Playful Learning: 6th Grade Students Host the Greek Games Fair!

On Tuesday, our Middle School community was treated to the 6th grade-led Greek Games fair! Students from all middle school grades, along with parent guests, competed for a chance to win prizes for themselves and, in the case of our 6th-8th grade students, for their advisory groups.

The Greek Games fair is an annual event designed and organized by our 6th grade students and inspired by their knowledge of ancient Greek mythology. In preparation for this year’s fair, each 6th grade advisory selected a Greek city-state or mythological location as its station and, drawing on what the 6th graders have learned about Greek mythology and history, created games inspired by the challenges faced by Greek heroes or with references to ancient Greek culture, epic poems and myths (with a few creative liberties taken to prevent injury to anything but one’s pride!). In the process, students honed their collaborative skills as they worked in advisory groups to brainstorm ideas, narrow their selections, plan their materials lists and prototype game designs in preparation for the big event.

On the day of the event, students came together to transform sections of the Paul Family Athletic Center into Athens, Sparta, Thebes, Olympia, Syracuse and even Tartarus (the mythical land of the dead), and to set up games including fortune-telling by the Oracles, “sword fighting” (using foam pool noodles), bean-toss bingo with ancient Greek symbols, and obstacle courses inspired by Sisyphus’ torment and the Odyssey. Students took pride in their creative competitions, and a marvelous time was had by all!

 

Poetry Month

On Tuesday, April 17, our Middle School community was invited to celebrate Poetry Month by sharing their own poetry, as well as their favorites by other poets, at an “open mic” event on Litow Patio, including a haiku writing station and “Poetry Popsicles”! Our students and faculty were treated to dramatic readings by students and adults of famous poems, a pop song not necessarily known for its poetry (but greatly enhanced by Mr. Mattern’s reading), and original works prepared in advance or written on the spot. What a “lyrical” way to spend a beautiful April day!

CLICK to see full text of Shel Silverstein’s poem, “Yesees and Noees”

“Tinkering” with Electronics in the Middle School

These days, we often hear the word “tinkering” used in a way that feels different from when those of us in our 40’s or older (ahem) were in primary and middle school. As a child, to “tinker” had the connotation of “unproductive fiddling” with something one did not really understand. These days, however, the idea of “tinkering” is closely tied with current pedagogical approaches in which students are encouraged to learn by doing, and where “playing” with materials is not unproductive but, rather, a means to gaining greater understanding.

On this topic, we are delighted to present below a guest post and photo shared by Mr. David Martin, teacher of a range of design- and computer science-related electives, including our eighth grade Electronics elective course!

Eighth grade students in the Electronics elective class have begun studying transistors and transistor-transistor-logic (TTL) circuits in a computer electronics unit. After brief introduction to Boolean logic, students are having fun tinkering and bread boarding logic gates (NAND/NOR/Inverters) and, when finished, they will compare their gate logic outputs with their calculated results using truth tables. Transistors to computers are like cells in the human body; they are the basic building blocks and the foundation of computer electronics. -Mr. David Martin

Where might your child’s passion for “tinkering” lead?

*Note that this photo has been updated since first posted, as I accidentally included the wrong photo on my first attempt! Thank you, readers, for your patience!

Mornings with Mr. Bryan: Technology In the Middle School

Chief Innovation Officer Anneke Emerson presented on the 1:1 laptop program, educational technology and balancing your media diet on Tuesday during Mornings with Mr. Bryan. She discussed the technology standards that guide curriculum development, the way access to laptops is informing the way faculty design curriculum, and strategies students and parents can use to balance media and technology in their lives. Please click on the links above for more information.
 
If you have questions about educational technology or parenting with laptops, please reach out to Anneke at anneke.emerson@viewpoint.org.
 

Leave Only Footprints: 6th and 7th Graders Work to Promote Environmental Sustainability In Our Community

On Tuesday, 6th and 7th grade students engaged in hands-on learning during Viewpoint’s Earthchella Week, an annual event designed to raise awareness of environmental sustainability.

After an introduction to the conservation activities taking place right in our immediate area, 6th grade students and advisors traveled across the street from Viewpoint’s campus to Headwaters Corner to learn about efforts to control invasive species (including these little crawfish below!) and to plant trees.

7th grade students learned about the types of contaminants that reach our local beaches from guest speaker Jim LaValley of Heal the Bay, then traveled with Upper School Heal the Bay Club leader Ben Moody and Middle School advisors to the Malibu Lagoon to engage in a beach cleanup, recording the types of trash they found in order to support Heal the Bay’s conservancy activities. A little friendly competition is always a plus, as the cleanup efforts ended with weighing teams’ collection bags to determine which group had collected the most trash!