Monday, August 15, 2016

Smarty starts the 6th grade this Thursday. It already became a tradition for us to have a "mini-interview" before school to capture thoughts of the last year and of the year ahead. Here is our version from this year:

An Interview Before 6th Grade

Me: Are you looking forward to a new school year?
Smarty: Yes! I can't wait!
Me: How was your last year?
Smarty: It was fun! I liked working with my friends and also having choices to do what I want.
Me: What was your favorite subject last year?
Smarty: Math
Me: What are you looking forward to learning this year?
Smarty: Leadership and making things in Makers' Lab.
Me: What would you like to learn if you could learn anything?
Smarty: How to be more disciplined.
Me:  What do you wish your teachers knew about you?
Smarty: That even though I skipped a grade, I can still work above grade. I am worried that they won't place me in the right group thinking that I need help, but I want more challenge.
Me: Do you have any worries about this year?
Smarty: You know that I do. I am mostly worried about making friends and if the kids will be mean to me, because I am so short.
Me: What are your hopes for this year?
Smarty: I hope I will have friends and get good grades.

What We Know So Far About 6th Grade

Smarty read a lot of books about middle school, but her middle school is going to be different in some aspects. This is what she learned during middle school orientation last week:
  • The classes will be fixed, like in elementary school. Students from the same class will take all classes together.
  • The same teachers will teach all three 6th grade classes - one teacher for math/science, another for ELA/social studies, plus teachers for music, PE, etc.
  • There will be no lockers or changing rooms. Students will be changing for PE in the restrooms and carrying their PE kits with them. PE will be 4 days a week.
  • There will be 4 periods every day except Wednesday (Wednesday is a shorter day with 3 periods). Each period is 80 minutes. There will be no electives this year.
  • There will be two "special" subjects this year - Leadership and Maker's Lab. Unfortunately, there will be no foreign language.
  • Art and drama will be incorporated into other subjects, and all subjects will be taught in a project-based learning framework. A lot of work will be done in digital form (i.e. online).
We do not know what the year will bring, but right now both kids and parents are super excited to be part of a brand new school with new learning methods and hand-picked staff. I hope that we will work together as a community to weather inevitable bumps and that Smarty will thrive in this new environment!

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An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I hope she does well, and makes just the right number of friends. Will you add foreign language study at home?

JL said...

Her middle school sounds very different than traditional middle schools. It sounds like a good transition stage. Around here, middle schools look more like high school with students going to different teachers every period.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

The school sounds intriguing! It is a bit of a shame that she won't have a foreign language, but if I had to choose for my kids I would take Maker Lab over a language elective. They tend not to teach middle schoolers much in language classes in the US anyhow.

Ticia said...

I've been thinking over that whole no foreign language thing, and I think foreign language started here in 7th grade, unless you're in an immersion class, and those are rare.

I can't wait to hear what she thinks of it.