Friday, October 29, 2010

Buddy hike for Parker Day

A great Buddy Hike for Robert C. Parker Day.  Here's the video!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kids haven't changed; Kindergarten has

From a parent:

I thought you might be interested in this article. The findings of the Gesell study seem to support the notion that lots of free play and limited pencil and paper work is good for kids in kindergarten!

Harvard Education  Letter

A kind of winning

The fall soccer season ended yesterday - with a flourish!  The other team was a no-show.  Our team cheered.  A forfeit - that's a win!  Making our season 1 and 4.  We held a scrimmage anyway.

This is the first time in some years that we had a full season of competition, so there were a few bugs to work out.  One is balancing a no-cut policy where all team members get to play with the desire to play the best players and get closer to winning.  Darcy wants to play all the kids, but all didn't come to all the games. Should she give preference to those who are the most dedicated?  A good question for us. 

The players had a great attitude.  All had fun.  Learning to be a good sport is a skill for life.  Watching our players delight in the action, help others up and cheer each other on - that's a win.  Go Parker!

My visitors

I love having visitors to my office!  Children will come up to read a story they have written, show their drawings of leaf symmetry (above), or bring me jam or a wreath of fall leaves!  The very best part of working with kids is - the kids!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cross-Country Meet

We hosted about 120 kids for a 1 mile cross-country race yesterday.  The autumn sun was brilliant.  The foliage, too.  Parker kids were terrific hosts - and did well in their races.  What a great day!

Thank you to all the folks  - especially Kurt Arnold, Doug McClaren, and John Arnason - who put so much time and effort into clearing trails.  Huge thanks to our phys ed teacher and coach, Darcy DeMaria who organized the event and inspired our runners.  And big, big thanks to all our students - you have great spirit and heart!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Parker video!

This is a mini video of 2-3's and 6-7's collecting water data on Crooked Lake.  We partnered with Averill Park High School students in a Serve and Learn grant.  The data the students collected will be part of our Stream to River, Clean Water Stewardship project.

Live dangerously

At recess today, I took a gang of kids out to Tree Island - a favorite spot, too tangled and low for adults to enter.  Hiding in special nooks under the low branches of old apple trees, making a fort, or a little room  - that's what they love to do.  Third grader, Coleman asked me if he could climb a tree.  I said OK, "But not too high!"

I recently encountered a book on Amazon called Fifty Dangerous Things (You should let your children do)
 Things like licking a battery, throwing things from a moving car, or standing on the roof - perhaps antidotes to over-protection by adults. (It made me nostalgic for my own childhood!)  The author speaks of the importance of hands-on, self-directed learning as being critical to the development of the kind of creativity and love of learning that is largely absent from today's test driven schooling. 

So yes, kids, climbing trees is encouraged!
Tony Featherston's school blog

Fall Festival Fun

What a great time!  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a success.  The smiles on every face made the day - not to mention the "human hampster balls"!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tasty results of their labours

8th graders went to Hancock Shaker Village to glean vegetables on Tuesday.  Today, parent Michael Tanenblatt arrived to help them turn the assorted veggies into soup.  The delicious smells wafted through the halls - we'll freeze it  - and on Empty Bowls Night, taste the results!

River Day!

What a day on the River!!  On Hudson River Snapshot day, schools from Manhattan to Troy collect water data to share with Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  Our students collected information on water creatures, weather, tides and current, and shipping traffic, and we sketched the testing site.  We also performed tests for:
• Dissolved oxygen and temperature
• Nitrate, pH, metals and salinity
• Turbidity, plankton and chlorophyll

This year we had the added excitement of having Commisioner Pete Grannis, of the DEC observing our site, and local news channels 9 and 10 interviewing students!

This is just one of the planned data collection days for Parker 2-3 and 6-7's.  Our Stream to River, Clean Water Stewardship project continues on other visits to the Hudson, our school creeks, and Crooked Lake.  Commissioner Grannis suggested that students present their findings to a Legislative Committee - we think we'll take him up on it!
Check out the news link on YNN

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sunny Friday

Imaginative play in Parker Woods on a sunny afternoon - after a morning of apple picking.  Nice work if you can get it - And you can get it if you're a Parker preschooler!

"Stream to River" goes to Crooked Lake

Site:  Crooked Lake
Project: Stream to River, Clean Water Advocacy
Participants:  Parker 2-3 and 6-7 with Averill Park High environmental science class
Mission: To work with the high school students and practice data collection for Hudson River day on Oct 14
Quote of the day:  Averill Park High School student about Parker students, "These kids are too smart for me!"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jammin' with George

Toddlers and babies get together with our music teacher George on Wednesdays at 11:45 in the library.  Come with - or without - a little one and  join the fun!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Forward motion

Joel '11, is generating electricity with pedal power - courtesy of a Mayer Foundation grant.  And parents, Kurt (Sophia '17) and Doug (Chris '20), along with science teacher Kate Perry, are getting preparations just right for the pavilion site.  Receiving our final check for our NY State grant has allowed us to move full steam ahead on constructing the outdoor classroom and ordering new computers for the tech lab. 

Assessing a well-educated child

On March 23 we will be holding a panel discussion on Educating for 21stC Success.  One of the panelists is Susan Engel, professor of psychology and education at Williams College.  Here is her recent NY Times Op-Ed piece on more effective ways of measuring learning than the standardized ways.

Susan has written about play as a crucial element in learning and the importance of nurturing creativity - right up our alley.

 She describes the qualities of a "well educated child" - do you agree?

"...we should come up with assessments that truly measure the qualities of well-educated children: the ability to understand what they read; an interest in using books to gain knowledge; the capacity to know when a problem calls for mathematics and quantification; the agility to move from concrete examples to abstract principles and back again; the ability to think about a situation in several different ways; and a dynamic working knowledge of the society in which they live"