In advisory this week, we were so lucky to have our own school’s mindfulness expert (and Judaics teacher!) Laura lead some sessions around managing stress with our 6th graders. She and the students discussed how their bodies respond physically when they feel stressed, how to manage these mental and physical feelings through mindfulness-related strategies, and more. On Friday, students practiced some of these strategies, including deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. We hope that these conversations and mindful practices will help our 6th graders manage anxiety in their academic and social lives.
-Mike and Naomi, 6th grade advisors
This week we continued in our Chumash text, learning about how Moshe grew up and ended up killing a task master leading him to run away from Egypt and eventually marry Tziporra in Midian. This action packed section is being translated and verbs are being identified. We are then chunking the text into scenes and students will be choosing different ways of presenting them using different modes of art as well as kushiyot (text based questions) and commentary. We are also working in tefillah on leading prayers such as Baruch Sheamar and Yistabach. This week we spent our Wednesday tefillah talking about Anti Semitism. We looked at which sections of the Amida connect to our prayers around anti semitism. We discussed how prayers can help us process difficult news as well as motivate us to action and feeling hopeful.
We are starting off the new year in 6th grade with new ELA and Social Studies units. In ELA, we have just begun reading Mildred D. Taylor’s classic novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This powerful historical fiction book exposes readers to the Jim Crow era South, when African American families endured prejudice, poverty, and racial violence. We’ve now met the main characters — the Logans, a poor farming family in Mississippi. Throughout the story, the Logans struggle to hold onto their small plot of land, and more importantly, their dignity, sense of independence, and control over their own lives. We’ve also started learning about the historical context of the book, and we’ll continue to discuss the Great Depression, segregation, sharecropping, and other relevant topics. Importantly, we’ll also use the book as a lens through which to examine current events and discriminatory attitudes today.
In Social Studies, 6th graders have moved on from ancient Greece to another powerful and influential civilization: Rome. To begin, students are reviewing map skills as they learn about the geography of Rome the city, the Italian peninsula, and the whole Mediterranean area. Just as we did with ancient Greece, we’re drawing inferences about life in Rome based on geographical features and climate. In addition, students read two different origin stories about the founding of Rome: one mythological story featuring gods, violence, and glory, and one more historically accurate version of events. As a class, we came to the conclusion that Romans might have celebrated their magical origin myth in order to feel pride and excitement about their empire’s beginnings. In that spirit, we wrote our own, original and creative myths about how New York City was founded. Students’ myths addressed questions like: Why are there five boroughs? Why was NYC established on the Hudson River? Why do we have a subway system? Why are there so many rats? Why are there tall buildings? Etc. The students enjoyed writing their own stories and sharing them with the class — celebrating our own city’s beginnings just as the Romans took pride in theirs.
I hope you have a relaxing weekend!
Happy New Year! It has been great being back in the classroom and hearing about all the wonderful things happened over break. The 6th grade has started a new chapter that focuses on Ratios. We have been surveying the class for examples which has been fun. Next week we are going to start on a Ratio choice board. Each student will get to choose 3 out of 9 different activities that are related to ratios and rates. I love this project because it really lets their creativity shine!
It has been a pleasure to see your children back in school, well rested and re-energized.
This week in the 6th grade, we have been working hard on a written and spoken composition comparing our lives to the lives of people who live in the desert. Next week I will share the video with you.
I wish you a relaxing weekend,