Have you heard your child mention Kibos and wondered what they are? Do their references to Scratch send you running for a Band-Aid? Rest easy, because they’re both powerful tools for introducing coding and programming to our youngest students. Every Wednesday during recess students choose to join Elaine Hamilton (Engineering and Design Coach), Tory Lane (Librarian and Technology Coach), Katrina Mills (LD Math Specialist), and myself in using Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/), Scratch Jr. (an app for the iPad) and Kibo robots (http://kinderlabrobotics.com/kibo/) to create and design. The library hums with children’s voices problem-solving and questioning one another as they ponder how to animate a “sprite” using basic commands or how to move a Kibo a certain distance by selecting a sequence of programming blocks. Children leave these workshops excited to return to the classroom and share what they have designed. For Elaine, Tory, Katrina, and me it is an incredible and inspiring way to spend recess leading students as they develop, create, and design.
Have you ever wondered what is happening in the Lower Division Fridays at 11:15? The Lower Division gathers weekly to celebrate our community. We sing songs, listen to stories, problem solve, and enjoy being together. Last week, we celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday (his actual birthday was January 15) by listening to the song “Lovingkindness” written by former Park faculty member Billy Walsh. We then discussed how the day off was a day to be on and think about acts of loving kindness they could demonstrate. The students suggested ways to be an ally, the importance of not being a bystander, helping a friend, and giving to others in need. We culminated our time together by the Pre-K leading us in singing “We Shall Overcome.” We left with our hearts full and our minds thinking about ways to show others loving kindness.
We all know being on time feels better than arriving late but did you know all that happens between 8 and 8:15? Walk the halls between 8 and 8:15 any morning of the week and you can hear children exchanging pleasantries with classmates, you can see children reading and responding to the morning message, you can hear children talking with their teachers, you see busy children creating and making choices, all before morning meeting! Every classroom begins morning meeting promptly at 8:20. The morning ritual sets the tone for the entire day and the morning greeting is not to be missed. I look forward to greeting you at the back door at 8 and helping you start your day in a positive way.
What a month it has been! If you haven’t had a chance, walk the halls and see how the walls have come alive with student work, or visit a classroom and hear the reading of the morning message, or see students exchanging a morning greeting. Relationships are developing, and children are happily engaging in school routines. The Park School Lower Division is a magical place! Below are some highlights from the month and questions you could ask your child about school.
Ask: What is your favorite morning greeting?
What is something you have learned about your teacher or a classmate?
Do you share a connection with a classmate or your teacher?
Butterflies are hatching
Ask: Have you seen a butterfly hatch?
Have you released a butterfly?
Can you tell me a fact about butterflies?
Lower Division Community Time
Ask: What have you done during Lower Division Community Time?
Do you know something about what the teachers in the Lower Division like to do?
What is a song you have sung at Lower Division Community Time?
Ask: What is an activity you like to do at recess?
Who do you play with?
Is there something new you are hoping to do at recess?