On the Journey
news reel: stories of People, places, and learning AT Aspen Country Day School
Head of Middle School Brenda Stockdale answers FAQ from soon-to-be Sixth Graders
What's Sixth Grade Really Like?
by Brenda Stockdale, Head of Middle School
One of the highlights of the school year is when spring arrives, and thoughts turn toward preparing this year's Fifth Grade class to make the move up to Middle School. The advisors are looking forward to meeting with the students on May 14 to introduce them to the Middle School, which will include a conversation and a tour of the building.
On Thursday I joined Morgan Henschke and the Fifth Grade students in the Robins Nest to talk about next year. First, we played a game to help me learn their names, and then I shared with them a little bit about my love of working with Middle Schoolers (and my own amazing Middle School experience here in Aspen). Students wrote down what they're excited about, what they're nervous about, and questions they have about what's ahead. Here's what's on their minds:
They're excited about:
- Morning snack (got the most comments!)
- Getting to know more teachers
- Being in a new part of campus
- Learning new things
- Having a Chromebook
They're nervous about:
- Homework (got the most comments!)
- Being late to class
- Meeting new people
Here are answers to some of their questions:
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. Each school day starts 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 mycountryday 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 adult trip leaders. 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 responsibilities 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, cereal, 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, Brenda Stockdale, 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 & literacy support
- Maria Carbonetti: Spanish
- Cécile Fielder: French
- Vanessa Abrahams: math support
- Brandon Joseph: music
- Kimberly Bakker: music
- Paula Ponto: art
- Marci Sketch: drama
- Morgan Henschke: wellness
- Alex Tiernan & Kelsey Dunn: PE
- Collette Newell & advisors: Outdoor Ed