all-school theme

Master Storyteller Captivates

By Kate Riccardi, TPS parent and photographer extraordinaire

Charlotte Blake Alston, master storyteller, was our storyteller-in-residence this week. On Tuesday she came to visit TPS with her fantastic stories and fables from Africa. She began the morning, captivating the preschool and kindergarten children by sharing the West African tradition of storytelling by relating folk stories with a lot of audience participation. The children loved helping to tell the stories, responding to questions, and interacting with the characters Blake Alston was creating. She ended the session with a poignant story about embracing differences and appreciating what value each of us has to offer the community, however great or small.


Next, the Primary Unit was treated to tales from Malawi and Ghana. They were riveted by stories of the praying mantis and other creatures and their adventures. This session concluded with a beautiful and at times, somber, poem about Martin Luther King. The students joined in the chorus with clapping and waved the peace sign with their fingers.

Blake Alston concluded her morning with a visit to the kindergarten. There she was treated to a discussion about friendships in the kindergarten and was introduced to the different components that make up the “Friendship Tool Box.” Our guest discussed different ways to handle problems and conflicts, many of which the students tied back to the tools they use in school. Blake Alston concluded her visit by sharing her Martin Luther King poem with the kindergarteners. What an exceptional experience and privilege it was to share the morning with Charlotte Blake Alston and her magical storytelling!

On Wednesday, Ms. Blake Alston will devote her second day of residency to Middle School. On Thursday, her attention will be devoted to our 3rd, 4h, and 5th grades.

Eco-Shelter Models Balance Form + Function

Seventh graders worked on a cardboard and paper model project that connected to this year's all-school theme -- ”Surviving and Thriving in the City Country Classroom.”

Each student selected a biome in which to design a realistic shelter. Students researched their biome and planned their model in two dimensions, including thought to scale, food production, weather, and ecological sustainability. From their detailed plans, they built a three-dimensional model. This project was a joint, interdisciplinary endeavor by the seventh grade art and science teachers.

All-School Theme Revealed

In a gymnasium packed with exited students and teachers, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone wanted to hear what the all-school theme for 2016-17 was going to be!

The Class of 2017 revealed the theme in a skit they wrote about a new student named Jumbalaya who needed to be prepared for entry into the TPS City Country Classroom. Equipped by fellow students with all he would need to survive and thrive – a map of Philadelphia, a book about Philadelphia history, a SEPTA pass, a water bottle, a pencil, some paper – Jumbalaya was ready!

"From Surviving to Thriving in the City, the Country, and the Classroom" will be our all-school thematic focus this year!  

Wondering how all-school themes are decided? 


TPS Mystery Day at the Museum

It wasn't quite like the movie Night at the Museum . . . but TPS Mystery Day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was extraordinary in its own right! Students (grades 1-8) and faculty hopped on yellow school buses and headed to the museum for the culminating activity of our yearlong all-school study of "What Is a Mystery?"  There were two rotations, one starting at 10am and the other at 11:30; each had more than 200 students and faculty members!

Family Circles, each with about 15 students and guided by a museum docent or educator, explored the mysteries behind some of the museum's paintings, sculptures, and architecture. 

Mystery Writers

Family Circles met this morning and turned their creative juices to interpreting illustrations from Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  

The Mystery Is Solved!

This year's all-school theme, unveiled by the 8th grade this morning, is . . .

"What Is a Mystery?"

Here are some photos by Marco Velis and Kate Riccardi from today's exciting Encuentro. Everyone is excited about all the mysterious possibilities!