On the Journey
news reel: stories of People, places, and learning AT Aspen Country Day School
Unlocking the Mysteries of Middle School: Q&A with Brenda Stockdale, Middle School Head
The highlight of the start of my week was meeting with Fifth Grade students on Monday to talk about next year when they will join the Middle School community. In the morning, Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator Morgan Henschke met with both Fifth Grade classes to brainstorm questions they have about Sixth Grade and Middle School in general. Later that day, Morgan and I sat in a circle with each group, where we played a name game to get to know each other better. Then I dove into the questions the students posed. Here's what's on their minds:
How much homework do we have?
The amount of homework you'll have each night is difficult to gauge. It'll depend on what you're studying in each class, and what the teacher has prepared for you to practice on your own. You can expect an hour or more of homework each night, including weekends. Long-term projects will take more time, so it'll be important for you to plan ahead and keep a homework calendar. The teachers coordinate their lessons and try to plan in such a way that you're not overloaded with work outside the school day.
How long are the classes?
Class periods are 45 minutes in length. Next year, each school day will start with a 20-minute advisory period (on Wednesday it'll be ten minutes long), and then you'll attend seven 45- minute classes, with morning snack, lunch, and recess.
How much transition time is there between classes?
Students have a five-minute passing period between classes. This should allow you enough time to walk or skip to your next class. If you're traveling to Spanish or French (located in the Castle Creek Building), you might need to walk a little faster than usual!
Is there assigned seating in classes?
Some teachers devise a seating chart to help students maximize their potential in the classroom. Oftentimes, they switch it up periodically to give students access to different peers and vantage points. Other teachers let students choose where they sit.
Do we do our homework on the Chromebooks?
You will complete a lot of your work on your Chromebook, and you'll access the online My Country Day system to find your assignments and some of your textbooks. Quickly, you'll get used to using this helpful tool to conduct research, create slideshows and graphs, write essays, organize your documents, email your teachers, and more! There are also many times you'll be writing on paper and reading real books.
What trips do we take?
During the first week of school, you'll go on Outdoor Ed with a mixed group of Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Graders, along three adult chaperones. During the first week of May, the entire Sixth Grade class will travel to Lake Powell for five days of canoeing, hiking, and team-building activities.
What privileges do we have?
Of course, there are many opportunities that come with being among the oldest students at Country Day. While you'll be the youngest in the Middle School next year, you have many of the same perks as the Seventh and Eighth Graders, such as morning snack. (Picture a table arrayed with muffins, yogurt, fruit, hard boiled eggs, Cheerios, and bagels!) You'll have access to teachers during recess and after school, more independence around campus, and skiing with your teachers Friday afternoons throughout the winter.
Who are the Sixth Grade advisors?
Next year's Sixth Grade advisors are Renee Hill, Shelley Supplee, and Tyler Valtin.
Who are the teachers?
You will love your new teachers, and you'll enjoy continuing the journey with several you've known since Lower School:
Tyler Valtin: history & math
Megan Talarico: science
Renee Hill: English
Maria Carbonetti: Spanish
Anna Nedlin: French
Brandon Joseph: music
Kimberly Bakker: music
Paula Ponto: art
Marci Sketch: drama
Alex Tiernan & Kelsey Dunn: PE
Collette Newell & advisors: Outdoor Ed
Current Fifth Grade parents meet the Middle School team Monday, May 14 at 2:30 pm in the Atrium on campus. All families are welcome, including those interested in finding out whether ACDS Middle School could be right for your children. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org