Monday, January 30, 2012

They're B-A-A-CK!!!

The seventh grade kids from the Solomon Schechter School in Newton were back last week for their monthly visit to the Perkins. They were very busy. Some of them were scrunched into tiny, first grade chairs reading to two of our students.

The classrooms got so crowded that the mentor/student teams spread into the hallways.
Many groupings had the Perkins students work on their reading skills. Some students listened to new stories.

Still others played word games that were fun while building vocabulary and problem-solving skills.

Whatever they were doing, everyone was having a good time.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Since the beginning of the school year, our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders have been solving past MCAS questions as well as ones about the construction site across the street. This year's actual testing period is coming right up. So the kids are moving on to new territory.

The MCAS exams don't just have problems that are multiple choice or short answer. Educators in Massachusetts also want to know whether students can do problems that have more than one step. They also want to see how well students can show their thinking.

These kind of problems are called OPEN RESPONSES. This week our students will be working on REAL MCAS OPEN RESPONSE problems.

Here's this week's third grade's challenge:

Now the fourth grade's problem:

Lastly the fifth grade's turn:

Good luck, kids. This is a new challenge. It may be a tough one. In fact, maybe we’ll even get some fantastic responses from the grown ups in our school community!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What is a Pedometer?

What IS a pedometer?

Many of Mrs. B's Wellness Warriors know. (To learn more about Mrs. B's Wellness Warriors, check out this past post.)

Just in case you've never seen or heard of this gadget, a pedometer is a little machine you clip on to measure how far you walk. It counts each step you take by detecting the motion of your hips. They are fun to use and make you want to walk even further.

If you don't believe it, just ask the members of the Perkins School Walking Club!

They are getting healthier by walking. They are also improving their math skills. Just check out the pedometer calculation and their bar chart!

Rumor has it they are going to do a new pedometer challenge of some sort. We'll let you know when they do.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Building Upon Dr. King's Dreams

January 16th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, was a school holiday. That doesn't mean that Dr. King wasn't thought about (and taught about) at the Michael J. Perkins School. Our bulletin boards are filled with students' thoughts about how to make their communities and society better.

Here are some of their opinions:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We're Artists, We're Builders

Phase 1 of Old Colony has given the Perkins kids a lot: a live demonstration of how to build houses for a year, a beautiful new view, a new playground, and a new community center where we can have programs and do our Lego classes.

Luckily we can give something back. The Tierney Community Center is up and running, but it isn't 100 percent finished. One wall must still be tiled, and the Perkins kids are going to help.

Nope, they aren't picking up mastic and trowels (tile glue and the tools you spread it with). Our students are MAKING the tiles, about 200 of them.

In fact, it has been very busy at the Perkins. Our art teachers, Ms. Robles and Ms Yazbeck, have had their own art factory with shifts of kids learning how to decorate tiles with glaze. There's a trick to it because the glazes look like one color, but once they are baked they turn into another. One looks blue on the brush, for example, and will later become clear!

Luckily the kids could use pencil to draw out their pictures if they wanted to. All those lines would be burned off when the glazes were baked onto the tiles. So Nalayja had no problem executing her design.

"I like to draw things that are outside," she said, as she finished painting her flowers. Another tile ready to be fired, just like the ones behind her lining the corridor floor.

Students aren't the only people at Perkins getting in on the act. Many teachers and staff members sat down for their turns at the art table. Check out Ms. McDonough's great technique!

The wall is going to be beautiful, isn't it?

We'll keep you posted about the next step in the process.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Schoolyard is More than Concrete

Some people may see the Perkins schoolyard as a place to cross to get into the building. Others think of it as a basketball court. Still others use it to meet and chat with their friends.

Mrs. B's Wellness Warriors see our schoolyard as all these things and more!

To get the kids to see all the fun physical fitness opportunities in a field of concrete, Mrs. B asked them to draw their own maps of the schoolyard. In those maps, each kid charted some of the sports and games played in it.

If you click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see that different students think of different activities. Some draw a hopscotch court, others a basketball court. Hockey is listed on map, the track labelled on others. No matter, they all add up to running, stretching, jumping. That means physical fitness and fun!

Friday, January 13, 2012

They Went Walking

The kindergarteners in Mrs. Smith's class read a fun book, I Went Walking by Sue Williams.

In it, a young boy goes walking and meets a lot of animals who end up following him in a parade. After listening to this story, the kids went on a walk of their own.

Then they wrote about it. What did they see? Animals, yes, but a whole lot more. Here are a few examples:

Their writing has improved so much since the beginning of the school year, hasn't it? Soon they will be writing books of their own.