At the beginning of May, we shared the pentagon problem with the PKS community: can you discover or create an irregular pentagon that will tile the plane with no gaps or overlaps? Many students and parents rose to the challenge, and it has been so much fun having conversations about the various solutions and how they found them.
A key area of focus this year has been on re-envisioning the specialist programs going forward, and more specifically, how to more intentionally attend to the whole child and create opportunities for students to engage deeply, fully, and frequently with the sciences, arts, and holistic wellness practices.
When I enter classrooms and see students working on their Wonderworks projects, the joy and engagement are self-evident. But Wonderworks is more than this -- it is also a lever to create future scientists, writers, mathematicians, and activists.
We were pleased to host Charis Denison once again for a recent PKS学习 event. Each year when she visits, we take a moment revisit our approach to what used to be called “sex ed.” Schools like ours base this part of the curriculum on research that shows that “the biological, cultural, and ethical components of ‘sex ed’ must be part of a holistic effort to help each child develop an integrated, confident sense of self.”
One of our main goals at PKS is to foster a lifelong passion for learning and exploration, not only among our students but also among our parents, faculty, and staff. A few weeks ago, however, the pedagogical team wanted to try something innovative and engaging to provide our faculty and staff with a different type of professional development (PD) opportunity; something we call “Pinterest Live” or “Old School Pinterest.”
Follow along as our fifth graders embark on their first international PKS trip to the Yellow Mountains in China.
If you’ve ever wondered about the history of Chinese food in America, the 6th grade class has something they’d love to share with you, in their own words.
Starting in preschool, we believe one of our most important jobs as educators is to cultivate in our students a lifelong passion for learning and exploration. What better way to do this, than to lead by example.
During their first grade year, three PKS classmates created a story called “Friends in the Arctic” as part of their shadow show project.
The story follows a group of friends who live in the Arctic. One day, they are unexpectedly sucked into a black hole and need to make their way home. By working together, they find a diamond that helps them escape and return to the Arctic.
After the project was complete, Sinan Laoshi submitted this story, along with several others, to “Xiao Pi Pa”, the only Chinese language children’s magazine circulated throughout North America.
We are proud to share that “Friends in the Arctic” was recently selected for publication. Congratulations Arjun, Jaclyn, and Lucas on being published authors, and to Jaclyn for her beautiful illustrations!
As many of you know, I have a P3 student here at PKS, and a 2 year old son whom I hope will join us when he is old enough. Both kids were in the car with me on Thursday morning as I tuned in to the Judiciary Committee hearings in which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford courageously told her story. I found myself feeling confused, and a bit helpless, as I tried to balance my civic impulses and my fatherly impulses.
Almost ten years ago, I wrote an article titled "Academic Rigor and Student Engagement: A Perfect Match." While many feared that they would need to sacrifice student engagement in the service of academic rigor, I argued strongly that academic rigor could ONLY genuinely come together with student engagement, and that truly rigorous learning at its core needed to be about exploration, discovery, creativity, inquiry, and pattern recognition.
The proposal on Project Based Learning in Upper Elementary School was selected for presentation in the Curriculum and Instruction breakout session of the annual National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC).
A personal essay by Denise Svenson, PKS Elementary Math Specialist:
“…My [temporary] presence had an obvious impact on the group dynamic. Students have had the habit of code-switching without realizing it, and the habit was impossible to break…This trip marks a rite of passage for our kids. To make it a family trip would be taking away from everything we’ve hoped for them - independence and confidence navigating in a Chinese-speaking environment.”
PKS was invited to Washington, DC as part of a symposium on immersion education. Seven of our faculty members visited four schools, deepening their knowledge of best practices while sharing some of their own unique insights. Our expertise on how to integrate Mandarin immersion within a progressive framework was noted as "the only model out there combining data-based immersion practices with rigorous PBL."
Our community celebration welcoming the Year of the Dog was PKS's largest-ever Chinese New Year event, with almost 900 people in attendance. Organized over the course of several months by a parent-led committee chaired by Monica Savini, the event featured art, activities, food, fun, and at the center of it all, the joyous performances of each PKS class on stage in the beautifully restored venue adjacent to our campus, Saint Joseph's, where we were hosted by proprietor Ken Fulk.