"Eyes on Progressive Education" Blog

A Green Acres School journal that chronicles progressive education in action, the research that supports and informs our practice, and ways in which we live out our mission each and every day.

Green Acres Re-Certified as a Maryland Green School

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) announced that Green Acres School has been re-certified as a 2019 Maryland Green School. (We received a previous certification in 2015.) Maryland Green Schools are part of a national and international community of sustainable green schools. Our students are becoming better stewards of our Earth’s resources and …

Posted by sarah in Middle School, Lower School, Early Childhood Unit on Thursday April 25
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5 Signs Your Child Is Not Moving Enough at School

Sara, Associate Director of Admission

As parents, we rightly worry about our children’s well-being. We want them to be healthy and happy. We hope they are internalizing habits that will help them be confident and successful throughout their lives. We assume that they will cultivate these habits at school—but very often, they won’t.

The American Academy of Pediatrics …

Posted by sarah in Middle School, Lower School, Early Childhood Unit on Friday March 22
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7th & 8th Grade Art: Transforming Art Skills into Essential Questions

Hallie, Art Teacher

There are a few critical elements, principles, and skills that any middle school art teacher wants to cover during their 7th and 8th grade curriculum: concepts like texture, color, composition, and balance. As a progressive educator, my goal is to transform these skills and units of study into essential questions that guide students as they work, in order to encourage …

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Monday March 11
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5th & 6th Grade Art: Promoting Innovation and Creativity, Fostering Joy and Curiosity

Shellie, Art Teacher

What does progressive education look like in the middle school art room? In the lower school, we talk about fostering a sense of wonder, curiosity and joy in our young students. This idea holds true for our middle school students as well. In the art classroom, projects are designed to encourage students to maintain their curious and joyful nature while, at the same time, …

Posted by sarah in Middle School, Lower School on Wednesday March 6
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Visual Arts: Exploring the World Beyond Names

Peter Klam, Middle School Head

The ancient world fully appreciated the power that words have. Words allow us to codify the world—to break it down into discrete elements and to differentiate among similar things by naming them. It is not coincidental that one of Adam’s first tasks in the book of Genesis was the naming of animals. Names gave him (and give us) dominion over the world.

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Tuesday February 19
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Freedom + Structure = Creativity

Peter Klam, Middle School Head

Young children can draw, sing, and play, blissfully unaware that their efforts may be judged by others. Many adults, on the other hand, have a keen sense of their talents and weaknesses, and they engage in or avoid activities based on these understandings. Great singers sing. Talented artists don’t hesitate to draw and share their drawings. But how often do …

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Thursday January 3
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Why Music Is a Requirement in 5th and 6th Grades

Jeremy '05, Music Teacher

Let's be honest: very few Green Acres students will go on to become practicing musicians, and even fewer will perform music professionally. So why are the 5th and 6th graders at Green Acres required to participate in a music class? Is there a practical reason for devoting hours every week to musical study? 

Although it is true that music is not a popular career path,…

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Friday December 14, 2018
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Learning How to See with a Camera

Victor, Middle School Teacher

It's that “vision thing.” When new photography artists enter the photo room, they are ready for a new, fun challenge, and by the 7th and 8th grade, their intellect and passion can be intertwined to produce outstanding fine art. When we give them a highly structured environment like a film darkroom, they thrive because it is a new, interesting game they …

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Wednesday December 12, 2018
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Why Are We Writing in Math Class?

Marylouise, Middle School Math Teacher

Math is not just about numbers — it’s also about expressing your problem-solving process through writing. Students often ask me, “Why are we writing in math? This is not a language arts class!” I explain that writing can demonstrate your understanding of a concept because you are explaining your thought process to others — …

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Monday November 19, 2018
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But, I Can Do That in My Head! (Or, I Can’t Do That in My Head!)

David, Middle School Math Teacher

“Yeah, I got the wrong answer, but I know how to do this!” Careless calculation errors certainly lead to some big mistakes. Worse, when students struggle to recall six times eight or nine plus three, they are using precious working memory that could otherwise support more complex applications or acquisition of deeper concepts. As they move into …

Posted by sarah in Middle School on Monday November 12, 2018
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