School Within School Learning All About Birds

Tyler students dressed up for the inaugural Vocabulary Word Day. Here, a young president.

SWS second-graders have been hard at work on their big bird project for the first months. “Students are super excited about birds,” said teachers Jonathan Leavitt and Rachel Henighan. “We have been doing research in class to identify what birds eat, noticing special characteristics and coming up with great questions that will take research, data collection and testing to answer.” The class is participating in the “Bridging the Americas” program that the National Zoo facilitates, which connects DC area schools with schools in Central and South America. A representative from the zoo visited to help kick-off the project and introducing the students to wood thrushes. SWS has been connected to a school in Nicaragua, which is the winter home for the wood thrush. In class, second graders have read books, worked on computers, shared bird-related artifacts and photos, played bird bingo and had a visit from a bird enthusiast parent. They’ve gotten to know some wonderful bird research websites, which have inspired them identify different birds and learn about what birds eat. The two second grade classes have also taken related field trips: exploring bird habitats at Huntley Meadows, visiting Kingman Island to submit creature sightings to an Anacostia Watershed Project and exploring the Natural History Museum to learn about animal coverings and adaptations. One of the things the class plans to do in the coming months is to design and build their own bird feeder!

School Within School is located at 920 F St NE. Call 202-727-7377 or visit for more information. – Carolyn Banfalvi.