Arts Update: Fifth Graders Rehearse Class Plays
Fifth graders are very excited to be performing together on stage in The Princess Plays. One student noted, “We haven’t done a class play since first grade because of COVID!” This week some students worked on coordinating their gestures to enhance their storytelling, while others developed their character’s voice, attitude, and body language.
Rehearsals have immersed students in theatrical skills such as memorization, character development, blocking, working with sets, costumes, and props, and taking direction. Students learn to listen and react in character, maintain focus, and work together to support each other during the process. Smiles and laughter fill the stage as the fifth graders inhabit the imaginary world of distant fairytale kingdoms!
– Susan Dempsey, theater arts teacher
Seventh Grade Science Builds Skills with LEGOs
Students in science classes have been using LEGOs recently to build their design and coding skills as they gear up for their next physics unit focusing on Newton’s Laws of motion. Each day students come to class and face a new design challenge that ranges from building the perfect amusement park ride to a cozy chair for Stephen, the 96-year-old sheep, or a vehicle that uses something other than wheels to move. These LEGO-builds are then brought to life using word block coding, in a Scratch style, in which students tell motors to move at a certain speed and distance or a sensor detects colors telling a vehicle knows when to stop. As students become more comfortable with the engineering of LEGO, this work will be connected with our study of Newton’s Laws. All this hard work will be displayed at the upcoming Belmont Day STEAM Expo on May 3, hosted by the middle school science department along with Annie Fuerst and the technology and innovation department. Stay tuned for more details on the expo!
– Maggie Small, middle school science teacher
Fifth Graders Start a Magical New Book
This week, teachers were excited to introduce fifth graders to The Marvellers, a fantasy novel following the adventures of Ella Durand while she attends the Arcanum Institute, a magical school in the sky. Students began by receiving a scroll from Headmarvellers Skinner, Fuerst, and Sprung with the text of the letter offering Ella entrance into the Arcanum. They studied it carefully to look for magical elements that might appear later in the text.
Students also began learning about wikis and how we might develop one as a group to serve as a knowledge base to keep track of the many characters and magical elements in the novel. Students tried their hand at some wiki markup language and will soon be working together to collaborate on curating and organizing content with our class wikis. They also borrowed copies of the book in audio format from Sora, our ebook and audiobook library, and engaged in some reflection on active listening and the differences between reading a text and listening to it.
– Vaniecia Skinner, fifth grade teacher, Annie Fuerst, director of technology & innovation, and Amy Sprung, librarian