Dear Martin Families:
As the first trimester ends, we begin to look at goals for each child, taking ownership of our learning as students, and what skills are needed to master in preparation for middle school and beyond. Many students have chosen focus as their biggest goal: striving to find the perfect spot in the room where they can work despite the noise around them. As much as we try to keep things quiet, voices carry, particularly when there are 33 of them in the room at any given time. Please talk to your child about their goals for this trimester and if focus is one of them, ask them where they work best and what strategies they use when they no longer are able to focus in their "best" spot.
Academic expectations increase as well. Students have spent most of the first trimester learning non-fiction reading strategies. These strategies include identifying text structure, writing summaries of short pieces of non-fiction text, and using text evidence to support both of these standards. To maintain these vital literacy skills, we introduced the Article of the Week (AoW) in December. Students will choose an article linked to a google doc in our google classroom each week. They will read that article and then submit a short response that requires attention to all three of these standards. As the year continues and new strategies are taught, the Articles of the Week will begin to have prompt questions in which students will also have to provide an opinion and then defend their thinking. All of these skills are a pivotal part of sixth grade curriculum and are life skills needed for success in middle school and beyond.
Writing units have taken a backseat lately as we've spent so much time in non-fiction text, however, during December and January we will be revising and editing some research done for science and creating a Cause and Effect Essay on Endangered Species. Some students will have to brush up their research skills and spend time seeking out more information to complete their projects.
Speaking of projects, we will be immersed in a rather lengthy project for Social Studies the last two weeks before break. Physical Features of our planet will be studied as students created shared resources and then brochures of a physical feature of their choice. When we return in January, we will start to examine the difference between Hazards and Disasters and the conflicts and cooperation that accompany them. This leads into another huge research project as well.
When we return from Winter Break, Iowa/CoGat testing begins. It usually takes about 2 weeks to complete this battery of assessments that are given each year to sixth graders in Livonia. These scores are used to determine placement next year for MACAT and also for Advanced Classes. Many of my students this year have shared that this is a desired goal. The best way to prepare is to be rested and ready. Testing is generally in the morning, but fits in where ever we have time due to specials and other curriculum that still needs to be taught. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.
Important Dates to Remember:
Dec 23rd-half day
Dc 24-Jan 8 Winter Break
Jan 9-School resumes
Jan 10-Iowa/CoGat testing begins
Thank you for all that you are doing to support your child and help them become successful learners and leaders. Please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.