into the Lower School Fieldhouse for the annual Holiday Concert. The pre-kindergarten students kicked off the show with a snowflake poem. Then the entire Early Childhood performed several traditional holiday melodies, including, “O Evergreen,” “Hanukkah (Sevison Sov Sov Sov),” and “Lemon Drops and Gumdrops.” Kindergarten sang “Frosty the Snowman,” “The Sun Is Born,” and “Must Be Santa,” while the first and second graders performed ”Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and “Happy Holidays!” The third graders continued the choral portion of the concert with more holiday tunes including, “Caroling, Caroling.” The remainder of the concert featured performances by the fourth and fifth graders in Strings, Beginning Band, Intermediate Strings, Recorders, and Intermediate Band, with some songs accompanied by vocals, some by marimbas and bells, and some by ukulele. Overall, it was a wonderful way to finish the first half of the school year and enter the holiday season.