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MS Blog Files: Curriculum Fair

Hello Readers,

It was wonderful to see so many families at the DGS Curriculum Fair this past Friday! For those families that could not make it, we certainly missed you.

In preparing for the curriculum fair, I asked students to brainstorm some of the things that they have done in the first few months of school. Below is our ridiculously long and crazy fun list - First day to January 5th.

Field Trips:

  • McDowell Nature Preserve

  • Rocky Creek Ranch

  • Grayson Highlands

  • Water Treatment Plant

  • Library Database Class Day

  • Goodwill

  • India’s play, ELF

  • 8th Grade - World Affairs Luncheon w/ Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch


  • A Long Walk to Water

  • Free Choice, climate fiction genre

  • Where the World Ends OR The Last Mapmaker OR Daughter of the Deep

  • Flint, Michigan NYT

  • New York School District NYT

  • Easter Island

  • Poetry

History and ELA Academics and Learning Activities:

  • Socratic Discussion

  • Reflection writings

  • Daily Grammar

  • Book Reports

  • Post It note galleries

  • Hexagonal thinking

  • Big History

  • Discussions and questions


  • Columbian Exchange

  • NYT

  • Jenga

  • Hexagons and problems

  • UN SDGs!!

  • MORE Reflections….

All the Other  Stuff from Mr. Ed and Miss Kim and  4 months at DGS

  • The First Day!

  • Christmas if Davidson volunteer projects

  • ELFT research

  • Voting and starting over

  • Honey fundraiser

  • Pizza fundraisers

  • Bake Sale!

  • More ELFT research

  • Cold mornings

  • Heat islands

  • City build

  • Bridge project

  • Cardboard. Everywhere.

  • NYT Spelling Bee

  • Binders

  • Chores

  • Cubbies

  • Laundry

  • Animals and the Wheel of Beasts

  • Leaf identification

  • Math homework

  • Car rides

  • Cell project

  • Kahoots

  • Derek without a beard??

  • Halloween parade

  • Science Fair testing

  • Incognito Amigo

  • Holiday cookies

  • Poor chickens:(

  • Capture the Flag

  • Soccer

  • Duo Lingo

  • Puzzles

  • Walking to the Green

  • Snowflakes

  • Beginning of year test (Mr. Ed)

  • Night hike

  • Smores on the mountain

  • Basketball

  • Hexagon wall

  • Pencils!

  • Virginia Creeper

  • Space Trees

  • Rubix cubes

  • DNA/ RNA

  • Karate class*

  • Can crusher lab

  • Tessellations

  • 4 stones

  • Pop Tab Challenge

  • Lorax movie

  • Dodgeball got banned

Don’t Forget SPECIALS……

  • Nothing on the above list includes Cosmos, Philosophy, Spanish, or Drama. Those classes were full too! Can we say Day of the Dead, arguing with Mr. Matt, presentations, and The Lorax??? 


For the readers' reference, the following section includes information from all of us provided at the curriculum fair:


In ELA and history, we use multiple sources for our curriculum. Since we do not use textbooks, we have an eclectic mix:

  • Novels, poetry, and short stories

  • Big History Project from Open Education Resource

  • New York Times

  • Daily Grammar

  • World’s Largest Lesson website

  • United Nations SDG website

What are your thoughts on homework? How are classes run? Why are we even here?

In middle school, students are continuing to gain independence and develop their sense of place. Of course our goal is for them to build friendships, interact with peers, and to learn healthy mindfulness techniques; we also guide them in exploring organizational systems that work for them. Not everyone is the same, but all of them need to be able to navigate a community setting while also  handling multiple classes and assignments. We spend time on social/ emotional awareness and on organization. We revisit these skills regularly. 

I try to start with an overarching topic and a big question when applicable. The point of our work is not so much about the content, but about the process and learning skills that will be applicable as they progress into high school.

Homework is to train students to keep track of something all the way home and all the way back again. That said, other than a continuing skills lesson, most of my homework is due days to a week out. It is usually something that requires thought, often writing, and I give time for them to finish. Many are able to take care of my assignments during their work cycles. 

We have two types of classes - whole group and small group. Math is all individual or small group instruction. English and history is a combination, with the small group time primarily used to cover specific needs of either a subset of students or students of a particular grade. I tend to use whole group for history and small group for English, but this does vary.

What about the UN goals and Sustainability?

The first semester, Sustainability was taught separately from other middle school classes. We separately addressed the UN goals through two units - an introductory overview and a unit study of SDG #6. We began SDG #14 just as the intercession started. Starting this January, Miss Emily and I are teaming up to focus on the UN Sustainability Development Goals. We are excited to provide an interdisciplinary approach, combining literature, philosophy, history, and science to address the world’s most encompassing problems. We are more thoroughly addressing SDG #14 together in January before continuing our study of three more goals through this second semester. In just two weeks, it’s proving to be a far more engaging and intentional approach to the SDGs. Emily and I are looking forward to working together as well!!

From ED -

Download PDF • 28KB

From KIM -

6th curriculum night.docx
Download PDF • 48KB

7th Curriculum Night Math.docx
Download PDF • 51KB

8th-Curriculum Night Mat1.docx
Download PDF • 46KB

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