26 Sep 2014
Today, students had a guest speaker, Mr. Johnson, who brought ancient artifacts from the time of Early Humans. In addition to reviewing pertinent facts about each of the hominid groups students have learned a bit about–Australopithecus, Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, and Modern Humans Homo Sapiens, the presenter also had students solve a mystery about Ötzi the Iceman. Ötzi’s well-preserved body was discovered by hikers on September 19, 1991, in the remote mountains on the border of Austria and Italy. It was determined that the body was 5,300 years old. He was named Ötzi after the region in which he was discovered. During the presentation, the students’ job was to listen to evidence and solve the mystery of how Ötzi died. After learning about his weapons, clothing, and supplies that were laid out by his body, students determined that the most likely scenario was either that Ötzi had been traveling with a partner and both were murdered by an enemy group or that a political rival, perhaps Ötzi’s brother, murdered Ötzi to gain power. For more information, check out the following websites: National Geographic, The Iceman, and Living Relatives of Otzi.
In writing this week, students continued to practice new writing strategies, testing out what they learned by writing and revising more free verse poems. Each student chose another free verse poem to polish and publish on the website. You may view those pieces here. The students have made some excellent progress in being intentional in their line breaks and stanza breaks, as well as in their use of descriptive language and implementation of other writing strategies. Additionally, students practiced writing and identifying different types of figurative language, including metaphor, simile, and personification.
Students are continuing to read our first class core literature novel, Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. While reading this novel, students will continue to practice close reading to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it, citing specific textual evidence to support conclusions drawn from the text. Students will also continue to focus on theme, pondering the author’s message to the reader. Additionally, students will analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of the story and analyze the author’s craft and choices to assess how the author’s purpose shapes the content and style of the novel. Lastly, students will read informational text and poetry about the main conflict in the story, so that students may analyze how these texts address similar themes and topics in order to build knowledge and to compare the approaches of the authors. So far, most of the students are enjoying this novel because of its humorous vignettes and because they can relate to some of the key events. Ask your child to give you more details about the novel if you wish to know more about this fabulous story.
In math, students are entering the final phase of their unit on data and statistics. For those students wishing to review any aspect of the sixth grade data and statistics concepts or wishing for additional understanding, the Khan Academy Data and Statistics page offers tutorials about all data and statistics key concepts. In addition, the math games site has some activities to help students better understand some of the key data and statistics concepts. A few students recommend Fun Brain for more math games to reinforce concepts, and you can visit the resources section of the class website for additional math resources.