Brain Breaks for Mindfulness in First Grade

February 22nd, 2018
Category: News

In First Grade, as in all grades at PMFS, students are encouraged to take Brain Breaks to be able to reengage with””or simply begin””learning. As one First Grader said, “Brain Breaks are something we do to get our energy out so we can focus. Like before Math, Jane will give us a Brain Break, like run laps or something, so we can get the job done.” Another remarked, “it lets us get the air out of our bodies so we can learn.” First Grade Teacher Jane has filled a mug with Popsicle sticks, each ascribed with a different idea for a Brain Break. Yesterday, a First Grader drew the “Water Pump Laps” stick. Students promptly left the carpet, lined up at the back door of the First Grade classroom, and ran out back to excitedly do 10 laps around the water pump behind the Emerson Building.

Water Pump Laps in Action

On the topic of the importance of mindfulness, Phyllis has shared the following resources on discussing this abstract concept to children: Mindfulness and the Brain””How to Explain It to Children.

PMFS Mexican Exchange Program Featured in the News

February 21st, 2018
Category: News

A feature on the Mexican Exchange Program and how our Fifth Graders work to build bridges, not walls was published online on Times Herald’s and Montgomery News’ websites. Print publication to follow in the Colonial newspaper (dated February 25) and a Times Herald during the same time period.

Seedlings Summer Camp 2018

February 15th, 2018
Category: News

Registration is now open! 

June 25 – July 27 ·
Five 1-week sessions

For Campers 3 – 6 years of age (entering First Grade)

Directed by Kate McInerney-Rowley, PMFS Early Childhood Butterfly Teacher & PMFS alum, Seedlings summer camp is open-ended exploration and nature and water play on the playground, in the woods, and on the fields. Campers experience the joy of spending their days outdoors in a supportive play environment in a program designed specifically for children, 3-6 years of age (entering first grade). Additional weekly activities will include children’s yoga, dance and movement classes, and fun group games throughout our beautiful campus. Open to all-tell your friends and neighbors!

Join us for any or all five weeks.

$350 per week ($280 for four-day week of July 2)

June 25 – June 29
July 2  – 6 (closed july 4)
July 9 – 13
July 16 – 20
July 23 – 27

Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm

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