Sunday, January 30, 2011

End of the unit test and using the iTouch in the classroom

This week is the end of the second term and the end of our study of Egypt. We have had fun learning about famous pharaohs, pyramids, mummification and Egyptian culture. However, we are looking forward to Asia. Asia is the largest continent with the largest population, and some interesting philosophies to consider. Upcoming will be the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Great Wall, great Chinese inventions, not to mention the uniqueness of Japan. It is an exciting unit of study.
Last week we tried something new. We used the iTouch to practice pronunciation of African countries and to look up new vocabulary. This generation is definitely a technology generation. The kids couldn’t wait to get their iTouch and read the assignment. (Our school has a cart containing about 24 iTouch devices that were purchased for the District with a grant.) I have never seen the students so excited to read. I was able to have two classes use the devices, but the third group missed out because of the 6th grade party. My, but they were disappointed to be left out. However, we will use them again. Enthusiasm was definitely high!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winding Up Our Study of Egypt

We had a busy, but fun final week of our study of ancient Egypt. Students worked hard to complete a timeline of important Egyptian events. In the second half of class the children also performed some read aloud plays about Egyptian pharaohs and myths. They enjoyed acting the parts and I think we might have some budding actors or actresses.
This next week we finish the Egyptian unit by reading about Nubia and Kush, two African kingdoms to the south of Egypt. These kingdoms interacted very closely with Egypt, and also produced some important black pharaohs who ruled during the 25th dynasty. We will also examine some of Africa’s geography as well.
Student homework this week is a reading assignment about the life of Nelson Mandela. Since there will be no class time allotted for this assignment students will need to work on it at home.
Below are some pictures of the kids working on their timelines and acting out the read aloud plays. My apologies to Blue Block. It seems I forget my camera at the beginning of the day and finally remember it after lunch. I promise to try to do better to get pictures of that block taken and posted.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Week of Royal Coffins and Persuasive Writing

Phew! It has been a very busy week. We made mummy cases for a royal pharaoh or queen, and finished writing/typing our persuasive essays. I have to say I am very happy with student work. Writing a persuasive essay is not simple, but most students were able to state their opinion and present facts to support it. Plus they learned that there are online websites for them to use to complete a bibliography. In the coming years there will be plenty of sources they will need to cite for reports and projects.
We are quickly coming to the end of our unit about ancient Egypt and to the end of the second term. How time flies. The year is basically half over. I am telling students that they are halfway to becoming seventh graders. There will be a test over ancient Egyptian history and culture on February 1st.  As usual, we will prepare for the test by going over a study guide and playing a review game.
Below are some pictures of students working on their mummy cases. I also got a few shots of some students with their completed project. It is a fun project to do.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Royal Names

A cartouche is an oval that royal Pharaohs of Egypt used to display their names. Only Egyptian royalty used these name plates. So, last week we read more about hieroglyphics and then created our own cartouches. The writing of Egyptian hieroglyphics is very beautiful, and I think the children did a great job reflecting the beauty of this artful writing. The pictures that follow this blog show the work students did last week.
I want to remind parents that this next week students (in periods 2, 4, and 7) will finish their persuasive essays they have been working on since December. Class time will be provided for them to type up their essays, but it would be convenient for students to have flash drives so they can also work on their papers at home. This writing assignment is good practice for next year when students will be tested in 7th grade on their writing skills.
We are back in the routine after our winter break. I see a lot of growth since the beginning of the year. The next couple of months I will notice that students are becoming more like seventh graders.  They also tend to get a little more forgetful of assignments. As parents, please be sure to follow up and check eSIS to see if your child is keeping up.   

One final thought. Over break I was able to post a couple of powerpoints some students created at the end of our geography unit.  Check out the link above for "Student Work". I hope to be able to put up more work that students create.