Walker: It Just Feels Different

Molly M. is a new fifth grader in the Lower School at The Walker School. She is a guest blogger and a Lower School expert author for our Discovering Walker Wonders blog series. She writes about how Walker just…feels different: 

mollymComing to a new school was hard for me. I had lots of friends. But coming to Walker was different.  When I came, everyone I met was so nice and helped me with what ever it was I needed. The teachers were always so welcoming; it was like I knew them all my life.

Everyone I met knew I was new, but it didn’t matter to them. To them, I was the same as all their other friends they had before I came. Walker is one of the best schools I will ever go to.


Opportunities Abound – For Students and Adults

Gustavo W. is a new fifth grader in the Lower School at The Walker School. He is a guest blogger and a Lower School expert author for our Discovering Walker Wonders blog series. He writes about the opportunities that abound at Walker – for students and adults! 

gustavoI am a new student at Walker. I am loving Walker so far. The environment overall is stupendous and everyone is amazing! The teachers and my friends have been super kind. The campus has been outstanding since I know kids of all grade levels. Another quick thing is that the lockers are pretty cool, I haven’t used lockers in 5 years!  I signed up for football, so I met friends before school even started!!

So far, I have met so many nice people and I continue to meet nice people. I am not the only new student at Walker in fifth grade, but I think everyone has adapted very well. One thing I notice is that everyone is trying to do more than one thing: for example my football coach Coach Farrington helps with football, wrestling, and in the cafeteria. I think everyone at Walker is very determined to complete a task.

Walker: A Place to Perform

Madeline M. is a new seventh grader in the Middle School at The Walker School. She is a guest blogger and our Middle School expert author for our Discovering Walker Wonders blog series. She writes about her love of performing and the opportunities that abound at Walker:

performingLast weekend, I was inspired by the actors, singers, dancers, and musicians in The Addams Family Musical. I love to perform! Walker gave me several opportunities to perform this fall. I was a tomboy, girly teenager, and professional intern in the Middle school comedy in September. I can’t wait to perform in an Upper School musical!

I also performed in the fall orchestra concert. Did I mention that I love to perform? I play violin for Mrs. Kyna Elliott.

She inspires me every day to improve my technique and to perform with my violin.

Mrs. Elliot played along with the student orchestra pit during The Addams Family Musical. The student musicians were amazing, including a violinist from Camerata. At the fall concert, Camerata – an Upper School Quartet – was breath-taking to hear and inspiring to watch the movement of their bows.

I also perform in the classroom at Walker. Last week, I performed a thirty-minute presentation teaching my Spanish class about dance in the Spanish culture. Whether in Life Science, Early American History, or English, I perform as a writer every week and see my progress in expression.

I am grateful for the inspiration I have received at The Walker School! Did I mention I had a performance coming up? Come hear the Middle School orchestras, bands, and choruses on December 8th for our Holiday Concert.

The Right Choice

Sofia P., a new ninth grader at The Walker School, is one of our Upper School expert authors for our Discovering Walker Wonders blog. She writes about her first few days as a Walker Wolverine:

I absolutely love Walker so far! I knew I would have an unbelievable experience because when I came home after the first day of school, my jaw ached from smiling so much.

The people you meet are incredibly inclusive, almost like they were simply waiting at the door for you to arrive.

The schedules are very tricky, but I was able to figure it out after a few days due to helpful teachers! Also, the classes may seem intimidating but the teachers emphasize that they are always there for extra help, so I definitely feel comfortable about emailing and contacting my teachers about work or anything about the lesson.

One of my favorite parts about Walker is the free time and study hall you receive. I am used to a pile of homework as soon as I get home, but at Walker you can use study hall time or lunch time to get ahead on homework, which is very important to an athlete like me! I’m still a little nervous around some of the students that I don’t know, but as I scream that Walker cheer I know I made the right choice all along.

Walker is Wonderful

Madeline M. is a new seventh grader in the Middle School at The Walker School. She is a guest blogger and our Middle School expert author for our Discovering Walker Wonders blog. She writes about her first few days as a Walker Wolverine:

My first two days were full of excitement, intrigue, and friendship. I was most excited about exploring the campus, decorating my locker, and learning about after-school clubs. The classes on my schedule were intriguing. I feel I have a variety of classes from Early American History to Orchestra to Computer. The Walker School also gave me the opportunity to take placement tests in math and Spanish allowing me to continue my progress in two of my favorite subjects. Most importantly, I started friendships and relationships that I hope will last all year.

Walker was a different school environment for me. New student orientation, friendly teachers, and the new student bowling party made the transition easy.

At the end of my first day, I did not want to leave.

Walker is wonderful! I know I made the right decision to attend The Walker School for seventh grade.

Twin Perspectives

twinsAryan P. and Ayaan P. are new to Walker this year and are experiencing all of the fun and learning that our first grade has to offer! They are our youngest bloggers and are excited to start typing their blog posts soon!

Can you tell they are twins too!?


First Grader Aryan writes:

“I like my teacher. I had fun playing in the garden.”

First Grader Ayaan writes:

“My first day at Walker was fun. I loved playing with my friends.”


Passion, Progress, Purpose

BRAIN_temp coverIn our fifth grade class meeting last week, I had one of those moments that we, as teachers, hold sacred.  It became apparent to me that my students still didn’t quite understand the symbolism of the rubber bands as they relate to learning and the brain research presented by JoAnn Deak. In early January, JoAnn Deak visited The Walker School and shared her latest brain research…and the example of how rubber bands symbolize areas of strength (large, stretchy rubber bands) as well as areas of weakness (small, inflexible rubber bands).

So I reread Deak’s Your Fantastic Elastic Brain book aloud to them. Although they enjoyed practicing the pronunciations of the words amygdala and cerebellum along with me, I could tell they still didn’t realize the significance. There was no connection. I got smiles and polite nods, but not a single light bulb flickered on.  I tried a new tactic. I asked them to guess what my largest, most elastic rubber band was. I heard things like:

“Speaking!” “English!” “Reading!” and “Writing!”

“Yes!” I said. “Those are my PASSION bands, and do you know how they got sooooo stretched? I loved writing and reading books and teaching others when I was young. I told them stories about how I used to come home from school and play “school” for three hours until my mom called me down for dinner. (Some of the looks of disgust/incredulity from my students were priceless by this point.) I went on to tell them that I remember fishing through the trash for discarded workbooks on the last day of school so I could use the unused pages for my imaginary students at home. (By this point the chuckles grew louder.) And then I dropped the bomb.

“Guess what was happening to my brain every time I read, and wrote a story, and pretended to be a teacher in my little classroom upstairs? IT WAS STRETCHING! The areas required for those tasks were getting worked and stretched and expanded and strengthened, but it didn’t feel like work at all. I was just following my passion.”  

I then made it personal: “So, Shane, you know all those basketball videos you make on iMovie with your buddies for fun? You are doing EXACTLY what I was doing when I played school. You’re having fun, exploring your passions, and stretching parts of your brain that might not have otherwise been stretched.”

Rhodes chimed in, “My stretchiest rubber band is definitely organizing. I love it.”

“Mine is definitely talking,” said Adam (one of my highly communicative students).

I continued on to talk about my small “PROGRESS” rubber bands – the ones I wish I’d stretched more as a child. I talked about math with Mrs. Herrmann and Mrs. Hussey…Mrs. Rhodes’s dreaded physics class…Mr. Parkhurst’s chemistry course…and even my public speaking courses in college. (My class was shocked to learn that I would much prefer speaking to parents one-on-one than giving a large lecture on Parents’ Night.) These were all taught by amazing teachers whom I still respect and admire to this day, but because the content was not my passion, I didn’t ever grit my teeth, press on, and really S-T-R-E-T-C-H them.

We ended our discussion by viewing Shane’s video entitled “Elite Dudez: Episode II” and it was everything I had hoped it would be. The flawless technical editing on iMovie, musical overlay, exaggerated celebration, and passion encompasses everything I love about teaching fifth graders.

What’s important about moments like these? I am reminded that the power of knowing this information about the human brain is, I believe, better than any knowledge I impart to my students this year. Understanding these seemingly silly, symbolic rubber bands can literally open doors that would have otherwise remained closed. Who knows where Shane’s videos will lead him? Where Rhodes’s passion for organizing will take her? What doors will open up because of Adam’s quick wit and ease in speaking? We, as adults, can only look back and wish that we had stretched our bands more. How wonderful it is that we are showing these young minds the power of stretching both their PASSION and their PROGRESS bands!

If you’d like to see what stretching looks like (and you need a good laugh), please check out Shane’s latest basketball video. It’s a priceless reminder of progress, passion, and the purpose behind everything we do here at Walker.

About the Author: Mrs. Kate Carter (’99) is the fifth grade Language Arts teacher in the Lower School. She has been at Walker since she was in Preschool but has been teaching for six years at the school. Mrs. Carter currently serves as the upper elementary Language Arts coordinator.