Welcome to 2nd semester, with a special welcome to Nick Atkin (and family!), who has joined our 6th grade class. To mix things up a bit, the 6th graders have sorted themselves into new homeroom groups. As a teaching team, we believe that giving students choice and ownership in their learning is both important and empowering. We want our kids to reflect on who they are as learners, have skills to set themselves up for success in the classroom, and be supportive of one another in reaching their learning goals. We know that when students feel safe and valued, they will thrive as learners. These pictures how our new homeroom teams participating in a balloon tower challenge, as they work on becoming a productive team.
The 6th grade was also well represented at the ice skating social last weekend, which was a great opportunity to play together, take risks both socially and physically, and build community. We recognize that the middle school years can be emotionally taxing for kids (and their parents!), and feel grateful to partner with you in raising up our kids. Let’s continue to work together in teaching our kids to navigate conflict in relationships, build resilience, and create a community where everyone belongs. We are the village!
Art with Mrs. Macauley
6th Grade art has been surreal lately! Students studied the surrealism movement from the 1920’s, with Salvador Dali, through modern day surrealism artist such as, Vladimir Kush. Students took their knowledge gained of the movement and created their own interpretation of the subconscious mind. Surrealist artists and writers alike, believed that our dreams and subconscious thought held more importance than our logical state of mind and created strange and fun art that represented this ideal. The 6th graders had fun getting weird and discussing dreams and random thoughts. Their mission was to create realistic looking objects or scenes with something distinctly out of place! The idea is that we are looking through their “shades” into their subconscious mind! Look for this fun and random art in the middle school wing!
Summarize the ways science is applied to solve this problem
What are the implications of this application
Use scientific language, clearly and precisely
Document sources correctly
In 6th grade we finished up our Narrative unit and are starting our work on Literary Essays. Kids will be applying the essay structure that they utilized during their 5th grade Argumentative Essay unit, but in this case they will be making arguments about the significance of character traits. Their argumentative success will be based on how well they can support their opinions with quotations and explanations. So, don’t be surprised if you notice an increase in the effectiveness of the way in which your child justifies their need for that new iphoneX!
Math with Ms. Wenndorf
Last week, 6th grade mathematicians took their second IB math test, which assessed Criterion B, Identifying Patterns. Questions on an IB math test are leveled, meaning they start out easy, but get increasingly difficult as the test progresses. The IB grading scale is from 0 to 8. Earning a 1 or 2 means students were able to answer only the easiest questions. A score of 3 or 4 means students were able to answer some harder questions, but struggled when the questions got more complex. On the IB scale, a score of 4 is considered meeting expectations. A score of 5 or 6 means the student was able to answer more complex questions, and apply their learning to unfamiliar contexts. A score of 7 or 8 (very rare! As yet never given by Ms. W!) means the student was able to answer very complex questions, and apply their learning in an unfamiliar context using mathematical skills that were not explicitly taught.
Be sure to check your child’s math test grade on Canvas, and read the teacher/student dialogue in the comments! As always, please reach out to Ms. Wenndorf with questions, and sign up here for a conference during office hours if we haven’t yet met with you. Conferences are such a great way to connect, and help the 6th grade teaching team improve your child’s experience.
Music with Mrs. Miller
Our Holiday Sing-A-Long is right around the corner! We are so excited to show our parents all the hard work we’ve done in preparing for this fun evening. Please have your student to the music classroom at 5:30pm on Thursday, December 21st in festive Christmas attire. Our show will begin promptly at 6:00pm and following the conclusion, we invite you to join us to walking or driving to our neighbors at TouchMark and blessing them with a few Christmas carols. We will sing 3 songs as a school community at the end of our show – and you’ll have the lyrics on your programs to take with you to TouchMark. The residents are very much looking forward to seeing us and we are excited to have this Community Partnership in giving to others. Thanks for all your support!
Humanities with Ms. Boyd
The 6th grade class attended the world premiere of the movie, Wonder last week. The class read and deeply studied the book last year in Language Arts and are currently reading the sequel right now.
In Humanities news, the 6th grade class has started their first IB Humanities unit! Our Statement of Inquiry focus is: Civilizations have developed at different times and locations bringing about change and innovation that often influence how we view them today. Over the past few weeks, we have been learning about 5 influential ancient civilizations (the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, the Roman civilization, plus the Maya and Inca civilizations). For our first IB Summative Assessment Task, students will write a research paper highlighting, in their opinion, the three most important contributions, that three different ancient civilizations have made to our current civilization. If time allows, students may also create a historical sites/artifacts slideshow. Don’t forget, the world countries test is on Thursday, December 21.
Math with Jeannie Wenndorf
6th grade mathematicians are beginning our 4th chapter in the new Upper School math program, College Preparatory Mathematics. Here are some distinctive features of this curriculum, and why this humble 6th grade math teacher loves it:
During class your child will often be working in a small group, which is designed to encourage students to engage in mathematical conversations. Collaboration allows students to develop new ways of thinking about mathematics, increases students’ abilities to communicate with others about math, and helps strengthen their understanding of concepts and ideas as they explain their thinking to others.
Because students are expected to work together to solve problems, the main role of the teacher is to pose the big problems and be a supporting guide during the solution process. Instead of just showing a process and having students mimic it, the teacher will be introducing the concept of the day and then circulating the classroom, listening to team discussions, asking questions of teams, working with the teams as they solve the problems, and initiating a closure activity at the end of each lesson to ensure the mathematics has been summarized.
The homework is titled “Review and Preview”, and consists of five problems on a variety of topics and skills. Known as interleaving, this mixed spaced practice approach for homework leads to higher learning and better long–term retention.
If you’d like to see math class in action, you are always welcome!
Language Arts with Mr. Wenger
During the first several weeks of school we spent a lot of time establishing a strong and productive classroom community. Now, as the leaves begin to fall off the trees, we are heading into the more academic section of our school year. In Language Arts, the kids have started to work on their first personal narrative. We have introduced and practiced several writing strategies designed to help kids generate ideas worth writing about. It has been great watching the kids begin to compose stories about themes and experiences that they value! Enjoy this photo of 6th grade working on murals.
Art with Mrs. Santucci
The 6th graders have had a busy couple months in the art room. What a wonderful class of enthusiasm and creativity. So far this year we have been reviewing the elements of art through the creation of each student’s name designed on their art portfolio. Grades for this assignment, as well as comments, can be found on Canvas! Currently, we are working on a collage unit and student are developing the skills of collage making as well as creating a piece of art about self-expression. Please feel free to come by and visit anytime!
The sixth grade class has moved on from studying how scientists think (The Scientific Method) to understanding how matter and energy flow through ecosystems. Currently, the class is delving into a Biome/Ecosystem Mural Project featuring:
- 12 animals common to their biome. Including at least one insect, one bird, one reptile, and one mammal.
- At least 6 plants common to the biome.
- A world map: coloring in the places where their biome is located.
- A description of the basic characteristics of their biome. Average temperature (summer/winter) and the average precipitation per year.
- Labelled abiotic factors found in their biome. Also an explanation of how these abiotic factors are used or needed by the biotic factors in their biome.
- A description of the adaptations of two plants on their mural and how those adaptations allow the plant to survive in its biome.
- A description of the adaptations of three animals on their mural and how those adaptations allow the animal to survive in its biome.
- The identification of at least three different decomposers found in their biome.
- Finally, the creation of a labelled food web of plants and animals found in their biome.
This will be one intensive hands-on project that requires students to apply all of the concepts they are currently learning in a creative and interesting way.
Our 6th grade music students were able to spend most of their day last Friday in the Design Lab building their unique instruments. I was super impressed with their creativity and diligence in the Lab. A special shout-out goes to Mr. Lenz and Mr. Seehausen for all of their expertise in assisting us. We are now using those instruments and have created three individuals “bands” who are composing an original composition using their instruments. Lots of creativity is swirling in the music room these days!