Sunday, December 7, 2014

“Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures” ― Constance Chuks Friday

Just think--
of all the cultural advancements that have been made in your lifetimes:  YouTube, Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, netbooks, Smart phones, pocket-sized computers, 3-D printing, enhanced robotics, Bluetooth, Texting, Wikipedia, and Google with it's vast array of apps. You were alive when the i-Phone made it monumental entrance,  and when Nintendo Wii launched, revolutionizing video game playing. GPS-enabled devices have become commonplace, as have fuel-efficient hybrid cars.  Your culture, your daily life, is continually being reshaped by technological advancements. 
OK, so now imagine--
a culture that remained virtually intact for more than 3000 years--longer than any other in recorded history. That's Egypt--one of the oldest and most fascinating civilizations in the world. Beginning around 3150 BCE when Menes united Upper and Lower Egypt, and lasting until around 332 BCE, Egypt developed an elaborate cultural system that included a complex, myth-filled religion, a detailed system of writing known as hieroglyphics, and many extraordinary achievements in science, mathematics, and architecture. Two of ancient Egypt's most recognizable architectural masterpieces are the massive and mysterious Sphinx, and, of course, the Pyramids of Giza.
Egypt's influence on later cultures was huge!  In fact, their culture provided important building blocks for Greek and Roman cultures, which, in turn, have greatly influenced ours. 

There is much to learn about Ancient Egypt.  Take some time to check out the cool links below.  We'll visit them again next week:



Unit 5 due Friday. BHT 


  • Monday: Correct Unit 2 Test
  • Tuesday: Unit 3: Rational Numbers (Practice here) and Integers (Practice here)

We'll be dealing with integers for awhile, so let's get this song out there and into your brain right away. Ready? (Guaranteed you're going to be humming this one):
Rules for Operations with 
Positive/Negative Integers
(sung to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat) 

Same sign, add and keep,
Different sign subtract!
Take the sign of the highest number
Then you’ll be exact!

Multiply or Divide
It’s an easy thought!
                            Same signs are positive                              
Different signs are not!


Watch a little Math Antics to help you understand integers.
This guy's great!

First: Negative Numbers!

Next:  Adding and Subtracting Integers! Woo-hoo!

  • Wednesday:  Nor'Easter DAMON arrived. SNOW DAY!
  • ThursdaySNOW DAY #2--still messy out there. 
  • Friday:   


  • Tuesday:  Discussion/Video about the Water Cycle.  Check out the. . .
  • Wednesday:  You guessed it; SNOW DAY!


Monday: Final corrections on Acrostic Book Projects
Tuesday:  Symmetry activity to accompany List Poem
Wednesday: SNOW DAY!
Thursday: DITTO!

. . .was interrupted by the first Nor'Easter of the season. Arghhhh!
Damon put the kibosh on most this week's plans. . .
Pre-Storm anticipation on Tuesday and school
cancellations on Wednesday and Thursday. 
AHH, WELL . . .


Ancient Egypt banner Egyptian animated gif 

Crowns of Ancient Egypt The Joy of Learning
Egyptian technologies YouTube video 
Snowing gif

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart. ~Seneca

Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain.
~Alexander Pope

Dear Parents--
I really try to take time during the Thanksgiving season to recognize and reflect upon all that I am most grateful for. I am, of course, exceedingly grateful for my loving family and for the good fortune of being married to my best friend. I am also grateful for the opportunity of working in this wonderfully close-knit community for nearly ten years. No matter our economic situations, family structures, or unique gifts and challenges, we always acknowledge and accept each others' differences and embrace all that we have in common.  That is the true beauty of us.

I am particularly thankful to all of you for the important role you play in your child's educational experience. It is a fact that you set the tone for their attitude toward and commitment to learning. Your example is their model -- your interest makes them interested. Your holding them accountable for their behaviors and their homework helps them to become socially and academically responsible. Your tutelage helps them to develop stamina, perseverance, and pride. No one knows better than you how complex and difficult -- and rewarding -- teaching can be.  I'm glad we're in this together. 

~ NOVEMBER 24 - 25 ~

Grades closed on Friday, November 21st.  For these two days, however, students who are still finishing up back work will have a chance to complete it, correct it, and turn it in.

  • In Math:  We'll complete two quick assessments to assess where students are in their learning.
  • In Language Arts:  We'll make final corrections to TACKK Websites.
  • In Science:  We'll complete and correct Extreme Weather WebQuests
  • In Social Studies:  We'll conclude our unit on Ancient Mesopotamia. Students were given all the information they needed to study. (See below for [third] reminder.)
  • In Reading:  This month's independent book projects will be due when we return from Thanksgiving break.  Be sure reading is done! (two books or 300 pages).  All reading should be entered daily into your Reading Logs (located in your Drives) and recorded in your "Books I Have Read in Sixth Grade" pages.  Don't forget to update!
  • In Writing:  All work for this month's Writers' Notebooks should be completed and notebooks should be turned in for grading.

. . . and now, another Thanksgiving tradition . . .



Thanksgiving image: gif:  Fireplace:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Now and then there comes a crash of thunder in a storm, and we look up with amazement at the heavens ablaze with lightning. ~from C.H. Spurgeon

~Haiku by T.M.

Weather. It is said that nine tenths of us wouldn't have anything to talk about if it didn't change once in awhile.  

When I was young and living in Florida, I remember lying on the grass watching clouds morphing into giants and dragons as they moved fancifully across the sky. I remember the sweet-smelling breezes that preceded a refreshing rain shower. I remember also times when the air seemed to turn a strange green color-- a harbinger of dangerous weather ahead.  

As we near the end of  our unit on Climate and Weather, we'll learn more about clouds and examine the causes and effects of extreme weather.


Monday Assignment:  Cloud WebQuest. Check your email for the link. A printed copy will be provided to those who request it.


     A FUN REVIEW:  Cloud Matching Game, click HERE    
                          THE FORMATION OF A SUPER-CELL


"Sun, wind, and rain are basic to life, but sometimes the weather is more than just that. Sometimes it's stronger, violent. The wind becomes a tornado, the rain a hurricane. The Earth's atmosphere, for a moment, makes it uninhabitable. And there's nothing we can do about extreme weather but try to predict it, prepare for it and hope that it never happens here." ~ The Discovery Channel




We'll continue our discussion of Hammurabi, the ruler of a vast empire in Mesopotamia, who compiled a list of 282 laws to govern his people. 
Imagine a world without laws. What problems can you envision? People have had organized laws for thousands of years.  We will study some of these laws closely and compare them to laws and codes of conduct we use today.*

A Selection From the Code of Hammurabi
Examining  a Law
Comparing Hammurabi to Today

You can find all 282 of Hammurabi's Code of Laws HERE!


As you continue work on your Ziggurat, you might find
this website helpful in labeling the various parts. This is another interactive to show you the important features.  Good luck!

Fascinating interactive look at Mesopotamia--check it out!
FYI: (Remember these? TEST IS APPROACHING!)


Grades close this week, so this will be a time to complete all writing projects.
Final touches will be made to our TACKK projects in preparation for their being displayed on this blog!

Intriguing tenets of the DBQ Project--These bear our attention.  
Thinking is hard work
. . . and well worth the effort.


UNIT 4 Packet (pages 13-16) due Friday


Monday:  Correct Mid-Chapter Test


Monday: SRI testing
Tuesday: Correct Gilgamesh Comprehension activity

Lightning in Africa gif @ Thunderheads gif @
illustration of cloud types:
Tornado over the ocean @
* Hammurabi activity @

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example." ~Benjamin Disraeli

As we prepare to celebrate Veterans' Day, a day to honor the unparalleled bravery and heroic acts of our country's fighting men and women, I am reminded of the importance of having heroes in our lives. According to "Heroes:  What They Do and Why We Need Them," we seek inspiration from heroes, from the fictional heroes of our youth to the real-life heroes we celebrate every day. 

From the time we're young, heroes nurture us, they reassure us, they educate us about right and wrong, they "save" us when we're in trouble, they inspire us to overcome adversity, they give us hope, they solve problems with brains as well as brawn, they validate a preferred world view, and they deliver justice, satisfying our thirst for fairness and lawfulness.   

Heroism reminds us that, "in times of terror or quiet desperation, we are not alone.  It is the distilled essence of. . .humanity."

In Celebration of Our American Heroes
Veterans' Day, 2014

Dear Families--
We come to understand ourselves through our shared stories -- of fear and hope and love and inspiration and bravery and redemption. . .  In the case of the ancient tale about Gilgamesh this week, we are reminded that people have always hungered to share the human experience (often metaphorically) through time-honored narrative.  

NOVEMBER 10 -- 14


  • Tuesday: Sumerian Mythology and Human History
Let's watch the video (below) to learn about Sumerian writing and Mythology. We'll learn about the first great super-hero, GILGAMESH, and  LEARN TO WRITE IN CUNEIFORM!  (Try THIS INTERACTIVE to write your name!)

  • Thursday:  Hammurabi, king of Babylon, and his Code of Laws

Hammurabi (1810 BC - 1750 BC) was king of Babylon for 43 years.  He was a "warrior king" who conquered all of Mesopotamia, creating the first Babylonian Empire. Once his kingdom was established, he turned his attention toward improving the way of life for the people in his kingdom, embarking on many construction projects such as huge public buildings, tall temples, canals for irrigation, and aqueducts for carrying water.  

Hammurabi was the strong head of a strong government that ruled over its people with a tight grip.  He became most famous for enacting a new set of laws that he collected from all over Babylon and compiled into what became known as the Code of Hammurabi. These laws (There were 282 of them!) were famous not so much for what they said, but for what they did. They made clear for everyone what the laws were and how people who broke those laws would be punished.  No more could people claim that they didn't know what the laws were -- they were carved into stone columns called stelae that everyone could read and understand.

Some of his laws were extremely harsh! You can find all 282 of them HERE!

Now, there's no way we're going to have the time to go through them all, strange, gross, harsh, unbelievable that they may be, so. . . We'll spend class time analyzing some of these laws in cooperative groups and sharing what we learned with our classmates.
FOR FUN:  You think Hammurabi had some strange laws?  Our country has some pretty bizarre laws, too! Look HERE to read a few. . .  

HOMEWORK:  Now that you know a little more about Babylonian law, here's an assignment for you. Create a list of 5 laws and their punishments for the classroom. Hmm. . . 

Remember, the punishment is supposed to fit the crime (or will it be "an eye for an eye?).

How's your ZIGGURAT coming along?  Remember, it's due on the 19th!



Your email addresses are really going to come in handy for learning about Ancient Mesopotamia this week. This Language Arts task will require you to create a [free] account with so that you can make your own permanent website.  You'll be able to work on it anywhere that has internet access. 

Your project will highlight some of the key points we've learned about Ancient Mesopotamia and allow you to present it in a thoughtful, creative way.  I will provide you with a paper that includes a Tackk Checklist and Content Options for the project.  Use it to guide your work.  You will be required to follow the guidelines and include at least 5 items.  

Are you ready? Click HERE to create you own very cool, totally awesome TACKK website. (Don't worry; you don't have to be a techie for this project. It's easy and fun to do!) Got questions? You can click on THIS video and  THIS link for more information. 

By the project deadline, Friday, you will email me.  Included in your email will be your name, a brief description of your project, and the url address of your project.  If for some reason I am unable to access your work, I'll let you know so that you can resubmit.


Monday:   "Air, Wind, and the Atmosphere" packet (Due Wednesday)
Wednesday:  Test prep on information from both packets.


Monday:  Page 9
Tuesday:  Page 10
Wednesday:  Page 11
Thursday:  Page 12
Friday:  BHT

  • Monday: GILGAMESH story and comprehension questions--a copy is located HERE in case you lose your story/questions.
  • Tuesday:  Complete comprehension questions (Remember QuEEC!) and submit.
  • Wednesday:
  • Thursday:
  • Friday:

Hammurabi intro taken in part from
cuneiform interactive:
How writing came to be video @

Bizarre laws @
Picture of Mesopotamian life @ reading and comprehension @

Saturday, November 1, 2014

“Even when the sky is filled with clouds, the sun still shines above.” ― Paul F. Davis

Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, "I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine..." I couldn't agree more, but you know what I love most about November? The acoustics:  the sound of dry, rustling leaves, tumbling across fields and pathways, crunching resoundingly beneath my feet whenever I venture outside -- their sound as crisp and calling as the blustery wind rattling my windows or the inviting crackle of a cozy fire in the fireplace. November resonates.

Welcome, everyone, to a new month.  Don't get too settled, though; adventures await, and there is much to do!

NOVEMBER 3rd - 6th
(There is no school on Friday!) 


Check out EXPLORING WEATHER for facts on, well, weather. It's cool! While you're at it, check out this animated map of global wind, weather, and atmosphere.

  • Monday: "Weather and Climate" packet (due Wednesday) Check  HERE  for additional helpful information. 
      • Interactive Notebook:  What's the Weather? map activity
      • Interactive Notebook:  Weather Symbols

  • Wednesday:  "Air, Wind, and the Atmosphere" packet (Due Friday)
      • Interactive Notebook:  Weather Tools (More information can be found  HERE.)
      • Interactive notebook:  Types of Fronts & Describing Weather


  • Tuesday:  Your task will be to begin your Independent Study packet of Mesopotamia.  It holds a wealth of information you'll need to know.  Due date: Thursday, November 13.


  • Thursday:  Get ready to be amazed!  We're going to watch THIS Prezi about how Mesopotamian Science and Discoveries changed the world. We'll take notes and everything -- Yee-ah!

Study Guide -- Front-loading things to know! 

  • Monday: Complete fourth and last entry for October. (We ran out of time last week!) Begin November Writer's Notebook. Decisions, decisions, decisions. . . "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" is due.
  • Tuesday:  Center Square activity for November
  • Wednesday:  "Imagine" prompt
  • Thursday:  Share "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" 
  • Friday:  No School  


  • Monday:  Extended to today: Finish October Book Report/Story Map
  • Tuesday:  Read "Weather Facts" and complete the cloze I provide.
  • Wednesday:  Read Where Civilization Began and complete comprehension questions
  • Thursday:  Continue working on Independent Study Packet (Reading and Responding) for Social Studies. BOOK REPORT DUE IN GOOGLE DRIVE!
  • Friday: No School


  • Monday: Pg. 5 & 6
  • Tuesday: Pg. 7
  • Wednesday: Pg. 8
  • Thursday: BHT
  • Friday:  No School

Sepia sun/clouds banner:
It's Raining Sideways gif: sng9u8o1_500.gif 
Weathervane gif: 
Sumerian Mythology and Human History @ gif-man with donkey:
Cuneiform gif:

Thanks WSG:
Mesopotamia Vocabulary @
Events of Mesopotamia @
Where Civilization Began @