In Performing Arts, sixth grade drama students recently completed a unit on pantomime, in which they utilized non-verbal communication and expression to tell simple stories. We began the unit by learning the origins of pantomime as an art form, dating back to Ancient Greece and bringing us all the way to up 20th century mime artists like Marcel Marceau and present-day street performers. Working in small groups, each group then chose two fairy tales or popular children’s stories. They picked key moments from each story and brainstormed how best to express these moments using only over-exaggerated facial expressions and body language – no words whatsoever! Students were surprised by how easily this came to them. At the culmination of the unit, we invited an audience of PreK and Kindergarten students to the Drama Room to come watch. The younger students were mesmerized and many of them guessed each story correctly. Pantomime is the perfect way to introduce Upper School students to the “Actor’s Toolbox” (body, voice, imagination) and sixth graders definitely impressed us all with their natural performing skills!
6th Graders have been exploring the robotics unit to start out the school year. If you walked by our room, it might seem crazy and chaotic, but when you take a closer look, it is real programming at work. Students work through challenges, failing over and over until they get it right. Robotics teaches perseverance and allows us to see not only that failure is ok but the importance of learning from errors to get it right! We look forward to continuing this unit with the goal of developing autonomous robots that will become more and more complex!
Inspired by Mary March’s Identity Tapestry installations, the sixth graders created their own mini version to represent their class. We brainstormed a list of identifying statements such as “I like to read” and “I think the world needs more peace” and then students chose the ones they felt best represented them and their class as a whole. They decorated cards with the statements and we attached them to a bulletin board. To create the tapestry, students each chose a color of yarn, started at the top, and “wove” their way through the statements they wanted to identify with, ending at “I am unique” at the bottom. It was a fun and creative bonding experience for the class, and seeing the finished tapestry reminds us all that we have more in common than we may think!
Last week, 6th-8th graders boarded a bus headed to Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Norwalk for their first after-school social of the school year! Students jumped, jousted, dodgeball-ed, and of course, enjoyed snacks (including all-you-can-eat pizza!) for two hours. It was a fantastic way to end the week! Many thanks to the chaperones and UPA for helping make this outing possible!
How do you build a Lego sculpture that is identical to your partner’s without being able to actually see theirs? This was the challenge we presented to the sixth grade who practiced their listening and communication skills through this unusual task. Sitting back to back with the same ten Lego blocks, one student built a sculpture and then had to describe it to their partner who then attempted to build a replica based on the description alone. It was a great way to see in a very tangible way the importance of effective communication!
The theme of sixth grade science is Earth Science. As an introduction, students made models of earth out of clay using different colors for different layers. They started with inner core, then added the outer core and mantle finished with a blue and green crust as the outer layer. Once their models were complete, they cut them in half to see all the layers.
We then visited Mianus River Gorge Preserve which is a quarry to examine some of the layers that make up the crust in real life! We hiked and had the chance to examine several minerals – quartz, mica, feldspar. What a nice way to take advantage of a sunny, fall day!