Meeting the Challenges of COVID-19


From remote learning to safely reopening campus, Morgan Park Academy has adapted and endured during a historic year. They weren’t expecting a pandemic. But when one arrived, Morgan Park Academy faculty and staff were prepared for the unexpected. Faced with the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, they drew on deep reserves of skill and knowledge, creativity, flexibility, and dedication, working together to continue providing an exceptional educational experience for MPA students and families in an unprecedented time. Last March, faculty and staff created a full remote learning experience for 500 students and teachers with a few days’ notice, an emergency provision [...]

Meeting the Challenges of COVID-192021-02-24T12:36:01-06:00

Tackling the Challenges of Simultaneous Instruction


By Mila Koumpilova Chalkbeat Chicago This fall, Morgan Park Academy teacher Emily Fitch found herself in a position for which her training had not prepared her: About a dozen students were in her sixth-grade classroom, while another half-dozen were on a computer screen, tuning in via Zoom. Fitch grappled with pressing questions: How could she best engage with both groups of learners at the same time? How to ensure her “Zoom kids” were heard and recognized in the classroom, making them feel they were fully a part of the learning experience? Simultaneous instruction, as it’s called, is fast becoming a fixture [...]

Tackling the Challenges of Simultaneous Instruction2021-02-24T12:35:45-06:00

Teaching Empathy


Going well beyond old-fashioned textbooks, we must use primary sources, witnesses, historical novels, plays, re-enactments, and more as supplements or even substitutes for classic textbooks, to help bring the past to life and build empathy in all students.

Teaching Empathy2019-10-29T20:11:53-05:00

Meeting Individual Needs in Lower School Math


To better meet the individual needs of all students, our math program includes flexible grouping in grades 3-5. The goals in our math instruction remain focused on maintaining consistently high expectations for all students, and meeting and/or enriching the grade-level expectations. Yet we find that providing differentiation through flex grouping allows teachers to better target the learning needs of all students. Teachers can differentiate content, process, and product according to students’ readiness, interest, and learning profile through a range of instructional and management strategies. Benefits of flexible grouping include: Each child receives the appropriate challenge, support, and preparation for success, both [...]

Meeting Individual Needs in Lower School Math2018-12-05T14:52:09-06:00

Keeping Education Physical


Our students are part of an amazing community here at MPA. Educating the whole child is a busy but fulfilling job. In my discipline of physical education, educating the physical child takes on lots of looks. We try to instill the idea of “educating the body” so that they know what physical education actually means. Being lifelong learners, how can they keep the “physical” in their education? Or, how can they keep the “p” in P.E. when they’re away from school? Here are some ideas: PLAY – Encourage your kids to go out and play. Keep them safe and keep them [...]

Keeping Education Physical2018-12-05T14:53:35-06:00

Why I Like Teaching in an ISACS School


Over the past two months, I have had the opportunity to experience three professional development opportunities: I presented at the Illinois Science Teachers Association (ISTA) in October, I went on an Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) accreditation team visit in late October, and I presented at the ISACS Annual Conference in early November. These three experiences reinforced the rewards of being a teacher at an ISACS school. At the ISTA conference, I gave a presentation titled “Back to BINGO for Bio Vocab” in which I shared some tools that I use to help students learn complex biology vocabulary. [...]

Why I Like Teaching in an ISACS School2019-02-22T23:30:13-06:00

Is my child ready for Kindergarten?


Most parents begin asking this question as their child approaches the age of 5. This is one of the first questions that parents ask at admission events and it can cause unwarranted anxiety and worry. Due to the focus (or over-focus) on common core standards and standardized testing in many schools, parents often think children need to enter Kindergarten knowing how to read and write. You may have even heard that “Kindergarten is the new First Grade.” While it may be true that the Kindergarten curriculum has become more academic, educators still recognize that students enter Kindergarten from a wide variety [...]

Is my child ready for Kindergarten?2019-02-22T23:30:21-06:00

Service Learning in the Lower School


A common thread throughout our Lower School teaching is that students learn by doing. That underlying principle is woven into service-learning, too. According to the National Youth Leadership Council, KIDS Consortium, service-learning projects work best when they fit the ages and developmental abilities of the participants, include interesting and engaging service-related activities, explore the context of the underlying societal issues the service addresses, and address needs that are important to the community being served. While these goals may sound lofty for our youngest students, our Lower School teachers prepared meaningful and personally relevant service activities for their children that encompassed all [...]

Service Learning in the Lower School2018-08-20T13:50:48-05:00

The Importance of Project-Based Learning in Today’s Classroom


Project-based learning (PBL) is a new and exciting movement within education. But with most things, change is slow. So often, teachers cling to “tried and true” methods of instruction and assessment; if it worked in the 80s and the 90s, it should still work now. Well, unless you want students to become fact-factories that cram information into their brains for a short-term outcome, or recreate projects that have not changed since the creation of the personal computer, this method is no longer effective or applicable. Educators are supposed to be training students to think and to be prepared for an unpredictable [...]

The Importance of Project-Based Learning in Today’s Classroom2019-12-22T14:24:57-06:00
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