Just How Do We Teach Math and Science During the Week of Thanksgiving?

Just How Do We Teach Math and Science During the Week of Thanksgiving?

At Phoenix we always start Thanksgiving week by cooking, in multi age teams of students ranging from K-8th grade. These connections allow students to learn real life and valuable lessons from the variety of teachable moments.  The Thanksgiving holiday reminds us of the importance of connection – not just with friends and family, but within our school. Phoenix is a family of students, alums, teachers, and friends. Our annual Thanksgiving Feast at school allows us to be able to celebrate together as one large family, connecting current students, with past generations of students.

Our community works together, where teams have to learn collaboration, and older team leaders learn to guide their younger partners through different aspects of cooking, from cutting and peeling apples and potatoes to different measuring terms, like rounded teaspoons versus flat teaspoons. Did you know cooking involves a variety of sciences, math, discovery, taste, textures, team building, real life learning and so much more? Students learn fractions in action, and how they apply to real life situations. During cranberry sauce making, students actively observe the physical changes of cranberries while they are being heated and cooked, and from sour berries to sweet sauce! Even the simple act of cooking can bring feelings from joy to frustration, to exploding taste buds and smells!

Older students learn to lead, guide and share their knowledge, while engaging the younger grades, encouraging them to participate and teaching them how to do certain jobs safely. Younger students are able to fully participate from measuring, to cutting to cooking the food. Students have to learn how to read recipes accurately and follow directions, otherwise their creations might just not succeed! These are real life skills, at all grade levels, and they teach students patience, team building, collaboration, guiding, teaching, and knowing when to lead and when to allow others the spotlight and so much more. All of these skills will transfer into situations students will find themselves in throughout their whole life, from highschool, to college and to their careers.

The students spend two days preparing and cooking a Thanksgiving Feast for our school community. From cooking and cleaning to decorations and dessert all grades are actively involved with creating their feast. On our final day we redesign the school to create one long table for the students, a smaller table for our Alumni visitors and a teachers table. Students are able to learn the dining etiquette of a formal meal, but in a very kid friendly way! By gathering around the table, students are able to share stories of their family traditions and enjoy the feast that they were a part of creating.

This also opens the opportunity for our community to reflect on the things we are grateful for, to find gratitude and begin to think about setting new goals for following year.  And while it is important to recognize the gift of giving to the community, it is also the time to show respect and indifference to each other. Students are given the opportunity to reflect, in a group sharing moment students comment on what they are thankful for. Kindergarteners are often thankful for something in their family, while the older students often reflect on life events or global events that are making them think on a deeper level.  Being thankful for parents is a common theme, from being given the opportunity to go to a school they value to pushing them to grow outside their box, to providing them with a safe home.

Students keep our local shelter, Lifebridge,  in mind and make extra food to donate for their Thanksgiving Feast the following day. Students here are used to giving, helping, volunteering and being thoughtful. From a young age students learn to be mindful and considerate of their peers, their community and to students around the globe. As active members of the EarlyAct Club of the Salem Rotary Club our K-8 students discuss, vote and implement community actions that involve volunteering or donations. The learn early that giving comes in many forms—time, energy, money, goods and services, and more. But all have something in common at their core: they are gifts offered without expectation or implication of repayment, only the desire to create a better future.

Have a safe and grateful long weekend!

The Week of Thanksgiving

 

The Phoenix School Family Grows

The Phoenix School Family Grows

The new school year welcomes two new teachers and promotes a new Head for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Phoenix School in Salem – known for its challenging academic curriculum, designed as an experience-driven learning community that gives kids the tools, thoughts, and experiences that will help them become the best versions of themselves and fosters their development as contributors to society – welcomes two teachers and promotes a new school Head for the 2018-2019 school year.

Joining the team are Mike Smith and Mistral Dodson, while Leslie Levesque becomes the new Head of School. The schools founders Betsye Sargent and Barbara McFall retire and join the school’s Board. Levesque has been with The Phoenix School since 1995 and is thrilled to continue to further the mission with the help from Dodson and Smith.

Sargent and McFall are excited to be handing over the baton, the claim, “After 37 years of growing The Phoenix School, we cannot think of anyone more qualified than Leslie Levesque to carry on our mission. May she blend her vision with ours. It’s comforting to know that under Leslie’s watch there is a commitment to stay the course as she, Mike, and Mistral develop new and exciting curriculum and experiences for our future Phoenix students.

Since opening in 1981, The Phoenix School makes use of community resources and remains a vibrant part of downtown Salem. The students can often be seen walking around downtown using the city as their classroom by visiting the Salem Common, the YMCA, the Peabody Essex Museum and other downtown institutions. Founded by Betsye Sargent and Barbara McFall, the school’s goal has always been to help build students who think globally while acting locally.