Miss Fine's Center Archive

The Miss Fine’s Center Webpage is an archive of feedback from faculty visits to peer schools, a record of lessons and learning in Princeton Day School classes, and a record of faculty experiences at PD workshops.


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In the Classroom

The Chemistry of Ceramic Glazes
The Chemistry of Ceramic Glazes

Anyone walking past Kim Collura's Chemistry Lab might wonder what Eric Rempe, Ceramics teacher, is doing teaching her class. Eric and Kim have been collaborating on an interdisciplinary unit that displays the real-world use of Chemistry in the creation of glazes with desired qualities. Students in Mr. Rempe's Advanced Ceramics classes have already completed a glaze lab in their classes and developed glazes that they are using to finish ceramic pieces. According to the PDS Upper School Curriculum Guide, "Applied Chemistry is an introductory course emphasizing the practical role chemistry plays in modern society and daily life. It provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of chemistry and covers traditional chemistry topics but within the context of societal issues and real-world scenarios. The laboratory-based course focuses on generating data from investigations, analyzing that data, and then applying a knowledge of chemistry to solve problems that arise in everyday life."


Over the course of five periods of instruction and collaboration, students in the Applied Chemistry class learn about the traits of the elements of the periodic table and how they interact and operate within glazes. Chemistry students have the opportunity to collaborate with Advanced Ceramics peers in making a slab built bowl to finish with the glaze they mixed. Final glazes that work as intended and are desirable can then be mixed in larger quantities to be applied to bowls. In the words of Eric Rempe, "I remember being a student in high school and wondering about why certain things were important to learn. I was always more invested when the teachers communicated a real world application for the content that we were covering. The objective of this assignment was just that. I wanted the Applied Chemistry students to see how their course content was being used right here at PDS and in the larger world."
Environmental Science Disaster Study
Environmental Science Disaster Study

Thomas Pettengill is a participant in the UPenn Day School Teaching Residency at PDS, and received a Miss Fine's Fellowship over the summer in order to develop the curriculum for a unit to be incorporated into Carlos Cara's Environmental Science Class.

"Thanks to the funding secured from the Miss Fine's Fellowship, I was able to spend my summer and the first month of school preparing a curriculum for the Upper School's Environmental Science course that discusses and explores the topic of environmental justice through the lens of natural disasters, particularly Hurricane Katrina. We will discuss public health, environmental racism and injustice, the roles of local, state, and federal governments, the role of the individual, the performance of healthcare systems during crises, and much more. All of these discussions will build towards the ultimate goal of encouraging students to more actively think about the many layers of an environmental disaster and how they impact different people. This knowledge will be demonstrated in the final project of the unit, in which they will design a museum exhibit for a different, more recent natural disaster which will be shared with peers both in and outside of the classroom. Throughout this unit, we will also heavily emphasize the experience of individuals, giving students opportunities to step outside of their world and empathize with others."

During the project, students first learned about the implications and outcomes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Then, they applied the analysis tools they had practiced to a new disaster each group chose on their own. After researching the chosen topic, students had to design an "exhibit" that would communicate a wide variety of information on the event itself, government response, as well as its impact on the wider community and individuals. On a recent visit to the class, students were beginning to think about the best way to represent salient aspects of their chosen natural disaster. Some of their choices included: Hurricane Maria, California Wildfires, the Haitian Earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy. During the final "museum exhibit" portion of the project, students shared their understanding of the chosen disaster and authoritatively answered questions about the response of government and individuals. They were also able to make some recommendations or observations about how responses and assistance could be improved in the future.

Mr. Pettengill felt the project was successful and achieved the goals for which he designed the project. He found the most rewarding and fulfilling moments of the unit were ones where students took initiative and ownership in their own learning through student-centered lessons and projects. He was particularly impressed by both their expertise on their chosen topics as well as their self-awareness in their reflections. Many students described a shift in their world views and their development of new perspectives on natural disasters and how they can lead to environmental injustice. Mr. Pettengill looks forward to continuing curriculum development in this subject area as well as collaborating with colleagues.

Sixth Grade Science Experiment Design
Sixth Grade Science Experiment Design

The excitement was palpable in room 118 as sixth graders began entering. Some gathered around Ms. Treese at the board as she began numbering the names of the groups listed on the board. With names like The Asteroids and Thyme Travelers, the sixth grade groups were assigned a number for their order in today's presentations. Each group has researched and designed an experiment to be conducted about growing plants in the garden; the class will vote on the experiment they will all conduct over the course of a few weeks this fall.


During the course of the class, each group has the opportunity to "win the research grant" by presenting their idea for an experiment, the variables, the question they will study, and the procedure for carrying out the experiment. At the end of the period, each student will vote on the experiment they want the entire class to conduct, taking into consideration a variety of factors and variables. This class is part of a Project-Based Learning unit planned by Middle School Science teacher Alli Treese with summer fellowship grant from the Miss Fine's Center. Alli wanted a more engaging and hands-on way for students to learn about experiment factors and design, so she decided to have the students engage in real-world application of the terminology and process they needed to learn about for their sixth-grade curriculum. With Annemarie Strange, also a sixth grade science teacher, students went out into the garden to learn about the various plans growing there and to explore the factors involved in successful germination and maturation of different items like radishes, turnips, and thyme.

The Arduino Club

Once a cycle, during period 5--the conference collaboration block--a group of self-selected students meets in the computer room in the new US STEAM center. This is the Arduino club, a group of students interested in programming. On a recent afternoon, math teacher Will Asch and some of the members of the Arduino Club were gathered around the conference table in the room, talking about the Arduinos, probes, and sensors scattered over its surface. These students, ranging from a group of 4 to 14 on any given day, have varying degrees of experience with Arduinos and programming, but come together to work on problems and programming of the devices.

This particular day, Mr. Asch was explaining a long-term challenge for the students to tackle. They were being asked to use sensors, programmed using the Arduino, to keep seedlings watered and alive in the PDS greenhouse. Mr. Asch explained some of the sensors that are available, as well as some of the challenges of keeping a plant watered but not drowned. This project will begin with the new, interdisciplinary, freshman STEAMinar course in which student will be asked to program an Arduino to control a solenoid valve to water a tray of seedlings until a water sensor determines the plants are moist enough. After the freshman class is done with the project (shortly after the new year), the Arduino club will take over the seedlings and their care. Their challenge will be to keep the seedlings alive, through the winter, in the greenhouse. The end goal is to be able to sell the seedlings at the Garden Club seedling sale in the spring.

Next, we took a short field-trip to the greenhouse to look at the space and the materials that the students would have at their disposal. The students and Mr. Asch looked at the size of the space and possible configurations for the arrangement of trays of seedlings. Looking at the space, Mr. Asch talked about heat and cold and relative humidity, as well as the challenge of keeping the correct temperature for growing plants. He pointed out the louvered ceiling windows, as well as the exhaust fan which would help to regulate temperature. He explained the fin-hot-water heating system that would keep the space warm if necessary, as well as the electrical outlets and the water sources. He remarked that a tour from a member of facilities could help students understand what they had at their disposal in the space. He also asked if students had any experience with wood-working or the wood shop and might be able to use those skills to build materials for the project. An engineer by training, Mr. Asch is encouraging the students to use whatever materials and skills they have to solve the problem. "The simpler the better." he remarked.


Decimal Boot Camp
Decimal Boot Camp

Have you been to decimal boot camp? Well, Jessica Clingman's fifth graders have, and their enthusiasm and energy was evident during yesterday's expedition. As students arrived in room 102, General Clingman gave orders. Cadets were told to pick up their name tags, get out their homework, and meet on the rug. Each student's name tag included a decimal and after everyone was gathered on the rug, they were ordered to do calisthenics, the numbers of which were determined by the numbers they found in the "places" on their name tags.

"Do as many jumping jacks as the number in the tenths place on your name tag," the General barked. Students were then given their "orders" for the class, a challenge to complete a series of activities to develop their mastery of decimals. Students could rank up by showing mastery of certain decimal concepts such as rounding, written form, standard form, adding, subtracting, and word problems. Students were given choices and were told how they would display their mastery of the topic to General Clingman. According to the General, motivation was high and student completion was thorough and enthusiastic.

Mrs. Clingman brought this teaching idea back from her visit last month to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, a middle school where both engagement and achievement are high. Jessica. Clingman, Maryann Ortiz, Brian Laskowski, and Alli Treese were able to attend a workshop at RCA through a fellowship grant from Miss Fine's Center, and what they learned is already translating itself into their classrooms.


Sorting Day
Sorting Day

Upon arrival in Mr. Laskowski's room this morning, I noticed his attire.

"Today is sorting day!" he exclaimed, wearing a blue cape with a butterfly adorning the back. He then proceeded to explain to his students that all of his 6th grade pre-algebra classes, as well as his 7th grade algebra class, would be sorted into four houses. Each house would have a background story and a hero associated with them. He explained some of the behaviors and contests which would allow students to accrue points for their house: enthusiasm, preparation, engagement, sportsmanlike behavior, house competitions, CML scores, and more. He talked about accountability and the fact that each house's score would be based upon the behavior and performance of students in all four of his classes. Next, Mr. Laskowski explained the backstory and hero of each house.

Having just returned from a Miss Fine's Center-facilitated trip to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Brian Laskowski was implementing the house system he witnessed there, which contributes to engagement and motivation of students in and out of classes.


Humanities and Interdisciplinary Experiences

Each year, sixth grade Humanities classes study the barbarian tribes of Europe and how their movements led to the fall of Rome and the rise of feudal systems. While studying the barbarians, we read Beowulf and discuss what it reveals about barbarian ideas, beliefs, and culture. During the reading, we create our own Mead Hall, complete with a feast. This year, the sixth graders visited the garden, where Pam Flory helped students plant foods that will be harvested in six weeks to use for our stew at the feast. We also visited the chickens and the bee hives in preparation for gathering eggs to use in making bread and desserts for the feast. Mr. Schomburg told us all about bee keeping and shared some of the PDS honey with us for making authentic Honey Cakes. When we begin to prepare the foods for our feast, Ms. Flory will help the students harvest the turnips and kohlrabi, as well as teach us how to grind our own rye and wheat flour to make Thunder Bread.





Constructing Modern Knowledge Workshop 2016
Constructing Modern Knowledge Workshop 2016

Day 1:

We started the workshop with introductions of the staff and the goals for the week, which are pretty simple, to take on a challenge and make something.

Gary, the main facilitator asked people to come up with ideas of things to make. As he made his way through everyone who had a hand raised, his assistants wrote the ideas on large pieces of post-it paper. We then went around and wrote our names on any projects that we might be interested in working on. In retrospect, this was unnecessary because after we sat down, he asked for people that were completely devoted to a project to write their project on a piece of paper and hold it up. Everyone then joined a group. I chose the "Smart House" project, while Drew and Ron selected the "Build a model of a human system" group, which Drew has suggested. My group wound up with 8 people in it, which seems about average.

We then broke into groups and were able to start working. We sort of brainstormed what a smart house might have in it. Then we went and starting collecting things to work with. They have sooo much stuff. It's overwhelming.

From felt and fabric, to Arduinos, Raspberry Pi's, pens and markers, Makey Makey's, conductive tape and thread. I'll try to take pictures tomorrow. This workshop is mostly a big maker space.

So, anyway, I started working with this other guy and we starting to build a door entry system that has a green LED when the door is closed, but then lights a red LED and turns on a buzzer when the door opens. We built it with an Arduino. I had never used one, so I thought it was cool that we could do this in 2-3 hours. However, I have a lot of computer programming experience. I would have been somewhat lost if I didn't.

This link (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2ol30Aw-8pieGhQR0ZsdFQ2UjQ) is to a video of our prototype.

We're going to add a keypad tomorrow that will reset the alarm tomorrow. And then we'll see where we go. We might start another project, or we might work on the actual door. There are some people working on a doorbell that takes a picture of the person, so we might add that to our door as well.

My reflections on the day are that I felt like I needed prior knowledge to be successful in what I chose to do. However, I chose a more technical piece of equipment to work with. There were simpler technologies, like Little Bits (http://littlebits.cc/). They work with the Scratch programming language, which is how many kids get started on coding. It's a featured language for the Hour of Code. The Arduinos work with a version of C++. But, really, you can usually steal code from other people, but you have to understand some of the theory behind coding in general.

Student Choice in Final Assessments
Student Choice in Final Assessments

In Liz Cutler's Food for Thought class this spring, students had a choice for their final research project; they could write a traditional research paper about their topic, or they could create a website following the model of the Conflict Kitchen website (http://conflictkitchen.org). Allowing students to choose their method for their final presentation of what they learned during their research process empowered them to choose the communication method which they felt would be most effective for their topic. It also encouraged students to develop alternative literacies in to share their thinking and ideas.

https://spark.adobe.com/page/Tb9Pj/ --on Yugoslavia

https://spark.adobe.com/page/oovlq/ -- on Sierra Leone


Scientific Investigations and Project Based Learning  in Grade 5
Scientific Investigations and Project Based Learning in Grade 5

As a part of the Scientific Investigations Unit, students did a project-based learning activity that focused on internalizing their math multiplication facts. The project was introduced with a letter from a pretend math company asking the students to create products that would help students learn their math facts. The students were asked to gear their products toward certain types of learners: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Inspired by the letter, the class studied learning styles and choose a learning style for their product. In each class, the students were divided into groups of three and four students and tasked with creating a proposal for a product that would teach the math skills to their assigned type of learner. The classmates were able to give the groups feedback as the products were being fine tuned. All groups presented their products to the class and then one product was chosen as the one the class would create.

One class created math multiplication pickle for kinesthetic learners. With the help of technology specialist, James Atkeson, one class created a iPad book that read the answers to auditory learners. A third class made dot arrays for visual learners. Finally, another class acted as the control and created math packets for repeated and targeted practice.

Students took a pretest to assess their skill level before using the products, and then the excitement and fun began. Classes practiced using their products for 5 fifteen-minute sessions. Students were retested at the end of the 5 days and the results were amazing. Some classes improved by up to 30%. As a culminating event, the fifth graders brought their products to share with the 4th grade classes in the Lower School. Throughout the project students were asked to self-evaluate their own participation in the group work, give peer feedback, and use the scientific terms and procedures they had learned make up an effective scientific investigation.

--Jessica Clingman


Seventh Grade Pre-Algebra Flag Project
Seventh Grade Pre-Algebra Flag Project

Have you ever wondered how Algebra is used in "real life?" Students in Mr. Laskowski's seventh grade Algebra classes had the opportunity to find out. Seventh graders each chose a flag to recreate using linear equations in both standard and y-intercept form, with a given domain. In the class, students tested the equations to check one another's flag accuracy. For an extra challenge, they even changed the equations to inequalities to "color" the flags correctly. Check out the slide show of their work here.

To see more photos from the project, click here.

3rd Grade Map Experience in the Institute Woods
3rd Grade Map Experience in the Institute Woods
During our study of colonial times and the revolutionary war, the third grade visited Pennsbury Manor, Washington Crossing Historic Park, and the Princeton Battlefield, as well as the Institute for Advanced Study woods, which are right behind the battlefield. In the woods, students got to walk on, map, and explore some of the same trails that George Washington and his army marched on as they snuck into Princeton to capture the town. On this field trip, students were tasked with being spies for the Patriot cause and were split into groups of 8 with parent chaperones as they had to find the "rumored" swinging bridge that could be a means of retreat if the battle at Princeton did not go according to plan. Once the groups were released, they had to navigate the labyrinth trails noting natural features that would help them mark points of interest on the map that could guide any future reader of their maps toward the suspension bridge and back to their starting point. There were numbered sign posts in the woods that let students know they were on an approved trail, and some of the numbered signposts had questions to test the students' knowledge of the colonial time periods. The main purpose of this field trip was to help students understand the importance and difficulty of making maps, as well as understanding the important role that local knowledge played in helping the Patriots in their struggle.


3rd Grade Outdoor Art/Science/Social Studies Field Trip
3rd Grade Outdoor Art/Science/Social Studies Field Trip

After a few months reading and researching about the journey of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery, the third graders were able to spend a day outside putting into action the scientific, artistic, and leadership skills that Lewis and Clark exhibited on their journey across America. The day allowed students to experience four separate stations at the Turning Basin Park, the adjacent D&R Canal, and the nearby Rogers H. Wildlife Refuge. On the canal, students had to work as a team with teachers to paddle up and down the canal while also using their student-engineered and built trash scoops to clean up a section of the D&R Canal. At Turning Basin park students also completed team challenges that required and fostered team cooperation and leadership skills. At the Rogers H. Wildlife Refuge, students experienced two other stations. One where students worked to identify plants - like Merriweather Lewis - and map their surroundings. To prepare for this exercise students designed and built their own sketch kits to hold all their sketching tools in Art class, as well as completed some map drawing activities in Art class. At the other station in the woods, students had to work as a team to erect a shelter to help them survive in the wilderness. Students examined and practiced building such shelters in science class prior to the field trip. Students also used some of their science time to design and build their trash scoops for the canal clean up and canoeing station.


6th Grade Outdoor Experience

This fall, sixth grade students were treated to an "outdoor experience" school day. Envisioned as an opportunity for community building, sustainability work, and outdoor activities, the students spent time exploring the Stony Brook with Millstone-Stony Brook Watershed instructors, hiking the PDS nature trail, writing poetry, and playing cooperative games.

Thanks to a fellowship grant from the Miss Fine's Center, Tom Buckelew, Drew Lloyd, Cindy Peifer, and Joe Reilly spent time this summer planning out the activities and schedule for the day. Students were able to experience the reality of packing a backpack and hiking a trail, as well as packing their own sustainable snack for the day.


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Archaeology Alive in 5th Grade
Archaeology Alive in 5th Grade

Each fall, the fifth grade classes embark on the experience of being archaeologists. After discussing and learning about the elements of culture with their teachers (Cindy Peifer, Tarshia Griffin-Ley, and Joseph Reilly), they create their own culture. Each class is assigned a time period and climate, and students decide the societal structure, values, ethics, and symbols which will make up their culture. Students spend time crafting artifacts which are representative of these essential elements of their created society, and then they bury them in one of the schools archaeology pits.

Next, another fifth grade class, after learning about archaeology and the proper procedures and behaviors of a dig, set about excavating the buried culture. The students take turns playing the role of excavator, sifter, recorder, photographer, and measurer, all while documenting their process and the artifacts which are discovered.

After they complete the excavation, the class will reverse their process of culture creation to make interpretations and draw conclusions about the culture they have excavated. Using what they now know about symbolism, values, and societal structure, the students create a picture of what they think the buried culture was like.

The last step in the process is the sharing of interpretations and intent between the two classes.

This entire process provides the students with an excellent foundation in seeing the limitations of our ability to comprehend the history of excavated ancient cultures. As the fifth grade goes on to study China, Greece, and Rome, they will frequently refer back to the Dig, and their interpretations of another culture and its degree of accuracy.

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Barbarian Mead Hall Feast
Barbarian Mead Hall Feast

The sixth grade Humanities curriculum begins with a study of the fall of Rome and the barbarian migrations in Europe. Each year, sixth graders read an abridged version of the classic, Beowulf, an epic poem about the heroism of a Danish warrior. A crucial part of the reading of Beowulf is the understanding students gain about the warrior culture of the Germanic tribes and their cultural rituals of feasting and storytelling in the Mead Hall of the lord, as well as the values of loyalty and bravery.

In order to help students understand the bonds which were built in this setting, as well as to better see how the Danes and other Germanic tribes would have farmed, harvested, and prepared their foods, last spring, the fifth graders planted a variety of foods that the barbarians might have eaten. This fall, the sixth graders returned to the garden to harvest their leeks, turnips, cabbage, and herbs. Students learned about how people of the time would have preserved their foods to help them survive through the winter, and why certain foods would have been chosen and available (no squash or potatoes here).

Upon returning to the classroom, students made an Anglo-Saxon chicken stew using their vegetables, with some additions, baked an Icelandic thunderbread made of rye and wheat flour, and "churned" their own butter. Students then had the treat of enjoying all of the results of their labor, along with some mead (cider), during a Mead Hall feast on the last day of the reading of Beowulf.

All of these experiences serve as background knowledge when the students move on to the project-based learning unit where they will be asked to debate the question, "Was it fair for the Romans to call the barbarians barbaric?"

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7th Grade Design Challenge
7th Grade Design Challenge

During a recent visit to Deb Hillmanno's 7th grade Design Challenge class, the excitement was palpable. In this problem-solving, design-based course, students combine the use of hydraulics, math skills, and basic woodworking skills to solve a given task. For a recent project, students were paired together to design a device that can move a dowel across a testing board from one existing point to another. This device needed to be able to grasp the dowel, lift it over a barrier and reach minimum and maximum distances. Water was used as the power source and syringes were used as the mechanisms that conduct the hydraulic power.


7th Grade Philadelphia Trip

The seventh grade core enthusiastically united behind the idea of using the book Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson as a focal point for our annual trip to Philadelphia. In order to prepare for this addition, the Core teachers took a walking tour of Philadelphia with the educational coordinator, Dr. Cynthia Little, of the Philadelphia History Museum. The PDS Miss Fine´s Center generously funded this professional development opportunity, and this has resulted in an enhanced experience for our students. Each student read the novel Fever 1793 prior to going to Philadelphia. Students toured the city with their advisors and saw many of the places mentioned in the book. A highlight was the visit to the Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church which played a significant role during the epidemic. Students visited the special presidential election exhibit in the Constitution Center, toured the rotunda of the Constitution Center and mingled with the bronze statues in Signers´Hall. Another addition to the day was lunch at various restaurants at which the owners shared their family immigration stories with our students.

Scale Model of a Mosque
Scale Model of a Mosque
Tara Quigley's Humanities classes were studying Islam. Instead of having students read about structures, she decided to have them build a scale model of a mosque, including people, decorations, and all of the important elements which would demonstrate how Muslims communicate their ideas and beliefs, and how mosques reflect the environment in which they are found.

Each class began with a discussion and activity about scale and then groups formed to research what would be necessary to include in a model of a mosque, and how to build it with materials available in the creation station. One group filmed the process and created a 30-minute video about the importance of various aspects of the mosque and about what their peers learned during the process.

During their reflections, students shared that felt they would better remember the information they learned this way, and that they learned a great deal about how to collaborate with their peers and work effectively and efficiently in a group-- all important life skills.

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DEEPdt of Feudalism
DEEPdt of Feudalism

The sixth grade Humanities team undertook a design thinking unit in order to help students imagine what life was like for the inhabitants of Western Europe in the period after the fall of Rome. If students could imagine what life was like when the infrastructure of Rome was gone, and empathize with the difficulties of those living during the time, then the might have a better understanding of why the feudal system came about.

Thinking about TKAM
Thinking about TKAM

Character group: Using what you know about the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird, create models of the characters using the materials in the classroom art closet or the library maker space. Some materials ideas: cardboard, yarn, buttons, fabric, raffia, etc. The character's appearance should represent his/her age, size, socio-econonmic status status, etc. Before you design your characters, you will need to create lists of traits and descriptions. ***Note: As we meet new characters in the novel, we will add them to your models, so plan to create more models in the coming weeks.

Setting group: Using what you know about the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, create a map of Maycomb. It can be a literal, drawn map; it can be a 3D model representation; it can use our school space to represent different parts of the town (within classroom or beyond the classroom, using whole 8th grade hall and lounge area). Consider where Maycomb is located in the United States and within Alabama and what Harper Lee has told us about its layout. ***Note: As we continue reading,we will learn about other parts of town, so plan to expand your map in the coming weeks.

Grade 5 Archaeology Lesson
Grade 5 Archaeology Lesson

Jane, whose specialty is geology and earth sciences, is going to invite my class into her room for a brief exposition and Q&A related to the shifting of the upper layers of the surface of the earth. She has useful visuals and examples galore in her room for this purpose!

Our intention is to blend disciplines with the objective of clarifying misconceptions that my 5th graders usually approach the dig with, and enhancing the class' understanding of stratigraphy as it concerns archaeologists. They are often unclear about how artifacts come to be buried, and we hope to clarify the process for them.

Karoo in US English
Karoo in US English

Karoo project

Why project-based learning (preparing you for success in changing future)...see posts on Schoology; pbl stresses "21st century competencies: critical thinking and problem solving; collaboration; communication; creativity/innovation...a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers." (Buck Institute of Learning: "What is PBL?" and "8 Essentials of PBL")

Note: You will need to research what goes into the making of a good film, soundtrack, magazine cover or photo spread, or book cover. What makes a good introduction? A good interview? Good artwork? What is the objective or purpose of each? Films, soundtracks, photographs, and book covers each possess a structure, and each tells a story. What story will you tell? And how will you manipulate structure to tell the best story you can? If the work is not original—i.e. created by you—what would the cost of licensing these songs, works of art, photographs be in today's market? What would it cost to shoot a five-minute scene for a film?

"Beauty & the Beast": A Unique Interdisciplinary Project in the Upper School
"Beauty & the Beast": A Unique Interdisciplinary Project in the Upper School

The Upper School Photojournalism and Environmental Studies classes along with the EnAct student sustainability club are working together on a unique interdisciplinary term-long project called "Beauty and the Beast: The Fall and Rise of the Raritan River." Through the lenses of history, science, photography and economics, the students will explore the river, focusing on documenting the ecological impacts that have affected the Raritan over the course of the last century and will also record its unique beauty through photography. Science teacher Carlos Cara, English teacher and Sustainability Coordinator Liz Cutler, and Photography teacher Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick created the project through the auspices of the Miss Fine's Center, which provides support for interdisciplinary work at Princeton Day School. Assisted by Lower School Science teacher Aaron Schomburg these teachers are working to help their students study and gain insight on New Jersey's Raritan River. In discussing the project, Ms. Hohmuth-Lemonick noted, "This river, the longest in the state, has a long history; it was used for transportation, as an energy source to many industries, and as a convenient pool for toxic waste. In addition, the river runs through many beautiful locations in central New Jersey that are the homes for many species of birds, reptiles and amphibians, and mammals alike. It is also the source of Princeton's drinking water." She added, "In addition, we hope to take part in some of the recovery efforts that are taking place to bring the river and the surrounding riparian ecosystems back to health." The students often take experiential trips to the river, allowing sufficient time for a deep exploration of the topic and to hear from outside experts. The project will be completed in the spring, and a coffee table book is planned as a capstone to the course. Here are some photos from the project thus far.

Workshops

Decimal Boot Camp
Decimal Boot Camp

Have you been to decimal boot camp? Well, Jessica Clingman's fifth graders have, and their enthusiasm and energy was evident during yesterday's expedition. As students arrived in room 102, General Clingman gave orders. Cadets were told to pick up their name tags, get out their homework, and meet on the rug. Each student's name tag included a decimal and after everyone was gathered on the rug, they were ordered to do calisthenics, the numbers of which were determined by the numbers they found in the "places" on their name tags.

"Do as many jumping jacks as the number in the tenths place on your name tag," the General barked. Students were then given their "orders" for the class, a challenge to complete a series of activities to develop their mastery of decimals. Students could rank up by showing mastery of certain decimal concepts such as rounding, written form, standard form, adding, subtracting, and word problems. Students were given choices and were told how they would display their mastery of the topic to General Clingman. According to the General, motivation was high and student completion was thorough and enthusiastic.

Mrs. Clingman brought this teaching idea back from her visit last month to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, a middle school where both engagement and achievement are high. Jessica. Clingman, Maryann Ortiz, Brian Laskowski, and Alli Treese were able to attend a workshop at RCA through a fellowship grant from Miss Fine's Center, and what they learned is already translating itself into their classrooms.


Climate and the Ocean at Princeton University
Climate and the Ocean at Princeton University

Alli Treese and Ron Banas attended a workshop on Climate and the Ocean organized by Princeton University's Teacher Prep Program and sponsored by the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science. In Dr. Banas' words, "the conference attended this summer offered Alli and myself an opportunity to not only reinforce our understanding of the topic of climate science, but we were able to participate in innovative modeling activities which we will bring back to our classrooms. The course included several guest speakers involved in up-to-date research on climate change and present day theories regarding the ocean's role in it." Dr. Banas further stated that "I feel that building these types of programs with research scientists (whether the Quest Program or Teachers as Scholars) are an excellent conduit of the latest information available on whatever topic is presented. Not only is the subject matter presented in a clear and concise manner by individuals with considerable horsepower, it allows for collaboration of like-minded individuals to bounce off each other ways to present the content to our students."

The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy
The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy

Cindy Peifer and Tara Quigley had the opportunity to attend The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy (The Academy) organized by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. This five-day workshop provided a solid introduction to the newest research and understanding about the brain, as well as considerable work on how to teach our students in ways that make the most of Mind, Brain, and Education Science. The workshop included "Translation Groups" and a visit to meet and learn from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, and there was a strong emphasis on empowering teachers to be researchers to enhance their craft. Each faculty member returned to their school with the beginnings of a research project, and there will be three follow-up, virtual experiences throughout the school year. Tara and Cindy were lucky enough to be a part of a translation group that included a cohort of faculty and their administrators from the Discovery Schools in Africa. Miss Fine's Center hopes to send more faculty to this worthwhile workshop in the future.

Walton Sustainability Academy Workshop
Walton Sustainability Academy Workshop
On September 1st, thirty-four PDS teachers attended a full day of professional development provided by the Walton Sustainability Academy of Arizona State University. This training workshop on sustainability science focused on an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability education. At the workshop our goal was to develop a deeper understanding of sustainability problems, the skills to communicate these complex problems and the competencies required to develop sustainable solutions. We learned that sustainability isn't just something to add to the classroom, but a way of understanding interconnected social, economic and environmental systems that makes
sustainability relevant to what teachers are already teaching. With an eye to the skills students will need in the 21st century, we learned that sustainability is not just about healthy food, community engagement and cleaner air. It's also a key driver of social and technological innovation. Teaching sustainability science provides our students with a versatile skill set with broad applicability. Sustainable development is the key to long-term economic prosperity and social equity.

View the picture gallery here.

Constructing Modern Knowledge Workshop 2016
Constructing Modern Knowledge Workshop 2016

Day 1:

We started the workshop with introductions of the staff and the goals for the week, which are pretty simple, to take on a challenge and make something.

Gary, the main facilitator asked people to come up with ideas of things to make. As he made his way through everyone who had a hand raised, his assistants wrote the ideas on large pieces of post-it paper. We then went around and wrote our names on any projects that we might be interested in working on. In retrospect, this was unnecessary because after we sat down, he asked for people that were completely devoted to a project to write their project on a piece of paper and hold it up. Everyone then joined a group. I chose the "Smart House" project, while Drew and Ron selected the "Build a model of a human system" group, which Drew has suggested. My group wound up with 8 people in it, which seems about average.

We then broke into groups and were able to start working. We sort of brainstormed what a smart house might have in it. Then we went and starting collecting things to work with. They have sooo much stuff. It's overwhelming.

From felt and fabric, to Arduinos, Raspberry Pi's, pens and markers, Makey Makey's, conductive tape and thread. I'll try to take pictures tomorrow. This workshop is mostly a big maker space.

So, anyway, I started working with this other guy and we starting to build a door entry system that has a green LED when the door is closed, but then lights a red LED and turns on a buzzer when the door opens. We built it with an Arduino. I had never used one, so I thought it was cool that we could do this in 2-3 hours. However, I have a lot of computer programming experience. I would have been somewhat lost if I didn't.

This link (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2ol30Aw-8pieGhQR0ZsdFQ2UjQ) is to a video of our prototype.

We're going to add a keypad tomorrow that will reset the alarm tomorrow. And then we'll see where we go. We might start another project, or we might work on the actual door. There are some people working on a doorbell that takes a picture of the person, so we might add that to our door as well.

My reflections on the day are that I felt like I needed prior knowledge to be successful in what I chose to do. However, I chose a more technical piece of equipment to work with. There were simpler technologies, like Little Bits (http://littlebits.cc/). They work with the Scratch programming language, which is how many kids get started on coding. It's a featured language for the Hour of Code. The Arduinos work with a version of C++. But, really, you can usually steal code from other people, but you have to understand some of the theory behind coding in general.

OESIS 2016 Conference Presentation
OESIS 2016 Conference Presentation

OESIS is a U.S.-based innovation network of 400+ prestigious independent schools. Princeton Day School was the only independent school that had four faculty members presenting at the OESIS conference in Boston October 17th and 18th. Tara Quigley, Humanities Teacher, and Sheila Goeke, Director of Libraries, presented "6th-8th Grade Digital Literacies in Humanities;" Jamie Atkeson, MS Technology Coordinator, presented "Aviation and Science: Interdisciplinary Exploration;" and Nichole Foster-Hinds, MS Math Teacher/Acting Math Department Chair 5-8, presented "Angry Birds with Algebra." Congratulations to our wonderful PDS teachers!

Al-Bustan Arab Arts and Culture Course
Al-Bustan Arab Arts and Culture Course

Thanks to a grant from the Miss Fine's Center, MS music teacher Channing McCullough had the opportunity to attend teh Al-Bustan Arab Arts and Culture Workshop. She plans to visit classes in the school to share what she learned, particularly the sixth grade Humanities classes, which study the Golden Age of Islam. Her report about the workshop is below.

"This July I attended the Al-Bustan Arab Arts and Culture professional development course. Knowing very little about Arabic culture, I was inspired to take the course because of it's promise to connect music with the language, culture and history of the Arabic world. Particularly after studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain I was delighted to know that the focus would be on Al Andalus, a region of Spain that to many is the "golden age" of Arabic Culture. Each day was filled with music lessons ranging from music theory, music performance, and even the interpretation and diction of the Arabic language. The course was a challenge, as my western ears were not accustomed to the half and quarter tones so significant in Arabic music. This course developed in me a thirst to learn even more about world drumming and world music. Perhaps the most meaningful take away from the course was how Arabic music and culture have influenced so much of what we hear and see today. Truly in a study of human geography and music, we learned how connected we are. We were given specific tools, exercises, poems and audio visual aids to use in the classroom; the goal being not only cultural competency, but steps beyond mere understanding. Using a study of culture and people to foster and appreciation, respect and a desire to advocate for those that are different than ourselves."

The Golden Age of Spain Baroque Dance Workshop
The Golden Age of Spain Baroque Dance Workshop

What follows is the evaluation of a workshop experience which Ann Robideaux was able to attend in the summer of 2016 through a Miss Fine's Center Fellowship grant.

Incredibly inspiring as both an educator and a dance aficionado, I had the honor to attend the NY Baroque Dance Company's Historical Dance Workshop focusing on The Golden Age of Spain this past June in Santa Barbara, CA through the sponsorship of a Miss Fine's grant. You can find out more on this amazing dance company that was founded in NYC in 1976 at http://nybaroquedance.org/about/.

The opportunity to study with Ana Yepes, a dance scholar, performer and choreographer focusing on Spanish and other dances of the Baroque era is invaluable. Combining impeccable teaching skills as we learned the Españoleta and the Jácara dances, the intensive days also included lectures on her extensive research into ancient dance manuscripts. On our final day, we witnessed comparisons of the same dances performed in both Spanish Baroque Dance style (as performed by Yepes) and French Baroque Dance style (performed by members of the NY Baroque Dance Company) which offered a unique perspective on the differences and similarities of these styles.

One part of the Jácara dance that will captivate PDS' middle school language and humanities students is a step known as the "grillo". Typically, we tend to think a "grillo" in Spanish is a cricket, but on further investigation of the term, in the renaissance era, grillos were also the shackles that bound the ankles of prisoners and thus the tight-ankled step of the "grillo" has this extra double meaning lending more meaning to the dance in turn. By combining Spanish vocabulary of dance steps and body parts while doing the actual movements, students will be reinforcing language in new ways, perhaps more effective than only reading or hearing about the vocabulary. Middle school humanities students will get to take a stab at re-constructing dances (without the help of technology) from ancient documents, much like paper map-reading today.

As much of the material seems simple but is quite advanced, particularly in its nuanced style, I am also looking forward to digging deep with PDS' advanced dancers in the upper school, and perhaps some advanced Spanish students as well, with the Spanish court dances as well as creating a thematic context for the historical and social context they convey.

An unexpected benefit of attending the workshop in Santa Barbara is that we visited many Spanish-influenced historic sites including the Santa Barbara Mission's "La Huerta" garden which "portrays the botanic history of Spain's agricultural transformation of the California landscape by preserving authentic and ancient plants collected from sites where rare Mission-Era (1769-1834) varieties survived." This educational garden serves many students throughout the year and is an interesting take on learning through gardening--surely something of interest to PDS' Green Team!
Stanford Design School Workshop

In May 2016, ceramic teacher Stephanie Stuefer and biology teacher Carrie Norrin had the opportunity to attend a 2 day workshop at the Stanford Design School. They reported back that:

"Both days were spent understanding and digesting the design thinking process using specific short 'exercises,' field work in the town of Palo Alto, hands-on activities, presentations, and collaborative projects. The biggest take-away from an artist's perspective is that it broke down the creative process and creative problem solving in such accessible ways to non-artists...and even to artists. The workshop really answered the question, 'How do you teach creative thinking?' It provided a great introduction and explanation of where and how to begin. I realized that kids and adults, most especially those lacking confidence or experience with creative endeavors (as so many do), could be transformed by the methods that the workshop presented. At the core of it was collaboration and facing failure with some really effective methods for mindset changing. For so long I have internalized the 'design thinking' process and I have used some mediocre methods for translating these steps to my students. Now I feel that I have a much better understanding of how to truly teach creative thinking to students and teachers using very effective strategies and creating specific environments and collaborations. Working and talking together during this workshop was a huge bonus and we were able to delve deeper into our brainstorming and planning for our art and science elective that we want to offer in the fall of 2017 with the new schedule in place. The design thinking processes will be at the core of our curriculum and we were deeply inspired by the workshop."

Teacher's Guild Meetup
Teacher's Guild Meetup

In March of 2016, Tara Quigley, Sheila Goeke, Carol Olson, and Amy Beckford had the opportunity to attend a Teacher's Guild meet up at the Steelcase showroom in Manhattan. As part of the Teacher's Guild mission to spark the use of design thinking in classrooms across the country to improve education, they participated in the prototyping of several proposed solutions to the prompt: "How might we create programs, processes, and tools to provide ongoing support to all students on their journey to and through college?" The faculty members had the opportunity to engage in the prototyping of a challenge and presenting it to fellow attendees. It was a great opportunity to learn about the design thinking process, and to meet other like-minded teachers.

Teachers Guild

EA Innovates DT Workshop
EA Innovates DT Workshop

In July of 2015, seven teachers from PDS (Jamie Atkeson, Ron Banas, Deb Hillmanno, Nichole Foster-Hinds, Tarshia Griffin-Ley, Alesia Klein, and Tara Quigley) had the opportunity to attend the four-day EA Innovates workshop at Episcopal Academy. The topic of the workshop was design thinking and tinkering/making. They had the opportunity to engage in activities which taught them the principles of the creative-problem solving methodology known as design thinking, and to use a variety of supplies (batteries, wiring, LED bulbs, stop-motion iPad apps, clay, pipe cleaners, and cardboard boxes) to create a variety of items. The theme of the week was "How might we create learning spaces which spark student creativity?" and the culmination project was a prototype of some elements of a class the participants had envisioned. With the start of the school year, several of the faculty members used their new skills to reimagine classroom activities, faculty meetings, and team-planning meetings.

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School Visits

Westtown School Visit
Westtown School Visit

On April 12, 2016 seven faculty members (Jamie Atkeson, Liz Cutler, Howie Powers, Susan Reichlin, Katy Terry, Beth Yakoby, Tara Quigley) traveled to West Chester, PA to visit the Westtown School. Teachers were able to observed a variety of classes and meet with teachers to learn about some of the unique programs at Westtown, including their The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind 8th grade class project, their Deep Dive Certificate program, and their new LS Maker Space. Upon return to PDS, several of the faculty members have remained in contact with their counterparts and are planning units here at PDS that have grown out of work they saw in action at Westtown. These include a social justice podcast project centered around the 8th grade's reading of To Kill a Mockingbird and a 5th grade science project about sources of energy.

MFC Fellowships

Environmental Science Disaster Study
Environmental Science Disaster Study

Thomas Pettengill is a participant in the UPenn Day School Teaching Residency at PDS, and received a Miss Fine's Fellowship over the summer in order to develop the curriculum for a unit to be incorporated into Carlos Cara's Environmental Science Class.

"Thanks to the funding secured from the Miss Fine's Fellowship, I was able to spend my summer and the first month of school preparing a curriculum for the Upper School's Environmental Science course that discusses and explores the topic of environmental justice through the lens of natural disasters, particularly Hurricane Katrina. We will discuss public health, environmental racism and injustice, the roles of local, state, and federal governments, the role of the individual, the performance of healthcare systems during crises, and much more. All of these discussions will build towards the ultimate goal of encouraging students to more actively think about the many layers of an environmental disaster and how they impact different people. This knowledge will be demonstrated in the final project of the unit, in which they will design a museum exhibit for a different, more recent natural disaster which will be shared with peers both in and outside of the classroom. Throughout this unit, we will also heavily emphasize the experience of individuals, giving students opportunities to step outside of their world and empathize with others."

During the project, students first learned about the implications and outcomes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Then, they applied the analysis tools they had practiced to a new disaster each group chose on their own. After researching the chosen topic, students had to design an "exhibit" that would communicate a wide variety of information on the event itself, government response, as well as its impact on the wider community and individuals. On a recent visit to the class, students were beginning to think about the best way to represent salient aspects of their chosen natural disaster. Some of their choices included: Hurricane Maria, California Wildfires, the Haitian Earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy. During the final "museum exhibit" portion of the project, students shared their understanding of the chosen disaster and authoritatively answered questions about the response of government and individuals. They were also able to make some recommendations or observations about how responses and assistance could be improved in the future.

Mr. Pettengill felt the project was successful and achieved the goals for which he designed the project. He found the most rewarding and fulfilling moments of the unit were ones where students took initiative and ownership in their own learning through student-centered lessons and projects. He was particularly impressed by both their expertise on their chosen topics as well as their self-awareness in their reflections. Many students described a shift in their world views and their development of new perspectives on natural disasters and how they can lead to environmental injustice. Mr. Pettengill looks forward to continuing curriculum development in this subject area as well as collaborating with colleagues.

Sixth Grade Science Experiment Design
Sixth Grade Science Experiment Design

The excitement was palpable in room 118 as sixth graders began entering. Some gathered around Ms. Treese at the board as she began numbering the names of the groups listed on the board. With names like The Asteroids and Thyme Travelers, the sixth grade groups were assigned a number for their order in today's presentations. Each group has researched and designed an experiment to be conducted about growing plants in the garden; the class will vote on the experiment they will all conduct over the course of a few weeks this fall.


During the course of the class, each group has the opportunity to "win the research grant" by presenting their idea for an experiment, the variables, the question they will study, and the procedure for carrying out the experiment. At the end of the period, each student will vote on the experiment they want the entire class to conduct, taking into consideration a variety of factors and variables. This class is part of a Project-Based Learning unit planned by Middle School Science teacher Alli Treese with summer fellowship grant from the Miss Fine's Center. Alli wanted a more engaging and hands-on way for students to learn about experiment factors and design, so she decided to have the students engage in real-world application of the terminology and process they needed to learn about for their sixth-grade curriculum. With Annemarie Strange, also a sixth grade science teacher, students went out into the garden to learn about the various plans growing there and to explore the factors involved in successful germination and maturation of different items like radishes, turnips, and thyme.

The Arduino Club

Once a cycle, during period 5--the conference collaboration block--a group of self-selected students meets in the computer room in the new US STEAM center. This is the Arduino club, a group of students interested in programming. On a recent afternoon, math teacher Will Asch and some of the members of the Arduino Club were gathered around the conference table in the room, talking about the Arduinos, probes, and sensors scattered over its surface. These students, ranging from a group of 4 to 14 on any given day, have varying degrees of experience with Arduinos and programming, but come together to work on problems and programming of the devices.

This particular day, Mr. Asch was explaining a long-term challenge for the students to tackle. They were being asked to use sensors, programmed using the Arduino, to keep seedlings watered and alive in the PDS greenhouse. Mr. Asch explained some of the sensors that are available, as well as some of the challenges of keeping a plant watered but not drowned. This project will begin with the new, interdisciplinary, freshman STEAMinar course in which student will be asked to program an Arduino to control a solenoid valve to water a tray of seedlings until a water sensor determines the plants are moist enough. After the freshman class is done with the project (shortly after the new year), the Arduino club will take over the seedlings and their care. Their challenge will be to keep the seedlings alive, through the winter, in the greenhouse. The end goal is to be able to sell the seedlings at the Garden Club seedling sale in the spring.

Next, we took a short field-trip to the greenhouse to look at the space and the materials that the students would have at their disposal. The students and Mr. Asch looked at the size of the space and possible configurations for the arrangement of trays of seedlings. Looking at the space, Mr. Asch talked about heat and cold and relative humidity, as well as the challenge of keeping the correct temperature for growing plants. He pointed out the louvered ceiling windows, as well as the exhaust fan which would help to regulate temperature. He explained the fin-hot-water heating system that would keep the space warm if necessary, as well as the electrical outlets and the water sources. He remarked that a tour from a member of facilities could help students understand what they had at their disposal in the space. He also asked if students had any experience with wood-working or the wood shop and might be able to use those skills to build materials for the project. An engineer by training, Mr. Asch is encouraging the students to use whatever materials and skills they have to solve the problem. "The simpler the better." he remarked.


Decimal Boot Camp
Decimal Boot Camp

Have you been to decimal boot camp? Well, Jessica Clingman's fifth graders have, and their enthusiasm and energy was evident during yesterday's expedition. As students arrived in room 102, General Clingman gave orders. Cadets were told to pick up their name tags, get out their homework, and meet on the rug. Each student's name tag included a decimal and after everyone was gathered on the rug, they were ordered to do calisthenics, the numbers of which were determined by the numbers they found in the "places" on their name tags.

"Do as many jumping jacks as the number in the tenths place on your name tag," the General barked. Students were then given their "orders" for the class, a challenge to complete a series of activities to develop their mastery of decimals. Students could rank up by showing mastery of certain decimal concepts such as rounding, written form, standard form, adding, subtracting, and word problems. Students were given choices and were told how they would display their mastery of the topic to General Clingman. According to the General, motivation was high and student completion was thorough and enthusiastic.

Mrs. Clingman brought this teaching idea back from her visit last month to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, a middle school where both engagement and achievement are high. Jessica. Clingman, Maryann Ortiz, Brian Laskowski, and Alli Treese were able to attend a workshop at RCA through a fellowship grant from Miss Fine's Center, and what they learned is already translating itself into their classrooms.


Sorting Day
Sorting Day

Upon arrival in Mr. Laskowski's room this morning, I noticed his attire.

"Today is sorting day!" he exclaimed, wearing a blue cape with a butterfly adorning the back. He then proceeded to explain to his students that all of his 6th grade pre-algebra classes, as well as his 7th grade algebra class, would be sorted into four houses. Each house would have a background story and a hero associated with them. He explained some of the behaviors and contests which would allow students to accrue points for their house: enthusiasm, preparation, engagement, sportsmanlike behavior, house competitions, CML scores, and more. He talked about accountability and the fact that each house's score would be based upon the behavior and performance of students in all four of his classes. Next, Mr. Laskowski explained the backstory and hero of each house.

Having just returned from a Miss Fine's Center-facilitated trip to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Brian Laskowski was implementing the house system he witnessed there, which contributes to engagement and motivation of students in and out of classes.


Climate and the Ocean at Princeton University
Climate and the Ocean at Princeton University

Alli Treese and Ron Banas attended a workshop on Climate and the Ocean organized by Princeton University's Teacher Prep Program and sponsored by the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science. In Dr. Banas' words, "the conference attended this summer offered Alli and myself an opportunity to not only reinforce our understanding of the topic of climate science, but we were able to participate in innovative modeling activities which we will bring back to our classrooms. The course included several guest speakers involved in up-to-date research on climate change and present day theories regarding the ocean's role in it." Dr. Banas further stated that "I feel that building these types of programs with research scientists (whether the Quest Program or Teachers as Scholars) are an excellent conduit of the latest information available on whatever topic is presented. Not only is the subject matter presented in a clear and concise manner by individuals with considerable horsepower, it allows for collaboration of like-minded individuals to bounce off each other ways to present the content to our students."

The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy
The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy

Cindy Peifer and Tara Quigley had the opportunity to attend The Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy (The Academy) organized by the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland. This five-day workshop provided a solid introduction to the newest research and understanding about the brain, as well as considerable work on how to teach our students in ways that make the most of Mind, Brain, and Education Science. The workshop included "Translation Groups" and a visit to meet and learn from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, and there was a strong emphasis on empowering teachers to be researchers to enhance their craft. Each faculty member returned to their school with the beginnings of a research project, and there will be three follow-up, virtual experiences throughout the school year. Tara and Cindy were lucky enough to be a part of a translation group that included a cohort of faculty and their administrators from the Discovery Schools in Africa. Miss Fine's Center hopes to send more faculty to this worthwhile workshop in the future.

2017 Miss Fine's Fellows
2017 Miss Fine's Fellows

Tara Quigley and Cindy Peifer to attend the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at St. Andrew's School's Academy where they learned about the newest research and understanding about Mind, Brain, Education Science. They also had the opportunity to learn about the role of teachers as researchers, and to create their own action research project to be implemented at PDS this year.

Ron Banas and Alli Treese to attend a Teacher Prep/Quest program at Princeton University entitled Climate and the Ocean. In collaboration with 7th grade science teacher Jack Madani, they will incorporate their new understanding and knowledge into the 7th grade Earth Science curriculum.

Jessica Clingman, Brian Laskowski, Maryann Ortiz, and Alli Treese to attend the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia in the fall of 2017. The objective of their attendance at the workshop is to bring back strategies for increasing engagement, including tools for making connections and increasing motivations amongst students.

Carolee VanDervort, Carol Olson, Pam Flory, Emily Gallagher, and Andrea Schafer to work on "Project Feather," an interdisciplinary study of birds incorporating language arts, math, science, music, the garden, and techology. Their focus during this inaugural year will be the planning and execution of an on-campus "field trip."

Amy Beckford, Tarshia Griffin-Ley, Cindy Peifer, Joseph Reilly, Ron Banas, Jessica Clingman, Alli Treese, and Jason Park to work on aligning non-fiction reading skills and literacy objectives across disciplines in grades 5 and 6.

Charlie Alt and Will Asch to create the 9th grade STEAMinar, a foundational experience that will expose all students to the interdisciplinary approach as well as expose all students to the new PDS STEAM space. The curriculum will incorporate real-world, globally-relevant issues that incorporate sustainability relevance and are interdisciplinary.