Experiencing Engineering



Engineering is one of many science units taught in our school. Mr. Wadness, a 5th grade teacher, teaches the Design Process, that we use to create the projects he assigns. We hope you enjoy our talk with Mr. Wadness.

reported by Emma, Tim, and Evan

Reading Buddies

A 5th grade boy reads to a younger student.What are Reading Buddies? Good question! Reading Buddies is a program where the older classes meet up with either a kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade class. The younger kids are paired up with an older kid (or maybe two!) and they read together and play educational games each time they meet throughout the year. We alternate meeting in either the older kids’ or the younger kids’ classroom. Reading Buddies are fun for the students because they get to develop relationships outside of their classroom.

We will never forget the time, as kindergartners, we got our first reading buddies! We were doing our work when the teacher said “It looks like our buddies are here!”. We all turned our heads toward the door, and there they were, walking in the room with books in their hands. We were super excited to work with the older kids. We felt very special working with and learning from the 5th graders. It made us feel more mature to be working with the bigger kids; we felt bigger too.

We chatted with some 5th graders to see what their perspective was about Reading Buddies. What do you like about Reading Buddies? Calvin said, he likes to hang out with kindergartners and read to them. Getting to know kindergartners and making a new friend is what William likes. Addie likes watching the younger students learn to read. What’s fun about the program, to Mackenzie, is learning about what genres of books interest little kids.

We also wondered what their favorite books to read with a buddy are. Calvin enjoys reading fairy tales with his buddy. William replied, Are You My Mummy? a Halloween version of Are You My Mother? Reading whatever the kindergartners choose is Addie’s favorite. What Mackenzie loves to read isPiggy and Gerald  by Mo Willems.

We thought it would be interesting to ask what they would like to change about this program. Calvin would like to A kindergarten girl reads with her buddy.increase the amount of time we get to read with our buddies per year. William thought everything about this program is perfect, and there is nothing to change. It’s fun for everyone, and you should not change anything, is what Addie answered. From Mackenzie’s perspective, it all works out and there is nothing to be changed. You could see from the very beginning 5th grade and the kindergartners both love this program.

Then we wanted to see how different the 5th grade perspective was from the teachers’. We asked Mr. Wadness why he does reading buddies. He does it because he wants to give students the opportunity to be a teacher to the younger students. He likes to see the kindergartners look up to the 5th graders when they work together. He also loves watching relationships begin to develop between the 5th graders and kindergartners, and they almost become like brothers and sisters.

Then we asked him how long he has been doing this program. Surprisingly, in his 22 years of teaching, this year is only his second year! Last year he and his class were Reading Buddies with Mrs. Bedell-Healy’s and Mrs. Brannelly’s class. This year with just Mrs. Brannelly’s class. He only participated in the program last year, because in prior years, all of the kindergarten classes were already with buddies

We also wondered what he finds interesting about Reading Buddies. He likes to see the older and younger students bond. He likes to see them read together and build with K’nex. He likes when the students see their buddy in the hallway, they wave and say “Hi”, or give them high fives!

2 buddies reading together.After that we wanted to know what he thinks the students like when they get together to read. He thinks the students like to be a little bit like a brother or sister to each other. He believes it makes them feel good to read and teach each other. He notices that the students like to make stories together and color together. He likes to see the relationships between the older and younger kids continue to grow. He notices that Reading Buddies is a special time for the fifth graders because they feel very responsible.

Then we decided to ask him if there was something he would like to change about Reading Buddies. He said “No”. Why? He and his students had such a great time last year with their Buddies. Although, he did a program in his last school called Special Friends, in which he and his students received a buddy and they went on field trips, read, colored, and played games. He does wish that he, his students, and their buddies could go on field trips together, but unfortunately, there is not enough time. We thought Mr. Wadness’ answers were very interesting, especially compared to the students’.

Reading Buddies helps older and younger students get to know each other and bond. It helps the kindergartners understand what it’s like to be a 5th grader. It also helps them to get used to 5th graders and not be nervous around them. Out of all the activities that are happening throughout the school, Reading Buddies is by far our favorite.

Reported by Kyle, Rico, Will A., and Drew

Blogging with Fifth Graders

The fifth grade started blogging this year! Each class got a few lessons with Mr. Homepage of Andrew's BlogHarte on how to make your blog, for example: a lesson on how to comment on other’s blogs, and a few more. The best part about blogs is that you can personalize them,  put how you feel, and other things. When you personalize your blog, you use Widgets, Themes, and other things. 

We interviewed a few students and asked these questions:

  • “Do you like blogging?”
  • ” Do you think blogging is a good idea?”
  •  ” What is your blog about?” 
  • ” What inspired you?”   

Here are some respones to our interview questions.

When we asked our question “Do you like blogging?”, Mrs. Power, our teacher, said  she “loves blogging, is new to blogging, and thinks it will be fun”. Other students in Mrs. Power’s class said, “It gives you a chance to write about your opinion of things and personal ideas”, “yes, it gives you a chance to tell people what’s on your mind, and it is fun to make comments, making the blog, making posts, and posting pictures” [but not of ourselves], and “yes, I think it is fun”. 

Also when we asked our question “Do you think blogging is a good idea?”, Mrs. Power said “It is a great idea and students get to respond to classmates.” Other students said ” I think it is a time to learn to socialize on the web”, “yes, it gives students a place to express their ideas”, and “you get to tell about your life [at school]”.

When we asked our question of “What is your blog about?”, Mrs. Power said she “only writes posts to which students will respond.”

We asked the students what inspires them to write on their blog. Students said things that interest them such as “a bird called Cassowary”, “my random thoughts”, “Boston sports teams” are a few examples.

We think blogging is also a good idea because you can comment on other blogs and receive helpful ideas to help you write your next blog post. We also think that blogging is a good idea because there are many reasons to blog like to express your ideas, to convince people to do right things, and other things.

Soon we may start using our blogs to communicate with other schools around the world and we could comment on each others blogs.

 Reported By:

Andrew and Jude