Portland School Notebook: Nov. 8

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Longfellow student organizes hurricane relief effort

A Longfellow fifth-grader organized “From One Port to Another” coin drive that raised $665 for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

Longfellow Elementary School students on Nov. 3 gave the American Red Cross of Maine $665 they raised for hurricane relief for Puerto Rico. Fifth-grader Evie Waring presented the check to Lou Pollock, a member of the Red Cross Maine Region Board of Directors, and Kristin Pollard, a Red Cross volunteer specialist who deployed to Georgia to assist Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The check presentation and a question-and-answer session about the work of the Red Cross took place during the town hall gathering that fifth-graders hold on Fridays.

Evie came up with the idea for the “From One Port to Another” coin drive after being moved by news of how Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Puerto Rico. She has visited the island with her family and they have family friends living there. She pulled together a team that publicized the coin drive through posters and morning announcements the week of the drive, which involved all 18 classrooms at the school. There are also plans for a bake sale.

Since Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, the Red Cross has served more than 537,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 2.5 million relief supplies and provided more than 14,900 mental health and health services to people in need.

Right now, more than 710 Red Cross disaster workers are helping in Puerto Rico. Six Red Crossers have deployed to Puerto Rico for the relief efforts.

Levey students awash in studies about water

What does an innovative elementary school do to create excitement at the end of a trimester? According to Head of School, Levey Day School created Dash – Days of Arts, Science and Humanities – a thematic, cross-curricular, cross-grade learning experience for a week of exciting learning. Last year’s DASH on The Human Body was so successful the school planned two this year: Levey students, ages 5-11, worked with the theme “Water: Source of Life” Oct 31 to Nov.7. The week began with each class brainstorming questions such as, how much water is inside your body? Why does it turn to snow? How do we make dirty water clean?

Special guests included Mr. and Mrs. Fish, who will present a show on where water goes after a toilet is flushed; Levey Board member Dr. Reuben Bell, who taught students about where water is in the world; and presenters from the Portland Water District, which donated books and lessons as well as a $300 grant for materials to enhance the study.

Kindergarten students through fifth-graders performed songs about the water cycle and learn the folk dance “Mayim,” celebrating water in the desert. The art instructor helped students explore water in art using watercolors and ink/wash, while the music teacher made music with water. Students as young as second grade conducted research and hands-on experiments. Fourth- and fifth-graders learned all about water systems and hydroponics.

“When children are engaged and excited, learning is fun and meaningful, not just divided into separate subjects, but interconnected as they are in life,” said Chizeck. “This kind of learning creates memories and lasting understanding, as it builds skills in every area of academics.”

Longfellow Elementary School student Evie Waring presents a check to Kristin Pollard, a Red Cross volunteer specialist and Lou Pollock of Red Cross Maine Region Board of Directors after planning a coin drive that raised $665 for Puerto Rico hurricane relief.

From left, Bea Schatz, Eli Greene, Anya Heiden, Declan Rowles and Jett Morrison after completing an experiment during DASH – Days of Arts, Science and Humanities – at Levey School.