While this is being published in early January, 2019, in fact it is the last post of 2018 from our group. Enjoy! We look forward to reconvening next week.
Every month, Diane and Sarah’s group brainstorms topics that are new on the whiteboard, and then we each get a topic to write about. We get a “who, what, where, when, why, and how” sheet and write who is included in it, what we do, where we do it, etc. Once a teacher has approved a draft have made any specific changes or added anything by their request, we have permission to start our blog entry.
We build on what we wrote on our “who, what, where, when, why, and how” sheet, breaking your entry up into as many sections or paragraphs as we feel necessary. Afterward we self-revise and edit.
After that step, we share it with a teacher, and they look it over and change anything that seems to need it. The teachers print out their version and our original version, and we have to find everything that they changed. We meet with them personally and discuss what they changed, the differences, and why they did that. And then finally…they publish them all! This helps people outside of our class know what cool and awesome things we do!
Empty Bowl Dinner
In art we recently did a project where we made bowls and then painted them. It was for the Empty Bowl Dinner. It was very fun, and they looked very pretty. A lot of people loved them and loved doing it, too!
Empty Bowl Dinner is an organization that helps people in need get things they cannot afford. They pick a date — this year it was November 14th, 4:00 to 8:30 PM — and they sell tickets. All the money from the tickets goes to people in need, and all the people who bought tickets get to go to a big dinner. The bowls are made by potters (people who work with clay) and they probably look amazing. It feels good to know that, as a class, we have helped an organization do something like this!
Digestion in Science
In science with Kate and Arielle, we learned about digestion. When we started, we watched a video about a guy who swallowed a little capsule that had a tiny little camera in it. As we watched the camera go through his digestive system, we had a lot of questions to ask Kate and Arielle. Some thought it was gross when we saw the camera go through the stomach and saw all the food that he ate for breakfast. When the video was done, we took a plastic straw and a bean to simulate the digestive system, where the bean would have to be squeezed little by little to get through the straw. We did this because Kate wanted to show us how our bodies can change something, like food for example, to something else.
At The Miquon School, instead of having recess, we have choice. Some of the games that we play outside at choice are: volleyball, baseball, basketball, tag, freeze tag, build-up tag, red rover, soccer, all campus tag, small campus tag, four square, gaga ball, and fort building. The first choice lasts from 10:30 to 11:00 and the second from 12:15 to 12:45. Choice is really fun. Bringing toys to school is banned because some people might share with some people and not others. Lately there have been a lot of arguments over games of football, baseball and volleyball. In fifth and sixth grade, not as many people play with forts any more, but it’s still lots of fun.
The Other Boy
In Diane and Sarah’s class, Sarah is reading a book aloud to the group. The book we are reading is The Other Boy, by M.G. Hennessey. The book is about a transgender boy named Shane. His sex assigned at birth is a girl. Shane decided to take testosterone. Shane also tries to keep this secret from his school friends.
At the end of every story time, Sarah ends at a cliffhanger. This always makes us so eager for the next time for Sarah to keep reading. One time we had a “surprise!” period on the schedule on the board. When we got there we figured it out (story time!) and that time Sarah stopped on a BIG cliffhanger!
Every year we have mini-courses. They are short classes and\or activities meant for fun, enrichment, and a chance to make friends with people in different grades. They happen every Friday from 9:30 to 10:30. In the fall, only the 5/6 do them. In the winter, the staff comes up with new mini-course ideas and the 3/4 do them, also. The 1/2 do them in the spring. They last for 7 to 8 weeks.
The staff thinks of fun ideas and presents them to us during the time we would have mini-courses. 5/6 kids can start a mini-course if they have a staff member with them. We make three mini-course choices on a form and Rachel (or Marie), the 3\4 teacher, organizes them and puts us in our mini-courses.
This winter the choices are: sewing and weaving, chess, dance, service at Masonic Village, Magic, board and card games, pizza making, fitness, drawing a story, Perler beads, ukulele, and i-movie. Most of them happen in classrooms or on campus, but some happen in other places, like Masonic Village. We have tons of fun in our mini-courses!
The Masonic Village is a home for elders, and we go there to spend time with them.
A few of things we do there is art, playing games, and going bowling. The bowling alley is on the bottom floor of the Masonic Village, and they have two lanes. Some of the elders used a bowling ramp to help them aim and bowl. One of the art projects we did was making cards of things we are thankful for. A lot of people wrote that they are thankful for Miquon, family, their house, and friends. Some of my favorite games that we play are Ono 99, Scrabble, and Apples to Apples. Everybody at the Masonic Village is very nice. They’re also really good bowlers. We have had visiting the Masonic Village for a mini course four times. (A mini-course is an activity we do every Friday.) I got into the Masonic Village mini-course three times.
Over a month ago, at assembly, our 5-6 group talked to the whole school about “Trick or Treating for UNICEF.” United Nations’ International Children’s Fund is the full name for this charity for struggling children. It used to be United Nations’ International Children’s Emergency Fund, but soon they decided they wanted to be helpful even with slowly progressing problems. It is still called UNICEF, because UNICF doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
After weeks of hard core coin rolling, counting, rolling more coins, counting more, getting the total wrong, and getting it right, we came up with a grand total of…
As far as we know, this is the second most money we have raised over the years Miquon has been doing this drive. This will be great for UNICEF!
Day of the Dead
In November, we started ancestor studies. Half the class studied Samhain and the other half studied Day of the Dead. In the Day of the Dead group we learned by doing hands on experiments such as making traditional treats: empanadas, tamales with mole, and refrigerated lime cream cheese cookie cake. All these foods are traditional Day of the Dead treats given to the ancestors to enjoy, and then the family of the ancestor eats the food after being offered.
We also made an “ofrenda” (also known as an altar.) The ofrenda is an offering used to honor the ancestor for what they have done in their life, and includes things that resembled their life, like their favorite food or a passion of theirs.
The final thing we made was a Spanish definition book, with words used to resemble the Day of the Dead celebration words like: tamales, cempasuchitl (marigold), etc. We each colored a coloring page for our cover.
After the ancestor studies were finished, we presented what we learned to the rest of the group by showing and explaining our ofrenda and sharing our cream cheese cookie cake with the rest of the class.
Our ⅚ class (Diane and Sarah’s) was studying Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest and beginning of winter. Samhain is celebrated from October 31st to November 1st. In the celebration, people would eat a lot of food and remember the dead in a feast. They also wore cloaks and masks so fairies would not play tricks on them. When we were studying Samhain, we made remembrance cookies and we made apple cider. We also put on a play about the food of Samhain and the tradition of the big feast. The skit was really fun. I played a village person. I thought the cider was better than the remembrance cookies, but that’s my opinion!!!
Every Thursday, half of the ⅚ went to the music room to practice for winter assembly, nine from one group and nine from the other. We sat in a semicircle. For warmups, we did hi-low hi- low exercises, and then we sang “The Singing School” and “We are the World.” Winter assembly was on the Friday before winter break.
At this time of the year in science, we have been studying macroinvertebrates that live in our creek. The final class is an 1 hour 30 minutes instead of the usual 45 minutes. Once every year in science, the ⅚ puts leaf bags in the creek. Around three weeks later, we pull them out of the water. We then pour creek water in a bin and put the bags in the bin. We make sure to cut all the fishing line that was holding the bags, and then we take the heavy load back up to the science room. Once we get up back, we distribute the three bins between each of the tables.
Now the fun part begins! We start to investigate through the mucky water, searching for scuds, larvas, or planarians. My personal favorite creature was the larvas, they looked like they were having a sort of spaz dance. We nicknamed them, “Gucci Gangers.” The most common creature was definitely the scud; at the end we counted at least 320 scuds. Planarians were by far the least common. Only one was found! I was lucky enough to see it under a microscope, and boy, it looked like an alien! At the start, all you really notice are the common scuds. But around 20 minutes into class, everything becomes clear.
Once someone at my table found a creature, the person would put it into a smaller box filled with water. It was super cool to look at some of the smaller creatures through a microscope. I could really see the microscopic details. Once we had a significant number of creatures, we took them to a middle table to be counted, putting the specific creature in a small tray with water. Only ten of the same creatures can be placed in a tray. Once we finished counting, we took the creatures back to the creek so they can evolve in spring.
The amount of creatures we got was fantastic! It told us that our creek is healthy enough to sustain all of these creatures! I’m not fully sure though about the diversity of the creatures, because we mostly found the same type. I think from what this project tells us, this creek is destined for greatness!
Basketball in P.E.
In December of 2018, the whole 5/6 had a few basketball sessions in P.E. to learn how to dribble and shoot. Lisa, our P.E. teacher, wants us to know somewhat how to play basketball and to be working on our skills at home.
We are playing half-court games so we can get the hang of the game, and then hopefully, we will go to playing full-court. We have to make one pass before we shoot. I think that’s either because she wants everyone to get the ball, or she doesn’t want us to go straight for the lay-up, or maybe a little bit of both.
Across-the-Building Book Group
Both 5/6 classes have been having book group every Tuesday from 11:30 to 12:15. Some reasons we have book groups is to learn new words, new phrases, and understand more how to read and write. We meet in small groups of people from both groups to talk about the homework and the book we are reading. Different book groups meet at different places. Students get to choose their book group after the teachers each present a few books. For example, the books that were presented by the teachers this time were: Invitation to the Game, Half Magic, The Schwa Was Here, Better Nate than Ever, Three Times Lucky, Great Greene Heist, When You Reach Me, A View from Saturday and Moon Over Manifest.
The fifth and sixth grades experienced conference week from the 15th of November to the 20th of November. This year was a little “off” with conference week, because we only got three days to learn and study. (It was one day was cut one day short due to snow.) This conference week, we learned about Youth Activism. The teachers were Sarah and Diego, because the other teachers were busy working on conferences, an overview of how students are doing in school. We watched a video about Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and how she helped make a change for kids with cancer. We read a book called Iqbal, a story from Pakistan. The fifth and sixth graders also watched videos about climate change and its connection with youth activism. The whole group also sang songs not exactly about youth activism, but activism in general. Last, we explained youth activism and climate change with posters and presented them.
The Geisel Award
This year the fifth and sixth grades are helping our librarian (and other librarians that are awarding the Geisel Award) choose which book will get the award. The Geisel Award is an award that is given to the best book for beginner readers that was published the year that they are giving the award.
People have been giving the award for a few years. Some of the things they are looking for in the books that might win are: small words that are easy to read, simple fonts, backgrounds that are in very light colors, and clues in the pictures that tell what the word might say. The committee chooses which book gets the award by looking for these things in the books. Books that win the Geisel don’t always have all of these traits, but any book that wins the award has at least many of these traits.
Circle of Friends Clay Sculptures
In art lately, Diane and Sarah’s five-six class has been working on clay sculptures. These sculptures are of three or more friends all holding hands around a campfire, which is represented by a small candle.
The point of the project is to make a candle holder that represents peace and friendship. It can also be a great light decoration.
The “circle of friends” was started a long time ago by the Mayan Indians, who made them as window decorations to shine light at dark times. The Mayan Indians didn’t paint theirs, but Diane and Sarah’s class did.