Beginning Instrumental Music: We had a wonderfully-successful concert and are now on to new music. With new music comes renewed excitement, and also some frustration. We’re talking about how that frustration spurs learning. To that end, we’re talking about and modeling good techniques for practicing and moving through any new music hurdles.
Advanced Instrumental Music: We had a wonderfully-successful concert and are now on to new music. With new music comes renewed excitement, and also some frustration. We’re talking about how that frustration spurs learning. To that end, we’re talking about and modeling good techniques for practicing and moving through any new music hurdles.
Acting: The acting students are exploring the collaborative aspect of acting. We have been performing as solo artists, duos, and large groups, to examine the benefits and challenges of each of these variations of acting. The goal of this practice is to experience some of the foundational skills used in theatre; listening with intention to your peers, sharing your ideas thoughtfully and clearly, as well as learning to adapt one's own ideas to incorporate new thoughts or creative options. The students are also getting prepared to write their own adaptations of children's picture books, which they will do in small collaborative teams.
Vocal music: We will be taking time to fully evaluate individual and group performances from our recent concert. Students will look ahead to planning a song-choice project of their choosing for the end of the year. We are also starting fun new music for the spring that will give us opportunity to work on pop and Broadway-style singing techniques. Our music theory learning will include combining the rhythm and solfege skills that we have learned and applying them to sight reading practice.
Art: In 6th grade art, we just finished a multi-step project that started with a compositional collage which the students then traced to create a reference. This reduces the complexity of the collage images to simple lines. The tracing is then used to create a larger scale final drawing that the students can choose to finish with pen and ink or watercolor. We are now moving into our comic unit where the students begin by designing a character that they then must draw from different perspectives. Next week I will give a lesson on composition and sequencing a story in comic panels.
PE: Birdies are flying everywhere at SPARC. The students are currently involved in competitive games of Badminton. I am impressed with the improvement that all the students have made during the badminton unit. A couple of the classes are still in the process of finishing up their Fencing unit. Tennis will be our first unit in April - hopefully the weather will be nice so we can be outside.
Boys' Health and Wellness: A three week partner research activity, which includes slides and an oral presentation, has been our major work in March. This project allows students to dive deeper into a topic of interest connected to units we’ve done this year so far. After this we will begin our two-week unit regarding puberty and human development. As always, an important part of our program is continued practice of mindfulness.
Girls' Health and Wellness: A three week partner research activity, which includes slides and an oral presentation, has been our top priority for a three week time period. Girls got to choose any of the topics we have studied so far. Thus, they are learning which particular foods are best for you, how media affects one’s self-esteem and image, what the deal is with gluten, among other questions they had. After this, we tackle the all-important theme of puberty. As always, an important part of our program is continued practice of mindfulness.
Science: During March and April, students will focus on their science projects. Students are currently narrowing down the focus of either a scientific question or engineering design goal. During the next few weeks we are also exploring various technologies in class, including micro:bits. Students are encouraged to incorporate these technologies into their projects, if they are inspired! Students will be put into research teams to delve into their projects. They will be guided through the process of making a materials list and budget, conducting background research and designing their projects. Data collection and construction of engineering design projects will take place in early April. Students will work on representing and analyzing their data in late April, as they prepare to present at Science Night, in May.
French: For March and April in French class, students are learning different ways to talk about the classroom, shopping for school supplies, asking for what they need, and talking about prices and how much things cost. They will talk about classes and learn how to use adjectives to describe things. They will also learn how to tell time in French. We will build an understanding of nuanced grammar structures, like the gender of nouns, plurality, and articles. French 6 students will expand their communication skills as they tackle three of the four major verbs in these two months. They will memorize another dialogue to perform in front of the class. We will continue to watch Tintin in intervals and will add an additional film in April - Howl's Moving Castle. I'm sure it will be as popular with them as Un Chat à Paris !
Mandarin: We will work on brush penship and learn some Chinese calligraphy techniques. This will begin with students’ practicing the basic strokes with brush pens on writing cloth. When they get good at controlling the brushes we will use real ink to write Chinese blessings to decorate the classroom with. We will also learn the unit on sports. The way we do it is to learn the vocabulary for sports first and then we will organize a mini-olympics. This will cover basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, pingpong, tennis, and some track and field events. Students will also learn to develop their e-lessons on quizlet.com. They will follow the CCTV Chinese learning series Growing up with Chinese.
Spanish: We are finishing our chapter on food and restaurants. Learning about some cultural differences around food and meals has been interesting. We are continuing to expand usage of all three types of regular verbs; -AR, -ER, -IR. Singing the song “Escribirte la canción” has been a challenge but some of us have gotten quite good at it. Next chapter will focus on family relationships and we will make and present our family tree in class. We will be starting to learn and work with irregular verbs like Tener, to have. Our next song “Echame la culpa” promises to stretch pronunciation skills. Also, we will look at some unique family celebrations in Hispanic cultures.
Technology: In addition to integrating Micro:bit programming in 6th grade science classes this month, students in tech class are researching topics of interest around the themes of digital citizenship: cyberbullying, screen time limits, cell phone use, recommended gaming and YouTube strategies and more. They are charged with creating a multimedia presentation of their work such as a podcast, iMovie, infographics or an interactive display.
Pre-Algebra Prep: We are finishing up our work with ratios and are relating it to the concept of percent which is really just a ratio with a denominator of 100! Following that we move onto all operations with integers where we will combine positive and negative values with earlier studied topics such as order of operations and the distributive property.
Pre-Algebra: The pre-algebra students are learning about writing equations in one variable and how to solve linear equations using inverse operations. Learning how to decipher and translate word problems into linear equations is also a focus this month. How to write, solve and graph inequalities is also part of this unit.
Humanities: Humanities students have been putting the finishing touches on their essays on Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy. Essay themes range from culture clash to women's rights to loyalty, and more. Ask your student to read her or his piece out loud for you, which is an ideal way to open a conversation about writing and critical thinking. Many have asked what our next book will be, and in this case, students will choose their own book(s) as part of our Spring Reading Challenge, which continues through March 21st. All students are required read at least one book during this time, and avid readers have the chance to read two (or more!), which makes them eligible for a special reading celebration in the library after Spring Break. Meanwhile, we'll be investigating the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia in class. Students will have the opportunity to pick a related topic that interests them, develop research questions, locate relevant information, and share their findings. Finally, we look forward to visiting fellow students at the Muslim Educational Trust on Tuesday, March 20th as part of our study of Islam. Please feel free to reach out to your child's Humanities teacher with any questions.
Library Skills: We will continue to learn skills related to analyzing the validity of a given website -- shortcuts and more in-depth approaches. We’ll also be developing skills to build up searches: search terms, search strings, as well as Boolean operators, to help students winnow their search results so they sift through less information. The students are also looking at the publishing cycle in news reporting to help them in their decision making process when looking for credible and relevant information when doing research.