Category Archives: Grade Level Event

Exploration Day

By: Meridian Third Graders

Exploration Day is a day where you pick a topic you don’t know much about, and you explore, research and learn all about it! First, we find articles and resources and we gather information. On Exploration Day itself we give a presentation about all that we learned. Some of us create poster presentations, and some of our classmates create scaled models and displays. You can use charts, diagrams, dioramas, and you can compare and contrast to really demonstrate your learning! We are exploring things like the difference between black holes and worm holes, why the Titanic sank, how robins build their nests, the invention of the lightbulb, and sharks!

Since this is a one day event, we have essentially the whole day (except recess and lunch) to work on our projects. It’s a pretty exciting thing, because we get the freedom to pick a topic that interests us, and we can figure out what we can make with the materials we have available. This project makes us a little nervous because it takes a lot of work and we have to present our final results to everyone! But it’s good because that will make it even more satisfying when we are finished.

The expectation at the end of the day is that we learned more about our topic and feel confident presenting to our parents and friends. It’s really fun because it doesn’t have to be just about things you would normally learn in the classroom, we can learn about things we are truly interested in, which makes the research a lot more engaging. We can’t wait for the next Exploration Day!

NatureBridge Overnight Trip

By Meridian 5th Graders

NatureBridge is a field trip that all of the fifth graders go on at the end of the year. It’s an environmental science camp, and we were there for a whole school week! We went on lots of hikes and we went kayaking on Lake Crescent. We learned  about  forests, watersheds, tidepools, the Elwha River, and water tables in general. There were fun activities with water to cool us off! We played games and stayed up really late (which made getting up in the morning harder). Another school was there there too so we had opportunities to make new friends. This was definitely the longest overnight trip we’ve had, and it was even more fun than we expected!

This trip helped us feel really connected to nature. It’s a science field trip so it is educational, as well as a time to be together as a group one last time before graduation. It makes sense that we would end the year with it because it’s a really big part of our place-based education! Some of our favorite parts of the trip were just being in nature together and talking into the night in our cabins. Everyone was kind of sad because we  are all leaving Meridian soon, and some of us are going to different schools, but it’s also happy and exciting that we’re moving on to a new part of our lives. It’s bittersweet.

For incoming fifth graders, we want to make sure you know that this trip is amazing and so much fun!

Don’t be surprised if everyone starts crying at the last campfire. It’s a little bit emotional. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of our favorite experiences at Meridian!

Spotlight on Service Learning

What is Service Learning?  Service Learning is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates community service with classroom learning. It results in meaningful projects where students’ efforts benefit their community while they gain experience in civic responsibility and teamwork, and deepen their knowledge of core curricular themes.

Each year, grade levels partner with a different , local organization and engage in service learning projects. Last week, students presented their learning to the entire school community.

Kindergarteners worked with Tara, the Good Shepherd Center gardener, to maintain and care for a garden on campus. In connection with Global Studies, students explored ocean pollution and learned how we can protect the planet by reducing, reusing and recycling!

First Graders partnered with local nonprofit organization, City Fruit, to care for the fruit trees in Meridian Park’s orchard.

Second Graders partnered with Mary’s Place, and learned what they can do to raise awareness and support those who are homeless in Seattle. Second graders and their fifth grade buddies also continued their work with Washington Green Schools.

Third Graders coordinated and ran a school-wide community needs project with the Asian Counseling and Referral Service. ACRS is a local organization that promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities.

Fourth Graders raised salmon, and learned how environmental factors impact the salmon life cycle and population. They released the salmon in Piper’s Creek, and supported habitat renewal with the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

Fifth Graders completed a project with Washington Green Schools and their second grade buddies, and maintained a year-long partnership with FamilyWorks, volunteering at the local Wallingford food bank each month.

By Meridian K-5th Graders

Service learning is a big project that we do here at Meridian, across all the grades. We learn about people, animals, and places in need and about causes, nonprofits and charities that support them. We learned that some nonprofits help people get the things they need to survive so they can have a better life, not just live from day to day. Service learning is important because we’re actually doing things, not just talking about it.

This year in particular many of our projects tied into Global Studies, so it’s educational and helpful! We as a school like to give back. Our school motto is Meridian Cares–I care for myself, I care for others, I care for my place. Service learning does all three! It improves our place by keeping the environment clean and safe, it helps others when we volunteer with nonprofits that give people safe places to live and things that they need, and it helps ourselves because you feel good when you are learning what you can do to help. Service learning is great because you’re taking care of places and other people, which isn’t something that happens a lot, especially since we’re kids.

We always talk about how where you live affects how you live, and it’s really easy to see that when we are doing service learning. We are looking forward to continuing it at Meridian, but also just in general in our lives. This type of learning helps us be prepared for the future, and not everybody gets those experiences so it’s important to learn how we can help so we can teach others later!

First Grade Overnight at the Woodland Park Zoo

First grade once again had a blast with our annual “First Grade Overnight at Woodland Park Zoo!”

As always, one of the major highlights for our first graders was getting a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo both after it’s closed in the evening and again in the morning before it opens to the public. Not only were a number of the animals more visible in their exhibits, but the first graders had multiple opportunities to interact with zookeepers that taught us all sorts of things about the exhibits that we wouldn’t normally get to learn on a regular zoo trip.

In addition to our time seeing the animals, we also had the opportunity to learn more about Woodland Park Zoo’s dedication to conservation. Thanks to our first graders’ work with our Global Studies curriculum this year (where we made frequent connections to the idea that where you live affects how you live), they were able to make a number of rich connections that helped reinforce the idea that it takes *everyone* working together to keep our environment healthy and happy!

By Meridian 1st Graders

We just got back from the Woodland Park Zoo today! The trip was based on animals and looking at their different habitats. Most of us stayed overnight so we had a night tour of the zoo, and a day tour this morning! The night tour was really fun because not everyone gets to see the animals at night. There was an interesting camera that takes pictures of all the animals, even at night! You can leave the camera and it takes pictures that people wouldn’t be able to see. We really liked that. The funny thing is that the bats were awake in the morning, and bats don’t normally move around in the daytime because that is when they sleep! There were lots of baby kangaroos, and we got to see them at night which made it seem extra special. We also had pizza for dinner and got to play in the Zoonasium (where there are play structures, and a huge tree we could climb).

The zoo trip was very exciting. It was crowded but we could still get around. It was fun to be around our classmates overnight because it’s not something we do very often. We think that the first graders next year should look forward to it because of how cool it is (even though we are really sleepy after staying up late, but it was worth it!)

Community Connections

Third graders study our local economy and neighborhood businesses. As they learn about the basics of economics, students do an in depth study of a local business in Wallingford. As a part of this study, students are required to interview business owners.  They then become business owners for a day, managing a budget and creating goods to sell on Wallingford Day. The Meridian community is invited to “shop local” using “Wallingford Money”, a currency only spendable in third grade on Wallingford Day.

By Meridian 3rd Grade Students

In third grade we learn a lot about businesses and organizations in our community and the city of Seattle.

On Wallingford Day everyone in third grade recreates a mini version of the business that they studied and shares their projects with the whole school.

Before we picked our business, we walked down 45th Street and saw and learned about all the different businesses. We took notes of the services or products that each business sells.

On Wallingford Day, all of our visitors are given 40 Meridian dollars to spend, and we see who has made the most at the end of the day. Then we have to pay taxes!

This project was important because It taught us about economics, and how to run a business. We were surprised by how much taxes people have to pay! We learned that it’s a lot of fun to be able to sell things, and it helped us understand what it might be like to have our own business, and it inspired some of us to hopefully run our own business one day.

This month we also ran a food drive in third grade. We are studying Oceania, so we were trying to find a way to include service with our Global Studies unit. That’s when we decided to work with ACRS (Asian Counseling and Referral Service). ACRS runs lots of programs, and a food bank that collects special foods like tofu, rice, soy milk and noodles. These are some traditional foods from Asia and the Pacific Islands, and might make people feel at home.

First we presented at Friday Morning Meeting to try to get our whole school excited about our food drive. Our goal was to collect 800 food items, but we only got to 790. We realized at the end that our goal should have been about the weight of the food and not the number of food items, because the actual amount of food we collected was way more than the items. Our goal was to feed lots of people, so large bags of rice were only one item, but enough to provide some food for an entire family. It helps looking at things with a different perspective!

It felt great to help other people and know that all the items we donated were going to feed so many people. It was a lot of hard work and we were scared at the beginning that we wouldn’t succeed. We were surprised and happy that everyone was so eager to help. It was a really cool experience to see everyone our whole school want to get involved.

4th & 5th Grade Chorus Concert

By Meridian 4th & 5th Graders

We had a lot of emotions about the chorus performance! We felt nervous, scared, dizzy, excited, relieved, and more during and after the performance. It was a lot of work! Even though we got nervous (which is totally normal!), we still had a lot of fun. We performed two other times before the concert, but it still felt like the final time was the most pressure. We made mistakes each time, so having 3 performances made us more confident as time went on. Some of us hadn’t performed in a concert before so it was new and a little scary. It’s important to improve as a group because working together is a skill that will help us when we move on to middle school.

Ms. Kister really wants us to do well and succeed. She has high expectations and a lot of structure because she knows we can handle it, and we know we can too! It’s a good kind of pressure to make us want to work harder. Ms. Kister is really nice and cares a lot about us. She’s a little bit of a perfectionist, in the best possible way. It motivates us, and it makes a big difference in how much we want to succeed and achieve ourselves.

The music was a little bit different than what we were used to listening to. Some of us were not sure if we would like chorus at the beginning, but at the end we felt really good about it. It felt great to work hard and notice everyone else trying and improving. Now we feel like we can perform more complex music, so hopefully in the future we can reac
h more challenging points!