Survey Training

In preparation for their lobbying day in Harrisburg on May 24. students in the Let's Go Lobbying intensive learned all about creating surveys today. TPS parent Mary McManus, a market researcher, presented a workshop on surveys. Look out for some surveys about reproductive rights, public school funding. sanctuary cities, and LGBTQ rights in the next few weeks!

Valiant Effort at Penn Relays

The Penn Relays didn't go exactly the way our girls' team had hoped - they didn't place, but they made a valiant effort. And they were cheered on by TPS coaches, staff, and families, as well as by the entire track team. Former TPS track coach Meg Waldron, who trained our very first Penn Relay team, came back to Philly and supported our girls.

Thank you, Kate Riccardi and Beth Lundy, for these great photos!

Poet Laureate Visits Primary Unit

The highlight of Primary Unit' Cs week was a visit with poet Yolanda Wisher, currently the third Poet Laureate of the City of Philadelphia, Yolanda is a multidisciplinary poet and educator.

Using paint chips from the hardware store, Yolanda led students through a group writing exercise.  She left us with tips for what to write about. “Choosing your words carefully. That’s so important in poetry.” She also said, “When I’m stuck for something to write about, I put on some music and dance crazy around my house. Shake off the lethargy, it lets you feel free. Or, just pick up a poem you love. Reread a favorite poem. I read poems of poets I really like and admire.” Yolanda reminded us that all poems need titles and that they can be the most important part of a poem.

We are hoping that Yolanda will come back and work with the rest of the Primary Unit.

City Love

The duo City Love, which includes our very own Brian Jordan, will be sharing some music, encouraging some dialogue, and working with everyone in grades 4-8 this morning to create a full group song.  (You can visit City Love at  City Love will be focusing on discovering and celebrating our identities and talking a bit about the ways our identities can sometimes open doors or block roads for us.   

The Play's the Thing

After spring break, the kindergarten teachers introduced their new project to much excitement - How to put on a play!  Putting on a play requires a lot of cooperation, and learning how to function well together and collaborate are important kindergarten (and life) skills that require thoughtful negotiation and flexibility.

The children are deeply into researching and learning about all of the many elements required to put on a successful show. Each week various guest "experts" have visited our classrooms. We've learned about scripts, head shots, the elements of story that create a good play, and how to use our body, face and voice to act.

We visited Old Academy Theater in East Falls, where Primary Unit Teacher Marisa Block has acted in a number of plays.  We got to walk onto the stage, see sets and learn about how they are made, and go backstage and help work the light board. We saw props and costumes in the dressing room.  Some children sketched the stage, the curtains, and the lights.  We spoke with actors and directors and asked questions. 

This week we hosted Foster Longo, a performer and make-up artist who showed us how makeup can change a person into a completely different character. He talked about how male actors can perform as female characters and vice versa. We watched Foster transform himself right in front of our eyes!

Our study will culminate in the performance of our own plays for family and schoolmates.

Monthly Constitutional Goes Federal

On Tuesday, Theresa Timlin, parent of TPS alumnus Joseph DiGiuseppe and federal Department of Labor administrative judge, was our Monthly Constitutional speaker. She engaged eighth graders in conversation about wage equity and labor law. When asked about her path to this career, she stressed that being a clear and effective writer was a critical piece of her preparation, a message that pleased the teachers in the audience.