"What? Aaaaagh! Your teacher must be a madman!" grumbled the parent.
"Hahahahaha," chuckled the teacher. "It's all a part of my secret plan to ruin their lives in one fell swoop!"
Greetings, sixth grade families!
Things around here have been quite busy with conferences and the launch of new, large, academic projects! Thank you for showing up to your conferences on time and prepared to ask questions. If we haven't met yet and you can't remember when you signed up (or haven't signed up at all, yet) please check the schedule here:
Science Fair- A Fair Start for AllWell, it has begun! The science fair is here to stay (until January)! I have posted a timeline of due dates on my blog, here: http://chpcs6thgrade.weebly.com/science.html and attached a copy of the checklist file. Print out an extra copy to keep at home, as students must have each step signed by a parent and myself to receive credit for their work.
As of right now, all students need to have done is chosen a composition notebook to use for the science fair. If this will be difficult for your family, please let me know and I can help your child acquire one.
By Monday, students should have identified their science fair question. It must be approved on this day, as well, because by the end of next week they should have completed their background research to determine the viability of their proposed experiment. Here is an outline of Science Fair due dates and in-class activities:
- Get Science Fair Notebook - Was Due Thursday, October 30
- Get Question Approved - Due Monday, November 3 (This is Next)
- DONE IN CLASS: Visit the computer lab to do some quick background research - Tuesday and Wednesday, November 4 and 5
- Conduct Background Research - Due Thursday, November 6
- Turn in Project Selection Form - Due Thursday, November 6
- Turn in Materials and Procedure - Due Thursday, November 13
I know this process can be very confusing. It is my first time going through this, so I may overlook something. Please feel comfortable e-mailing me to ask for clarification.
Novel Writing- A Novel Idea
We have started planning for our novels! This is a very exciting time in 6th grade, as it may be the only chance we get to really engage in creative writing. This is a lengthy project that will last into December, so it is crucial that parents understand the process!
We start out with two weeks of preparation. This is a planning stage that models, clarifies, and guides students in creating characters, conflict, plot, setting, dialogue, etc. Students are given preparatory assignments that well help them be ready to write when I say, "GO!"
So far we have worked on and been assigned the following:
- Create characters- Use the character questionnaire to flesh out 5 significant characters in your novel.
- Create conflict- Determine what the central conflict will be in your story and why it exists and how it impacts your antagonist and protagonist
- Outline plot- Figure out and summarize key plot elements including background story, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution
We will work more on plot and setting this coming week. Over the weekend students should work to pull together the three elements mentioned above. They should not have started writing the story yet- just planning!
Next week we will also set word-count goals. These goals will drive us to use our in-class writing time to its full potential. Our launch will be next Thursday, November 6th. I anticipate continuing to write until December 4th. At that point we will call it a wrap and turn our attention to editing.
I know this process can be confusing and overwhelming for some. Please feel comfortable e-mailing me to ask for clarification. More information about this project is being added to the blog, here: http://chpcs6thgrade.weebly.com/writing.html
Daily Homework- New Blog Page
I will be making an effort to update a homework page on my blog each evening. You can think of this a sort of back-up, electronic planner. You can access it on our website here: http://chpcs6thgrade.weebly.com/daily-homework-assignments
Final Exams Week- Study Skills and Test Skills
Here's where the panic may truly begin to rear its ugly head! This coming week we will be taking content tests and quizzes to assess student understanding of some of our recent units. Instead of giving them a lecture about how to take tests and hoping they remember it later, we will be practicing, analyzing, and discussing multiple test and study strategies that we can immediately implement! Here is a testing schedule for this week:
- Monday- Study and Test Skills Lesson, followed by Scientific Method Quiz (short, maybe 10 questions)
- Tuesday- Mythology Q+A, followed by Mythology Exam 1
- Tuesday- Geography and Cartography Quiz (short, maybe 10 questions)
- Wednesday- Greek and Latin Roots Quiz (short, maybe 10 questions)
- Wednesday- Plate Tectonics Exam
- Thursday- Ancient Greece Exam (our longest, most extensive exam- students received study guides a week ago)
Remember that students will be given time to review, reflect, and discuss these topics in class. Please don't panic with them!
Additional Field Trip in May- Pine Mountain Observatory (for astronomy studies)
In May we will be studying astronomy. We have an opportunity to travel to Eastern Oregon to visit the Pine Mountain Observatory near Bend! This would be a two-day, one-night camping trip. We would depart school in the morning, head to PMO, set up camp (tents), explore, use the telescopes, talk about astronomy, and head back to school the following morning. I am hoping for some parent questions and feedback on this potential trip. Our possible dates are Wednesday, May 20th through Thursday or Thursday, May 21st through Friday.
Potential Class Pets?
Many students have expressed an interest in having a class pet. I have had many kinds of classroom pets in the past and have enjoyed what they can contribute to classroom community. Do any of your children have specific allergies to any animals? Please let me know so that I can make an informed decision!