Archive for the ‘General’ Category

World Fair Due Dates

2:00PM   September 15th, 2015

As we review the calendar for the year, we wanted to make public our World Fair Due Dates. On each due date, 7th grade students should come with their  World Fair essay, World Fair project, and World Fair rubric (completed, including self-assessment). We’ll display and discuss students’ projects on due dates, and then we’ll store them safely in anticipation of the Villa Academy World Fair on June 7, 2016 at 9am.

Due Dates:

South America– November 10

Africa– January 12

Europe– February 23

Asia– April 12

Oceania– May 27


7th Grade

11:29AM   October 10th, 2014

7th Grade Humanities is off to a great start!

In World Geography, students have reviewed the Five Themes of Geography. We’ll spend the year investigating the world through the lens of this framework. Our focus is on becoming geographers as we learn about global cultures and conflict. To wrap up our unit on the Five Themes, students worked in groups to create a poster for each theme. Then the worked individually to craft beautiful mobiles that decorate our ceilings. Click to enlarge the pics below.

mobile 2mobile 1

 

World Fair Starts! On Thursday, Ms. Rez and Ms. Brooks introduced the students to the World Fair. We reviewed the purpose and learning objectives, so that students understand that by choosing a topic and directing their own learning, they are more likely to invest, engage, and produce. Students may choose any topic of interest focused on a country or specific place in the continent we are studying (currently, Latin America). Topics must have an inherent conflict, but students needn’t worry; Ms. Brooks and Ms. Brooks can help them make just about any topic work. Students received their World Fair planning packets on Thursday, which will help guide them through the process and provide specific benchmarks and due dates.

In English, we’ve been reading Queen of Water, by Virginia Faranango. It’s her true story about growing up as an indigenous girl in Ecuador. Ask your son or daughter about Virginia’s story!

We’ve also been writing. Our focus in October is characterization, and the way authors create round characters through the characters’ words, actions, and relationships with other characters. We’ve analyzed several characters in Queen of Water, and students have used magazine pictures as inspiration to create their own characters. Next week, students will write a Halloween-themed story using their magazine character as the protagonist. Stay tuned!

 

 


11:48AM   February 3rd, 2014

Former President Andrew Jackson acquitted on all counts!

 

On February 27, 2014, the Villa Academy 8th Grade U.S. History students traveled to the Federal Courthouse in downtown Seattle to try former president Andrew Jackson for his alleged crimes against humanity, which occurred in the 1830s as Americans moved west. The specific charges stated that “President Andrew Jackson, with premeditated intent, did conduct or authorize a widespread or systemic attack against a civilian population (herein, the Cherokee Nation), where the following methods were employed: murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and other similar inhuman acts that caused great suffering and serious injury.”

Students spent seven weeks preparing for this trial. Prep included learning the historical context of Native American removal, specifically, the ideas of Manifest Destiny and westward expansion. Then, students digested almost thirty pages of primary source material, which ranged from speeches to letters, and from first-hand accounts to Supreme Court decisions. Students selected witnesses, and were given roles; they had to write an essay about how their role fit into the context of the trial, and what evidence from the source material packet would assist them. Students were invited to pour through hundreds of primary source documents, in addition to what they were originally given, to find more evidence to support their case. Once the students were familiar with the historical context, the source material, and their roles, they had to get ready for the trial. This involved drafting opening and closing statements and examination questions, learning about courtroom protocol, questioning techniques, and objection rules, and practicing their testimonies.

The trial lasted for two and a half hours, opening with a heart-rending opening from the prosecution, and a crisp, detailed opening from the defense. Students battled back and forth between direct- and cross-examinations, showcasing both their exhaustive preparation and their abilities to think on their feet. 8B, the defense, focused on Georgia’s role– and blame– in the tragedy, while 8A rested their prosecution on Jackson’s history of violence toward Native Americans. Ultimately, the jury returned a NOT GUILTY verdict after debating the charges and testimony.

The students were incredibly well-prepared. While they script the trial as much as possible, some of the students were ready for a fight. They were able to go off-script when necessary and proved time and again that they knew the case materials inside and out. The gallery held their breath while Major Ridge (Katja Roberts) and John Ross (Leila Lombardo-Robinson) testified about their positions as Cherokee leaders. We witnessed an outstanding testimony from the Defense’s John Marston (Davey Moody) and an impassioned closing speech by the Prosecution’s Milla Zuniga. All of the students were able to convey an incredible amount of information through the trial format. Even Judge Coughenour mentioned that he learned quite a bit from our trial.  This year, students were able to convey emotion and drama as well as compelling — and complex!– political arguments in a way that suggested they have a clear understanding of both the moral implications of the move as well as the legal arguments that might have protected Jackson. We have never seen a defense team dig so deeply into the material.

Judge John C. Coughenour presided over the trial.

8A and 8B impressed everyone: Judge Coughenour, court clerks, visiting parents, jurors, Mr. Guadagno, and Villa’s own James Joseph and Amanda Peterson. In fact, the court staff has since said that the kids were incredibly professional, poised, and confident. Judge Coughenour remarked that this trial was one of the best examples of “real-life” learning he had ever seen.

Parents participated on the jury and sat in the gallery of the courtroom. One reported that “the kids were so well prepared and professional. I liked that they really bought into the project and cared a lot about it. On our way over some were rehearsing their testimony and strategizing. I could not believe how grown up they look! It was a really proud day for them, the teachers, the parents and Villa as a whole!”

After the trial, Judge Coughenour, appointed by President Reagan, shared his personal story with the students and parents. He invited the students to ask questions about the law, his career, and his most interesting cases. Later, students toured the Judge’s chambers.

We are so grateful to Michael Guadagno for all of the ways he supported the 8th Graders during this experience. He put forth an incredible amount of effort and time, and his guidance was invaluable. Both classes placed bets on the outcome of the trial with Mr. Guadagno. 8B, the defense, will enjoy seeing Mr. Guadagno in a stunning, trendy outfit that includes blue jeans, a Villa hoodie, socks, and sandals. 8A, the prosecution, will be wearing signs today that read, “I will never make a bet with Mr. Guadagno.”

You can view photos and video in this Dropbox link:

https://www.dropbox.com/home/Villa–Mock%20Trial–2014

(Parents, if you have video or photos, you may also UPLOAD them into the Dropbox. Please do!)


Former President Andrew Jackson Found Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

9:52AM   February 20th, 2013

 

On February 14, 2013, the Villa Academy 8th Grade U.S. History students traveled to the Federal Courthouse in downtown Seattle to try former president Andrew Jackson for his alleged crimes against humanity, which occurred in the 1830’s as Americans moved west. The specific charges stated that “President Andrew Jackson, with premeditated intent, did conduct or authorize a widespread or systemic attack against a civilian population (herein, the Cherokee Nation), where the following methods were employed: murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and other similar inhuman acts that caused great suffering and serious injury.”

Students spent almost six weeks preparing for this trial. Prep included learning the historical context of Native American removal, specifically, the ideas of Manifest Destiny and westward expansion. Then, students digested almost thirty pages of primary source material, which ranged from speeches to letters, and from first-hand accounts to Supreme Court decisions. Students selected witnesses, and were given roles; they had to write an essay about how their role fit into the context of the trial, and what evidence from the source material packet would assist them. Once the students were familiar with the historical context, the source material, and their roles, they had to get ready for the trial. This involved drafting opening and closing statements and examination questions, learning about courtroom protocol, questioning techniques, and objection rules, and practicing their testimonies.

Judge John C. Coughenour presided over the trial.

The trial lasted for two and a half hours, though a few jurors were in tears within minutes of the Prosecution’s opening statement. Students battled back and forth between direct- and cross-examinations, showcasing both their exhaustive preparation and their abilities to think on their feet. 8B, the prosecution, focused on Jackson’s threat of “utter annihilation” during their opening and closing statements, while 8A rested their defense on the choices given to the Cherokees, and the consequences of those choices. Ultimately, the jury returned a GUILTY verdict after debating the charges and testimony.

The students were incredibly well-prepared. While we script the trial as much as possible, some of the students were ready for a fight. They were able to go off-script when necessary and proved time and again that they knew the case materials inside and out. We witnessed an excellent showdown between Chief John Ross (CJ Rogers) and his cross-examiner (Ben Capeloto). The kids were able to convey an incredible amount of information through the trial format. Even Judge Coughenour mentioned that he learned quite a bit from our trial.  This year, students were able to convey emotion and drama as well as compelling — and complex!– political arguments in a way that suggested they have a clear understanding of both the moral implications of the move as well as the legal arguments that might have protected Jackson. We have never seen a defense team dig so deeply into the material. Even Mr. Guadagno and I learned something new this year!

8A and 8B impressed everyone: Judge Coughenour, court clerks, visiting parents, jurors, Mr. Guadagno, andVilla administrators James Joseph and Joan Hudson. In fact, the court staff has since said that the kids were incredibly professional, poised, and confident. Judge Coughenour remarked that this trial was one of the best examples of “real-life” learning he had ever seen.

The jurors, all parents of Villa students, played a pivotal role in our trial. Angela Finney, mother of children in P4 and 1st grade, said, “I was simply blown away by their preparation, depth of knowledge, poise and enthusiasm.  It was an entertaining and informative morning.   I love that throughout the trial I was taken through twists and turns in the story.  And I found it difficult to stop thinking about the debate long into the evening.  What an amazing way to learn and, most importantly, critically think about our country’s history.  It made me proud to be a Villa parent and excited for my kids’ futures at our school.”

Lisa Reisch, also on the jury, said, “The 8th graders were giddy with excitement on the car ride home from the courthouse!!  They wanted to know exactly what the jury thought of the witnesses and case details, in addition to what factors played most heavily into the jury deliberations and ultimate verict.  I was really impressed with the research the 8th graders put into the characters involved with the Treaty of Hopewell, Treaty of Echota, and Indian Removal Act. For me, it was a highly informative crash course on this important piece of our American history.”

Barbara Pearson told me, “I was amazed by how ‘real’ the trial felt in every way – I was engaged from from the first moment, fascinated by the procedure, riveted by the arguments.”

Another juror, Annie Duffy, had this to say: “What was especially impressive to me was the amount of buy-in that the 8th graders had to this trial and their characters. They were able to weave a detailed account of a slice of our country’s history in to a short amount of time and even with the brief time allotment, give all jurors a lot to think about and, for most, struggle over.”

We are so grateful to Michael Guadagno for all of the ways he supported the 8th Graders during this experience. He put forth an incredible amount of effort and time, and his guidance was invaluable.

Please view the photos, below!

 

 


Guilty as charged!

3:03PM   December 7th, 2012

At approximately 1:37 today, December 7, 2012, Cabrini College student Angelo Calfo was convicted of Kidnapping in the First Degree. The courtroom was packed for Calfo’s trial, during which the jury heard testimony from Police Officer McIlwain, camp counselor Nicole Rasmussen, and victim Nicolas Alfieri. Witnesses for the defense included Calfo, Krista Round, and McKenzie Frazier.

The jury deliberated for about 30 minutes, and, at one point, had several questions for both the prosecution and the defense.

Sentencing will occur next week.

Michael Guadagno, lower school parent, is instrumental to the Mock Trial program. He has worked tirelessly, for several weeks, with the students in both science and history classes to prepare them for this trial. Thank you!


World Fair 2012-2013

2:39PM   December 7th, 2012

7A completed the first cycle of the World Fair on November 20th, celebrating South and Central American geography.  Please check out the pictures!


Mock Trial 2012-2013

2:48PM   December 6th, 2012

Mock Trial is here!

To culminate our unit on the United States Constitution, 8A and 8B are taking what they’ve learned about Constitutional law and the Bill of Rights to put Angelo Calfo on trial for Kidnapping in the First Degree.  Students have worked for two weeks to pour through the case materials and witness statements to craft their speeches and examinations. They have worked through the forensic evidence in science class, lifting fingerprints, testing DNA, classifying a mysterious white powder, and determining blood type. We invited Officer Lang and CSI Biggs from the Seattle Police Department to speak with us about crime scene investigation, investigative procedures, and testifying in court.

Check out the pictures from Officer Lang’s and Detective Biggs’ visit!


7th Grade World Fair

4:10PM   May 9th, 2012

The 7th Grade will host the 3rd Annual Villa Academy World Fair on Tuesday, June 12th, at 11:00am in the Rainbow Theater.

Each student will put on display one project from each of the five continents we’ve studied this year: Europe, South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia.

Students have worked all year to design their own mini-courses of study, to research global events, and to present their learning in innovative and creative ways.

Some projects you will see:

A carved a replica of a viking ship

Cooking shows with native dishes

A3-D model of deforestation in the Congo

A favela from Rio de Janiero

A floor puzzle of the Great Rift Valley

Egyptian pyramids

Native houses


Mock Trial 2012

3:36PM   May 9th, 2012

February 9, 2012, the Villa Academy 8th Grade U.S. History students traveled to the Federal Courthouse in downtown Seattle to try former president Andrew Jackson for his alleged crimes against humanity, which occurred in the 1830’s as Americans moved west. The specific charges stated that “President Andrew Jackson, with premeditated intent, did conduct or authorize a widespread or systemic attack against a civilian population (herein, the Cherokee Nation), where the following methods were employed: murder, extermination, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and other similar inhuman acts that caused great suffering and serious injury.”

Students spent almost six weeks preparing for this trial. Prep included learning the historical context of Native American removal, specifically, the idea of Manifest Destiny and westward expansion. Then, students digested almost thirty pages of primary source material, which ranged from speeches to letters, and from first-hand accounts to Supreme Court decisions. Students selected witnesses, and were given roles; they had to write an essay about how their role fit into the context of the trial, and what evidence from the source material packet would assist them. Once the students were familiar with the historical context, the source material, and their roles, they had to get ready for the trial. This involved drafting opening and closing statements and examination questions, learning about courtroom protocol, questioning techniques, and objection rules, and practicing their testimonies.

Judge John C. Coughenour presided over the opening and closing statements. Unfortunately, he was still presiding over another trial and could not stay for the whole morning. Chris P. Reilly, colleague of Mr. Guadagno, presided over the rest of the trial.
The trial lasted for almost two hours, though a few jurors were in tears within minutes of the Prosecution’s opening statement. Students battled back and forth between direct and cross examinations, showcasing both their exhaustive preparation and their abilities to think on their feet. 8B, the prosecution, focused on Jackson’s threat of “utter annihilation” during their opening and closing statements, while 8A rested their defense on the choices given to the Cherokees, and the consequences of those choices. Ultimately, the jury returned a GUILTY verdict after debating the charges and testimony for almost an hour.

The students impressed everyone: the judge(s), court clerks, visiting parents, jurors, Mr. Guadagno, and me. In fact, the court staff has since said that the kids were incredibly professional, poised, and confident.

One parent-spectator said, “What a huge success today!  It was so much fun to see the mock trial.  All the kids were amazing. The enthusiasm and hard work by all was more than apparent. An event to be remembered forever!”

Judge Coughenour invited the students to ask questions about his career, including his appointment by President Reagan and his most well-known cases. The students were able to tour Judge Coughenour’s office, library, and jury room as well.

We are so grateful to Michael Guadagno for all of the ways he supported the 8th Graders during this experience. He put forth an incredible amount of effort and time, and his guidance was invaluable.   Stay tuned for a sentencing update!