Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

Living a mission

Robert C. Parker School engages each student in a thoughtful and challenging learning process that inspires curiosity and a passion to achieve, nurtures confidence and community, and cultivates purposeful action.

Core Values: Emotional security, intellectual vibrancy, ethical awareness, social responsibility

Our new mission statement feels just right for Parker.  At our faculty meeting yesterday the teachers gave examples of how we live our mission. Here are a few of their ideas:
  • We teach students to think and observe.  They question and make their own conclusions at a very young age.
  • Children are supported and praised for their strengths and challenged at the same time: it's a balance.
  • Kids know that the adults are here to help them - there is a very special relationship.
  • We take the time children need for real learning to emerge.
  • Parker kids love math!
  • Because they get lots of choice, students are really motivated.
  • Students spontaneously collaborate and write; they accept and encourage each other.
On our upcoming professional development day we will meet with a psychologist to talk about stress and anxiety in children.  We will also take time to further develop the idea of having "signature" experiences at each grade level that give children skills in leadership and communication and that demonstrate authentic assessment and outreach.

Have a great February Break!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Generosity Day

 Love this idea!  Rebooting Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Active kids

Big smiles!  Winter Fridays at Parker bring cheers at Assembly - but today was the last for the year.  At about 1 PM groups took off for swimming, skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing (well... hiking today) and the K-1's headed to the gym for creative movement with Amy.  Amy is Pre K teacher Michele Ridgeway's daughter who came to Parker as part of a grant for Green Mountain Creative Dance Center to promote dance with elementary school children.  She also danced with the Pre K while she was here. 

There is huge energy around an extra weekly session of sports and movement, especially during the bleak winter weeks.  Thank you to parents without whom we couldn't pull this off - and thanks to teachers for getting out there, too.  Exercise decreases for kids after age 9, according to this NY Times article - but not for Parker kids!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Make yourself happy

Shawn Achor talks about re-setting your happiness meter in this delightful TED Talk. 

Being in a Group Makes you Dumb? Really?

 These K-1's do not fear showing intelligence

I picked up a thread on Twitter about a study that shows that when people are made aware of their comparative IQ in a group, their IQ score actually drops - especially with women.  Intriguing.  So I looked further.  There are a slew of articles about this in the last few days.
Being In a Group Lowers Intelligence is one of the more interesting ones.  Each one has a slant, and the headlines are sensational! 

Here is the most important part: In the study, IQ only goes down in a group when it is measured and the scores are broadcast to the group.  And it mainly goes down for women in this small study sample. 

This little study with the fun headlines (You're Right!  Meetings Actually Do Make You Stupider!) has school implications.  It's why we don't give grades at Parker, or post the spelling tests on the wall.  Comparing who is "smarter" makes kids feel self-conscious, or like they don't measure up, or are superior to others - take your pick.  It is not conducive to motivation or to joy in learning.  

Won't it be fun to see how far this "news" goes?