The Welcome Back Breakfast is greatly looked forward to in the 5/6 classes. The Welcome Back Breakfast is a meal to welcome back the children and adults in the 5/6 as they return from all the festivities and excitement of winter break. This year it happened on January 6th, 2020. This year as in past years starts with teachers coming in a bit earlier than usual and having ingredients ready for cooking.
This year the menu consisted of plain scrambled eggs, meat and eggs, taco shells (soft and hard), queso, salsa, turkey sausages, and monkey bread. Plus there was some delicious hot cocoa and orange juice. The food was in Louis and Sarah’s classroom and we ate in Diane and Mark’s classroom. The tables had tablecloths and candles and a bowl of fruit for those who wanted it. We got our food and ate from 8:30 until about 9:15. Then everybody helped clean up and we went on with our day with full stomachs and smiles!
Little Red Robin Hood, the Panto We Saw
On the seventeenth of December our class went to the People’s Light Theater in Malvern, PA. We were going to see their original panto, called “Little Red Robin Hood.” We were joined by Lizzie, Pema’s mom, and by Jonah, Henry’s dad.
A panto is similar to a normal play, but there are some elements that all pantos have: audience participation, a dame (a male actor dressed as a lady), skin characters (actors dressed as animals), and funny songs and dances.
A couple of weeks before the show, the theater sent an email to Diane, asking if we had a dance group or cheer team, because they wanted us to choreograph a dance to perform in the panto! Since we don’t have a dance group, Diane asked Evy, Pema and Luka to choreograph the dance, because she knew they take dance lessons outside of school.
We choreographed the dance, and then asked the group if anyone wanted to dance on stage. We ended up with a group of seven kids: Evy, Pema, Luka, Alison, Priya, Tessa, and Zoe. We rehearsed during choice time, and on the day of the panto we went backstage at intermission and all put on Miquon t-shirts. Then we waited backstage for our cue. We then went on stage and did our dance, then we rejoined our group in the audience and watched the rest of the show.
We went to see the panto because our group showed interest in performing our own class play, and they had a matinee performance for schools on a date that worked for us. We had tons of fun, and now have lots of inspiration for own own play!
A Class Play?
Diane and Mark’s class will be performing a play at the end of the year. Currently the class is brainstorming ideas of plays that we could do. Ideas that the class is thinking about doing are a spoof of a classic play, or buying a script and adapting it to our preferences. Both ideas are brilliant. Plays are really fun and I think the class would be happy with any idea. We are really excited to create and perform a play.
Football at Miquon
My blog is about flag football. The Miquon kids who play are in 3/4 and 5\6. We play it on the wood chip field and play it both snack choice and lunch choice. We started playing flag football because we got it for a gift from last year’s graduates. It’s safer, because touch football led to people getting hurt more than flag football. In this game, when you pull a person’s flag they are down.
Life Skills 101
Life Skills 101 is a three week period in which both five/six classes at The Miquon School participate in a life skill learning session. It starts when each kid gets to pick a life skills topic, and then plan what they will do each week.
For example: If a kid was painting their room, they might plan in the first week to cover up the stuff in the room so that nothing gets spattered with paint, and then the next week, they could start to spackle the walls and get ready to start painting. In the third week, they could start painting the first few layers, and by the end of the week, they should be finished. After the project is done, the kids can start working on their presentations, which can range from a slide show to bringing in a cake to share with the class.
The whole experience can be fun, and hard, and by the end, the kids should have learned a new life skill that can not only help themselves but others, too.
Every year, the entire 5/6 comes together to exchange pollyannas. In case you don’t know what that is, everybody who wants to participate pulls the name of a fellow classmate out of a hat. That person is now their “pollyanna.” They have a budget of five dollars to buy, make, or repurpose a gift for that classmate. Oftentimes, people have to combine repurposing, making, and buying gifts, so they don’t go over the budget, and it’s safe to say Five Below gets a lot of us as customers.
On the day before the beginning of Winter break, we all met in Diane and Mark’s classroom in our pjs, with hot cocoa, and had the gift exchange. We sat on a ring of chairs around the room, with presents on tables in the middle, and when you were given your gift, you would pick up the one you bought/made/repurposed and give it to your pollyanna. Most people did a “duck, duck, goose” type thing, where you’d go “Polly, Polly, Anna,” which was funny depending on how close to your pollyanna you were.
Probably the most enjoyable part of it all was seeing the variety of gifts there were. You could get anything from a bookmark, to a candle mug (which is what I got, and am quite pleased with). You were always so curious about what was in the next gift, and if Doritos were involved, everybody would cheer the loudest they could. People’s reactions were also funny, especially if they thought somebody had them, and they were wrong. All and all, it was a very good time, and extremely funny to participate in.
Our class is in the middle of reading a sad but “pulling in” book by Alan Gratz, called Refugee. It is three separate stories about child refugees that go through some scary adventures to get to a safe place. The refugees’ names are Isabel, Mahmoud and Josef. Mahmoud is from Syria and his story is based in 2015. It is about how he has to leave Syria because it is a war zone and his house got bombed. Isabel is from Cuba and her story is based in 1994. She has to leave Cuba because her dad is a criminal fugitive and they need to be safe. Josef is from Germany and his story is based in 1938. He is leaving because the Nazis are making him and his family go to the United States. They all leave their homes in different boats.
Cursive, Latin Root Words, and Spelling Patterns
Every Wednesday afternoon, when half of the group is at PE and half of the group is in the classroom, the half in the classroom gets split up again into two groups: one of the groups works on cursive in the break out room and one goes to work with workbooks in the main room. During cursive work, Mark writes letters on the chalkboard, then we write them down on lined paper. With Diane, we have one book for Latin root words and one book for spelling patterns and we fill them out together during our time with Diane. The group at PE switches to cursive and workbooks during the next work time.
Long choice is something that both Diane & Mark and Louis & Sarah’s 5/6 classes have every Tuesday. It’s a one hour choice from 11:00 – 12:00 instead of two half-hour choices from 10:30 – 11:00 and 12:15 – 12:45. Every Tuesday when we come back from P.E., we have half an hour of class and work time and then we have choice.
We’ve been trying it for two months because people thought there wasn’t enough time. For example, people were saying that when they wanted to play flag football, it would take them at least fifteen minutes to put on their flags and belts so they would only have ten to fifteen minutes to play. We had a Good of the Building meeting last Friday and we decided to try a 15-minute choice from 10:30 – 10:45 and a 45 minute choice from 12:00 – 12:45.
Toothpick Bridge Building
In math, we are working in bridge “companies” (partnerships that our teachers put together) to build a toothpick bridge, managing a budget of $2,500,000. As part of the process, there is an inspection station and a supply outlet.
We usually do this in the morning block of our day and if not, we do it at choice or in other blocks of our day. We collaborate with the other group in partnerships, meaning that one person from our group is paired with one person from the other ⅚.
Every Friday afternoon we have a block of time when kids break up into small groups and meet with a certain teacher to spend that time learning skills they wouldn’t normally learn. We call them minicourses.
This winter, we are giving the 5/6 groups the opportunity to lead their own minicourses. We do this every year, and it’s in the winter and spring and normally in the fall as well, but because of confusion we didn’t do it in the fall this year. We do this so that kids can have leadership opportunities.
You may be wondering how one might sign up for this. Well, the first step is coming up with an idea. If you’d like, you can find a partner to do this minicourse with. Next, you must fill out a form about your minicourse, and finally your teacher will take all the forms to the staff meeting, where any teacher can choose to help you with your minicourse.
I am personally leading one with Tessa called Acting and Improv Games. In this minicourse, we teach different acting and improv games and exercises, hence the name, Acting and Improv Games.
Audubon in Art
One of the studies that we are currently doing in art is a study on James Audubon. While we are studying Audubon this year, we will be picking a bird to draw that is a native to Pennsylvania, and then sketching down a couple of ideas in our notebooks. After we were done, we picked which one we would like to do in more detail.
Then Nicole, our art teacher, gave us different paper to sketch it out on again, but this time we spent more time and made sure it was how we wanted it to look. At the end, we will copy our birds onto a printing plate. We will do this by putting our drawings over the printing plate and, using a pencil, we will push the drawing done onto the printing plate, but not so hard that we would rip the paper. And then we print!
For the November conference week, our topic was mystery. So in science, Kate gave us mysterious gray balls to observe and to open during class. We were instructed to guess what it was inside.
I guessed that it was some kind of hair ball. After everyone gave their guesses, Kate told us they were owl pellets. Owls regurgitate them because they can’t digest bones. We gathered the bones from the pellets and sorted them. When we were done we glued them to a picture of a rodent skeleton.
Hero’s Journey Stories
We have just finished writing our “hero’s journey” stories in which we have each created a character or “hero” and started to write the beginning of a story about them. We have each written up to the part when the hero gets their first glimpse into the “unknown” world.
We have been working on them in the 1:30 – 2:45 block on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes during the 11:00 – 12:15 block on Wednesdays. Both the fifth graders and sixth graders were assigned teachers to help them. (The fifth graders had Mark and the sixth graders had Diane.) At the end, everyone got two copies of their story and got to illustrate one, then Diane bound it. The other copy we gave to Diane to put in our anthology of this section. We will keep the anthology in the classroom.
Book Groups Begin Again!
In the fifth and sixth grade in Diane and Mark’s group we are starting new book groups. This time we have a theme, which is novels in verse. The teachers that are leading the book groups, Diane, Mark, and Rossana, introduced them to us a couple of weeks ago. They told us what the books were about, and then we wrote down our favorite ones. The teachers split us into groups, and each group was assigned a book. We read the books for three weeks, partly at school and partly at home. When we are done reading them, we will do a presentation about the books that we read.
Addressing Climate Change at Miquon
At Miquon, some people have been addressing climate change lately by putting up signs. A lot of fifth and sixth graders are putting up signs about climate change to convince people to do something about it and raise awareness about climate change. People usually write sentences that rhyme on the signs. They put up the signs at snack and lunch choice. I think that climate change is a big problem and it’s good that were addressing it at Miquon. Also I hope that people will take actions because of these signs.
Winter assembly is a thrilling experience, whether you’re performing or watching. It’s a show the kids put on for the parents, held at a church in Germantown. It is performed by the whole school and each class has one or two performances, which they rehearse every music class. It is done to show our parents what we have been doing in music class. It happens on the first day of winter break; this year that was December 19th!