Halls and Walls

Walking the halls here at Parker is beginning to feel like home again. Student work is going up on bulletin boards and being featured in classrooms, and our building is beginning to hum with the vibrant student interpretations of inspiring projects that our teachers have launched. Parker has always been a school that thrives on community connection, and this year is no different. We want our families and friends to share with us in the joy of watching our proverbial garden grow. Therefore, we have decided to routinely feature a monthly “Halls and Walls” edition of our Snapshot, to welcome our families and friends to see what they would experience if they were able to visit inside (and out!) here at Parker.
Parker 1-2s have launched full throttle into an investigation of the Hudson River. Together, the class is studying the history of the river, beginning with its role in Native American life and culture and continuing through European exploration. The class is also examining the ecological and environmental importance of the river. 1-2s will ultimately study the current and continued importance of the Hudson by participating in A Day in the Life of the Hudson, a morning focused on science and conservation led by our Parker 8th grade.
Kindergarten students have begun their work on identity, self-identity, and the perspective of others. This is one of the main underlying themes that punctuates their academic project work during this first semester. Currently on display, these student portraits are accompanied by descriptive words each child chose to represent themselves. Taking this one step further, Leigh also reached out to parents and asked them to send in a word describing their child. These words are featured alongside the self-descriptions, allowing students to begin thinking about how they see themselves and how others see them. Ultimately, it is a goal for our Kindergarteners to recognize, be proud of, and appreciate the unique physical and emotional traits that combine to create both themselves and each member of their classroom community.
Parker art students began the year by discussing their artist hopes and dreams, followed by a celebration of “Dot Day”, established to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration. Lower school practiced their watercolor skills, making adorable paintings that now decorate these trees hanging outside our library. Middle school students worked collaboratively, each creating a quarter-circle for a new mural to adorn their hallway. All art students wrote their art dream, wish, or goal on a colorful piece of paper that was looped together into an all-school paper chain.
As part of our observance of LatinX history month, 6th and 7th grade ELA students were asked to research and present on a LatinX role model they admired. This pair chose to study Ellen Ochoa, a NASA astronaut and scientist that they admire for her engineering expertise, a field both hope to go into. This is a perfect example of interest-based learning creating individual access to and investment in a whole-class assignment.
Inspired by her 6th grade math students enthusiastic embrace of the tallest tower STEM challenge, Rose decided to capitalize on her class’s interest in engineering by continuing with hands on mathematical challenges. Last week, 6th graders were tasked with studying, designing and then building their own boats. Students problem-solved their way through many models and trials of their stick rafts, with the final test being to float their boats on the Parker pond.


Kindness 101
During the 2019 school shutdown due to the pandemic, Parker students Meryl and Emmett Hartman donned their reporting caps to help their dad Steve produce Kindness 101 for the CBS Evening News. Their weekly segments were geared towards kids “of all ages” (including adults!) and aimed to spread Kindness by educating kids on topics such as empathy, character, friendship, and altruism.
This fall, Kindness 101 was nominated for a television news Emmy in Outstanding Interactive Media: Lifestyle, Arts, and Culture. The awards were this Tuesday, and although Meryl and Emmett did not win, their reflections on losing were the ultimate example of children raised in a school that values experience and effort alongside achievement. Click on the photo above to enjoy a short video of their thoughts and awards experience.