360 Degrees of Discussion in Sixth Grade
Students in sixth grade English observed and practiced discussion skills with a “fishbowl” protocol. Five brave “fish” sat in the center of the room to discuss a question from the current book we’re reading in class, The Giver by Lois Lowry while their classmates observed the dynamics of the discussion. Those outside the fishbowl looked for questions posed, evidence cited, ideas shifted, and airtime shared, then shared what they saw with the group. Throughout the year, sixth graders will continue to establish independence in classroom discussions, preparing for the Harkness model used in the seventh and eighth grades.
– Julia Juster, middle school English teacher
Third Graders Learn Months of the Year in French
Third graders is finishing up their months of the year unit in French. Our lower school language program is oral proficiency oriented, which means that the students practice using French “from the top of their heads.” Many activities are necessary to build up confidence and agency. The students danced the Macarena of the months (presentational speaking/kinesthetic learning), they sorted the months with a secret rule that their partners had to guess (language observation/communicating observations), and they practiced asking and answering questions about birthdays with partners (interpersonal speaking). The wrap-up activity was a multistep interpersonal speaking project: the students were tasked to line up in the order of the months of their birthdays, using only their French. See the accompanying photo!
– Nathalie Pellenq, French teacher
Fifth Graders Research, Write, Deliver Speeches on Activists
Over the past few weeks, students in grade 5 humanities have been working on their activist research project. At the beginning of the process, each student chose an activist and visited the Erskine Library to refresh on research skills and find resources with librarian Amy Sprung. Students then engaged in their research, using resources such as databases and non-fiction books. From their research students created a speech that outlined their activist’s accomplishments, obstacles, and lessons we can learn from them. On Thursday, students’ projects culminated when each student presented their speech. Great work fifth grade!
– Vaniecia Skinner, grade 5 teacher