Monday, June 25, 2018

Q5 Final Post

It is not hyperbole to suggest that the final eight days of the school year were awe-inspiring. It was the culmination of 18-months of preparation and watching it come together.  The quality, depth, and variety of courses to choose from offered something for all students. Q5 was a collaborative effort involving students, CCHS staff, community members, the transportation department, and Central Office personnel. Of course, like so many initiatives in our schools, without the generous support of the CEF and the PA, none of this amazing experience would be possible, so thank you.

CCHS rising senior Princeton Chang made an amazing Q5 video. Please check it out.

We are still analyzing educator and student feedback, but a few initial statistics worth highlighting.

Over 85% of students agreed or strongly agreed with the following statements:
I enjoyed this Q5 course
I was actively engaged in this Q5 course

83.7% of students stated that they would recommend Q5 to a student at another school.

My personal favorite response, 87.8% of students stated that they made a new connection during Q5 (either student or teacher)

Add it all up and we can say with confidence that we achieved the mission of Q5:

"An immersive learning experience leveraging the curiosity, knowledge, and passions of students and faculty to foster complex thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. Q5 complements our academic program and seeks to inspire students and faculty to pursue shared interests and ideas."

Below you will find some highlights from week 2 of Q5. If you want to see even more pictures, please or you can review previous blog posts.

Classical Mythology Through art and Literature
Course Leaders: Ms. Pooler and Ms. Haycock

Greta Kroegen, Leeda Ayati  and Sarah Long examine a 5th century Greek red-figure vase portraying the myth of Diana and Actaeon

Course Description:
Students will read excerpts from texts to learn the fundamentals of classical myths and discuss the ways in which these myths provide a window into the cultural values of Greece and Rome. Students will take two field trips to visit the MFA and the Gardner Museum to explore the ways in which artists and writers throughout the ages have represented these myths and consider why these myths have exerted such an enduring influence on western art and literature. Students will take advantage of the nature surrounding our school for short walks which will complement our mythological readings.  

Plein Air Painting and Picnics
Course Leaders: Ms. Dunn and Mr. Pickman

A studio art course based on drawing and painting the landscape from observation and direct interpretation. Techniques include, impressionism, expressionism, abstraction, and experimental projects. All levels of ability are invited to participate, no studio experience required. This course will be locally based and daily agendas will include walks to aesthetically significant sites in the area, art making as well as visits by professional landscape artists. This course also features daily, gourmet, healthful and delicious picnics organized by the members of our painting group.

On the fourth day of Q5, students pitched their own teen movies.

Teens in Film and On Television
Course Leader: Ms. Sutter

Course Description:
Hollywood has long looked to the teenager for its most dramatic storylines -- the teenager as the rebel, the romantic, the outcast or the icon.  In this course, we will watch movies and television shows about teenagers from several different decades, including Rebel Without a Cause (1955), American Graffiti (1973), The Breakfast Club (1985), Freaks and Geeks (1999-200), Glee (2009-2015), and a contemporary film or show of the group's choice.  We will discuss the role of the teenager in pop culture, the reality as young people experience it today, and the gap between the two.  On the last day, we'll vote on which Hollywood teenager comes closest to embodying the truth and try to predict the premise of the next teen film or television show to become a breakaway success.

Chinese Arts and Crafts Workshop: Zodiac Animals Course Leader: Mr. Feng

Course Description A workshop will be held to review Chinese arts and crafts pertaining to Chinese zodiac animal of the year and/or the years of the participating students. Students will learn to create art and craft pieces by observing teacher demonstration of selected arts and crafts techniques such as paper cutting, Chinese painting, wood burning, soapstone carving and engraving, as well as clay modeling (We can concentrate on two media only in each Q5 session. We will try out paper cutting and wood burning in 2018). It will be a first-hand exposure to Chinese culture and hands-on experience to arts and crafts creation.
This Isn’t your Grandmother’s Mahjong Course Leader: Ms. Mahoney

Course Description
Mahjong is the popular Chinese game of strategy that originated in the Qing Dynasty. Today, it is one of the most popular games played throughout Asia and the rest of the world with many variations. In this course, you will learn to play the traditional and most popular version. Mahjong is a fast-paced game (don't worry, we'll start slow!) that will keep you on your toes. Mahjong has even been shown to improve cognitive ability in patients with dementia. The game is played using 144 tiles (like dominoes) in different suits (like cards) with Chinese numbers and characters. You will learn these characters and a few Chinese terms needed to play. Be prepared to bring your A game to defeat your competitors!

Bio Bites: The Art and Science of Food Course Leaders: Ms. Guiney and Ms. Rusilas

This course will explore the scientific principles involved in cooking and baking. This will be a hands-on course involving lots of cooking! Possible topics include investigating what causes bread to rise, investigating fermentation & brining by making pickles, creating a delicious cookie recipe, exploring flavorful spices and much more! Expect to cook something everyday and to go on a local field trip!

Thoreau’s Paddle 
Course Leaders: Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nichol, Mr. Savage

Participants will explore the canoe trips of Henry David Thoreau along the Concord, Sudbury and Assabet Rivers.  We will canoe daily with journals and maps to compare the rivers and landscape of today with that of Thoreau's time.  We will reference Thoreau's written work and that of other naturalists who have retraced his trips on the water.   Students will learn essential canoeing skills and practice paddling flat water and the swift moving current of the Assabet.

Students busy prepping their pieces and doing some light repairs.

Trash to Treasure
Course Leaders: Ms. Omobono, Ms. Ravalese

In this course students will learn how to take old and essentially "worthless" pieces of wood furniture and transform them into something beautiful and functional.  Students will learn about refinishing and consignment while visiting a local business, and then students will then be able to try it themselves by choosing one piece of furniture to refinish over the duration of the course.  Students will begin by sanding, cleaning and prepping the furniture, then move on to painting, staining, or a combination of the two, and finally end with sealing the recreated furniture.  The course will end with a “flea market flip” presentation to share their new pieces!

I’d Rather Be Reading
Course Leader: Ms. Cicchetti

Student featured above toured the Concord Free Public Library and met with Special Collections Curator, Leslie Perrin. They were able to see original surveys by Thoreau, and his final journal.

Passionate readers are never without a book! What they often lack is time to read. Students will have the opportunity to create a weeklong reading goal, learn good yoga stretches for readers, create strategies for lifelong reading, and will have time to disappear into a book, of course!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Week 1 Q5 Recap: What a week!

As we wrap up the first week of Q5, the energy in the building is amazing. With so many great moments during the first week, it is hard to capture them all, but we are sharing a small glimpse below and we eagerly anticipate week 2.

If you would like to see first hand more pictures from the week, we encourage you to check out  A big thank you to Princeton Chang for creating and maintaining the website which allows us to showcase the great work during Q5.

Community Service
Lead by Mr. Lonergan, Mr. Hoblitzelle, Mr. Parato
Students will volunteer at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury (Boys and Girls Club of Boston) for community service involving local youth and various projects as they arise.  The hope is that we have a mix of Boston, Carlisle and Concord students signed up.

The two different groups of community service project culminated their week by visiting the various locations.

One of today’s groups served at Pine Street Inn, a shelter for homeless guests offering meals, beds, healthcare services and job training.  Our CC group prepared meals for the 2500 guests coming today alone. We are proud of the work we did!

The second group of students visit Waltham Community Farm where they cleaned the Learning Center before a summer of projects and activities at the Waltham Community Farm. Over 400 vegetable shares go out each week.

I am sharing a note sent by one of the trip leaders Mike Parato.


On behalf of the 75 students and 8 teachers that have been working tirelessly (yet joyfully) for the past 2 days, I wanted to share with you some of our adventures.

This project began last year when faculty and METCO students were looking for a way to celebrate the important role that our Boston students play in the community and culture of CCHS and the surrounding communities. Students suggested we find a way to give back to the neighborhoods that our METCO students come from, and we hit the ground running with proposals.  What took form over the next 8 months was a collaborative and eclectic collection of service projects ranging from food insecurity to assisting the elderly.  

On Wednesday after a brief meet and greet at CCHS, we set forth on a busing adventure into Boston where kids volunteered at 4 different venues - some of which you may be familiar with: Cradles to Crayons, Roxbury Boys and Girls Club, Community Servings and the Greater Boston Food Bank.  I will leave it to you to ask your student which of these great opportunities they partook in and ask them what their experience was like - inquire, engage and inspire!

Thursday found us back at Roxbury Boys and Girls Club, in addition to new projects with Zelma Lacey House Assisted Living in Charlestown, The Charlestown Mother's Club and Waltham Community Farms.  Again, inquire, engage and BE inspired by asking your student about their experiences!

Many roles and responsibilities have been filled in the past two days.  We have tried to remind the students that some forms of community service are directly impacting people, while other forms are upstream and the fruits of your labor take time to travel downstream to their intended beneficiaries.  We believe they have embraced this ethos and have performed each task with great effort, pride and humility. 

Check out our experience, and the many other Q5 offerings:

Thank you to the students on this project!
Mike Parato & The Q5 Staff

Get Out and See Art
Lead by Mr. Lindner, Ms. Moskowitz, Mr. Gooder
Students will take field trips to different museums and galleries each day. Destinations may include: The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), the Harvard Art Museums, the MIT Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and various galleries on Newbury Street and in the South End.  Students will start each day with an introduction to a specific art medium (ie sculpture, painting, photography, digital art) and to a specific era of art history (ie art of the ancient world, Renaissance painting, contemporary art, installation, graffiti, etc). Discussions will take place in the galleries. The goal is for students to gain an appreciation for what’s happening in the art world, learn how to look at and talk about all kinds of art, and experience the many great museums and galleries in the Greater Boston area.
During today’s visit to the Museum of Fine arts, the art served to inspire more art in our students.  

Madden Laboratory: Exploring Advanced NFL Football Tactics and the rise of eSports in Modern Culture
Lead by Mr. Bodenrader
This camp will be run like any other sports camp, with a daily schedule that will include 1) individual skills sessions, 2) learning and implementing offensive and defensive concepts. In addition, throughout the week we will 1) watch game film showing professional Madden players in tournament play, 2) learn about how to build the best Madden Ultimate Team, 3) go "behind the scenes" to learn about how the game was made, and 4) discuss the rise and significance of Esports in modern culture & visit a game design company.

Championship Monday!!!!  Advanced finalists Aiden and Drew matchup in what turned out to be the game of the week.   Here is the moment where Drew sent the game into overtime with a last-second field goal. Drew eventually went on to with 37-31.  In our rookie division, Erik defeated Andrew in a low scoring slugfest - final score 14-7.

Creative Writing
Lead by: Ms. Lee-Dubon
Students will experiment with writing their own poetry, fiction, personal non-fiction, plays, screenplays, or any form of creative writing they would like to do. The instructor will provide prompts, some structured reading and writing of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction, and then students will create their own projects.  They will workshop their writing with peers and the instructors.  The goal is to produce a small body of creative writing or a completed project.

Inspiration at work in Q5 Creative Writing: (left to right) Vaughan Supple, Cara Fritz, Cory Sanderson, Peter Blau, Michelle Weng, and Sienna Manning.  (Photo by Katie Guarnaccia.)

Know Thyself And Others Through Personality Tests
By Isabeau McKenna
This course was extremely interesting and fun at the same time, allowing students to discover more about themselves while incorporating enjoyable activities throughout every lesson. Participants take the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram during this course, with both providing in-depth analyses that are intriguing and surprising. Students are given the opportunity to relate with others who have the same personality types to compare some of their life experiences in relation to their personality traits. In between educational segments of each day are therapeutic breaks, such as watching The Office, coloring, going outside, and having snacks!

The Horror Story
By Isabeau McKenna
This course is definitely not for the faint of heart, as it includes watching, reading, and talking about all things horror! Movies like The Others, Let The Right One In, The Descent, The Conjuring, and Get Out are options to watch during this course. Famous movie clips, short stories, and discussions take place between movies, allowing for students to ruminate on what makes things truly horrifying. This course is a lot of fun, while also providing the opportunity for students to learn about the horror genre and hopefully discover new favorite movies or stories. 

Nonviolence, Activism & The Human Struggle For Justice 
Lead by Dr. Nurenberg
In this course, students examine theory and case studies of nonviolent action both historical and present, and examine how those principles might apply to the causes they believe in.

Caption for photos:  All of the photos are of students making their presentations about nonviolent conflicts they personally chose to research,  analyze and educate the rest of the class about. 

The Mindful Way to Less Stress and More Happiness
Lead by Ms. Slocum
Curious about mindfulness?  Wondering what the hype's all about?  Wanna see if it really can reduce stress and anxiety and make you 10% happier? This course will offer an extensive exploration of mindfulness and meditation. You will learn about and try out a broad range of mindfulness practices and hear about the science and research behind its benefits.  But it won't all be just sittin' around! We'll get moving on a few days, do some brief reading and journal writing, check out some useful apps, and more -- all to get after this thing called mindfulness, put it into practice now and give you the tools to practice it on your own later should you want to!  You'll be happy you did!

Learn to Sew: Dress a Girl Around the World
Lead by Ms. Picard

Students will learn to sew with a machine:  parts of the machine, threading the machine, and sewing straight and zigzag stitches.  Students will cut a pattern,  sew the pattern pieces together, and finish the edges to complete a garment. Students will be given the choice of making a dress for the Hope for Women International Organization "Dress a Girl Around the World" campaign or can choose to work on a project of their choice.