MGS 5/6 News
By: Mr. Michael Beeson
November 24th 2023
Greetings from the 5th and 6th grade classroom at Miltonvale Grade School!
This year at MGS we have 11 kids in 5th and 6th grade, including a total of 10 boys and 1 girl. The students have been busy working through their brand new updated Saxon math texts. Typically, the students will work with me daily to learn something new at their grade level through notes and discussion and then individually work through around 25+ problems to review and practice. They are generally eager to participate and contribute answers when working together and do well asking for help and staying on top of their work until completed. Math is a unique subject in that it requires constant practice and review, like a sport. Any gaps in learning make it more difficult to learn math in future grade levels, so their hard work and dedication is always appreciated! Occasionally we mix it up a bit with online learning platforms (there are a few we’ve used) that include a competitive component, allowing students to earn candy prizes if they are one of the top place finishers. Another math-based activity are the scavenger hunts. These work great as a review and allow students to be up out of their desk, working with a partner, and searching for the next math problem, which depends on their answer to the previous problem. If done correctly, students will complete the problems in a specific order, and are therefore self-checking to some degree.
In science, students have been studying topics dealing mainly with mass, matter, atoms, states of matter, density (6th gr), physical and chemical changes, and more recently, solids, liquids, and gases. What differences exist between solids, liquids, and gases? Recently, students got to work with oobleck (a product consisting of corn starch and water) to try to answer this question. Students noted that at times it appeared to act as a solid, but at times it could act as a liquid. What property was most observed by students? “Messy!”
One component of the classroom for the kids this year is P.A.T. (positive action time). This is simply a whole group system where students earn points when they are on task but lose points for the contrary. At the beginning of the year, students helped to brainstorm reward ideas. These have included “adopt a class pet”, “pizza party”, and “field trip”. One of the highlights for many of the kids has been introducing Cricket, the bearded dragon to our room. This was their first P.A.T. goal, and he has been a part of our class since September 1st. Early in the year, students were also tasked with researching and writing persuasive essays as to why they should be allowed to have a classroom pet. It didn’t take them long to realize there are many well-established benefits for students whenever a teacher can keep a live pet in the classroom. In the first quarter, the kids have taken turns feeding him, learned to pick up and hold him properly, and many have earned the privilege to position him next to or on their desk while they work. Cricket has additionally motivated the kids to research what foods he should or shouldn’t have, how cold-blooded animals differ from hot-blooded animals, and how to properly handle a bearded dragon. Some of the students have even experienced what it’s like to give a reptile a bath, as this is a recommended step in helping him to shed his skin.
Our 3rd P.A.T. goal, requested by the kids, was to go on a field trip. Once they made this 100 point goal, we considered several options but ultimately landed on a day at the Milford Nature Center and Fish Hatchery. On November 17th, the students spent a day at the nature center and participated in several activities which included hiking and a few team-building activities (“spider web”, “lava pit”, and “caterpillar walk“). Since our classroom pet is a reptile, the facility presented a program with an emphasis on reptiles and amphibians that included a live snake and turtle and various other animal parts. The day concluded with a documentary, “A World Alive” during their visit inside the discovery center. When some students asked me to purchase a couple small boxes of flavored worms and crickets to eat back in the classroom, I could not resist! Much to my surprise, nearly everyone tried both; however, our para Mrs. Phelps politely declined the offer!!
The 5th and 6th grade have enjoyed periodically grouping up with the Kindergartners to read to them and assist in coloring activities. Both age groups have enjoyed this, and it’s clear the little ones look up to the big kids! The DARE program has also been underway the past couple months. Students are in the process of writing their final DARE essays and look forward to the upcoming graduation in December. In February, I’ll detail more of the DARE program, students with the top essays, and graduation.
Happy Holidays from the newsroom of the 5th and 6th grade classroom!
Mr. Michael Beeson
Adley and Cricket Caterpillar Walk @ Nature Center: Jaxin, Gage, Derrick
Giving Cricket a bath Group photo at the Milford Nature Center
Working with the Kindergarten class Science lab: Aedon & Mason