The IXs: A Dance into the Past
The IXsK have gone through a transitional period these last couple of weeks. “We are moving away from early America, and we will our start work on the Oregon Trail,” said Katie Mastriano, group teacher of the IXsK Since this recent time of transitionstarted, the IXsK have stuck to the normal routine.
Until recently, the IXs have been studying early American History. They study events like the Louisiana Purchase and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition.
Owen Greer, an IXsJ student, said, “We just finished learning about Lewis and Clark and making posters about them.” He gave a detailed account of the four posters his class made about the explorers’ goals. This was part of the study that was very popular among the IXsJ students.
For example, Ella and Owen thought of it as their favorite section of their research of Lewis and Clark.
The four objectives that the IXs determined from looking at Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Meriwether Lewis were obtaining knowledge about Native Americans, discovering new plants, lands, and animals, creating a map of Missouri, and discovering a waterway to the Pacific Ocean. Owen worked on the poster about the map. All four posters made were a combination of text and images, and both Owen and Ella Rahav, also IXsJ, felt more inclined to work on the text. Ella also chimed in, adding that some topics were more detailed and specific than others. Her poster was about the waterway known as the elusive Northwest Passage. Now the IXs are moving into the real meat of the year: the Oregon Trail. The first thing the IXsJ did when approaching this topic was figure out what people already knew about the Oregon Trail and what questions they still had. Jay Birdwell has taught this process for a few years, and encouraged the IXs to think about what they want to achieve in their studies. Once they had a fair number of questions, the IXs categorized them to make tackling them a more organized task. Once the IXs learn more about the Oregon Trail and westward expansion after Spring Break, their social studies-based plays will be right around the corner. The IXsK have also finished their tall tales, narratives from early America about Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and Davy Crockett. In writing class the IXs take these famous stories and reinvent them to make them their own. The IXs “add themes that could involve different animals, or elements of nature [to the classic stories],” said Katie. Aside from the transition in the IXs’ historical studies, they are approaching a new unit in Math. Recently, the IXsK have completed the perimeter section of their measurement unit in Math . When asked what else they have completed in Math, Nathanael Spader, a student in the IXsK, shouted “Power Polygons,” while jumping up and down. Nia Fennell, another student in the IXsK, not sure whether Nathanael was enthusiastic about moving onto finding area in Math, or just hyperactive and eager to move around after a long day in the classroom, decided to join in. Power Polygons are a way that the IXsK manipulate shapes. They combine polygons, such as triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons and hexagons to make larger shapes, which they then decompose. After scaling the giant shape down, they find the area of the newly found smaller shapes and later add all the areas up to get the final answer. Owen was pleased to finish this part of their unit on geometry. At times, the repeated activities that the IXsK do can become a bit dry, or stale, especially on Wednesdays, a day mostly spent inside their classroom. However, Katie had a great idea up her sleeve just for this predicament. When Computer teacher, Ian Klapper, ran a little late, Katie decided it was the best time for a five minute “brain break,” a session for some down time. “Yeah, they’re playing Musical Chairs right now. It’s just a time to get their wiggles and jiggles out. They really need this time, since today has been spent mostly in this room,” said Katie. The whole class participated, all of them dancing, prancing, or walking in a circle, waiting for the music to pause so they could leap into a seat. The activity lasted nearly six minutes, and in the end, it was all fun and games. Another fun addition to the IXs’ life is new entertaining and silly items for the school store, such as invisible ink pens, erasers with amusing designs on them, and multi-colored flashlights. The IXs feel a little glum because business in First Floor Store has been a little slow lately. The IXs are diligently trying to bring in more customers, by frequently ordering attractive items. In Computer and Rhythms, they have begun to approach learning in new ways. The IXs have had the unique opportunity to create animations using an online program called Toonator. Ian Klapper, Computer Teacher, gave them an assignment to recreate historical events from early America on Toonator. These events were all from Jay’s historical “puppet show” that took place a month ago. This exercise was described in the last issue of the Roof Yard Rattler. The IXs were eager to continue their Social Studies work in a new class, and Owen, a fan of their interdisciplinary studies, shared that he thinks “it is fun to do multiple things at once” in class. Meanwhile in Rhythms, the IXsJ got to experience a teacher, Madeline Buhler-Rose, drawing inspiration from the students, especially Ella and her friends Ana Patterson and Loretta Broderick. A simple game among friends turned into an exercise in which one person controlled someone else’s body using hand gestures and body movements. The IXs seem to be having a blast everywhere they go. Whether in the lunchroom, where students were excited to find pomelo being served or in their classroom, making historical posters with their peers, they have fun. Both IXs classes will continue to broaden their understandings of American History and apply their knowledge to even more projects, most notably the play.