Sixth grade ends academy year with publishing, presentations of learning

Joe Lister

Sixth Grade Academy students publish a book and prepare for a Gallery Walk presentation of learning to conclude the year.

Link to the book at

On Monday, May 11, the 6th Grade’s book on immigration was made available for purchase on Amazon.

“To log into the internet and type in, and then type in, Journey to America Through the Eyes of an Immigrant, and see the book show up as if I was going to order any book, was spectacular,” said 6th grade English teacher Mr. James Wasson. “[It was] a very, very proud teacher moment.”

Head of Middle School Mr. Pat Sillup has ordered 70 copies for many people, including family and the members of the Board of Trustees. The book costs $3.82, and that money goes solely to Amazon.

Another end of the year event for the sixth grade academy is set to happen on Thursday, May 28. The sixth grade is having a Gallery Walk presentation of learning. Sillup said that the 6th Grade Team thought this was “a way to capture the year.”

The students are being given time to prepare for the gallery walk in Mr. Chris DeVido’s science class. “I volunteered my class time,” said DeVido. “I thought it was way more important to show [the] learning skills from the year, than to do some final exam with multiple choice answers.”

According to Wasson, the team started to plan four or five weeks prior to the end-of-May event.

DeVido, who claims responsibility for the idea, said that the 6th Grade Academy teachers wanted to have a night where the students could display their learning. “Then we turned [the idea] into what it is now,” said DeVido. “Mr. Buscaglia took this idea and made it sound really great.”

For Sillup and the team, the main question was how to showcase the 6th Grade Academy’s learning.

“There are different routes,” said Sillup. “We could have asked [the students] to do presentations, [or] we could’ve asked to build another product or a project,” he said.

Instead, the Gallery Walk will feature student-created stations on major themes they have worked with throughout the year, according to the Malvern Weekly. Themes include sound waves, sustainable foods, the sustainability of newsprint, storytelling, and the sustainability of Malvern’s cafeteria.

According to Wasson, students are being graded on the process of preparing for the gallery walk, rather than the product. He said, “One of the other things we thought about was, ‘What if a kid can’t make it that night?’”

If this Gallery Walk idea had not come up, DeVido said, “I’d have a final exam.”

It would have been just a normal end to an unusual 6th grade year.