Eight weeks ago Diane and Mark’s group came into the classroom after choice time and Diane told us to look at the books on the tables and think about an author we wanted to study. After about ten minutes of looking at the laid out books, everyone had one or two authors they were interested in studying. We filled out sheets for the authors. The choices ranged from Konigsburg to Dahl to Gaiman. Amazingly, we all got our first choice, and after a few trips to the library, we had all the books we needed. For the next four weeks or so, we just read these books as much as possible.
As everybody read two to six books, we were told our presentations were in three weeks. Over the course of three weeks, we needed to learn as much about our author as possible. Our presentations were not only about the books we read, but also about the author’s life and how the books were similar to the author’s life.
I think the goal of this project was to learn about great authors, to read more, and to get better at presenting. The presentations were quite interesting and made me want to read more by all these authors.
Here at The Miquon School, our 5/6th grade class goes on an annual field trip. These field trips can take you all around the east coast, to places such as Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In past years, some classes have even gone out of the country to Canada. This year our class is going on a trip to Cooperstown, NY, and is deep in the planning stages.
We started off the planning by the teachers choosing two options for potential destinations for the trip. (A student added a third for consideration.) We split into three groups, one for each trip option. The options were: Lowell, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cooperstown, New York. The groups researched everything about the area — attractions, restaurants, and more. After collecting the information, we made slideshows from our notes. We used pictures of the places and made connections between the trip and what we were studying. After the slideshows, everyone realized which one would be best.
The next day we voted. The way we voted was on index cards — we got three total votes and could choose how we would like to split them. After the votes were tallied, it was clear. The fewest people wanted to go to Lowell. Pittsburgh and Cooperstown were about tied, and ended up with a difference of one. Pittsburgh had won the first vote, but luckily for the Cooperstown fans, this vote was only for eliminating the least popular. Right after the first vote, we voted again and Cooperstown won, making it the place we are going to have a field trip to.
After Cooperstown was chosen, we brainstormed things that would be needed for planning the trip (i.e. packing, budget, route). After making a lengthy list, we sorted them by importance and the best order to go about doing them. In our class, we each have a number from one to fourteen. We also have chips that have these numbers on them. The teachers put the chips in a bin and draw them randomly. The teachers drew chips and when a student’s chip was picked, they chose their preferred planning group — transportation or activities.
The activities group was given a list of possible activities and each person in the group was assigned one to research. After researching and taking notes, the two groups came together, compared notes, and talked about the best options and what was going to go on the itinerary. After that, we spent a while working on possible itineraries, but nobody agreed and we didn’t make any progress, so the teachers came together and made three different itineraries to vote on.
For conference week, the two 5/ 6 groups are together, but then spit into different groups. Every conference week we have a theme. This time, we studied cities! The two groups were called the City Lights and the Townsvilles.
Though it was fun, we only had about two days of it because of all the snow in mid-March. On the first day, we took a field trip to a place called SHARE, a big food bank. We worked on organizing and packing food. It was very fun! (See Leah’s article for more details.)
When we got back, we split into thirds of our half groups (six small groups), and we made our cities. At first, when the teachers announced we were making our own cities, people thought we were actually going to build little cities! But then the teachers gave each group a giant piece of graph paper and told us we were drawing them.
While people were making their cities, the teachers showed us videos about a real city and how people improved their city through transportation and waste and such. We then had to try and make adjustments to our city to see if we could make ours better that way, too. Overall, on those two days of conference week, I think everyone had a fun time!
More About SHARE
During conference week we went to SHARE with Louis and Jeri’s group. SHARE is an organization that provides food for people who can not afford it. When we went we helped put bags of potatoes, red onions, and white onions into cardboard boxes.
We tried to do this the most efficient way possible. For example, we had half of the group pass the potatoes and onions to people at the ends of the boxes. This worked pretty well, but we found a more efficient way to do it — this time we had a third of the group passing the vegetables, another third of the class in the middle of the five rows of boxes, and another third at the end. The group passing vegetables passed them to the people in the middle, and the people in the middle passed them to the people at the end, and then the people at the end put them into the boxes. This definitely was the best way to do this job.
This year’s talent show we had three stages. One stage included the nursery and kindergarten. Both grades usually did gymnastics, dancing and things like that. The second stage included first and second grade. The first and second grade kids were swinging on ropes and tumbling down little hills. The third and final stage included third through sixth grades, and they made short movies, danced, sang, and acted.
For the past 2 months or so, our class has been divided into two groups for a project. The project is not exactly a project, so we’ll call it a class. We have this class every week on Tuesday. The two groups are cursive and typing. I am part of the cursive writing group (See “Keyboarding,” by Milo.) I personally enjoy cursive, even though it is not my favorite class.
Before engaging in the immense difficulty known commonly as cursive, we must prepare our bodies and souls for the deep complexity of this genius writing technique — through… STRETCHING. I know it sounds silly, but you do need to STRETCH before writing in cursive. All of the stretches focus on your grip, pointer finger, and thumb. Here are a couple of examples:
- Put your hand out flat, with your fingers pointing towards the sky, firm and strong. Move your thumb over your palm, from your pointer to your pinky, while keeping your thumb touching your fingers and palm the whole time. Then go back and forth for a while, and don’t forget to keep your hand FIRM the whole time.
- Pull out your dominant hand, and make a tight circle with that hand, tight enough to fit your finger in. Then take your non-dominant hand and put that pointer finger in. Then twist BOTH hands to create the PENCIL SHARPENER!
After we exercise, we begin to write. We usually write and practice certain letters in sentences and words to improve at that letter. We are currently in lowercase only. We get small amounts of homework each Tuesday on new letters, due the following Tuesday.
Overall, it is a cool class, and I hope my cursive exercises will help you, too!
Over the winter and spring, Diane & Mark’s class has been doing some keyboarding work. We started out on posture, making sure our heads are 18 inches from the computer and making sure our feet legs and hips are at 90˚ angles. Then we turned to actually typing. We’re using a program called typing.com. Typing.com has three courses: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Most people are either at the end of the beginner course or the beginning of the intermediate course. We do it in class every Tuesday and do 30 minutes of practice in between. It’s quite fun learning, and I think it’s a very important skill.
The Great Mail Race
The Great Mail Race is something that our class just found out about last month. We decided to participate because another class from Ohio sent us a letter with some information and details about the whole matter, including the actual letter. Diane and Mark’s Group, as well as different schools from all over the country, are participating in the Great Mail Race. The very first thing that you do is fill out the survey that you were mailed. This will be your letter for the project. The second thing you have to do is assign each student (depending on how many students are in each class) two to three different states. After doing so, you must go to @www.schoolbug.org and pick and write down one school address for each state you were assigned. Finally, you address all of the envelopes and fill them with the three sheets that the class will need: directions, survey, and your letter.
I have learned a lot from doing this project. One of the letters I sent was to South Carolina. My family and I have driven to South Carolina. It takes us fifteen hours! So just think about how long it will take that letter to get there. We forgot about snail mail. This project was a good reminder to all of us, because nowadays all we do is text! It’s so crazy that one small letter has to be carried for hundreds of miles just to get one little message. I did a little research and I noticed the motto of the United States Postal Service: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays the couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Art & Science Show
Every year Miquon has an art and science show. This year it was on March 13th.The art show is where all the kids pick a couple of their pieces of art and display them, and the science show is where all the kids make a structure of some sort and display it. Friends or family can come and see all the things that we’ve made. This year the fifth and sixth grade made carnival rides and games (the rides were not really made for humans). There is another blog about making the rides and games.
The Making of Art and Science Show Projects
We started these projects in the first week of January. It took the fifth, sixth grade, fourth, and third grades a couple weeks to finish the project. Every child in those grades had to put something in the art and science show, and other kids are welcome to contribute a project.
The third and fourth grades made boats that actually floated (not just for show). The fifth and sixth grades made carnival games that includes three simple machines. Two thirds of the project was done in the science room.
Me and a lot other kids in my class felt pretty rushed because the science and art show came so quickly, which gave us little time to work (However, in the end a lot of people in my class finished.) I felt like the fifth, sixth graders, fourth, and third graders did this project because if you hadn’t put something in the art and science show before in your younger days, you could put something in the show before it gets too late.
On Thursday, March 8th at choice and lunch, we had a book club meeting in the library discussing the book York the Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby. York is a steampunk genre novel about Tess, her brother Theo, and their friend Jamie, who try to solve the Morningstarr cipher. The cipher is on the Morningstarr Tower.They must solve the puzzle before the Morningstarr Tower is knocked down.The tower was made by the Morningstarr twins, and Tess, Theo, and Jamie all live in one of its apartments. They race to find the clues to try and save the Morningstarr Tower before it’s too late.
Amy, the librarian, Jen, the language arts coordinator, and a couple of students met. There was a big snowball fight at the time, so most people chose to do that instead. There are always treats provided that sometimes have to do with the book. This time there were blueberry scones, brownies, and macaroons. Since not many people showed up, we had extra treats! We talked about our favorite characters and Morningstarr machines among other things. It was a successful book club overall, and it was very cozy with all the snow outside, scones, brownies, macaroons, small amount of people, and a good book.
The book fair happens once a year. People who go to the school can buy books from the Miquon library. This year’s book fair came from Scholastic. There were chapter books, books about gaming records of 2018, and there was also books like Fly Guy.
Amy runs the book fair at the Miquon library. Half of the money goes to the library, and the other half goes to Scholastic.
Every year the Miquon School holds an annual pancake breakfast at Miquon. Everyone who comes stuffs their faces with pancakes, orange juice, apple juice, and fruit salad. To get in, everyone had to pay a small fee of around $10 for unlimited pancakes. They also had a raffle for a big gift basket. The basket included nice bread, sweet Miquon honey, and fancy butter. Sadly, the winner was a no-show this year.
The breakfast is run by Miquon parents. After the breakfast, the kids decided to have a large baseball game for all ages. The field was incredibly slippery because of the ice coating literally everything. The pancakes were very good and the juices were juicy. I’m almost certain everyone had a great time.
So my blog is about mini courses. A mini course is something that you would do for eight weeks it is an hour long. It is from 9:30-10:30 my mini course was crossfit in the crossfit mini course we lifted weights and alot more. There were then just the crossfit mini course there was tiny house making, and strategy games, and more. Some things that we did in the crossfit mini course were pull ups, and at the end of the mini course sometimes we did a competition. We also played on rope climbing wall.
Crossfit (and other) Mini Courses
My blog entry is about mini courses. A mini course is something that you would do for eight weeks. It is an hour long. It is from 9:30-10:30 every Friday. My mini course was Crossfit. In the Crossfit mini course we lifted weights and did a lot more. Some things that we did in the Crossfit mini course were pull ups, and at the end of the mini course sometimes we held a competition. We also played on the rope climbing wall.There was more than just the Crossfit mini course. There was tiny house making, strategy games, and more.