Sixth Grade Regular Math:
As the first trimester comes to a close, the sixth grade math class is getting used to a new vocabulary in math. To the old familiar words such as add, subtract, factor, and product are added new words such as expression, term, simplify, and evaluate. We are moving into concepts necessary for algebra and beginning to think of letters in math problems just as unknown values. Dealing with signed (positive and negative) numbers and remembering to apply the order of operations are now daily operations and will continue to be part of math for the rest of the year.
In the new trimester, we will learn how to solve equations and deal with inequalities. By the end of December, students should be able to graph inequalities on number lines and recognize the difference between “10 and over” and “over ten.” We will also have a practical math experience with catalog shopping, showing how math is needed in everyday life.
Sixth Grade PreAlgebra:
The sixth grade PreAlgebra class is also dealing with variables and expressions but will be moving quickly into equations of all sorts, both one and two step equations. By the end of December, the PreAlgebra class should be comfortable solving even the most complicated linear equations. We will learn how to graph inequalities on a number line and also on a Cartesian coordinate system. We will look at ways inequalities are used to make informed decisions in the business world.
The PreAlgebra class will also be participating in the international Math Olympiad. This is the first year that Barnesville has fielded a team and I am very excited about this activity. In the Math Olympiad, sixth grade students have the choice of considering themselves the highest elementary class or the youngest middle school class. About half of the PreAlgebra students have opted to join each group. After the official test day for the Olympiad, we will have the opportunity to share results and strategies for using math to become efficient problem solvers.
The PreAlgebra class will also participate in the catalog shopping project near the end of December.
|Social Studies |
Our examination of the earliest civilizations will take us on a journey to Mesopotamia and the “Big Three”…Assyria, Babylon, and Sumer. Unfortunately, when we arrive, there is much unhappiness in the “cradle of civilization”. As the students soon learn, the god, Enlil, is fed up with the humans. Just like the Grinch, he has had it with their NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! In his frustration, he has decided to wipe the entire species off the face of the earth! Anyone for a good flood?
Is the human race destined for extinction, doomed before they ever see an Ipod? Horrors! Maybe, just maybe, those clever humans can convince him to change his mind. How, you ask? How about presenting Enlil with a Brag Book, one that chronicles, in words and images, all the amazing accomplishments of the people of these societies? It might just work! It is now up to these 6th grade humans to create an album to present to their cranky god that will change his mind and earn a reprieve. Will they succeed? We won’t know until the albums are complete!
After shaking things up in November, we will turn up the heat in december. It is time to take a look at volcanoes! We will learn how volcanoes form and how they are related to earthquakes. Did you know that there are different types of volcanoes? Some of them do not even look like volcanoes. We will discuss the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Hawaiian Islands, and Iceland. (Those sound like wonderful field trip locations). Is there a difference between lava and magma? Ask a 6th grader.
|Language Arts |
And so it was....
This month we will integrate our Language Arts and Social Studies programs as we read a variety of stories from ancient times…from the first known epic, Gilgamesh, to a variety of origin myths from different cultures around the world. Always fun, we will examine the role of storytelling in early cultures and create our own myths to explain events in the natural world and how the world began. While often humorous, we will nonetheless examine the purpose and nature of these stories and reflect upon them as an expression of man’s need to understand, bring order to, and influence his natural environment.
Two’s Company, Three’s A Crowd? ---Don’t Believe It!
During the latter part of November the students have been introduced to a powerful strategy for writing, for speaking, and for organizing….the power of three! There is something special, maybe even magical, about the number three. It’s everywhere; indeed, it’s omnipresent! ("omni ", meaning “all” or “every”. Great vocabulary root to learn. Couldn’t resist!)
Think about it. Lights! Camera! Action! Ready! Aim! Fire! Friends, Romans, countrymen…!
Once you start, it’s hard to stop! But more importantly, it is a very effective strategy for the children to use in their daily schoolwork. Often students feel overwhelmed when they are first given an assignment. But think how much less daunting the task becomes when you approach it this way. For any topic, think of 3 points you might discuss, or 3 subtopics, or 3 sources you might use. Suddenly, it becomes much more manageable.
It will take time and repetition, but we will use this approach whenever we can. The great part is that it arises naturally so often. We have already discussed the fact that an introductory paragraph has three parts, there are 3 parts to an essay, and within that essay there should be 3 supporting paragraphs in the body.
In the writing process, we will also utilize this strategy. For example, during the revision stage, I might ask them to find three “weak” verbs and replace with more “vivid” ones, or I will ask them to experiment with 3 different types of lead sentences for their story.
No matter the application, three of anything is a finite, “doable” amount. Having an end in mind and knowing what is expected builds confidence and independence. Students with these qualities are far more likely to succeed in their personal and academic lives. I would encourage you to use this strategy at home. Remind them to use this strategy. Suggest they break study time into 3 shorter periods, and if you are reading over a piece of their writing, compliment them on 3 word choices, or 3 different aspects, and limit yourself to 3 ideas for improvement! ?
When you start looking, you’d be surprised how many “3’s” there are all around us! I must warn you; once you begin to pay attention, it’s addictive!
|Language Focus |
Students are reading short stories and responding to questions in the form of short answer, paragraph and poetry. Practice continues in the area of oral reading to improve fluency. Vocabulary building and activities to improve critical thinking skills are part of daily class warm-ups.
|Physical Education |
This month the sixth grade spent time exploring their heart rate. They participated in a variety of exercises and analyzed how different situations change their heart rate. They are currently working individually and in small groups to improve on their volleyball skills. They are working on serving, setting, spiking, and different combinations of the skills in preparation for different games. They are going to continue to work on their skills and progress into badminton.
October has been a busy month for music students. The introduction of the guitar has yielded great results. The students have learned a simplified version of the C, G7 and G chord, as well as a full D7 chord. Piano instruction continues to reinforce the music theory needed for guitar as well as other musical applications. We are in full swing of practicing for the Holiday Show. Be sure to mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 7:30pm as the Middle School will delight you in selections to enhance your holiday season.
The sixth graders just finished learning about Sumerian art and their work is hanging in the art hallway. We are now beginning a long unit dealing with mythological animals. Each child researched an animal trying to find as many cultures as possible that used the animal in their mythology. Next the children will learn a watercolor technique to copy an image of one of the animals they researched. They will then use a colored pencil/watercolor technique to create their own mythological animal which they will also model out of clay.They will share a cultural myth about their chosen animal with the class and they will makeup a myth to go with their imaginary animal which they will also share with the class.
This month sixth graders have been reviewing about spanish speaking countries and learnign about the family. We talked about their families and about hispanic families learnign new Spanish names.
Students where asked to describe their families using new vocabulary such as "only child, big and small family etc"
Sixth graders are also practicing for a dance celebration " Hispanic Herritage month on October 15th.