Instrumental Music 6 (Introductory and Advanced): The sixth grade instrumental ensembles will work on refining their sense of time/pulse through the use of subdivision. They will use egg shakers during the playing exercises to maintain the pulse and give tactile feedback about their sense of time. The class periods will also have a different seating arrangement each day to accommodate a growing sense of ensemble, and to encourage the students to collaborate with musicians outside of their sections.
Acting 6: The 6th grade acting students are starting out the month looking at how individual character choices impact the story, exploring that concept via improvisation and the construction of very short stories. We will also be in contact with the Lower School to see what books the K-2nd grade students are using so we can use that material as we start to formulate those stories to be presented toward the end of January.
Vocal Music 6: Ms. Phelps is excited to be back from maternity leave and working with amazing students! In December we will use traditional holiday and winter songs to explore melody, harmony, and rhythmic patterns. We are also putting these skills to use in learning a song that we will perform at St. Nick’s Chapel on the last day before winter break. In January we will begin a set of more formal concert-level music and focus on the fundamentals of theory and sight reading music.
Art 6: Students just finished sculpting their clay heads, and have now moved onto Egyptian Comics. Looking at character, narrative, written language, and scene, students will create their own comic strips by looking at Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs and contemporary comic artists.
PE 6: In the month of December, the 6th graders will be playing the sport of Speedminton. It is a fast-paced racket sport that is a combination of squash, tennis and badminton. The students will also be given their written semester project. The students will get to pick a sport or activity in which they are interested so they can do research and then write a paper on it. The month of January will start off with our unit on basketball. We will cover the rules and strategies of the game and also the different skills necessary to be successful at the sport. We will play a variety of basketball type games that will improve their skills and be lots of fun. The second round of fitness testing will also be done in January.
Health and Wellness 6: This month in Health and Wellness we will be exploring the power of words. We’ll begin this unit by establishing a shared understanding of vocabulary related to diversity, equity and inclusion. We will then discuss demeaning language that can impact the dignity of others and will offer students tools to understand and navigate hurtful language. Laura Todis will present details of the material in this unit to parents at Parent Partnership from 8:00–9:00 a.m. on December 3 or 7:00–8:00 p.m. on December 11, in the Middle School Library.
Science 6: In December students are focusing on learning foundational skills in science. Students will learn how to discern between independent and dependent variables. Students are also beginning to consider constants and will be introduced to the idea of a control group. Students are learning these skills in order to prepare for science research coming up after the New Year. Students will also test the nets they built in as part of an engineering and design project in EC3 last month in order to remove some of the mosquito fern bloom that has taken hold in the wetlands on campus. Lastly, we will be releasing the 180 salmon we have been caring for in our classroom, as they will soon become fry and need to be released into the Willamette River to live out the rest of their lives.
French 6: Students will learn to express how much they like and don’t like different activities. They will consider the questions, “Do people in the francophone world do the same activities we do?” and “What sports are popular in the francophone world? They will learn about major sites in Paris, the French origins of the Olympic Games and the Tour de France. We will study subject pronouns and will head into the exciting world of verb conjugation, starting with -er verbs, which is a key foundational concept this year and beyond. One structural goal will be to understand the difference between an infinitive and a conjugated verb, and when to use them correctly. Students will also begin to memorize the poem Chanson by Prévert, which they will recite mid-January. On their Google Classroom site, they can find all links to vocabulary flashcards and games with Quizlet. Fridays, we continue our tradition of watching episodes of Tintin.
Chinese 6: In Chinese 6 class, students will learn to identify terms for family members and their relationships and know how to exchange information about families with others. Students will inquire about and provide location and address in Chinese and express where you or others live. For grammar, we are going to learn about using possessive word 有, 的 and conjunction word 和. Also, we will know how to use the adverb of location: 在. Students will make a traditional-style Chinese book: Accordion Binding. Students will use what they learned to introduce their name, age, nationality, family members, school and the place they live. For the culture piece, students will learn about the story of Chinese Lunar New Year and celebrate it by doing paper cutting, writing calligraphy on couplets, decorating classrooms, etc.
Spanish 6: This December we are continuing to work with the tricky verbs ser and estar. We now have the basics of our grammar foundation on which to build. This month will have us more extensively creating our own questions in Spanish. Our focus for vocabulary and cultural learning is the family. We will discuss how different cultures view and interact with family. Also, we will make our own family tree, real or imagined, and then present them in class! Supporting all this will be a new song, “Hoy es domingo.”
Technology 6: The 6th grade technology students have just finished up their introduction to coding with the Micro:bits. They will now begin to pull all of the pieces together: finishing up the prototyping process, incorporating the hardware and coding elements, and then beginning to move towards completion of their design. Throughout this process the students will document their process and share out their code.
Pre-Algebra 6: Ms. von’s class: Students are wrapping up their lessons on algebraic expressions and properties and will delve into Chapter 5 and explore ratios, rates, and percents next. December will culminate with a percent project. In January, the students will begin Chapter 7 and explore using inverse operations to solve algebraic equations and inequalities. Having finished a review of fractions we have moved into work on all decimal operations. Ms. Seder’s class: We have been looking at why the rules for decimal operations work as well as practicing the related computation. We’ll finish up this unit and have several days to work on a less traditional math problem before break. If students like this type of problem, the optional problems of the week that I post on “classroom” are a good way to get more exposure to them.
Humanities 6: Gloria Whelan’s Homeless Bird anchors our work in 6th grade Humanities for the month of December. Students have already begun to explore the role arranged marriage plays in Indian society through the lens of the book. Close reading skills include identifying cultural clues and elements of literature as well as writing open-ended questions for in-class discussions. Students are encouraged to become leaders in the classroom through close reading and practice. Upon finishing the book, each will imagine the protagonist’s future in a short piece of writing based on their understanding of character, plot, and culture. There will also be opportunities to express their idea(s) visually using Indian artistic styles referred to throughout the book.