Crafting, Designing and Building in Middle School Parker Partners
By 7th grade English teacher Kate Tabor
More than 200 students and nearly 30 Middle School faculty and staff brought their energy and skills to a one-day Parker Partners event on Thursday, April 7. The Maker event, designed to literally build literacy and create warmth, had students crafting, designing and building.
In the past, the Middle School has spent six mornings a year working throughout the city with our partner organizations, developing relationships and raising awareness of communities and schools throughout Chicago. Students have worked with early childhood education programs and, among others, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Casa Central and Ronald McDonald House. They have participated in faculty-developed groups that address marginalized individuals, social justice and literacy. Unfortunately, the realities of COVID made these experiences impossible these past two school years.
This year we made the decision to have a one-day event that focused on creating and stewarding projects at Parker. To that end, we are creating five Little Free Libraries, and, working with the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Literacy Project, we will install them near schools in the Pullman, South Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods. Students made blankets for children in hospitals with Project Linus, created a time capsule of the last three years and delivered bouquets of flowers to people at Parker. There are gift bags of books and supplies, toys for pets and crocheted squares to turn into blankets.
Sixth grade students had an opportunity for leadership as well. Two projects that are part of their sustainability work in Peg Zerega’s 6th grade science class got a boost from 7th and 8th graders, who made cloth bags from recycled materials and planted vegetable seeds.
We hope to be back in the communities next year, and we know the things we made together on Thursday will connect us to others around Chicago.