School Extra by Bob Zimmerman

Mrs. Chris Paumen and Mrs. Theresa Heimkes team up to teach a dozen sixth grade, eight seventh grade, and 10 eighth grade middle school students at St. Timothy’s School. Mrs. Paumen specializes in language arts and social studies while Mrs. Heimkes focuses on math and science; both have a variety of quarter- long enrichment classes. Enrichment includes a wide variety of topics, including ancient history, robotics, economics, speech, health, and more. sixth grade students have a study skills class the first quarter of the year where organizational skills and study habits are taught to help students find out “what kind of a student are you, and how do you use your talents to be the best student that you can be.”

One of the tools Mrs. Paumen uses with her sixth grade social studies students is a multi-media booklet each student creates. They write letters to the city halls of six Minnesota cities requesting information from them. Larger cities tend to refer the kids to a website, while smaller towns often send brochures, return handwritten notes with information and encouragement, and in one instance a t-shirt was provided. The students can add their own artwork to the booklet to complement the research they have done. Spring field trips may visit the State Capitol, the Ramsey House, the Minnesota History Center and Hill House, or Fort Snelling. Sixth graders spend a week at the Deep Portage Learning Center near Hackensack, MN in the spring, and eighth grade students go in the winter. Students start keeping a school journal in the sixth grade and make their entries every other day through the end of eighth grade. Mrs. Paumen told me she enjoys teaching middle school students because they have their own ideas and opinions, which makes discussions interesting.

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