The Woodmere Art Museum Field Trip
– by Alison
The Monday before Halloween, our class went on a field trip to the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill to look at Victorian death ceremony themed, decorated, styrofoam cakes. Yeah, I’m not kidding. Dark. Well, it actually wasn’t very dark at all. The cakes were very interesting, and some a bit freaky, but in our opinion, the freakier the better. There was one dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe, and one with a girl wearing a horse mask. There were varieties of ideas all based around the same theme. There were also paintings that loosely resembled the same theme. The paintings were really cool too, but everybody was more interested in the styrofoam cake with a fondant lady whose skin was peeling off on one side of her face. We thought the detail on the cakes was remarkable early on in the tour, but we soon learned that most of the fondant was put in molds, and only some was shaped by hand.
Each year the Woodmere puts out styrofoam cakes decorated to some sort of theme and leaves them up for a week. It’s convenient that this year’s theme was Victorian death ceremonies, when we’re studying the Victorian era and death. We only spent a short time there, but we got to see a lot of unique art work, and I’d go again next year.
What is Clarinet/Flute/Trumpet Day in Music?
– by Tessa
Every Thursday afternoon, half of Diane and Sarah’s group and half of Louis and Jeri’s group go to music and bring the instruments that Diego, the music teacher, has given us for half of the year. The other half of the 5th and 6th graders are in the vocal group, not instrumental. In the middle of the year, we switch roles. It is good for us to try out instruments that might be new for us, and to try out new things.
We (the instrumental group) sit in bunches, depending on which instrument we have. Some people have clarinet, some people have flute, and some people have trumpet. At first, we just started practicing with the mouthpiece, but now we have the entire instrument. Diego takes about five minutes with each cluster to show them how to play a note. Then they go outside and practice together. Then all of the instruments come back inside and show Diego their practiced note, though sometimes there is more than one. We have music books as well. Then he gives us “homework,” which is basically practicing the note and sometimes a string of other ones, or something like that. We bring home the instrument and music book and, well… practice! The next Thursday afternoon we bring everything back in its given case, for Diego has taught us how to assemble and disassemble our instruments. Then we review and learn more!
– by Abby
Diane and Sarah’s group has been working on playing finger pianos in music with Diego. Finger pianos are kind of like pianos, but for your thumbs. A lot of people say that it hurts their thumbs, so they try to play it with their pointer fingers, but that does not work very well. Diego usually lets us make different melodies of our own as long as they have either four or eight notes. We are not finished with the finger pianos. I think it’s really fun.
– by Luka
On October 12th, grandparents and other special guests came to school to see what we do at school. This is what our classroom did this year:
When we got to school first thing in the morning, we got our music folders and went down to the play barn to demonstrate a “5/6 sing” while the grandparents were arriving. After most grandparents and guests were there, we escorted them to the classroom there grandchild is in. Then we went back to the classroom, and we split into three groups with our guests. In one group we had science and we did some observations of our decomposition experiments with Kate. In another group (with Sarah) we drew and wrote about sacred spaces in our lives, and in the last group we read a book called The Dead Bird with Diane. After that we had choice, and then the grandparents and other guests had to leave.
Two Field Trips in a Row?!?
A – West Laurel Hill Cemetery Field Trip
– by Milo
On October 15th, Diane & Sarah’s group went to West Laurel Hill Cemetery. We went there because of the particularly interesting parts of it, namely, the green burial section and the pet cemetery. The green burials are exactly what they sound like. They put the body into a biodegradable coffin, cover it in dirt, and leave it there. The pet cemetery is also exactly what it sounds like. It’s a graveyard for pets. I really enjoyed the trip. I thought the green burials were cool because they described it as giving the body back to nature.The pet cemetery was cool because not many graveyards have those, and the guide was really nice. I learned a lot about graveyards, and I learned that they’re not just yards filled with graves.
B – Laurel Hill Cemetery Field Trip
– by Sam
On Tuesday, October 16th, Diane and Sarah’s group drove to Laurel Hill Cemetery for a field trip. We split up into five groups and looked at gravestones to find information to complete a scavenger hunt. We also saw some symbolism like: a Celtic cross, which means eternity, or bamboo, which means that the person that died had lived a long life. We also saw some really big and beautiful mausoleums. They had very intricate details and were really cool to look at.
– by Leah
This year in Diane and Sarah’s group we have been studying death, and a part of this study was learning about lifespans. We researched different species of plants, trees, animals — basically anything that is alive and can die. The class researched on the computer, and some animal books that Diane borrowed from Kate (science teacher at Miquon).
After each of us came up with a list full of life spans, we voted to see what shape diagram we would use to present our lifespans. Following a few rounds of voting, we all agreed on the spiral, and we started to print out pictures of the animals that we chose from our lists and glued them onto the blank side of an index card. Each kid finished about six fact cards with the animal’s or plant’s name, the lifespan of the animal and/or plant, and the picture. When we were finished, Sarah spent some time creating the spiral and hanging up the fact cards. In the end it looked AMAZING, and it was interesting to learn about the lifespans of other living plants and animals.
Our First Book Groups
– by Evy
Over the last several weeks, Diane and Sarah’s group had book groups. We started on September 25th and we ended on the sixth of November. Diane and Sarah chose six books and presented them to the group, and each person wrote down a first, second, and third choice on an index card. Then Diane and Sarah chose the three books that the most people wanted. These awesome books were: Bridge to Terabithia, A Monster Calls, and Where the Red Fern Grows.
It might just be me, but I’ve read a lot of the book group books and they all seem to contain some death. Since one of our themes this year is death, there might not be a coincidence there. Since there are only two teachers in our room and three books, Jen Curyto, one of the reading specialists, helped out. When we finished the books we planned presentations, such as skits and maps. Then we shared them with the group. We had a lot of fun reading these great books!
– by Dove
Terra Nova comes from the Latin word that means new land. Terra Novas is a test that lasts for four days out of a school week, and is only for the ⅚ graders in the ⅚ grade buildings. The test started on the 22nd of October and lasted until the 25th of October. The test was usually in the morning and late morning of the school day. The Terra Novas for sixth graders is sent to our next schools. For the 5th graders, I think it’s for them to get used to tests a little more. When the Terra Novas are done, you will be scored 1-9, 9 being the highest score and 1 the lowest score. The test sections are usually 30 minutes long, but sometimes it’s one hour for the longer sections. When you take the Terra Novas, the teachers take the clock and mark the half way and the end point. The Terra Novas happen once a year for four days in that week. The scores are given out the following week.
Experimentation and Observation
– by AJ
In Diane and Sarah’s five/six class we are looking at our decomposition experiments. Our decomposition experiments are fish or lemons in jars. I am in the fish group. We are studying these fish with a control and a another substance, or variable. My group is studying the fish in bleach. Some other people are studying fish in iodine and fish in water. We are studying these fish because in our group we are studying death and decay, so our teachers thought it would be cool to let us watch the fish and lemons decompose.
You might think it is gross, but it’s actually pretty cool to watch these fish decompose. The first time we put our fish in the bleach, in the first five minutes the fin disintegrated. I think it’s been a couple weeks now, and our fish has barely any skin and has a giant holes in it and has no eyes So that’s what we are studying in our five/six class. It’s really, really, really, really, really, fun!
What Is UNICEF?
– by Kemper
UNICEF is an organization that collects money for children in need all over the world! This year The Miquon School is collecting money by trick or treating for UNICEF! Our group is organizing this fundraiser. What happens is that the kids go trick or treating as usual, but they also ask for money. There are three kinds of houses. There is the house with money already with them in case anybody trick or treats for UNICEF; there is the kind of house where you ask them to support UNICEF and they will go get money and put it in your little orange box; and finally, there is the house that thinks you’re a scammer and yells at you, and one of the worst parts of that is that in the end they don’t even give you candy OR any money!
Here are some things that you will do when you donate to UNICEF: eight dollars will give one family clean water to drink, fifty dollars will give a large amount of food packets to a malnourished child, and two hundred and twenty dollars will give a school-in-a-box kit to forty refugee kids! And remember, every penny counts!
– by Julian
Every year at Miquon on Halloween we have a parade. There is a dress code for this event that students need to follow. The dress code is: no masks, no gore, no weapons/anything violent. This is because we don’t want to scare the younger kids at Miquon.
This is one of the biggest annual events at school. Everybody gets excited for the parade and lots of families come. This year we did things a bit differently. For the parade, each group waited inside of their class and waited to be picked up by the parade of other classes. Once all classes had been picked up, we walked around the campus and past the parents.
After we were all on the benches, it was time for the staff skit. Every year they try to trick us and say they aren’t doing a skit this year. They unusually re-enact a book. A lot of kids think the skit is cheesy and funny. After the skit is done, everybody sings “Miquon in our Hearts” together. That is a nice way finish the celebration!
The ISEE? What is That?
– by Nico
The ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is a test many take to apply to a school. Many private schools require you to take it. At Miquon, some sixth graders stay after school in one of the ⅚ rooms with one of the teachers every Monday for four weeks. Remember, kids aren’t taking the test every Monday; they prepare for and learn about the test every Monday.
Each kid has a folder; the kids from Diane and Sarah’s group have purple folders, and the kids from Louis and Jeri’s group have red folders. The folders are to hold everything you do in class. Some things that might be in there are essays that you have written, maybe some math sheets, that kind of stuff. Every week the teachers give you some stuff you can try out. By “stuff” I mean essays, math sheets, and probably different things later on. Everything the teachers give you are optional, meaning you don’t have to do it, though it’s highly recommended.
The actual test will take place on December 1st, 2018, a Saturday. The test itself will take around three hours! In October, the ⅚ grades took a test called the Terra Novas. The ISEE’s will be like that in some ways, but not spread out across the week. Hopefully, the teachers by then will have prepared us enough.
– by Aaron
Every Wednesday morning, both ⅚ classes come into Diane and Sarah’s room. Both classes sit around the tables with their song folders and sing old folk songs. We have Mike come in to play guitar and sing and Diane also plays guitar and sings, and sometimes we have guests, like one of the specialist teachers or one of the staff.
– by Cian
In Diane and Sarah’s classroom we are reading a book of Sherlock Holmes stories. It is a very interesting book. So far, we’ve read two stories in the Sherlock Holmes world. The first one (“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”) was about a woman who was about to get married, and when her sister was about to get married some time before, she got killed at night in her room. Before that, she was freaked out by this whistle that she would hear every night, including the night she was killed. Now the woman who is about to get married is hearing the whistle. Can Sherlock Holmes save her?
The second story (“The Solitary Cyclist”) is about this women who, every time she rides this one road, is followed by this mysterious person. Can Sherlock Holmes find out who that might be before they strike?
What is Life Skills 101?
– by Priya
In Diane and Sarah’s class, for three weeks we have Life Skills. It focuses on practical skills and must be useful to another part of your community. It happens in the beginning of the year, and everyone in our class gets to do it. Before the three weeks start, we make a plan on what we are going to do each week. Then in the next three weeks we carry out the plan. Every Thursday we write a journal entry about how the week went. In the week after week 3 (which was Terra Nova week) we made a presentation.
This is one of the year’s Home Projects, meaning it happens at home, or outside of school, wherever the project is made to happen. A couple examples of Life Skills projects that we did this year are: cooking, first aid, grocery shopping, and painting a room.
– by Pema
Our class is studying two ancestor festivals, specifically Day Of The Dead and Samhain. Day Of The Dead and Samhain are about celebrating our ancestors and the deceased. Day of the Dead originates from Mexico and Samhain originates from Ireland. They are celebrated in late October and early November.
They happen around the same time as a lot of other ancestor rituals perhaps because things in nature start to die around this time of year. Some people believe that this time is when the veils to the underworld are the thinnest.
On the Day of the Dead people celebrate by giving food and sweets, dressing up, making ofrendas, which are big altars that are decorated with skulls, glitter, pictures of the deceased, candles, offerings, flowers, and more. For Samhain, people celebrate by feasting, carving turnips, trick or treating, dressing up, telling stories, eating sweets, and other stuff.
– by Jinpa
An obituary is a short story about someone who has passed or someone who is no longer alive. It includes things like their name, birthday, funeral service information, etc. How we made our obituaries is that we first chose a person we wanted to write an obituary about (someone who is dead), then our teachers gave us an obituary sheet to fill out. The sheet was the same one we used when we were reading obituaries. We had to fill out the sheet using the internet (or books, if for a character). We work on our obituaries during theme time and any open time we have. The reason why we are making obituaries is because for this year’s study we are studying death, and obituaries are very related to death. Everyone in our class is writing an obituary about someone, either a fiction character or a real person.