Friday, December 30, 2011

Scott Gratson shares artifacts and slides of art influenced by Greek mythology

Parent, Scott Gratson, visited fifth grade and shared the ways in which Greek mythological gods, goddesses, creatures and symbols have continued to influence art throughout the ages.

He also shared artifacts from ancient Greece with fifth graders.

One of the wonderful surprises was a series of slides showing these changing images as well as how Scott himself had incorporated mythological stories in paintings done on Devon's bedroom walls.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Science Activities in the New Year - Science Room News

Hope everyone is having a great break!  We have such a treasure here in our back yard - Briar Bush Nature Center.  They have just announced a series of family events for the new year that you won't want to miss.  I've included a few for you here, but if you want to see their full calender go to the Briar Bush website.

Sunday, January 8, 1-2pm
Tools of the Trade 
(for adults and youth ages 7+)
tools of the trade 
Animals possess all kinds of "tools" that humans have come to duplicate, from pliers and chisels to heat-seeking missiles and airport sniffers. Come peek inside nature's toolbox with Environmental Educator Katie Fisk.

RSVP to 215-887-6603 by January 6 (no walk-ins)

Non-members: $7/adult, $3/youth
Members:  20% discount
Abington residents: 10% discount

2955 Edge Hill Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA

Monday, January 9, 7:30pm
"Join the Conversation"
Space: the Final Frontier with Franklin Institute Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts
Briar Bush is inviting you to a new discussion series called Join the Conversation.  Special guest speakers will guide a topic while attendees increase their knowledge and awareness of timely and important issues.  We have suggested books to pique your interest, but reading is not required.

Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director of the Franklin Institute, leads a lively discussion on the marvels outside our atmosphere. For some background on the controversies and conspiracies within the normally sedate world of astronomy, check out How I Killed Pluto by Mark Brown, A More Perfect Heaven by Dava Sobel, or Bad Astronomy by Philip Plait.

 Non-members: $3
Members: free

(Advance registration recommended, limited seating)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

we made chitons

We did it. Everyone has a chiton. In art, the children are now working on designing their chitons. We're also working on becoming our Greek god, hero or monster. Greek Feast is scheduled for Friday, January 13th.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Common Threads"

Abington Friends Lower School Winter Program

Friday, December 9, 2011

1:30 p.m ~ Muller Auditorium

Program Dress:
All lower school students should dress in white tops and black pants. Students are welcome to bring their performance clothing to school on Thursday and change at school Friday morning prior to the performance.

Please note that all students will be involved in movement activities on stage and should wear pants.

We look forward to seeing you and celebrating our accomplishments with you this Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference

What an amazing day we had today! This morning was the kick-off of the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color and Student Diversity Leadership Conference, hosted at the Convention Center in Philadelphia. The day started off with tremendous inspiration from the AFS Choir who used their voices to bring about hope and aspiration for the 4,000 educators, parents, and students in attendance. Click on the videos below to hear their beautiful voices led by Jason and Stephen. (Had a glitch in the editing, so they start the same, but are different. Check out the size of the crowd, by the way!)

This conference is momentous for several reasons, particularly for us here at Abington Friends School. First of all, the conference comes at a particularly salient time in our work, with a critical number of faculty and students engaging in the work of learning about, experiencing, and understanding diversity and inclusion in our community for the past 4-5 years. As a result of that work, we had more than fifteen faculty and student presenters at the conference sharing the lessons that we have been learning and facilitating discussions about race, ethnicity, gender and other core components of our individual identities.

Secondly, our own Crissy Caceres, one of four co-chairs for the POCC/SDLC, has worked tirelessly for the past two years to bring leadership, vision, and direction to this conference. Her efforts to develop the theme, programs, structure, and workshops of the conference allowed everyone to immerse themselves in this important work.
I still remember the Lower School faculty at this exact time a year ago, collaborating with Crissy together in the lobby for hours after school to create the theme of the conference: We the People: Painting a New Mural of Community, Updating Our Status – A Declaration of Interdependence.

Finally (for now), the conference highlights the impact of the work that students are and have been engaged in during the past few years. Led by Toni, Cyndi, and other faculty, Upper School students are taking part in this important work to challenge themselves, develop new perspectives and become the new leaders for our world. Listen to noted author and keynote speaker Wes Moore’s invocation of the meaning of education and what we can do to make a difference in our world.

His writings in The Other Wes Moore serve as a catalyst for reflecting on how our thoughts and actions can impact and change lives. Lower and Middle school students are deeply entrenched in this work as they spoke for two hours about the lessons they have been learning about race and identity in a workshop presented by Jane and Dave late this afternoon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Topographic Maps - Science Room News

One of my favorite things to teach is topographic maps.  It's so gratifying when you watch students as they figure out what all of the symbols mean and begin to make sense of something that, at first, is seemingly incomprehensible.  Students had a checklist of things to find on each map.  Each set of students had a rural map (for determining elevation) and an urban map (for deciphering symbols).  What made it even more exciting is that the urban maps are all of the Jenkintown area.  Many students were able to find AFS, their homes or familiar parks on the maps they were observing.  As we studied the maps, we talked about concepts such as scale and direction of North.  Students used dry-erase markers to actually circle everything they found on their maps, and then shared their findings with classmates.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Compass Course - Science Room News

Our integration was a success!  Armed with compasses and trundle wheels, the students were able to navigate a set compass course.  Next, each group designed a compass course for another group.  The groups exchanged courses and the challenge began.  I am pleased to report that the groups did quite well designing interesting courses that everyone successfully navigated!  Another added benefit was learning how to measure long distances with a trundle wheel.  If you're not careful when measuring 50 meters, it's easy to get carried off course!  After a few tries, 5th graders became proficient in measuring long distances accurately.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Upcoming Concert

Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel Music Arts Committee
proudly presents the
DePue Brothers Band
performing this Sunday, November 13 at 5:00 p.m.
This concert is appropriate for all ages!
For tickets and more information please call 215-887-8700

Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel
8339 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Art News

While reading the Odyssey in their classroom, students were each assigned a Greek character from the story. Connecting with their Greek studies in art, we decided to make their character into theatrical masks, similar to the comedy and tragedy masks.
We have been having a wonderful time working on this project; I have especially enjoyed the students heated discussion on the different relationships between their Greek characters.
We began this lesson by first building the mask in clay, and with the help of Karolye the students made great progress on the first day. Next, we covered the mask with plastic wrap and applied papier-mâché over the top of the clay. After many layers of newspaper and days of drying, we popped the papier-mâché mask off the clay and started painting them. They are slowly evolving into exquisite works of art, but we still have a long way to go.

Writing Poetry at Alverthorpe

We took our notebooks to Alverthorpe Manor and felt the magical quality of this garden which has been "reclaimed," from ruins and from fallen trees, but is now gradually being reclaimed by the forest. Several children told me that they had been here before but had never been here in silence with their writers notebooks. "I'm seeing things I didn't even notice before," one child acknowledged.

Writing on top of the bridge

the alligator's mouth

A view from below the bridge

We'll post poems soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What would Polyphemus say?

Today in library, we brought together students’ study of Greece with their study of using dialogue in creative writing. As a whole group, we read a picture book adaptation of the story of Odysseus and the cyclops Polyphemus. Students observed that although we were reading a picture book, it was not a story for little kids! Odysseus did not manage to escape from Polyphemus’ cave until half of his men had been eaten. At that point, he was able to convince the Cyclops to indulge in the Greeks’ wine and fall asleep, at which point he became a helpless victim to the Greeks’ attack on his eye with a sharpened log. Dangerous times!

After hearing the story, students worked with partners to answer the question, “what would a dialogue between Polyphemus and his eye doctor sound like?” The pairs got right to work, choosing to answer this question with an interesting blend of script-like writing, speech-bubbled cartoons, and illustrations, which we hope to finish, revise, and share with each other in future library classes. Some of our work in progress: