Sunday, December 7, 2014

Studying Egypt


This week students completed their study of Mesopotamia by taking a quiz. Then we were off to Egypt looking at its geography and creating maps. We will be studying Egypt over the next month. Students will learn about important pharaohs, hieroglyphs, and mummies. They will also have a couple of writing projects during this unit to practice informative writing for testing this spring.

This Thursday, Dec. 11th, a map of Egypt is due. Please make sure that your student completes it and turns it in.

Below are pictures of students working on iMovie projects in Flex class.








Saturday, November 22, 2014

Underway in the Second Term

We are several weeks into the second term and learning about Mesopotamia, "the land between the rivers" or modern day Iraq. Mesopotamia is considered the "cradle of civilization". Students have learned that we can thank this early people for many things: laws, government, the sixty-second minute, the plow, and even the wheel. We will continue our study for the next week or two by looking at the Akkadians, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians.

In Flex period we have enhanced our understanding of early settlements by discovering the importance of water sources. It is hard for civilizations to develop if they are not located near a water source. We looked at the statistics of water issues around the world. This week we'll see a video that discusses the importance of Portland's water source, the Bull Run watershed.

Below are pictures of students discussing laws and situations that might apply to Hammurabi's Code of Laws. Hammurabi's Code is considered the first great legal document.





Saturday, November 1, 2014

Finishing Strong


Next week marks the end of the first term. Students will finish it by having a geography unit test. Then we will start our discovery of ancient civilizations. Before we start our study however, students need to first understand how time is measured. So we will discuss timelines, B.C., A.D., B.C.E., and C.E.

This last week students completed world maps, and did review for the test next Tuesday. Amidst all the hard work, they took time to have a Halloween party and on Friday some dressed up in anticipation of trick-or-treating.

Below are pictures of students in their costumes. (And some teachers too!)




Sunday, October 26, 2014

End of the Term is Quickly Approaching

It was great to meet with parents and families this last week for conferences. I can hardly believe that the first term is almost over. I really think that students are finally becoming 6th graders. As we come to the end of the term there are some assignments that parents should be aware of in Social Studies. First, this week students need to complete a world map that will be due on Wednesday, Oct. 29th. There will be some time available in class on Monday and Tuesday to work on it, but students will need to work at home to complete it on time. Hopefully, you have noticed them working on it. Second, there will be a comprehensive geography test next week, Tuesday, Nov. 4th. Students should be preparing for that test now. We will go over a study guide this week, however reviewing concepts and skills everyday will help prepare for the test.

The second term begins November 12th. We will then begin our study of ancient civilizations by first determining what is needed for early settlements to develop and a civilization to be created. The first actual civilization we will look at will be Mesopotamia, or ancient Iraq. This is usually all new for students, but also exciting for them.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Continuing Geography


We are continuing our study of geography. This week we discovered the 4th theme of geography, learned about elevation and contour maps, discussed articles out of Jr. Scholastic, and applied the third theme of geography by reading about the coral reefs. That was just in Social studies. In Flex we worked to discover famous land features around the world, like the Grand Canyon, the Matterhorn, Mt. Everest, as well as the Everglades.

We have about four weeks left until the end of the first term. Coming up Oct. 22nd-23rd are parent/teacher conferences. Letters should be arriving soon for you to schedule a time to come in to meet with your child’s teachers. Please make sure to send it back to your student’s Hawk Time teacher since appointments are scheduled through Hawk Time. As for homework this week, students will be having a quiz, Thursday, Oct. 16th, over the five themes of geography. Please remind your student to prepare for this quiz by studying for a few minutes each evening..

Below are pictures of students looking up fantastic land features around the world.




Sunday, October 5, 2014

The One Month Mark


It is hard to believe that we have already been in school a month. Students seem to be settled in and familiar with classroom routines. Our study of geography will last about another month and then we will be on to studying ancient civilizations.

This last week students learned how to measure distance using map scales, and we considered the third theme of geography, “Human-Environment Interactions”. This means that students learned construction of any building has an impact on the environment, and that the environment has its impact on man. In relation to this students learned the history of some famous landmarks of the world.

Since we have to share computer time with other teachers and classes, we will pause in our practice of keyboarding skills. However, students can practice at home and I hope that they will continue to this. However, I hope to be able to find some open time in labs to be able to practice typing skills again here at school.

Finally, this week students participated in the school jog-a-thon. Pictures below are pictures of my Hawk Time students preparing their poster, and other activities related to that event, including students running.
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mastering Map Skills and Keyboarding

Students are underway in practicing map skills. This week they practiced latitude and longitude, and learned about the first two themes of geography. The themes of geography are one way that geographers organize the study of the earth. In all, there are five themes that are used to help understand the world better. The first theme is "Location" and answers the question "Where is it?" This theme focuses on using the skills of latitude and longitude, as well as defining directions. The second theme, "Place" answers the question "What is it like there?" So this next week students will define about 30 landforms, ones that will be important in our study of history. Then they will have a quiz over the landforms on Thursday. Defining landforms will help students to describe what a place is like.

During Flex periods students also began practicing another skill, keyboarding! We will be in the computer lab about three weeks to help them hone in on this important skill that will help them to complete Smarter Balance testing in the spring. I wish we could spend longer in the lab, but we have to share time there. However, students can access the program from home if they would like more time to practice.

Below you will find pictures of children practicing their keyboarding skills.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beginning Our Study of Geography


We have completed the first real week of school and I think students enjoyed beginning their study of geography. We first looked at hemispheres, and defined the equator, as well as the prime meridian. Then we discussed the importance of grids to help us find places. Students seem very comfortable using alpha- numerical grids, lets hope they become as comfortable with latitude and longitude.



This next week we will practice latitude and longitude, and will learn about the first theme of geography: location. Some students will find little difficulty using the global grid, while others will struggle a little with this very abstract concept. Honestly, I believe understanding latitude and longitude is somewhat developmental, and we will continue to practice it throughout the year.



Below are some pictures of students ripping the shape of an assigned continent and researching facts about their continent.




Monday, September 1, 2014

Seahawks 6th Grade Social Studies



 Welcome to Mrs. Bigelow’s blog for the 2014-2015 school year. I hope that you will become a frequent visitor here. By visiting this site you can know what assignments your child will have in Social Studies, see what is happening in class, as well as view some student projects. Some things you might want to consider as the school year begins:

  • Please help your student be prepared for the school year by supplying them with needed school materials. (You might want to also consider scheduling a date a few months down the road to resupply your student since supplies do run out.) 
  • Please establish a regular evening routine, with a scheduled homework time and a reasonable bedtime. 
  • Make sure to look over paperwork (I know this can seem overwhelming, but it really is necessary), including picture day instructions, emergency forms, and Google Docs permission pages. When student forms are complete and turned in it makes life flow smoother in school for your child. If you have any questions about the forms, please call the Hazelbrook Office, 503-431-5100. 
These are just a few things to keep in mind, and I will try to inform you of others as they arise. I have two calendars you can access to see when assignments are due. A Google calendar is the tab titled “Calendar” and a second calendar that prints well is located at the “Important Links” tab. You might want to bookmark or subscribe to this blog to make it easier keep up with what is happening in my classroom.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

End of the Year is in Sight


With the end of the year fast approaching, we are studying the geography of Latin America, and the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas. This week students completed a map of Mexico and Central America. Combined with reading about the Mayas from the textbook, they now have a good understanding of these early Mesoamerican people. We also had fun this week celebrating the Mayas and the Aztecs by having a Chocolate Day. These two cultures discovered the virtues of the cacao bean and even used it as currency.
This next week students will be examining the culture of the Aztecs. The Aztecs built Tenochtitlan, a beautiful amazing city, years ahead of European cities at the time. The homework for this week is a reading assignment entitled “Aztec Religion”. Next week students will need to complete a large map of South America as we begin a study of the Incas. Students can also expect two tests at the end of the year, one over the geography of Latin America, and another test over the cultures of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas.
Pictures that follow are of students working on their Mayan stelae and enjoying Chocolate Day.










Saturday, April 26, 2014

Winning War Lords

We ended our War Lords of Japan simulation on Wednesday with some real intense battles between teams. Winning student teams worked very hard to achieve the role of Shogun, often by taking work home for the night to earn them extra moves. I was also very impressed with students who knew the facts on their background essays. They were tough to beat because they learned their Japanese history and were ready for face-offs with opposing teams. I am so proud of everyone, and have to say this year's simulation was one of the best. (See pictures of the winning teams at the end of this blog.)

This coming week students will have a unit test over China and Japan on Tuesday and then we will start into our final unit for the year. We will finish the sixth grade year by studying Latin American geography and learning the history of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas.

Below are pictures of students who won the War Lords of Japan simulation.





Blue Block Winners: C. Van Meter, H. Velazquez, E. Gomez, E. Guttierrez, and V. Solis.
(Absent at the time of the photo was E. Ruybalid.)

Red Block Winners: E. Elder, C. Carteno, K. Crook, K. Portscheller, L. Gonzalez, and R. Hernandez

Green Block Winners: R. Meyer, M. Hundtoft, S. Strode, M. Estrada, W. Van Bax, and E. Badaracco

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Learning About Japan

Students are studying the history of Japan by participating in a simulation called War Lords of Japan. They compete in groups to become the Shogun of Japan by taking daily quizzes over history background readings and completing tasks. It can be very exciting and fun to do. Usually everyday I find students plotting their strategies in front of the large map stapled to the bulletin board that serves as the game board. We will complete the simulation this next week and students will then prepare for a unit test that will include China and Japan.

Pictures below are of students in different blocks participating in War Lords of Japan.