Halls and Walls: Fall Edition

This is the time of year at Parker when our halls start bursting with the overflowing creative evidence of months of thoughtful and industrious project work. Students are fully immersed in the substantive work of bringing projects to fruition. Our students know that the work they do in the classroom has implications that reach beyond the halls of their school. This sense of creating for an authentic audience inspires students to produce work that is meaningful not only to themselves, but also to others.
We were so happy to revel in this important student work with our families last week at Curriculum Night. For those who weren’t there, and for our far-flung community who are unable to walk our halls, we like to feature a seasonal “Halls and Walls” edition of our Snapshot. We are so proud to welcome our families and friends to see what you would experience right now if you were to visit here at Parker.
Middle school artists spent September through October studying Hispanic artist Ale RB in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Claire challenged each of her students to create a whimsical landscape in RB’s style, and our middle schooler’s blew us away with their talent, creativity, and personal vision.
Kindergarten students have been immersed in all things fall, using the shapes and textures of this season to practice fine motor skills, create art, do math, and have fun! Collectively, the group has worked with leaves, pumpkin seeds, apples, and birdseed, to name just a few items. Here you can see a multi-disciplinary display of their work with apples, including a poem they learned and a graph portraying hands-on math work.
Sarah’s PreK 3-4 class spent the past 5 weeks studying the life cycle, habitat, and migration of the monarch caterpillar. The class cared for live caterpillars, learning about their stages and measuring their growth. They watched in awe as their caterpillars formed chrysalises and waited eagerly for their emergence as butterflies. This class created this bulletin board to share their knowledge and passion for these amazing creatures.
1st and 2nd grade artists read “If the Dinosaurs Came Back” and are using it as inspiration for creating their own class book. One challenge for artists of this age is to complete multi-process works, and this project provides perfect opportunities for students to paint, draw, cut, glue, and assemble their works. This study of shape will culminate back in the classroom, where students will work on writing sentences to accompany their work, which will then be compiled into a book.
Ian’s 7th grade advisory has enthusiastically embraced their role as caretakers of the trout for our signature 7th grade experience, Trout in the Classroom. This year-long project incorporates both science and language arts, giving our students a hands-on opportunity to study ecosystems, animal behavior, and translate those studies into various writing projects. Students become very invested in the process of raising their trout, as you can see from this homemade name chart that now adorns the wall of their Advisory. We can’t wait to follow their journey!
3rd and 4th grade artists recently completed a calligraphy unit to study cursive lettering. Using Japanese style brushes and India ink, each student selected one (or several) cursive letter(s) to form the background of their painting. Claire incorporated a study of shape by asking students to fill in the negative spaces on their artwork with color. Finally, students painted a single, larger calligraphy initial, which they cut out and mounted to complete their final piece.
Rose’s mathematicians have been incredibly busy doing all sorts of hands-on STEAM challenges! This photo is just a small cross-section of what is an entire wall in her room dedicated to documenting their work. So far this fall they have done a pasta car challenge, a stick raft challenge, a math-in-nature scavenger hunt, and many other puzzle challenges!
PreK 4 children have been developing a sense of self and identity by creating “ME” books, drawing self portraits, and learning their name stories. Here you can see the culmination of this work. Parents were invited to write their children’s name stories, which were shared aloud in the classroom. Children then decorated their letter and drew their own fantastical self-portraits using Sharpies and watercolors. 
Identity work is a life-long process, and here at Parker you can see the thread from PreK self-portraits to more complex renderings of identity in our middle school “I Am From” poems. Students draw from their personal experience of home and their environment to write poetry that evokes a sense of self. In each class, students then also lend a single stanza from their personal poem to create a collaborative class poem. The final result is a beautiful celebration of both individual and group identities.