“I liked making mummies with my buddy!” Ever think you’d hear that from a first grader?  Or hear an eighth grader say, “My buddy was incorporating what he learned in class when we played the game online.  He knew so much!” These were some of the rave reviews given by our first graders and eighth graders after spending an interactive, dynamic field trip for both the first and eighth grade classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Middle School Social Studies teacher, Jesse Ebner, and first grade teacher, Marci Friedman, created a great opportunity for collaboration, growth and deeper learning. Prior to a field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the eighth graders met with the first graders twice before the field trip and then met them twice after.  The pre-field trip classes were focused on some joint learning on ancient Egypt (the eighth graders had studied Egypt a few weeks earlier, and the first graders were currently working on a unit about Egypt).  They used  computers to play a game called “Mummy Maker” to learn about religion in Ancient Egypt and the mummification process.  They also used the computer to learn about hieroglyphics and “translate” their own names to hieroglyphs.  They made “name plates” with their name in hieroglyphs and drawings to represent themselves and the items they would take with them to the afterlife.  

On the field trip, the eighth graders and first graders took separate tours focused on seeing items they learned about in their respective units.  Eighth graders saw ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts, as well as ancient India and Chinese religious artwork.  First graders focused mostly on Ancient Egypt.  Then, both groups got together for a fun scavenger hunt throughout the museum, lunch and free time in the hands-on “Gallery One.”

After the trip, eighth graders wrote their own reflection blog posts  Then, they met with the first graders to share what a blog looks like and explain how they write their own blog posts. The eighth graders helped the first graders write rough drafts and then use the iPads to publish their first blog posts!

Here’s what we heard from our eighth graders about their experience:

“It was fun to be with and hang out with our younger buddies.”

“They (first graders) know what they saw at the Museum and what they learned, but they couldn’t put it into words.  I attempted to help them put their thoughts into words and spell hard words like, hieroglyphics.”

“We learned some leadership skills.  The first graders looked up to us as the oldest grade in the school.  They probably look forward to being in eighth grade when they could be the ones teaching their first grade buddy about ancient Egypt.”

“Remembering being in first grade and having a book buddy, it would’ve been really cool to have a blog from first grade to look back on.”

“It’s strange to hear first graders have blogs. I didn’t even know what the internet was in first grade!”

“I like working with the first graders, it was just fun. Working with younger kids gives you a new perspective on what you are learning.”

“I thought it was nice that the first graders really look up to us. They like being with us.”  

Our first graders had similar reflections ranging from, “I was able to learn more from my buddy” to “I am excited to blog again.” Another shared, “It was cool to blog because it was my first time”; while one student told us, “I felt happy because I had someone to work with me and explain things to me and she was so nice.”

Kol HaKavod to Mrs. Ebner and Mrs. Friedman for facilitating this shared unit and for enabling our students to begin sharing their own words!

Shabbat Shalom,

Dr. Ari Yares

Eighth Grade Blogs (password is Schechter):  

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