Welcome to the first of our recurring series: The Insider’s View. Through these brief articles (written once a month or so), you will get a peek into the day to day life of the members of our group. You may get a sense of our individual personalities as well. Enjoy!
Assembly this year is going to be a little different than last year. This year, two students from 5th or 6th grade will be starting the assembly with the “singing bowl.” The singing bowl is a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting in the hand or on a table, and the rim vibrates to produce sound just like a bell. The 5th and 6th will also say announcements.
Good of the School Assembly is very important. It is run by three 6th graders and is hosted about every month. Good of the School is a way for kids to bring issues to 6th graders and each other so they can help find a solution for the problem.
Every Wednesday, both classes of the fifth and sixth grade get together and sing a wide variety of songs. From Christmas Music to 50’s Rock, we have a pile of songs we sing together!
One example of a song we sing is “18 Wheels on a Big Rig” by Trout Fishing in America. Another one is “Frosty The Snowman.”
We have fun singing with a guitar player, a bass player, and kids who sing on Wednesdays. We cram all the ⅚ into one room so we can have all people in one room for the echoing sound of young voices.
The transition from fourth to fifth grade boundaries was a dramatic, even overwhelming change. My (and the rest of the fifth grade’s) new boundaries Includes access to the bamboo forest and almost all the rest of the campus. That is a gargantuan leap from just the lower field and the upper half of the campus.
These new boundaries are used for games like all campus tag, hide n’ go seek, and just general exploring! I really appreciate the amount of self-reliance, confidence, and raw trust the teachers give us with these new privileges.
Diane and Jeri’s group often has Flexible thinking first thing in the morning when they get to their classroom. Flexible thinking is an exercise for your brain. For example, you draw a picture of something looking at it from a different way than you’re used to. You might draw a horse upside down or an object without looking at the paper. We do this to get our brains ready for the rest of the day.
It is hard to not get frustrated when you do an exercise. Normally I laugh when I see what I drew.
This year, the people in our class will each be studying a person of our choice. We will be reading a book about them, taking notes, then making interactive illustrations about them. The people we are studying are generally famous in some way, ranging from playing baseball to writing. This will give us better note-taking and studying skills.
Every year, the fifth and sixth graders of Diane and Jeri’s group have been doing a pizza sale every other week on Friday. We give out order forms that people can fill out and hand back in. We have a couple options for pizza — bacon, plain, pepperoni, white pizza, and tomato pie. We also sell snack foods and drinks. Around Halloween time, we donate our profit from that sale to an organization called Unicef to help kids in need get stuff they need like vaccines and food. At the end of the year we use all of our profit to go on a big trip. Last year, we went to New York because it had lots of things that had to do with our studies.
In the the beginning of the day, we have half group math in Diane and Jeri’s room. This year in math we have been focusing on scientific notation. Scientific notation is a complicated number system. In scientific notation you use any large number above ten and move the decimal point till the number is between one and ten. Once the number is between one and ten, you count how many digits are behind the decimal point. Once you count how many digits are behind, you write number in front of the decimal point, then you add a multiplication sign and ten, and the number of digits above the ten [as an exponent].
Also in math groups we have Number of the Day. Number of the Day is where Diane or Jeri roll three or two dice, and we have to do things like multiply the digits, list multiples of the first digit, list multiples of the second digit and find the factors of the digit.
Math class happens for the first half group from 9:00 to 9:45. The second half group has math class 9:45 to 10:30.
Every fall, winter and spring, we have a number of mini-courses to choose from. Mini-courses are small groups of people that come together every Friday and work on or play what the mini-course is about.
For example, here are three out of the many mini-courses going on right now: card games, wood-work, and movie-making. Each one of them has a teacher to supervise, and the group of kids to have fun.
For the mini-courses in the fall, only 5th and 6th graders can be in them. When winter comes around, 3rd and 4th graders can be in the mini-courses, too. And finally when spring mini-courses happen, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders all can be in the mini-courses.
When a student becomes a 5-6 grader, they are given the responsibility to take care of a first or second grader. We do this to take care of our buddies and to allow friendships between grades. If you are wondering how you decide your buddy, you don’t. Instead the teachers meet to decide who would get who as their buddy. The buddies normally meet in the classrooms to do something entertaining. This happens every fortnight. The buddies this year are:
- Caleb and Calvin
- Julia with Ali and Nieve
- Naomi with Charlie and Madison
- Jules with Felix
- Finlay with Marshal
- Zady with Sylvie and Nina
- Miles with Jerico
- James with Gio
- Maia with Reece and Gavin
- Mateo with Jasper
- Maggie with Rachel
- Zach with Lucas
- Theo with Ari
- Ma’at with Jolie and Giovanna
- Andrew with Joseph
- Navid with Muhammed
If you have ANY questions please call Diane and Jeri.
Bean Bags in Library
This year the Miquon school got bean bags for our library with money from a donation for better seating. They are open for use during choice time and library class. They have a maximum of two people at a time, but we have a lot of them. We picked bean bags because they were not too expensive and everyone would have a seat.
Indoor Choice in Diane and Jeri’s Class
This year in Diane and Jeri’s class, indoor choice has been a option for fifth and sixth graders, mostly in the morning. Since we changed the layout of the classroom, more and more kids have been coming inside for the make and play area, Minecraft, ping pong, etc. Inside the make and play area, kids have been making houses and hospitals for cork people, and making paper airplanes. In Minecraft kids have been playing mini games hosted on servers.
Brandywine River Museum
Diane and Jeri’s class has been studying about different types of naturalists, specifically William Bartram, Luke Howard, John James Audubon, and Mary Anning. On September twenty eighth, two thousand sixteen Diane and Jeri’s class went to the Brandywine River Museum. The students brought their nature journals to record (write or draw) what they saw around them, from trees, to bugs, to plants, sometimes even man-made things. The idea is to make a journal similar to a naturalist’s journal.
They went inside to examine the paintings and sketches. Some of the most impressive paintings were some from the Wyeth family (N.C Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth). The class looked at other artists who specialized mostly in cartoon-like drawings, lots of all-time favorite illustrators like: Mo Williams, Sophie Blackall, and Marla Frazee were all in that exhibit. Afterward, the group split up into fourths to look at other paintings and sculptures in other galleries.
The class went outside to eat lunch, then they went write in their nature journals. They went down the “River Trail.” Trees and plants created a buffer near the river. Diane and Jeri’s class stayed there for while to write in their journals. Although they were supposed to stay there for an hour, it was cut short by rain.
This year the 5th graders who are new to 5th and 6th grade have homework that is a little bit different then they are used to. But, as written by a 5th grader, I think I’m getting used to it.
As usual, we have our student planners. Student planners are bookish calender type of things. You can write down your personal plans, along with maybe the number of math pages you have to do for that day, or record the books you read during the week.
When you come to school in the morning you are asked to put your student planner in your mailbox, so while you are playing at choice or at a specialist the teachers will take out your student planner and look at it to make sure you did everything you were supposed to do after school.
You also have a math book. 5th graders have different math books than 6th graders. Same as with the student planners — you bring it back to school in the morning when your math book is due. (Student planners are due every day of the week.)
There is also J.S. (Junior Scholastic), that you are intended to read during the week. J.S. is a magazine, a lot like Time for Kids, that are about things happening in parts of the world that are mostly problems. J.S. also haa some sort of article (or articles) about politics, discussing the presidential election that is coming soon and the battling candidates that both badly want to be president.
Paul Klee: Abstract Cityscapes
In Art we have been making Paul Klee-inspired cityscapes using these steps: First, we are sketching out our ideas in our sketchbooks. Then we are copying that idea on to styrofoam printing plates. After that, we put ink on our unique printing plate, and press it onto colored paper. Then we will be cutting it out and adding more color. (Paul Klee is all about color.)
Diane and Jeri’s group is a fifth and sixth classroom. This year we have decided to change up the classroom a little bit. We have moved the Make and Play to the far side of the classroom this year. The Make and Play is an area where kids can play with a ton of stuff, like: corks, feathers, pipe cleaners, wood, tiles, popsicle sticks and much more. The supplies area is in the cubby room now for a change this year. The supplies that we use are things like: paper, hole punchers, staplers, tape, markers, colored pencils, glue, scissors, crayons, and paper clips. This year, we put some furniture in the back of the classroom so that kids can hang out while the teacher explains something. In the breakout room we put some really comfortable chairs that have cushions. The breakout room in a space in the classroom where we talk and have discussions. It is a very comfortable and cozy space in the classroom.
What are Nature Journals?
Within the pages of Nature Journals, children can express their creativity by drawing, using sentences or just words. It’s great to be outside instead of being stuck inside, so you get some fresh air.
When do we use Nature Journals? Usually in the afternoon during half groups. You can choose to be either indoors or outdoors; it’s really just up to you. Sometimes we collect objects from nature and try to describe them with lots of detail. We hope that by the end of the year we will have our Nature Journals full of wonderful pictures.