Friends School of Minnesota Blog

A Quaker school blog about progressive education.

Media Literacy and the Penumbra Theater Company

Friends School of Minnesota 7th and 8th graders wrapped up our Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media and Pop Culture unit in humanities in May. This unit challenges students to examine the role media plays in their lives, how the media constructs messages about race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, and how those messages impact one’s sense of identity. We center the unit around the Center for Media Literacy’s five core concepts.. Read More

What Makes a Community?

First and second graders have been examining what makes a community. Beginning last fall, parents and other community members came and spoke to Friends School of Minnesota’s first and second grade classrooms about their jobs and roles within our communities. After learning and writing about these jobs, students examined the community around FSM through walks focused on transportation, architecture, and green spaces. Through this process, students chose a committee that.. Read More

State History Day 2016

We spent a beautiful May Day at the University of Minnesota for State History Day, supporting eight 7th and 8th grade projects that competed in the categories of performance, exhibit, documentary, website, and paper. Over 1,200 junior and senior high school students participated in Minnesota’s State History Day this year. Congratulations to all of our History Day State participants! We are so proud of you! Papers Noah R. – Immigration.. Read More

History Day 2016

Recently, Friends School of Minnesota 7th and 8th graders showcased their National History Day projects at FSM. The students started the projects in December by choosing a topic and connecting it to the year’s theme, Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in History. During the months of January and February, we put aside our regular humanities curriculum to focus solely on the History Day projects. Students conduct extensive research using primary and.. Read More

Making Meaning Through Experimentation in Art

Experimentation in art class is an important part of learning to use materials. When students make discoveries about the properties of a particular material or tool, the experience becomes a meaningful part of their education. Sure, I could demonstrate how to use a particular tool or material (and I sometimes do), but when the discovery is made independently of me, excitement ensues. This kind of playful inquiry is what makes.. Read More

Our Work on Race and Racism in 5th and 6th Grade Humanities

Over the past month, fellow middle school humanities teacher Melissa Andersen and I have been engaged with the 5th and 6th graders in some challenging, thoughtful work around race and racism in our society. It began with our field trip to the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota, something I recommend that everyone go and see. Before the field trip, we did some preview.. Read More

Big River Journey 2015 – 5th and 6th Grade

Last Friday, Friends School of Minnesota 5th and 6th graders took a trip called “Big River Journey”. This was an extension of the field trips that 6th graders took last year as part of our “River Year.”  We started the day at Fort Snelling State Park doing land-based activities before boarding a riverboat for a science-based afternoon onboard the boat. We ended the day at Harriet Island in downtown St Paul. Activities included: Artifacts Soldier Hike Cultural.. Read More

Wolf Ridge Trip 2015

Each autumn, Friends School of Minnesota 7th and 8th graders head north to spend a week at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland, Minnesota. We do this trip to learn about the natural environment of the area and to build community. Students challenge themselves on the rock wall and outdoor ropes course. They take classes and study streams, wetlands, and geology. At night, they do astronomy and a night hike, led by science.. Read More