The Baker News is a peek inside our classrooms. Each edition of the Baker News features articles about our Early Childhood, Primary, Intermediate and Middle School divisions, as well as news from the Baker community. We hope you enjoy our stories!
Early Childhood News
Fourth-graders Join Kindergarteners for Wandering Wednesday
Kindergarteners were joined by special guests on a recent Wandering Wednesday — the fourth grade! Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Cvetas said she and fourth-grade teacher Mark McLennan had been planning to collaborate on a lesson.
“We knew it needed to be outdoors and Wandering Wednesday was the perfect opportunity,” Cvetas said.
Fourth-graders were studying common and proper nouns, using the different parts of speech to describe flowers. Cvetas and McLennan decided to visit Bahá’í House of Worship because it was a familiar location for students.
Cvetas said her kindergarteners enjoyed their lesson with their older peers.
“It was so fantastic to see the kindergartners interact with the fourth-graders as they walked around the gardens and pointed out plants for them to use their iPads to photograph, then identify the plants,” Cvetas said. “I think it is very important for my class to partner with all ages at Baker — to know that we are one community all working together to learn.”
Third-graders Prepare Play
Third-graders in Andrew Markis’ drama class are taking the lead on a play they are writing themselves. Students, who are interested in learning more about pollution and how it affects our oceans, created a story around those themes.
“The pitch is this,” said Mr. Andrew. “Exploring themes of protecting animals and the environment, the third-grade is telling a fantastical fairy tale of the struggles between the power-hungry Taco Burrito King, the regal Mother Nature, and a group of darkly mysterious witches as their decisions determine the fate of lots of innocent animals and perhaps, their whole world!”
Students recently began workshopping the show. We can’t wait to see it!
Intermediate School News
Baker Business School a Success!
A hallmark of Baker Demonstration School’s intermediate curriculum, the Baker Business School (BBS) is an integrated thematic fourth- and fifth-grade unit that allows students to engage in all phases of the entrepreneurial cycle. Students research, develop and create a product, which is sold during the BBS market in December.
“In addition to entrepreneurship, throughout the unit, students focus on business ethics and corporate responsibility, as well as the labor movement and historical and current struggles for workers’ rights,” fifth-grade teacher Kerah Sandler said. “We welcome guest speakers to discuss these issues.”
Led by Sandler and fourth-grade teacher Mark McLennan, Baker Business School begins with a symposium featuring business experts. Students Zoomed with local entrepreneurs and attended virtual field trips with Chicagoland businesses with an emphasis on social justice.
After researching the fundamentals of creating a business, students set to work on their prototypes. They applied for positions within their companies, such as CEO and vice presidents of design, marketing, manufacturing, sales and finance.
“Fourth- and fifth-graders selected company names, refined product designs, and developed slogans, logos and marketing campaigns,” Sandler said. “In a manner similar to the popular show ‘Shark Tank,’ they pitched their business plans to a panel of ‘venture capitalists’ in order to fund the manufacturing process. Finally, they mass-produced their products, filmed commercials and created websites during a special Immersion Week.”
Immersion Week allowed students to take an even deeper dive into the entrepreneurial process. Several classes were put on hold so students could attend to the many tasks needed to open a small business. Art, physical education, music and Spanish teachers served as consultants and provided invaluable assistance to the students as they completed various tasks to ensure their company was ready to open the BBS Market on Dec. 11.
The market was the culmination of students’ hard work! The Baker community enjoyed learning about and purchasing products created by Baker’s budding entrepreneurs. Funds raised from the market were donated to a nonprofit chosen by students. This year, students selected Smile Train because it provides essential care and surgeries for children with cleft lips and palates.
Middle School News
Middle Schoolers Participate in Arts Core Share
Twelve weeks of hard work, creativity and innovation culminated with the Middle School’s Arts Core Share over two days in late November. Sixth- through eighth-graders presented the work they completed in their Arts Core classes, including art, band, choir, songwriting, improv, storytelling, dance and the makerspace, with their teachers and peers.
“Students worked hard for 12 weeks,” said Julie Toole, arts studio teacher. “We wanted to make sure they had time to shine.”
Toole said the first day of presentations had a café feel. Students’ artwork was displayed around the library, the robotics space featured work created in the makerspace, and storytelling and songwriting students presented an original story and song. On the second day, the band, choir, dance and improv classes gave performances in the gym.
“Sharing is part of our Arts Core philosophy,” Toole said. “Having some kind of final performance or presentation is part of the artistic process.”
Toole noted that Baker’s Middle School Arts Core programming is a unique opportunity for students to explore areas of interest in-depth with their peers of different ages and grades. The arts classes are also environments where students support each other and share enthusiasm for others’ projects.
“Students have confidence in what they created,” Toole said. “They’re proud of it.”
All School News
Baker Holds Solidarity Week, Centers Curriculum on LGBTQIA+ Community
Baker celebrated its annual Solidarity Week Nov. 15-19. Spearheaded by the Middle School GSA. The GSA organized activities and curated resources for teachers that focused on encouraging and enhancing solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.
Teachers of all grade levels participated in the curriculum. Primary school teachers welcomed Middle Schoolers into their classrooms to read books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters and families, while first-graders took a solidarity walk around Baker to identify and learn more about signs and symbols on the walls.
Art teacher Julie Toole, who advises GSA along with music teacher Shane Courville and technology integration coordinator Becky Crawford, said GSA members want to help educate all students, which aligns with GSA’s mission of advocacy and education.
“The GSA is very proud of this work and put in a lot of heart,” Toole said.
Students pulled together myriad resources, ranging from videos to books to games. Each day of the week had a different theme. The week ended with Transgender Rights and Day of Action, which teaches students how to put what they learned into action when advocation for the LGBTQIA + community.
Toole said it’s important for these conversations to begin at a young age. They also illustrate how a person doesn’t have to be a member of the LGBTQIA + community to help.
“It’s who our kids are. It’s who our teachers are. It’s who our families are,” Toole said.
Summer Discovery Camp Registration Now Open!
Registration is now open for Baker Summer Discovery Camp! Camp is for preschool students (age 3+) through rising sixth graders and is located on Baker’s campus. Each camp day will include creative arts, instructional swimming, outdoor sports, games, and movement, and team time to allow campers to choose their own adventures and form lasting friendships.
Schedule and Fees
You may register for the full summer or by the session.
Full Summer – June 21 – Aug. 5, 2022 ($3300)
Session 1 (3 weeks) – June 21 – July 8 ($1365)*
Session 2 (2 weeks) – July 11 – July 22 ($975)
Session 3 (2 weeks) – July 25 – Aug. 5 ($975)
*No Camp on Monday, June 20 or Monday, July 5