BJAMS upper school (5th to 8th) is dedicated to providing opportunities for learning OUTSIDE the classroom, too.
The Drama Club meets throughout the year working on skits and monologues. It culminates with a performance on two days towards the end of the school year. Onstage, in full costume and dialogue our students come alive. Lights, Camera, Action, See yourself on Stage!
The Social Club meets throughout the year and gives students a safe environment to interact outside of school. Be it game night, corn mazes or just hanging out with friends, how can you go wrong with that?
Dances are a regular occurrence on a Friday night throughout the year. Some of our dances are formal, like the Winter Ball; some are all about the jeans and T-shirt. They all have a DJ, lights, and plenty of fun. Friends from outside the school are invited to come when escorted by a BJAMS student.
French Trip to Quebec City
There is no shortage of excitement for this trip. Once every three years, as part of the French curriculum, the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students travel to Quebec City, Canada. The French curriculum helps prepare our students for this day-long trip to Quebec City. Students tour the city and interact with the French-speaking community, and if that is not enough , there is always time for tubing in the snow.
Field Trip to Boston
Immersion at times is the only way to learn. This is the idea behind the 8th-grade trip to Boston. Seeing all the venues come to life from the books that they read, it is truly an amazing trip (even if you are a Yankees fan). Boston’s history and landmarks will forever be cemented in the minds of our students.
Every year in February/March, upper-school teachers sit down and develop projects and events that upper-school students perform during mini-mester. During this week-long period, there is no homework and a break from the books which allows for full immersion in projects and events. Past events have included, 1) baking and donating bread to the local food shelf, 2) visiting a sugar shack producing maple syrup, 3) “Medieval Madness”- a study of medieval times, and 4) “Think Local” – a study of Vermont businesses.
In 2012, the PTO was able to bring the Circus Smirkus residency to the school. This residency allowed our students to be part of the creation of a performance from the concept design to the development of a story line and the eventual production and performance of a show.
Our Community Service Program helps students develop a social conscience. It is intended to bring the values that are taught in class to life in a hands-on experience of learning about and responding to the needs of others.
Each Tuesday and Friday begins with a school-wide morning meeting held in the multipurpose room. This is an opportunity for the entire school community to come together to share upcoming events, news, and awards. Students give speeches about upcoming events in which they are participating, while the Head of School gives out “praise notes” for those who have exemplified the core tenets of our school: charity, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Parents are welcome and encouraged to come.
Our reading buddies program pairs the fifth-grade class with the kindergarten class. The reason behind these pairings is multifold: the kindergarteners benefit because they practice their reading; fostering a love of reading; and for the fifth-graders, it improves reading fluency and confidence. The fifth-grade class visits the kindergarten class where each kindergarten student and his or her fifth-grade buddy read together. The kindergarteners are encouraged to read as much as they can themselves, with the fifth-grader only assisting when they have an issue. This practice instills confidence in the kindergartners and allows the fifth-graders to connect with our younger students, enhancing special bonds and weaving the fibers of unity within our school community.
Our upper school students have the opportunity to further expand upon their music experience by participating in the elective of band. Under the instruction of our band teacher, students expand their exposure to composition music and instruments. Not only are performances are given at the Christmas and Spring Concerts but our band represents the school in local Memorial Day and Fourth of July Parades. Students are able to participate in band through the eighth grade. Students of all experience levels are welcomed!
Odyssey of the Mind®
Odyssey of the Mind® is an internationally recognized educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for all types of students from kindergarten through college. Students develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team. While having fun, students learn to examine problems to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions or their potential success. For more than twenty-five years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students by tapping into creativity and encouraging imaginative paths to solve problems. The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box” and allows students to learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems – both great and small – throughout a lifetime. While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively. Visit http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/ for more information.