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The Mexico Ledger - Mexico, MO
  • Mexico sixth-graders end summer school

  • With their version of Greek Olympics
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  • All incoming-sixth grade students who participated in summer school this year spent time learning about ancient cultures, so it seemed only right to have an Olympic competition to wrap up classes.
    The Olympics included six events, based on ancient contests. Each student could participate in three events.
    "I signed up for the hammer throw, the discus and the chariot race," Dillon Benton said. "I am excited about the Olympics."
    The hammer throw was adapted to be a softball throw, and the discus was a Frisbee throw, but the intent was the same.
    "Some of the students were so happy to be actively engaged in learning about the Olympics," Crystal Benton, sixth grade science, teacher. "They were talking about how excited they were to put their outfits together."
    While Riley Given wasn't sure about dressing in a toga, he was excited about the Olympics. "I signed up for the chariot race, which is kind of like the wheelbarrow race," he said.
    Other events at the Olympics were the stadion and 8-stade race. Ancient Greeks considered a stadion to be the length of their stadium from one end to the other. The sixth-graders, however, ran one-half lap around the track for the stadion, and four team members ran one lap each in the relay race.
    "The theme of summer school was 'The Amazing Race,' so studying ancient cultures gave the students a preview of what is to come in sixth grade," Stacey Ellison, summer school principal, said.
    "Each of the grade levels focused on different countries, and the sixth-graders were presented the opportunity for background building for the year to come."
    While the winners of the Olympics were announced, the sixth-graders were served treats and received certificates from the teachers in the sixth grade program, including Benton, Jaime Fox, Linda Malott, Dianne Marshall and Alex Thull.
    "All the students researched the ancient cultures of China and Greece, which gave them a preview of the year to come in sixth grade," Fox, communications arts teacher, said. "We learned about Greek mythology, then each student drew a name of a Greek god or goddess to research."
    After gathering a summary of information about their gods and goddesses, the students read a condensed version of The Odyssey, which they will encounter next fall in their communications arts and social studies programs.
    "The 135 students who came to summer school will have a head start when we begin this unit," Fox said. "We will expand the unit to do more research, and then write a research paper. We will learn more about art and architecture, continuing to use research-based inquiry learning while reading myths, fables and fairy tales."
    Learning about what's to come in their first year of Middle School was a key component of summer school. The students become familiar with the layout of the school, and had the opportunity to adjust to the expectations of the school. "Summer school is an introduction for students which helps with their apprehensions about coming to a new school," Fox said. "Coming to summer school helps alleviate some of the stress."
    Page 2 of 2 - In communications arts, for example, the students are introduced to a daily five-minute writing assignment, based on a prompt by the teacher.
    Prior to the end of school, students were shown their assigned lockers, and provided time to learn how to work the locks, with adults available to give assistance.
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