Instrumental Music 6 (Introductory and Advanced): Instrumental music students will continue their work to develop good tone (nice sounding notes!) on their instruments in tandem with improving their ability to read music. The work of learning their instruments will continue to happen individually and in small groups. Our weekly face-to-face meetings will be used to deliver new content and develop our ensemble community as we learn and support each other. We also will be utilizing the study hall time for more personalized instruction and feedback to support each student as they progress.
Acting 6: Sixth grade acting is continuing their work on group storytelling with adaptations of classic western fairy tales. Through this process, we will focus on the basics of character creation, including vocal and physical characteristics. We will also explore the construction of stories generally and the deconstruction of stories from a theatrical and acting perspective.
Vocal Music 6: The 6th Grade Choirs have just completed Unit 1: Fundamentals of Reading Music Part 1. This unit concludes with Test No. 1, which covers concepts such as the staff, the grand staff, ledger lines, line note vs. space notes, the music alphabet, and identifying ALL notes on the grand staff. As we move through October/November, students will continue building their music vocabulary and concepts of music theory as we begin virtual choir rehearsals, in preparation for a Virtual Winter Performance. These rehearsals will include: building vocal technique, breath management, awareness of alignment, sight-reading, and rehearsing choral music (in large groups and in small groups).
Art 6: In 6th grade visual art, after finishing our exploration into some of the earliest forms of art with our Animal Cave Drawings, we are now deep into our three part comic project. Students started with character design, where they created a character that they then had to render from multiple points of view, challenging them to conceptualize form in space. This led into narrative sequencing, where they invented a storyline and explored ways to convey their story using just 3-5 frames. Currently we are laying down the final rendition with an eye for the Chinese concept of Notan. We will eventually ink it all in and post it to our Sourcebooks - our online studio journal of sorts.
PE 6: The students began October with the focus on our Physical Fitness Unit. Besides all the great exercises and cardio work that the students are doing they will also be learning about the different fitness concepts. They have learned how to find their pulse, keep track of their heart rate and work to make sure that their cardio workouts are in their Target HR Zone. F2F classes will now begin to have students in small groups to do their cardio workouts together. This should increase the social part of class for the students, something that we are not able to get while we are in a big group together. Our next unit will be on Muscular Strength. We will focus on doing a variety of exercises that will work on improving upper body and lower body muscular strength.
Health and Wellness 6: Students began October by reflecting on the power of gratitude through the creation of a “gratitude sunburst.” We’ll spend this month building skills related to living in community, with a focus on addressing teasing (both online and in person) and genuine apologies. Students will have a chance to engage in role plays and will consider what it means to be an “upstander” as opposed to a “bystander.”
Science 6: In October, students shifted from learning measuring skills using the metric system to starting to understand the fundamentals of scientific investigation. Students have been introduced to the concept of independent and dependent variables, control groups and constants. Students have engaged in carrying out simple at-home experiments in order to practice identifying variables in student-led experiments. Students will continue to practice using these as they are asked to conduct more challenging and in-depth experiments at home. Toward the end of the month students will begin to learn about writing hypotheses and procedures. From there, we will begin learning new content: local ecology. Students will be introduced to the idea of abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem, and will then use their scientific investigation skills to carry out ecological experiments in their homes, backyards and neighborhoods.
French 6: During the month of October, we will pose the question, “What is the francophone world?” Students will learn about the many countries and regions outside of France that are rich with French language and culture. They continue to build skills with dialogue videos, build on how high they can count, and are also tackling the alphabet & spelling aloud. Students will learn about formal and informal registers. They will memorize and perform a dialogue later this month. In November, we will practice how to invite someone, accept or refuse invitations, and give an excuse. We will discuss teens in France and texting. Continuing with inquiry about the francophone world, students will read about Sub Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, and they will learn a song about a French singer’s Cameroonian heritage. As we wrap up the final lesson in Unit 1, their first unit exam will likely be at the end of November. They will show what they’ve learned with vocabulary, culture, and introductory grammar concepts. Also in November, students will likely start a fan favorite—The Great Cognate Search! They will approach the questions: “Do English and French share a lot of the same words? Why is that?”
Chinese 6: In October, we focused on learning Chinese characters’ pronunciations based on the pinyin (initials finals) and four tones. We started our first lesson which covers greetings and say goodbye, address people by titles, change statements into questions and also recognize singular and plural forms of personal pronouns. For the month of November, we will continue learning how to greet and introduce ourselves in Chinese. We will work on asking and answering questions pertaining to age and count from 0 to 100. For grammar pieces, students will learn ye to indicate sameness. For the cultural piece, students also learned about the special meaning behind each number for Chinese people. Final project for Unit 1, students will create role plays with all the sentences they have learned in the last three lessons. Students will have a unit test for the first three lessons this or next month and after that, we will move on to Unit 2.
Spanish 6: While the Alfabeto has faded from our routine, we will continue to practice writing and spelling. We now have a basic foundation for being polite and asking and providing the date in written and spoken skills. In October, we are working on numbers up to 1,000 and telling time as well as the weather. We will create our own personalized daily schedule in Spanish as well as learn about Día de Muertos celebrated in México. As part of this, students will make paper flowers called “Cempasúchil” (marigold) and sugar skulls to help decorate our MS “altar.” Finishing chapter 1 near the end of October we will introduce the pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, y’all, they) which many students already know. November has us diving into significant grammar. We will be introducing and working on the verbs SER and ESTAR. This is a very tricky area because they both mean “To Be,” but are used in specific situations. Combining these verbs, we will be using many adjectives. Also, we will learn how to form questions and answer them in complete sentences. This will lead us to interviewing each other. Later in the month we might get to working on our family tree. Supporting all of this we will be singing a couple more goofy songs; “¿Cómo es ella?” and “Hoy es domingo.”
Technology 6: The 6th grade tech students have been looking at VR and AR (virtual and augmented reality) content to trigger their creativity as they begin to create projects using a variety of content creation apps like CoSpaces, Scratch, and Swift Playgrounds. We will practice with these apps in late October before diving deeper into the larger, more complex projects that the students have been preparing.
Pre-Algebra Prep 6: We have just finished up the first half of chapter 1 and are about to embark on our study of number theory looking at prime factorization, least common multiple, greatest common factor and then will determine in what kinds of situations to apply these different concepts. We will also do a fraction skill review unit. Extra “fun math” for concept extension will include problem solving problems called problems of the week which are ironically posted biweekly and “24 puzzles” as well. Both will be posted on the google classroom. My fingers are crossed that we also work in a couple days of more open-ended problem solving.
Pre-Algebra 6: The pre-algebra students will launch their next unit of Prime Factorization with The Sieve of Eratosthenes. Using prime factorization they will learn to calculate the GCF (greatest common factor) and the LCM (least common multiple) of two or more numbers. After a review of powers and exponents, and order of operations the class will dive into all operations with fractions and mixed numbers, followed by all operations with decimals. Once the students are secure with fractions and decimals, they will begin exploring algebraic expressions and properties.
Humanities 6: This October, in Humanities, we are writing our first story. We started this journey by sharing some of the major turning points in our lives with our “timeball” oral storytelling tradition. Afterwards, we chose one memory to “explode the moment” and will describe in detail a story that changed us personally. Students will peer edit and practice giving and receiving feedback as well as making revisions. We are also continuing to explore the elections. Students selected “issues of interest” within the election that they feel passionate about and have also investigated a little into how to check to see if a story they find on the internet is factual. We will continue to follow the elections and dig into media bias as well as the Electoral College in the weeks to come.