by Fourth Grade Teacher Mary Spaulding
Day 5 in the Middle School is a big day. Each morning when students arrive in their classrooms many look at the schedule for the day. When students remember that it’s Day 5 the excitement and buzz begins. By 2:15 p.m. students are watching the clock, counting the minutes until 2:20. Soon the hallways bustle with positive energy as students hurry to their next destination, nobody wants to be late for their Middle School Club! Some groups meet in classrooms, the dining room, art room or music room. Others gather in the hallway before heading outdoors with their teacher leaders.
Clubs began four years ago in the middle school when we switched to a 7-day schedule. Previously, some clubs used to meet during lunch recess, which was not always an ideal time for students or teachers. Now we have a designated period once every seven days where teachers get to know a new group of mixed-grade students and offer clubs on a variety of topics. Each term students are presented with a list and description of the club offerings and then sign up for their top three choices. Administrators work hard to give students their top choices and to create clubs that include students from grades 3-5.
Each term, anchor teachers, specialists, the technology department and administrators offer a variety of clubs. As a teacher, I love the freedom to offer clubs that align with my own personal interests. I work with third-grade teacher Julie Wilkinson to offer the Garden Club where students plant, care for, and harvest the Lower/Middle School garden beds. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share our hobby with students, but also to explore the natural world with them. We can casually harvest tomatoes together, make salsa and bask in the sun chatting while we gobble down chips and homemade salsa. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know students outside of typical classroom instruction. This is the only time when I regularly work with a mixed-grade group and get to co-teach with a third-grade teacher. I enjoy getting to know third-grade students and also appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with fifth graders who were my students from the year before.
As teachers, we never seem to have enough time to share every new idea or hobby that we have with students. Clubs let both teachers and students explore different topics that we might not be able to during regular classroom instruction. For example, Mr. Viani is currently offering a Boomwhackers Percussion Club. SPARK, our new makerspace here at Pike, is a popular club led by technology faculty each term. Students have the opportunity to tinker and explore their creativity using a variety of makerspace tools. Mrs. Schnirman is currently offering a Student Leadership Club that gives students the opportunity to work together to come up with ways to help others around the school. Other clubs currently offered include Watercoloring in Nature, Tag Games and Minecraft. A few clubs that will be offered in terms 2 and 3 this year include Cartooning, Crazy 8’s Math Fun, Dance, Fun with Food, Meditation and Nature Trail Exploration. Don’t you wish you were a Middle School Student at Pike so you could participate in some of these clubs? I know I do!
The Pike School is an independent, coed, day school for Pre-K through ninth grade in Andover, Massachusetts. Visit pikeschool.org to learn more about Pike – and visit our blog for more thought leadership. To learn more about admission to The Pike School, visit our Admission page.