Friday, April 29, 2011

The evolution of a writer

If you are like me, when you were in first grade, you learned to write letters and short words.  To write a story, you could only write words you knew how to spell.  We wrote things like "The dog is brown." 

Now we urge children to use the sounds they hear in words and put them on paper as "sound spelling."  This gives them the freedom to write anything they can imagine.

Here is how our Pre K 4 teacher Michele describes what happens.

"We have begun 'writing workshop Wednesdays' which elicited a 'yay!' from the children this week. We provide 'books' of 4 pages stapled together, and writing implements of choice, and ask the children to write, and then share their stories with us.

Everyone participates! The stories that they write and tell are sometimes funny (a story completely of sounds), sometimes very timely (we heard a story about an earthquake and ironman pushing it back) sometimes very personal. And always very interesting. 

We do not write words on the children's pages, and we have noticed many "sound spellers' already! The children will consistently tell their story, word for word, as they turn the pages of their book.  This activity usually requires 30 minutes of focused attention, and time goes by very quickly! The children usually can't wait to read their stories to us. We will be celebrating these stories at the end of the year celebration."

Here is one of our K-1 students reading a book he wrote about an African animal he is researching. 

Albie's Book from Meg Taylor on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

After April showers

It's nice enough to have class outside!
 Prospective student takes a tour.
What do daffodils smell like?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Two full days!

Shakespeare Night performance, Earth Day tree planting - Have a wonderful Spring Break, everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Is it Spring yet?

Spring signs: new buds, sketching emerging greens, and lunch outside.  Jack, 6th grade, got a check from Dreyers Ice Cream for $900 to support bee keeping efforts at Parker! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

What a journey!

Our little band has come a long way! 

The beginning group in October:

The Three Note Song from Meg Taylor on Vimeo.

Spring Concert in April:

The Band at the Spring Concert from Meg Taylor on Vimeo.

When kids' interests drive learning

Sixth graders approached me with excitement. They had discovered some really cool stuff  - old stuff - on the school grounds.  They could hardly contain themselves as they showed me pottery shards, glass bottle necks, rusted implements, a button, and more.  They wanted to start a museum, find out who had lived here before, and had a million questions.  We decided to call Aaron Gore, father of Alex, and an archeologist at the State Museum, to get some advice. 

Aaron identified that their artifacts spanned about 150 years.  We trekked out to the site, that Aaron described as a midden - an old refuse heap.  He explained good practices that archeologists would use and by recess the kids had marked the site with orange flags.

Another budding enthusiast, sixth grader Jack, is bringing bees to Parker.  He has researched bee keeping, attended a bee keepers meeting, and written to several companies for support.  An amazing array of things have started to arrive: seed packets, checks, bee paraphernalia...  A local philanthropist is helping Jack and some friends build bee boxes and import a colony!  I see honey in our future.

As learning specialist, Sally Goldberg, told me, "At Parker no one tells kids 'This is too hard for you.'  And really, nothing is too hard for them!  They take on these high level books or projects, and they get so much out of it!  They are SO motivated!" 

When we support kids' interests, they gain resilience, resourcefulness, and confidence.  Future leaders are born!

Monday, April 4, 2011

First Annual 5 K Trail Run at Parker!

121 runners, bright sunshine, a fantastic time had by all! Thank you everyone for making our first 5 K a big success!