Transformation and Growth

Fifth and Sixth Grade Students Prepare to Soar into Upper School

At Baptist Prep, the oldest students in Lower School embark on a season of growing and maturing in both the depth of knowledge and learning they experience as well as the additional opportunities for involvement at the school. This month, we highlight the learning and growth that happens in the fifth and sixth grades.

"Fifth-grade students study World History, which correlates with what we study in our Bible class as well as several of the novels we cover during reading class. Helping my students make connections between God's creation in science and what has happened in history to the truth of the Bible is one of my favorite parts of each day," shared Katrina Ervin, Baptist Prep Fifth Grade teacher. "I love teaching fifth grade at Baptist Prep because students of this age are inquisitive and filled with good questions to extend learning in subjects like history, science, and math."

New opportunities that begin in fifth grade include their first inductive study of a book of the Bible, a conflict resolution study called Peacemakers, their first opportunity to play football and volleyball, and the first band classes starting with fifth grade. Fifth-grade students memorize historical documents and facts throughout the year, such as the First Amendment, Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence, and the presidents of the United States.

"Our science lessons follow the days of creation," said Mrs. Ervin. "Our units begin with light and include weather/atmosphere, geology/mineralogy, dinosaurs, plant and animal life in a unit on biomes. The unit concludes with the human body's pulmonary and circulatory systems. Learning is reinforced with several out-of-class experiences, such as our trip to the Mid America Museum to enrich our science curriculum with a hands-on scavenger hunt tour of the museum, the Tesla light show, and a hands-on class in how scientists evaluate the health of an ecosystem. Additionally, we take a field trip in the spring to the Ferndale 4-H Center where team building and science activities enrich principles taught in Bible and science."

For sixth grade students at Baptist Prep, the year is one of maturing and growing in responsibility. They have lockers, help with morning announcements, and find their way more independently throughout the building.

"Sixth grade is special because it's a time where students start to grow from being a child," shared Melissa Schmeckenbecher, Baptist Prep Sixth Grade teacher. "It teaches them how to make decisions and prepares them for high school. Relationships are what I love most about teaching at Baptist Prep. I love developing lasting relationships with my students and their families. Long after students have graduated, it is still a 'thrill' to see them out and about the community. The bond is still there. We can pick up and reconnect so easily."

Field trips in sixth grade often include a visit to Toltec Mounds State Park, the Arkansas Food Bank, and fun activities like bowling and swimming.

"If you had asked me a few years ago about teaching sixth grade, I would have said, 'There is no way I can teach sixth-grade students!' Well, God works in mysterious ways because here I am teaching sixth grade, and I wouldn't change it for the world!" shared Chrissy Midkiff, Baptist Prep Sixth Grade teacher. "I love teaching sixth grade! Students can communicate what they want and need, sometimes in quite humorous ways. Throughout the year, the students experience so much growth. Students who are shy and reserved during the first semester of school often blossom during the second semester. They begin to mature and show us that they are ready for Upper School. It means the world to me that I get to love, encourage, support, guide, direct, and prepare my students to become successful seventh-grade students."

Something evident about sixth grade is that it is a milestone year for students and teachers alike. "Being that sixth grade is the last stop before transitioning to the Upper School, it is very important that lasting memories are made," shared Melissa Schmeckenbecher, Baptist Prep Sixth Grade teacher. "The sixth-grade teaching team works very hard to prepare each student for the jump to the Upper School – spiritually, academically, emotionally, and socially.