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The Rossman blog features content written by our faculty and staff.

What's the Big Deal About Fundations 
by: Senior Kindergarten Teachers Lauren Brody, Karen Larson, and Christine White

Imagine this: you come home and notice your child’s phonics work just peeking out of their folder. Upon further examination you see lined paper, but it’s different. It has strange characters on the sides. A cloud, a plane, grass, and an extra line (with a worm). You also see words with multiple bizarre pencil markings like circles, scoops, and lines. What?! At this point you are reminded of the new program you heard about at the beginning of the year and mutter to yourself, “Oh yeah, what’s the big deal with this Fundations program anyway?” [...]

The Importance of Safe Failure
by: Second Grade Teachers Emily Gorski and Jamie Rhinesmith

We’ve all been there before. We see a child making critical errors in a process that will undoubtedly result in task failure. What we do next as adults is more critical and counterintuitive than may appear at first glance. How tempting is it to step in and immediately orient a frustrating puzzle piece to its correct position for a child, hand them the key building materials they don’t notice sitting just behind them, or even give them the correct letters during a written assignment rather than asking what they already know about an unfamiliar word? [...]

Nurturing Nature: Creating a Monarch Waystation at Rossman Campus
by: Fourth Grade Teacher Naomi Smith

The change in the weather, the flurry of bird activity, and the little spots of color in our landscape let us know that spring is finally here. For me, spring marks the start of my garden journey for the season, and this year my garden activity is taking on a very special turn. This year, my focus is on developing a perfect habitat for pollinators and a waystation for the Monarch butterfly. [...]

Phones and Family
by: Sixth Grade Teacher Zack Mouw

Around this time last year, my family and I were enjoying dinner at home when the topic of adulthood came up. My wife, Alicia, and I chuckled at some of our children’s responses to why they wanted to grow up so quickly. “I’ll be able to eat as many sweets as I want!” one of them announced excitedly. I’ll stay up way past my bedtime!” another one declared. Finally, my then seven-year-old son said something that caught me by surprise–“I’ll be on my phone all the time, like Dad!” [...]

Synesthesia
by: Music Teacher Amira Fuller

The beauty and enjoyment that one can find in listening to a beautiful piece of music has always been something that drew me to music. The ability to listen to a song and allow it to transport you to a different time, place, or even emotion has always given music a magical sense to me. You can imagine my excitement then when I learned of synesthesia, the ability to see, rather than just hear, music. [...]

Early Childhood Playdate
by: Director of Admission Sarah McGinn

This January, Rossman hosted a new admission event called the Early Childhood Playdate. During this event, we invite the children who have applied to our Junior and Senior Kindergarten programs for the upcoming school year to come spend time playing in the classroom with a few of our teachers. This play time is a great opportunity to informally observe applicants and see them play, engage, and interact with peers and teachers. [...]

S.O.A.R. - Rossman Summer Camps
by: Director of Upper School and Auxiliary Programs

Last summer, Rossman began a new school tradition, Summer Opportunities at Rossman (S.O.A.R.), a summer camp opportunity for Rossman students and children in the St. Louis community at large. Camps provide a unique opportunity for children to learn, explore new interests, and build relationships. [...]

Why Sixth Grade Camp?
by: Sixth Grade Teacher Caroline Ivey

As you talk to Rossman alumni, a common memory for many is sixth grade camp! Campfires, SOLO night, ropes courses, night hikes, and more are a few of the stories we often hear, but these fun events are not the only reason we go. Sixth grade camp also provides students with an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone, participate in team building activities, and grow as a class community which sets up a great sixth grade year and memories to last a lifetime. [...]

Be a Student of Your Child

by: Art Teacher Erica Spangler
 
I was recently talking to a friend who has a six month old daughter. She shared that her baby had just stopped sleeping through the night. When she went to the pediatrician, they discovered her daughter was cutting six teeth at the same time! My friend said, “Just when I thought I knew her sleep schedule, everything changed!” How many parents can say the same thing? Just when I thought my child needed this or that, was interested in this or that, ate this or that…everything changed. [...]

The Opportunity of a New School Year

by: Fourth Grade Teacher Jessica Arnold
 
For me, the first day of the school year feels more like New Year’s Eve than the first of January. Although that hot, humid mid-August day isn’t accompanied by fireworks and parties, it certainly prompts (for teachers at least) many of the routines and rituals that most people associate with New Year’s: cleaning, organizing, reflecting on the past, and setting goals for the future. I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity each year to take stock, make plans, and set goals for myself as an educator. [...]

The Buzz on Rossman's Bees

by: Denise Boyd
Science Teacher Grades SK-3
Social Studies Teacher Grade 3

 
If you’ve walked Rossman’s halls this fall you may have noticed there is quite a buzz. Beyond the beautiful art wall of textured honeycomb and worker bees in the foyer, past the 5th and 6th grade commons, you’ll see skeleton Mike adorning a traditional Langstroth beehive. Atop the hive is a smoker and full length gloves. Skeleton Mike is also wearing an unusual hat with netting all the way around the brim. This may have caused you to have a few questions. I hope to answer some of the frequently asked questions below and to create more of a buzz around campus! [...]

Stretching Independence in the Summer Months

by: Lower School Director Rachel Dixon
 
It’s hard to believe that summer break is a week away. Soon, you’ll receive recommendations for summer learning to keep your child engaged academically and continue the momentum from the school year. Though reading, writing, and practicing those math skills are undoubtedly important, summer also offers a critical time for play, exploration, and building independence. [...]

Classroom Transformations

by: Third Grade Teachers Lynn Frankenberger and Kristie Kerber
 
Last August, when we began looking at our curriculum for the upcoming year, we wanted to find new and innovative ways to engage our students in the classroom. From experience, we know that kids buy into what they are learning on a deeper level when they periodically break away from the normal routine. We began researching meaningful, hands-on activities that would support the different skills our students would learn throughout the year. [...]

Building Academic Skills with Family Game Night

by: Upper School Director Jordan Andes

When my family gathers for dinner, it is not long after the dishes are cleared that we find ourselves crammed around the dining room table, fifteen strong, ready to play games. We pick our seats, hoping that we’ll end up on grandma’s team. mong a myriad of remarkable qualities, my grandmother is joyful, nurturing, and humble. She is also very bright. It is often the case that no one realizes grandma is winning until she puts her cards on the table, tallies up her endless points and wins by a landslide. [...]

Cursive Writing

by: Second Grade Teachers Emily Moll and Jamie Rhinesmith
 
The question we posed to our second graders during our first morning meeting of the school year was a simple, and probably quite predictable one: “What are you most looking forward to in second grade?” As we started going around the circle giving each student a chance to answer, we expected to hear expressions of excitement for upcoming field trips, anticipated hands-on projects, and favorite games in P.E. However, what we heard from an overwhelming majority of students was a seemingly much more mundane skill that they knew they would be learning in the upcoming year – cursive handwriting. [...]

Rocket News

by: Sixth Grade Teacher Zack Mouw

Rocket News – Rossman’s student-led newspaper – was founded by several sixth graders from the Class of 2021, but the tradition of serving our school community with articles, comics, and word searches lives on today through the Class of 2023. Each year, joining Rocket News is an honor for our sixth graders, and while there are many roles when it comes to assisting the team – cartoonist, chief editor, copy editor, and writer – the main responsibility falls on the chief editor, who oversees the other members of the team and ensures that each monthly issue is published on time. [...]

Productive Struggle

by: Sixth Grade Teacher Caroline Ivey

So often, when we hear the word struggle, we assume a negative connotation.  But is struggle always a negative thing?  In education, we use the term “productive struggle” because challenges or “struggles” are a learning opportunity. [...]

Engaging the Mathematical Conversations

by: Fourth Grade Teacher Leann Kane

Students often engage in conversations about the books they are reading, the art they are creating, and the discoveries they are making in science, but how often do students engage in mathematical conversations? I asked myself this question while completing professional development this summer, and I made it my goal to incorporate more meaningful math conversions in our classroom through math talks.[...]

Importance of World Music

by: Music Teacher Amira Fuller

Fourth grade is currently entrenched in one of my favorite sections to teach, our world music unit. Each year our fourth graders embrace the adventure of becoming ethnomusicologists as they study the different instruments and musical traditions of nine different cultures around the world. We spend time learning about Native American, Latin American, African, Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, and Australian Aboriginal music.[...]

Establishing Connection with Our Children at Home or in School: Using Principles from, Good Inside, a book by Dr. Becky Kennedy

by: Learning Consultant Heather Blome
Some valuable parenting and teaching practices can be found within the first few chapters of “Good Inside,” a book by Dr. Becky Kennedy. Dr. Becky, as she refers to herself, has an online presence on social media. She shares examples of tough parenting moments with her own children and how she applies the concepts in her book.[...]

The Benefits of Playing Board Games

by: Senior Kindergarten Teacher Abbie Duvall
With winter break approaching, I am sure most families are excited about their traditions, time spent at home with loved ones, eating yummy food, traveling maybe, and just enjoying the holidays. You also might be thinking “what am I going to do with my children for two weeks at home?” The answer is, play! Play with your children. Playing board games or card games has so many benefits for children, plus it’s just fun![...]

Building Stronger Readers Through Vocabulary Instruction

by: Lower School Director Rachel Dixon

Courses on reading instruction often begin by introducing the “Simple View of Reading.” This model suggests a reading equation: word decoding x language comprehension = reading comprehension. Likely when adults reflect back upon the process of learning to read, it is “sounding out” (decoding) words that they’ll recall. [...]

Focus on Gratitude

by: Upper School Science Teacher Scott Rigg
My wife gave me a gift a few months ago. It was a gratitude journal. It was nice to get a gift and I have long respected the process of journaling and reflection, but why the focus on gratitude? I needed some gratitude for gratitude. To use the journal, I list “three things I am grateful for” each morning, and “three amazing things that happened today” each night before bed. [...]

Rossman Kids Love Books!

by: Librarian Marie Unanue

Hands down, Rossman students love books and love to read! I have no doubt with the holidays fast approaching that our students are putting books on their wish lists. To help with your holiday gift shopping, I am sharing my favorite gifts (with links) for book-loving kids. [...]

Executive Functioning - How do I Function?

by: Social Studies Teacher Erin Moore
Executive Functioning is the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. It goes along with self-regulation and understanding how one can best support their own learning. This year, my goal is to start introducing the concept of executive functioning and work with students to identify and understand their strengths and areas of growth and why identifying them is beneficial.  [...]

Why Elementary School is the Best Time to Learn a Second Language

by: Spanish Teacher Elizabeth Garcia
Have you ever heard the idea that children learn languages more easily than adults? Or even that adult language-learners who miss the “critical period” of childhood exposure to a second language will likely never become as fluent as those who start learning the language as a child? [...]

Say Yes Whenever Possible

by: Art Teacher Erica Spangler
This fall, I experienced a new first as a parent of three children. My oldest, Ellie, went to college for the first time! Our summer began when Ellie graduated from high school. The next day she turned 18 - a day that had loomed in my mind since my spikey-haired, blue eyed baby girl turned one month old. On that day long ago, I already knew the time was going to fly by and now she was celebrating her 18th birthday and ready to head to college. [...]

 

Junior Kindergarten is Where Learning Begins at Rossman

by: Junior Kindergarten Teachers Julie Renne, Mary Schwartz, and Diane Vujnich
Renowned psychologist and child development theorist Jean Piaget was quoted as saying “Our real problem is…what is the goal of education? Are we forming children that are only capable of learning what is already known? Or should we try developing creative and innovative minds, capable of discovery from the preschool age on, throughout life?” [...]

Science Enrichment at Home

by: Lower School Science and Social Studies Teacher Denise Boyd

Does your child love Science? Do you need to refresh your rainy day activities? Do you want to give memorable, cool, and educational gifts (to your child or others)?  Look no further.
I’ve had many parents say, “My child loves Science, what can I do to foster this at home?”.  [...]

Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in St. Louis, is a private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ To learn more or schedule a tour, visit our inquiry page.