Thursday, July 29, 2010

MPT8--Sixth Grade

This is the eighth in a series of 15 posts recounting my childhood. (To see parts 1 through 7, click the label "MPT" in my sidebar.) Today's topic is Sixth Grade.

For Sixth Grade, I had Miss Gable, a middle-aged woman, as my teacher. She was more stern and somber than past teachers, but she was also kind and I liked her.

What I remember about 6th grade:

-You know how in elementary school you have one teacher all day (except for gym and art or whatever) and then in junior high you go from room to room to different teachers for different subjects. Well, in 6th grade we mostly had Miss Gable but we would switch classes for one subject--we'd go across the hall to Mr. Carpenter for science and the other class would go to Miss Gable for social studies. We felt like big kids, switching like the 7th and 8th graders. :-)

-I wrote a paper about Fleming, the guy who discovered Penicillin.

-We did a big unit on public speaking. I remember doing a speech on the Ziegfeld Follies, how to bowl and then for the final project I played a news anchor and I interviewed a classmate who was playing a rock star. I still remember the beginning of my report: "Today I interviewed Leopold Lipsynch...." I guess I practiced zealously, to remember it all these 24 years later.

-There was a girl in my class that nobody liked. And for good reason--she would lie and cheat and steal. But I was "the nice girl" who was friends with everybody, so the teacher would pair me up with her when no one else would etc. Also, a new girl joined our class mid-year. She was from Japan and spoke very little English. Miss Gable pulled me aside and asked me to befriend her or look out for her or whatever. I liked that, I liked my reputation as nice and as everyone's friend. :-)

-I was always great at spelling. In those years where there'd be a pretest (before studying) on Monday and the real spelling test on Friday, I'd always get 100 on the pretest and not have to take Friday's test. I loved that! Anyway, in 6th grade I'm not sure if there was the pretest thing but I remember this boy Theodore would make bets with me that he would do better on the spelling tests than me. {What did we bet?! I don't remember him giving me money or anything?!} Yeah, I always won. :-)

-Our whole grade went on an overnight field trip to Lake Geneva. We had so much fun! We studied a bunch of different subjects (like weather, geography etc.) in hands-on ways with crafts etc. For "orienteering," we used a compass and "paces" to follow a map (my team did really poorly on that adventure, I remember) and "Hebertism" was the funnest part--it was like a ropes course type of thing, team-building (you have to get everyone over the high log etc.). There was a challenge to get a tire up off a tall pole. In the end we needed 3 people standing on each other's shoulder's to do it and because I was skinny and therefore considered "light," I was on top and the one who ultimately lifted off the tire. Tada! Oh and I was horribly afraid of heights so all the hebertism stuff was tough for me (and I was totally not athletic or flexible so that made it hard too), therefore it was so satisfying and rewarding when we were all done!

But I also got homesick while we were there. That night, I wasn't feeling well but I couldn't really describe what was wrong and Miss Gable figured out that I was homesick. She decided I should call my parents but all they had was a payphone so we had to gather up change from everybody so I could call home. I talked and cried to my mom, but ultimately felt better after the phone call.

The Challenger

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded in January of 1986, I was in 6th grade. Leading up to the launch, we had been talking about it because we all knew my science teacher, Mr. Carpenter, had almost made it onto the shuttle in the teacher spot that ultimately went to Christa McAuliffe (rumor had it he made it to the top ten, I don't know if that's true, but he had been in the running).

We were not watching the launch live, however. I remember we were in the science classroom but we had a substitute that day (so that Mr. C could watch the launch) and we were called into the other classroom (Miss Gable's room) and vaguely told that something happened or something went wrong. There, we gathered around a tv and watched with horror the footage of the launch and explosion. I'll never forget!

I remember that we didn't see Mr. C that day, he was obviously very upset (in hindsight, I suspect he had met at least McAuliffe and perhaps other astronauts when he was in the NASA process), I can only imagine how he felt that day!

Thanks for reading! For more 6th grade adventures, head to Mommy's Piggy Tales. And come back next week as I begin junior high.


Mom2three said...

Visiting from Group 3: Wow! What a year! I wonder if all 6th grade teachers are stern - mine was. sounds like you had a good year and were a good student. I was in college when the Challenger exploded... I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I saw it. Very sad day. Kuddos to you on spelling! Nothing like a little challenge to push you harder and make it fun. The overnight field trip sounds like fun - adventuresome. Looking forward to next week!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

You remember so teachers would be so disappointed to see how little I remember of school.
Yes, wrinkled potatoes...doesn't make you want to sun bathe in the nude...maybe that was his point
Oh, so remember the Challenger...never will forget that mom expecting number 2 it made life seem so unpredictable, which it is

Janna said...

What a great example to your kids that you were the kind of person that the teacher could call on to be a friend.

Wow, Mr. Carpenter must have had some crazy emotions missing out on the opportunity/accident of the Challenger!