Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~Sydney J. Harris

Hello families--

As our students become more and more aware of just how interconnected we all are to our global family, Geography becomes increasingly recognized for its fundamental role as a framework of place location. It's more than just must memorizing where countries are on a map, though. Geography explains things. It helps us understand change and why people do what they do. It is the foundation for this year's study of American history.

For our first collaborative group activity, teams of fifth and sixth grade students were asked to list the world's seven continents and four oceans, then properly place them on a map, which they were asked to draw free-hand from memory. They did so with limited success, which was not entirely unexpected. Such learning is cumulative and is best achieved by integrating it into all aspects of their curriculum and their lives. It's truly worthwhile for all of us to continue to encourage our children to learn more about their world. Understanding where they came from and grasping the cultural, political, and economic complexities of where they are and where they're going will be vital to our children's collective future.

By the end of our time together, students in grades 5 and 6 will have worked with a wide variety of maps, primary documents, charts, timelines, computer programs, and other resources to better understand the reasons behind our compelling journey from so many places across the globe.

As we increasingly integrate technology into the curriculum, please help me to teach your children to use the internet as a resource, not a substitute, for learning.


(classroom activities that, if not completed, become homework)

Social Studies, Grade 5 (September 6) and Grade 6 (September 7):
Collaborative Continent & Ocean activity and follow-up discussion
Assignment: Complete Continent worksheet. Study continents and oceans in preparation for a test. (Information from worksheet will be included).

Social Studies, Grade 5 (September 8) and Grade 6 (September 9):
* Discuss the purpose and function of maps as well as the five parts of a map (title, key, symbols, compass rose, and scale). Also, discuss the value of color and readabiity in map making.
* Share history of the compass rose.
* Classroom activity 1: Worksheet--fill in Cardinal (N, S, E, & W) and Ordinal (Intermediate) (NE, SE, SW, NW) directions. Keep as study guide for upcoming test (TBA).
* Classroom activity 2: Follow directions to draw (free-hand) compass rose. Color and label.
* Independent Homework, Grade 5: Draw floor plan of your bedroom--include the 5 parts of a map.
* Because of testing, Grade 6 will create a Pirate's treasure map on Monday following classroom directions. Include 5 parts of a map.

Language Arts, Grade 5, September 6, 7, & 8:
September 6th: Write Source assessment--"Pretest"
September 7th: Create brainstorm list of "What I DIDN'T Do On My Summer Vacation."

September 8th: Write "List Poem" (see title above). Choose one line to illustrate.

Language Arts, Grade 6, September 6, 7, & 8:
September 6th:
Write Source assessment--"Pretest,"and Daily Sentence Editing.
September 7th: Read aloud "The Important Book", discuss purpose of repetition/pattern, and Daily Sentence Editing.
Assignment: First draft of "The Important Thing About Me,"
and Daily Sentence Editing.
8th: Second draft (edited and revised)

Sixth graders are also finishing up book projects, due September 8, as well as Silhouette projects, also due.

PLEASE NOTE: Sixth graders are responsible for reading two books per month. . . These don't include read alouds (books I read to them).

I hope this catches us up assignment-wise. Know that you can always call me with questions or concerns at 759-2131, ext. 216 or email me at tmaynard@anwsu.org.


For help studying for your test on Continents & Oceans, go here

For a more supported tutorial, click here

Another source to test your skill, click here