Updates From Upper Elementary
Upper Elementary is humming with the kick off to preparations for our Ancient Egyptian Culminating Event, Writers Workshop, Literature Circle, Coordinate City, New York City preparations and the 6th years’ Zoo project. We have so many exciting projects and trips coming up in the next few months!
Upper Elementary began the new year by exploring the historic timeline of various kingdoms that ruled throughout the Egyptian Civilization. Lessons were presented on ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, the history and process of mummification, and the emphasis on the afterlife. In addition, the students learned about the history and development of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
In the next few weeks, the children will begin individual research projects on ancient Egypt in preparation for the culminating event of the year-long study. Each child will choose a topic based on one of the fundamental needs of humans and research how that need was met by ancient Egyptians.
Later this month Quest will host the local writer, Padma Venkatraman. Padma will spend an afternoon with Upper Elementary discussing her work and her process as a writer. In preparation for the visit, Upper Elementary began her most recent novel, The Bridge Home, as the teacher read-aloud this month. Like her previous works, the novel is set in India. The vibrant text, drawn from her own personal experiences growing up, is allowing students to mentally explore the Indian culture. Students are looking forward to the visit and the unique opportunity to discuss what it means to live the life of a writer. This concept of becoming and being a writer is discussed extensively within Writers Workshop, and we are excited to have this unique opportunity to explore it with greater dimension.
Our new book clubs started this week. As part of the Egyptian Civilization study, the 4th and 5th years are reading The Egypt Game and The Golden Goblet. The 6th years are reading The City of Orphans in preparation for their trip to NYC. Each of these books connects with the deeper research that is being done by the students on Egypt and New York City and we are using these works of fiction to further study these time periods and draw deeper connections.
Coordinate City & Zoo Project
In geometry, 4th and 5th years were presented a lesson on locating and plotting coordinates on a four quadrant grid. Once they were comfortable plotting coordinates they took the lesson to the next level. In pairs, and based on guidelines, students created a blueprint of their imaginary cities and then many decided to create 3-D models. The 3-D models are in the works and they’re excited to share their final models with the class.
Similar to Coordinate City, the 6th years are designing their own zoos, utilizing lessons on finding area and perimeter. This project has the additional component of budgeting, as the students price out the costs for every element including purchase of animals, building appropriately sized enclosures and hiring people to cover day-to-day operations. Ultimately they will actually “run” their zoos and discover how viable their choices were.
New York City
The 6th years leave for NYC in less than 3 months! All the tickets are booked, final site papers complete and presentation cards in the works. The 6th years have entered the second phase of their project and are about to begin the itinerary work by looking at maps of Manhattan and learning about streets versus avenues and subway maps and bus maps. Soon they will begin writing directions for each day and destination. Their excitement is building with each day that passes. We can’t wait to share our NYC experiences with the community in early May.
This month has seen the return of Spanish for Upper Elementary, and the students are delighted by the immersive approach of our new teacher, Julia. Lessons are during the work cycle on Wednesdays and are presented entirely in Spanish with a student driven focus on information gathering and comprehension. They spent their first few lessons looking up, labeling and touring classmates through the school building. Students are enjoying this fun new approach to the language.