Sneak Peaks into our Upper School Classrooms!

Our Upper School students and teachers had a busy and fun week last week with class trips.

Class TripsClass Trips4Class Trips 2Class Trips 3

 

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from those trips.

 

As we gear up for the final few weeks of the school year, the Upper School teachers share their reflections on some recent lessons.

 

....with Miss Leithart!
Last week, students performed chapter three, “Welcome to Dictionopolis,” from the novel we’re reading in Literature, The Phantom Tollbooth. This assignment challenged students’ to practice excellent public speaking skills, or elocution as it’s formally known. Moreover, when students were assigned a character, I asked them how they might posture themselves, move, and sound. Before any reading aloud occurred, students imagined how they might bring the character to life. Once we began to stage the scene, students also needed to decide what sort of costumes and props would be appropriate, which led us to decorate the classroom, placing letters and words on the walls in Dictionopolis fashion.

This lesson highlighted one of our school’s teaching principles, which is to embody the subject. Embodying the lesson might look like constructing three dimensional models in math or illustrating a fable, but in this case, students transformed the written words into a physical performance. As one student responded, “It was a lot of work, but it paid off when we heard the audience laugh.”

....with Mrs. Hull!
Fridays at 11:30 are one of my favorite periods of the week, when the 5th and 6th graders gather together to study logic. While this study is very informal, it serves as a great challenge to sharpen critical thinking skills and introduce students to logical concepts. Each week, we read a lesson or two from The Fallacy Detective. Most recently, we delved into "post hoc ergo propter hoc," the fallacy in which a time order relationship is mistaken for a cause and effect relationship. Students were asked to come up with examples of this fallacy. One student said "I'm sneezing so I must be allergic to the pollen." This was a great example - it could be true, in which case, it is not a fallacy. Yet we must always be aware of other possible causes, such as a cold. Through a lot of discussion and considering examples, we take time as a class to contemplate the fallacies, focusing on only one or two a week, inspired by one of our school standards "festina lente" (make haste slowly), allowing children to develop greater mastery over these complex ideas!

....with Miss Clevenger!
To complement our study of the Latin language, this week the 7/8 graders will enjoy two French immersion lessons taught by Prof. Hannah Wegmann, French Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland. Students will learn how heavily French is derived from Latin, study a short selection of French poetry, as well as learn to converse with basic French phrases. An embodied lesson of “doing and experiencing,” both classes will be taught entirely in French and with Socratic dialogue, a challenging, rich, and playful learning opportunity. The 7/8 graders have been anxiously anticipating the French immersion experience for quite some time!

....with Mr. Schultz!
The 7th and 8th graders have had some very compelling discussions about Darwinism, our current topic in science class. We just started reading the book, "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds" by Phillip E. Johnson. In chapter one, the author discusses three common mistakes that proponents for Darwinism make against the other side. This will be a great learning opportunity for the students to analyze the other side's arguments so that we can have good rebuttals.

 

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