Monday, March 30, 2009

Making learning visible

At our last faculty meeting we talked about the student-led conferences and how we strive to make children's learning visible. I think the two are interrelated. As Liliana said, "We are making the children visible."

Our new teachers were amazed at the detail and authenticity in student-led conferences as compared to teacher-led. "The students are really good self-assessors here." "The kids were incredibly articulate and thoughtful." "The students are so proud of their work - and they used very sophisticated vocabulary." "The 2-3's are so honest with themselves."

These pictures make learning visible : Some 4-5's created games for their author studies. K-1's make scientific observations of plants they are growing. Koa and Jenn, '08, visited last week- they showed such poise and helpfulness. Sports club is practicing sportsmanship and physical skill in a touch football game. Preschoolers show how cute they are. (Just kidding - of course they are showing their coordination, gross motor, and performing skills doing the chacha slide at assembly!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking for Spring

Freddie the Frog is our beloved greeter. Feeding him is a daily highlight for many of our preschoolers and younger siblings. Freddy is a little plump.

Today I went out to walk the school's 70-some acres with the Facilities and Energy Quest Committees and former parent Paul Schroeder. Paul knows our property well and is an expert on wetlands, GPS, and other things we need to know. We were looking for good routes for a 5 K running trail.

At this time of year you can get into lots of areas of our property that are bramble-covered in warmer weather. We found some huge old oaks, black birch, and beech. The vernal springs were mainly frozen this morning, and we found some skunk cabbage poking up. Kate says you can eat them! We saw some chickadees, too. And the old stone wall that is one of our borders.

When we came back we saw a robin - a sure sign of spring!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The scope of a week

Outdoor Club does what needs to be done. They looked happy to fill some potholes!

Chess is a big activity at Parker in free time and in Chess Club. Three of our students have done very well in local chess tournaments.

On Tuesday our younger sports group invited parents and friends to an exhibition game. One mother told me, "I had to tell a client, 'I have to go see Capture the Chicken!'"

Eighth graders cooked a spaghetti lunch to raise funds for their trip to Philadelphia. The thrill of spaghetti reverberated through the school - and into the parents who were very excited not to be packing lunch.

The culmination: student-led conferences on Friday. Students had their parents' undivided attention as they shared their academic growth and reflected on challenges met and still ahead.

A wholly satisfying week!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life long learning

Demonstrating circumference on stage at the Pi Day assembly, practicing for a band performance, giving a speech for a quadricentennial ceremony at a veterans hall...Parker kids do a lot of performing. It's a skill that will serve for a lifetime.

The days at school are so varied it amazes me - and I learn so much! Right now the band is practicing Handel's Water Music on the other side of my office wall (They just finished "We'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun, 'til Her Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away") I sang along with a new version of "Ten in the Bed" as presented by Pre K at the Pi Day assembly.

Yesterday I learned that Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec, killed three Iroquois chiefs in 1609, starting 150 years of hostility between the Iroquois and the French. I also learned this saying from a fifth grader: "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Read Across America

Read Across America Day at Parker is great fun. We had authors, a book talk by a local book store owner, illustrators, writers workshops, storytellers, and many assorted story characters come to life. There were songs and a parade led by The Cat in the Hat. The day is a true celebration of reading and writing. We're all exhausted! What we need is a good bed-time story...