Independent Learning in Action
A few weeks ago we posted the Manlius Pebble Hill Independent Learning Philosophy to great fanfare and media acclaim (Ok, it was a muted reception, but the quiet likely indicated the presence of deep reading). It really is a significant document for the School as it outlines the deeply held principles that drive the unique, creative, and rigorous approach to independent education at MPH. If you haven't, give it a read or at least an extended perusal.

One of the challenges of explaining a learning philosophy is that it's a lot easier to understand it in action rather than print. So, this week we were back at the Fayetteville YMCA pool watching Independent Learning in action, covered in duct tape and soaking wet. A few weeks ago we featured pictures of Teresa Henderson's Intro to Design class with their cardboard and tape boats, and this was the return trip during which students set sail with re-designed and (ideally) improved boats. The process was best summed up by Henderson herself, telling students over and over again, "You're going to fail. Failing is expected and good. That's how you learn."

The Independent Learning Philosophy mentions "intrinsic motivation and engagement." These students, split into teams of four, never seemed to be in competition but rather pulled together as an entire class. Ideas and duct tape (so much duct tape) were shared. Failing ideas were collectively disposed. The energy and camaraderie was infectious: Kids shared boats, they learned how to explore solutions within the fairly sparse rules (a duct-tape rope possibly inspired by the historical Erie Canal method won the day), and some failed spectacularly while others floated around in relative bliss. Parents will also be happy to hear that they were even a joy to have in the van on the way over (once we established a "no more Christmas music" rule).

One swimmer at the Y, who'd sidled up to the rail of her pool to watch the boats, said, "I wish they'd done this kind of thing when I was in school." There's a lot of that going around here at the School.
8:30 a.m. | PSAT Exam

Monday | Day 2
4:30 p.m. Boys Modified 7/8/9 Soccer v. Faith Heritage

Tuesday | Day 3
4:30 p.m. Girls Modified 7/8/9 Soccer @ Tully

Wednesday | Day 4
4:00 p.m. Boys 7th/8th Cross Country
4:00 p.m. Boys Varsity Cross Country @ Cato-Meridian
4:00 p.m. Girls Varsity Cross Country @ Cato-Meridian
4:30 p.m. Boys Modified 7/8/9 Soccer @ Faith Heritage

Thursday | Day 5
School Picture Retake Day (students doing retakes must return original picture package)

Friday | Day 6
4:30 Boys Modified 7/8/9 Soccer v. Onondaga Central

College Reps on Campus This Week

For Grade 12
Below is the list of colleges visiting MPH next week. Don't forget to register at the home page of your Naviance.
For Grade 11
Juniors are welcome, in order to attend, in advance of the meeting you must register by sending an email to Mrs. Bernazzani ( and Mr. Cardamone (

11:30 a.m. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

9:30 a.m. Oberlin College
11:30 a.m. College of the Holy Cross

11:30 a.m. St. Joseph's University
1:30 p.m. Pomona College

11:30 a.m. Carnegie Mellon University

11:30 a.m. Union College (NY)
1:30 p.m. James Madison University
Photo and Video of the Week
Part of Culinart and Chef Christine's holistic approach to healthy lifestyle eating, The Smoothie Bike made its debut in the lunchroom Friday to rave reviews and energized legs.
MPH Apparel is Here
And you can buy online any time
The official Manlius Pebble Hill clothing store is now live with a wide variety of selections for all sizes, genders, and ages. A couple key points:

  • It's an online store, but it's open for the whole year
  • We have two designs available now - a script Manlius Pebble Hill School and an "MPH" option; you'll see the selections in the drop-down menus for each item
  • We'll be adding designs throughout the year, so keep checking back - and check Snapshot - we'll let you know when we've got new items
Weekly Lunch Menu
You'll find the weekly lunch menu here in Snapshot every Friday, but it also lives on the MPH website (you can find it through the direct link or on the left column of myMPH). And this week we welcome the return of Nutrislice, which lets users sort menu items by nutritional data, ingredients, and allergens.
Kindergarten Scientists
Kindergarten is full of scientists! Kindergarteners are learning the Scientific Method and how it can help them come up with an answer to a question. One student responded that, “Scientists ask why something works or why something doesn’t work.” Another student noted, “Scientists ask people around town their question.”

Kindergarteners worked through the scientific method, asking the question, “What will happen when you add food coloring and dish soap to milk?” Some of the hypotheses included: 
  • it will turn into a rainbow
  • turn colors
  • mix together and make another color
  • the colors are going to spread out

As a class, the students asked questions, hypothesized, planned, tested, and discussed the results. Kindergarten students are excited for a year filled with learning through the scientific method.
School Picture Retake Day is Thursday, Oct. 20
School Picture Retake Day is Thursday, October 20 and will take place in the Digital Art Room between 8:15 – 11:00 a.m. Students doing a retake must bring in their original picture package. A schedule will be posted around school for students to reference. Students who missed Picture Day or want a retake done should swing by the Digital Art Room that day. Contact Juhee LaHaye with any questions.
LS Students Explore Music for Indigenous Peoples' Day
In Lower School Performing Arts, students just finished a unit on the music of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere. In recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day, Grades 3, 4, and 5 presented about the history of the Anishinaabe people and taught students in kindergarten, and grades 1 and 2 The Chippewa Lullaby.
October Events for the Lower School
  • Friday, Oct. 28, PreK-5 students will be invited to participate in a pumpkin picking scavenger hunt in the MPH STEAM Park. 
  • Monday, Oct. 31, will be our MPH Fall Festival. Lower School teachers will fill this day with fall-themed learning activities that may involve pumpkins, harvest themes, STEAM experiments, art projects, read-alouds, math games, music/dance, and writing as it relates to their particular grade/class. 
  • Please note that Lower School students will not wear Halloween costumes to school on Monday Oct. 31. Costumes, wigs, masks, and face paint/makeup are a distraction to our youngest learners and prevent them from actively engaging in planned lessons and activities. Lower School students are welcome to wear a fall or Halloween themed T-shirt or accessory on Monday, Oct. 31.
  • In accordance with our MPH Food Allergy Safety Protocols, please do not send any food, snacks, or treats for your child to eat or share with their class. Chef Christine and her dining hall staff will share a special nut-/egg-free treat with our students as part of our MPH Fall Festival. 
MPH Teacher Appearing in Angels in America from Oct. 14-23
Maya Dwyer plays Harper in the Redhouse Arts Center production
MPH's own Maya Dwyer, who teaches dance to middle and upper school students, is playing the role of Harper in a professional production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America Part 1: Millenium Approaches beginning this weekend at The Redhouse Arts Center in downtown Syracuse. The play is rarely performed due to its epic scale and required special effects for a few magic moments. Shows run from Oct. 14-23. Maya says there is mature content and language in the show. She would recommend it for juniors and seniors, but says she is happy to give more details to any parents with questions. Email her at
NEW MPH After School Club! 
MPH Junior No-Bake Bake Off
For Grades 4-6
Dates: Tuesdays, October 25-November 15
Time: 3:15-4:15 p.m.
Cost: $100
Join us for this fun new after school club with Ms. Shelly O’Reilly (formerly of the popular MPH Shelly’s Bake House.) Students will receive mystery ingredients with a recipe to create a masterpiece each week for the judges. Students will learn to read a recipe, measure ingredients, and put together flavors. Space is limited to 12 students!
Flu Shot Clinics with Kinney Drugs a Success
In collaboration with Kinney Drugs and their wonderful pharmacist Erica, we were able to administer 129 doses of the flu vaccine last week. Buzzy the Bee was also on hand to help ease any fears - and Erica was truly empathetic and skilled with everyone.
MPH Parents’ Association Fundraiser 

The MPH PA is once again collecting children’s items to sell at the Polkatot Consignment Sale. All proceeds go to support PA events. Find the list of what we are collecting here.

Please contact Theresa Heath with any questions at 315-254-5687 or We will be collecting through October 28.

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