This Week’s News

Students had last Monday off in honor of Lincoln’s birthday, and students have another three-day weekend in honor of President’s Day/Washington’s birthday, so this coming Monday is a holiday from school.  Enjoy the extended weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day!  To learn more about the history of Valentine’s Day, where it is celebrated, and the origins of its celebration in our country, click here. You can learn more about Lincoln or Washington and how they received special holidays by visiting the calendar on this site.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, as you are by now aware, sixth grade is a different beast, a transitional year, where new traditions are started. Valentine’s Day is no exception. Students will NOT be exchanging cards or candy. As part of our Healthy for Life advocacy, we celebrate Valentine’s Day by focusing on the heart.

On Tuesday, February 16, the class will spend the day engaged in heart healthy and enriching activities: jump roping for heart, exploring heart mindful thinking, learning about the anatomy and physiology of the heart, and eating a moderately healthy treat. Additionally, students will have the second in their “Day in the Life of a Vet” presentations, where  students learn the results of the tests they have chosen to run and discover the dog’s actual diagnosis.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 22

This week would be a good time to check your child’s classwork and homework. It should be neat, complete and easy to understand. Ask her/him to explain one of the problems he/she have recently done in class that he/she enjoyed doing. If the work is incomplete or difficult for you to read, you might want to check the work more often or talk to your child’s teacher for additional ideas on how to help.

For Students:

Read Carefully

When reading math problems, mathematicians read slowly and look for details.  Take it one sentence/idea at a time and break it down as you go. Reread often to help clarify.



This Week’s News

As you know, last week students completed and presented their free choice reports and projects on Wednesday. The projects were creative and the reports were informative!  Students researched a variety of topics, from box jellyfish, Pompeii, drones, ballet, fly fishing to the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the effects of cigarette smoke. Be sure to check the project results page to see photographs of the three-dimensional projects.

The current long-term project is a poetry anthology project.  For this book project, students will be reading a poetry anthology, which is a book of poems.  The poetry anthology may be a collection of poems by a single author or a collection of poems by many authors.  For this project, students may not choose a Shel Silverstein poetry anthology. This project is a chance for students to become familiar with new poets. If a student is a fan of humorous verse, I can assist in choosing an anthology by a poet or poets similar to Silverstein. Additionally, if the poetry anthology a student chooses is extraordinarily long, we will determine together how much of it the student will have to read.  After reading the poetry, students will be writing a critique of the book, which includes listing the author, title, and number of pages, as well as writing a brief summary of the book and rating the book from one to five stars, with an explanation of the rating.  Additionally, students will be creating a booklet of figurative language and favorite poems.  Students should be taking notes, or bookmarking pages, as they read so that they have strong examples of figurative language and favorite poems. Lastly, students will select one poem of at least twelve lines from their anthologies and memorize it. Students will recite this poem the day the project is due Wednesday, March 2.  Directions were provided in class and are also available here.

Next Tuesday, Dr. Matthew Carter of Central Animal Hospital will help students solve a “medical mystery” with the help of a demonstration dog and owner who will roll play his pretend symptoms of disease. Petaluma Animal Services will bring three instructors to conduct the class. The demonstration dog is a child-friendly, certified Canine Good Citizen animal. There will be an opportunity for the children to interact with the dog if the children are not fearful or allergic and if the children maintain a calm state around the dog. The dog will be under the constant supervision of the handler and the instructors. As part of this presentation, students will try to diagnose the dog by listening to its symptoms, choosing which tests to run to make a more certain diagnosis, all while staying within a prescribed budget.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 21

In recent years, there has been significant research on how the brain is related to student learning.

Each brain is unique.
 Behaviorally and cognitively, emotions run the show.
 The brain is highly adaptable and can change.
The brain rarely gets it right the first time. Instead we make rough drafts of new learning.
 Humans are social/emotional learners.

As a result of this research, we need to look at how information is stored in the brain. Memories are stored in different parts of the brain and have different durations. Short term memory lasts approximately 30 seconds. Working memory lasts up to 20 minutes and long term memory can last much longer if we practice what we learned. Because we want memories to last long term, we need to know how to move content into long term memory. Content must be understood and have meaning. In order to retrieve information accurately and completely, we must look at how it is stored in the first place, not how we study it later. Sometimes we can improve our recall of information by doing a cross-lateral movement, such as tugging on the left ear with the right-hand. This research is significant because it connects to the teaching strategies used in a CPM classroom. Spiraled topics and mastery over time are both substantiated by what we have learned about how the brain stores and retrieves information. For more information about brain-based learning, go to Brain-based learning.

For Students:

Think First

Use a quick Think-Ink-Pair-Share in your team each day this week.  It will help you think about a problem individually first, before sharing as a whole team.  You’ll bring more ideas to the table.

This Week’s News

Each year, the yearbook includes a commemorative collage of all sixth graders in the form of “then and now” photographs.  Therefore, the yearbook staff has requested baby picture submissions from each sixth grade student.

Submissions may be made in three ways:

  • print out the photograph, place it an envelope labeled for the yearbook, and turn it in at school
  • upload to eshare, using the school coed: OECS
  • email the photo to Ms. Borchard or Ms. Williams, who may also be contacted should you require additional information

All photos are due by Friday, 2/5.

CPM Tip of the Week for Parents

Week 20

In the CPM program instruction is differentiated by the way students approach problems. Theorist Jerome Bruner states that the ideal progression of activities for learners is to go through the enactive stage (this would be using concrete materials– integer tiles, algebra tiles, models including computer-generated ones, etc.), then the iconic stage, in which students draw pictures or use mental imagery developed from their experience with the concrete materials, and then move to the use of symbols to represent the concrete. In a CPM classroom students are allowed to move on to the iconic and then the symbolic stage as they are ready, while the physical models remain available for those who need them.

For Students:

Use Appropriate Tools Strategically

Determining when to use a calculator, draw a sketch, or use technology is important in mathematics.  Think about your prior work to figure out which tool to use.  A tool should help you strengthen your understanding, not just give an answer.

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