Day 3: Grade 6 Goes to Washington, D.C.

dc 3Today we woke up at 6:30 AM and had some great breakfast. Yesterday we had to wake up at 6:00 AM so 30 more minutes was a great upgrade!

The first place we went to today was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. This memorial was so huge and grand. There were lots of statues and cool places to see there. It was so big that every time you turn a corner, you see a whole new area. The lake next to the memorial was all frozen over. It looked very neat! The big statue of FDR and his dog was amazing.

Then, we boarded the bus and headed over to the Newseum. The Newseum was a great place to see the news and what is currently happening in the world. My favorite exhibit was the 9/11 exhibit where they actually had a piece of the antenna from one of the Twin Towers. There was also another exhibit where pieces of the Berlin Walldc 3.4 were kept. That was also very interesting because I had never known about the Berlin Wall. Newspapers were placed around a big hall in another exhibit. Some of the newspapers were from the 16th century!

The next place we went to was the National Archives where they keep the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. I personally thought even the rotunda they were in was amazing. The murals on the wall were really neat, too. I listened to the guide talk about the murals and the people in them. It was really cool to see the original documents there in person. After the rotunda we went to another room that held the Magna Carta. Everyone loved playing with a cool document “game” in the middle of the room. You could choose a document or picture, look at it, and then give some adjectives about the document or picture. Then your opinion popped up on everyone else’s screen so they could read it.

After all the cool documents, we drove to the National Gallery and had lunch at a cafeteria. Then we went to see the paintings. I loved seeing all the paintings from Leonardo Di Vinci, Van Gogh, and other famous artists. My favorite piece of art was the big fountain dc 3.2featuring Hermes on the top. It was so fun walking around with my friends seeing the amazing works of art around us. There were also really comfy couches to sit on!

After this, we boarded the bus and started driving. One of the best parts of the bus is looking out the window to see all the amazing architecture and monuments. We traveled to Ford’s Theatre. This was probably my favorite place we have gone to so far. The museum there was very nice and very informative. I learned lots of things I didn’t know about Lincoln. Then we went up to the actual theatre and had a park ranger tell us the whole entire story about that tragic night at Ford’s Theatre. It was interesting to see the actual place Lincoln was sitting when he was shot.

Next, we drove to the Air and Space Museum. When I walked in, I saw tons and tons of planes! There were modules, airplanes, and other various flying objects. I went up to floor two first and I saw Amelia Earhart’s plane, the Wright Brothers’ planes, and the Spirit dc 3.3of St. Louis. I also got to touch an actual rock from the moon! There were so many cool things to see at the Air and Space museum.

Next, we went to dinner at Tony and Joe’s. I ordered the New York strip steak. It was very good. The key lime pie was also good.

Today was a great day. I saw some amazing things at the National Archives and the National Gallery. I also loved seeing all the history in Ford’s Theatre. I walked about 14,000 steps and 6.11 miles today.  I am so excited for the rest of the trip!

Alex H.

6th Grade Student


Day 2: Grade 6 Goes to Washington, D.C.

This morning we woke up at 6:00 a.m. and went down to the lobby for breakfast.  We had a delicious breakfast of made-to-order omelets, pancakes, and bacon.  It was great! Then we headed out to start our busy day.  It was 36 degrees this morning, but it was very bright and sunny — in the afternoon it felt like Florida was last week!

Our first stop was the White House. It was magnificent. The Presidential structure was 55,000 square feet. There were many vibrant rooms including the Vermeil Room, China Room, State Dining Room, the Green Room where the walls are covered in green silk, and dc 2.3many other colorful rooms. There were also many pretty flowers decorating the tables in both the State Dining Room and the Family Dining Room. The Family Dining Room is normally not open to the public but today it was! We learned that George Washington did not live in the White House and John Adams did not start his presidency in the White House, but he was the first president to live there. We also discussed that there were eight presidents that died while in office, either by assassination or otherwise. They were William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and finally John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Then we went to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. There we watched a video of exactly how they made money.  Did you know that they still print two dollar bills?  We were told that they only make two dollar bills about every 4 years or so because there is not much demand for them.  Currently the highest denomination printed is the $100 dollar bill. They stopped making $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 dollar bills in 1969.

After the Bureau of Printing and Engraving we went to lunch at the Ronald Reagan Food Court.  There were many choices of restaurants and we all got to pick our favorite!  My friend Bobby and I went to Subway and each got a foot-long sandwich and a drink and sat down for a well-earned meal and a well-deserved rest.  We had to be back on the bus by 1:00 pm, so we hurriedly ate a quick dessert of gelato and skedaddled out of the food court. When we got outside, it was warmer than that morning. We got on the bus and drove to the WWII Memorial.

When we got to the memorial we were told to walk around and be respectful to the monument because it was the war with one of the most casualties in history. There are 56 pillars at the memorial representing the 50 states and territories of the US at that time.  I took a picture of the pillar that said “Florida”. There was a wall that had 4,048 stars. Each star represents 1000 deaths of Americans that risked their lives for us to gain freedom.

After the memorial, we went to the Caisson Stables near Arlington National Cemetery. The horses there are used to pull caissons which carried the casket of military officers and dc 2.4Presidents. There are several breeds of horses there including Percheron and Quarter horses. We had fun petting the horses and feeding them hay.  They were friendly and tried to eat my scarf!

Then after the stable we toured the Arlington National Cemetery. This land used to be owned by George Washington Parke Custis who was George Washington’s step-grandson. The original house, known as the “Arlington House”, still stands as a memorial to Robert E. Lee.  The house sits high upon a hill overlooking the cemetery, the Potomac River, and a wide expanse of the city.  The original plantation property used to be 5100 acres, but the cemetery now occupies 624 acres. George Washington Parke Custis’s daughter married Robert E. Lee, and made their home there.  As you probably know, Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Confederate Army.  After the war, as part of his punishment, the Union took his land and buried people from the war there. Eventually it became a cemetery. Now there are around 400,000 people buried there. Pierre L’Enfant, the architect that designed D.C., is buried at the top near the house.  Most of the gravestones are made from white marble.

One very important part of our tour of Arlington was the changing of the guard and wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This monument honors all the unknown servicemen who died in service to our country.  It is “guarded” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter the weather.  The school presented a special wreath to be dc 2.5laid at the tomb, and four Park Maitland students took part in the ceremony.  It was a very serious matter, and we all had to be very quiet.

By now it was getting dark, and we were getting hungry!  But we had one more stop before dinner which was the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial was made to honor the men and women who have served in the Marines. It was very large and when you drove the bus around the circle it looked as if they were raising the flagpole higher and higher.

Finally it was time for dinner at a restaurant named Clyde’s! The food was very, very, very good. I liked the Ceasar salad and the chicken the most. There were many people outside the restaurant waiting for the Washington DC Capitals’ Hockey game. The Washington Capitals were playing against the Florida Panthers (Go Panthers!).  Given the looks of the crowd, dc 2.6we thought it best to keep quiet about the Panthers, though.

After dinner, we went to the Jefferson Memorial. The statute is 19 feet tall and is made out of cast bronze. Jefferson loved architecture. He designed the University of Virginia. He enjoyed domes and ionic columns, all of which can be seen at his memorial.

Last, but not least, we went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It is facing the Jefferson Memorial, overlooking a frozen pond. There is a marble statue of Martin Luther King, known as the “Hope Rock”.  There is also a long wall on each side of the statute that has quotes from speeches given by Dr. King.

Today was a great day; we had sunny skies and covered a lot of territory.  We walked over nine miles! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

Mason G.
6th Grade Student

Day 1: Grade 6 Goes to Washington, D.C.

dc 1.2

When I got to the airport and saw all my friends, I was so excited! My mom and I went through security and all the people were so nice. We walked to the shuttle and entered the terminal. When I got to gate 50, I was more than happy to see all my friends there.

Once we departed the plane, we headed towards the buses, I was on bus 2. I sat next to my friend, and we drove to Mt. Vernon while eating our Jimmy John’s subs. As soon as I saw Mt. Vernon it was gorgeous. There was a beautiful building, and the snow was melting.

Our tour was scheduled later than we arrived, so we looked around the area. I personally loved the view near the water. All of my friends took a lot of selfies, so fun! The tour guide was very inviting and informative; she led us perfectly through George Wadc 1shington’s home. We saw carvings and paintings on the walls, and even George Washington’s teeth! But then it started to rain so we rushed toward the bus and headed to The National Museum of Natural History. What a blast!

When we arrived we saw a huge stuffed elephant! We split into groups and my group headed to the Gems and Minerals exhibit. The gems were so sparkly and shiny, I wanted to buy all of them. Unfortunately, we never saw the Hope Diamond due to renovations, but it was awesome! After that we visited the Butterfly Exhibit, which not only includes live butterflies but live insects as well. We even got to hold a live grasshopper! I loved it, but we had to leave at 5:30pm.

Then came dinner at Pinstripes. It was Italian styled food, delicious! We got on the bus, and we had a surprise! There were “punny” (get it) jokes (pun+funny) told. We got our heavy coats and made our way over to the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial was spectacular, especially at night. The statue was huge, and I stood exactly where Martin Luther King, Jr. stood! Right next to it was the Korean War Memorial, which we also saw. It was such a great day. Thank you, Park Maitland!

Elaine P.

6th Grade Student

E Pluribus Unum

I have always loved Latin idioms. Give me a reason to announce “Carpe Diem” and you will find me celebrating wildly. Yet, beyond deciphering a college crest or racking up trivia points, my relationship with this dead language has been one of forced and contrived application at best!  The excellent news, and the inspiration for this blog, is that recently 3-RaviprasadI found myself reaching to describe the culture of professional collaboration here at Park Maitland. This is when one of my favorite Latin idioms immediately came to mind: E pluribus unum- Out of many, one.

What was the catalyst to dredge up this aged- yet still befitting- phrase, you ask? It was a fantastically creative 5th Grade Reading project, spearheaded by my innovative colleague, Mrs. Sandy Covert. The core of this adventure was forged by Covert’s intention to have her students immerse themselves into the

Award Winning Books. But, the truly impressive backstage information I would like to share with you today is the process of how the project was born, shaped, and embraced.

It all began when Mrs. Evelyn McCulloch, our dynamic Smart Tech instructor, sent out an email to the fifth grade team asking us if we would like to take part in a collaborative session with Futures Academy Coordinator, Kyle Wagner. He was currently visiting from the International School of Beijing to speak at FCIS (Florida Conference for Independent Schools). She casually stated in her email that, “His specialties are project based learning, design thinking, reflection, and authentic assessment.” Seeing as these were a bundle of teaching tools that I absolutely adore, I responded with whole-hearted acceptance. 2-HarvieThe session was everything that I hoped it would be. As teachers, we strive to urge our students to use 21st Century skills, which we lovingly refer to as the 4C(s): Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. The session with Wagner was essentially a lesson- for teachers- in utilizing these skills to derive our own projects for the classroom.  He walked us through the step-by-step process of listening, questioning, and offering up suggestions for our peers that truly respected their essential curriculum goals, and allowed them to critically iron out the details of their project. In the interim, we all became somewhat invested in these projects. We wanted to be a part of them. This is what happened when Covert’s Newbery Project was conceived.

The end product was a project, no a venture, where students read their chosen Newbery Award Winning Novel, critiqued and supported its esteemed selection, as well as created summaries in their Reading class. The tentacles of this didactic beast did not stop there though. Students created characters of their own that drastically changed the course of the plot, and composed scenes modeling the style of their Newbery authors in my ESW class. They created a three dimensional representation of themselves within a distinct 1-Cotesetting inspired by the novel in Smart Tech. They assembled a booklet decorated with their own individual print and displayed all of their work on its pages through Art. Mrs. Leah Unell was the mastermind of the art contribution. She composed the following passage to describe this artistic process:  “The pages of this book were colored by hand using a paper marbelization process with shaving cream and food coloring (except for 5 Blue who used shaving cream and acrylic paint).  The book was folded down from a single sheet of paper that was two feet by three feet in dimension. The two step process created a handmade book that is unique to each artist.”It was a magnificent manifestation of student creativity, and an even more profound demonstration of professional teamwork.

I cannot think of a more suitable use of the phrase “Out of many, one”. I have waited all of my teaching career to be a part of a learning community as open and impassioned as this. This collaboration may have only been a single example of the type of learning and immersion that happens all the time on the Park Maitland campus. Yet, for me, it was indication that I am now a part of something bigger than my own classroom. And the lover of Latin idioms inside me is overjoyed.


Mrs. Brett Carrier

Park Maitland School

5th Grade English, Spelling, and Writing


It’s hard for me to talk about tradition without thinking of “Fiddler on the Roof” and Topol’s deep voice belting out the song, “Tradition!”  The song rings true in that when we have similar experiences to celebrate and pass down it creates a feeling of belonging and “roots.”  Those of you who have been part of the Park Maitland “family” for any length of time are familiar with the many honored traditions established here in each grade level and as an entire school. Some of these traditions give way to new
traditions so that they are still relevant and meaningful. Nonetheless, they are one of the things that make Park Maitland School such a special place to be!

As I write this week’s message we are at the tail end of our annual 5th grade Williamsburg, VA trip! I have had the pleasure of spending this past week with this tremendous group exploring and “living” the traditions of the Colonial days and their impact on the _DSC6022development of our country. This Park Maitland tradition allows our students and their parents time to share special memories while engaging in spellbinding reenactments and historical lessons.

Back at home, our 3rd graders are preparing for one of their special annual highlights…the Native American Festival.  After spending weeks learning about the traditions and culture of Native Americans, the children will spend a day celebrating and honoring these great people with reenactment of songs, dances, games, and most exciting, enjoying a visit from Jim Sawgrass, a Florida Native American. This entire process is as authentic and close to the “real” thing as it comes!

Ms. Cindy Dawson shared this about the “famous” tipi that she (with help from a few of our staff) erected last week: It is a traditional Sioux tipi from the plains tribes who followed the buffalo across the central plains of our nation several thousand years ago, right up until the early 1800’s. It is made to the exact specifications of that particular tribe, and it is 18 feet tall!  _MG_6333The poles themselves are from a Lodge Pole Pine, a rare tree found in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. In the 1700’s, the cover would have been made from large buffalo hides stitched together with sinew and softened with the juice of the bison brain! One family would live in each tipi, and the actual dwelling was “owned” by the mother. It could be put up in 20 minutes by just two braves and taken down in half that time, which is why it was a perfect home for the plains tribes, who were mobile and followed the buffalo year-round, even in the snow.

This tipi was made by a very famous Montana man named Don Ellis, who owned White Buffalo Lodges in Livingston, Montana. His family can trace their people back to some of the first who settled in Montana. Anyone who is lucky enough to own one of Don’s tipis is very lucky, indeed. He is world-famous. Each tipi is made completely by hand, and the wait for one can be up to one year due to the planning and strategizing to obtain and strip the _DSC6178amazing and beautiful poles. Each pole is a single tree! This particular tipi has found it s home in the Bell Garden of Park Maitland School for the past 16 years and is beloved by all.  Our 3rd graders have just learned the history and “story” of this tipi, and, each year, students from each grade are invited to go inside!

In the midst of the Native American excitement, our 1st grade students are eagerly anticipating their “Harvest Festival” this year with a new twist. Students and parents will spend the day exploring about our early settlers and their first celebration of Thanksgiving. They will create jewelry, make butter, and explore and learn together with their families and friends.

It is the common values, morals, customs, and general culture that help bond members of a school family.   These highly anticipated traditions bring students, teachers and parents together _DSC6160to celebrate learning in a relevant, fun and engaging way!  How can they possibly be forgotten!

Each year, more and more Park Maitland alums send their own children to our school. One of the things that we are delighted to do is celebrate these much loved traditions with their children! They are always so happy to hear that we have held on to these celebrations. They are also relieved and pleased to see that the “old fashioned” values so important to our founder, Nell Cohen, such as good manners, morals, and character are as important as always!

I think that one of the problems plaguing our fast paced and ever-changing society today is the “rootlessness” of so many people and the lack of common values. It is very important for families, schools, and the workplace to establish traditions and values that allow for a coming _DSC5952together of all to reflect, learn, connect, and celebrate!

On that note, I hope that each Park Maitland family enjoys your family traditions next week as you gather together on Thanksgiving! We have much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Cindy Moon

Head of School   

Williamsburg Trip – Day 4

Today, our last day in Williamsburg, we went to Shirley Plantation and Yorktown. The Shirley Plantation was a working plantation in colonial times and has been owned by 11 generations of the Hill Carter family.  That’s a long time!  We toured the grounds and learned about brick making and storing ice.  All the 4 million bricks that make up the plantation buildings were created using clay and sand from the land at the Shirley Plantation.  We toured inside the almost 200 year old three
story house too. There was a really cool floating stair case in the house1 that really made it remarkable, a team of engineers had to come just to figure out how it was made. The first floor was a museum and the current generation of the Hill Carter family are living on the second and third floor. We were all waiting anxiously for the ghost story at the end of the tour. The ghost story was about Aunt Pratt, she was the aunt of the children who lived there although she never did. When she died she was buried in England and her portrait was put in the attic. The current man living there could not sleep with the ruckus of the unhappy ghost portrait. So he tried moving her portrait from floor to floor, but she would not rest until he reached the first floor. On the first floor Aunt Pratt’s portrait sat by the window looking into the family graveyard to make sure her family was okay. Now she never gets upset unless a cell phone rings.

At Yorktown we toured a colonial village. We learned about the battle, medicines, jobs, and muskets. We saw what it would really be like if you were a soldier in the battle against the British. You would have to sleep six men in a tent. That would be hard!  We got to see the medicines and tools
that would be used if you got sick or shot – so scary! 2It was really cool when we got to see the musket fire, but it really scared me when there were two misfires! We also saw the tobacco farming area and the kitchen where they smoked almost all of the food. It was fun to see a normal house that would be there during that time. It was so small compared to how we live today.

My favorite part of the day was being at the Shirley Plantation. It was so much fun to play colonial games with my best friends. We played tangrams (a puzzle with only seven pieces), dominos, pickup sticks, close the box, crazy eights, and some others. I had no idea that Uno is the modern form of crazy eights! I also liked touring the house. I’ll never forget my trip to Williamsburg, and I loved spending time with my friends and my mom. 3

-Sophia L.

Williamsburg Trip – Day 3

Williamsburg is a fun and informational trip that fifth graders get the opportunity to go on every year. The trip this year was from November the seventeenth to the twentieth. On the nineteenth we went all around 1Jamestown and shopped a bit too! We saw trades like the blacksmith,
silversmith, and tinsmith. Seeing how the blacksmith made nails was really cool.
When the iron got hot it made the coolest colors!

We went to the Governor’s Palace where we all went through its hedge maze. The parents had just as much fun as the children did. We all ran through the maze as fast as we could trying to see who made it out first. When we walked into the palace, we saw rows and rows of weapons! Swords, rifles, and pistols covered the walls like plaster. We all went to the court room were we had a trial that we participated in. The case was someone had stolen the candles. Who would do such a horrid thing? Anyway, I chose to be the clerk. The clerk does not sound like a very important person, but he studied the law and keeps paper work in order for the council which is very important. Also, his chair and desk look awesome! They had little buttons around the rim and a ink well and quills! Speaking of quills, at the different shops we went to, my souvenir was a thick sheet book with three packs of ink and a quill. I found out that each of my packets of ink can write the Constitution twice!  2

The costume ball was one of the biggest events of the whole trip.  At the costume ball teachers, administrators, parents, and students all dressed up as colonials or people from the time period. Here we had a group of people perform dances and teach us how to do them too. A parent said “I loved it because it got everyone involved.” Mr. Courson, the fifth grade social studies teacher became “General Courson” at the ball. 3For dinner we had macaroni and cheese, green beans, salad, chicken, and bread rolls. At the very end of the ball we all had the opportunity to choose another student partner to dance in the last dance they would teach us. The dances in a way were all educational. We learned about what traits the people in England brought into their dances and how the colonials brought those same influences with them when the came to the colonies. Everyone had so much fun dancing though sometimes we got mixed up. Williamsburg is a place I won’t forget, and that Thursday is a day I won’t forget.

-Reese T.