Mr. Ackerman's Blog

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Meet Mr. Ferguson (new Gr 3 teacher)

August 4th, 2016 · No Comments

Here is a brief Q and A with Peter Ferguson, our new Grade 3 teacher. And no….he is not related to our Grade 3 teacher, Mrs Fergsuon. : )

1. What makes you excited about coming to the Lane School?

First and foremost, I can’t wait to meet and work with my new class.  I love working with third graders and how enthusiastic they are to learn.  When I was touring the school I noticed that the school has live animals in so many places, which I think promotes questions and discussions for cross curricula learning opportunities.  I was also very excited to learn that Lane has a high ropes course and challenges its’ students more than just academically.

2. What is your favorite memory from when you were in grades 3-5 as a kid?

Third grade was when I moved from England to America and it was a very memorable time of my life.  So many things were different from what I knew.  Teachers and classmates helped make the transition such a positive experience.  People talked differently, the games were different and what we were learned in school was seemingly all new.  How people helped me and made me feel so comfortable has played a big part in who I am today.

3. What made you want to be a teacher?

In 2009 I started working with at-risk youth from urban areas.  I would introduce them to hiking and the outdoors and we’d camp up in the White Mountains.  I found that working with those kids was far more intrinsically rewarding than the work I was doing in the private sector.  I started taking classes at night and the rest is history.

4.  Tell us one thing we would be surprised to know about you?

I was once a caretaker for 4 donkeys, 8 goats and a bunch of chickens.  I now have a very health appreciation for roosters and learned that a chicken refusing to move from her nest means she’s trying to incubate her eggs.  When no one tells you these things, and you don’t have the internet, you have to figure these things out yourself!

5.  What have you been doing this summer?

I took my eldest son back “home” to England to meet his Great Aunt.  For the rest of the summer, when the boys were napping, I worked on building them a tree house in the backyard.  As a family our summer has been filled with music class, gymnastics, swim lessons, Walden pond, trips to the ocean and Drumlin Farm.  Myself, I enjoyed some time to get in some runs, ride my bike and catch up on my reading.

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June 12th, 2016 · No Comments

Grade 3 Parents….Please take a moment and fill out the survey
Create your own user feedback survey

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Field Day 2016

June 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

Grade 3 and 4 had an awesome time at our annual Field Day. Our PE teachers, Ms Post and Mr Smith, do a great job setting up fun (and wet) games for the kids. This video will give you a sense of the day.

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Telling our story through images

April 4th, 2016 · No Comments

Images say a lot. That is why I enjoy making and sending out these quick videos of what is happening at Lane. Enjoy.

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Friday Video Fun

March 6th, 2016 · No Comments

Latest video from Lane…..

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Friday Video

January 27th, 2016 · No Comments

Lots of great things happening at Lane. Here is a quick video to give you a “flavor” for a Friday at Lane.

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Survey for Parents

January 16th, 2016 · No Comments

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Veterans Day Ceremony (video)

November 12th, 2015 · No Comments

I was very proud of our school’s ceremony yesterday to honor our Veterans. Hopefully your child shared his/her thoughts on the ceremony with you. It’s always impressive to see the different people who make up the U.S. Armed Forces. There were mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, and some grandparents too. We were particularly grateful and honored to have two Bedford mothers with us, who’s sons were killed in Iraq. Mrs Hart lost her son John in 2003. Mrs Desiato's son, Travis, was killed in 2004.

Matt Hall created this video to give you a sense of the event. Special thanks to our very helpful crew from BEST for coming to school at 7:00am to decorate.

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Friday Morning Meeting

September 18th, 2015 · No Comments

Every Friday we have some fun…..

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The Ordinary Child

August 13th, 2015 · No Comments

This is a summary of a recent Time Magazine article, titled, “In Praise of the Ordinary Child.” Thanks to Kim Marshall for providing the summary. It certainly makes you think about how you parent.

Are We Putting Too Much Pressure on Children to Be Exceptional?

In this Time Magazine article, Jeffrey Kluger bemoans the way some American parents are pushing their children to apply to elite colleges, compete at high levels in sports, and develop esoteric talents in search of wealth and fame. These kids “are being fed a promise,” says Kluger, “– that they can be tutored and coached, pushed and tested, hothoused and advanced-placed until success is assured… Somewhere between the self-esteem building of going for the gold and the self-esteem crushing of the Ivy-or-die ethos there has to be a place where kids can breathe, where they can have the freedom to do what they love – and where parents accustomed to pushing their children to excel can shake off the newly defined shame of having raised an ordinary child.”

Among achievement-obsessed parents, there’s a virtual contagion, says Harvard lecturer/activist Richard Weissbourd. “You see it in this arms race to get kids into selective colleges. A neighbor’s kid has an SAT tutor in eighth grade, so you think you’re denying your own kid if you don’t do the same… There are racial, class, and cultural differences involved. In many working-class and immigrant families, for example, you tend not to see children being told they’re special all the time. There’s more of a collective responsibility.”

Step one, says Kluger, is accepting that there is a downside to force-marching young people to very high achievement. “You can sign your kids up for ballet camp or violin immersion all you want,” he says, “but if they’re simply doing what they’re told instead of doing what they love, they’ll take it only so far.” Sometimes coaches or teachers see a spark of talent in gymnastics or dance or chess and push young people too hard, forcing them to focus prematurely and snuffing out the intrinsic motivation. When genuine interest flags, that’s a signal for parents, coaches, and teachers to back off. “Kids can persist with something difficult or boring only if they can connect with how it’s making them what they want to be,” says Harvard professor Nancy Hill.

RULER is a program developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence whose aim is fostering young people’s “E.Q.” and helping them balance motivation, talent, and goals. RULER summarizes these ways of dealing with emotions and their consequences:

- Recognizing

- Understanding

- Labeling

- Expressing

- Regulating

“You want children to dream and have a vision,” says RULER co-creator Marc Brackett. “But you also want them to have the emotional education to strategize accordingly.” (For more information on the program, see http://ei.yale.edu/ruler/.) Search Institute in Minneapolis has a similar approach. “Children have to feel they have a voice,” says CEO Kent Pekel, “that they have age-appropriate autonomy and agency. This allows them to find their own spark. You want to put them on a path to thrive.” (See http://www.search-institute.org/about for more information.)

Children who are raised to believe they’re exceptional can experience a devastating crash when they get to college or graduate school and find themselves surrounded by lots of other “one percenters.” This can be traced back to parents who get overly invested in their children’s success and smother them with praise, which can raise the pressure to keep performing at unrealistic levels and make kids fearful of failure when they are faced with new challenges. “Parents begin to see their children as part of their own identity,” says Eddie Brummelman of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, “and their kids’ ambitions become their own.” Young people who are brought up this way are often at a loss when they encounter stiffer challenges and competition and don’t know how to ask for help. “Having been so painstakingly raised and tended from birth,” says Kluger, “a student may arrive at college as a kind of temperamental orchid, one that can’t possibly survive in the wild.”

The key is broadening the definition of exceptional. “It’s possible to raise a miserable billionaire,” says Kluger, “just as it’s possible to raise a happy shop owner or social worker.” But the current push for exceptionalism has made jobs like these seem less worthy. Parents and educators can get angry at the suggestion that a student might think about an associate’s degree aimed at skilled trades, nursing, computer technology, or airline mechanics. “These are really good jobs,” says James Rosenbaum of Northwestern University, “jobs that let you use your head, and they’re jobs that society needs.”

We cheat ourselves and our kids, concludes Kluger, “if we view life as a single straight-line race in which one one-hundredth of the competitors finish in the money and everyone else loses. We will all be better off if we recognize that there are a great many races of varying lengths and outcomes. The challenge for parents [and educators] is to help their children find the one that’s right for them.”

“In Praise of the Ordinary Child” by Jeffrey Kluger in Time Magazine, August 3, 2015, available for purchase at http://time.com/3969237/in-praise-of-the-ordinary-child/


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