Archive for November, 2013


Thanksgiving is a festive time of year for friends and family to get together and reminisce on everything for which they are thankful for. Such a meaningful tradition can be difficult for small children to understand, and even older children sometimes forget the real reason we come together during this time of year. It’s much more than a few days off from school, a five day weekend, a feast of savory food and an abundance of pies. Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays children can learn about sharing, community, gratitude and compassion for others.

Here are some great ideas to help get you and your children in the Thanksgiving spirit and learn more about the history and meaning of the holiday:

Make a Thankful Tree—In recent years, creating a Thankful Tree at home has become a very popular idea. The best thing about it? You can make it any way you want! You can collect branches and arranged them in a pot, and even make a winter tree out of brown mailing paper and tape it to the wall. You can print out colored leaves or have the kids make their own using colored cardstock or construction paper. Need some ideas? Just search for “Thankful Trees” on Pinterest for inspiration!

Sail the Mayflower—Who knew there were so many different ways to build a ship? Dig through your recycling bin, if you have one, and ask your kids to create their own mini version of the Mayflower. Your family can study more about the real story behind this famous ship at The ships and thankful trees are great center piece ideas for the dinner table.

Cook the Big Family Meal Together—Food is the best part of the holiday! Take the time to cook with your kids and show them how to prepare the meal. It’s a great bonding experience and even more of a learning opportunity.

Make a Family Heirloom—It’s easy, creative, and an instant heirloom to be treasured forever. You could make a Thanksgiving tablecloth or runner and have everyone sign and date it each year, create a picture frame or special center piece. Use your imagination!

Volunteer – One of the best ways for children to truly experience the holiday season is to give back by volunteering. Visit a shelter and serve meals, help with a food or clothing drive, cook up a special dish and deliver it to a fire or police station or visit patients in the hospital or retirement homes. Volunteering helps children see all they have to be grateful for and also gives those less fortunate things to be thankful for.




gnp grandparents

Nov. 27 2013 will be Grandparent’s/Special Friend’s Day at Henderson International School. We are inviting all grandparents and close friends to our campus to enjoy a day of student performances, art displays, games and reading, accompanied by coffee and a light breakfast.

Intergenerational activities are good for all ages! Older adults will get the chance to learn about new technology, trends and learning opportunities while serving as role models for children growing into tomorrow’s adults.

This fun day will end our school week early when our students are released at noon to enjoy the rest of their week and the Thanksgiving holiday with their family and friends.

Please come to our campus from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm Wednesday, Nov. 27 to support our student’s and learn more about the Meritas difference.

The following is excerpted and edited from an article by Bill Roberts in the Idaho Statesman dated August 25, 2013.

“Education is no longer about cramming facts into kids’ heads. It’s not ‘6 times 8 is 48. Now remember it.’  Students need to visualize numbers and understand those numbers in relation to each other as they seek to discover the answer. So a strategy hint for figuring out 6 times 8 might say, ‘You know what 6 times 5 is …’  Think of it as a question technique to get them to the correct answer.

The basics are still there. Kids need to know division. They have to be able to solve equations such as 2x = 10.  We are still teaching good math.  But how math classes are taught and how students are tested is undergoing a change that will affect how parents help their kids with homework and what students will be asked to do. (more…)


November 14th, 2013

teacher“To be or not to be a math person? That is the question.” Actually, the real question most people ask themselves as a young child is, “How can I get out of math so I never have to look at a quadratic equation again?” Being labeled a math person in today’s society can have some backlash – either you’re smart, or you’re not. End of story.

An article by Miles Kimball and Noah Smith from The Atlantic summarizes the idea of ‘being bad at math.’ Students are expected to take a few initial exams the first few days of math class. Some students pass with flying colors and most students get an average C or B. The students who pass with flying colors are typically very well-prepared because they have parents or support systems drilling math concepts into their brains from a very young age. The students who receive average scores compare their skill levels to those of the prepared students and automatically feel like failures and deem themselves “not a math person.” These students  no longer put forth effort, eventually falling farther and farther behind.

From a math teacher’s perspective, it’s not entirely the student’s fault. When parents or other close adults express they are bad at math, children catch on and have a predisposed idea that they too are bad at math. As adults, we need to be aware of the things we say around children, we may be inherently restricting their mindset and skills without even realizing it.

Math takes hard work to learn, just like any new subject. It’s not always about number crunching to find the exact solutions. Sure, textbook math is very black and white, but Henderson International School strives for more. We develop students’ skills to think through complex problems, deal with logical patterns, reflect critically and use high order reasoning to help prepare them for the complexities of their future.

Some students may bad-mouth math and complain about using it their future. “When will I ever use this in real life!?” A math person obviously won’t ask themselves that question nearly as often as a non-math person. I am confident as students grow older they will understand there may be one, two or no real solutions to a given complex problem, there may even be two imaginary solutions. It’s going to take creativity and critical problem solving skills to find whatever solution it may be. Let’s not allow ourselves or our children to label themselves as one type of person or another, instead, let’s strive to improve our skills, knowing they will come in handy one day – directly or indirectly.

By, Tara Cadena – HIS Math Instructor



Last month, our fourth grade class took a field trip to Carson City and Virginia City where they had the opportunity to learn about Nevada’s history. They visited the Capitol Building, the Governor’s Mansion, and the historic Virginia City Cemetery, among others.

The students really enjoyed themselves. A poll taken from all 18 students after the trip showed that the Virginia City cemetery was their favorite! “The cemetery had great stories and the tour guide was very enthusiastic!” said one student. Next in the running was the School House, followed by the Supreme Court building and the Capitol Building.

Lexi, a student who took part in the trip, learned that the Nevada Supreme Court has seven judges who all have their own offices and wear robes. Another student, Mason, learned that people can make an appeal with the Supreme Court to determine if someone is guilty or not. Students also learned that there is a time limit for how long each justice can speak, and they cannot be the judge on a case for someone they know.

Hunter, another Carson City trip student, was very observant of the Capitol Building. He noticed the pictures of all previous Governors of Nevada, and even the picture of Abraham Lincoln, who was president when Nevada became a state. He also noted that the building was decorated with plants and minerals that are native to Nevada.

Henderson International School takes pride in providing our students with travel and learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Travel enhances children’s curiosity and encourages self-confidence, critical thinking, adaptability and resourcefulness. The Carson City trip proved to fulfill that mission, providing these students with valuable and memorable lessons.



Every year, Meritas students from around the world join together to partake in the Meritas Academic Olympiad. Middle school students compete in math, spelling, music, chess, speech and geography.  The academic competition celebrates the brainpower, determination and hard work of all the “mental athletes.”  Each week Henderson International students meet with dedicated teachers for Prep Bowl Fridays to practice and prepare for competition day, coming this April.

A big thank you goes out to these teachers for all their time and support:

  • Tara Cadena, Meritas Academic Olympiad
  • Jillian Pizzuto, Performance Fine Arts
  • Joe Petrelli, History
  • Donna Raucher, English
  • Nick Stamanis, Music Fine Arts

These students are participating in the Meritas Academic Olympiad for the second year:

  • Bobby, grade 8, competing in Chess
  • Mia, grade 8, competing in Math
  • Sheen, grade 7, competing in Spelling
  • Jordyn, grade 7, competing in Music

It will be the first time attending the Olympiad for these students:

  • Tommi, grade 8, competing in Declamation
  • Noale, grade 8 competing in Oration
  • Angelu, grade 8, competing in Geography

From the staff, teachers, parents and all the supporters of Henderson International School, we wish our students the best of luck as they continue to train for this elite event!