6th Grade Life

Vikan Middle School

Archive for November, 2014

Week of 11-17-14

Thank you!

Writing Thank You cards!

Writing Thank You cards!

It was a pleasure to watch the kids write thank you cards for people in our building with such ease. Most picked a previous teacher to write a thank you to. A few picked the lunch ladies or the bus drivers. We used quotes and beautiful illustrations and I enjoyed reading what the kids wrote from their hearts. Tomorrow morning we get to express our gratitude by delivering the cards to all of the people we chose. It is always a special time. I hope we have added gratitude to our students’ daily thinking… not just for this month.

We also worked very hard to research and create our cookie cells (see all of the pictures on the post above this one). Friday was a busy and loud day, but we got the job done. Tomorrow our class will present to Ms. Simpson’s class. It will be lots of fun and we hope to leave a lasting impression for every 4th grader who will soon become a 5th grader!

Upcoming events:

* The PTO-Sponsored Turkey Trot will take place Tuesday at 2:45 pm. This is usually a really fun time for all. 5th graders go last.

* I have given feedback to all reading responses. As indicated in a previous email, I will give the responses back to everyone tomorrow. I will KEEP the responses and give them back to students Monday, December 1st. A final response is needed on Friday, December 5th. I encourage all final responses to be typed. If you can’t print it at home you can always email them to me. I am glad to print them for your student.

* There is no school Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. However, Tuesday is our final day to take our NWEA tests. Please send your child to school that day so he/she won’t miss our regularly scheduled test time (unless they are sick, of course).

* We find out Tuesday how many of our eggs will be chicks! We also get a visit from a retired embryologist from the University of Montana. Our kids will get to ask questions about the eggs and possible chicks to a real expert! We might as well call Tuesday Egg Day! We will be exploring eggs and making some connections with the cells we just finished studying!

On a final note, I am very thankful to you… Thank you for your support and for advocating for your children. Thank you for helping your child stay on track, read at home and for sending your child ready to learn every day. Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt

Body Systems Coming Up!

Our class incubator

Our class incubator

We have eggs! On Wednesday, 4-H finally came with our incubator and 18 fertilized eggs. As we start looking at the  interconnectedness of body systems. we will have the privilege of observing the cycle of life from egg to chick. Well, at least that’s what we are hoping. The eggs will be candled on the 25th and we will the find out how many chicks we should expect. It takes approximately 21 days for the eggs to hatch, so we are looking at being able to observe the chicks until we go home for Christmas break.

We completed our studies of weather. We ended with the water cycle, and an important question. I asked the students what the connection was between water and gratitude. Do you know? Ask your student for the answer…

Completing the Water Cycle

Completing the Water Cycle

Talking about gratitude, we continue to explore gratitude this week. By discussing quotes and infusing the idea of gratitude in everything we do, we are getting better at this. I hear a lot of “thanks yous” for the little things: holding the door so the class can walk out… getting the lunch basket… picking up something off the floor… More and more I hard the students say thank you and NOTICE places to show gratitude. That is aways a joy for me to witness.

We will have a reading response due Friday. Due to the fact that we only have 2 days of school the week after, the reading response due Friday will be a final entry, not a draft. Your child is welcome to bring a draft BEFORE Friday so I can give them feedback.

Please watch for a request from me going home tomorrow. We will decorate cookies as cells for a presentation to 4th and 5th graders next week. Please send the requested item no later than Wednesday.

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Preparing a dramatic reading of "Water Dance"!

Preparing a dramatic reading of “Water Dance”!

Ana Marlatt

Week of 11-03-14

Reflections on Gratitude

Reflections on Gratitude

Reflections on Gratitude

November is traditionally the month we intentionally think  about gratitude. It has been a tradition of mine to do this at school as well. Even though we are all familiar with the idea of giving thanks, we seldom take time to reflect, write, share and act on giving thanks. In our homeroom, we have been using quotes, music, videos and activities to activate students’ thinking in this area. Last Friday, we discussed the quote “Gratitude is the memory of the heart”, but Jean Bapitste Massieu. After some discussion, I asked for each student to spend time making a list of things they are grateful for. I gave them 7 minutes, while music was playing. Once we were done, I challenged the students to circle one significant item on their list that they could not buy at a store. I told them parents and family are a given, so they could choose a different item if they wanted to. I asked them to write their word on the white board around the quote. The results were beautiful. Not only the words were beautiful, but also the students’ attitudes were very touching. I believe this activity provided time and a framework for kids to think and consider what they are grateful for (see picture on this blog entry of the white board with their words…). The intention is to do this twice a week, and end our reflections on gratitude with one final activity. We will be choosing one special person at school (excluding me or their other 5th grade teachers) they are thankful for and writing them a note. We then deliver the notes as a class. It is usually a very touching activity and I am looking forward to it! It is such a privilege to be able to talk and discuss important ideas like this with our students!

Science News: We continue working on Weather. Please check the fun pictures of our Air Pressure Lab. We had a lot of water everywhere, but it was definitely worth it. It is very hard to teach these abstract concepts without hands-on activities, so I usually opt for activities to engage students in learning the standards. After these fun activities, it becomes easier to go to reading or writing activities – which are also necessary to build strong scientists. We will wrap weather this week and move on to cells next week.

A Note About Reading Responses: In an effort to help students take advantage of the feedback we give students on their reading responses, we (Ms. Donabella, Ms. O’Brien and I) decided to take two weeks to allow students to complete their responses. So, it looks like this: Your student brought a reading response last Friday. On Tuesday, I will give the response back to your student. He/she will take the response back, use the feedback to make their response stronger, and turn in the same response (but better) the following Friday. This final response is the one we will grade. We will do this for a while until we feel students are grasping the concept better and are able to understand the feedback on their own. Please help your student type his/her final response draft. The standard for 5th grade is that all students are able to type a 2-page paper by the end of 5th grade.

And speaking of weather… It is hard to believe cold weather is coming our way, but it is true! Please look for those gloves, hats and boots. Unless the weather is extreme (wind, or heavy rain…), 5th graders usually go outside no matter what. They only have one recess a day, so we usually try and take them outside and brave the cold.

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt

 

 

 

Halloween 2014

Many Thanks!

November is the month of gratitude, and I am glad to do our first website entry for this month with a word of thanks. We have much to be thankful for!

First, a huge thank you to Susan Neef and her organizational skills. She organized our Halloween party and it was tones of fun. I have posted pictures of the party so make sure to go through them! Thank you to all the parents who came and brought fun things for the kids to enjoy. Thank you to the parents who came and ran games, brought goodies, or just hung our with their child. Thank you for taking time out of your day to be a part of what we do in the classroom!

Thank you to all of the wonderful parents who joined us for Outdoor Ed. It really is hard to find the words to express how much I appreciated all of the efforts.  Nate, the director of Covenant Heights told us that many times he has trouble with parent volunteers. Our parents were perfect! He told us teachers it is rare to get a group that was so hard working and dedicated to kids. THANK YOU!!!!! You made us look good! 🙂 But most of all , you were there for our kids…! Some of you did not take the trip, but you helped by fundraising, baking, preparing, etc. Thank you!

On Thursday, the students and I spent the day sharing memories and talking about our experiences. I asked them to think about their lives before outdoor ed, and their lives now. We talked about small victories, and how the time there changed us. I was delighted to read students’ ideas of how they have been transformed and grown because they were willing to take risks. For some, the zip line (which we ended up doing because Water Ecology had to be closed due to weather) was a huge challenge. For others, the simple act of loading the bus and leaving home was the challenge. Either way, we all challenged ourselves, and in that challenge, we grow. I will compile all of the students’ accounts into a book. The memories will be there for years to come.

We are slowly going back to our routines. On Friday, we started reading about the famous Warren Fadley, Storm Chaser. This will be the end of our weather studies. We will end with a discussion on weather chasing (benefits and downfalls) and good decision making. From weather we will move to Body Systems. This is a great unit full of fun activities all kids will enjoy. We will start with cells (human and plant) and move on to different systems in the human body. We also started a new Read-Aloud (Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper). Lastly, all students will be working on a writing project in Ms. O’Brien’s class. She will be helping kids learn how to write good arguments based on a math theme.

During the month of November, all of our quotes will be about gratitude. We will read, watch and discuss what it means to be grateful. We will also have opportunities to put our words into action with a great and touching activity (stay tuned…). November will fly by!!!

Please continue insisting on your child reading everyday, as much as possible. Reading is really the key to everything. Starting Tuesday, I will again check planners to make sure kids are reading and engaging with text at home – the only homework I insist on!

Thank you for sharing your children with me!

Ana Marlatt