April 11, 2014:
I hope you have been enjoying Spring Break
with your children. As much as I have missed seeing
them this week, I am glad you are having the pleasure.
6th grade Field Trip - Tuesday, May 20
: I am in the
process of arranging a field trip to the U-M Campus, which will
include a docent guided tour of the U-M Museum of Art in
connection with the social studies curriculum. I also
expect to include visits to the Kelsey Archaeology Museum and
the Map Room on the top floor of the Graduate Library among
other stops. We will be going via city buses. With
nearly 60 students we need 4-5 parents
to help chaperone
(The museum requires one parent per small group). Please
let me know if you can join in.
Also that week I will be giving a presentation
five week Teacher Study Trip to South Africa
downtown Public Library, on Thursday, May 22
, from 7:00
- 8:30 pm.
Along these lines, I have been accepted for a three week teacher
this summer. The
theme, "Ahimsa: Teaching for Peace" is perhaps specially
relevant, as I am continually working to improve my teaching,
and finding positive ways to help students do their best.
I have been doing a massive amount of grading over Spring
Break: 7th grade Projects, 6th grade Math Tests, and
several other assignments turned in recently. Please have
your child check Power
and notify me on Monday or Tuesday of any
discrepancies. For missing work, the assignment MUST
be in hand. "But I turned it in" is not convincing
evidence of having done so; it's always a good idea to check the
"No Name" bin. 3rd quarter grades must be finalized by
Wednesday morning. I made it clear that last
Friday was the last day to turn in work - students had enough
notice on all assignments. Unless particular
circumstances warrant, I will not accept late work for 3rd
quarter, or will do so with a 50% late penalty.
We start the 4th quarter
on Monday, and we start a new
grading period - everything starts fresh. We are starting
new units as well, so it's a good time for everyone to get their
ducks in order. To begin with, students should
remove old and unneeded papers from their binders, and resolve
to keep everything organized and up to date. For the 4th
quarter, the late penalty
will increase over time: the
later it's turned in, the greater the penalty, up to 50% of the
grade. Students who turn in work late due to
absences MUST write "AB" at the top of their paper.
6th Grade Math Page
We will be using a supplemental book for one week only, doing
only Inv. 3, showing integers - positive and negative numbers -
on a number line, and coordinate pairs (e.g., 3, -4) on the
Cartesian Plane. Students will also have a set of 5
problems daily that will serve as a review, doing calculations
and estimates whenever appropriate. We'll also be
getting more work with rounding and estimation strategies.
. Students are to do these on the day
assigned. Classroom participation will count in 4th
I collected and graded a number of assignments to end the
3rd quarter that were due by last Friday. These will be
returned on Monday.
The unit math test was scored out of 30 points, though it was
possible to get 34 points (or more by doing more estimates than
I specifically asked for). At the end of 1st hour several
students said they did not have time to finish, so I gave them
more time in advisory. For the few students in 5th hour
who didn't finish, I pro-rated what they did, so time was not an
issue. Here is some data:
- The range of scores went from 3/30 to 35/30;
- 8 students out of 48 scored over 30 (>100%);
- 16 students (8 in each class) out of 48 scored 27 or
- The median score for all students was 22.5 (75%).
I feel the test, taken directly from CMP, was valid and
reliable; by that I mean it was a fair test and tested what we
covered. In most cases scores reflected the level of
attention, focus and understanding that students demonstrated in
class and on their homework. Students who could explain
concepts and make connections did better than those who solved
problems mechanically. As with all things, both
thoughtfulness and practice make a positive difference.
Grade Social Studies:
Our last two units in the textbook are on the Greeks and the
Romans. We'll finish our survey of the five major
world's religions with a unit on Islam. Also stay
tuned for news of a combined Language Arts / Social Studies
Grade Social Studies:
I will be returning the Travel Journal projects on
Monday. Most students dug in and did a great deal of
work on this ambitious project, and I tried to recognize
this in the scoring. Congratulations to all who
completed this. Perhaps I could have done a
better job of making clear that simply mentioning a research
topic does not entitle one to maximum points; some students
gave themselves more points on their self-evaluation.
Many students in my
6th hour class are choosing to present highlights of
their Travel Journal. My
7th hour class has already begun their combined L.A. / S.S.
project with Mrs. Malley and their attention is focused
there. Both classes will be doing a "Capstone
Presentation" in my class after their research is done and
paper is written.
We will finish our extended work on South
this week. Having watched the movie, Invictus
students are to memorize and recite as much of the --> poem
as they are able to.
We will then move to Asia - starting with a brief look at
Islanbul, a city that bridges two continents, along with the
West and the East. From there to India and then to
links for potential use:
2nd hour Soc.
St. Grade 6 class code:
6th hour Soc.
St. Grade 7 Class Code:
7th hour Soc.
St. Grade 7 Class Code: VCPSZ