Camping, Comfort Zones, & S'mores

By Terry Maguire, 6th grade teacher

This week the 6th grade went on a camping trip to Camp Dark Waters. This annual 6th grade rite of passage is an opportunity for students to expand their comfort zones, both physical and emotional, while experiencing the power of being in a supportive community.

We began our adventure huddled inside the cafeteria while rain poured down around us. As we finished lunch, the skies cleared, and we headed for the trees! Here students took turns climbing rope ladders up into tall trees and scaled wires 20 feet above the ground. We also pulled each other up on a rope harness to let us swing high above the creek.

The theme of these activities was “one more step.” Everyone’s comfort zones are different, and when challenged to go just outside where we feel comfortable, we ask ourselves if we can go “one more step.” The cheering of classmates helped many of us take that extra step and feel proud for accomplishing something that we didn’t think we could.

After dinner (the first of the three meals students prepared, served, and cleaned up after), we headed out to the campfire, where we reflected on how others see us and the parts of ourselves that we keep private. For our community to be strong, we must build trust and be accepting of each other’s unique selves. Students were encouraged to share parts of themselves to trusting friends, teacher, and mentors if and when they feel safe to do so. Oh, and then we ate s’mores!

Tuesday morning was a chance for us to try archery and fishing, play some more, and, yes, do a little reflecting on our needs at humans and how we can react when they are not met.

We ended our trip with a bead ceremony ,where students, one-by-one, presented beads to each other recognizing how we expanded our comfort zones.

It was a trip we will not soon forget.

The Colors of Us

Students in Preschool B were completely immersed in project work last week. Piggybacking on the brilliant idea of our Preschool A friends (they did the project previously), we re-read The Colors of Us by Karen Katz. We opened up jars and canisters of spices, herbs, and other foods that matched the skin colors mentioned in the book: cinnamon, ginger, cocoa, nutmeg, coffee, and more.

After much discussion about colors and fragrances, we got to work. At one table, on a large sheet of paper, we applied glue and sprinkled on an assortment of the samples. At another table, we began a lesson in “mixology” as we blended the spices together in big pots of water. It was so exciting to have the freedom and opportunity to pour, dump, stir, and create our own concoctions.

CCRA House Tour Stop

The Philadelphia School was honored to be a stop on Center City Residents’ Association’s 60th Annual House Tour this past Sunday afternoon. CCRA’s mission statement is “to preserve, enhance, and celebrate urban living.” The volunteer-led association was founded in 1947 and is one of the oldest and most active neighborhood associations in our city,

More than 70 tour participants visited TPS, with several of our recent alumni guiding them. The tour’s focus was on the newly renovated 2nd floor of our Lombard Street building.

The CCRA House Tour is an important fund raiser for the association, which plays a vital role in our Center City community.


Rabbits and Worms

Kindergarten science projects are taking off!  Children spent time illustrating and dictating what they think they know about the animals they have chosen to study – rabbits (in the Kindergarten A classroom) and worms (in Kindergarten B).  

After discussing the difference between a question and a comment, each class made a list of questions they are wondering about their animal. We spent time talking about how we could find the answers to the question, How can we research?   We began “reading the pictures” of some nonfiction books to see what we could learn. We will “read the words” of these books as we get further into our research. At The Schuylkill Center last week we looked for evidence of rabbits and worms at the Pine Grove.

What's Rome Got to Do with It?

October’s 8th grade Monthly Constitutional presenter was Campbell Grey, a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to acquainting students with the Roman Republic’s legacy in the formation of the American Constitution and political system, he introduced students to Polybius’s theory of anacyclosis and led a discussion on the relationship between citizenship and belonging.

It's Intense!

Middle School fall intensives have begun. In mixed-grade groups, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are taking electives whose topics range from Advocacy to Einstein to Vaccines to Yoga. For a full list of fall intensives, click here.

Here are a few photos from this week’s classes. Intensives meet every Thursday afternoon.