Grade 5 Launches Into Leadership

Jan 11, 2023 | All School, Blog, Lower School News, Middle School News, News

Grade 5 students are known as the “Leaders of the Lower School.” Starting with questions like, “How can we make an impact on our Lower School community through leadership?” Grade 5 students discover what leadership and impact looks like through this flagship Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) unit. Through collaboration, communication, creative thinking, ethical decision-making, and solution-seeking, students have begun to design what leadership looks like for their class and create an action plan to make a positive impact on the Lower Campus during their final year in Lower School.

On Tuesday, January 3, students were introduced to the unit by meeting with Middle School Junior Prefects. Grade 5 asked questions like:

  • “What skills does it take to be a leader?”
  • “What are some challenges that come with being a leader?”
  • “How important is it to leave a mark?”
  • “How can we leave a mark?”
  • “What was missing from your Lower School experience?”

The Junior Prefects had one overarching answer for the young leaders, to find areas that are lacking and figure out a way to fix them.

With the question, “How might we make a mark on our community in a positive way?” in mind, Grade 5 returned to their classrooms to start brainstorming. As students collaborated within their table groups and rooms, categories emerged.

  • help younger students with academics
  • redesign morning announcements
  • design chapel experiences
  • redesign lunch
  • connect with Mount Vernon Village, a nearby independent, senior living facility
  • planing charitable drives
  • help with afternoon carpool

As students began to formulate broad ideas, teachers recorded each group’s overarching plan of impact and plotted which groups would partner to collaborate and bounce ideas off of.

On Thursday, January 5, Grade 5 students received their room assignments where they would meet their collaborative partners. Some groups were assigned MVXperts from around the school.
  • Head of Lower School Ms. Molly Hudson was assigned to work with nine students to redesign the morning announcements. Henry S, Hayley L, Fletcher C, James P, Ava C, Tessa N, Faris W, Elias K, and Emma W all plan to create a video broadcasted announcement structure. Elias K is very excited about the possibility of producing a morning broadcast, “I think we should tell the joke of the day like they do in the Upper School. We could also tell people the weather for the week, and what we are having for lunch that day. We could really make the announcements fun.” Elias’ teacher, Ms. Sophie Lintner added, “We learned that there is actually a way to broadcast video across every classroom’s television. So it is doable and would definitely make a big, daily impact on the school.”
  • The group of eight students chose to help younger students with their academics by tutoring Preschool to Grade 4 on a regular basis. To help with their research, Preschool Teacher Ms. Kate Canady answered any questions they had. Lyla R asked,
    • “Are preschool students able to leave the classroom at the same time on the same day of every week?”
    • “Would it make more sense to have consistent partnerships instead of rotating tutors?”
    • “What is a good space to meet every week?”
Ms. Canady explained the Preschool schedule and gave feedback on their ideas.
  • Mr. Russ Malsnee, Director of Safety and Security joined Jennings N, Ramine N, Nico C, Marco S, and Lukas I in the Preschool and Grade 1 carpool line to demonstrate how afternoon carpool worked. The boys decided they would like to partner with Mr. Malnsee to see where their help was needed most.
By the end of the second meeting on Friday, each group created a PowerPoint presentation outlining how they wanted to make their mark. After setting up their iPads with the presentations open on their desks, the students traveled from classroom to classroom leaving sticky notes with like, wish, and wonder statements to give feedback on their ideas.
Over the next week with help from teachers, administrators, and their peers, the students will participate in discussions about which plans they will implement to make an impact on Lower Campus. Ms. Hudson is excited for her students, “Learning how to be leaders and developing a passion for servitude here, at the Lower School, will prepare them to be more independent and impactful across the street at the Middle School. So many of their ideas are great and we already have plans to implement a few of them starting next week.”