Monday, February 27, 2012

"Beginnings are always messy." ~ John Galsworthy

Jamestown: The First Permanent English Settlement in the "New World"

Grades 5 and 6 are beginning a new Social Studies unit on Colonialism which will occasionally include visiting this blog to access websites. This week students will be introduced to Jamestown--America's first English colony, through story and by watching the National Geographic Special titled, "Nightmare at Jamestown." Students will then have the opportunity to take notes, engage in discussion on some pretty controversial information, and complete worksheets based on these activities. Beginning Friday, March 2, we're going to embark on a cyber-journey through Jamestown by visiting an awesome site called "Jamestown Rediscovered." We'll visit tour stops and answer questions at each site. (Most of the text from this tour is taken directly from signs on the island of Jamestown.) Students will be given worksheets to fill out with the following questions on them The websites are as follows:

The Land

What did the land look like when the settlers first arrived?

James Fort

Where was it located and what did it look like?


Check THIS out! It’s a guided tour of James Fort. EXPLORE, then name three parts of the fort you found interesting and write a sentence describing/explaining each one.

Statue of John Smith

Just who WAS John Smith?

Pocahontas Statue

Who was she and what role did she play in the history of Jamestown?

Glass House

Wondering what THIS is? Check it out! (Then describe its function.)

Jamestown Church

How many were there? Write brief descriptions of each.


Fascinating! Information about burials and headstones. . . What did you find out?

Hunt Shrine

Who does this shrine honor, and why was he important?

Memorial Cross

Find the interesting fact about THIS large wooden cross.


Visit these next sites and answer the questions for extra credit:

Name two things the early colonists ate.

Name three items you see, and use two sentences to describe each item.


Several students were given the winter break to complete Explorers Notebooks since they were out at various times in the last few weeks. They promised me that they'd be done and ready to turn in today. I will say, I'm having to chase them down. Hmmmmm... Rest assured they had ample opportunities to gather the necessary materials. I hope they did!


Monday, February 13, 2012

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish Proverb

Cartoon from

BOY, DO WE NEED A VACATION!! Last week, 1/3 of the 6th grade class was sick! This week, though many have returned (some had to go home again. . .), many kids just aren't feeling well.
This week in both Language Arts and Social Studies classes, we're compiling Explorers Notebooks. Throughout the Explorers unit, students have been reminded to complete work "neatly and completely" since they would be creating "Notebooks" with all the material. With all the activities going on this week, it's a good time to tie up loose ends and create "Presentation Quality" final products. (It's also one last chance to complete late work or correct errors. I've provided ALL materials upon request--and my unit notebook with all materials remains on the back table.) Your child's notebook will be created using a specific set of directions. (Lots of opportunities for being creative, here!) It will count as a final test grade. Ask to see your child's Guide to Creating Explorers Notebooks. There is more than enough time to glue individual activities onto construction paper (and add those finishing touches) before the end of the week. I have all the supplies here, so no one has to make a last-minute run to the store. I want ALL notebooks in my hands on Friday so that I can assess them over the holiday using an Explorers Notebook Rubric. Your child has a copy to further guide them.

Everyone should be finishing up their books for Reading groups as well. Their summaries, short responses, and projects should be turned in by Friday. Independent reading books (only one for February) should be completed, too. We'll do a quick book project tomorrow and get that out of the way.

In Digital Wish, everyone is creating Stop Frame Animation projects. Backdrops are being completed for Thursday's class. During class time, students will create figures out of clay and other materials to demonstrate one of the laws of motion. These should be fun!

Even though this is a week of "finishing up," we sure seem to be busy. For those students who were out, we're helping them to get caught up, too. We'll all start fresh after the holiday.

Be well--

Monday, February 6, 2012


1. _____ Sores, Scabs, and Scurvy (2 activities in one)

2. _____ Seven Reasons for Exploration (booklet)

3. _____ Latitute and Longitude Worksheet

4. _____ How Explorers Used the North Star

5. _____ Compass Illustration

6. _____ Age of Vikings Cloze (fill in the blanks)

7, _____ Runes

8. _____ Vikings Longship Cloze

9. _____ Create a Longship (model)

10. _____ Characteristics of an Explorer Wordle

11. _____ Viking Flipbook

12. _____ Accordion Timeline (#1-5 complete)

13. _____ Marco Polo Map Activity

14. _____ Prince Henry the Navigator Compass Activity

15. _____ Dias and Da Gama Map Activity

16. _____ Columbus Activity # 1 – Factors and Consequences

17. _____ Columbus Activity # 2 – “This is Your Life”

18. _____ Balboa and Magellan Postcard Activity

19. _____ Explorer Poetry