Learning Updates for Week of March 15 to 19

March 19th, 2021

Sixth Graders Hone Their Creative Writing Skills

When English begins, the clock strikes WRITE! Sixth grade students continue to explore themes of growth and change–this time in their own writing. Each class starts with a unique prompt to inspire exploration and experimentation. We are starting as many stories as possible in as many ways as possible, building towards a final personal narrative project. Finally, sixth grade writers are using Flying Lessons and Other Stories, a collection of coming-of-age stories from a variety of voices, to explore the expert moves of published authors. With each story, students consider the writing style and how they might apply that, or not, to their own narrative. Stay tuned for a publication of our own stories this spring!

– Julia Juster, middle school English teacher

Eighth Grade Studies the Reconstruction Era

For the past few weeks, eighth graders have been studying the Reconstruction era in social studies. They explored the potential and promise of Reconstruction as well as the factors that came together to end the progress of the era. Students wrapped up their study this week with a structured academic controversy focused on the question: Were African Americans free during Reconstruction? Students were divided into teams and assigned a position to support. Each team had the same set of primary sources to explore to support that position. After sharing their evidence with the other team, students were able to abandon the position they were assigned and use everything they have learned about Reconstruction to share their own answer to the question of whether or not African Americans were free during Reconstruction. Students did a great job incorporating their learning about the time period!

– Kate Burns, grades 7 & 8 social studies teacher

Arts Update: Third Graders Contribute to Music Video

Community is the theme for the current third grade visual art intensive, and this week students widened their view of community through an exciting and unique collaborative art project. They paused their printmaking work for a day and focused on creating individual artworks that will be included in an amazing collaborative venture: the newest music video from the band OK Go! OK Go is known for its creative and intricate videos, as well as for the members' educational outreach and work with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas. The band is currently creating a collaborative video for "All Together Now," a song they wrote and recorded during the pandemic, and our third graders are adding their work to the project!

Be on the lookout for our students' artistic contributions when the video is completed and released later this spring! Learn more by visiting OK Go Sandbox Art Together Now | Playful Learning Lab  | OK Go Sandbox.

– Anne Armstrong, visual arts teacher and arts coordinator

PE Update: Here Comes the Sun ... And the Mud!

We've been able to catch a few rays in our physical education classes the last couple of weeks (and some polar vortexes ... and then more rays) and are relishing the spring weather. The trails are thawing out and the last icebergs on Far Field and Claflin have melted away. This means, of course, that it's a good time to consider proper spring PE attire. Sneakers are the best option for all indoor games and activities on the tennis courts. But the mud reigns pretty much everywhere else, so if possible, having a pair of boots on hand is a good idea. In addition, we've noticed many people coming to class (or returning from class) covered in a slick of mud. While they seem to wear this proudly, a change of clothes could come in handy as well. And given the uncertainty of our beloved New England weather, please remember that you can always shed a layer if you have it, but you can't add a layer if you don't—in other words, layers rule! Lastly, water bottles are essential for hydration, especially when we're outside for class. If you have any questions about gearing up don't hesitate to reach out.

– Alex Tzelnic, physical education teacher

La tienda de ropa en la Antigua

In seventh grade Spanish, we ended a unit that focused on Guatemala. Students learned vocabulary related to stores and shopping, described clothing and footwear characteristics, useful expressions when shopping, and making comparisons. Besides the grammar content and the vocabulary covered, students also learned about the geography of Guatemala and Central America and cultural information including la máscara de jade, el quetzal, los muñecos quitapenas y el traje Maya. For this unit’s project, students created clothing stores and accessories inspired by the Mayan culture. Activities included creating flyers, discount coupons, and television commercials to market their business, and selling their designs to their peers. Check out this video and click here to see more examples of the students' projects.

– Ana Maria Restrepo, Spanish teacher

Students Writing On LaptopMale Student Standing to SpeakStudent Coloring