Integrated Learning and Information Science (ILIS) hosts collaborative projects that allow students to engage in experiences that encourage creativity, collaboration and adaptability. We’re passionate about building and facilitating these projects to help students and teachers build connections among departments, grade levels and the community. 

Empowering Makers to Create Connections

Parker students learn to think, create, adapt and invent. Our Integrated Learning and Information Sciences Department (ILIS) curriculum is uniquely structured to enable students to follow interests and pursue passions while making connections from concepts to the classroom to the community. Through project-based learning, the foundation of our program, students engage in research and develop agility in accessing, discerning and applying information. Technology and media are thoughtfully integrated to ignite social awareness and launch their imaginations.

A focus on design thinking and maker empowerment encourages students to recognize designs and systems in the world around them and to tinker, remake and create. Our staff consists of librarians/media specialists and educational technology experts who work to empower students to not only use print and digital research materials, but also create new knowledge. The ILIS staff works in the Kovler Family Library, the ILIS Collaboration Lab space and the classroom.

Our in-house design studio, the TIDES (Technology, Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship for Society) Garage, provides students access to 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines and a variety of technological tools for learning, challenge and expression.

Working collaboratively with others across grade levels, building mastery year after year, students develop the skills and mindset to impact their school and the world as thinkers, doers and makers.

Kovler Family Library

The Kovler Family Library is the heart of the school. The library is a gathering space for students, a collaborative workspace, a research center, a classroom and a place where students can explore interests and develop a love of reading. The ILIS team seeks to create a curriculum that helps students develop research, communication and collaboration skills to be successful both in and out of the school environment.

The Kovler Family Library provides a balanced collection of print and digital resources. The collection aims to meet curricular needs as well encourage reading for pleasure. Helping students become lifelong readers is an essential goal of the library. The library provides materials that encourage a love of reading and a selection of popular reading materials. Students and the Parker community have access to digital resources to help them navigate the collection and find information. Resources include online encyclopedias, ebooks for research and pleasure reading and a web-based catalog with a downloadable app.
The Library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday. Students, parents and faculty are welcome to come to the library to check out books, learn about resources, receive help with research needs or hang out in our comfortable welcoming space.

Project Archive

List of 9 items.

  • Ruby Bridges | Junior Kindergarten

    This project helped students gain understanding and knowledge about social justice issues and develop empathy and perspective—essential skills that need nurturing at even the youngest ages.
    While reading The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Cole as a class, students talked about the events in the story, shared details about Ruby’s real life and discussed the meaning of segregation. Students broke up into small, teacher-led groups at pivotal points in the story, such as when US Marshalls escorted Ruby into her school while surrounded by an angry crowd. Students put themselves in Ruby’s shoes and shared what they thought she was feeling and how they might have felt. Some thought she might have been sad, lonely, scared or angry. Others thought maybe Ruby felt proud that she was helping bring about change and that she was brave.
    In the final phase, teachers used the library green screen and the app Do Ink to take a picture of each student standing in the historic picture with Ruby. Students created posters with their pictures to show how they would stand up beside Ruby Bridges. The students displayed their posters in the library hallway and proudly shared their projects at an all-school assembly.
    Click here for photos and videos of this project
  • Little Red Riding Hood | Senior Kindergarten

    Through this project, Senior Kindergarten classes dove deeper into the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. After reading and discussing the book, the class mapped out the story, focusing on finding a safer way for Little Red to get from her cottage to her grandmother’s house. First, students ideated using LEGOs and Kiva blocks. Ideas ranged from a teleport station to a zip line that ran from the cottage to the house in the woods. Then students identified four key areas: traps to catch the wolf, a vehicle for Little Red to travel in, a fence that protected the path and a bridge from Little Red’s house to her grandmother’s house.
    The next stage was creating the prototype. Working in small groups led by an adult, students were introduced to the 3D design software Tinkercad. Their designs included fences that had security cameras and lasers to keep Little Red safe from the wolf, traps that looked like a house to trick the wolf and a bridge that trapped the wolf under it so Little Red could travel safely to her grandmother’s house. The class then printed their designs on a 3D printer and recorded narrated explanations of their ideas.
    Check out these photos and video from this project.
  • Artbot | 1st Grade

    In celebration of International Dot Day, 1st graders read the story The Dot by Peter Reynolds. They discussed and reflected on the themes of the story, including the ideas of working, trying and not giving up when learning something new. Students also reflected on what it means to make your mark with art—in their classroom community and school community. Students brainstormed as a class and in small groups to create a list of qualities that might help someone be a good collaborator, team member or classmate. The students selected the qualities they thought were most important, then put the qualities to the test by creating an Art Robot.

    Working in small groups, the 1st graders decided how they wanted to build their bots, selected the art materials and colors to use and chose how they wanted to create the art. Each group set their own norms based on their selected qualities and used those norms as they created their art—making their mark both on paper and in their groups. Students went on to explore and collaborate on a coding project using the ScratchJr app to create images of their bots and to program the bots to move.

    Check out the Artbot Website the ILIS team made as part of this project.
  • Zoo | 3rd Grade

    During ILIS technology, library and classroom writing times and in Science classes, 3rd graders created optimal zoo habitats. This zoological design thinking project was part of a larger study that included students’ animal/conservation curriculum in Science and integrated research, literacy, writing and coding skills and technology production.

    Students used the Scratch app to design animal habitats, developing their coding skills while exploring how zoo design can mimic the natural environment as much as possible. Students then brought their designs to life using a variety of materials, including clay, wire, pipe cleaners, cardboard, plastic and more. Finally, students chose different technology options, such as newscasts or digital posters, to showcase their creations and provide an audio description of their optimal zoo habitats.

    Check out these photos of some recent habitats created by our students and their research.
  • Design Thinking Challenge | 5th Grade

    This challenge allowed 5th graders to work through the design thinking process as they created games to foster sound decision making. Introduced to the notion of an empathy interview, students learned how to collect and apply information enabling them to design for the needs of the end user. Students honed collaboration skills while working with classmates to brainstorm and process data before designing and building their own game prototypes. Students learned to share their ideas, take in constructive feedback and apply it to their work, as well as to process what it means to make responsible decisions in their own lives.

    Check out some photos from this project.
  • Passion Projects | Middle School

    Inspired by Google’s “20% Time” creative idea generation concept, Passion Projects (sometimes called Genius Hours) fired up the imaginations at Parker. Teachers posed the question to Middle School students, “If you had eight weeks to work on ANYTHING, what would you choose?” Seizing the opportunity, students used design thinking strategies and maker tools to create self-invented projects in an area of passionate interest. During the project cycle, students learned a lot about their topics and, perhaps most important, about themselves. Projects ranged from an exploration into the Japanese art form of Hikaru Doro Dango (a shiny mud ball) to novel writing and original song composition.
  • NaNoWriMo | All Grades

    An annual event, developed under the guidance of writer and library staff member Eric Rampson, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at the Kovler Family Library took place in November with the traditional program and again in April for Camp NaNoWriMo. The program helped students recognize and nurture their inner writers, set a word count goal for the month and work toward completing an entire novel. Students who completed their word count goal were honored by having their works published, and the library added both print and digital copies of their novels to the its circulating collection. To date, Parker has published more than 20 student novels by 35 student authors.
  • Social and Emotional Learning Book Club | 7th Grade

    Fourteen 7th graders came together with their librarian and counselor for four lunchtime conversations to discuss the social and emotional issues in the novel Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman. Students talked through current and relevant issues including friendship, social media, bullying and family dynamics through the platform of the novel. Through this experience, students built empathy, camaraderie and trust in a safe environment to grapple with tough topics. At the end of the series of discussions, students spoke with the author via Skype and enjoyed the opportunity to ask her questions about how she crafted the book.
  • Maker Wednesdays | All Grades

    After school on periodic Wednesdays, the Parker library hosted a variety of maker programs encouraging students of all ages to experience the power of invention and making. The themes varied and the hands-on engagement ranged from building cardboard creations to using green screen apps and much more. Students explored and created using technology such as the LEGO movie-maker app, textiles and fiber arts, 3D design software and printing. One highlight included a robot petting zoo, featuring Ozobots, Dot and Dash and a demonstration from Parker’s Upper School Robotics Team.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.