Supporting others by simply listening and asking questions

Hello Friends, I was fortunate enough to experience a rather profound professional development workshop last week. Parker Palmer is an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues related to education, community, and leadership. He is also the founder of The Center for Courage and Renewal whose mission is to create a more just, compassionate and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. I spent three days with educational leaders from across the country reflecting on our personal and professional missions and how they intersect. I am so proud of who we …

Debbie makes popcorn with the kids, and they made it disappear!

Longtime New School Teacher Debbie Weinstein presents exciting food demonstrations with a Chef Combo lesson for her preprimary students each week. On this day, students sang a song with Debbie while the hum of the air popper whirred in the background. It’s fun to see the students’ excitement as pieces of popped corn eventually come flying onto the sheet. Like snowflakes on warm pavement, these white fluffy morsels quickly “melted” away.  

The Ginkgo House is buzzing with electricity!

New School Montessori students in 4th-6th grade are learning to build circuits using conductors (wires), a driving force (batteries), and the load (light). They have built both parallel and series circuits and have discovered first hand what happens when one of the lights is removed from the circuit. This is a timely experiment as many notice this problem at home while setting up holiday lights if one bulb is burned out or has become loose.  

Everyone loved Mika’s “Chef-for-a-day” selections for lunch

Mika was our”Chef for a Day” last week and selected a terrific menu for our school’s lunch. We had nachos with black beans, seasoned turkey, tricolored chips, 3 salsas and queso. Fresh avocados and guacamole were served along with cilantro, diced onions, 2 cheeses, lettuce, taco sauce, sour cream and more. Ex-Day students were please that Mika remembered them in her planning and they had banana bread as their afternoon snack.

Students made their own applesauce

Preprimary students in the West Room enjoyed a mini Thanksgiving, making applesauce together on a camping stove. Each student chopped one or two apples to add to the pot. (Some of the kindergarten friends decided to peel their apples before chopping.) The mixture was seasoned with honey and cinnamon. Students gathered in a circle with their handwoven placemats as they sampled their warm applesauce.  

Classrooms chose different ways to express their gratitude and to explore various Thanksgiving topics.

New School Montessori elementary students gave their Thanksgiving presentations this morning, teaching us about the history of succotash and how the Native Americans shared their food and planting practices with Pilgrims. We learned how different countries celebrate their harvest season and discovered what our students are thankful for. Some expressed gratitude in song, while others recited a poem with students popping up within the crowd (standing on chairs) as they delivered their lines. The whole program was very impactful and ended with Chef Audrey and her assistant, Jonathan, offering slices of homemade pumpkin pie to the audience.   We are …

Zay takes pride in doing his part to keep his classroom clean

The 9-12 students in the Ginkgo House all work together to keep their classroom clean. Early in the year, students filled out a job application if they wanted a specific job. Students help spray and wipe tables, water plants, clean boards, make sure all laptops were plugged in, etc. Zay filled out his application to be the Ginkgo House’s official window cleaner because he said he likes things to be squeaky clean. Zay takes his job seriously, and his classmates and teachers have loved looking out their clean windows all day.

Gratitude

Hello Friends, How do we deepen our gratitude?  How do we foster it in our students? In ourselves?  What is it exactly?  Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation  and to return kindness.  In a Psychology Today article it was describes as, “an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has – as opposed to, for instance, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants or thinks they need.”   A few years ago, TNSM staff  went through training on how to unlock and leverage student (and our own) potentials through acknowledging and working with our character strengths.  The program is …

Students experience the attractive force of static electricity

Static cling can be a powerful force. Students in physical science learned just what static electricity can do. Ajani, one of our inquisitive scientists, used wool and a balloon to create a static electricity charge. He demonstrated that the extra electrons in the balloon were attracted to the neutrally charged stream of water. By placing the balloon nearer and nearer to the water, Ajani was able to get the water to actually bend toward the balloon. Using a plastic pen and wool. Thanh-Nhã became a snake charmer, using static electricity to get the white-coiled-tissue-paper snake to rise up – almost like …

Lessons learned by observing

Hello Friends, I had the pleasure of spending a 45-minute recess with our (6-12) students recently.  It was a perfect autumn day: bright, crisp, and the trees were all dressed up in gold and burgundy.  As I looked around, I was reminded of the essential role Play has in our development.  I watched two girls swoosh down the slide again and again, giggling the whole time – delighted by good company, fresh air and the playful tug of gravity.  A child hung upside down from her knees, like a bat, and watched the world from a different perspective. One boy, …