Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yes, there is learning going on at the Perkins today, as always, but...


Friday, October 26, 2012

On Your Mark...

As you can see, Mrs. B. is going to town with all her new fitness and wellness features.!  You've already read about Boston Bikes and all the Perkins kids who are now clambering to get on two wheels.  If you look a little harder on this sign, you'll also see another project that's new to our school: Russell Runs with Perkins.


Some of our kids have signed up to start learning track and will eventually run with the Russell Elementary nearby.  Here are our first volunteers and the numbers are growing.  These kids are ready to run their hearts out twice a week until the second week in December.

Learning how to use the starting blocks is still a goal for the future. This very first session the kids each ran (with a little walking now and then) their first mile.  That's four times around the track at Moakley Park.  These times will be their baselines, something to race against as they get stronger and faster.

On your mark, get set....GO!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making the Wheels Go Round!

If you remember a previous post, Boston Bikes came to our school for several weeks to teach many of our second through fifth graders how to ride a bike and to review bicycle safety for those who already knew how to pedal.  After much rain, too much rain, the kids finally had a chance to get out there.

Getting enough bikes for a whole class into the schoolyard was a team effort.  Graham and Corey, our bicycle mentors brought them out of a nearby garage.

 Then the kids rolled them into the schoolyard.

The first part of any ride is NOT hopping on the seat and speeding off.  The kids learned out to stretch as we should all do before any type of exercise.  Next, get those helmets on and adjust them to fit correctly.

Then Corey and Graham matched the kids with a perfectly sized bike, one whose seat came up to their hips.  Then it was time to do the ABCs of getting ready to ride that they had learned in the classroom: check the Air in the tires, the Brakes' condition, and the Chain to see if it was strung correctly.

And they're off!  The kids who already knew how to ride could start by making big circles in the schoolyard.

Beginning riders had a different routine in another part of the schoolyard.  No one used training wheels. Graham and Corey knew a better way to learn.  Chanting "Scoot, scoot, glide!" the kids made exactly those motions as they made their way across the yard.  Then back again, all the while improving their sense of balance.  At a certain point, the kids would automatically place their feet on the pedals and go, go, go!

By the end of Boston Bikes' visit, everybody who tried learned to ride a bike.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Morning Message

Kindergarteners writing out a complex paragraph, kindergarteners printing so clearly is pretty impressive. So is the way this collectively written paragraph came about.

After Ms. Smith read a book about Columbus and his voyage to her students, she had them summarize what it was about in a writing session for Morning Message. First she helped the kids brainstorm to answer the question. Then the writing process began.

"Our sentence starts with Columbus. Can anyone tell me the first letter of this name? That's right, it's a C. Would you like to write it on our paper?"

"Spain. S-s-s, what's that letter?  Who wants to print the "S" in Spain?"

"Sp-Spain. P-p-p, what's that letter? Good for you, come on up!"

"S-p-a-i-n.  So what's next? A-a-a.  That's an easier one."

And this is how it goes. Some children screwing up their courage to write a letter. Some ready to print a whole word. Big pieces of correcting type and reassurance allows mistakes to be redone.

In kindergarten, it takes a village to write a sentence. Or better said, the whole village gets to participate!

The kids also got to draw their own pictures, deciding whether to label their ships the Nina, the Pinta, or the Santa Maria.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Ready to Roll

 "What do you know or like about bikes?" Corey and Graham from Boston Bikes asked Ms. Mansfield's 4th grade class. 

The kids' answers came fast and furious:  "I like going downhill."  "I like the idea of doing tricks." "I know how to do wheelies."  "I like BMX bikes." "I know that you need to follow the rules to be safe."

"I like to ride with my friends," added Corey.  

"And, I love the freedom of using my bike," said Graham, "I can ride all around the city without paying for the T."

Corey and Graham are at the Perkins to help the kids learn to ride bicycles and do it safely.  So before our kids "mount up," they get some important lessons.

First: This is not the way you wear a helmet!  

The helmet should lie flat on your head, not tilted back.  You should be able to see it, if you look straight up.  If you can't, your helmet is too loose.

The straps should make a triangle around your ears.

Once you fasten it, you should be able to open your mouth wide.  If you can't, the helmet is too tight!

Why are helmets important?

The kids know this answer.  "So you don't bust your head," one calls out.

What is a big difference between these two bikes?  That's the next question--and, the answer has nothing to do with color or fenders.  It's their brakes!  The yellow bike has brakes on the pedals and you can stop it by pushing the pedal backwards.  The blue bike's brakes are on its handle bars, one lever for the front tire and one for the back one.  

Is a good idea to stop your bike by just pushing on the brake for the front tire?  NO!  Just think about what might happen.

One of the last lessons the kids learned was they must always know their ABCs--for bikes, that is.  Before you start riding, do the ABC check: 

A = Air.  Your tires should feel hard like a basketball.  Give them a squeeze to make sure.

B = Brakes.  Are they working?  

C = Chain.  Is it strung correctly?
If so, you're ready to go!

By the end of the hour, this fourth grade class was ready to roll.  Corey and Graham went on to the next class.  

Meanwhile, all the bikes and helmets were just waiting to be used.....

Monday, October 15, 2012

We're All Special!

We're all special in our own ways.  Mrs. Haney's class understands this.  They have picked some of their best qualities to practice writing, composition, and introduce themselves to the world.  So here are just a few of the special kids in our first grade...

Friday, October 12, 2012

So That's What Our Country Looks Like!

 You may remember that last month, Ms. Bishop's third grade class started their adventure learning American history. At the end of that post, we told readers to stay tuned for the maps that the kids would be making next.   

So off they went to their geography unit.  The kids learned the continents and oceans, the compass rose and directions, and where they live in the world. Then they looked more carefully at the United States, after all, how can you learn its history if you don't know what the country looks like. 

Then to make the information feel more concrete, the kids worked in groups of three to create three-dimensional maps of the United States. Each day they added more information. They started by learning what borders the United States. Then they learned about the largest river, the Mississippi River, and two of the largest mountain ranges (the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains). The kids also put Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts on the map so they could visualize where we live within the United States. 

As they move forward in our history studies, these maps will serve as a reference tool. For example, when the kids learn about the Pilgrims leaving Europe and sailing to the United States, they will understand that the Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and reached the east coast. 

Before that, however, they will be using their maps in the Native American unit they have just started.  They are looking at the land features and climate in different regions of the United States and learning about how these features affected the way of life for Native American tribes within the region.

This is getting interesting, isn't it?  Start tuned...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away!





Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great Things Ahead

Yesterday was Columbus Day, so the kids were out for vacation.  Most holidays they may not be thinking of school, but, changes are, this time lots of kids are looking forward to Tuesday.  Yes, they will be learning the usual math, science, reading, and history.  There are also many special events starting up.

As you can see by this sign, Boston Bikes is coming to the Perkins with a fleet of bicycles to teach kids how to ride.

Other kids are going to have their first day of track practice after school.

All the kids are learning about good nutrition with a fun project we'll report on later.

As you can see, the Perkins kids are getting healthy.   

More about all these events later.  And the project that's starting on Tuesday in Ms. Murphy's class...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Look Who is in our Hallway!

It's getting close to November 6th and look who is standing in the front hall of the Perkins School.  We wish we could actually have President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney here.  On the other hand, they wouldn't be able to stay sot long.  Our principal, Mr. Brawer, brought in some cardboard replicas so we can start thinking about All Things Election.  He also wrote out some questions for our kids to chew on.


The kids have started thinking.  Hector, for example, wants to know about the first question, who gets to vote.  He knows you have to be eighteen years old.  Can every 18-year-old in America vote, he wonders.

Hector did say that if he could vote, he would pick President Obama.  Why?  "I would vote for him, because he was the first black president," he said.

Sumeiya said she was interested in the question: How does the losing candidate act when the election is finished and why?  Her thoughts?  "He will act mature," she said.  But, how would be feel?  "Sad," she answers.

Sumeiya definitely knows who she would vote for, but when asked, she decided not to tell.  She has already learned that she doesn't have to.  Every American can keep their political choices private if they want.  That's part of our democracy.  

What else will the kids learn?  Stay tuned.