Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dream big

Look at all the ways Parker kids were learning this week.  Hands-on, observing, discovery, tackling challenges... Teachers' Expectations Influence How Children Perform (as related in this NPR story).  Our teachers believe all the kids are geniuses - so the kids live up to it.  The teachers support them in their dreams.  Especially if they dream of being a shark (see photo above).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Learning how to learn


Follow me as I walk with the K-1 science class out looking for frogs.  Into the woods and along the sun dappled trail through Fort Ham to the West creek.  Look!  Something hopped!  We found frogs!  We also stood still to see and hear two woodpeckers and several chickadees.  Now we head back to school making very realistic frog sounds the whole way.  We gather in our circle to read a book about what we have just seen.  And then we write and draw about it.

This is active learning at its best.  Valerie Strauss in her Washington Post article Is Technology Sapping Children's Creativity? says: Kids need first-hand engagement — they need to manipulate objects physically, engage all their senses, and move and interact with the 3-dimensional world. This is what maximizes their learning and brain development.

Now you can follow me as I visit the Pre K 4 class.  They just made blueberry muffins.  Yum. Perfect timing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why I love my job

 It's 7:15 AM.  I get a call from our math teacher, Shelli, "Meg, we have a problem here at school."  A dozen turkeys were blocking the front door!  They seemed very anxious to get in.  I guess we will have to take a look at our admission policies.  We do have an opening in the 2-3 class.  I wonder if they found us through the website or was it simply word-of-beak?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Collaboration makes things happen.  It fosters creativity, empathy and problem-solving.  It makes for an amazing school experience and gives students a skill that will serve them perhaps better than any other.   

Check out the result when Flight of the Conchords hilariously and movingly collaborates with school children in New Zealand (the only place where "better" rhymes with "feta") to raise funds for sick children.  

                Parents, kids and teachers washed every window in the school on Community Work Day

A little friend found in the greenhouse on Work Day

Litter pick up!

Nothing better than sandbox play: future engineers

4-5's will become the school's beekeepers in a new curricular unit

Friday, September 7, 2012


The kids are back!  We have had two great days filled with getting to know new friends, the year's first Assembly, and New Parent Orientation.  I heard many versions of "This was the BEST beginning of school ever!"  Rest up for a full week ahead!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Challenging the brain

Teachers need to explore and play, too!  During our meeting days last week, we read this article from the New York Times: Simon Says Don't Use Flashcards.  Considering the powerful effect that playing has on the developing brain, we played a rousing game of Capture-the-Chicken.

Challenging ourselves to do something new offers so many opportunities to learn.  Here is a Pre K teacher's take on how children tackle challenges, and what we can do to facilitate their learning:

Challenges can be found everywhere.  We see them when a child is trying to figure out design problems in a project, attempting a new physical feat, and testing out opinions and voices in social situations.  It can be easy for us to miss these massive opportunities for learning when we are watching our children play.  It is even easier to quickly and "expertly" solve the problem for them.

Next time your child is struggling (but not frustrated) with a task, try to stop, sit back, and watch.  See what solutions your child comes up with. If they are truly stuck, try asking them a question to draw their attention to a specific part of the issue.  Let them devise a solution.  It may not be one that you would have suggested, but their practice with personal challenges will certainly be a boon later in life.