Tuesday, May 27, 2014

School is a lot like summer camp

When children are interested in learning for learning's sake, you know something is going right in their schooling.  Rewarding students for taking intellectual risks helps them develop a mastery mindset, where motivation and engagement are high, and performance anxiety is low.  Kind of like summer camp.

This article in Mind Shift, What Schools Can Learn from Summer Camps hits the mark on something I like to think about: how at Parker we try to make school a lot like camp.  Camp is fun and spirited.  Kids pick things they are interested in: rockets, outdoor survival, LEGO robotics, cool chemistry, or cartooning to name just a few.  They sing together and play in the woods.  They bond with friends and counselors.  They love camp!

At its best, school is like that, too.  Exciting and interesting - a place where you can take on something you're not sure you can do.  Friendships are forged in the throes of shared experiences, working out conflicts, and when teams figure out how to work together.  Students find out that taking a risk has huge rewards, whether they are successful or not.

At Parker, we are so fortunate that the natural elements are in place: the creeks and woods, the pond and meadows.  We have developed a program that turns those features into benefits: capitalizing on the natural world to help children develop their tolerance for risk-taking, life-long curiosity and the courage and confidence to explore.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Head for the Day: Awesome: chocolate cake

We are Peyton and Jet, the Heads for the Day. The best parts of the day were chocolate cake at Alexis Diner, disco dance at Assembly, putting sticky notes all over the place, pulling the fire alarm, and handing out Popsicles to the WHOLE SCHOOL AT AN EXTRA RECESS!  Alexis Diner is really, really good! I hope we can be Head for the Day next year!!!!!!!

~ Guest Bloggers Peyton and Jet, Heads for the Day

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Purposeful action in action

4-5's took their show on the road last week.  Their Bee Show that is.  They had prepared a thoughtful and beautiful presentation about honey bees, bee keeping, threats to honey bees, and more.  After a presentation here at school, they perfected their slides and talk and came up with a game, too.

The 4th and 5th graders at Doane Stuart were very receptive.  The waggle dance, part of the game wherein correctly answering bee questions earned each hive-team some pollen, was a big hit.  9th grader and Parker grad, Jack RP was on hand.  He originated the bee project at Parker. 

He loved seeing himself in the slide show - and gave the advice, "No matter if you are young or old, if you work hard, you can do anything!"

It was fantastic to see the kids take their learning beyond the classroom - purposeful action in action!