Growing Into Independent Learners
As fifth and sixth grade students at Lesley Ellis become more self-sufficient, they are encouraged to take increasing ownership over their own learning. They work on independent research projects, play a leadership role within the school community, and mentor younger children in their “buddy” classrooms. There is an emphasis on building and honing organizational and time management skills as the days get busier with a wider range of both collaborative and independent activities.
Developing New Skills
Fifth and sixth graders immerse themselves in new academic territory and practice new skills: they analyze literature, play leading roles in theatrical productions, explore ancient civilizations, create thesis statements, and apply the distributive property. The walls of the classroom expand as students transition between subject specific teachers.
There is a little more structure in an environment that calls for discipline and focus, while also providing the flexibility to respond to student interest and individual needs. As they grow intellectually, fifth and sixth graders continue to build a developmentally appropriate knowledge base, satisfy their curiosity, and fully engage in their learning process.
Grade Level Highlights
As fifth and sixth graders develop their understanding of the role they play in broader contexts, they appreciate the importance of helping others. The concept of service is a foundational pillar of the Lesley Ellis community, and a range of initiatives helps students increase their capacity for empathy and to make a difference.
- Each year, fifth and sixth graders support the Windrush Farm Therapeutic Riding Center for people with emotional and physical challenges. Their work on the sensory riding trail calls for their understanding of people with disabilities, their creativity in conceptualizing trail enhancements, and a personal stake in the project through trail maintenance.
- ThinkGive empowers students to realize their capacity to positively impact their own lives and the lives of others through hands-on, collaborative acts of giving. With an emphasis on gifts of self, students share acts of kindness—a compliment, a helping hand, an expression of gratitude—demonstrating that small acts can have huge impact.
Theatrical experiences open up a whole new world for middle school students, offering expanded means of self-discovery and expression. Through participation in the dramatic arts, fifth and sixth graders stretch their communication, decision-making, teamwork, active listening, calculated risk-taking and physical awareness muscles, while building self-confidence and sparking new interests. Students analyze scripts, practice different acting techniques, blend interpretation and performance in musical productions, and explore aspects of technical theater—all with increasing depth as they gain experience through the middle school years.