Follow the ELA-8 adventures of the Communication Office staff each week on social media by using #ThursdaysatThatcher to see and read more.
The more time that I spend at Thatcher Hall, the more kids are recognizing me—usually as the "guy with the camera," the "one who posts to Darlington's Facebook," and as the person who walks up and down the corridors with his laptop in hand.
Usually when I embark on a #ThursdaysatThatcher adventure, I immediately start searching for a common theme throughout the day. On this day, however, I decided to sit back and watch, absorbing as much as I could in each of my classes.
I started as an eighth-grader in Mrs. Pieroni’s physical science class. We sat divided into groups where different activities were passed around in buckets to demonstrate the power of static electricity. I’ve never been one to purposefully have a bad hair day in public, but thankfully my classmates were more than happy to oblige.
Familiar concepts from my middle school days came rushing back, as Mrs. Pieroni taught on the laws of attraction and repulsion with what was called a “my best friend” balloon. The relationships between the smiling balloons, a/k/a the "best friends," and the students with staticky hair helped to demonstrate attraction and repulsion. One of the best friends even used the electricity to pick up pieces of tissue paper from our table!
Following my time of “clinging” to eighth-grade science memories, I got to sit in on a smaller fifth-grade class (of three!) that had just started learning to play the recorder only one day prior. The recorders, I'd like to note, were all purple! I think many of the older generations will remember playing “Hot Cross Buns” in music class, but the songbook has apparently expanded with tunes about cherry pies and witches that were new to my ears. For every song that you perform satisfactorily in Mrs. Human's class, you get yarn and bead bling for your recorder.
From music class I anxiously went to one of Mr. Ivester’s math classes. Those who know me would say that math isn’t my favorite subject. Because it isn't. I was instantly reassured when I found out we were going to be using graphs (because I love visuals) in fourth grade to compare this week's temperatures around the world (I love geography even more). We learned that at one point this week that the climate in a particular town in Russia climbed 45 degrees Fahrenheit to a “scorching”...10 degrees. Mr. Ivester not only brought in geography into the math lesson, but also talked about economics and even geopolitical issues in the world's largest country!
I personally had been anticipating the campus visit of voiceover artist Chris Orbach, and between classes I was able to watch his presentation to Middle School students. One brave eighth-grader, Andy, stepped into an invisible “recording booth” set up by Orbach, and read the script for a Science Channel commercial. We learned about the availability of jobs in the industry and the importance of having a diverse array of skills to be more marketable in the job world. It was a great treat for us to see a working artist who is also a singer/songwriter, actor, and audio technician. Orbach’s visit came as a part of the 21st Century Artist program, and kept the attention of the student body throughout the entire time in the Ledbetter Commons.
My final class involved playing computer games with Mrs. Kinney and Ms. Miller…well, somewhat. Right now in third-grade science, students are learning the basics behind computer programming and coding with the help of a fun game called LightBot. The game becomes pretty addictive as you work through various levels to "steer" a robot to illuminate designated squares. The first level is easy, but it gets challenging quickly as the user works with programming-based problem solving. My classmates were eager to help and encourage me to keep trying when my blue robot kept hitting the wall and going in circles. It was a fun, relaxing (at times) way to finish my Thursday at Thatcher Hall.
During this process, I have been thrilled [and maybe even a little surprised] to see how welcoming Darlington’s teachers are to all of us in the Communication Office. Being in someone else’s space can be a little intimidating, but our expert instructors are always more than hospitable, making us feel like special, esteemed class guests.
I can't wait until my next adventure with the kids in ELA-8, exploring all that is out there waiting to be learned!