Friday, January 10 - back from break, we are back at work. In social studies, we continued our study of ancient Egypt as we got down to business on our Egypt Exhibit papers and projects. Monday and Tuesday we passed out our "green sheets," our directions for proper MLA citations using our own books and then using Egypt books we are utilizing for research. On Wednesday, we shifted to our chapter 9 study of the daily life of ancient Egyptians. Students were placed in groups and were tasked with representing one of five social classes in a dramatization. We created and practiced those the remainder of the week and will be presenting them to the class on Monday. The audience will take notes based on the presentations and we'll use that as our notes for chapter 9. After that, we'll shift for a couple of days as we select classroom representatives for our school's Geography Bee to take place at the end of January. Egypt Exhibit projects are due on Friday, January 17 and we will begin our artwalk presentations on that day, finishing them up on the next Monday. In ELA, we focused on writing our Egypt papers. Using our notes and graphic organizers from the week before break, students worked their way through a rough draft that was due today, Friday. We did a mini-lesson on introductions and handed out a sheet on conclusions so kids could compose their five paragraph essay, including a bibliography page. I will assess those this weekend and hand them back on Monday. Students' final drafts are due next Friday. In class we will move to our next novel, Frightful's Mountain. We will read the first two chapters and introduce kids to the protocols we will use to move through the text. In PE, we have shifted to net sports beginning with badminton.
The upcoming schedule is filling up so we are looking to keep kids focused. STAR assessments are Monday and Tuesday, our Marshall Mountain snow science field trip is Friday, January 24 as is the end of quarter 2. And the school dance is scheduled for Thursday, February 6. More details to come.
Friday, December 6 - Finishing up mid quarter 2. In social studies, we wound up our study of Unit 1 and Mesopotamian civilizations. We completed the Unit 1 Timeline Challenge in our workbooks, turning those in Thursday and then introducing our study of unit 2 on Egypt, Kush and Canaan. We brainstormed our background knowledge and watched a brief video on Egyptian gods (great connection to our study of Greek gods). Today, we began Geography Challenge #2 and those will be due next Tuesday. After that we will spend time looking at the distinct regions of each as they relate to water, topography and vegetation. Then we will study four of the most prominent pharaohs of ancient Egypt, focusing on their accomplishments. In ELA, we have moved though chapter 16 in the Lightning Thief, focusing on vocabulary and honing our skills of summarization. However, we have spent most of our classroom time preparing for our final assessment in Unit 2. We are focusing our attention on connecting the non-fiction text "The Key Elements of Mythology" with Greek myths. This relationship will be the basis for our analytical essay, drawing on similarities and tying the pieces together through textual evidence. This week we completed a graphic organizer using the Cronus myth as we prepare. Finally, we are trying to identify themes (authors' messages) and connect them in our essays. Next week kids will individually decide which myth to connect and then work their way to writing their own essay. In PE, we are fully engaged in floor hockey and the kids are rockin it. We will play a little while longer before we shift to net sports (volleyball, pickleball, badminton).
A quick note - we now have a classroom pet. Dwight is our new resident leopard gecko. We are excited about his (or her) arrival and look forward to growing with him. I'm thankful I have so many helpful students to help me along in this process. But he is darn cute!
Friday, November 8 - Quarter 2 has begun. In social studies, we finished up our Seven Panel Notes and introduced the Civilization Project. Students, alone or with one or two others, will visually represent characteristics of a fictional civilization. Through posters or dioramas (or any other way), students will show agriculture, tools or technology, written records, government/religion, class systems, and geography. We began these today and they will be due next Thursday. On Monday, we will also begin our last chapter of Unit 1 where we explore four Mesopotamian empires. Students will complete workbook activity 6.2-6.9, learning about the leadership and achievements of these groups. We are looking at a unit assessment the next Tuesday, November 19. In ELA, we are progressing through The Lightning Thief as we read chapters 9 and 10. We also began our focus on myth as it relates to our novel. We introduced the concept of allusion and began by reading the Cronus myth, noting how the mythological allusion clarifies meaning for our novel text. We will focus on those allusions and introduce another non-fiction text, "The Key Elements of Mythology" as we continue to align our novel with other texts. In PE, we had a respite from wintry weather and took the opportunity to be outside, playing four square, gaga ball, football, soccer, and basketball. Based on the forecasts, I expect we will spend more time this week indoors as we get into floor hockey.
Our field trip to the University of Montana was fun. The game was stellar (winning 98-45) and the crowd was rockin'. I look forward to another chance to get these guys out in the community. Next week is parent/teacher conferences. If you have a Tuesday conference, be aware you must enter through the office doors on Central Avenue as the other doors are locked. We'll see you all next week.
Friday, November 1 - putting quarter 1 in the books. In social studies, after finishing up our examination of early hominids, we spent time studying what many believe to be the most pivotal "moment" in history, the shift from hunter-gathering to farming. We looked at the cause and effects of this transition focusing on the improvement and even some of the negative outcomes. Students used their text (chapter 3) along with a neolithic cartoon to compare and contrast life in paleolithic times and neolithic times. On Friday, we began looking at chapter 4 as we looked to the problems created by this transition and the solutions ancient peoples came up with to shift from living in small villages to building and occupying large cities. In light of this, we will explore what civilization is (or isn't) based on observable charcteristics. We'll create Seven panel notes as we read chapter 5. Later in the week, alternatively, we'll read about a 10,000 year old band of people who don't follow the model and we'll ask the question - are they a civilization? In ELA, we continued through chapter 7 of The Lightning Thief as we prepared for and eventually completed our Unit 1 Assessment. Monday through Thursday, we practiced writing a constructed response, first with a partner and then alone, showing the connections between our literary text and the non-fiction piece "THe Hero's Journey." After receiving feedback, kids read chapter 8 and completed their assessment. Next week, we will begin to examine The Lightning Thief as a narrative as we continue to look at the text as an example of the hero's journey. In PE, we shared some space with Ms. Patton's class and even played a little four square with our good weather today. Next week, assuming indoor weather, we will begin to play floor hockey.
Couple of reminders. Parent-teacher conferences are coming up November 12-14. Forms went home last week and just over half have come back so far. Please make sure those get in so we can get you scheduled. Also, Tuesday, the entire 6th grade is attending the Lady Griz basketball opener at the Adams Center. We will walk over beginning at 10:30 for the 11:30 game. We will return around 2:00. Kids will need to bring a sack lunch for Tuesday. The weather will be cool, particularly in the morning, so dress appropriately including a good pair of walking shoes.
Friday, October 25 - winding down quarter number 1. In social studies, we have shifted to the study of early humans and civilizations. We completed Geography Challenge #1, responding to questions about the regions we will study first (Mesopotamia) and tying our understanding of "ideal" settlements to respond to critical thinking questions. Next, we explored our "cave" by excavating and examining artifacts, making hypotheses about them, and then comparing our guesses to those of social scientists. After completing Reading Notes 1, we worked in groups to identify early hominids and most specifically, their key capabilities. Kids created posters and performed skits to share info with the remainder of the class. In this way, they are able to collect notes that they will use to communicate what they learned about the hominids and to begin building the notes they can utilize when we take our first unit assessment. Next week, we study what may be the most pivotal time in human history - the shift from hunter gatherers to farmers. We will examine the impacts (cause/effect) of this shift. Then we will look at how this creates civilization. In ELA, we continue to read Percy Jackson, but now we are primarily viewing through the lens of The Lightning Thief. kids are practicing identifying events from the novel that align to th hero's journey and providing evidence that reveal their understanding of this connection. Next, week we'll prepare for the unit assessment by practicing writing with a partner and then alone. Along the way, I will provide feedback to make sure we are all mastering this skill. In PE , we learned a lifetime sport, bocce ball, and we probably finished our ultimate frisbee unit as the weather is starting to chase us inside.
On Friday, kids went home with a green form, the Extended Digital Curriculum Resource form. These need to be signed and returned. All WMS sixth graders will be going to the Lady Griz basketball game on Tuesday, November 5. Be aware that kids will be gone from school that day between 10:00ish and 2:00ish. They will need to pack a lunch as we will be at the game over the lunch hour. Next week, we will be sending information regarding parent/teacher conferences to be held on November 12, 13, and 14th.
Friday, October 11 - great week for our 6th graders. In social studies we spent the week applying our understandings of the 5 themes of geography. Our focus was finding ideal places to settle. After a quickwrite focusing on settlement today, we looked backward 20,000 years to think about what an ideal location would look like. Kids worked in small groups to imagine the physical characteristics that would represent the best place to live. Cooperatively, they created descriptions and illustrations of their ideal settlement. Then they spent time evaluating all the posters and then supporting them in writing, noting those charactersitics that were of import. Finally, they applied that same knowledge and understanding to select a place in the real world that would have been best for settlemement. Those maps will be due on Monday. This sets the stage for beginning our study of early humans and the rise of civilizations. On Monday, we'll begin our first geography challenge to gain an understanding the setting for our first chapter of study. These will be due Wednesday. Then we will begin our study of early humans. In ELA, we completed our mid-unit assessment, showing our skills in citing evidence to support our responses and the ability to draw inferences related to chapter 4 in The Lighting Thief. Once done, we moved to "The Hero's Journey," a non-fiction text that will be the basis for much of the rest of our study of the novel. We briefly began chapter 5, tying the events to this non-fiction piece. Next week, we'll continue to work our way through both texts, focusing on gist and determining the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary while making connections. In PE, we continue to try and get outsde to play ultimate frisbee.
Picture Day was today and it was quite the fine looking group of 6th graders. We have a short week next week but we need it to be productive. Be ready to get stuff done.
Friday, September 27 - 1st mid quarter done. In Social Studies, we have worked our way through the last three themes of geography. We introduced regions and completed three repsonses to narratives called "Regional Reasoning," the final one for a grade on Thursday. We touched on movement and then introduced human environment interactions. On Friday the kids worked on "Throw Me a Line," a culminating activity checking their understanding of all five themes. These are due monday at the beginning of class. We will review for an assessment over the five themes on Monday and we'll take that assessment Tuesday. On Monday we will also introduce our final project for the five themes, the Create a Country project. These will be due Thursday before we begin our studies of civilizations. In ELA, we are squarely in The Lightning Thief. We have read a fictional piece, "Shrouded in Myth" and practiced skills we will use as we navigate the novel. We have learned how to cite evidence from text and figured out how to use context clues to make sense of unfamiliar vocabulary. We read chapter 1 and completed an exit ticket on Friday and assigned chapter 2 for Monday (kids should be noting the challenges Percy faces and how he responds). Next week, we'll continue to hone those skills as we begin to get a clearer picture of our main character. By the end of next week, we'll have a mid-unit assessment to check our progress. In PE, we introduced some Frisbee skills in the hope that we can use our understanding of ultimate frog to play ultimate Frisbee.
Picture packets will go home early next week with picture day sceduled for October 11.
Friday, September 20 - Great work this week, sixth graders. In social studies, we selected, researched and created famous place posters including interesting facts, paragraphs, images, and locations. We turned those in on Thursday and got our first taste of art walk presentations. On Friday we shifted to the next theme of geography, regions. Next week we'll explore regions and introduce our last two themes, movement and human environment interaction. Late in the week, we'll prepare for our assessment over the five themes before moving into our study of ancient civilizations. In ELA, we took our Reading STAR assessment, finished up our "Peak" reading and then did "Touching Spirit Bear" for our assessment. We are now beginning our Engage NY curriculum, introducing our novel The Lightning Thief. Parents, be aware a paperback copy has been issued to each student to have at home. They will have a hard back copy that will be kept here at school. Look for the paperback at home. On Friday we began our study diving into the text "Shrouded in Myth." Next week we'll launch into the text, establishing close reading skills and strategies to identify unfamiliar vocabulary. In PE, we learned a couple of new "rainy day" games and had a quick tutorial on Gaga Ball.
Kudos to the kids as we have started to have more deadlines in terms of assignments. Many are making great decisions about using time wiesely and some are taking advantage of ART (academic recovery time) during recess at lunch to make sure they get assignments in on time. Well done.
Friday, September 13 - another super good week. In social studies, we did a quick assessment on absolute location and then began our work on place, the second theme of geography. We turned in our Topo Quest Friday and we are presently going over that in class to try and figure differences in harbors, bays, and gulfs and recognizing peninsulas are everywhere, among other things. Next week, we'll veer from the definition of place based on physical characteristics to the human created places as we do some research and create Famous Place posters. We'll do research Monday and Tuesday and have those due Thursday. Then we'll shift to regions. In ELA, we spent nearly all week learning/reviewing reading comprehension strategies and then applying them together to a group reading and then to a couple of independent reads (How I Became a Ghost and Peak). We are using feedback to gain clarity about what is expected in these activities. Next week, we'll grade one to determine proficiency. Also, on Monday, kids will take their STAR 360 reading assessment. We'll use the results to guide instruction as we move forward. In PE, we are playing Ultimate Frog and the kids are rockin' it. Again, Herron needs proper clothing on Mondays and Wednesdays and Lynch needs it on Tuesday and Friday.
We are settled into our M&M management system. Kids have applied for and been given their jobs (everyone has a responsibility). We have selected currency and that will be in kids' hands next week. We had our first "real" kudo's club, rewarding kids who are following the program. I'm excited about settling in to our routine and working with these 6th graders. See you next week.
Friday, September 6 - Eight days in and we're rockin' 6th grade. Thanks to all parents for getting in ALL THAT PAPERWORK. Only missing a couple of forms so we're looking good. In social studies, we have begun the year focusing on some map skills and introducing the first of the five themes of geography - location. Next week, we'll assess kids on their ability to find absolute locations on a world map. Then we'll shift to our second theme - place. We will identify a number of places based on their physical characteristics in out Topo Graph assignment. In ELA, we began the year with a Letter to Mr. Herron, an introductory piece of writing that also allowed us to use the format of a friendly letter. Earlier this week, we read a short story, "The Circuit," and responded to it through a descriptive writing piece know as "The Box." On Friday, we did a quick check up on paragraph writing. Next week, we'll finish that up and then focus on some reading strategies before getting into our first Engage NY novel. In PE, we are developing skills and beginning to play Ultimate Frog. Unfamiliar? Ask your child. A reminder that Herron's homeroom has PE on Monday and Wednesday and Lynch's is Tuesday and Friday. Make sure we are dressed for PE on on those days.
Our homeroom work is moving right along. We have established our M&M management system and kids are in the process of applying for jobs in our community. Hopefully, next week we will select currency and pay kids on Thursday for their work. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to our first full week.
Wednesday, August 28 - Whew! What a first day. It was frantic, but I was so excited to spend most of the day with your kiddos. As a general rule, I post to my webpage on Fridays, recapping the week and pointing to what is coming up. I added today's to encourage you to work through all the beginning of year forms and get those signed and returned by September 6. Tomorrow, we will follow a "normal" schedule so I will see both my class and Ms. Lynch's for the core classes. Thanks to all for being flexible as we (the entire school) figure out together how to be in community with one another. Hopefully lockers happen tomorrow.