October 29, 2015

Too Many To Pick Just One

Harvest celebration in the preshool
There is a well-known phrase that goes something like this: “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who penned it. The thinking, I presume, is that people with full lives have a good sense of exactly how long things take, how much can fit in any given day, and how much they've currently got on their plates.

I was thinking about this phrase this week as I contemplated what to write for this week’s blog.  Every day, I have the privilege of witnessing incredible learning and experiences at this school.  Furthermore, I have the luxury of choosing one story, of the many that are happening around the school, to share with you each Friday. It’s a tough decision.  It’s hard to pick just one. With 172 students, close to 40 teachers and staff, and numerous parents and family members, there is a lot going on. 

A lot that keeps us busy.

In the last week or so, we heard the wonderful news that our offer had been accepted for our new second campus in North Boulder – we are off and running with growing our school and opening a 6th grade a few months from now. 

Stone soup in 2nd grade
We had parent work day last weekend and an incredible turn-out of happy volunteers who removed an estimated one ton of yard waste from our grounds.  Thank you to all!

We welcomed back Diane Bramble who has been on a leave of absence fighting illness. We celebrated harvest in both elementary and preschool, with delicious food and fun stories for all. 

Our parents came and learned with us, attending evening events on mindfulness, math, and social and emotional learning.

We felt the Impact of Giving Back by washing a fire truck, planting bulbs, and making dog treats and toys. 

5th grade production of 'Alex in Wonderland'
We went on field trips near (Bobolink Trail) and far (pumpkin patches, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Thorne Science center) and discovered that learning can happen in all kinds of places, not just in classrooms.

In the preschool, children built a stage for their dramatic play after watching the 5th grade play.  They have created restaurants and have read stories with their 4th grade buddies. They’ve been practicing fine motor skills, and block building, and learning how to put on coats in the cooler weather, and how to make friends.

1st and 5th grade buddies wash the fire truck
from Boulder Mountain Fire Protection District
In the elementary school, young scientists have been experimenting with earth science (erosion), life science (studying bats and birds, welcoming a new gecko), and physical science and chemistry (dry ice, creating glow-in-the-dark  slime). 2nd and 3rd graders have turned their classrooms into maker spaces and created all kinds of fabulous inventions.

Students have been reading fiction and history, biographies and fantasy.  They’ve been writing – the same genres. Just yesterday, I was invited into 1st grade to hear students read the wonderful books that they have written. Math has happened with pumpkin seeds, bats, and algebraic equations.

We have enjoyed not one, but two, gatherings from former teachers who have shared their art with us: former 2nd/3rd grade teacher Tyler Voorhees shared tales from the road and encouraged students to practice, practice, practice. Former AfterCare teacher Blake Stepan brought his eight piece ragtime band.

Students practiced musical numbers for upcoming celebrations, and created wonderful art, including some spectacular self-portraits and cubist style instrumental collages. Our Spanish and art teachers combined forces to help students make dynamic pieces for our dia de los muertos celebration.
Cubist style instrumental collage

And today, we are getting ready for our elementary Halloween celebration – for me, and most of the staff, that has meant attending early morning dance practice – we have standards to uphold!

Through it all, we celebrated our selection as one of the top private schools in the country.

Friends’ School is a busy place.  Perhaps you can see how it was hard to just pick one story. There is a lot going on.

If you want to be part of an incredible community, come to a busy place. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said that.

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