6th Grade Life

Vikan Middle School

Archive for September, 2014

Week of 9-15-14

Outdoor Ed. Meeting and More…

Plate tectonics fun!

Plate tectonics fun!

We had a full week of learning. Reading responses were turned back scored and with feedback. Students know what they need to do in order to get better. In science, Monday was spent learning more about plate tectonic movement by getting dirty with graham crackers and frosting. We also had out first class discussion based on the book Volcanoes by Seymour Simon (ask your child about it!). We closed the week with a great integration of science, social studies and math: students had to plot volcanoes and earthquakes on a coordinate grid using longitude and latitude coordinates. I have included pictures of all these fun activities in the Photos gallery. Our coming week promises to be just as fun, with interactive activities and more fun learning.

Please, please come to our informational meeting for our Outdoor Education trip! We will all be there and we hope you can make it too! Nate, from Covenant Heights camp will be there to do a brief presentation and answer questions. We understand that sometimes schedules get in the way of what we want to do. We will try to make the contents of the meeting available to those that absolutely can’t come. However, it is to your benefit to be there and ask as many questions as you can. Thank you to those who have sent their RSVPs back to me. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible Tuesday night.

I am opening up the classroom at 8:00 am for students who want to come make bracelets, make signs and help with inventory for our Student Store. The store opens up Wednesday, so we are hoping to get everything done by Tuesday. All proceeds will go to our Outdoor Education Fund!

I have been so amazed and proud of our homeroom kids! They have come up with great ideas to help generate funds to our adventure. A special thank you to Dominic and Riley for their great ideas on quote books and friendship bracelets. Our kids are creative and hard working! They have been a delight to work with!

Lastly, we have made changes to the study hall times listed on the brochure. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, study hall starts at 7:30 am, not 7:15 am. We go until 8:15 am, and then students are free to either join their friends outside or go to the lunchroom to eat. I will try and change it on the website link soon.

Hope to see you Tuesday at 6:30 pm! Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt

Week of 9-8-14

5th Grade Gets Real!

Emma enjoying her book!

Emma enjoying her book!

Students were required to turn in a Reading Response on Friday. This was something that we worked on perfecting all week, and actually, part of the previous week. Every student was given a prompt sheet, and we developed a rubric for the responses together. My intention was to include students in the process so that they would be clear about quality. Students were reminded every day about the response due Friday. They saw models and we practiced what to do when Friday came and they had to turn responses in. I had a few not turn their work in, and another few brought their work but never turned the response in. When I told students I was getting ready to email parents, the few I mentioned got up and turned in their responses. Emails were sent, we had private conversations in the hallway, and we sorted everything out.

I mention this not as a problem, but as a reminder. It takes a little time for all students to adapt to a new routine, and requirements of a new teacher. It takes all of us being patient and helping our students thought it. The goal is independence, but until then, I am glad to remind and give more time.

Responses are assigned on Monday, and are due Friday. Your child’s next reading response is this Friday (9/19). This week, I will give small assignments in order to have students get in the habit of working a little bit at a time. This. hopefully, will create the habit of not leaving everything for the last minute.

This is what you can do to help:

1. Check your student’s IC account every week. Assignments are graded and missing assignments show up as such. This will give your child the opportunity to catch up if needed.

2. Take advantage of study hall times. Please click on our brochure link (on the right) for more information. This Thursday I had many kids who came to work with me at 7:30 am on Thursday. We got a lot done!

3. Encourage reading everyday. No excuses!

4. Check responses that have been graded. Look at the feedback given and ask your child for his/her plan for improvement.

5. We accept missing assignments for a week after they are due. Otherwise, it is a zero. Except in cases of illness,  students lose one letter grade if they turn assignments in late.

Developing these skills will help your child not only in 5th grade, but also in middle school. Students that keep up with their work feel confident and learn better!

In science, we spent this week touring Google Earth thorough a special program. We examined plate tectonics, plate boundaries, and consequences to the earth’s surface. It was fascinating! We will continue to explore changes to the earth’s surface through the movement of plate tectonics this week. We will move to volcanoes, earthquakes and mountains. As you can see, scientists do quite a bit of reading and writing! It should be another fun week of learning!

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt

Ready for our First Full Week!

Learning together!

Learning together!

I hope the weekend brought you and your family time to relax and enjoy each other. As you prepare your child for the week ahead, please read on for a few ideas for success:

1. Encourage your child to read everyday and write on their  planner everyday. Students should know what to write on their planners by now, but if they need a refresher, please refer to the big, white sticker on the first page of the planner. Students are expected to start the day at school by sharing their reading from the night before with a student at their table.

2. You should have received a letter about Edmodo. We use Edmodo for a variety of things. I have been placing quick videos in the science room in order to build students’ understanding for future lessons. Ms. O’Brien has been using it quite a bit also. We review comments daily and hope to establish good digital citizenship in our students.

3. In science, we should be done with our Layers of the Earth poems tomorrow. This means that we have the understanding necessary to move on to plate tectonics. This will be the concept we will explore in science for the rest of the week. Your child might have told you that we have 21 iPads every other week (I wrote a grant for 10, and our wonderful PTO gave us the other 11 iPads). This is our week to have iPads, so I have planned on fun lessons that integrate technology.

4. Have you checked Infinite Campus lately? There are grades entered for your student!!!! Please make this a part of your weekly routine. Checking Infinite Campus will help you to keep up with how your child is doing! If you need help with your child’s IC password, please call the office.

We are getting better and better with routines and transitions. Students are able to move from room to room without forgetting things. Distractions are getting  minimized more and more, and learning is happening everyday! Thank your for encouraging such great students who come to school ready to learn!

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt

The Importance of Reading

Researching the layers of the Earth

Researching the layers of the Earth

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend with your family. We spent a calm weekend, enjoying a hike and a cookout. It is always wonderful when the whole family comes together…!

As you prepare yourself and your child for the week ahead, please consider one of the most important things your child can do: read! Reading is the anchor to everything we do in the classroom. Reading will open doors for your child that connect to learning in all subjects. We encourage reading by the following ways:

1. We make time for reading in the classroom everyday (but Wednesday). This is a time where kids are quietly reading independently and I am walking around meeting with as many students as I can. I take notes on our conversation and encourage students to move forward with their reading. I make suggestions of books and try to get to know your child better, so that suggestions are actually a good fit.

2. We make it possible for students to read at home! I have eliminated all homework, except for reading. It is most helpful if your child can read or be read to for at least 20 minutes. More is always better!

3. We have created the 40 Book Challenge in hopes that your child will feel motivated to read as many books as he/she can this year. I am doing the challenge myself, and model what I do everyday for the kids. I have seeing more interest in books and more initiative from kids to read great books.

What you can do:

Please make reading the number one most important thing for your child. Create time for reading. Read alongside your child. Talk about books that your child is reading. Make time to visit the library (weekly would be great!). Ask your child how she/he is doing on the 40 Book challenge. Reading takes a commitment nowadays… we have quite a bit of competition from video games, movies and other distractions. I don’t advocate that kids shouldn’t be doing all of these other things, but let’s not forget reading. Good readers are not geniuses – good readers read a lot!!!!!

As I continue to teach literacy through the lenses of science, we will focus our energy on poetry this week. The students and I will be writing poetry from the perspective of one of the layers of the earth. This should be a fun and exciting time for us as we work together to demonstrate our science skills and knowledge in creative ways. From that we will dive into plate tectonics, and all of the consequences of plate movement on the Earth.

I look forward to seeing all students again tomorrow!

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt