Week 10

On Friday we had our fourth Lower School Principal candidate spend the day with us. The candidate and I worked together at Flint Hill from 2001-2006 and it was great to see him again. After his day on campus we had some time to catch up more casually and he commented on the warm and talented community here at Friends’ Central. I felt very lucky to be a part of this incredible community. I know he went away from his visit understanding what makes FCS so special.

5th grade students and teachers who created the FCS version of Caine’s Arcade for our River Day on Friday.
The Middle School Religious Life Committee and Margaret Roberts who facilitated a special Meeting For Worship in the Rex Gym last Monday.
Laurie N., Terry G., and Liza E. for taking students to the American Shakespeare Theater in VA over the weekend.
Diego, Mike C., Keith B., Keith B. (yes both of them), Rochelle, Caroline M-D., and Linda for joining me to talk about the role of play and education.

LD Reading for the Week
Read this article to learn more about accomodations vs. modifications.

Discussion for the Week
Why every child should learn to code.

App of the Week

Motivation for the Week


Week 9

What a week! Two Lower School Principal candidate visits, four admission candidate interviews, Dr. Eddie Moore on campus leading diversity discussions, girls and boys soccer post season games, MS/US Visitor Morning, tech trainings on each campus, and of course, the wonderful flurry of learning that happens everyday here at FCS. I think we all deserve a wonderful weekend.

BOOK TALK – We will be discussing the role of PLAY in education. Everyone is welcome. Join us in the OPA room on Wednesday from 3:30 – 5:00. Please let me know if you plan to attend so I can supply enough goodies to keep us satiated.

Sue Kirk and Regina Ziffer for assisting the 5th grade students in their “Be a Giver to the River” video production.
Steve Patterson and Christina Perez for the organization and orchestration of Dr. Moore’s visit.

LD Awareness
Although the “month of awareness” is over, I think it would be appropriate to continue to highlight this topic each week.

At our Faculty In-Service last month Erika H. inquired about a suggested reading around the topic of LD. There are so many great books available but one of my personal favorites is The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine. If anyone is interested I would love to do an after school book talk on this piece.

In addition, this website has some great online modules to assist in learning about and helping students who learn differently. Why not grab a friend and watch one together?

Discussion for the Week
I received this article from three friends last week. It is definitely worth a read. If you are not already familiar with Sugata Mitra and his work you can watch his TED TALK for more information on his educational research.

Always dreamed of going to Stanford? View a sample lecture from their winter course offerings.

App of the Week
How to use Air Drop on your iPad for storage and sharing of large files.

Motivation of the Week


Week 8

I just finished grading some papers and I feel like I am finally beginning to understand my students. I love knowing their learning styles, needs, and strengths. I feel like I am peeling away the layers of each student to ultimately see their many talents. I feel very lucky to be a teacher tonight.

DATE CHANGE: Our discussion about the role of play in education will be postponed from Monday (11/4) to Wednesday, November 13th at 3:30. If you have read the book “Free to Learn” or just want to discuss this topic please feel free to join our discussion. I am only one third of my way through the book but have many things I would love to ponder with peers. Come for the snacks – stay for the discussion.

Terry G. and CJ for a wonderful production of EDGES. I cannot imagine how much work goes into a production of that caliber.
Deb M. for all of her planning for US Service Week
Laurie L. for the wonderful Halloween programming in LS.
All of the 8th Grade teachers who escorted students to the LS to help with the Halloween parade – what a great connection for our students. What we lose in class time we gain tenfold in character and community.

LD Awareness Month
Trouble with math?

Interested in learning more about students that learn differently. This certificate program looks amazing!

Discussion for the Week

Awesome STEAM challenges for LS students

Middle School Course on problem solving

Motivation for the Week


Week 7

I hope everyone had a super week and weekend. As the weather changes I too feel the change as we settle into the next mode of the school year – “the holiday season.” I sometimes feel like between Halloween and New Year’s Day I just close my eyes and try to ride the storm. This year I am hoping to keep my eyes open and enjoy the sights a bit more.

To everyone who has embraced the new PD forms and field trip forms. I know this is a ton of change but hopefully it will make
our lives easier in some ways as well. Thank you!!!

All of the fall athletic coaches who are completing their seasons.

LD Reading of the Week
Click here for a great infographic on executive functioning disorder.

Discussion for the Week
The future of liberal arts education? click here…

36 things every 21st Century Teacher should know

Motivation for the Week

by JESS3.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Week 6 Update

It’s that time of year… parent conferences, mid-tri grades, comment writing – it is easy to get that hamster in wheel feeling when there are so many things happening. I was fortunate to be at an in-service for some Catholic Schools in Richmond today and am feeling rejuvenated thanks to their energy and enthusiasm. It reminds me how we all need a boost now and then. I hope you can find a way to get your boost this weekend.

The Admission Team for their preparation for our Open House this Saturday.
Middle School teachers who attended the Renaissance Faire on Thursday (it is a long bus ride but worth the trip!).
All of the teachers involved with the amazing art work hanging in the halls of the LS. If you have not been over for visit please try to stop by to see the many interpretations of Rivers.

LD Reading of the Week
Have you ever worked with a student who “seems” to know everything in class and orally can explain things but does not do as well on tests? The child may have a disorder called dysgraphia. Click here to read about it.

Discussion Points
Although we do not adhere to the Common Core Standards I think is important to have some understanding of what they look like. Click here for more information.

The dark history of the multiple choice test.

App of the Week
Stack the States use it for students of any age to teach/review geography – its fun too!

Motivation for the Week


Week 5 Update

Happy Long Weekend! Although we had lovely In-Service Day on Friday we missed our Lower School Friends. I hope that next year we can find a way to have our entire community together for these valuable days.

Joel D. and everyone involved in War and Peace Day for our sophomores and juniors.
Sue K., Vicki S., Josh W., Dan C., Kyle B., Regina Z., and Mary Fran T. for their help with our technology night on Tuesday evening.

As we Continue with our focus on Learning Disabilities for the month of October:
Here is an article on the topic of the GIFT of ADHD.

Discussion Points:
Here are some free webinars that are worth checking out.

More on the topic of cheating

App of the Week:
Fluency Finder is a great app for reading teachers Grades 1-8

Motivation for the Week:


Week 4 Update

Hola! I was able to visit two Upper School Spanish classes yesterday and am feeling the love for the language. Gracias to Christina P. and Alejandra S. for welcoming me into their classrooms. I also witnessed a 9th Grade History class and learned a bit about the middle man and standardization in the commodities market thanks to Joel D.

Last Call for the Professional Book Club – our first book will be

Free to Learn

by Peter Gray. We will be meeting on Monday, November 4th from 3:30 – 5:00.   We will do some rsvp’s closer to the date.   Anyone is welcome (even those who have not read the book) to discuss the importance of play.

Upper School for two great Curriculum Nights.
Middle School for their first week of Clubs – note: Maker Club has 30 students!
Lower School for pulling together another Theme based faculty play. I hope to be sharing the video soon.

October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month (Thanks to Dottie):  https://docs.google.com/a/friendscentral.org/file/d/1DO0AiXkj0SFKmR55Q0O0BLHfh-AoO7NfQ6cTlwiJrXwN9UAreJeE70xySIVKUkqsPmevcgb_Dwg4ChgP/preview

Discussion Points:
A video worth viewing: http://vimeo.com/3930740
A website worth checking out: http://steam.friendscentral.org/
An article worth reading: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/03/what-does-design-thinking-look-like-in-school/
The BEST article I read this week!

App of the Week:

Motivation for the Week:



Enjoy your weekend!

Week 3 Update

Fall is here! Have a super weekend.

If anyone is interested in joining a professional development book club I would love to read this book as a group. http://www.amazon.com/Free-Learn-Unleashing-Instinct-Self-Reliant/dp/0465025994
Let me know if you are interested.

Teachers Toni and Deb for putting on a lovely skit representing the Quakers of old and the Quakers of now at the Lower School Meeting for Worship on Thursday.

Gary Nicolai for engaging students in a press conference simulation about Syria.

Every Middle School teacher who completed a feat of greatness by chaperoning Adventure Day and/or the WEEK LONG Echo Hill Trip.

Discussion Points
Want to know more about blended learning?

Looking for ways to engage students?

App of the Week
I have always loved skitch. Here is a short video that shows how powerful this can be for students of all ages.

Motivation for the Week


Week 2 Update


I hope you had a great week working with our students.  It feels like the rhythm of the year is beginning to set in and we finally finished our first cycle of the A-F day schedule!


MS and LS Faculty and Staff for 3 amazing Curriculum Nights.

Everyone involved in organizing our Peace Day Activities.

Sue Kirk and the 5th Grade Team for rolling out iPads to 50 very excited 5th Grade students.

Discussion Points:

This video may seem a bit extreme but is worth the watch.


A great idea for classroom and hallway displays from one of my favorite teacher/bloggers:  http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2013/09/bring-magic-your-open-house-augmented-reality

A great article on programming:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-hutton/coding-to-learn-the-21st-century-curriculum_b_3461579.html

App of the Week:



Motivation for the Week:

FAIL = First Attempt In Learning

Enjoy this first fall weekend.


Week 1 Academic Update

Welcome to the FCS Academics Blog. I hope to use this site to communicate great things going on around campus as well as interesting articles to read and discuss.

Lower and Middle School for surviving some hot days in some “no AC” classrooms.
Upper School English Faculty for organizing our book discussions on Tuesday.
All New Faculty for surviving their first full week.
Facilities Staff for continuing to work tirelessly.
Tech Staff for solving our iPad printing challenges.

Here are some interesting links for your reading pleasure:
A New Zealand School Schedule

Listening and Learning

Here is the “app” of the week:

Tap It – Free

Congratulations on a great first full week. Get some rest and let’s do it again next week!