EMPOWER Field Trip with 5th and 6th GradePosted by Eric Snow
After seeing how much fun and camaraderie the 7th and 8th Grade students have on their annual rafting trip each year, we decided that our 5th and 6th Grade students should have a similar opportunity to cap off a whirlwind first week back to school.
This year, we enlisted the team-building experts at EMPOWER to help us offer the youngest Upper School students at Unquowa an incredible half-day filled with exciting group-based challenges. To set things up, Dan, Destin, and Dylan, our guides and leadership coaches, split everyone into teams and got us warmed up with an interactive, relay version of charades called FFEACH, an acronym for Fast Food, Electrical Appliances, and Cartoon Heroes. That made it easy to figure out a category for charade topics, but the guessing was all up to our actors’ hard work…
Next, 6th Graders were off across the field to play two games in three teams: a large-scale version of the Memory game many of us have played, and another game where students were tasked with getting a golf ball from one end of the field to another using only their wits, some PVC pipe sections, and some tricky footwork!
Meanwhile, our 5th Graders worked on their communication skills as they attempted to cross the field while being connected to one another (via some foam squares) before completing GIANT jigsaw puzzles that were all the same color!
And last but not least, each team had to work together to balance tennis balls on crates as they carried them across the field and oh-so-carefully deposited them in a bucket. 5th and 6th Graders had to work separated at first, but then cheered each other on and were SO excited when their partner teams finished and we all got to eat a well-earned lunch.
Today was a FANTASTIC day for overcoming obstacles, working on communication, and helping one another succeed – and we did it all with the unafraid Unquowa spirit! Huzzah!
Poetry CelebrationPosted by George Seferidis
On April 24th, Unquowa held its first ever whole school poetry celebration. 7th and 8th graders planned and led a variety of poetry sessions for the rest of the school. Students traveled in small groups and worked collaboratively with students from other grades in each workshop. The goal of this event was to have students be exposed to a variety of poetic forms and devices, including new and fun ways to make poetry. Sessions included “Found Poetry,” “Haiku Station,” “Music and Poetry,” “Spine Poetry” and various listening stations, where students enjoyed classics as well as new voices. We concluded our celebration with an open mic session inviting all students to share their writing. We loved seeing the incredible creativity and fluent delivery of powerful pieces from all grade levels! We hope students have been inspired by this very special day.
Using reader’s theater to learn about FolktalesPosted by Karen Engelke
Grade 2 has been working on a Social Studies unit entitled Culture. As part of the unit we have been examining the genre of folktales. We have read a number of folktales from various cultures around the world. At the moment we are using the reader’s theater strategy to not only explore folktales but to also practice fluency and the art of reading out loud.
7th Grade Diplomats Are Solving the World’s ProblemsPosted by Vincent O'Hara
The 7th-grade humanities class has studied how the geography and history of a country influence the way it interacts with other nations. As a culmination of our unit covering the foreign policy spectrum, the class is playing “Nations: A Simulation Game in International Politics.”
Similar to Model U.N., students represented one of the seven countries on the fictional continent of Lostralia. Provided with a unique history, social structure, religious beliefs, intelligence secrets, and objectives, students had to improve the previously set factor totals reflecting the strengths or weaknesses of each country (e.g., food stability, infrastructure, military power, etc.). Each nation is represented by two or three students who fulfill the roles of a minister of the press, a diplomat, and head of state. Their goal is to use diplomacy to improve the lives of their citizens while avoiding catastrophe: unnecessary war.
The students have thrown themselves into this activity with tireless enthusiasm. They have created flags and maps and have written and performed national anthems. Each country has been creating news reports that employ persuasion techniques, including propaganda; diplomats schedule meetings to negotiate trade and military defense treaties.
How do teachers know when their lessons are a success? They know when their students jabber about the class in the halls, bounce into the classroom, and plead to start the lesson. The 7th graders are demonstrating their knowledge in the best way possible: by having fun- and all while solving the problems of the world!
Leaders of Environmental Action in Fairfield at UnquowaPosted by Craig Knebel
The Fairfield University LEAF (Leaders of Environmental Action in Fairfield) Club visited Unquowa on Wednesday, February 20th to lead our 6th grade students in a review of the problem of plastic in the ocean. LEAF brought five University students who presented information, ran a short video and led our students in a hands on activity modeling how currents from and swirl, and why the plastic circles in the ocean. The college students also led a question and response activity on what 11 and 12 year old students can do in their communities to foment change. Our 6th graders came up with ideas like writing letters to representatives, attending meetings about banning plastic in local towns, circulating posters and using social media platforms to spread information about the problem and on recycling tips. The science teachers were very impressed and the students were highly engaged while working with University students.
Getting to Know YouPosted by Faith Barbuto
We had our first weekly collaboration with our fifth grade social studies buddies on Thursday. During this time, Mr. Kayumba and I hope to explore the many nuances of cultures and diversity with our students. There will also be a weekly literature collaboration with the other section of the fifth grade class. We spent this first meeting getting to know each other. The fifth graders were asked to interview their kindergarten buddies and find out basic information like their names and hobbies as well as tell them about themselves. Then we challenged them to also share more personal information like fears and things they struggle with. It was a great opportunity to learn things we never knew about each other and break the ice. Some buddies found that despite the age difference they had lots in common. I even learned things about my former kindergartners who are now in fifth grade that were totally surprises to me!