Our first week back, and boy, was it short for students! Three days and then an unexpected snow day to finish the week and cancel the first ski trip of the season.
The week still saw a lot of action. Here is a broad view:
In sixth grade, students have begun to expand their view of the middle ages from the iconic castles and European feudal system to a broader world perspective that includes the Near, Middle and Far East. The middle ages happened everywhere, after all. Shirley began to read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to the class. It is the amazing story of William Kumkwamba who brought power to his village in Malawi by building a windmill after reading a book about them.
Sixth graders are learning about biology in science by studying cells. Each student is responsible for learning enough to teach the class about a specific organelle. Seventh and eighth graders are in the first weeks of starting their science symposium projects which will take most of the rest of the year to complete. These first weeks take a lot of juggling as students not only have to start the physical work of the project, but also do the individual background reading that is necessary for a strong proposal and introduction to the work. This takes time management and some patience on their parts. Hazard signs were posted on the doors to the lab this week as the eighth graders tried to figure out where the source of “contamination” in the town of Fruitvale’s wells was. Seventh graders will be teaching a lesson on pH to the 2-3 classes this month.
In seventh grade English, students are beginning the novel Chains, and will relate this novel set in the around the time of the revolutionary war to what they are learning in their US history class. There is much self reflection in eighth grade English, as well, as students read Outliers and analyze author Malcolm Gladwell’s descriptions about what makes some people more successful than others.
In history seventh graders are learning about the constitution and took advantage of a discovery of a revolutionary war time capsule left by Paul Revere and Sam Adams in the Massachusetts State House. How exciting to be studying an historical period and have the news report that a time capsule from that very era had been unearthed! Eighth graders will relate their study of US history to the personal story of their families in the United States, through a genealogy project. They took advantage family visits to begin interviews for the project during winter break.
In math eighth graders are looking at how expense can be minimized and profit maximized through linear programming (algebraic equations that are inequalities are the foundation for this.) In seventh grade, students are working with percents and calculating percent change ( a skill that will be really helpful with the science data). Sixth graders are studying ratios and have also used math time to help with the Canstruction engineering challenges.
In Spanish, sixth graders are learning personal pronouns and the verb to be -ser. They are combining these with adjectives to make short sentences that describe. Seventh graders are learning the vocabulary necessary to describe their families. Eighth graders are learning to use pronouns with new verbs and vocabulary for eating and daily routines (useful!). They are combining short sentences with ordinal words to make a sequences (eg. First I get out of bed, then I eat cereal for breakfast.)
This only describes the recent learning in the subject areas– learning also happens in our multi- and interdisciplinary time as well, as you know from reading the blog posts. We are back in full swing, no matter what the weather has in store.
When Thursday afternoon arrived, all advisors and I popped into the 7-8 basketball game to cheer them on for their win against Dutchess Day School. Thanks to parent Barbara for grabbing the photo of all of us!