Writing Our Blog
Blog writing is a process of writing/typing what we do on a mostly daily basis. We make a blog so that people reading it can understand what goes on in our classroom. In all of Miquon, it is only the kids in our classroom doing this. We do a lot of the work at home, but sometimes plan and edit at school. First, we plan out our blog using the keywords: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Then we write/type it down.
Every other week Diane and Mark’s group does a pizza sale for the whole school. The entire pizza sale is completely student operated. We sell different kinds of pizza, such as: plain, pepperoni, bacon, white, and veggie. We also sell tomato pie, lemonade, fruit, brownies, gluten-free brownies, and popcorn. We hold these pizza sales to make money for a big trip we take at the end of the year.
How do we do these pizza sales? On Monday, we glue a menu to envelopes so that people can write down what they want on the menu, put the money in the envelope, then leave it in their classroom. On Thursday, we bake the brownies and pick up the order forms and bring them back to our classroom. Once we have the orders, we tally them all up on a sheet and get the food. On Friday, we prepare and deliver the food.
Minicourses in the Afternoon
Minicourses are short classes about hobbies that teachers or students can lead, although a teacher needs to be in each group. Examples are: baseball, hiking, and card games. We do minicourses because it can help people find a hobby that they enjoy. Every Friday in the morning we used to do minicourses, but this year we have moved it to the afternoon. I think it is better in the afternoon because we get more time and we do not have to rush to our minicourses right after assembly. We do our minicourses all around Miquon. Only the fifth and sixth grade classes get to do minicourses in the fall, but other classes can do it in later seasons. Some of my favorite minicourses are baseball, Magic the Gathering, and baking.
Longer Blocks in Specialists
This year, many groups at Miquon have longer blocks in some of their afternoon specialists (for us, they are science and art), so instead of half an hour for each group, one group gets an hour and fifteen minutes one day and the other group gets the same on a different day. Now, instead of having to stop work halfway through, we get more done. Our ideas for the project are still in our heads, so we won’t forget them. I think this change has really worked so far this year because I feel like I am feeling like I am getting more done in science and art, which is awesome.
First Day of School
The first day of school at Miquon is an exciting day of the year. Having the first day of school is different from the rest of the school days, because it is the beginning of a new year and everyone is in a new grade. This year on September 4th, the 1st through 6th graders started school. Then on September 5th, the nursery and kindergarten kids started school.
In Diane and Mark’s group this year, we got to know each other and the room. We played a game called, “I am the one who…” in which we went around saying, “I am the one who…” (It could be anything that involves you, for example: “I am the one who has a dog.”) We also got to know things in the classroom and learned about classroom responsibilities. The class members wrote down their individual goals for the year. The first day of school at Miquon is a thrilling day of the year.
Our group (Diane and Mark’s) made portfolio covers using the theme of “I am the one who.” We could take any picture that is school appropriate and specifically relates to us and paste it to Google Slides using our Chromebooks or Apple Macs. We did this in our classroom during the school day, or at home if we have a computer (and are allowed to use it). We will print them out and put them on our portfolios, which is where we put some of our best work.
Rest and Digest
My blog is about “rest and digest.” Every class does it after lunch from 1:15-1:30. For “rest and digest,” we read, write, or draw. Miquon classes use “rest and digest” to get the groups ready for the next activity or for specialists, so students aren’t crazy and can’t listen. We do it every day at the same time.
Diane and Mark’s group take their class to visit the Masonic Village. The Masonic Village is a retirement home for old people, and it is located in Conshohocken. This school year our class will be broken up into three groups: fall, winter and spring. Each group will visit every Friday before snack choice.
The elderly people that live there enjoy seeing and spending time with young people. When we visit the Masonic Village we will be able to make new friends, and play games like cards, bowling, and board games with the residents. Diane and Mark’s group is looking forward to going to the Masonic Village.
Extended Choice on Tuesdays
Starting October 29th, the fifth and sixth grades are having an extended choice every Tuesday. We will change our schedules so that we can have it from 11:00 to 12:00 instead of 10:30 to 11:00 and 12:15 to 12:45. We will have our regular boundaries and inside choice available, also We are doing this because we want to try something new and sometimes people don’t have enough time to do a game or activity. We won’t necessarily do this for the rest of the year, but we’re doing a trial.
Learning about Trees
The fifth and sixth grade has been working on learning about trees in science. We have been looking at different kinds of trees, leaves, and slivers of trees. We are also learning how to use tree guides and how to identify different kinds of trees. We are learning how to tell how old a tree is by how many circles it has in its cookie. We talked a little about how spotted lantern flies are killing the trees, and we’ve been learning about them, too.
Reading The Wizard Of Oz
Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning, the class gets together in a space full of comfy chairs and couches that we call the living room to have a read-aloud. We read a chapter book, and get through about two chapters each day. At the beginning of this year, we read The Wizard Of Oz, a classic novel in a series, written by L Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. LIke all read alouds we do, the story tightly connects to our theme for this year, which is a journey, literal or metaphorical. We are going to watch the movie adaptation soon to see the similarities and differences between the book and film. We are also working on illustrating scenes in the book from our own imagination. Many people in the class hadn’t read The Wizard Of Oz until read-aloud, and had only seen the movie, so they didn’t know of chapters involving the dainty china country, or the queen of the field mice.
I think that reading this book has been so fun, and the illustrations all are looking awesome. The study of journeys has been so interesting, and I hope our next read aloud will be as fun as this one.
The Terra Nova test is a test that we take. Terra Nova is Latin for “new ground,” and it is the first test that we take. The 5th grade test is just for practice; however, the 6th grade test scores get sent to the next school that students are going to. We took the Terra Novas in the morning and the middle block of the day on October the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th.
We do this because there might be more tests like this is our next school and it is important to be prepared. We fill in dots and use Terra Nova test booklets to do the test. Our scores get marked on a 1-9 scale.
Grandparents’ Day at Miquon was celebrated this year on the 18th of October. Our grandparents or grandfriends stay from 9:00 -11:00 in our classroom (Diane & Mark’s class). When they come visit our class this year we had three different entertainment stations to do: 1) pizza orders, where we explained how we run the pizza orders and how the profit from the sales leads to an end of year trip or something of the kids’ choice, 2) a story about Charles Darwin and his journey because we’ve been studying journeys this year, and 3) a math bingo game we had to teach our grandparents. After that, we had choice time, and as hosts, we had the option to show our grandparents around the campus or around the classroom more.
Most Mondays, everybody from Diane and Mark’s group splits into groups of three or more people. These groups are not random. They are book groups! The way that these groups are chosen starts with the teachers picking out certain books (usually 5-8) and presenting them to the class. They give a short description of the book, its title, and its genre. Then each student gets an index card to write their first, second, and third choices of which books they would most like to read. The teachers take a day or two to organize those preferences into groups of students.
Each group has a book that it reads together, little by little. They have assignments and deadlines to complete tasks, such as reading a certain amounts of the book, writing down all of the characters introduced so far, or recording examples of foreshadowing, etc. The next Monday they meet again and talk about the section of the book that they have read. The next week that same thing happens.
The groups meet in different locations so that they can focus on their book. Those places can be: the living room, the table area, the break out room, outside, or pretty much anywhere around Miquon that that kids and teacher want to meet.
When all the books have been finished, each group comes up with a presentation for the rest of the class, summarizing the book—without spoilers! This fall the books are: The Hobbit, The Book of Boy, Louisiana’s Way Home, and The Wizard of Earthsea. The teachers that are involved in leading the groups are Diane, Mark, Rossana, and Sarah. We have not finished the books yet, but the books that are being read are really good so far. Book groups help children experience different kinds of books and talking with friends, peers, and teachers. Book groups rock!!
Tree Ring Art
This year in art class, we have been working on creating art with tree rings. We are all making different works in different media. We can make our pictures anyway we want, as long as they are inspired by the rings inside a tree. Nicole chose this project because we are studying trees and tree rings. People are working on lots of different things; for example, some people are working with watercolors and others only using black pen. They are all so different and so cool!
On four Mondays in the fall, the sixth graders at The Miquon School stay late at school to take the ISEE familiarization sessions. The sixth graders that are staying for the sessions get fifteen minutes to play and have a snack before the sessions start. The sessions are for helping the children get familiar with taking the ISEEs, because the sixth graders are not that familiar with taking this kind of test.
Each week, the sixth-grade teachers show the children how to take the test so the machine can read it. The teachers teach the children about the four categories of the test: mathematics, reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, and the essay. In each of the four sessions, we talk about one category. For instance, in the mathematics session, we learned about algebra.