Learning Goals



Over the last two years, the Academic Council at Gilman has worked with the faculty and administration to identify design prompts that will drive instruction and assessment. I have shared these in earlier blog posts and include them again below.


  • How might we articulate K-12 learning goals that drive and sustain relevant, authentic assessment at Gilman?


  • How might we provide the diverse community of learners at Gilman voice & choice in how they demonstrate their learning?


  • How might we report learning in a way that inspires growth and effectively informs stakeholders about student progress?



As we began to explore these prompts, the first question led us to look at learning goals that are essential K-12. We have been working as a faculty to refine our ideas and will soon be sharing the results of these efforts.


Being able to collaborate with others is one learning goal that has risen to prominence. Here in the lower school collaboration happens in every classroom and at every grade level. Math students group together to solve complex problems, French students work together to write a dialogue, and in science class, groups of boys work together to create a stronger bridge with their collective ideas.


This past week collaboration took on a cross-divisional look in the lower school when Ms. Mussen brought her US engineering students to our MakerSpace to take on a design challenge. The boys were prompted to create an environment for a toy “monster”. They needed to demonstrate that they showed empathy for the imagined needs of their creature. Finished habitats were judged for creativity and empathy consideration. The boys in grade five joined in the fun and were able to work collaboratively with the older students. Hopefully, we will continue to find opportunities to get the divisions working together. A few pictures from the event are shared below.

Rarely does a day go by that the MakerSpace is not the scene of collaborative efforts. While the boys are not required to work together on projects during the morning “drop in” time, they inevitably find themselves involved in the projects of the other- how can we take this apart to find out what is inside, or how can we make this shoot farther and more accurately? I love watching the natural team approach evolve. See a video of the MakerSpace in action below!

Look for more about our Gilman learning goals in future blog posts. I will continue to share ways that these goals are already a part of the daily learning process in the lower school!



I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” based on recent school events.



  • If you are in Kindergarten- What did you enjoy about your reading celebration parade? What “gift book” did you receive? Did you enjoy reading your writers workshop story to boys in the other K class?
  • If you are in Prep-One- What special treat did the manager of Starbucks give you on your “pumpkin walk”? How many books did you get in the book swap?
  • If you are in First Grade- What have you learned about spiders this month? In science class you are learning about habitats- what is a balanced habitat? Did you enjoy picking from the many books at the book swap?


  • If you are in Second Grade- What did you learn about Diwali and the festival of lights?
  • If you are in Third Grade- What book did you read for this week’s book club? Are you enjoying the biography you are reading? What did you learn about your classmates during the “artifact walk” on Friday?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- How did you enjoy the trip to St. Mary’s City? Besides staying at a hotel with friends, what was your favorite part? Would you want to live in the Colonial period? Why or why not?

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