Talking Time with the Principal

As part of their current work in geography, 2nd grade students discover the concept of time zones. Teachers have a series of clocks reflecting the U.S. time zones hanging outside their classroom, which they use to make this lesson more visible. When Principal Dan Frank saw one class working with these clocks in the hallway, he seized on the opportunity to connect what they were learning with the school’s history and invite them to create curriculum of their own.

When Dr. Frank visited Cathy Davidson’s classroom the next day, he had time on his mind in a big way. He opened by talking about the unique concept of time and the many uses and meanings of that single word. Frank then touched on the idea of time zones and the fact that there are different times in different places simultaneously. Davidson shared class plans to pick four distinct places on the globe to compare the similarities and differences to our culture and the important role of each time zone.

Reflecting upon the cyclical nature of time, Dr. Frank shared that Parker teachers have been teaching students about time since Parker’s founding in 1901, and time often shows up in different ways in different classes and grade levels. He then invited students to follow him on an on-campus field trip up to the administrative hallway to share some timeless clocks from the school’s history.

Once at their destination, Frank shared a story from 1961, when 15 artists from the school community worked together to create 34 clocks with hand-painted tiles, each named in honor or memory of a Parker employee, to be hung within the “new” school building. Most of these clocks were lost to time, but in 2010, seven were restored with updated mechanisms and currently keep time in the administrative hallway and front alcove to this day.

Reflecting upon this experience and the work ahead, Dr. Frank suggested students consider some alternate time zones to set these clocks to as part of their study. Then they could use this high-traffic part of campus to share what they had learned about time, and different cultures as well, with the school community.

We look forward to a time in the future where this display of time might be a reality!

Click here for photos of this special morning.
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.