Green and White Winter Spirit Day

In mid-January, we held our first all-school Winter Spirit Day. Park students and adults came to school wearing school colors. At the end of the day, Grades I – VIII gathered in the west gym for an energetic (and fun!) pep rally for the Varsity basketball teams. Later that evening, the teams ate diner at school and then traveled to Meadowbrook School – with 200 green frosted cupcakes – to play back-to-back games. The teams were evenly matched, and the games were well-played and very exciting to watch, and, in the end, Park won both games. We hope that this is the beginning of a wonderful new tradition!

Open Invitation to Morning Meeting

Upper Division students and their teachers begin the school day with Morning Meeting (8:15- 8:30) every day except for Tuesday. Morning Meeting provides a time for the logistics of attendance taking and announcement making, it gives us all the chance to start the day together, and it allows for the opportunity to have four short presentations a week – presentations by teachers, parents, outside speakers, individual students, or whole classes or grade levels, Morning Meeting provides an important window into the life of the Upper Division. It is always a highlight of my day.

Parents are welcome to come to Morning Meeting, provided that they sit in the top rows on the side sections of seats – and that they turn off their cell phones.

To whet your appetite, I am providing below a partial list of topics of recent and upcoming Upper Division Morning Meetings. Please check Friday Notes each week for a complete listing of Morning Meeting presentations.

  • VII Modern and Classical Languages Trip to the MFA
  • How to Spot Fake News?
  • VIII English “This I Believe” essays
  • #powerofwords – the importance of saying thank you and telling people they are important to you before the end of the year
  • Mock Caldecott Award
  • Grade VI Book Character Day
  • Don’t Be An Armadillo – tips for public speaking

We look forward to seeing you in Morning Meeting sometime!

 

My Favorite Words

My Favorite Words

I recently heard that right before vacation, students were wondering about my favorite word and debating whether it was “grit” or “yet”. I laughed when I heard this because I think that these things are both important and that, in fact, they are intertwined.

I think that yet is the foundation for not just grit for but for the other character strength words too – and for so many of the other things we learn and practice in school. I think that believing in yet (in other words, growth mindset) may be one of the most important foundations for learning and for teaching.

The thing I love about yet is that it is all about possibility. Instead of, “I can’t do that.” think “I can’t do that, yet.” Yet means that each one of us can get better, yet means that each one of us can learn the hard “stuff” of school – from English to math to art to science to demonstrating the Habits of Scholarship and Citizenship. Yet means that a belief in the ability to learn and grow and get better.

So, how do we get to the yet? Well, it is not always easy – the truth is that we get there with lots of hard work and practice, and that is where the grit comes in.

At Park, we think that practice and making mistakes and hard work and more practice really does get students to the yet. I have included two short videos which help explain some of the science and some of the thinking that’s out there that makes us teachers believe in the power of yet.

Brain as a muscle video

Carol Dweck video

It is really interesting to think about the brain as a muscle, and it is exciting to think about the fact that your brain does indeed grows stronger with practice and hard work, that intelligence is not fixed, that your brain gets strongest (which means you learn the most) when you make a mistake or when you are working through something that feels hard. How incredibly powerful that the science of brain research shows us that this is true. Thinking about the brain as a muscle that can get stronger with hard work and practice is key to believing in the power of word yet.

One more short video in this one, listen for the word yet.

You can do anything

In 2017, as we learn, as we work our way through the hard things, we need to remember the optimism that is embedded in the word yet and the gritty hard work that helps us to get there.