Every Friday, Rocketeers gather outside on Rocketship Spark’s blacktop to dance their hearts out and celebrate the end of the week at Landing. Landing is when students have a fun time with teachers by dancing to songs like “Happy” and more. It teaches us how to have a fun last day of the week with students, teachers and family.
“It is so much fun because we get to dance, and have a time for dancing with our friends,” said second grader Brooklee Tran. Sometimes we have a special landing because we have a test in the week, tests like NWEA. In addition to our regular Friday landing, this is a special time for the whole school to come together and get pumped up to start our NWEA testing. This is a time for us to get excited about beating our goals, and for Ms. Tran and our teachers to remind us of test-taking strategies that will help us be successful, like taking our time, reading each question at least three times, and showing our work.
“My favorite part of landing is when I get to dance,” said fourth grader Alyssa Paredes-Garcia. “I like to dance because I just feel free.”
Landing is also when we learn new songs to dance to, and we can have fun with family too because we can see parents and families learn how to do those moves. Our newest dance is “Better When I’m Dancing” by Meghan Trainor.
“I like the new song because it’s from one of my favorite singers, Meghan Trainor, and it’s very nice,” said fifth grader Sandra Uy. “I like that song because in the dance, you get to do stuff that’s pretty brave. I need to work on my self-confidence, so when you do some of those supposedly embarrassing moves, you’re building up your confidence a little.”
We earn landing by winning our points. This week, we earned points for using college discussion prompts, and more! It can be challenging for some students, like our young students because they are still learning how to use complete sentences. Students in the upper grade know how to use complete sentences, and so it can seem easy. But it is challenging for all grades because we have to prompt the people who are talking and have a no-hands discussion. This means that, instead of having the teacher call on each student to participate, we need to listen to our classmates and join the conversation on our own. We practice responding to what our classmates are saying and add our own ideas to help the whole class solve the problem.
Discussions are important at Spark. “It’s important to us that we know how to be a scholar,” Brooklee said.
At the beginning of landing, we turn in college rockets to be entered in a drawing. College rockets are tickets that are awarded to students during the day for showing that they are college ready. We can earn them from any teacher on campus when they see we are college ready for many reasons, including showing all of your work, citing evidence and explaining your answer, prompting your classmate to give more information, and being a respectful listener during a discussion. During landing, Rocketeers wait for their name or a friend’s name to be called in a raffle to win a prize or go to the front and dance. We also announce Student of the Month and Teacher of the Month at the end of the month.
“Student of the month is a student that helps or is very persistent during a whole month, and you get chosen at the end of every month. I feel happy for them because they were very persistent and they earned it,” Alyssa said.
Every week, students work hard to meet their goals in ELA, math, and the learning lab, but we know when Ms. Tran’s voice comes on to announce it’s time for landing, it’s time to celebrate all of our hard work. We pack up our things, then make our way out to the blacktop, where our favorite songs are already playing, waiting for us to dance our way into the weekend with our friends, families, and teachers.
“It’s important to have landing because the whole week, we have our brains super persistent,” said Alyssa, “so we need a time to just have fun.”
I am Clayton Tran and I am in a 4th/5th grade combo class at Rocketship Spark Academy. I am still learning at Spark, but someday I want to be a time traveler or maybe scientist or a magician. Some of my favorite things about Spark are fun things like science, art, P.E. and reading royalty.