Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Learning that "sticks"

Some of these shots are from before February Break, some after. You can see the middle school recycling efforts and Pre K having a pajama-reading day with popcorn and a short movie. Today I shot K-1's in music ( I was attracted there by the barking sounds coming through my wall from the music room - an animal song!), eighth graders in art class working on still lifes, and Albie in Pre K 3 doing an amazing job of counting. He covered up two spots on the ten-row and pronounced "8!"

Yesterday I took an hour to observe in seventh grade science. The kids were in the library with Emily. They broke into groups of two or three to define what an organism is and give examples. Then they came back together in a semi-circle to share ideas and hear about their upcoming project. Each group will research a type of organism (archaebacteria, eubacteria, protista, fungi, or plantae) and describe it in depth using specific criteria. They will arrange a mini-lab or demonstration (diorama, oral presentation, skit, poster, or power point) with specimens and a math problem for their fellow students. Then they will give their classmates a quiz to see what they learned.

The kids were rapt - and excited. As Emily said, "They don't want me up there telling them - they want to do the work themselves and teach each other."

This kind of experience gives our students practice with independence and responsibility - a great example of how to help them become "intellectually vibrant." This is learning that sticks!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Science and math: "real world" applications

Electricity experimentation in 2-3 continues, as students design circuit boards and try ways to make lights really bright. Next: designing model houses and wiring them for lights and switches.

In grade 6, math students work in pairs to purchase all the materials they might need for a math classroom - including furniture. Each group has an assigned grade level and budget constraints ranging from $150 to unlimited. That's a challenge! The project involves planning, cooperation and performing operations with decimals.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter Fridays

Skiers took off on Friday at 1:30 for an afternoon at Jiminy Peak for instruction and free-skiing in beautiful weather. Ice skaters had an hour at the rink at Hudson Valley, and kids in Dance Moves class perfected their electric slide, then had a presentation about blue bird houses from our Master Gardeners.

This Friday will be the last "Winter Friday." I think that teachers will be glad to get back to a routine that doesn't include taking off on wild adventures on Friday afternoons. The kids sure had fun! And there is no way we could pull off this program without the help of our parents who drive and chaperone - Thank you to all for making this unique way for Parker kids to have new experiences together and to ward off the winter blahs a big success!

A few more ways we'll be mixing things up are Read Across America Day on March 6 and Pi Day (3.14159) on March 14 at 1:59 PM.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday! 6-7's have organized a mock primary election with polling places and ballots for all students as well as parents and teachers. They are counting and re-counting votes.

They have also collected data that will be useful for making predictions that they can test in the election in November.

4-5's are using dominoes to illustrate exponents. Their teacher, Mindy, is using Atticus Finch the parakeet to illustrate that a bird is a big help in the copy room.