No Name Calling Week

Violet K. shares a fun positive message during the 7th Grade No Name Calling Week event.

Middle School students have been learning about their brain this week and the important changes happening at this point in their life.They learned that their brains are in a pruning stage where they begin to hone in on their passions to prepare them for adulthood. Thus, what they focus on creates neural pathway that can be strengthened with continued practice. This goes for studying, and academic pursuits, as well as attitudes and thoughts that may occur about someone or something. They participated in an ancient mindfulness practice that’s been proven to boost the brain’s capacity for compassion.

We also met in grade level groups to discuss the power of our words and how words can change our brain. I co-led a group discussion with MS student leaders and every student contributed to an Advisory poster to bring back to their class with kind, positive words. We practiced different ways we can use kind words, show gratitude, and give compliments to one another. Whereas negative, mean words send alarm signals to the brain, kind, complimentary words spark the release of healthy hormones called endorphins, which create a warm feeling around the heart. As School Counselor, I was heartened by their sharing and maturity and look forward to continuing these conversations with them.

7th graders craft their positive words together with the help of Ms. Henning and student facilitators.

Students post kind messages on advisory group posters.

Student enjoyed a fun opportunity to “train their brains” while building friendships and community!


MS Geography Bee!

Our panel of Middle School Geography Bee contestants and budding geography experts!

On Tuesday, January 22, our Middle School students participated in one of our favorite annual traditions, the National Geographic Geo Bee! After playing some friendly quiz games in their advisory groups during the month prior to the event, students had the opportunity to take the Preliminary Challenge geography quiz to qualify for a spot as contestants in our assembly.

After engaging in an exciting seven rounds of competition, Eighth Grade student Matthew W. was declared the winner from among the twelve contestants, earning a perfect score! His win gives him the chance to take the online Geography Bee qualifying test later this month to compete in the state competition.

8th grade student and school Geography Bee champion Matthew W. with his family after the Bee.

Congratulations to all of our contestants!

7th Grade History of Us Museum

“History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.” -Winston Churchill

On Tuesday, our 7th grade students indeed “wrote” history as they curated the History of Us Museum! Applying the maps, artifacts, research and interview skills they have been developing in their history class this year, students created multimedia exhibits that documented an aspect of their personal and family history. Parents and guests were invited to view student curated exhibits consisting of a physical artifact accompanied by a digital component, including text, photos and video interviews, that could be viewed on guests’ smartphones via a QR code. In order to introduce guests to the format of this Museum, students created a welcome video with instructions for how to view the exhibits:

Guests then visited stations, where students explained the focus of their project and assisted guests in viewing the digitally curated components. Our 7th grade historians shared details about their research process and the choices they made in determining the focus of their exhibits.

It was a treat to explore a facet of our students’ identities while witnessing their analytical, research and digital literacy skills applied to the creation of this moving and personal exhibit. We are proud of our students’ work, and we invite parents to continue these conversations with their children as they grow in understanding of history, and their own unique cultural and family heritage!

Winter Fun: Kickball, Cocoa and “Ugly” Sweaters

Some East Coast natives may argue that California has no “winter,” but our students and faculty make the season special with some Viewpoint winter traditions, including our annual 5th and 6th Grade Kickball and Pizza Mixer, our 8th Grade Cocoa with Upper School Administrators, and, of course, our “Ugly” Sweater Day! We hope you’ll enjoy this snapshots into our December fun.