8 Great Things That Make Thatcher Hall Such a Special Place to Learn
1/11/2017 10:57:00 AM, 1,464 views
Thatcher Hall is certainly a beautiful place for students to learn. If you were to take a walk through the halls, you’d see things that you’d typically see in a school for young minds, you’ll hear the busyness of students going here and there, and you’d probably smell the yummy food cooking in the cafeteria. But trust me, there are some unique themes that begin to emerge as you spend a little more time there.
As a new staff member, I’ve learned so much about Thatcher Hall during the first half of this school year, and I am starting to appreciate the many things that make our teachers and students from pre-K through eighth grade so incredibly special. Here are a few...
1. Design thinking leads the way.
Whether students are learning about scientific theories or studying ancient civilizations, the teachers in Thatcher have a knack for taking the lesson a bit further with design thinking. Design thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and reasoning, and helps the students explore what could be.
In one design thinking project, second-graders were given the task of building the tallest tower possible that would support an apple. The goal was to use a minimum of three different materials in their construction. They used everything from egg cartons, cardboard, and styrofoam to toilet paper rolls and coffee tins. As a team, students brainstormed and built towers that they thought would support an apple on top.
In another project, first- and second-graders took on the Marshmallow Challenge. Students were given 18 sticks of spaghetti, three feet of tape, and a marshmallow with the goal of building the tallest structure while keeping the marshmallow on top and 18 minutes to complete the task. This was a great way for the teams to collaborate and creatively face a unique challenge.
2. Exploration is for all ages.
With the new schedule this year, students have been given intentional time to discover new interests and talents and to learn more about subjects that you typically wouldn’t find in a classroom.
Lifetime Sports students learned how to kayak and canoe.
Third- , fourth- and fifth-graders explored the election process with a visit from some Upper School friends.
And Consumer Science students have enjoyed making lots great goodies together.
3. Anyone can be an athlete.
Yes, students in Thatcher Hall have opportunities to participate in all types of traditional sports teams (and do very well at them!) but I had no idea that there were so many school-wide opportunities for students to show off their skills.
In October, students from pre-K to grade 8 enjoyed playing in a Kickball Tournament.
And our second- through fifth-graders participated in Darlington's first-ever Junior Tiger Obstacle Race. The event was managed and the course designed by the Shark Tank Club, which consists of students in sixth through eighth grades.
4. Science is pretty cool.
Teachers in Thatcher don’t just try to tell students about science; they show them. They bring their lessons to life!
Students in fourth- and fifth-grade science classes participated in a long jump competition to learn about the Scientific Method. They also discussed the importance of using three trials in an experiment.
Second-graders explored the Scientific Method by creating volcanoes with apples.
Students had the chance to get touchy-feely at the annual Insect Expo,which is hosted each year by Upper School students.
Bugs went from being yucky and gross...
To actually being pretty neat.
5. The arts are amazingly engaging.
Music, band, and art are an important part of the day in Thatcher Hall, and students love to share their talents.
Students enjoyed the arts (and created some, too!) at the Fall for the Arts Renaissance Festival.
They had the opportunity to share their talents at the annual ELA-8 Holiday Festival.
6. Tech rules.
With Darlington’s 1:1 technology initiative, students of all ages are used to using tech in some way as they learn throughout the day. That’s one of the reasons that Darlington was recognized this year as an Apple Distinguished School.
But pre-K to 8 teachers don’t stop there. Recently, students participated in the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week.
And in November, every student from third through eighth grade participated in the school’s first Tech Fair.
7. Holidays are never done halfway.
You will never have to wonder what holiday is nearby if you stop by for a visit to Thatcher Hall. So far, there have been some pretty amazing holiday celebrations, and students from the youngest to the oldest truly enjoy celebrating these traditions together.
In October, we enjoyed the Halloween Parade.
This was followed up with the ELA-8 Thanksgiving Feast in November.
And in December, we celebrated the holidays by Decking Thatcher Hall.
8. Makers are going to make.
The new ELA-8 Makerspace has quickly become a favorite spot for students this year. What exactly is the makerspace? Simply put, it is a space that allows for creativity and innovation to occur so that students can engage in learning experiences with real-life connections.
Students and teachers are using this space in so many ways, but it's clear that it is a favorite space from the youngest student to the oldest.
Our pre-K students had fun using the space to create a stop animation film about the Dr. Seuss book "Ten Apples on Top."
And the middle grades Creative Technology class has used the space for a number of great projects.
The list is long, but the great thing is that I've barely been able to scrape the surface on what makes Thatcher Hall a great place to learn. I can't wait to see what the second half of this school year brings!
Would you like to see Thatcher Hall in person? Schedule your campus visit today by calling my friend Jennifer Bagby from the Admission Office or by clicking here.