Friday, May 29, 2009

My Day as the Director for the Day!

My name is Jackson. Today I am the guest writer/Director for the Day! I started out by greeting kids as they came into school. After that I got to lead the Twist in Assembly. Also I announced an extra recess and Popsicles for everybody!

While I was in the office, Maurice was sent down from math class because he was talking in class and Shelli told him to go out of the classroom, and he threw an eraser at her!! I told Maurice he needed to apologize to Shelli and I also made him read our school motto.

I led recess today and surprisingly nobody got hurt! Then we went out for lunch at Alexis Diner. I took my best friend, too - Dylan. (See picture #5) We had cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and french fries. It was an awesome lunch!

When we came back it was time for the extra recess. I handed out Popscicles with Dylan to grades Pre K - 8th and the teachers, too! After the extra recess I demanded an hour-long gym class. After that I made this blog!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


It takes a community. Parents and teachers came on Work Day to build raised beds. On Tuesday K-1's took their plants from the greenhouse and transplanted them to the raised beds. They will tend their garden. Over the summer campers will help. In the fall - a harvest!

Seeing a project from start to finish is one of the simple pleasure of life, I think. I used to tell my children that their reward was the satisfaction of a job well done - often the only reward we get!

I just came from a week of graduations for two of my children - my daughter graduated from Colorado College and my step-daughter from Elon University. I think our whole family feels the satisfaction of a job well done. An ending and a beginning both.

Our eighth graders gave thesis presentations on Project Night last week. 6-7's presented their bridges. Pre K presented a slide show and K - 5 worked on projects with their families - weaving African artifacts, building bows from twigs, and sending a balloon to the moon!

The strong beginnings were evident in the excellent results. The thesis presentations were succinct and done with confidence and flair. Pride was evident in the smiles all around. Showing the beginnings (Pre K slide show) and endings (thesis and bridges) and the middle of things (the process of "doing" in K-5) highlights the satisfaction of a job well done that meaningful learning gives.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Picking flowers, building bridges

6-7's spent much of the week in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) cooperative activity. They formed teams of three: civil engineer, materials engineer, environmental engineer. They researched bridges and then were charged to design and build a bridge in a particular location to withstand natural disaster: earthquake, hurricane, flood, etc. They had multi-million dollar budgets, with drinking straws, spaghetti, or paper as materials. Glue was $1,000,000 per tube.

West Point Bridge design - a free download - is an amazing simulation of bridge building. The blueprints went well. Frustration set in with slippery straws and brittle pasta, but ultimately, experience prevailed and the results were impressive and even elegant.

After team presentations on Friday afternoon, a cool treat in the spring sun was in order!

Just the beginning...

The greenhouse is open for business! Thank you to science teacher, Kate Perry, who with her husband completed the greenhouse over the weekend.

On Wednesday, K-1's nurtured plants in their classroom then paraded them down for a warm welcome.

"It's hot in here!" "The sun comes in, but it can't get out!" Our librarian, Carol brought them a stack of greenhouse books to begin a quest to find out all about it.

Successful Auction

Carol Oko, Associate Director, with Jonathan Lord, '97, and his mother, Nancy. Jonathan was the auctioneer at our Auction Gala on Sunday. This is his third year helping us raise funds for scholarships and school programming. He is a lively and funny speaker - and also inspiring. He told about a fellow Parker alum - a Washington attorney who makes an enormous difference in the community. He urged auction attendees to raise their bids high to help make a difference for Parker students.

This year we had music by The Providers, the band of Vinny Arminino, father of David '07 and Alexandra '04. We had beer tasting courtesy of Chatham Brewing and Jake Cunningham, father of Kiki '11, Lara '13, and Coleman '16. We also had balloon popping for prizes - lots of fun!

All agreed the party atmosphere was wonderful. We had a festive evening and raised money to support Parker - a great combination!

More Shakespeare

Monday, May 4, 2009

Delighting in Shakespeare

It is hard to convey the fun and pageantry of Shakespeare Night in pictures! I will post a few more photos if someone sends me good ones.

The ease at which our 6, 7, 8 students use Shakespearean language amazed me this year. They really were able to get across the zaniness of the action and plot. Maybe because for some it was their 7th year! Othello condensed with comedy added, Comedy of Errors with wacky physical action, Shakespeare rapping and Elizabethan dance, enacting the "Seven ages of man" from As You Like It, miming and dancing...Creative juices were flowing.

As Sean Fagan our talented Shakespearean clown related, the learning is in the process. Taking each germ of an idea and growing it into the fullness of performance in 8 short school days requires a collaborative, giving and incredibly creative culture. The delight of each student and of the audience is the payoff.