Week 27

This week we are going to begin our summative assessment for this quarter.  It is called Future Forecast.  In Social Studies, students will be introduced to the project, formed into teams, and they will begin to research a problem that each group wants to solve.  They will be using a research method called MISO.  It stands for Media, Interview, Survey, and Observation.  These four areas will allow groups the opportunity to research using a variety of avenues and, hopefully, their understanding of the topic will be more completely developed.  The MISO method may involve your student asking you some questions related to your position.  This is the Interview portion and each group of 4 will do one.

In English, we are going to spend the week watching advertisements and analyzing them using the 6 brain frames (telling, sequencing, cause and effect, relationships, compare and contrast, and categorizing).  Brain frames are great information organization tools and they will help students to understand how the ads are structured and what their purposes are.  Eventually, students will use this knowledge to help them, in their teams, to create their own advertisement for the product they create to solve the problem mentioned above.

This whole project will take several weeks and it will extend into the fourth quarter by 2 weeks.  Have a great weekend, and please feel free to contact me with any concerns or questions.

Week 26

I hope that everyone had a restful long weekend!

MAP Testing starts occurs this week.  The  times, tests, and dates are in the Google Calendar to the right.  I’ve also included them below:

Phillips HB
Language: Monday – Block D (4)
Reading: Wednesday – Block C (3)

Freeman HB
Language: Tuesday – Block F (1)
Reading: Wednesday – Block E (1)

In English this week, students will submit their Short Story Scene on Monday.  They will also have time to reflect on the writing process by creating some word clouds.  Students will continue to add reflections and projects to their e-Portfolios in order to prepare for student-led conferences.  We will continue to have time to read from our Genre Wheel collections.  I encourage you to ask questions about what your child is reading and what new genres they have enjoyed.

In Social Studies, students will have one period to continue to work on their presentation and practice presenting.  Their Otzi presentations will be on Thursday.  This weekend, feel free to ask your student about their project.  Any chance they get to explain it and their thinking will help them to feel more prepared for the actual presentations.

Have a great week!

Week 25

We have a very short week this week with a PD day on Thursday and a holiday on Friday.  This week students will continue with their Otzi project.  Students are working alone, in pairs, or in groups of three to develop a presentation that outlines their theory on how Otzi the Iceman died.  They will have this week to finish their presentation and begin practicing.  Presentations are on March 3.

In English, we will continue working with our short story scenes.  The focus is on editing this week, and the students will work through a variety of activities in order to make sure their work is the best it can be.  Depending on progress this week, the scene is due on Monday Feb. 29.

ISM is lucky to have Dr. Bonnie Singer at the school this past weekend and this entire week.  She is working mainly with Middle School teachers (English, Social Studies, LS, and ESL).  She and her partners have developed systems for idea organization (Brain Frames) that we use in class.  To that end, there will be a substitute in for me during Block 5 (Freeman HB) on Monday and Block 3 (Phillips HB) on Tuesday.

Please make sure to check the class calendar (on the right side of the screen) for all upcoming due dates.  MAP Testing is coming up shortly and I will input that in too.

Finally, we had a great week of CWW trips.  Students seemed to have a lot of fun at each location. Las Pinas and the narratives about trash that the kids did on Friday might have been the favorite!  I have some pictures of students in action on the right of this page.  They are mostly of my Advisory since we were most often together.


Next week students will have an opportunity to experience the Classroom Without Walls. This is a great opportunity for students to do curriculum-tied activities that also have a service learning component.  We will have a busy, fun, and interactive week.  For the schedule, please see the email from Mr. Freeman.  All Freeman and Phillips HB students should be at school by 7:20 on Monday morning.  For Monday, students will have to bring a vegetarian snack.  See you then!

Week 24

This week we have a lot going on.  Remember that Monday is a holiday (please enjoy the extra day!).  Throughout the week, we will be collecting recyclable materials to take on our CWW trip.  Mr. Freeman sent home an email on Friday about the details, so please check that for more information.

In English this week, students will have time to revise their short story scenes.  They are working to add in a good mix of introspection, action, description, and dialogue.  Due to the holiday, students will really only have one full period to revise this week.  Students are still continuing with the Genre wheel project.  On Wednesdays, we always go to the library to read and check out books for Genre Wheel reading.  Please chat with your student about what they are reading!

Also on Wednesday this week, students will write their Nonfiction Reading Quiz.  They had practice reading and analyzing nonfiction texts last week and now they will demonstrate their ability to do so with 2 new texts.

In Social Studies, we will continue our analysis of Otzi the Iceman and his mysterious death 5000 years ago.  Students will be able to work alone, in pairs, or in groups of three to analyze the primary and secondary sources in order to develop what they think is the most likely scenario.  Eventually, they will create a presentation to demonstrate their theory.  This is a fun project – and the students have already been engrossed in the subject!

Have a great long weekend!

Week 23

Hi everyone,

In English this week, students will continue to develop their drafts for their short story scene.  Early in the week, students will learn to add descriptive vocabulary and they will learn how to properly use dialogue to create an effective scene.  They will have plenty of class time to draft.  Ideally, they are finished their rough draft by the end of the week so that I can spend some time reading each piece and offering advice.  On Wednesday, students will practice reading and comparing non fiction articles relating to our work in Social Studies.

Speaking of Social Studies, this week students will investigate the death of Otzi the Iceman.  Otzi is a 5,300 year old mummified man found in 1991.  To this day the mystery of how he died has not been definitively solved – that sounds like a job for our Grade 6 students!  For this mini unit, students are creating a hypothesis, reading nonfiction texts, and presenting their opinion on how Otzi died.  This should be a fun project and a great learning experience.

Week 22

Welcome to Week 22!

In English this week, students will be introduced to the Short Story Scene project and rubric.  They will learn about the Mix (introspection, action, description, and dialogue) needed to write great scenes.  They will have plenty of time to begin their drafts.  We have a rough copy deadline of Feb. 5.

In Social Studies, students will continue their learning about the Neolithic/Agricultural Revolution.  On Wednesday, students will have their test.  Later in the week, they will begin analyzing the curious case of Otzi.

Week 21

I hope that everyone had a great week last week.  We had a special week because author Alex London paid a visit to ISM.  Students were keen to listen to him speak about writing and the creative process during our special Grade 6 assembly.  He was also frequently found in the MSMC helping students find books, giving autographs, and just chatting about his life.

In English this week, we will continue developing the bones of our stories.  Students have finished their character posters, and now they will move onto creating their settings and planning out their plot.  Students will continue to have time dedicated to their Genre Wheel reading and recording.

In Social Studies, we are going to delve into the theory of evolution and natural selection.  Toward the middle and end of the week, students will participate in a couple of experiential learning activities.  For the second one, students will be paired up.  Each pair will need to bring in one full roll of toilet paper for the activity.

Below I have included our assessment plans for this semester.  Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.  The “Xs” indicate the weighting for that particular assessment.  The more “Xs” the heavier it is weighted.  The dates listed below and in Powerschool are subject to change.  In general, those dates are accurate but sometimes issues crop up.  Thank you for your understanding.


Quarter Assignment Knowledge and Understanding Transfer of Learning Communication
Q3 Nonfiction Review (Feb. 12) X X
Q3 Short Story Scene (Feb. 29) XXX XXX XXX
Q3 Dialogue/Sentence Structure (March 14) X
Q3 Future Forecast (Mar. 21) XX XX
Q4 Genre Wheel Persuasive Presentation (May 6) XX XX
Q4 Genre Wheel (May 20) XX XX XX
Q4 Transdisciplinary Assessment

(Performance Task) (June 3)




Quarter Assignment Knowledge and Understanding Transfer of Learning Communication
Q3 Hominid and Neolithic Revolution Quiz (Jan. 27) X X
Q3 Otzi Investigation (Feb. 23) XX XX XX
Q3 Future Forecast Performance Task (Mar. 22) XXX XXX XXX
Q3/4 Current Events (Throughout Semester) XX XX XX
Q4 Materials Economy Assessment (May 4) X
Q4 Transdisciplinary Assessment

(Performance Task) (June 3)


Week 20

In English this week, we will dive deeper into characterization and what makes good characters.  To help with this, we will read several short stories collected by Avi.  This week, students will plan and create a character chart for a character in the short story scene they eventually create.

In Social Studies, we will spend the week watching the movie Walking With Cavemen.  Students will take notes on the film and we will spend time discussing the content in the video.  I have sent out a letter to parents about the unit this quarter, so please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns.

Have a great weekend!

Week 19

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a relaxing and restful break.

This week, we are introducing students to our new unit, Discovery.  The big focus in English this week is on the new Genre Wheel project.  This project is a semester long one that will see students setting a goal and trying to read a variety of challenging books from many genres.  Students have access to the project outline and rubric on Google Drive.

In Social Studies, we are developing our understanding of shallow, mid-range, and deep questions.  In this unit, students will explore hominids and how homo sapiens came to be.  This is always an exciting unit!


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