Curriculum "Dim Sum"

Mike Levy, Head of Middle School, reflects on PKS’s first-ever Back to School Curriculum Night for the newly launched Middle School.

We passed another milestone last week - our very first Curriculum Night! It was a joy for me to watch our 6th grade teaching team offer tapas size tastes of our curriculum (dim sum sized bites?).

My favorite moment of the evening came when the 6th grade parents responded to an activity exactly as their children had responded a week earlier. If I could have shrunk each parent by 40% and raised the pitch of the voices of the dads, it would have been a mirror image of the 6th grade classroom.

The moment came when O Laoshi and Wu Laoshi presented this image:

They asked parents to respond to it by commenting on what they notice and what they wonder. After a few minutes of sharing, O Laoshi and Wu Laoshi asked for theories on what the map is attempting to express. Our parents, like their children, dove into the activity headlong. They were curious; they built on each others’ ideas; they used evidence to defend their claims; they offered theories and tested them; they engaged with each other in two languages. Most importantly, they were interested in both process and results. (If you want the result, ask a 6th grade parent!)


The current 6th grade is unique at PKS, though it is a sign of things to come: half the class are returning families, and half are new. The 5th-to-6th grade transition will always be a time when the grade level dynamic changes significantly, as we joyfully welcome new members to our community. It was wonderful to see that in this inaugural year, our parents, like our students, have been quick to bond and find joy in working together. I feel very lucky to be working with such a gifted teaching team, and such a passionate, dedicated group of parents!