All this week students have been participating in a simulations of the Greek Olympics. Each table group is from a different polis (city-state): Megara, Argos, Athens, Corinth, and Sparta. Each polis has different values and strengths that have been largely formed by their geography. Students are also researching a famous Greek person and learning about how their contributions can still be seen in our modern world. The assessment of this project is IB Criterion B: Investigating.
Students got to choose between Black Ships Before Troy, an abridged version of The Iliad, and an abridged version of The Odyssey. Next week they will form groups and dramatize a section of the book, complete with a script and costumes!
The link below is to the student’s 30-second public service announcement for the City of Bend’s Clean Water Works contest. The students did a great job and maybe one of the teams will win.
Next week we will be starting our unit on the human body systems. If anyone has a speciality and would like to do a presentation that would be great, just let me know. The students love having guest presenters in class.
Did you know that in addition to academic knowledge students learn Approaches to Learnings (ATLs) at Seven Peaks School? Through participating in literature circles, students have done a wonderful job of developing of communication, collaboration, and organization skills. Students have also just completed an illustrated plot diagram of their literature circle novel. Making literature visual can help us understand the writing techniques an author used to make the book come alive.
This week we began a unit on ancient Greece with the statement of inquiry: “The development of government and culture of an ancient civilization continues to affect the modern world.” Our study will focus on the geography, culture, and political systems of Greece. In addition to the Olympics and democracy, the ancient Greek civilization has left us an indelible legacy of art, literature, math, and science.
We are focused on finding percentages. It would be great to ask your student how to find percentages when out shopping to reinforce this concept. Example: 30% of $20 (Find 10% then multiply by 3)
6th graders are doing amazing work in class preparing for their upcoming Spring Show on Thursday, May 25th at 2:00pm. Please make plans to join us and see our xylophone piece (Captain Obvious), Pachelbel’s Canon in D on Boomwhackers, a sampling of our Scoring for Animation unit and a fun Rhythm stick routine! Your students are amazingly creative and many of them have willingly taken on leadership roles and it’s been a treasure to watch them grow and mature. Thank you for sharing them with us in music. Please also check your Canvas email for an important MS update.
We have started working with fractions, decimals and percents. I want students to be able to have a fluid understanding of fractions, decimals and percents. This is a great topic students can use in their everyday life. When shopping encourage students to find the best deals by finding unit rates and by understanding sale prices with percent discounts. Great life skills.
Students have been making a video for the City of Bend – Clean Water Works contest. I am have been very impressed by the videos they have produced. I will be sending out links to the videos, so be on the lookout for your students video.
6th grade pancake breakfast has been a success. I appreciate all the supplies and volunteer help. Students are learning a lot of skills in the kitchen. Maybe they will even cook breakfast for you soon.
6th grade students have just finished an investigation of the three major monotheistic religions that culminated in a poster collage. Students conducted independent research and used creativity to show what they learned about these religions. The collage included symbols and creative images from all three religions, and answered inquiry questions such as “What can learning about other religions help us learn about people around the world?” When we return from Spring Break we continue our study of how belief systems can change the identity of a society.
The Central Oregon Regional Battle of the Books competition took place in Sisters, OR on March 11th. The following sixth graders competed:
Alex Laakmann, Lola Mora Moreno, Stella Hannagan, Kate Holdredge, (Luke Neilson competing with this team in the school wide battle but was unable to attend Regionals).
This sixth grade team, The Wisdom Warriors, made it to the 3rd round at regionals. The Wisdom Warriors beat seventh & eighth grade Seven Peaks teams to qualify for the Central Oregon Regional competition. Many thanks to Julie Zipper and Hazel Chapple for supporting the team!
The 6th graders have done a wonderful job of with the last math unit! I am very pleased with their understanding around factoring and properties of exponents. We will take a short review unit into operations with fractions then continue on to Decimals, Percents and Proportions. This is probably my favorite math unit of the year. It will be a fantastic time.
Remember the Noetic Learning National Math test will be April 6th. We will be preparing for this after spring break and I know the students will do well.
Science has been a blast lately. We have started an engineering unit and a “passion project.” Students have loved the hands on activities of building structures and testing them out. A good spring break project would be for students to build a structure that can hold as many books as possible. We did this in class and one group was able to get 11 math textbooks. Wow!!
The “Passion Project” is an activity in which is similar to Genius Hour. Students are able to pick a topic in which they want to learn more about. Students will be presenting their topic of research in mid-April.
Our 6th grade students have been keeping busy in music this spring! Twice a week, students are expected to journal for 10 minutes on a given musical prompt – and reading their writing each month is a highlight for me – to see more inside their hearts and hear what drives them. It’s a privilege to teach these burgeoning young adults – thank you so much for sharing them with us here at SPS!
We completed our original Pop Opera, in which we wrote, directed, and scored a Pop Opera where the customer database of Sephora was hacked and our narrative was able to create a solution to their problem. Students worked in teams and did a beautiful job! Thank you to those parents that were able to join us for our performance.
We are now working on our stick routines, which we’ll showcase during our Middle School Spring Show on Thursday, May 25 at 2:00pm. Your students will be performing a variety of work that you’re sure to enjoy. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us!
Language Arts & Humanities
I would like to thank the parents who helped to make our writing showcase and celebration on Tuesday a great success! 6th grade students created ebooks on a topic of activism, including bullying, girls’ access to education, pet abandonment and adoption, saving the environment, and child labor. The purpose of the ebooks was to use research-based information to inform readers about a topic. Through a Writer’s Workshop, students learned how to create a table of contents to use as a research plan, take notes, and summarize key details in a way that emotionally engaged the audience. I love seeing how passionate students became about their topics! It meant so much to the students to have a real audience to see their final ebooks.
We also invited 5th graders to the showcase. I was so impressed by the level of thought the 5th graders put into the feedback they gave! I found it interesting that both a parent and a 5th grader would notice the same things about an ebook and I think this really speaks to the high expectations of our 5th teachers, Mr. Wenger and Ms. Wenndorf. I know that next year I will receive a group of exceptional learners who have been well prepared for the challenges of 6th grade.
Next up is a unit of humanities where we will be studying the origins of religious empires. Students will understand that ideology or belief systems can change the identity of a society through cooperation or conflict through a study of the three major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. While this can be somewhat complicated content material, as an IB school it is important to understand the perspectives of others and the events of the past to make sense of current world events. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me or stop by.
In the art room 6th has been busy finishing up their creative and strange take on the Surrealism movement. We spent time looking at several Surrealism artist and many works of art from this Freudian based art movement. This movement was based around the idea that dreams and the subconscious mind help more importance the logical thought. Students worked to create realistic looking objects and scenes but something had to be out of place. It was a unit with a lot of laughs and creativity flowing out of it! Please swing by the MS wing to check out your students work displayed in the hall. We are now onto a sculptural 3D unit based off of the Mexican Folk Art, Alebrijes! Stay tuned for these colorful, fantastical creatures!
Humanities & Language Arts
6th grade students are writing information books on a topic of activism. Each student selected a subtopic (girls’ access to education, child labor, saving the environment, bullying, or pet abandonment and adoption) and followed a trail of research. While researching, students asked themselves, “What is most important about this topic?” This list eventually became the table of contents. Students are working in a research cohort, but are writing individual books with four to six chapters. Students are writing like crazy to turn all of their research into chapters. Next week we will be adding details such a text boxes, pictures, and maps to enhance our books.
While we are still in the drafting phase, I would like to invite parents to view students’ work and offer feedback during class next week. Students in a research cohort will show you what they have learned so far and will ask your advice about further research they should do or how best to present this information in a book. We will be working on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 12:15-1:05pm and 2:05-3:00pm. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in advising students!
One of the great things about being in the Seven Peaks community is being able to teach character development within my content area. For the past few weeks 6th graders have been learning about respect and responsibility. Both Mr. Gylling and I have integrated activities into our classes such as role playing, dialogue circles, and videos discussions. I have already seen students sitting up a little straighter and being conscious of how their behavior shows respect and responsibility to themselves, others, and the learning environment.
Reports on IB scores for the first semester are now available. Mr. Gylling and I would be happy to explain the scoring to you during an Office Hours meeting on Tuesday mornings. Click here to schedule a 20-minute appointment.
We are starting our computer programming/coding unit. The students are really enjoying the the entry level coding we are doing with www.code.org. We will continue down this road with students exploring block based coding and some students learning how to write actual code using python. I want students to understand how to think critically and problem solve when going through this unit. Read this good article on why critical thinking, problem solving and adaptability are great skills to possess.
Language Arts & Humanities
I am so glad that we’ve finally been able to settle into a (more) normal rhythm of school! Students recently gave humanities presentations on their country projects. The goal was to persuade people to move to their fictional country and to explain how their country’s identity was shaped by its geography. It was very clear to me that students have made presentations before and I was impressed by the creativity included.
In Language Arts we have just begun researching teen activism. Students are learning that before writers write about any subject, they first take in a broad cross section of information about that topic, making sure to read different kinds of materials from different kinds of sources. Some students have read about Malala Yousafzai and the fight for girls’ education. Others have learned about a teen from New Zealand named Faye Carey who started her own pet adoption service. Ask your child who they have studied and why they decided to stand up for their cause. If you see anything in the news about a teen working to make a difference, be sure to bring it up with your child!
Math & Science
The students are doing a great job of understanding the Golden Rule of Inequalities and writing inequalities from word problems. We will taking an end of unit assessment next week on writing and solving inequalities.
In science we are in the process of finishing up the Plate Tectonic unit. Once we finish this unit next week we will transition to the unit on coding/computer programming. I am looking forward to this next unit and introducing students to this field.
The past two months middle school students have been learning about the Olympic sport team handball and the newly popular sport pickleball. Both of these sports require hand eye coordination, teamwork, and strategy. Along with our sports units, student have been learning new exercises and the muscles they use while working out.
Language Arts & Humanities
Since returning from the winter break, students have been keeping individual vocabulary lists. During our independent reading time each day, students select one word that they don’t know, think is challenging, or think sounds interesting. Then they add the word to their Google Slides vocabulary notebook with the sentence that included the word, a picture, and a definition. Each week I choose words from their lists for all of us to learn. Students get so excited when their word is chosen. Each day we review the words by playing a game, such as “Word Sneak.” Taken from The Tonight Show, this game challenges students to use vocabulary words in a casual conversation. Students creatively twist the conversation to include their word and everyone wins!
This week students also chose a news article from Newsela and wrote a summary of the information. Newsela provides texts at five reading levels. It was really interesting to see students gravitate toward certain topics and get to learn something for their own interest. We will continue learning about informational text structures and author’s purpose in the following lessons.
Math & Science
I am so proud of the 6th grade class. Students are mastering the concepts of how to solve for a variable. Ask your child to teach you a problem from their assignment. This is a great learning/teaching tool for them to fully grasp the concepts we are covering in class. Also, remember to check out the Noetic Learning website if you or your child would like to subscribe to their challenge math problems.
We just completed our earthquakes and engineering project. This was a wonderful project in so many ways. Students were able to individually design a bridge using certain materials and keep to a budget. Students then worked in a group to design and create a bridge they could all agree upon. It was awesome to see their creative thinking, problem solving and teamwork skills. Hopefully, your child has been talking to you about the bridge project and how their bridge turned out. If you would like to see a collection of the bridges they are on display next to the PK classroom.