07 Dec

From Kathy Christoph

Dec. 7, 2015

Folks,

It’s been such an exciting time here in the Middle School these past several weeks. The school days have been filled with all sorts of learning activities, classroom lessons, projects, field trips, special presentations and more.  It sure looks like your children are enjoying their days; many of them come running in every morning!

One of the most important activities we’ve undertaken recently has been the Comment Reflection cycle that took place when the children received their written comments. Every student engaged in some form of self-reflection, followed by a one-on-one conversation with his/her HomeBase advisor. As children reflect on such questions as, “Why am I doing well in these classes?” and “Did any teachers refer to you as a diligent student?”, they are learning to critically review the processes of their own learning and behaviors.  By devising specific steps to improve and setting goals, they understand they have the ability to transform and own their own learning. Pretty good stuff!

Winter Clubs are up and running, and what a wonderful array of activities for our students! Students can hone their spatial skills by putting puzzles together, they can think strategically by playing chess, they can delve into personal identities through a Diversity club, they can challenge themselves physically with DE Mudders, or participate in a dozen other pursuits. A well-functioning exploratory program such as our Activity Period acknowledges young adolescents’ desire for exploration and is complementary to the academic day. In our Middle School, we deliver a robust exploratory program through our Activity Period, designed with these four objectives in mind:

  • Encourage young adolescents to discover and pursue their particular abilities, talents, interests, values and preferences.
  • Acquaint young adolescents with enriching, healthy leisure-time pursuits.
  • Provide young adolescents with opportunities for student choice, voice and decision-making.
  • Provide opportunities to work with peers both within the grade level and across the three grades.

Ice Skating at Englewood Field Club is back. What fun it is to glide around the ice-rink on skates, pirouetting, turning, and jumping, (and sometimes even falling!). Our middle school youngsters have the opportunity to go ice-skating during the winter months on special Tuesdays and Thursdays, if they so desire.  Our shuttle bus takes the skaters down to the Field Club and returns them to school at 4:25. Parents: There is no cost for this activity, but students do need to bring their own skates.

Our librarians recently offered a really neat after-school activity for our middle school youngsters. Electric Origami combined the act of creating paper creatures with adding electronic accents! If you want to see photos of some of the cool projects students made, check out The Blimp or look in the library for an upcoming display.

Students in 8th Grade DIG (Dwight Englewood in the Garden) practice collaboration and problem solving as the work to make a planting bed. Students in this class face the central design problem of creating spaces to meet the needs of a variety of middle and upper school classes who will use the garden. In these pictures they are salvaging materials from the parking lot construction project (recycling!) to create a bed for potatoes to be planted and used by the “Culture of Pre-Columbian Societies” class.

 

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The annual 8th grade Wax Museum was a huge success! This touchstone experience gives our students an opportunity to ‘walk in another person’s shoes” and gives them a sustained, meaningful experience in understanding the perspective of others and developing empathy. It was wonderful to talk with the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Ben Franklin and Judy Garland. View Photos

Most of the second floor of Umpleby is being turned into Egypt as our 6’s prepare for Egypt Day.  I’m impressed by the amount of research each child does in preparation for the monologues. There will be four vignettes that will bring to life parts of the Egyptian culture.

The 7th grade matheticians are grappling with graphs and the accompanying axis labels and scales.  In science, they are putting the finishing touches on their water project presentations with extra special care; the students will be presenting their findings to a panel of adult experts. This PBL unit is a great example of students doing meaningful, relevant work with real-world application.

Remember: Next Thursday is a 1:35 dismissal for Middle and Upper School students. Buses will depart fro DE at 1:45. The library will be open until 4:00.

Hug your child, and Go Bulldogs!