Archive for the 'The Classroom' Category

Latin Convention

On April 8th, my school’s Latin Club and I went to Miramonte High School in Orinda for the 56th annual CJCL (California Junior Classical League) convention. After dinner, we met for an assembly and then set off to take tests in various categories of Latin (daily life, grammar, etc). The next day we arrived at school early, and, dressed in our mandatory bed-sheet-and-safety-pin togas, began to set up our chariot for the race against the other high schools’ teams. There was some tough competition, but the fantastic College Prep charioteer Nettie saved the day by coming in first place. At first it appeared that Miramonte’s team had won, but alas, unbeknownst to the “horses” pulling the chariot, their charioteer fell off seconds before they crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, the man running the races didn’t believe us and would not mark us down for first place.  After we folded up our chariot, the Latin level I, II, and III teams went to their assigned classrooms to play Certamen, a Jeopardy-like Latin trivia game in which the contestants use buzzers to answer questions to earn points for their teams. My Latin I team lost in the semi-finals, but we still had lots of fun! After a final assembly, we changed into our “snappy casual” clothes for the banquet and dance at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, where, during the award ceremony, we learned that we had won first place overall in the small school category! I also won a ribbon for placing 2nd in my level on the daily life test! I had tons of fun, and can’t wait for next year!

Good Finds at CPS Book Fair

This is the weekend for the College Prepatory School Book Fair. Annabel and Nettie worked the opening hours reorganizing the stacks, following the wake left by the pros – used book salespeople with big blue Ikea bags. We left with our own treasures: Peabody found a DK lego book and Nettie took home a first edition Nancy Drew and “What People Wore” a big book of clothing illlustrations from ancient Egypt to the 1920s.

Math Night at TBS

The Berkeley School held its annual Math Night yesterday. The students train parents and siblings on different math materials and ask them to solve problems. Peabody taught us Magic Squares and Balance Tiles but my favorite is the abacus-like Bead Frame. He also created a 100-count project. “I used pot holder loops to make ten groups of ten. Each group is a different color. If you stretch the whole thing it is 253.375 inches or 21.114 feet long.”

Trip to Sibley Park

Peabody’s class made a trip to Sibley Park in the East Bay hills. They did a bit of role-playing, imagining themselves as refugees from a flooded village. They scouted for food, shelter and water. After a lunch of berries and bugs sandwiches and iced tea, we visited the labyrinth in the bottom of the remains of an ancient volcano. This was our first trip to Sibley and we can’t wait to go back.

Peabody’s Movie Theatre

During the last week of school, Nettie and Peabody brought home a year’s worth of school projects. Here Peabody is holding his movie theatre featuring the diaster film “The Xsplozin.” The theatre is a shoe box with scenes drawn on a scroll. His summary of the scene here: “Some dudes are playing four-square and suddenly the ball is going so fast that it’s flaming. It shoots into the air and hits a plane. The plane crashes and then there is lightening, a tornado, rain and a tree on fire. Did I mention the tidal wave?”

To Kill a Mockingbird

Last week, my middle school performed To Kill a Mockingbird at the Live Oak Theater. I played Dill, which was an AMAZING part. Dill is very dramatic and likes to make up stories, so it was very fun to be him. I also enjoyed having the audience laugh at my lines, since I rarely get a funny part in plays. This was also my first time being a boy. Our set was three house fronts and their porches, a painted backdrop, and the Radley tree, which I helped to make. We used rough cardboard-y pots to make the trunk, and covered wooden poles with cellulite clay and gravel to use as the branches. It was the best part of the set. I also helped with gluing on the knothole, which sadly fell off in the second performance. The costume committee did great, as you can see from the pictures here. I wore a white button-down shirt, khaki shorts, black knee socks, black shoes, and my Spanish teacher’s dad’s cap, with the name “Alejandro Madrid” written inside. Everyone did wonderful, and all the performances were very fun! This was the best play I’ve ever been in, and I’m very sad it’s over!

Off to Mexico

Today my eigth grade class and I set off for El Molino, a camp in Erongaricuraro, Mexico. There we will attend workshops, such as weaving and animal care, and go on field trips with a school from Chihuahua. We’ll be back in one week and I’ll write about my adventure then!

Making a model Earth

Peabody’s class made tiny Earths with Crayola’s Model Magic. First they rolled a small red ball to be the inner core. Then they wrapped additional layers in different colors: yellow for the outer core, orange for the mantle and brown for the crust. He let it dry overnight and this morning we sliced it in half to reveal its cross section. Model Magic is also perfect for creating model cell’s like these. Although Nettie prefers Jello for her cells.

The Earth Goes Around the Sun

With two other classroom birthdays last Friday, Peabody decided to have his Birthday Circle yesterday. In this ceremony, the student holds a small globe while orbiting a candle representing the Sun. The kids sing, “The Earth goes around the Sun, the Sun. The Earth goes around the Sun: One!” At a full revolution, the student stops and the parents tell a story from that year. The kids sing again and shout “Two!” for the second year. After making six orbits, Peabody blew out the candle and the teachers sent the kids off to the day’s first projects.

Stepping Up

End of school week has been bittersweet for the Derringdos. Nettie is “stepping-up” to middle school and leaving the classroom and teachers she has had for the last three years. For graduation, the kids put on a short play where they took on the roles of totem creatures they selected earlier in the year. After the play, the younger classmates gave short speeches describing why the totem animals fit the student. Gifts have been given, pictures taken, and tearful hugs shared as we move into summer. We’re looking forward to a new season of adventures!