Thursday, June 20, 2013


Catching butterflies

Once Upon a Mattress, Jr! (...that's "FRED")
The wonderful variety of camp! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The un-classroom

The Best Science Classrooms Aren't Classrooms says John Spencer in education rethink.  This week at camp, kids will be out collecting pollinators, exploring the fields and woods and following Parker's honey bees.  The spark of curiosity comes easily when kids are guided in inquiry in the great outdoors - right here in our 77 acre classroom.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What makes kids smarter?

6-7's turn a study of sound waves into a jam band of wacky self-made instruments.
If you do nothing else today, read Eight Ways of Looking at Intelligence by Annie Murphy Paul in MindShift.  The article talks about having a different mindset about what can make us smarter: relationships, expertise, even our bodies. 

Great news for us at Parker - I love it when science catches up with what we are doing here.  Daily we watch as children's intellects grow within an environment that values and cultivates friendships, deep learning, lots of movement, and self-regulation. 

This year we watched a reluctant third grade writer, because he believed he could do it, achieve his goal to pen five essays for one Show of Work, and then go on to teach his class how to create a PowerPoint.  We listened to an eighth grader, who as a fifth grader wouldn't walk through the math room door, tell with pride how because of the belief of her math teacher she came to believe in herself.

...a feeling of belonging is critical to the full expression of students’ ability and intelligence.  These eight ways to look at intelligence are a powerful lens for our school's mission to inspire curiosity and a passion to achieve.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Graduation and the start of summer

Our happy 8th grade graduates posed as a class for a final time before delivering moving speeches at Graduation.

Campers celebrate a break in the getting wet!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

How do we teach creativity?

Teams in K-1 designed and built bridges to support a cup of sand.

It worked!!!
The best creative works happen when we are trying to explore our world and make sense out of life. It is that sense of purpose that propels the creative process. 

So says John Spencer in Ten Things I've Learned About Creativity, a blog post in Education Re-Think.  He also says that creativity takes a lot of courage - the courage to overcome the insecurity of being wrong.

The kind of school atmosphere that Parker has, the kind that allows for re-do's, re-thinks, and do-overs as a regular part of learning is crucial for creativity to blossom.  Doing multiple drafts of a piece of writing, perseverance in LEGO Robotics, teams charged with real challenges, all these experiences accumulate to form a creative mindset. 

Spencer also says the joyful exuberance of play is often involved in creative endeavors.  You can see it in the children's faces in the photos - shared purpose, experimentation, the give and take of a small group:  it's pretty apparent how we teach creativity!