Emergent Curriculum as Witnessed in Second Grade

February 1st, 2018
Category: News

Our Second Graders are following a plan that they put in place yesterday when they discovered that one of the women they were reading about in Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Leymah Gbowee, has a birthday today. This morning after Worship Sharing, they visited classrooms to tell other students about their plans for celebrating this remarkable woman. Here is the message they wrote and delivered:

“Today, the Second Graders are celebrating a very important birthday””the birthday of Leymah Gbowee. She is a peace activist who led a group of women in Liberia that helped stop the war there. With her small group of women, she made the two sides negotiate and would not let them leave until a peace agreement was made.

Our class is putting up posters and might have a peace march. We will honor her by having a special treat. Leymah Gbowee teaches us that no matter how terrible something is, we can work for peace.”

Click here to watch a video of a group of Second Graders presenting to First Grade.

Mold Symposium!

January 23rd, 2018
Category: News

The Fourth Grade had a very successful Mold Symposium this week. This year, Fourth Graders traveled to Abington Friends School to present their projects, together with the Fourth Grades from AFS and Greene Street Friends. Students prepared trifold boards to explain their experiments and created awesome T-shirts to celebrate their experience. Students shared their project ideas, set-up procedures, observations, and results. The students asked each presenter great questions about the surprises and challenges that were encountered. After lunch, each school group sang their special mold song created just for the occasion.

It was a great day, and Fourth Graders discovered that many of their experiences with their experiments were similar to what happened with individuals at other schools. For example, one student noted that every presenter had used the scientific procedure, and everyone began with a hypothesis. We also discovered that some individuals encountered surprises that also made us wonder. For example, why didn’t any mold at all grow on bread covered with ketchup?

A Recent Look at Social Studies in Sixth Grade

January 23rd, 2018
Category: News

Recently, Sixth Grade learned about the Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire, contracts between the Ottoman Empire and European powers. As a result of these contracts, factors were imposed on the Ottomans during the late 1700s that made it easier for the British to trade in the Ottoman Empire. Students learned the history, then played a game consisting of three rounds, created by Sixth Grade Assistant Teacher Matt to highlight inequalities in trade and the effects it has on nations.

Students were split into three teams: Ottoman Elites, Ottoman Merchants, and British Merchants. The Ottoman Elites needed to buy supplies for a dinner party. Overhead for both groups of Merchants was the cost of the material, the cost of the labor, and taxes. These funds had to be paid out from whatever profit the Merchants held before they could count a net yield, with the British Merchants having significantly lower overhead rates than the Ottoman Merchants.

In the first round, played as if taking place before the British Merchants started selling their goods in the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Elites bought solely from the Ottoman Merchants, who were selling paper plates and plastic forks. The second round took place when the British Merchants started selling in the Ottoman Empire; the British Merchants offered much nicer plates and silverware; they were able to bring better quality products with a lower overhead. The third round featured the Ottoman Merchants’ response to the British Merchants and the Capitulations, wherein they marked down prices and cut labor costs.  The Ottoman Merchants also had to buy the British Merchants’ better-quality goods to compete with the British Merchants.

In the end, the Ottoman Merchants were left with two shekels profit, while the British Merchants had 35 shekels. The Ottoman Elites were the richest group, as they earned even more than the British Merchants after collecting taxes (3% of sales from the British Merchants and 15% from the Ottoman Merchants).

This complex exercise integrates math, history, economics, and more. It highlighted for students the complexities of trade and systems, in this case showing how foreign nations can dismantle a middle class while benefiting elite benefactors of that foreign nation.

The Ottoman Elites buying lower-quality goods from the Ottoman Merchants

The competition begins: British Merchants (background) creeping in on Ottoman Merchant’s (foreground) territory

The Ottoman Elites setting their dinner tables with British Merchants’ goods

Now Enrolling 2018-19: Early Childhood Program

January 18th, 2018
Category: News

The PMFS Early Childhood program welcomes children into classrooms designed to spark creativity, imagination, and the joy of investigation. Through both free and intentional play experiences, EC students at PMFS are hard at work doing what comes naturally: following their curiosity, examining everything they come in contact with, and processing the world around them. We live in a world rich with sights, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes. Our program supports children in noticing all these elements, and dedicated teachers work with them as they grow in understanding what to do with this information.

Click here to read more about the Early Childhood program at PMFS.

Congrats to PMFS alumni authors

January 16th, 2018
Category: Alumni News, News

Check out these PMFS alums!

Congratulations to these alumni who have recently published books or have works featured in other publications. You inspire our students to express themselves through writing!

Nicki Toizer ’83 recently self-published a book entitled Digital Photography Basics for people with SLRs, bridge, and mirrorless cameras. It covers aspect ratio, file formats, focal length, f-stops, shutter, exposure, metering, composition tips, and other handy information. It’s available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2wPYt8V and also through other online booksellers.

Sarah E. K. Bradley ’90 (“Liza”) works in international public health as global research director for SHOPS Plus, and she recently authored a brief called “Sources for Sick Child Care in 24 USAID Priority Countries.” You can download the brief at https://www.shopsplusproject.org/resource-center/sources-sick-child-care-24-usaid-priority-countries.

SHOPS publication Sources for Sick Child Care

Maya Rabinowitz ’12 attends Germantown Friends School, and her poetry has been published in journals including Moledro Magazine, jGirls Magazine and Blue Marble Review. Her work has been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

jGirls Magazine author page for Maya Rabinowitz

If you are a PMFS alum and would like us to highlight your published work here, let us know!

A Feast Fit for a … Rey o Reina o Realeza (King or Queen or Royalty)

December 12th, 2017
Category: News

Sixth Grade had its annual winter feast. This year, they’ve called it the Tapasol Feast. It is a combination of “tapas” which are small portions of (good) food in Spain and “sol” for light, as it is the season of light in many cultures. It is also in honor of the Winter Solstice. We’ve had a special feast in Sixth Grade in one form or another for many, many years.

Kids made food with origins in the Middle East that then made their way to Spain and eventually the Americas (Do you know why? Ask a Sixth Grader for a quick history lesson. Or check out the slideshow…). Sixth Graders created name placards and decorated Islamic design tiles to highlight spices used in Middle Eastern, Spanish, and Latino cooking. Our Third Grade buddies helped prepare food on the day of the feast. Click here to see Varley and Gladys’s presentation on “Sliding Spices,” given the day of the feast.