Language Arts & Humanities
We started 2017 with writing activities related to the new year. Students reflected on the trends and news stories of 2016 while making a personal time capsule of their memories. They made a list of the 20 things they hope to do in the new year and 17 things they don’t want to do (or would like to change from last year). It was so interesting to read their lists. Many students wanted to play more of their favorite sports or travel. They also want to do things like spend time with family, be a better friend, and try to help those in need. One student wrote in the don’t list: “Don’t judge people just by looking at them.” Another student wrote in the do list: “Be open-minded”. I feel fortunate to teach such passionate and compassionate young people who are so aware of how their actions affect others and who are hopeful that this will, indeed, be a year to grow.
Just as the snow set in, we began a reading unit on informational texts. Students are taking notes and annotating articles to find parts such as the topic, topic sentence, transitional sentence, and supporting details. This builds on our previous literary essay unit which also emphasized using details to support a claim. The texts are geared toward students’ interests and current events, and there will be a lot of opportunity for students to learn about topics of their choice. This will cross over into Humanities where we will soon begin reading about life in medieval times.
Math & Science
We are continuing in solving equations. Students are doing a great job and I am very proud of them. I am going to enroll the 6th grade class in a national problem-solving contest through Noetic Learning. The competition is on Thursday, April 6th. It is a paper/pencil test in which students are given 45 minutes to complete 20 problem-solving questions. Throughout each week we will be going over different problems to help prepare students. If you would like to do more outside of class Noetic Learning has a challenge math section and for a small fee you can access different problems to help your child think about math in different ways. If you have any questions about Noetic Learning you can access their website or you can ask me. http://www.noetic-learning.com/
In 6th Grade Science, we are continuing with our plate tectonics unit but we are taking a little detour. We are taking some time to do earthquakes and engineering labs. Our students have enjoyed designing and constructing structures based on earthquake safety requirements while staying within their materials budget. Students were only given two materials and they had to design a structure in 20 minutes that was at least 30 cm in height, withstand a 15 second shake test and hold a 150 g rice bag. The students did a great job.
In the art room students have been busy on a functional and fun ceramic project. We are creating the coolest mugs ever! Our theme is based on creating “characters” on our mugs. These can be scary monsters or cute characters. We have looked at art that shows good character development and what it takes to draw creative, expressive characters, then learn how to make that into a 3-dimensional creation! We were inspired by the artist somewhat local artist James Derosso. You may have seen some of his art at local craft bazaars around town. Enjoy his creative characters here!