6th Grade Life

Vikan Middle School

Archive for November, 2013

Week of 11-11-13

Leaving a Legacy…!

A little outdoor fun!

A little outdoor fun!

There are many ways for our fifth graders to leave a legacy at West Ridge. One way is what we did this week: we sang, presented and shared about cells with 4th graders. I had not thought about the fact that this activity is a way to leave a legacy, until one of my students commented on the fact that she couldn’t believe it was finally “her turn” to do the presentation to the 4th graders. She remembers my class last year going to her class and doing the same thing she was going to do. This was exciting and humbling to me, and it sure gave new meaning to all of us!

All students did a marvelous job creating their cells. They had to work together, decide which candy would represent what, create a key and practice a speech. They all did a fabulous job! Our students also sang their hearts out… and most knew the Cell Song by heart! I was very impressed…! I took many pictures, and have added them to the Photos tab, so make sure to check them out.

We had two days of lively conversation, reading and discussion about the Silk Road, 1434 China and exploration (ask your child about NOT being like 1434 China!). The reading and conversation pushed some of our students to think deeper and harder. Sometimes this is an uncomfortable process – me pushing them, asking them why again and again, until we go deep enough and answers make sense. However, this process will help students in the future. All future tests (starting next year) will be based on applications of skills. Students will have to USE the skills and information they learn, and many times they will have to do it in groups, so learning to get along with other is very important. Students will not do well on these tests unless they have time and opportunities to work on thinking. The good news is that the more we do this, the better we get! I already see much progress in all students, and am excited to see where they will be come May 2014!

Lastly, Friday is our last day together before Thanksgiving break. We will have the Turkey Trot race and all parents are encouraged to come cheer the “little turkeys” on. The races will start at 2:45 pm and 5th graders will be last. Let’s hope for good weather!

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt

 

Week of 11/04/13

Cells, cells and more cells!

Cells Table Races!

Cells Table Races!

In an effort to learn about cells, we have many activities planned. We have read and reviewed articles. We watched rap videos and fun songs on youtube. We have been singing (with me playing the guitar) the Cell Song, which we will perform to the 4th graders next week. We will continue to read, and next week we will create edible cells (check with your child about what he/she needs to contribute for the project). But perhaps the most fun we have had was playing Tables Races. Let me give you a glimpse of the fun:

Imagine 23 5th graders, running (oooops… I mean “walking fast”) up and down the steps. As they walk, they repeat “weird ‘ things like Mitochondria, and Vacuoles… They run out, run back in, share information, and then another kid runs out. It continues until one of the groups fills out the whole sheet. This is called “Table Races”. It is high energy, requires teamwork and strategy, and it is pretty much perfect for a group of energetic 5th graders. It is not something I do to “teach” information. But it is such a fun game to reinforce or review information. One of the keys to learning is tackling the information students need in various forms. They should read, sing, act out, draw, create, etc. Table Races is one way to layer the information I teach. Oh… and having fun is also a component of learning. And the game is certainly fun! I invite you to go to the Photos Tab and check out some shots of the game. Fun and engagement!!!!!!

As stated above, we will present to 4th graders on Wednesday. This is a kind of rites of passage, since some of the 5th graders this year were recipients of the presentation this year. But this year we get to be the ones presenting! How fun!! Students will create their cell models out of cookies and candy and come up with a “speech” to share with the 4th graders. We will also sing our cell song. We are all very excited and can’t wait for Wednesday.

Thank you so much for the donations of lysol wipes and lysol spray. We are set for a few months now!

Thank you so much for sharing your children with me,

Ana Marlatt

 

Halloween Party

Hello November!

The whole crew having fun!

The whole crew having fun!

November has finally arrived. It seemed to me the heat was never going to leave us… but we finally feel a chill in the air, and we continue to have to pick more and more leaves in the yard. With the chilled weather comes the possibility of colds, and I have caught my first one of the season! After fighting it last weekend, it finally took over, as it always does, and I ended up with a bad sinus infection and no voice by Thursday! I felt so bad I was not myself at our Halloween party! These parties, in my opinion, are to be enjoyed, not endured, and this one, I had to endure. I was not able to manage the kids as I like, and by the end of the day, my voice was completely gone. I decided to stay home the following day and give my body a chance to heal (specially my voice).  I feel better today, and I am confident I will be back to normal by Monday.

Inspite my troubles, the kids had fun during our Halloween party. They costumes were fun to watch. They did dance to Thriller, and had lots of goodies to eat. Thanks to all the parents who sent delicious food and drinks to all!

I was disappointed I could not be there with the kids on Friday. I had planned to show a Marco Polo movie, and was looking forward to the possible discussion and connections from the kids. The movie was a great way to wrap up our learning of Marco Polo and the Silk Road, which starts our Explorers unit. I hope they enjoyed the movie and snacks I prepared and left for the sub.

Next week we will dive into plant cells and we will compare them to animal cells. We will end our cell study by making edible cells and presenting to the 4th graders in Ms. Knudson’s room. Please check with your child for a request for candy. I will be baking giant cookies for the cell project, and I am counting on you to send the candy and frosting for the organelles. From cells we will go on to body systems.

We have lots to look forward to in the months to come, including our NWEA testing in December. It will be good to see each child’s growth and score, and even though it is only one test, it does give us a picture of how the kids are doing.

I urge you to practice cold-fightng strategies with the kids. We are in very confined quarters every day, and colds start and pass around easily. We clean surfaces twice a day, and I spray lysol spray on everything once the kids leave. I also try and crack a window open for air circulation… but nothing beats hand washing and covering hands while coughing and sneezing. It is sad to see kids suffering with a head cold, and they end up missing a lot of school.

Speaking of Lysol, would you be able to send either a container of lysol wipes or a container of lysol spray to school with your child? We are running low on wipes. We are also running low on  cap erasers.

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt