Friday, October 30, 2009

Robert Curtis Parker Day

We splashed over creeks and balanced on logs through a bog. We laughed and listened to the crackling leaves. We held hands with friends and took special care of each other. This was our Robert C. Parker Day buddy hike.

At assembly everyone had a song, skit, poem or poster. Super Bob flew through the air! Jazz music flowed. Stories were shared. Excitement buzzed through the room. We know a little more about Bob Parker and had lots of fun remembering his great spirit and energy!

Brain food

Field research on soil erosion and library research on ancient cultures. Brain food!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The magic

Liliana said "It's such magic being outside with the kids - swinging on vines, looking for holes..." The K-1's are studying local animals and their homes and habitats. On Thursday they found katydids, lady bugs, and many other fascinating creatures. They made observational drawings and notes and added to their collective bank of knowledge about wildlife.

They have each chosen an animal to research through books in the classroom and on the internet with our librarian, Carol. Their joyful curiosity is fueled by forays into the school's woods.

One young researcher has chosen the skunk as his topic. He was a little worried about being sprayed and was relieved to learn there would not actually be a skunk coming to class.

Fall Festival

Fall Festival was a colorful, delicious, fun time for all. Our parents who pull it all together are just wonderful! This year we had several new features with an energy theme - we had solar and wind power from G.E. and lots of recycling information from Covanta. We also had a beautiful Indian dance performance about the cycle of energy and the environment.

Plus the bounce house, climbing tower, face painting, the cake walk, and many other kid-friendly favorites. Exploring the new trails was also a big hit. The beautiful day lent itself to a very successful Open House, too!

Thanks, everybody!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Make It Clean Everywhere! That was our charge this morning. As part of the school's culture of responsibility and respect, we divided into 12 mixed-age MICE teams to dust, sweep, wash windows, and tidy up common areas of the school. We used vinegar water for cleaning and wore rubber gloves where needed. Laura Mandelson our Director of Admission and Development was the "Big Cheese" doing observational evaluations (do you see the word "value" within evaluation?)

Each team has a name that means mouse in a foreign language. The kids were diligent workers! One team finished early and pitched in with another team. Boy, do we look sparkly now!

We sang our MICE song. George wrote it, with a tune similar to the Beatles "Across the Universe," you can sing it too!

Mice, Mice, make it nice
Do your share and show you care
Pick up, clean up, take the time
Do your part and make it shine
At Parker School where neatness rules
Cleaning up is always cool...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day on the River

Snapshot Day on the Hudson: collecting water samples, testing for turbidity, salinity, and chlorophyll, identifying fish, sketching the view...Our 2-3 and 6-7 classes worked together in teams to gather data for this Hudson River estuary project. They will go back several times over the course of the year to compare their data. But today they were part of a larger effort sponsored by the Department of Conservation to celebrate the river and the unique estuary right in our own backyard. Click here for all the details about this project.

It was a beautiful fall day and everyone was mucking around in waders and boots. Parents helped man the stations. One comment I overheard was "This is the awesomest day. Ever!"

We were joined by two fishery biologists and a runner who took all of our data to a central collection point.

Other happenings today at school: Apple picking field trip for Pre K; 4-5's premiering the new cleaning song "Mice, Mice Make it Nice!" 8th graders watched a Spanish film and yesterday K-1's had a chicken visit in class!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The reward

K-1's harvested their garden vegetables and herbs and prepared a harvest soup with 2-3's. There is a satisfaction about working in dirt and later eating the results! Starting a seed in a tiny cup and later finding a giant squash on the end of the vine is a wondrous experience.

This past week the school reaped the fruit of two years of work - our grant from N. Y. State for a Pilot Sustainable Energy Education Project came through! Former state Senator Joseph Bruno was instrumental in sending the funding our way. During the last year we were able to get our Energy Quest camps off the ground, begin clearing trails, and plan for energy studies throughout the curriculum.

Now we will build an outdoor pavilion classroom, revamp our science lab and add to the school's technology. We will also be able to get some of the more sophisticated materials for energy exploration. Recyclables have been great for experimenting, but our students will find even more demonstrable success with some of the science kits available.

Outreach is a big part of our future plans with exploration of energy and the environment. How satisfying to work so hard and finally see the reward!