It was a very busy and interesting October, and November is proving at least as exciting so far. Here are some updates, in the voices of those in the position to know best:
Book Club is an optional thing for 5/6 graders run by Amy, the library teacher. Amy chooses a book and gives anybody in 5/6 who wants one a Kindle with that book on it to borrow for the month. Then during lunch choice on the last Thursday in the month, everyone who read the book discusses it. This month we read Three Times Lucky, a chapter book with around 300 pages.
Unicef Assembly and Pizza Sale
On Friday, October 28th we had the Unicef assembly.. Diane and Jeri’s group put on a skit about how Unicef trick or treating goes and what Unicef does. Unicef is an organization that helps kids around the world (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund).
You can trick or treat for Unicef by carrying a little Unicef box when you trick or treat. You can say “trick or treat for Unicef” and people will give you money to put in your box. Then later at school, you can hand in your Unicef box with the money in it then Diane and Jeri’s group counts it and donates it to Unicef. Diane and Jeri’s group gives all the money that week from their pizza sale to Unicef, also.
Diane and Jeri’s class started book groups October 25th, 2016.
Book groups were started by introducing four books: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, My Side of the Mountain, Same Stuff as Stars, and A Bone From a Dry Sea. These book groups are run by Diane, Jeri, and one of the tutors, Jen.
All of the students ranked the books from first choice to third choice. After every student ranked the books, Diane and Jeri formed the four groups. The groups meet once a week on Tuesday. The first week, October 25th, Diane, Jeri, and Jen went over the books again, but in more detail, gave us book group folders to keep track of homework for it, and then we read the first couple pages of the books we were reading. Diane and Jeri’s class do this in half groups, usually in the afternoon.
So far, from October 25th to November 15th, our class has had three book group meetings. A lot of people have been enjoying the books that they are reading. When the book groups finish their book, they make presentations explaining the book thoroughly.
Every year we do something called Conference Week. It’s where the head teacher has a couple of conferences each night, while the assistant teacher runs the classroom with the help of a specialist or two.
This year we worked on inventors and machines. The first day, the teachers laid out different objects that are machines. They told us to get with our pizza partner and try to guess what the machine’s purpose was.
Also on Monday our class went to SHARE. SHARE provides families with a balanced diet for a cheap price. Some of us got to put potatoes in bags. Some of my classmates started calling themselves “Potato People.” The other half got to make order forms. We cut the paper then stuffed the paper in the envelopes.
During Conference Week, the class also did the newspaper challenge. We got into teams, and we only got three sheets of newspaper and one foot of tape. We would have to either make the tallest tower or make a fort that the “Tornado” couldn’t knock down.
Every year in science class, one class of the 5th and 6th graders does the macro-invertebrates project. The macro-invertebrates project is when we go to the creek that passes through the Miquon school, and we put small sized bags of leaves in various parts of the creek. The bags will attract nearby small life, like scuds and water bugs.
After a few weeks of waiting, we take the bags of leaves in the creek to our science classroom. In science, we take out as many small creatures as we can; there’s never been any big animals that we found in the leaf bags.
While we’re taking out the creatures, we separate them into different containers. Some types are rarer than other types. The most common creature that we find is scuds. Our creek is currently flowing with scuds. Last year we found over 1,000 scuds!! Some of the less common bugs are: riffle beetles, salamanders, and water bugs.
This project is mainly a test to see how healthy our creek is. The way we find out is by the creatures we find, because some creatures can live in more polluted water than others. This year the results say are that our creek is healthy and slightly polluted, because scuds can live only in healthy and slightly polluted waters, and this year we got loads of scuds.
In October, Diane and Jeri’s 5th and 6th grade class dissected dried owl pellets. We were opening them up and we found the remaining bones of a random owl’s previous meal.
In November, we took our dissected parts and put them together to make skeletons out of the bones from the owl pellets. Then we took plastic, clear strips of X-ray bones of a HUMAN and put those together. We found that a water vole’s skeleton is similar to a human skeleton.
Grandparents day is a time once a year where kids get to spend time with their grandparents and do special activities. Grandparents can decide if they want to come or not. Sometimes they can’t come because they live far away or have something else to do.
This year the fifth and sixth grade sang some songs on the play barn to welcome the grandparents. They could even sing along if they knew the song. This time we also played a game with our grandparents and friends to see which was the first election they could remember.
When we were done we had to say goodbye to our grandparents and bring them down to their cars so they could leave.
On October 14, about half of our class went on a trip to see a talk by Robb Armstrong, the cartoonist behind the “Jumpstart” comic. He also wrote the book “Fearless,” an autobiography about the adversity he faced and how he adapted to it, which relates to our theme this year. During the time he talked about some of the things he wrote about in his book, and how you can persevere through anything the world throws at you. He was very motivational, and talked to us, not at us. I think I came out a better person in total.
All About Jobs
Diane and Jeri’s group has jobs. We switch the jobs every week. The jobs are: Attendance and get snack, Snack, Supplies, Tables, Chairs and floors, Kitchen, Cubbies, Loft, Breakout room, Boards, Make and play, and Wild card. (Wild card is a substitute job and helps Attendance get snack.)
On our job board we categorized the jobs: yellow equals morning, pink equals afternoon, green equals end of the day. We decide our jobs by our cubby number. For example, I’m cubby 10. If snack is 10 and wild card is 11, next week I would be wild card and this week I would be snack .
Our jobs take place in the classroom, but attendance goes to the office. Snack and kitchen are in the kitchen. Supplies are in the cubby room. Tables, chairs and floors are in the main room. Loft is cleaning up the loft. Breakout room is cleaning the breakout room. Boards erases the wipe boards and chalk boards. Make and play cleans up the crafts and scraps on the floors.
And that’s the jobs.
Last week we had Chris, the inventor of the game Stones, come to class to teach us how the idea of the game came to him. To our surprise, he says the idea wasn’t his — it was just luck that he was the one who gave birth to it.
He told us the rules to the game. It’s like bocce golf. If you want to learn the rules click on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_Z5lceEb_Y. This game uses three bocce balls, sizes 1 large, 2 medium, and 1 small. The reason for this is that you need to choose which one to use. He has set up a stones course at Fairmount Park, if you are interested in visiting.
Destination Imagination is an after school program for kids in grades 3-6.There is a Destination Imagination meeting every Monday for an hour and a half.
Kids can participate in activities such as building a tall tower using only index cards, rubber bands, paper cups, pipe cleaners and Mezzani pasta. Kids can also make a play in five minutes given only a blanket and the instruction that the play has to be a mystery play. Or you have to come up with a jingle that promotes a vegetable in four minutes.
Destination Imagination will end with a tournament in March. Each team will have a puzzle to finish at the regionals. Then if they advance, they do a statewide competition. If you advance from that, you go to a small town outside of Nashville.
Miquon has four teams. One team is for 6th graders. 6th grade is considered middle school. There are three more teams made of 5th-3rd graders.
Life Skills 101
Diane and Jeri’s group has been working on 101 Life Skills projects.
A life skill project is when you pick a topic that you’re interested in learning more about. Once you pick a topic, you work on learning the skill for three weeks. Some of the topics that some people chose were: first aid, opening a bank account, cooking, repairing a bike or car, doing the laundry, etc.
In the fourth week, everyone has to present their project to the class. Each person gets to choose what type of presentation they do. For example, a person can do a slideshow, a poster board or a video. It can be pretty much whatever you want it to be, but it has to have some pictures in it. So far, I think the class has enjoyed this Life Skills 101 project and each person has learned a lot.
This year at the Miquon School, we made written rules for foursquare. There was some arguments about the rules, so one day during lunch choice, everybody who wanted to have a say in the rules came to the foursquare court to make the rules. Someone would suggest a rule and then everyone there would vote on that rule. So now, there are fewer disagreements on the rules, and people can have more fun playing foursquare.
The Halloween Parade (and Play)
This year at the Miquon School Parade (and play) everyone had a blast. This is how it works. After lunch time, everybody puts on their costume. Next, your classroom goes outside and gets in a single file line. Then your classroom walks to the woodchip field (which is a field covered with woodchips) and lines up with other classes that are coming to the woodchip field as well.
Now the whole school zigzags around the woodchip field as parents take pictures. Shortly after, one by one each class steps onto the playbarn (a wooden structure that kids play on) and now it’s really time for some pictures. After each class has stepped up on the playbarn, they filter onto the benches in front of the playbarn.
Then, as the staff always say they won’t put on a play, they always do. The play this year was called “The Bear that Wasn’t.” It is about a bear that goes into hibernation in his cave and when he wakes up from hibernation, someone had built a factory around his cave. So the bear goes around and tries to convince all the presidents of the factory that he is a bear, and all of them say no. So now the bear is convinced that he is a man. One day he goes and sits out in the forest and says, “I wish I was a bear,” but then a thought comes into the bear’s head, and he walks into his cave to sleep. After the play, most kids go home with their parents but some go on the bus.
Studying Paul Cezanne
In art class we studied Paul Cezanne. He was an artist in the 1900s who liked to paint still lifes. In art we painted still lifes of pumpkins. We focused on the shades and colors. All the paintings look great and are all different. I had so much fun creating my painting that I wanted to do it again. If you ever want to paint a still life, then here’s what you should do: Focus on the shapes and the different shades of the objects, then when your painting is completely dry, add detail with pastels.