The Lynx classroom

The Lynx are the 5th and 6th grade students at GES.  They range in age from 10 when they first arrive, to 12 when they are ready to graduate to the Otters.  Just like the wild Lynx that live in our great North Woods, students in this class are discovering their independence and delving into more responsible roles in their families, classrooms and communities.  They enjoy trying on “many hats” as they discover more about themselves and who they want to become.  

Lynx students participate in a wide array of extracurricular activities, including: Piano, Dance, Football, Baseball, Gymnastics, Swimming, and The Moonbeam Consortium Writer’s Group.  In addition, Lynx students from GES can be found all over our community, doing everything from dancing at Radio Waves Music Festival to skateboarding at the Community Center park, to participating in a traditional Pow Wow. At school, students in the Lynx classroom are eager to make friends, keep friends, be good friends, and put their emerging social awareness to use in a myriad of ways.  They love working on group projects, learn by doing, process through discussion, and enjoy theatrics of all kinds.  Most importantly, Lynx students are excited for self-expression, to both make their mark and find their place in a dynamic and fast-paced world!

What Does It Mean to Be a Lynx?

    Students in the Lynx classroom learn through thematic instruction, which ties learning objectives in Reading, Writing, Art, Social Studies, Science and even Math to a larger framework of connected knowledge.  Every two years, the theme in the Lynx classroom is “True North” which delves into the history of Minnesota from Native American Studies, to the Fur Trade and Logging, to our state’s participation in the major political conflicts and the demographics of the current electorate.  This is also our field trip year, when Lynx travel to the Soudan Iron Mine near Lake Vermillion to learn about one of Minnesota’s major industries.  Additionally, the Lynx visit Grand Portage National Monument where they get to experience historical reenactments from the era when the Fur Trade was at its height in Northern Minnesota.  

    Every other year, the Lynx students at GES study Early American History through a thematic unit called “Our Colonial House”.  Beginning with early explorers, stories of first contact, and major political themes in Europe during the 17th Century, the Lynx study what life was like for the first European settlers in America and the Native people whose way of life was altered as a result of their arrival.  The year culminates in an in-depth look at the American Revolution and the documents created by our founding fathers that forever shaped what our nation would become.

    Infused into everything students learn and do in the Lynx classroom are opportunities to practice healthy social skills as well as deepen their understanding of personal identity.  A trademark of the Lynx classroom has been the creation of a student-centered writing group called The Moonbeam Consortium.  This open-genre group has members from both the Lynx and Otters classroom, where students often find creative writing an excellent outlet for self expression as they acquire the skills to be able to write longer and more complex narratives. Lynx and Otters students jointly participate in PORTAL, a gender-specific academic program that teaches about the “Power of Responsibility, Teamwork, Adolescence, and Learning.”  As 5th and 6th graders, Lynx students also begin to take on some of the responsibilities of being the “olders” at Great Expectations School.  One of the most exciting aspects of entering 5th grade at GES is that students get to have a “younger” Reading Buddy for the first time, which means they will have the chance to practice leadership and be a reading mentor to someone in the Bear Cubs, Fawns or Wolves class.  At the beginning and end of every day, Lynx students come together in the Circle of Power and Respect.  This is a safe place where Lynx students are able to deepen their relationships with each other, practice key social skills, review critical academics and build community through fun and laughter!  
 

A Bit About Anna:

Anna Brown in from Los Fresnos, Texas - a town about as close to Mexico as Grand Marais is to Canada.  She moved to Minnesota in 2009 and has never left!  Anna received her teaching degree at Bemidji State University, then moved to Grand Marais because she enjoys the small town atmosphere and finds it a beautiful and inspiring place to live.  Anna is a teacher because she loves the dauntless creativity of young people.  Her favorite subject to teach is Writing, which also happens to be her avocation.  
    “Great Expectations supports students’ unique and independent growth through tons of individualization and a constant effort amongst staff to encourage critical and creative thinking.  At the heart of what we do here is building relationship and knowing that when a child’s social and emotional needs are met, true learning is bound to follow.  I love working at a school where the staff feels like family, where I get to teach my students for two years, and where everyone is passionate about education and the young minds we serve!”

 

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