Moving on Up
Miss Fatai and Sixth Grade Transition to Middle School Life at the Secondary Campus
When you walk past Miss Fatai's sixth grade English Language Arts class, her scholars are usually engaged in some kind of learning activity that is fun and boisterous but purpose driven with clear learning goals. Her new classroom is warm and inviting, with calm hues of peach breaking up the monotony of the sterile white walls, softened with accents of greenery on lattice pieces and macramé art hanging on the window.
Outside her classroom is a bulletin board she converted into a feature wall to highlight authors from the Pacific and Latin American countries. The authors reflect the backgrounds of the scholars in her charge. Above their photographs are the words "Readers are Leaders." She created this feature wall to encourage Mana Academy scholars to embrace reading and to see themselves reflected in literature, and to actualize that they can also be authors and writers.
The transition to middle school was much smoother than she anticipated. Prior to the move, Miss Fatai taught all subjects to sixth grade at the elementary campus, and shared Science teaching duties with Miss Langi. Now she teaches English Language Arts to the three middle school grades.
“The transition has been easier than I thought. I love that I now teach one subject which allows me to dig deeper into the content with our scholars. I want them to tap into their mana and develop a sustained interest in reading and in books," she says.
Earlier this week, scholars participated in the ELA Café, a launching event to promote the love of reading and books. ELA Café was a way to introduce scholars to a book by having them read the synopsis. They chose from a menu of books itemized by genres. After they review the synopsis of three books, they are allowed to have treats to incentivize them to push to ten books before the class period is over.
"Some of these kids either don't like reading or they don't care enough to read, so I wanted to change that mentality with the ELA Café. We're doing a 13 Going on 30 book challenge and the goal is for scholars to read thirty books by the end of the year. One hundred pages is equal to one book. One student chose to read a five hundred page book series so that’s equal to five books, so we're off to a great start."
For Miss Fatai, literacy is crucial with this particular group because it feeds into all the other subjects at Mana Academy.
"When we look at our data, we definitely see the correlation between literacy and assessment scores, and we see how literacy impacts the way our scholars perform in other subjects. Literacy is connected to everything we do," she says. "I'm glad to be on this campus working with middle school, and I'm committed to help them develop their reading skills, not just for the classroom but also because it's a valuable life skill that will get them far in life."
"Oh, can you also mention my book wish list on Amazon?" she laughs. Yes we can, Miss Fatai! And welcome to the secondary campus.
Help Miss Fatai by adding books to the middle school library. Here is her Amazon Wish List.