6th Grade Advisory:
In advisory this week and last, we’ve engaged with several important topics: Stress at school, how to communicate with a team, and how to respond to tricky social situations.
To address some high levels of homework anxiety, Mike Noll and I (6th grade advisors) invited students to share time-management strategies with their classmates. We also discussed the importance of prioritizing, asking students: How do you know which assignment to work on first? Second? Last? Etc. It would be helpful if you continued discussing time-management strategies with your children at home! We’re lucky that in a few weeks, our school’s own mindfulness expert Laura Marder will visit our advisory periods to talk more about strategies to reduce stress.
During another recent advisory meeting, we practiced teamwork. Students participated in the “Marshmallow Challenge,” which required them to build the tallest freestanding structure they could with some string, tape, spaghetti, and a single marshmallow. Students were required to communicate with their small groups — assigning roles, sharing building strategies, and compromising.
Lastly, we spent another recent advisory meeting examining tricky social situations and potential responses. For example, what should we do if someone feels excluded from a get-together or from a lunch table? What if someone is not invited to a text thread, or what if someone feels that a classmate is not being so nice on social media? Feel free to ask your child about the social scenarios we talked about in school. Ask how they would respond in those situations, and why?
All the best,
Naomi and Mike, 6th grade advisors
In ELA class last week, we began a unit on narrative writing. Students practiced writing about emotional times in their lives and about “small moments” — short anecdotes that are compelling and significant. Next week, we will learn about “show, don’t tell!” and practice using descriptive and sensory details to reveal a situation clearly to our readers.
In Social Studies class, we learned about democracy in ancient Greece and compared it to our democracy in the United States today. In order to simulate ancient Athenian democracy, I staged a discussion about a future class party in which I only called on three people. I didn’t listen to anyone else, and I didn’t allow anyone else to share ideas or vote on proposals. Predictably, some students were quite annoyed that their voices were not being heard! After a few minutes of this, I revealed that actually, I was simulating the ancient Athenian assemblies (political meetings), which excluded several segments of the population: women, slaves, and foreigners. In the same way that only a small portion of the class could participate in our discussion, only a small portion of Athenians could actually participate in their democracy. I held another simulation the next day in order to demonstrate the differences between a representative democracy (like the American system), and a direct democracy (the Athenian system). It was fun and interesting to hear the students’ opinions on how ideal governments should be organized. Students have also come to understand that not all forms of democracy are the same. You might ask your children about the differences between a representative and direct democracy, and about which system they think is best.
As you know, we ended this week with a fun field trip to Far Rock Urban Agro-Ecological Center, run by The Campaign Against Hunger (http://www.tcahfarms.org/far-rock/). Photos of our trip to come!
It was so nice to meet you all over this past week at parent teacher conferences. The 6th graders just wrapped up Chapter 2, and this week we are beginning Chapter 3, which focuses on decimals. This chapter we will be turning the classroom into a restaurant, creating our own menus, and calculating tax and tip. It’s going to be a blast!
Students presented their Sukkot projects with such pride and expertise on the text! We are now fully into our Chumash unit on Shemot (Exodus). Students worked on some pre-translating materials. They looked at the big questions we will be asking ourselves like, “What makes a strong nation” and “Why are people threatened by others greatness”. We answered personally and looked at how the text was answering the questions. We have learned new roots and located them in our text. An exciting skill we are building in both my class and with Phyllis in Bar Bat, is the skill to ask kushiyot, text based questions. As students were translating they came up with really great kushiyot and we saw how Rashi and some other commentaries also asked similar questions. I look forward to continuing this exciting process with them next week!.
Students in the 6th grade have been hard at work! They have discussed their dream school, wrote an essay about it and gave a short speech. Next, we started discussing interesting places around the world, focusing on life in the Negev desert.
Students have started exploring DNA. Through the use of building models and interactive simulations, they have been learning about the core parts of DNA. Students built DNA using origami. They also learned about the four base pairs by building DNA with candy. This exploration will soon lead into discovering the power of genetics. We continue to have exciting times in science with our hands on activities.