Please try to come to my parent meeting next week. Here is a list of the topics I plan to talk about: the history project and it’s effect, New York trips, comments from some former graduates, a questionnaire I gave the class “I would rather do this rather than that”, things we would like to tell or ask our parents submitted by students, the excitement of having nine graduates, how my class is maturing, and the outlook of the class for next year.
Moving-up week was a very good week. It was a whirlwind of activity and it flew by. We all enjoyed having the mover-uppers join us for the week. We did miss the three students who will be graduating, but everybody seemed to get along well.
Now we are having another busy week. We have had fourteen history presentations: the beginnings of Christianity, the European leaders during World War II, the Anasazi, European colonization of America, Roman gods, The Enlightenment, Phoenicians, Roman accomplishments, the mystery of the disappearance of Anastasia, Sparta, the Black Plague, Egyptian daily life, the Aztecs, the statue of Zeus, and the battle at Lexington and Concorde. We have 30 more history presentations to do before the end of year. All the presentations that have been completed have been bound into a book.
This week we continue our work on Twelfth Night with Susan reading a children’s version and the class doing a 25 minute mini play. We are all excited about seeing Twelfth Night today. I want to take the opportunity to give parents a little more insight into how much learning goes on in each of the classes. When it came to going over Twelfth Night last week, I asked one of our mover uppers if the story made sense to him. He told me that Kathey had given the class the assignment of reading three or four of the Shakespearean children’s books and he had read Twelfth Night. He then went downstairs and brought back the book so that he could show it to me. He was so happy to see that work he had done was already important and useful to him. I was thrilled because it was a surprise to me that he knew the story so well and that this was a good example of how children learn in the school by doing the work that is suggested by the teacher and by their own independent studies. It was a validation for him and for me, because it shows how much learning is taking place all day long and even if it isn’t uncovered as it was in this case, it is there. To date we have covered nine Shakespearean plays in depth with only one to go, A Winter’s Tale.
This week the schedule also included two pages of math work each day, music, phys ed, and a writing. The writing assignment was to create the best Bob or Betty story ever! Bob stories showed up last week when the assignment was to build a story around five new vocabulary words that we had covered in my handouts. Most of the students love Bob stories. Bob is a character that has developed in the older class over the years, he is a daredevil and adventurer who loves explosives and particularly hand grenades. He is also partial to the country of France. The stories that the students read in bookcorner were varied but were all intriguing or fun. I don’t know when I have seen the class so happy and interested about hearing one story after another. The writing assignment for next week is for the student to choose their favorite Shakespearean character and tell why they chose that particular person. We only have about 20 days of school left but the ideas and enthusiasm in the class is continuing to grow.
The class has started microsociety this week. Microsociety is a simulation game in which groups create a working “society” based on research and decisions made by the world council which is made up by the entire class. There will be three groups led by third year students and each group will research the mythologies chosen by the group leaders. They will be studying Roman, Egyptian and Amazon Rainforest myths. This project depends on all the members being present to make decisions. Please let me know as soon as possible if your child will be out in the next two weeks.
It is so hard to believe we only have 4 weeks of school left and they are busy ones. Please check your email and read the bulletin for information as middle classers are enthusiastic until the end and we are trying to squeeze in everything they have requested. In an effort to keep everyone informed, both email and bulletin will be used to communicate information.
If you haven’t done so already, please take the time to read the Older Class portion of the bulletin this week. Jay shared an experience he had with a middle classer during moving up week.
If you have specific things you would like to discuss about your child at conference, please email them to Jill ahead of your scheduled time.
We had an amazing trip to Kateri on Tuesday. In the morning, we went frogging. The children were paired up and given big nets to try to catch frogs around the pond. They caught green frogs and bull frogs, and tadpoles and frogpoles (tadpoles with back legs). We saw a giant snapping turtle come to the surface of the pond as well. The children each had a chance to touch or hold the frogs. Then we learned all about frogs. It was lots of fun! In the afternoon we had a program on bugs. The children paired up and were given sweep nets to catch bugs in a field. Then we went in the woods and rolled over logs to look for more bugs. We even found a salamander! It was a wonderful day, filled with awesome experiences with nature.
Other things we have been working on this week have included math and reading, writing about our trip to Kateri for the trip addition of our newspaper (to be completed before the end of the year), portfolios (to be shared on our portfolio presentation day), and brushing up on the Little Class parts of the Boisterous Bard for the film version (to be filmed at school).
I enjoyed talking to parents about their children at conferences this week, and look forward to talking to parents next week as well.