Mandell Moments 8:46 AM - 9:14 AM on a Friday Morning

By Tiffany Wycoff

These are my favorite moments because no matter how much information I have about what the curriculum is for the unit and sequence of study, seeing it in action is always magical. This is because of the very human component each teacher and student brings to the lesson plan. There is a unique energy, style, and of course, a lot of love in play. From 8:46 - 9:14 AM, this is how I saw these Mandell Moments from my eyes...


8:46 AM - In Fifth Grade science with Mike, the room was abuzz with creative work. Students were selecting from a range of materials to create their parachute designs. Some were building from cups and pipe-cleaners while others were cutting big sheets of plastic. The Smartboard was lit up with information on the task and inspiration for designs. Mike was circulating the room checking in with smiles and encouraging comments like, “I love that idea. Good, let’s get some tape over here.” The atmosphere was exciting and creative.

8:48 AM - In English with Amanda, Fifth Grade students were focused and quiet at rotation stations. At one station, a small group worked on vocabulary and grammar via Word Voyage on their Chromebooks; at a nearby station, a student worked on a Google presentation for The Pony Express; at the third station, students worked on essays in their composition notebooks; while at the teacher station, a student workshopped his essay with Amanda. The mood was engaging and differentiated.

8:49 AM - In English with Marie, Sixth Grade took notes on how to unpack a writing prompt during a timed essay, such as the one they will see on the ISEE. They learned from their teacher how to stay on the main topic and truly understand what the question is asking for. Students were attentive and diligent in taking notes. The learning environment was concentrated and respectful.

8:50 AM - In Math with Spencer, Eighth Grade students went over practice using functions, engaging in a class discussion on the topic. They reviewed concepts together as a whole group, answering questions on how to determine whether or not a function exists from examining points along the X axis. The atmosphere was collaborative and focused.

8:52 AM - In History with Selassie, Seventh Grade students used offline and online resources to work on a study guide for their upcoming quiz on the development of feudalism in Western Europe. They worked independently on this before departing for their field trip to the Museum of Finance. The mood was focused, engaged, and anticipatory.

8:55 AM - In Kindergarten, students sat on their rug spots while Nellie traced a pattern and tested their awareness to pick up on how well she followed (or didn’t!) follow it. Students carefully watched their teacher trace up to the crest of the pattern and down to the bottom, loudly but kindly correcting her when she “accidentally” went beyond the top point. The mood was concentrated but cheerful and fun!

8:56 AM - In Third Grade, students sat on their rug spots practicing their cursive on wipe-off whiteboards. Sammy modeled at the whiteboard while Ashley circulated to give feedback. Students talked to one another and showed each other their work, offering peer to peer feedback, concentrating hard on getting each loop right. The mood was happy and focused.

8:59 AM - In Second Grade, Niina sat on the rug with a small group of students. They discussed “exercising their writing muscle” in the same way athletes exercise their bodies. Students listened and answered questions. Other students in the room practiced their writing at tables. The atmosphere was thoughtful and respectful.

9:01 AM - In Art with Kate, Second Grade students raised their hands high to share ideas on what “surrealist places” their shoes could live. The answers included the ocean, Candyland, outer space, the jungle, an amusement park; there was no shortage of creative ideas! The young artists then transitioned into “quiet art time” with classical music to work on their surrealist shoe drawings. The mood was creative and inspiring.

9:05 AM - In the Mac Lab with Nicole, Kindergarten parents were learning about literacy during the K Curriculum Coffee. Nicole shared reading strategies and prompts to revisit the text and find a forgotten or unnoticed detail. The environment was one of partnership and appreciation.

9:09 AM - In Fourth Grade, Sarah explained a math activity involving data estimation. Students sat on their rug spots and listened carefully, repeating details of the upcoming activity in which they would estimate the number of tiles in a cup, then pool the data for a shared analysis on the Smartboard. They asked clarifying questions then quickly got to work, using different strategies to estimate. The mood transitioned from quiet and focused on hands-on and collaborative.

9:14 AM - In First Grade, our young readers were engaged in reading workshop with reading partners. They sat in their reading spots, some reading quietly while others sharing with their partners. Max and Blair were both on the floor with readers, eager to be at their level with words of encouragement and comprehension prompts as students explored the pages in front of them. The mood was personalized and peaceful.

In these 30 minutes of free time this morning, I was reminded of the power of each Mandell Moment. It is an amazing gift for which we are all grateful. The wonderful thing about learning is the way it extends out when students take it home with them. If you see a Mandell Moment in your house, share it with us! #mandellmoment


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