The First Few Weeks Of School
Our PDS Middle School Environment is very different than other schools. We have a wonderful learning space called the learning commons. In the commons we have comfortable work spaces. We also have many fantastic classes including one that some people probably haven’t heard of. It’s called Humanities. and is a mix of English, Social Studies and History.
We also get the chance to use online academics and we call our teachers by their first names. We can organize our own dances and put on plays and perform for our families. We have a great arts program, and this year we just got a new music program in the middle school. PDS is always trying to create a better environment for their students, faculty and parents.
The lunches at our school are different than others. They have the option of a side salad or fruit bowl which most schools don’t have. We also have different things that most schools don’t have including dumplings for Chinese festivals and a salad bar for people who like to customize their salad. Over time every chef we’ve had has been different. One year snacks used to be brought to your classroom. They could be sweets or even healthy food like vegetables and fruit, but now we don’t have that. We have Pizza day and an occasional Taco Tuesday. I hope in the future we get more healthy foods!
The PDS athletic program offers many choices to encourage our students to be involved in multiple sports. All middle school students are eligible to join the basketball and soccer teams, they are also able to join the high school cross country teams. Girls in 7th and 8th can join the varsity softball team, and 8th grade boys and girls can sign up for the varsity Ultimate Frisbee team. Our sports program is off to a great start as our soccer players build momentum toward their first game of the year!
Even though most of the middle school has not gone on any field trips yet, we all know what to expect. The 8th graders are going to have a wonderful time in NYC. They will be seeing the Broadway show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Another field trip that happens every year in the middle school is Nature’s Classroom. Please note that this is being written by a group of 6th graders who have not yet gone of this field trip. So we will explain the best we can! Nature’s classroom is a time when the whole Middle school goes to stay for a week in Massachusetts, learning and having lots of fun! We will have more on field trips for you once we go on one!
At PDS our Music program encourages everyone to play a wide range of instruments. We have teachers for wind instruments to strings percussion brass and vocals!. This year we were given the option of being in a chorus or in an ensemble. Both are great but if you don’t play an instrument there’s always the great choice of learning a new instrument. In chorus you work with our vocals and piano instructor, Brielle Grover on an expanse of different songs, all to improve your vocal range or just to have fun. In ensemble you will get to work with our bass instructor Damon Banks but he is a great instructor at everything. There are different sections for every instrument. Piano, Guitar(acoustic or electric), Percussion and vocals. We can’t wait to do our first performance for Chorus and Ensemble!
The middle school at PDS uses computers and technology for most of their work. The school provides each student with an e-mail account, that way students and teachers can communicate in an easy way. On the first day of school every middle schooler has to sign a tech agreement, to agree to use technology in a responsible manner. Every day students are required to bring their laptop into school with a protective sleeve. We use our laptops every day in almost every class. We use them for classwork, homework, and more.
The difference between Lower School and Middle School is really big, so here is a little about it. In Lower School we had classes in the same room, now we change rooms basically every class. In middle school we have break time so we either eat a snack, go outside or go on our computers. In lower School we had recess and snack time. Now in 6th grade we have to remember what classes we have at what time, and not be late. It is sooo different in 6th grade.
We also have tons of more responsibilities in 6th grade, like going to the bus by ourselves. W have to be careful when we do that so we don’t miss the bus. Going to classes is a lot harder because we don’t have teachers to tell us where to go and we have to look at our schedules and navigate the day by ourselves. We have to pick some of the classes we take, which is always a hard decision for those who don’t know what they want.
In Math, we are learning about ratios. Ratios are things that let you explain the difference between two numbers (example: There are 5 boys at a party and 4 girls, the ratio for that would be 5:4 or 5 to 4). Equivalent ratios are Ratios that mean the same thing but they have different numbers. How you get an equivalent ratio is you multiply both number by 2, 3, 4, 5, etc? (example: 5:4 x2 = 10:8 – so 10:8 is equivalent to 5:4).
In Science lately we have been doing some labs. Right now we are finishing our Lifesaver Lab. The Lifesaver Lab is a lab where we are putting different colored Lifesaver in water to see which color goes quicker. Our results vary a little bit but orange seems to be the slowest.
In Spanish we have been learning about the days of the week. Also we have been doing stories where the teachers narrates and asks questions and we answer the questions in Spanish using the clues on the board.
Students did a few polls to see what the 6th grade likes the most. Our first poll was what do you like better, Middle School or Lower School? The answer was that the 6th grade likes Middle School better. Our Second poll was what is your favorite class, Science, Spanish, Humanities or Math? The answer was that the 6th grade likes Science the most.
Humanities is a mix of a different subjects, and this year we are learning about medieval times. We learn about times from a long time ago and how they did things. We did some summer reading about a medieval times book called Crispin the Cross of Lead by Avi. It was interesting to see how much the world has changed since then and now. In Humanities we do lots of activities that have our group work together. One time we had to write what we thought Humanities was going to be like this year. Shirley is our Humanities teacher and she puts us in groups for a lot of different things. For example, we have things like editing which we do in pairs. We also do lots of other things in groups. We are reading two books right now. One is The Story of the World and the other is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Humanities is a very fun and exciting class!!!