The Middle Ages and the Compliment Sandwich

Research is a huge component of learning here at Parker. Beginning even in K-1, students are introduced to the process of choosing a topic that interests them and digging deeper into it by exploring available resources. In 8th grade, our students take this to the highest level by writing a thesis statement and a 10-15 (or more!) page research paper supporting that statement.  All 8th grade theses are archived in our library and available for your reading pleasure.
The 6-7s are currently wrapping up their research of various topics on the Middle Ages such as feudalism, bubonic plague, medieval literature, weaponry, and knighthood.  After choosing a topic, students wrote a two-page research paper using MLA formatting: a great introduction to the process they will follow for the 8th grade thesis. Learning these important skills builds confidence in our students and makes the thesis project possible.
For a healthy twist of fun and to give the students an additional element of choice in their learning, each research paper will be supported by a visual element such as a poster, slideshow, or maybe even a 3-D recreation of bubonic sores (out of respect for your weekend, we will spare you that photo!)
A Special Visitor in the 2-3s 
Parker’s former head of school, Meg Taylor, paid the 2-3s two special visits this week.  The first was to share a slideshow of her month-long safari in Africa.  The students delighted in the amazing photos of animals up-close. On Meg’s second visit to the class she brought with her a series of short stories that she’s been writing called, “Little Meg.” Meg shared five “Little Meg” stories with a focus group of students from the class. Using the “compliment sandwich” critique method, the group provided Meg with feedback on the stories they heard. The compliment sandwich is an integral part of language arts peer editing where students learn the art of constructive criticism by first sharing something they liked about the writing.  For the next layer of the sandwich, the person critiquing offers something they might change about the writing or a suggestion for improvement. The final sandwich layer is another positive compliment to end the process on a high note. Meg is going to work on some revisions of the “Little Meg” stories and return in the spring for a follow-up session.