Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Healthy Teeth are Happy Teeth

There are so many different kinds of learning that happen in school: math, reading, how to get along with each other, meeting deadlines.  These are skills that people use their whole lives long.  Learning to be healthy is another skill, one that helps us make our lives longer.  Mrs. B, our wellness coordinator, has been doing an extra special job this year.  She has been making sure that our kids know about everything from fun ways to exercise to good diets.  Now, she is even tackling their teeth!

Mrs. B found someone from Boston University's Dental School to come talk to all the Perkins' students about their choppers.  

Ms. Krissie Gibson taught our kids how to keep their teeth healthy and happy.  It all starts with brushing them frequently--and, correctly.  Brush down from the gum, both sides, and don't miss any spots.  Each tooth-brushing session should last for two whole minutes.  

How long is two minutes? If you don't have a clock handy, Ms. Gibson suggests singing the alphabet song to yourself four whole times.  Do it in your head, though, or you will get toothpaste all over the place!

Also there are foods that are tooth healthy, she explained.  High-fiber fruits and vegetables scrub your mouth while you are chewing, for example.  Dairy produces, like cheese, milk, and yoghurt, provide calcium, which helps keep teeth and bones strong.

Ms. Gibson knew that sometimes the best way to teach something is to make a game out of it.  That's why some of the older grades learned about dental heath by playing a quiz game that was like Jeopardy.  She divided other classes, such as, like Ms. Hardin's fourth grade, into two groups to compete against each other in a trivia match.  

 All the third grades did word search activities.  Who did the best on this exercise?

It turned out to be a three-way tie!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Common Core Again

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As we mentioned in a previous post, the Perkins School is embracing the new Common Core State Standards.  Mrs. Bishop's third grade class is working on them too--and, letting us see how they are doing it.  Just take a look at the very clear information Mrs. Bishop supplied along with the standards the exercises satisfied.

Here is a close-up look at some of the students' work:

They include captions to interpret historical events and timelines of those events to learn how to chronologize them.

Great work, kids.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Yes it is.  Reading is also fun. That's why the Perkins School has a Potluck Literacy Night every single year. 

This time, like every time, there was great food (Sorry, it was eaten before we could grab a picture of it!).   

 Books were read and acted out.

We raffled off baskets to raise money for school activities.  Talked, laughed, and ate some more.  It was a great night.

Yet the party wasn't over.  The next day, thanks to the Reading is Fundamental Books for Ownership program, every kid in school picked out a book for his or her home library.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Money's In!

"That's a big check!" one student exclaimed.

"Sure is," another replied.  "Is that even REAL?"

The answer is "no" and "yes."  The check isn't actually real.  What would the bank do with such a big one?  The money that it is giving to the Michael J. Perkins School is quite real.

Why are we getting FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?  Take a look at last month's post that explains how the kids won it for their physical fitness.

Now all we have to do is wait for spring--or, at least the worse of the winter weather to pass--so the kids can use some of the new sports equipment it bought.  What will they be playing with?  A wealth of games and physical fitness:

*A new badmitton set

*Lacrosse sticks

*New tennis rackets

*12 potato sacks

Hurry up, springtime!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Common Core? We're Working on It!

If you aren't in the education field, you might not know that we have new national standards to help improve our kids' learning.  They are called the "Common Core State Standards."  Teachers are learning how to incorporate them into lesson plans. So our teachers and kids are learning together!

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Mrs. Murphy's second grade class read some information about the Pilgrims.  Then they applied the new second grade KEY IDEAS AND DETAILS standard to what they read.  The kids were asked to identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

Mrs. Murphy made it more fun by having the kids write (and illustrate!) their own books. Their titles labelled their interpretations of the key idea: The Pilgrims Difficult Lives, for example, The Pilgrims Story, The Pilgrims Journey.  Then each following page identified the main idea of each paragraph.  The kids learned to pick out the important information and will eventually be able to take home book of their own.

Here are a few pages from two students' work:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An Author's Visit

Some of our younger kids see Ms. Goodman in the halls or in their classrooms and know she help writes the PerkinsBlog.  They forget, however, that she has another part of her working life.  She writes books; she is an author.  Recently she visited Ms. Haney's first grade class to talk about her "other job."

She explained that all books start with ideas.  Sometimes a publisher, or book company, comes to her with an idea and asks her to write about it.  That's how she came to write about monster trucks, for example.

"These books are fun and I learn a lot," she said, but her favorites are often the books when she came up with the idea herself.  The kids liked the idea behind All in Just One Cookie.  It is actually two stories in one.  The first is a grandmother making chocolate chip cookies for her grandchildren.  Then each time Grandma puts a new ingredient in the bowl, we find out where that butter or chocolate came from.  Did you know that baking soda comes from a giant lake in Wyoming that dried up 50 million years ago?

Ms. Goodman read the kids another book based on one of her own ideas, Nature Did It First.  She showed them a picture of a human using an object or device, say, a woman carrying her baby in a Snugli.  Then the kids could guess what animal carries her baby this way--a kangaroo!  

Here Ms. Goodman showed a picture of a boy on skates protected by a helmet, shin guards, and elbow pads.  The caption said, "Armor."  What animal also protects itself with a hard outer core?

The kids had a lot of answers for that one.  Turtles, snails, crabs, beetles. Those were all right answers.  It turned out Ms. Goodman had picked another one for her book, though.  The armadillo!

Finally it was time for the kids to start working on ideas of their own.  Ms. Goodman asked them to come up with ideas for another book: People Did It Second. She showed them pictures of animals doing something and asked them to come up with human equivalents.  For example, in this picture, a mother gorilla has built a nest of branches and leaves for her and her baby to sleep on.  What do people have that is similar?

The kids came up with several ideas.  They also came up with some great ideas for what humans have that works like a pelican's pouch and the emperor penguin's practice of having a few adults taking care of lots of kid penguins.  As you can see, our first graders had many suggestions for that one.  

Good ideas, kids! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

We're on the Boston Bikes Blog!

Well, it might be old news, but it's new news to us!  We wrote up our experience of our kids learning to roll with Boston Bikes.  They liked the report so much, they reprint the post on their blog.  
 Now even more people know about the great program the city has teaching kids to ride and to ride safety from their first outing.
And even more people know about the PerkinsBlog.  It might have happened in October, but it feels like a holiday present to us.
Mayor Menino's Boston Bikes shared a link.
Perkins Elementary School featured us on their blog! Check it out to get a quick view of what our Youth Cycling Program is doing in Boston schools!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Communities: Part 2

Ms. Leverett-King's students aren't the only first graders who are studying community.  Furthermore, a city is only one of the types of communities we have.  Ms. Enos's first grade ESL class tackled another...


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Odes to a City

Recently our first graders have been learning about the idea of community, and all the different types of communities they belong to.

One type of community they learned about in Ms. Leverett-King's first grade class was the city.  After reading this GIANT book about cities, the kids filled a giant bulletin board (actually, two of them) with the essays on their experiences in their own city of Boston.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

They're BA-A-A-CK!!

In the middle of November, a groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the beginning of Phase 2 of the Old Colony's makeover.  Phase 2 is even bigger than Phase 1 and will build 170 units.  Lots of speeches were made, and then a front-end loader took a chunk out of a building to great applause.  

Just one chunk, though. It wasn't quite time to tear all those old buildings down.

It is now!

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 And, look what is happening behind the blue fence...

Stay tuned, there's much more to come!