A Spotlight on Upper Elementary
Coming of age stories are all about children growing into adulthood by finding out who they are and venturing out into the world. In a sense, it’s like learning to use a camera – turn the lens clockwise and zoom in close to focus on yourself – turn the lens counter clockwise and pull back to see the world around you. Here at The Village School, our Upper Elementary students are beginning to construct their own coming of age stories. In the past weeks, they have been doing activities that encourage both personal and global exploration as they learn to use their inner zoom lens.
What’s Your Sentence?
Before the break, some of our Upper Elementary students had the opportunity to reflect on themselves and come up with one simple sentence that encapsulates who they think they are. As part of a writing lesson, students learned about Daniel Pink, a best-selling author who realized that people are driven by three key things: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Pink realized that what motivates a person is not external reward, but the desire to direct one’s own life. He devised a process to encourage people to reduce their life goals into one simple sentence in order to focus that motivation.
By answering five questions and then marking the key words from each response, students constructed sentences that describe their life goals. Because this is also the image they hope to project out into the world for others to see, the sentences are written in third person making them even more profound when read aloud. Our students went through many revisions before being able to summarize their lives in a single idea and then decoratively transcribed the final version of their sentences onto a sign to hold as they orally presented them to the class. The results were astoundingly accurate descriptions of the students according to their teachers who captured the presentations on video. Check out our self-aware students here…
If our students have inspired you and you would like to make your own sentence, start by answering the following:
- What are you good at?
- What brings you joy
- What about yourself are you most proud of?
- What are your goals?
- Who would you like to be in the future?
Now take a highlighter and mark the key words from each response. Use these words to help you construct your sentence. Don’t forget to put it in past tense and third person. It’s harder than it sounds!
For more information on Daniel Pink and this idea, click on the link below to watch his video.
Daniel Pink – from his book Drive
After zooming in to discover a little more about who they are, the Upper Elementary students zoomed out and took a trip around the world to learn more about life on the global scale.
This International Museum program gives our 4th, 5th and 6th year students a chance to present information about the seven continents of the world to the rest of the classes in the school. Each year a new topic is chosen and students break into groups to do research, write speeches and create visual aids for their presentations. This year students focused on animals of the world, creating power point presentations to accompany their speeches. Throughout the day, each of the seven groups presented their research multiple times, tailoring it to suit their audience members from Toddler to Middle School.
Toddlers, Lower Elementary and Middle School classes were visited by the student presenters in their classroom while Primary and Kindergarten classes took fieldtrips to the top floor to attend the presentation that corresponded to the continent they are working on in their classrooms this year.
Presenters did a great job of using extra hand motions and descriptions of the animals as they described the habitats, physical characteristics and eating habits to the preschool age children while giving a bit more formal presentation to the Elementary and Middle School classes. All audiences were attentive and asked a lot of thought provoking questions which the presenters knowledgeably answered in turn.
These activities are only a small sampling of the opportunities The Village School provides each year to its students that allow them to grow at their own rate and in their own space while learning about the outside world. It is because of access to unique experiences like these, that our children develop the skills they need to become find both themselves and their place in this world.
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