Thursday, December 23, 2010

Researching Egypt

It has taken me a while to get this post in. I’ve been visiting my children and grandchildren who live in Utah, and life has been like a whirlwind. So to bring everyone up to date, the last week before we left for break, students (in periods 2, 4, and 7) spent three days in the library researching for their persuasive essays. In seventh grade they will be required to produce an essay on demand as part of state testing. It takes a lot of time, effort and practice to be prepared for that test, so we begin preparing in 6th grade. I am really proud of the way the children focused in the library to get the information needed to support their writing.
When we come back from winter break, we will continue to work on our essays.  The first week back we will focus on how to write the different parts of an essay: the introductory paragraph, the body or supporting paragraphs, and the conclusion of the essay. These rough drafts will be due Jan. 7th. Then students will have access to the laptops the second week of January so that they can type up their papers and bibliographies. Their final persuasive paper will be due Jan. 13th. I do provide a lot of time in class to work on their papers, but as always, if students cannot complete their papers in class, then they need to work on them at home.
Below are some pictures of students in the library. They really do like me to post their pictures. Once when the Red Block was researching in the library I forgot to bring my camera. I mentioned to a couple of the girls that I guess I wouldn’t have pictures of their group. TD looked up at me and said, “Go get your camera, I’ll hold down the fort!” So I quickly ran back to class, got my camera, and took their pictures.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pharaohs, Tombs, and Egyptian Geography

We are well underway in our study of Egypt. This last week students created maps of current Egypt, and then they became acquainted with some of ancient Egypt’s most famous pharaohs. These pharaohs liked to leave behind eternal remembrances of themselves, so we “visited” some important monuments that they built. Besides looking at the Great Pyramid of Khufu, we looked at Hatshepsut’s temple, Deir el-Bahri,  and Abu Simbel built by Ramses II.
Please be aware that students in periods 2, 4, and 7 will be researching for information to write a persuasive essay about ancient Egypt. He/she should show you the project and get your signature to turn in this Thursday. They will choose to write about one of the following prompts:
  • If someone could visit only one Egyptian monument before they died, what monument should they visit? Why?
  • Who do you think was the greatest Egyptian pharaoh and why?
  • Why would Egypt be considered an important civilization for study?
This promises to be a busy but exciting week as we go to the library and continue to learn about the unique culture of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
By the way, have a very safe and Happy Holiday Season!
Enjoy the following photos of kids reading about the geography of Egypt.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ancient Egypt: Up and Coming

Next week will mark the beginning of our study of Egypt. Students enjoyed looking briefly at Mesopotamia and had fun creating advertisements to sell real estate in antiquity. On the list to accomplish for our study of Egypt: maps, hieroglyphs, important pharaohs, mummies, and writing persuasive papers. Egypt is a fun unit and students enjoy learning some of the yucky secrets of mummification. Many of the ancient pharaohs really were larger than life, and made their monuments to last forever. During the next month-and-a-half, let your student share what they are learning about this ancient civilization.
Below are pictures of students sharing their advertisements of Mesopotamian real estate.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hammurabi's Code and My Thoughts of Thanksgiving

Students had an interesting experience this week learning about the Babylonian king, Hammurabi and his code of laws. Hammurabi’s Code is considered history’s first real document of law. Students read an article and answered questions about the discovery of Hammurabi’s stele. (A stele is a slab of stone with information commemorating some important event.)  The article was challenging for some students, but good for reading/writing skill development.
In a related activity students (in groups) were faced with different legal situations and had to put themselves in Hammurabi’s shoes. They had to decide what kind of justice they would administer if they lived during Hammurabi’s time. They were actually quite creative in their decisions and discovered that some of the laws for Hammurabi’s time were really quite progressive.
This week we will continue our study of Mesopotamia, but I’m sure most students’ thoughts will be more on the upcoming holiday. So with Thanksgiving in mind I would like to say I am thankful for the opportunity to teach your children. They are a great group of kids and seem to enjoy learning about a bunch of “dead people.” May you be blessed with a restful, and happy Thanksgiving holiday.
The following pictures are of students deciding what kind of justice to administer based on Hammurabi’s Code.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We Are Starting a New Term.

This week marks the beginning of new curriculum for students. We will be studying the “cradle of civilization,” Mesopotamia. These are the people who gave us the wheel, the 60-second minute, laws and the first written language. Yup, these “firsts” can all be traced back to the Mesopotamians. In case you don’t know where Mesopotamia is, we are talking about modern day Iraq. This will be our area of study for the next three weeks and then we will be on to Egypt. Students are usually very engaged when we learn about these early cultures because the curriculum in new and novel for them.  So be sure and talk to your child about the interesting things they are learning.
By the way, I have updated my background template so that parents can access the class assignment calendar from my blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

End of the First Term

Students completed curriculum for the first term Friday by taking the Geography Unit test. I was happy that they did well, with most students receiving B’s and A’s for their scores. This understanding of geography will help them as we study ancient civilizations for the next three terms. Next week we will look at how time is measured in history (B.C./A.D.) and then view the geography of Mesopotamia which is considered the “cradle of civilization” for western civilizations.
Since this is a very short week because of in-service, Veteran’s Day, and a grading workday, students will be full of anticipation and excitement as the holiday season nears. However, it seems our ancient world history holds their attention. It is new and novel for them. This term we will be studying ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and ancient Egypt. Sometime soon ask them what they are learning. I think it will surprise you what they will know.

Below are pictures of students hard at work thinking during the test.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unusual Classroom Visitors

We had some unusual visitors that showed up in the classroom on Thursday. Oh wait, that’s right, this week was Halloween! In spite of it all, we somehow managed to survive the Halloween party and learn something.
I took some great pictures of kids in costumes and will post them all. However, before I do that, I want to remind students that Friday of this week is our geography end-of-the-unit test. Students will receive a study guide that we will go over together in class, and then on Thursday we will play a review game to help prepare.
Finally, four students told me they saw my blog last week or left comments and so received five extra credit points. However, the extra credit points for that blog ended today. If you missed out on the extra credit, don’t worry. I plan on doing it sometime again. 

Our unusual visitors.  (Sorry, but you will have to scroll through them.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The First Term is Almost Over!

Parent teacher conferences went very well, and it was a pleasure to get to know students and their families.  As teachers we were able to see about two-thirds of all our students. I found the conference days to be fun and rewarding. Hopefully you did too.
It is hard to believe, but the end of the first term is just around the corner.  November 9th marks the last day of the term. We will be finishing this first term with a unit test scheduled for the 5th of November. That is just about two weeks away. I always try to review with the children the week before their test by going through a study guide and then playing a review game. Combined with some earnest studying, most students are able to do well.
This week students will be working to complete a large map of the world. They will be showing their knowledge of continents, oceans, important latitude/longitude lines, as well as important geographic features such as mountains, rivers, and deserts. It is a challenging assignment, but I provide some class time, and most students enjoy showing what they know about world geography.
Also, this week 6th graders will experience their first school party. It will be Thursday afternoon, during 7th period, to celebrate Halloween. Excitement always runs high, and it will be hard for students to focus. However, it is fun to watch this first rite of passage.  
Oh, by the way I am going to post just some random pictures of conferences and class shots. That way I can post more pictures of the kids.
Finally, I want to see how many students are actually looking at my blog. I will give 5 points extra credit to those students who post a comment or quietly come up and tell me they saw this blog post. :)

Happy conference faces. 

Random classroom shots.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Parent/Teacher Conferences This Week

This is a brief reminder for everyone that parent/teacher conferences are this week: Wed., Oct. 20th from 5-8 p.m., and Thur. Oct. 21st from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please sign up for a time with your child’s Hawk Time teacher.
Since this week will be short, I thought I would post more pictures of the students, and include a story or two that the children produced in the computer lab. Actually, the stories were an assignment that Mrs. Pattison had the children do, and we just typed them up to learn correct formatting.
Below are pictures of students in class looking up land features and some of students typing up their stories.
Blue Block

Red Block

Green Block

Thanks to AB and NK for allowing me to post the following stories:
Story 1 by AB
My Friend
            I heard the moving trucks as I glanced out the window. Then, I saw a nice family, and a girl about my age with dirty blonde hair. I went with my family to greet them. She was shy, like me and very nice. She was going to be in my preschool class with me! “ Hi, my name is Ashley,” she stated. We went over to each other’s houses a lot since they were across the street. Together we liked to play outside. We soon became best friends. We were even in a lot of the same classes together. Ashley is still my best friend now, and we always go to each other’s houses. We like to play the game sorry, do art projects, climb our favorite tree, and make berry smoothies. I still remember seeing the moving trucks and meeting my best friend.

Story 2 by NK
            I remember it like it was yesterday. Getting my dog of course. His name is Travis. I got him  when I was in third grade when he was only 18 months old, around Christmas. We got him at a breeder’s house in Washington State. I was so exited! We had already bought him a bed, some food, and some toys a week ago.
            When he was a puppy his paws and ears were humongous! They made him look so cute! Now though, he is very tall, and is extremely goofy. He’s got this little “bone- bump” on his head.  His very own dino bone! (:
            Getting him in the car was the easy part. He almost got carsick because he had never ridden in a car before. He fell asleep on me finally. As soon as we got home we took him outside in the backyard.
            Travis is bigger now and likes to give hugs. He eats, sleeps, and plays a lot. He slept for about a week after we went camping! I love my dog!