Past Queries

Meeting for Worship

Parents and other FSM community members are always welcome to join FSM's meeting for worship at 9:30am on Wednesdays. In the Quaker tradition, our weekly meeting provides students, staff, and other FSM community members an opportunity for silence, reflection, and sharing.

Meeting for Worship alternates between All School and by division, Lower School and Middle School.

2016-17 School Year

June 1, 2016

All School

Alissa queried: How will you find peace and calm this summer without the structure of school?

May 18, 2016

Lower School

Linda queried: Today I invite you when you sit in silence, to go deeper into the quiet and see if you can notice how your body and mind respond to this state of being. Perhaps to help you along with this, you may even consider keeping your eyes closed to help you with the experience.

Middle School

Rebecca's advisory had the middle school query

Josh: Yesterday, our advisory shared things we are proud of accomplishing this year, as well as goals we have for the end of the year. This got us thinking about change and how we are constantly changing during this time in our lives.

Rudy: Sometimes it’s hard to watch our friends change into different people than we are used to. Sometimes we want to break out of the same roles we have always played, but it’s hard when our friends expect us to be the same we’ve always been.

Alicia: So our query today is: How do we let each other grow and change?

May 11, 2016

All School

Karen led the query. Bayou and Tundra classes performed their arrangement of "Let it Be," by the Beatles.  

"Paul McCartney wrote this song as a response to a dream he had. He was feeling anxiety because he could sense his band was breaking up, and didn’t know what his next step in life would be.  He went to sleep one night and his mother came to his dream and said only three words ,"let it be." When he woke up, he felt a sense of calm and knew if he let it be, things would work out. Please listen to the words and message of the song "Let it Be."  Ask yourself:

What do the words "let it be" mean to me?

How do I "let it be" in my own life when I’m feeling anxious?

April 27, 2016

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.

April 20, 2016

Lower School

Marshall shared that April is Poetry Celebration Month and Friday is Earth Day. He read "Summer Day" by Mary Oliver and asked students to respond to her last line, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Middle School

Richard asked, "If you were to come up with a query, what would be one--or at least a subject area--that would speak to the needs of our school community?"

April 13, 2016

All School

Linda read from The Gifts of Imperfection, Letting Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life. By, Brene Brown (see reading)

Query:  What does courage mean to me? How do I show courage?

March 24, 2016

All School

Garth: Today is "dress like an animal day" at Friends School of Minnesota which inspired my query for today's MFW: 

If I were an animal, which animal would I be? What do I admire about that animal? What makes that animal special? What about that animal inspires me?

March 17, 2016

Lower School

Sally spoke briefly about what beliefs are, such as the Quaker belief that there is that of God in every person, people's belief that family is very important, the belief that kindness makes the world a better place, or the belief that going to school is a child's work/job. Her query was about integrity.

Do I speak and act in ways that show my beliefs?

Middle School

Steve said, "Language is a pretty interesting thing. I recently heard that we now have more than 1,000,000 words in our language.  Even though we have way more words than any other language we still have lots of words that have more than one meaning.  For instance . . . 

  • Pop could mean a sweetened drink or your father.
  • Boot might describe the thing you pull on your foot in winter or it might mean the trunk of your car.
  • Another word that can mean different things is the word "strong."  One meaning is - "having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks." But we also speak about a strong person and use that word to describe something different. 
What do you think it means to be a strong person?

March 10, 2016

All School

Jill queried, What does it look like when I trust myself and others?

March 3, 2016

Lower School

Laura talked about what it means to be a good citizen, drawing on her experience at caucus night this week. "People are citizens of many different groups, not just of countries. You could think of yourself as being a citizen of your classroom, or the school, or even the neighborhood in which you live." Read Laura's full query.

What does it mean to be a good citizen? How can I help make sure everyone's voice is heard even if I don't agree with what they are saying?

Middle School

Rebecca talked about managing stress (read Rebecca's full query) and queried: 

What can I do to reduce stress in my life so I can be my healthiest, happiest self?

February 24, 2016

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.

February 18, 2016

K-6 (7-8 at Crosby Farm)

Jeannette read several short poems by Rumi and queried: How do I turn my feelings and thoughts into action? 

February 11, 2016

All School

Sara’s advisory has planned our query today. We wanted to think about love and compassion.
Acts of compassion would include things such as holding the door for someone elderly who needs extra time, giving a hug to a friend in need, surprising a loved one with a gift or some other surprise to lift their spirit.
As we think about Valentine’s Day approaching our query is
Remember to speak loudly so we all may hear. Leave some space in between what people say to give us time to think and reflect.

February 4, 2016

Lower School

David queried: How do I say and show when I am truly sorry?

Middle School

It is a new year! A time to reflect and consider how you can make changes–to make this day and everyday, the day you want it to be. The start of a new year can be like a giant reset button. A time to put ideas into action, a commitment to do something, to change something in yourself. No one knows better than you: What are your challenges? What effort do you put into something you want?

How do I take what I need to do and turn it into what I want

January 27, 2016

All School

Shahzore: Good morning, everyone. Today we examine how we use our voices. Even a simple greeting is important and can mean the difference between a person feeling alone or connected to others. If that’s on the simple, everyday side of the spectrum, think now about the people who raise their voices to make major change.

We recently celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a major historical figure whose voice still speaks to us. Today, the voice of a young woman named Malala Yousafzai resonates throughout the world. Malala, as many of you know, stood up to the Taliban in Pakistan, raising her voice in the name of education for girls who weren’t even allowed to learn to read. She survived a shot to the head and has continued to speak out for women, boys and girls who have nobody to stand up for them.

Malala says, “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”

At Friends School of Minnesota, we choose how to use our voices every day. Through many years of practicing and performing, I have learned to use my voice as a singer to tell stories and convey messages that I take to heart. Even without words, a voice can celebrate, comfort, strengthen and release all kinds of suffering. I’d like to offer a song for you to listen to now. I wrote this song for today’s meeting, and the few words toward the end are dedicated to anyone here at Friends School, or anyone you’re thinking about who is suffering. Allow yourself to listen on a deep emotional level and consider this query:

How do we raise our voices to make positive change?

Improvisational wordless music before and after these lyrics...

Let me live
Let me live in peace
Let my pain turn to strength
And my fears be released
Let me hope
It’s hope I want to feel
Let this anger break down
And my soul start to heal

January 21, 2016

Lower School

Jill talked about the phrase, "practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty " (written by Anne Herbert on a placemat in 1982 as an alternative to the phrase "random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty").

How do you practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty?

Middle School

Sara has been reading David Brooks' latest book, The Road to Character. She's been thinking a lot about the importance of relationships and how they add to her character. 

Brooks writes, "Character is built sweetly through love and pleasure. When you have deep friendships with good people, you copy and then absorb some of their best traits. When you love a person deeply, you want to serve them and earn their regard. When you experience great art, you widen your repertoire of emotions. Through devotion to some cause, you elevate your desires and organize your energies."

What do I do to foster positive relationships in my life? What do I see others around me doing to foster positive relationships in their lives?

January 14, 2016

All School

Jeannette spoke about what a great job everyone is doing in preparation for our MLK celebration coming up this Friday. This event is an expression of our values, but it can feel like a time of stress because our school schedule changes and is less predictable. 

What are the ways I can connect mindfully and lovingly with people each day? How can I be present in love?
 A helpful link for parents:

January 7, 2016

Lower School

Kathleen shared that she had been thinking about food. "My family has a tradition of eating corn bread stuffing during the holidays. This year my mother instructed three generations of women on how she learned from her mother.  And on New Year's, we always eat black-eyed peas."

Do you have a family tradition around food? Or a favorite food?

Middle School

Steve queried, "There is a famous quote from Bertha Calloway that goes, 'We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.'

I think of this as a life-lesson quote–because it does such a great job of succinctly and eloquently summarizing something that every one of us will encounter throughout our lives. Bertha Calloway reminds me that there are a lot of things in the world that I cannot control, but I can control my own actions and responses."

Can you think of a time when life threw you a curve ball but you adjusted and did your best to make the most of the situation?

December 16, 2015

All School

Linda queried:

During the month of December, people around the world celebrate various holidays, all of which focus on the celebration of light: Diwali, Hanukkah, and Christmas. In Hinduism, light is a metaphor for self- improvement, awareness, and community. Quakers believe there is that of God in everyone and we all have our light to share. Giving and receiving gifts are also a part of these traditions. While exchanging gifts can bring great joy to individuals, there are many gifts that we can give and receive from one another that cannot be wrapped or unwrapped. These gifts are the ones we carry in our hearts and spirits, and we may hold onto them for a very long time. Music can be another gift we may share this time of year. There are numerous holiday concerts and choir performances happening in our communities. I know music is important to so many of us, easily connects us, and transcends language barriers.

My invitation to you today is: if you usually experience MFW with your eyes open, close them today and keep them closed until the song is complete. While you are listening to each note, try and let your body truly settle into the sounds, and notice what happens to your state of being.

What are those moments when your light shines bright and/or how do you let your light shine?  

Khayaal and Ezra G. performed a short instrumental guitar piece with music teacher Karen after the query, as we all settled into meeting for worship. 

December 9, 2015

Lower and Middle School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week, both lower and middle school meetings were unprogrammed.

December 2, 2015

All School

Jill read from "Desiderata," a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann, and queried, 

How am I  gentle with myself? How am I gentle with others? How can I live this way more often?

November 19, 2015

Kindergarten-6th grade

Marshall queried:

Sharing a block you wanted
Inviting someone to play
Saying a kind word at the right time
Noticing when someone is hurting
Stopping to help someone who needs it

Sometimes it is hard to give to others and not just be focused on yourself. The Mississippi Students have been working on these questions:
What does sharing look like?
What actions can I take to create a classroom of kindness? A culture of caring and kindness?
So today's query is---

How can I help create a caring, kind community in my classroom and school?

7th/8th Grade

At Crosby Farm, Richard queried:

What element or feature from the natural world would help you center yourself when feeling stressed or distracted?

November 3, 2015

Lower School

Andrew queried: How do I speak my voice when others are saying something else?

Middle School

Latrisha queried: There are times when we all feel misunderstood. If you had a microphone and could share with everyone at once, what would you want the world to know about you?

October 28, 2015

Jeannette read a quote by Desmond Tutu about ubuntu and queried "How do I show others that they belong?"

Ubuntu is very difficult to render into Western languages. It speaks to the very essence of being human… You share what you have. It is to say, “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up in yours.” We belong in a bundle of life.

We say, “A person is a person through other persons.” It is not, “I think therefore I am.” It says rather. “I am human because I belong. I participate, I share.”

A person with ubuntu is open and available to other, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able or good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.”

Desmond Tutu, from his book No Future Without Forgiveness

October 22, 2015

Lower School

Jill queried about simplicity and the ways in which we can notice and cultivate simplicity in our everyday lives.

Middle School

Melissa read the following poem, once from top to bottom and once from bottom to top. Then posed the query: "How does my perspective affect me and those around me? What things in my life could be better if I changed my perspective?"

Worst Day Ever?   by Chanie Gorkin

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don't try to convince me that
There's something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don't last.
And it's not true that
It's all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be attained
Only if one's surroundings are good
It's not true that good exists
I'm sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It's all beyond my control
And you'll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

October 15, 2015

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.

October 7, 2015

Middle School

Latrisha: The Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship are important to our school identity. In today's meeting I'd like you to settle on the testimony of Integrity.

How do you let your life speak integrity? How would the world know you are a student of a Quaker school? 

September 30, 2015

All School (K-6)

(7/8 at Wolf Ridge)

Bayou 3/4 students Liam, Olive, Anneliya, and Khayaal came up with this week's query about making friends.

Olive: "How do I make myself open to friendship. Some people are new to the school and we still have a lot of time to make friends."

Khayaal: "If someone asks you to play, what do you say?"

Liam: "How do I make friends? Sometimes to make friends you must come to terms with your mind"


September 23, 2015

All School (K-6)

(7/8 at Crosby Farm)

Kak read the FSM mission statement and chose the word HOPE. She said that some students have been writing and talking about their hopes for this school year.

Ask yourself: What hopes do I have for this school year.


September 16, 2015

All School

Sara queried: How do I try to be calm and fully present in a whole group setting with a lot of energy around me? 


September 8, 2015

All School

We started the 2015-16 school year with all school Meeting for Worship (MFW). Lots of families and FSM community members attended with the students and staff.Teacher Andrew explained MFW. This week's query was asked by our head of school Latrisha:

"How do you prepare yourself to handle change?" 

2014-15 School Year

April 8, 2015

Lower School

Alissa's query: In the Jungle classroom, we are reading Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo where the characters eat a candy that tastes of sugar and sorrow. If you could have a happiness candy, what would it taste like?

Middle School

Richard's query: How do I visualize my own best self?


March 25, 2011

All School

Kathleen queried: What are some ways I have helped or can help the community here at Friends School?


March 18, 2015

Lower School

Kak said, "I've been thinking a lot about pretend and dramatic play lately. In the K-2 classrooms, there are dramatic play areas that students can choose to play in. And in the Prairie, students have been working hard on a video, and all of the first and second graders are working on an opera with Brad. Third and fourth graders are right in the middle of rehearsing the play they will present next week, and even some of the seventh and eighth graders are working on the drama club play that we will see in April."
Query: Ask yourself why is it important to pretend and to be a part of a play, or a video, or an opera or dramatic play?

Middle School

Like most organizations and businesses, Friends School has a mission statement. A mission statement is a brief sentence or two that broadly describes the purpose of the organization. The mission of  Friends School is this: “Friends School of Minnesota prepares children to embrace life, learning, and  community with hope, skill, understanding, and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity, and integrity.” 

If one were to write a mission statement that every living organism is born with it would be this: "I exist to perpetuate my genes and promote the survival of my species." Because humans are very complex social animals, we have much more flexibility in defining our personal mission statements. We don't have to consciously define one, and most people do not. But by the end of your life, you will have had a personal mission statement whether you wanted one or not.

So why not consciously give yourself a mission statement and try to hold yourself to it? Now, as you are entering into the important middle period between childhood and adulthood, you will do a lot of the work in laying the foundation of your personal mission statement. So consider who you want to be. How do you want people to see you? If people were to describe you in a single sentence, what would you want that to be?

If you were to have your own mission statement, what would it be?


March 11, 2015

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.


March 4, 2015

Lower School 

Laura told a childhood story about when she teased someone just to fit in with her friends.  

"Have I ever done something I knew I shouldn't just to fit in with the group? What can I do when I see someone else doing something wrong just to fit in?"

Middle School 

Rebecca queried: "How can I challenge myself to reach my goals and to be a better student and person?"


February 25, 2015

All School 

Andrew queried: How do I care for myself when something goes wrong?


February 18, 2015

Lower School 

Kathleen asked the students to consider,  "How do you show or tell someone that you care about them?"

Middle School

Linda queried, "What do you appreciate about your family?"


February 11, 2015

All School

Kris shared a quote she heard last week on her trip to the Quakerism in Education conference in NYC. " Living simply is the right ordering of our lives and priorities." Leonard Kenworthy, Quaker Aid Worker

"When have I, in my own busy life, found the time or made the time to do something that was important?"

February 4, 2015

Lower School

Sara queried: Do I love myself as I am and do I love others as they are? 

Middle School

Will: We have been thinking about how stressful the middle of the school year can be for middle school students and teachers. Some things that contribute to stress are lack of sleep, homework, social interactions, sports and other extra-curricular commitments, arguments with parents and siblings, narrative reports, and just plain getting through the school day sometimes. It’s sometimes hard to know how to manage stress. Some ways that members of our advisory relieve stress include hitting a punching bag, listening to music, dancing in the kitchen, playing sports, doing martial arts, playing video games, watching funny YouTube videos, hanging out with pets, and being active outdoors.

Kaia: The query for today is…How do I manage stress in my life? How can I help others manage theirs? 


January 28, 2015

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.


January 22, 2015

Lower School

Sally shared: Especially over the last weeks of practice and MLK performance, we have noticed each other's talents, hard work, helpful attitude, and skills of working together.

How do I let others know when they've done something that I notice is good?

MIddle School

Steve shared: Quakers believe one should limit the material circumstances of one’s life in a way that allows/enables one to follow divine leadings.  This is the testimony of simplicity.

Another way to say this is - Quakers believe that a spiritual life and character are more important than having lots of nice things. They also believe we should spend our time and energy trying to make life better for ourselves and others.
"Simplicity is not just simple clothes and a simple lifestyle. It's an organization of the mind that enables you to sort out the unimportant details that often clutter your thoughts."  (a Sidwell Friends student)
Do you clear away the clutter in your life so you can spend your time and energy doing what is truly worthwhile?

January 14, 2015

All School

During this time when students and teachers are out sick and some teachers are recovering from surgery and preparations for MLK celebration feel do we connect with our MLK theme this year of peace? 
"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at the goal".
Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Better that a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace". 
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other".
Mother Theresa
"Peace is not a relationship of nation. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind.Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people".
Jawaharlal Nehru
"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves".
Dalai Lama
QUERY: How do I find peace in myself when I am afraid and or nervous?  

January 7, 2015

Lower School

Bayou students read the FSM mission statement and queried: How do I use creativity to show what I learn?

Middle School

How can we recognize when we have enough? How much is enough? What is it that can really satisfy our needs?


December 17, 2014

All School

Brad queried: Where do I find happiness and peace within the clamor of holiday activity?


December 10, 2014

Lower School

Laura talked about how she was having trouble thinking of what she should give to my kids for Christmas. They really don't need anything, so I was thinking of giving them a gift like tickets to a game--something so we can sped time together. So, the query was:

How can I give someone a gift without giving them stuff they don't need? What other kinds of gifts can I give?"

Middle School

Richard queried: Can you think of someone in the school community who has made an impact on you that surprised you?

December 3, 2014

All School

Jeannette used an exercise written by Irene McHenry found in Tuning In-Mindfulness in Teaching and Learning
"MFW is a listening time. Imagine you are in the woods somewhere with animals such as deer and rabbits nearby. Get your body still enough so that a deer or rabbit would walk by and not even know you are there. As you begin to still yourself, listen for the sounds around you and the silence of the woods? Can you hear traffic? Wind? Now listen to your own breathing and notice how it is going in and out. Once you get very still you can hear a lot of things you would not normally hear. In a silent meeting you might be able to hear messages within you that you would not normally hear." 

How do I listen? How do I become a better listener?


November 19, 2014

Lower School

Andrew queried: How do you see the gifts (good qualities) in other people?

Middle School

Anna asked: What does winter bring out in me?  What do I appreciate about living in a place with four distinct seasons?


November 12, 2014

All School

Rebecca's advisory provided the query. "In October, the whole school participated in conferences. Our fall conferences are about students setting goals for themselves about what they want to do, learn, or achieve during the school year. Sometimes, however, it can be easy to forget our goals and fall into the same habits and patterns that we want to change."

How do I remember my goals and keep working to achieve them? 

November 5, 2014

Lower School

Kak talked about about liking school a lot when she was their age and shared some things that she especially liked: reading books she didn't have at home, seeing her friend who lived across town, going to church every morning. 

Ask yourself, what do I like about coming to school at FSM? What do I look forward to?

Middle School

Melissa related to the themes of the books the 5/6 are currently reading in book group, where the characters are all dealing with friendship issues or hurt feelings. She then queried:

How can I help create peace with my peers and help those who are hurt by others?

If I am at fault for hurting someone’s feelings, what can I do to repair things to gain their trust and forgiveness?


October 30, 2014

All School

Anna asked "How can I put myself in other people's shoes?  How can I show more compassion and empathy toward others?"


October 23, 2014

Lower School

Alissa asked  What do I do to make myself happy when I feel sad?

Middle School

Steve asked students to think about the seniors or elders in their lives and whether they reach out to them. Do I reach out to offer kindness to those around me, to help those in need, to try and make the world a better place?


October 15, 2014

Unprogramed meeting. Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.


October 8, 2014

Lower School

Sally talked about how silence plays an important role in our lives–beyond our weekly Meeting for Worship.

When do I find silence in my life?

Middle School

Chris shared a middle school experience with friendship.

How can I make sure that the trust people put in me remains well earned? How can I know when I am in a situation with friends where I might be tempted to do something that will hurt people who trust me and/or that I will later regret?


October 1, 2014

All School

Linda: There are five important ways that curiosity enhances our well-being and the quality of our lives: health, intelligence, social eelationships, meaning, and happiness.

I saw a bumper sticker, which read, “Curiosity explores magic. So ask questions!” The “magic” is what happens when we are open, and actively curious! Kids are particularly good at this. Watching a child explore the garden soil demonstrates this perfectly. Anything found is a treasure. Curiosity fuels the whole exploration. 

How are you curious? How do you find ways to be curious during the school day and weekends too?  


September 25, 2014

Lower School

Jeannette talked about how the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah is a new beginning–like a new school year–a chance to be new again and be better...

"What can I do to make FSM a better school this year?"

Middle School

Sara: I have been thinking about courage. Am I courageous? Do I show my courage outwardly? Is it an inner thought? Both? 

Middle schoolers are preparing to go to Wolf Ridge next week. Fifth and sixth graders have a field trip today and a canoe trip next week. When you go to a new or unknown place, how can you be courageous and try to overcome things that might be hard to do? 
Examples to conjure up thoughts - 
  • starting a new school
  • moving from LS to MS
  • making new friends
  • suffering an injury and trying to get healthy again
  • traveling to a new place
  • going on an overnight
  • having friends/adults ask you to push yourself and try new things (i.e. Wolf Ridge)
"How do I try to overcome things that are scary or hard to do?"

September 18, 2014

All School

Jeannette read the picture book The Golden Rule and asked, "How can I practice the golden rule every day"?

September 10, 2014

Lower School

We are together again after our summer break and we are very happy to see our friends. Some of us have moved into different classrooms and we have the opportunity to make new friends. The Query is, "Ask yourself, what can I do to keep my old friends and how can I also make some new friends." 

Middle School

What can I do this year to make FSM middle school a positive experience?


September 3, 2014

Kindergarten-2nd Grade

K-2 students gathered in their classrooms for an introduction/reminder about Meeting for Worship and how to participate.

3rd-4th Grade

We will spend a lot of time building our third and fourth grade community. Yesterday, we played a great game of Capture the Flag all together–that is part of building our community. Ask yourself, how do I help build and become a positive member of this year's third and fourth grade community?

Middle School

Rebecca reviewed/introduced MFW to students. She explained what MFW means to Quakers and why it's a meaningful and important practice. She read two quotes about silence and asked students to reflect on what silence brings to their own lives.

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” (Nicolas Sparks, The Notebook)

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” (Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth)


Queries 2013-14

April 16, 2014

All School

Jeannette shared she was feeling grumbly about the weather and that she often turns to poetry to get outside of herself. Poetry helps her recognize that life is bigger and better than one fleeting feeling. She shared this poem:

You are the future,
the red sky before sunrise
over the fields of time.

You are the rooster's crow
when night is done,
you are the dew
and the bells of morning,

You create yourself in ever-changing shapes
that rise from the stuff of our days-
like a forest we never knew.
You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.

To each of us you reveal yourself differently;
to ship as coastline,
to the shore as a ship.

Adapted from 'The book of Pilgrimage", from Rilke's Book of Hours, Love Poems to God

Query: What do you do to change how you feel when you are feeling , down or sad or grumbly?

April 9, 2014

Lower School

David talked about forgiving friends."How do you decide to forgive someone?"

Middle School

Richard talked about being an introvert."How much personal space do you need and how do you find it in the school?"

March 26, 2014

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.

March 20, 2014

Lower School

Andrew queried:

"When I am feeling upset and frustrated with someone, or many someones, what can I do to overcome these feelings so that I can feel in community with others again."

5/6 (7/8 was at Crosby Farm)

The 5th & 6th graders are going to the Land School next week. Melissa talked about the middle school trips, why we do them, and what they have meant for FSM students.

"How can I keep an open mind and help make this trip a positive experience for the 5/6 community?"

March 13, 2014

All School

Shane queried, "How do I know when I have learned something? How do I know when something is true?"

March 6, 2014

Lower School

Kathleen shared: There is that of God in everyone - the inner light in everyone is shared and makes us one human community. Our community at Friends School want to help you make and keep friends. 

Friendships are wonderful and important. With friends, we laugh, play, and learn. Sometimes a friend may do something that you don't like or say something that is hurtful or maybe even untrue. You still like this person and want to be their friend. But you don't like what they said or did. That's hard.

So my query is: How do I be courageous and caring with my friends?

Middle School

Middle School had an unprogrammed Meeting for Worship,students reflecting on their own, withou a guiding question.

February 26, 2014

All School

Jeannette shared: Today we have an all school recess and we have the opportunity to get to know someone new and to play with older or younger students.

How do I use my words and actions to make others feel welcome? What can I do to make sure I am including others? 


February 19, 2014

Lower School

Andrew: Regarding Simplicity. "How can I tell when something is really important to me or it's something thats distracts me from what is really important."  

Middle School

Anna: "What do I value and appreciate about Friends School?"

February 12, 2014

All School

All of us have good within us. We talk here about "inner light," and Quakers speak of "that of God" within. We also have bad within us. We can be mean, dishonest, critical, unfriendly.

How do I know when I am doing something wrong? How can I tell when I am doing something wrong?

February 5, 2014

All School

Developed by Rajni, Evy, Lia (with Sara in Spanish)

"How do I make brightness, and energize my life during the long, dark, cold days of winter?"

January 21, 2014

Lower School

Kak talked about how we use silence throughout the school and how it is an important part of the Quaker faith. I read two passages:

We listened and heard the silence
We listened and felt the silence
We listened and tasted the silence

We closed our eyes
And saw the great silence dwelling within."
----Moses Shongo, a Seneca Elder who lived in the 1800s
"A true message from out of the silence may stick in the listener's mind throughout the meeting. throughout the day, throughout a lifetime"
----a senior at Sidwell Friends School 
"Ask yourself, do I come to Meeting for Worship with an open heart and mind ready to listen to the silence and to people's words?"

Middle School

Middle School had an unprogrammed Meeting for Worship, students reflecting on their own, without a guiding question.

January 15, 2014

All School

Jeannette read an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1959 speech before the Youth March for Integrated Schools.

How do I be in community with others I disagree with? How do I create community with those I don’t agree with?

January 8, 2014

Lower School

Sara welcomed back lower school students and talked about the new year after a long break. Same classes, familiar routine, same faces at school.....

So how do you make it a "NEW" start to a "NEW" year with "NEW" and fresh energy to bring your best self to school? 

How do you bring the "NEW" into your NEW year?

Middle School

Melissa showed the Kid President clip, 20 Things and queried:

"Many people make new year's resolutions. Some take time at the new year to think about how they could change or what they could say more often. Ask yourself, what is something I'd like to say more often? How will it affect my life and those around me?"

December 18, 2013

Kak shared thoughts about poetry, and three of her Bayou students read  an FSM alumna's poem.

by Tessa N.
Sitting in meeting for worship silently
Meditating without a sound
Listening to other peaceful people
Wordlessly holding people in the light
Holding up signs with such force
It almost stops war
Shouting out what you believe in
Yelling at people to stop treating different people, differently
Having the long toy section in Target go on forever
When you only buy what you need
Working together as one simple loving community
Never giving up your wonderful spicey life
This has been a month filled with poetry at FSM. The Bayou classroom had their Poetry Café last week and tonight it will be the Tundra’s turn. On Monday afternoon, I listened to some 5th and 6th graders recite poetry they had chosen to memorize.

And last evening, I found a gift in my office mail box--it’s a book that has a poem in it written by Tessa, a 9th grader who is an FSM alumna. Tessa also wrote the poem S.P.I.C.E. when she was here in the Bayou in 4th grade.

 Ask yourself, what part does poetry play in my life?

December 11, 2013

Lower School

Sabrina talked about the Quaker value of simplicity and how she's been reflecting on simple ways to bring warmth to her heart during these cold days. She shared a short poem:

Singing Time  by Rose Fyleman

I wake in the morning early
And always, the very first thing,
I poke out my head and I sit up in bed
And I sing and I sing and I sing.

How can I use simplicity to warm my heart on cold days?

Middle School

Richard queried:

What excites you about your life at present and/or your prospects for the future? If nothing excites you, what can you do to tune into the excitement your life presents? Remember, life should be something you do, not something that happens to you.

December 5, 2013

All School

David talked about being thankful for the friendship of his next door neighbor and shoveling her sidewalk to show that appreciation.

What am I thankful for? How do I show my thanks?

November 21, 2013

Lower School

Marshall read this poem by Tom Hennen:
An Autumn Gift

Red maple leaves
Lie just so
In the tall faded grass.
Happy to do it.
The kindergarten class and third/fourth grade Buddies have been talking about community. We are all a community of learners---each with a gift to share with one another: wisdom, thoughtfulness, humor, kindness, beauty… The poet says there is joy in sharing of the spirit with others.

How do I share my gifts with my community?

Middle School

Do I provide space in my everyday life for connection with nature?

November 14, 2013

All School

Many meetings start with a query for people to think about. People can speak from the silence if they are called to share a thought with the whole group. Some meetings are unprogrammed; the members of the community reflect on their own without a guiding question.

This week was an unprogrammed meeting.

November 6, 2013

All School

Seasons are easy to identify because of all the changes that occur in our external  environment. The leaves on the trees start to change color, the temperature changes and we start wearing sweaters and coats, the leaves fall off the trees and we have a new chore called raking. With each passing day I notice the sun sets sooner in the evening and takes it’s time waking up in the morning.  Last night, winter snuck in a bit early with our first snowfall. 

With all these changes, I notice there are some changes within me.  I myself like to be home more and I have moved into nesting mode. Cooking and baking is even more fun as it helps make the house warmer. I find I gravitate to different hobbies and that I can settle into a chair with a book much easier than I can during the warmer months.

What changes do I notice about myself when the seasons change?

October 31, 2013

Lower School

Kak introduced the query by talking about her very frustrating drive to school that is bumper-to-bumper because of a two-year-long road construction project. She shared that after thinking about the construction, she knows that ultimately she will benefit from the changes in the roads and will have a safer and more efficient commute. Kak said she's trying to turn her frustration into gratitude for the upcoming changes. She's also really grateful for snowplows in the wintertime!

How does my community help me? When I think about my community, what am I grateful for?

Middle School

In honor of Alex, we will be planting a silver maple here in the front of the school. The tree will grow and remind us that Alex is with us as we grow and change. As Alex’s advisory, we will read a poem and provide a query to guide our meeting for worship today. 


At the rising of the sun and it’s going down...we’ll remember him.
At the blowing of the wind and the chill of the water...we’ll remember him.
At the opening of the buds and the rebirth of spring...we’ll remember him.
At the blueness of the skies and the warmth of the summer...we’ll remember him.
At the rustling of the leaves and the beauty of autumn...we’ll remember him.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends...we’ll remember him.
When we are weary and in need of strength...we’ll remember him
When we are lost and sick at heart...we’ll remember him.
When we have joys we crave to share...we’ll remember him.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make...we’ll remember him.
When we have achievements that are based on him...we’ll remember him.
As long as we live, he too will live, for he is a part of us.
We’ll always remember him each and every day in our lives.

QUERY: How will I remember Alex or someone who is important to me?

October 23, 2013

All School

What do I value most in life? How do the choices I make help support or get in the way of what I value?

October 16

All School 

The FSM Eagle Singers led the school singing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"

How does music foster a sense of community?

October 9, 2013

Lower School 

Kathleen read a poem by Helen Moore.

Fall is Here
Fall is here.

Another year
is coming to an end.
Summer's finished,
Summer's gone,
Winter's round the bend.
Fall is piles of crunchy leaves,
orange, gold and red.
Fall is sweaters with long sleeves
and blankets on the bed.
Fall is football,
Fall is pumpkins,
Fall's where Summer ends.
Fall is coming back to school,
and seeing all my friends.

What does fall mean to you?

Middle School

How do I let go of worries to be able to relax in peace to think about the good in me? 

October 2, 2013

All School

From a Friends Council on Education brochure:

Meeting for Worship Written for Students by students at Delaware Valley Friends School

"Meeting for worship is a time here when a Quaker or any other person can relax in peace to think about the good that is within you, and to think about the world. it is a time to come together and to feel welcomed. It pulls the community itself together. For the first few minutes of meeting we "center ourselves, find ways to calm down and focus in the silence. After we are calm, people can use the time to mediate on important issues in their lives. It can be a time that is extremely good for your body: it gives you time to relax and let go of worries. Sometimes people speak, if they have thought of something important to say, or to give other people something to think about."

What can I do to help "center" myself in meeting? How can I calm down and focus for meeting?

September 25, 2013 

All School

With a Friend 

by Vivian Gould

"I can talk with a friend 
and walk with a friend and share my umbrella in the rain. 

I can play with a friend
 and stay with a friend
 and learn with a friend
 and explain.

 I can eat with a friend 
and compete with a friend
 and even sometimes disagree.

 I can ride with a friend
 and take pride with a friend.
 A friend can mean so much to me!"

Friendship isn’t a big thing, it is a million little things that make a huge difference in your life.

In what ways do I give and receive friendship? How do I give and receive the million little things that are friendship? 

September 19, 2013

All School

"At Friends School, we gather together in silence every week. We listen for what Quakers call the Inner Light, or the divine spark, or something that feels important and big. Sometimes when I come to meeting for worship, I think about a meeting I had, or what I am going to make for dinner. I am pretty sure that isn't my Inner Light. But it isn't so easy to tell sometimes what is my Inner Light, and what are just my thoughts. So the query today asks how we tell when it is our Inner Light telling us something."

How do I recognize when my Inner Light is speaking to me?