Over the last few weeks of concerts, CodeWeek, a mock trial, and other RMS events we have had the privilege of welcoming you to our school. If you had the opportunity to attend any of these events or activities you were able to witness the learning community and student talent that we enjoy on a daily basis. We hope you'll be back soon! If you have not been at RMS for a visit in a while we hope to see you at an upcoming event or meeting soon. Experiencing school through attending performances, celebrations, and learning exhibitions gives you an insight into the school program you simply can't get from the outside.
In the spirit of experiencing the RMS educational program through the student lens I took a "No Office Day" on Thursday and followed a 7th grade student schedule. Thank you to the teaching staff and students for welcoming me and helping through my day as a middle school student. A special thank you to 7th grader Simon who offered up his schedule. Here are a few highlights of what I experienced:
My 7th Grade Schedule:
Homeroom: We discussed announcements for the day, took attendance (I was a bit late from AM basketball and had a tardy slip), shared some highlights and celebrations, and then headed out for classes.
Period One: Algebra 7. While it has been a while since I last solved Systems of Equations it came back quickly during our all-class review and practice session with Ms. McCarthy. I had a bit of nostalgia using the same TI-82 graphing calculator I had used in high school (when they were a fancy new classroom technology!).
Period Two: Social Studies 7. Mrs. Nugent led us through an exploration of an interactive map of population change and demographics during the 1800s. We were challenged to identify trends in changes in free and slave groups while also associating those changes with current events in the nation and different states. Our responses were turned in using a GoogleDoc.
Snack: I grabbed some much needed coffee, took a peek at the day's email, and got started on my Algebra homework.
Period Three: Strings Orchestra. Full confession, this one had me nervous. I didn't play an instrument in school and music was not a favorite for me. Ms. Rommer led us through several engaging and entertaining explorations of Beethoven. The class immediately put me at ease and I was able to (mostly) follow along and learned more in the one period than I could remember from my middle school music classes. I also ended up whistling his "5th Symphony" for the rest of the day.
Periods Four and Five: English 7. Students finished up projects for the first block so I took advantage of the opportunity to finish my Algebra homework and ask a few students about their work. The second block we had a literacy circle discussion of chapter four from "A Christmas Carol" led by Mrs. Wonsavage. We spent 45 minutes in a deep discussion of the characters and themes of the book. I was so impressed with the engagement and participation of the class. They clearly knew the book and had some developed opinions. I tried to get a few words in but mostly enjoyed the analysis and listening to students build on each others ideas.
Lunch: Enjoyed some lunch and conversation in the cafeteria, then checked in on recess.
Period Six: Science 7. We started class watching a short TedTalk that contained amazing imagery from the macro to the smallest micro. Watching time lapse changes to the planet made it seem like a living organism. Zooming in to look at various materials at the nano level showed a whole new world. Mr. Schluntz then facilitated a quick conversation about what we saw and invited students to think about what the video clip meant to them. Following this warm-up we jumped into reflecting on a recent physical adaptation lab. We thought about the impact of the opposable thumb and then extended the lab experience to other physical or behavioral adaptations and reflecting on how they impact human populations and technologies. I wrote as much as I could in the time we had and submitted the reflection via GoogleDocs.
Period Seven. French 7. First, huge thank you to the French class and Mrs. Grzesitza. I studied Spanish in school so this one was a stretch. With the help of my assigned partner we practiced with using the verb venir and conjugating it for use in conversation. I was thankful for the time to practice in pairs before we shared out in class. I was impressed by the comfort students had with taking risks with pronunciation and use of French. Everyone was especially supportive of my stumbles and attempts.
Period Eight: Study Hall. After a few minutes of finishing up my homework I signed out to the office for the rest of the period.
I thought I would share my experience both to give you a window into the day of a student but also to try and convey my appreciation to all those involved in creating days like this all year long. Our program is a combination of great kids, talented teachers, a carefully designed and reviewed curriculum, and a supportive community. At this time of year I think we can all be thankful for the gifts of learning and education. For me, spending a day as a middle school student immersed in a community of learners was the perfect present.
Have a wonderful winter break and New Year. I hope you can enjoy learning something new!