Friday, November 30, 2012


There is a new trend in schools: BYOD (Bring your own device).  It seems to be working informally at Parker.  With a variety of desktops and laptops available at school and the i-Pads and laptops some students and teachers bring with them, not to mention calculators and smart phones, we've got a lot of tools.  At our recent professional development day, we were able to successfully connect 20 or so computers, pads and phones to explore internet based communication sites and apps all day.  Everybody is experimenting - teachers and students - to see what works best.  Prezi or PowerPoint; Animoto or i-Movie?  It is great to be in it together.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bold brains!

On our professional development day, the faculty worked with Connell Frazier, director of Sage Online.  She is the parent of our alumna, Alex Frazier, currently a senior at Troy High.  Connie taught us about moodle, wordle, photofunia, scribblar, spellingcity, animoto, audioboo, voicethread, glogster, xtranormal, zoomerang, dipity and jing.  Wow!  Do you think our heads are full?

Here is a movie I made on animoto that shows us at work!

Next step:  share with the kids!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All I really need

I love Special Friends Day. We began this morning at the Pre K Feast with soup and pumpkin bread prepared by our preschoolers and shared with families and 4-5 buddies.  In the afternoon there was an all school concert with songs and recorders -  and everyone joined in.  Then grandparents and special friends participated in classroom activities.  As the preschoolers sing, "All I really need is a song in my heart and love in my family!"

Thank you to those grandparents who couldn't be here for sending good wishes through the mail.  They are displayed on the Special Messages wall:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What you do with what you know

The world no longer cares about what you know; the world only cares about what you can do with what you know.

Thomas Friedman quoted Tony Wagner of Harvard, the author of “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World" in his NY Times Op Ed piece yesterday.  Everywhere I look at Parker I see this idea in action.  "Purposeful Action" is what we call it.  Students using math and engineering skills to build and program robots; eighth graders preparing and serving a spaghetti lunch to raise funds for a curricular trip to Philadelphia; K-1's writing about their observations of the radishes they planted; 2-3's preparing a display for the Historical Society; and on...

Our curriculum is based on building things, doing for others, trying out perspectives, exploring fascinating topics - what you know is vitally important because what you do with it can change the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Many connections

Several classes went to Hancock Shaker Village last week.  The eighth grade gleaned fall vegetables for soup that they will serve at Empty Bowls, their hunger awareness event.  I heard that they worked really hard and practically picked the fields clean!

K-1's were taking a look at farm life in their ongoing study of food and where it comes from. They have already planted vegetables, observed and drawn seeds of many kinds and designed an irrigation system for a farm.  Each student is writing and illustrating a book about farms.

2-3's were there too.  The focus of their exploration was how the Shakers developed and transformed their land. They are studying the concepts of rural, urban and suburban communities and the site proved a very interesting challenge to their understanding of those terms.  A historic scavenger hunt of Troy and mapping the school's property have also added to their knowledge base.  December 13 is Opening Night for an exhibition they will be designing and curating at the Troy Historical Society.

Hancock Shaker Village