Sunday, October 26, 2014

You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands; take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it." ~ John Updike

The term geography literally means "earth description." It defines what a particular location or region is like and how and why some places on Earth are alike or different from others. A enormous array of physical features characterize our planet -- climate, landforms, natural vegetation--and human beings. 

Human and physical characteristics of geographic regions have influenced the development of a vast number of distinct and diverse cultures  (the way of life that characterizes a group of people).  

This is what we learn about; it defines the connection between the Social Sciences and the Physical ones.

OCTOBER 27 - 31

Mesopotamia is a name, interestingly enough, later given to the people of the "Fertile Crescent"  by the Greeks.  These people lived in a haphazard climate--one where summer temperatures reached as high as 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  Eight months of the year were dry, turning the Tigris and Euphrates rivers a sluggish brown.  Winter was the rainy season.  Melting snows from the Taurus and Zagros Mountains also drained into the rivers, causing them to flood, often destructively. Young travelers, we are about to enter this unpredictable and often unfriendly environment.  Never fear, we'll travel together. Better get packed!
Ahh, the land of the 
first great civilization...


  • Monday:  Welcome, ancient travelers, to the Fertile Crescent, also known as Mesopotamia, which means land between two rivers. You are about to embark on an important information-gathering quest in the world's first great civilization. This will be one of many we will visit this year.  Complete this Scavenger Hunt in the packet I provide by using the links below.  This is an important task, young travelers. Safe journey; do well! 

Advance to this PREZI for further instruction...

Links you will use:


  • WEDNESDAY:   Next, for the the setting of our adventure we'll need a map! Use  MAP OF MESOPOTAMIA  for part of this assignment (the "creating a map" part), and complete the task described below.           
  • Bring your sunscreen! Oh, and look out for camel spiders! (You know me and spiders, so I won't include a picture here, but if you're brave enough and want to know more, here's a link. Eeew!)

Use this interactive map to review the major points of the map of Mesopotamia. Hover over the map to reveal certain "tags" -- can you figure out what each of them is showing you?  Think about it, then hover over the tag to see if you're correct. You will be given a task.  It will be revealed to you on this day.


"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get." – Mark Twain 

  • TUESDAY:  What is the difference between Climate and Weather?  Watch this video to find out. Begin really cool Interactive Notebook activities.                                                                                                     
  • THURSDAY:  Complete Climate vs. Weather Interactive Notebook activities -- WEATHER MAPS.



(Vocabu-Lit: Building Vocabulary Through Literature)

  • Monday: Page 1
  • Tuesday: Page 2
  • Wednesday: Page 3
  • Thusday: Page 4
  • Friday: BHT


Want to carve a virtual pumpkin?  No mess to clean up afterwards...  Click HERE!

Speaking of scary stories--
you're always asking me to read these. . . 
Listen if you dare!
Mwah-ha-ha. . .


We're continuing Johnny's ancient quest. You will remember that in the Stone Age, he found a way to help the people improve their use of fire. Now, he has arrived in the first great civilization:  Mesopotamia.  In this new chapter, "I Invent Farming," he must figure out what his next task is and find a way to accomplish it.  He will struggle here, too, in this foreign and unfriendly environment. Will he succeed? What challenges will he face? His story can be found HERE.  You will be provided with questions upon which to reflect.
An afterthought. . .

As we bid a fond farewell to Plate Tectonics, I can't help but wonder if Alfred Wegener, as he pondered his theory of continental drift, ever considered this...

Information from  "A Geographical Perspective" found at
Hand holding Earth image*
Climate image: u Know imagehttp://media-cache-
Halloween video and Ghost Stories information from 

Monday, October 20, 2014

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." ~Benjamin Spock

What a week is ahead of us!  We're concluding units in both Plate Tectonics and Prehistory (You know what that means. . .).  A Word Study assessment was completed last week, too. On to new adventures!



These are the words you need to know. (Remember from last week?  Have you been studying?)

  • Monday:  Turn in your notebook if you haven't already done so.  Be sure your Plate Boundaries "foldable" is done well and attached to the next available page (Presentation Quality). For today: Plate Tectonics crossword puzzle. This site will help you complete it.  This one is also helpful! (Big bonus:  These sites are also great places to review for your BHT...) 
  • Wednesday: This is it: the moment you've all been waiting for! Time to SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW!

  • Tuesday: Review and discussion. Look over the vocabulary I handed out today (or find it HERE) to refresh your memories!
  • Thursday: Ya-hoey! It's test time! Here's your chance to dazzle and amaze!


Monday: Unit 1 test prep: prime factorization, GCF, LCM, Distributive Property
Tuesday: Unit 1 test prep: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals
Wednesday: Practice test
Thursday: Unit 1 Test
Friday:  Corrections


Monday: Culminating Prehistory activity -- Cave Art

Tuesday: Independent Work time to complete Cave Art activity, Found Poems


Monday: "The Bulls of Altamira" informational reading activity/summary

Tuesday:  Independent reading
Wednesday: Extended test time/independent reading
Thursday:  Extended test time/independent reading
Friday:  TBA



lightbulb image:
"We are... quote:
Plate Tectonics image:
Math image: app
Found Poem image:
Reading image:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"There are no secrets that time does not reveal." ~Jean Racine

Just when I thought it couldn't get any more interesting, it did!  This week has some pretty amazing things to see and do!  As we wind down our units in both Social Studies and Science, pay close attention to our discussions; contribute to them; ask questions; be present.  As Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Learning never exhausts the mind."

OCTOBER 13-16 (No School on Friday!)

(Important Notice:  6th graders are recording their daily reading in a Reading Log (Google form).  Please make sure that this is being done on a daily basis; it takes only minutes each day and documents progress toward their monthly goals. Thanks!)


  • Monday:  Learn about Neanderthal Man and complete the accompanying cloze activity.
  • Wednesday:  Ancient Art: 
    • The Niaux Cave, located in the northern footlills of the Pyrenees, is one of many in the region and has some of Europe's most impressive Palaeolithic rock art galleries of cave paintings, dating back at least 14,000 years.
    • The Lascaux Cave, located in southwestern France is a complex of caves that holds perhaps the most famous Upper Palaeolithic art estimated to be up to 20,000 years old.
    • Cave Art from Chauvet, France  Oldest art on record--some of them 32,000 years old.  Almost perfectly preserved after a rock-slide sealed the cave 25,000 years ago.


    • Other cave adventures included a visit to the 14.000 year old Bull and Cow Bison found in the Le Tuc d'Audoubert Cave in Arlege, France.
    • The Cosquer Cave in Marseille, France is the only cave in the world with an entrance 115 feet below present-day sea level where cave art has been preserved from the flooding that occurred when the seas rose after the end of the last glaciation. (Clottes & Courtin 1994, 1996)
    • Along northern Spain's Cantabrian Sea coast, the cave called El Castillo had the oldest dated cave paintings—the oldest being a simple red disk. At more than 40,800 years old, it pre-dates other European art by at least 4,000 years. This date coincides with the earliest known evidence for Homo sapiens  in Europe.  Because of its age, it is the best evidence yet that Neanderthals might have been the first actual cave painters. 


  • Monday: pg. 50 
  • Tuesday: pg. 51 
  • Wednesday: pg. 52 
  • Thursday: pgs. 53 & 54


  • Monday:  Found /Parallel Poetry using "Neanderthal Man"
  • Tuesday: Share/Edit/Revise Found/Parallel Poetry using "Neanderthal Man"
  • Wednesday: Complete Found/Parallel Poetry activity and copy F.D. into Writer's Notebook (include illustration, color, border--you know the routine! =-})
  • Thursday:  Writer's Notebook square of the week.  All writing due.


A week of exploration, discussion, learning, learning, learning. . .
Test coming soon:  Know these terms!

Tuesday:  TO DO:  Complete Interactive Notebook Review Activity

A great introduction to Hydrothermal Vents

"Probably one of the biggest biological discoveries ever made on earth..."

Thursday:  TO DO:  Complete a 20-word "gist" about hydrothermal vents. 


  • "I Discovered Fire" Reading and Comprehension packet. Use QuEEC to construct responses. Finish up Thursday.

Cave art video from
Music for Chauvet video: "Before the Beginning" by Robert Tree Cody & Will Clipman 

Monday, October 6, 2014

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.” ― Albert Einstein

History's Oldest Murder Mystery
"Otzi the Ice Man"

Welcome to another amazing week, Elders.  Get ready for some interesting activities, videos, readings, and  another daring QUEST -- Oh, and a BHT or two. It promises to be an activity-packed week so get ready to learn something AMAZING!


  • Tuesday:  Test on Prehistory reading assignments. (Remember last week?)
  • Thursday:October is the perfect time to pursue a great murder mystery. Based on what you learn in this WebQuest  you and your fellow classmates are going to embark on a fascinating study of the world's oldest mummy and the mysterious events leading up to his death. 

In Focus video about "The Iceman":


  • Monday:  pgs. 42-43
  • Tuesday:  pgs. 44-45
  • Wednesday:  pgs. 46-47
  • Thursday:  pgs. 48-49
  • Friday:  corrections and BHT


  • Monday: Create first draft of "Center Square" -- Recipe of a personal experience and the mood it evoked. Independent work: begin planning/writing your first Bingo choice for this month.
  • Tuesday: Share recipe with a classmate. Use feedback to revise your writing. Edit in preparation for putting in your Writer's Notebook.
  • Wednesday:  Plan what you wish your page to look like (illustrations, border) Transfer your recipe onto the left-hand page of your Writer's Notebook. (Print neatly!) Illustrate and turn in.
  • Thursday:  Finish up Book Projects that we didn't get to last week. We'll present in Reading class.
  • Friday: See below.

(Mood:  the feeling or "vibe" you get from literature, art, video, or music. It is closely linked with everyday feelings; does it make you feel  happy, light-hearted, carefree, peaceful, surprised, depressed, angry, fearful. . . ?  Mood can be created through such things as sound, lighting, movement, timing, setting, rhythm, contrast, conflict and more.) 

So let's talk about MOOD!  The perfect topic for October, right?  

Create a T-Chart and label the Left-hand column "Mary Poppins" and the second side, "Scary-Mary Poppins."  While you watch the first trailer, think of words that describe the mood.  

  1. Jot down the mood you think it is creating and provide specific examples/evidence that create it.  Look at the visuals and listen to the music.  Watch for colors, fonts, and the way the characters interact.
  2. Discuss it -- What is the general mood of the trailer? (Provide examples.)
Then watch the second video. (You may want to watch it more than once!)This is a video where someone took actual footage from Mary Poppins and added captions, scary music, and lighting effects to make a very creepy and haunting version of the once jolly world of Mary Poppins.
  1. Repeat the same process of describing the mood (visuals, music, colors, character interaction) and discuss it -- citing specific things that created the mood.
  2. Discuss it -- What is the general mood of this trailer?  (Provide examples.)
Assignment (Use QuEEC to answer first two questions; include T-Chart, and turn in!)
  • Why was it so easy to detect the mood in these two video clips?  What strategies did you use?
  • How do we figure out the mood of a story, book, or poem when there is no music, no characters to watch, no special lighting to see?
  • Complete a final draft of your T-Chart based on your notes and class discussions. 

Mary Poppins trailer @

Scary-Mary trailer@


  • Monday: pgs. 28, 29
  • Tuesday: pg. 13 & worksheet 1.6
  • Wednesday:  pgs. 30-31
  • Thursday: pg. 32 & 1.7
  • Friday:  Corrections & pg. 33


Correct Web Quests

2-Day Review:

Tectonic Plates, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes

According to theory of plate tectonics, Earth is an active planet — its surface is composed of many individual plates that move and interact, constantly changing and reshaping Earth's outer layer. Volcanoes and earthquakes both result from the movement of tectonic plates. In this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain with images from NASA, see the relationship between earthquakes and volcanoes and the boundaries of tectonic plates.

Mountain Maker, Earth Shaker

The theory of plate tectonics has come a long way since Alfred Wegener first proposed his theory of continental drift. Geologists now have strong evidence to show not only that tectonic plates have moved and are continuing to move, but also to describe what happens when they meet. This interactive activity adapted from A Science Odyssey Web site illustrates what happens at the three types of boundaries where plates meet.

Plate Tectonics: The Scientist Behind the Theory

Some of the most influential theories began as seemingly implausible notions. This is not to say that the scientific community embraces every new idea that comes along. Alfred Wegener, the scientist who first proposed the theory of continental drift, learned that the hard way. This video segment adapted from A Science Odyssey chronicles the unveiling of Wegener's theory and shows how compelling evidence is sometimes dismissed when it supports new or incomplete theories.

  1. Why was Wegener's original idea about continental drift referred to as intuition and not science?
  2. What did Wegener find that he believed was evidence to support his theory?
  3. Why didn't others think that his findings constituted evidence?

Plate Tectonics: Further Evidence

Early evidence showing striking similarities between regions on opposite sides of vast oceans suggested that in Earth's distant past what are now separate continents may once have been connected. However, this evidence said nothing about how the continents could have moved to their present positions. This video segment from adapted A Science Odyssey describes the search for evidence of a mechanism and forces that could propel tectonic plates across Earth's surface.

  Bill Nye Talks About Sea-Floor Spreading, Too. . .

Plate Tectonics: Lake Mead, Nevada

Contrary to what most geologists thought less than 100 years ago, we live on a dynamic planet. Earth's surface has changed in countless ways during the 4.6 billion years since it formed, and it continues to change today. This video segment adapted from Discovering Women looks at some of the geologic processes that have shaped the landscape near Lake Mead, Nevada, and suggests that these processes may be causing North America to slowly break apart.

  1. How did the new information about the ocean floor support Wegener's theory?
  2. How do the rocks at Lake Mead support the theory of plate tectonics?
  3. What other evidence would help convince you that the theory of plate tectonics was real?

Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries

Continents were once thought to be static — locked tight in their positions in Earth's crust. Similarities between distant coastlines, such as those on opposite sides of the Atlantic, were thought to be the work of a scientist's overactive imagination, or, if real, the result of erosion on a massive scale. This interactive activity adapted from NASA shows the position of Earth's continents on 11 massive tectonic plates and illustrates the motion of these plates relative to one another.

Which direction are the plates moving at the different types of boundaries? 
What geologic features can be seen at each boundary?

Plate Tectonics: The Hawaiian Archipelago

Given that all of the Hawaiian Islands were created by volcanic activity, it is somewhat surprising that only one of the islands possesses any active volcanoes. Why did the volcanoes that built the other islands stop erupting and why are those on the big island still active? This video segment adapted from NOVA describes the role of a relatively rare phenomenon, known as a hot spot, in the formation of these majestic islands.


We're being pretty MOOD-y this week! In this week's Readers' Workshop, we're going to discuss Setting & Mood.  Here's the website for "Setting & Mood" just in case you lose the paperwork I provide to you.  Questions are also written out for your convenience.  Please answer in complete sentences using QuEEC.  

Wonderful WebQuest from:
Wonderful Plate Tectonics information from:
Wonderful Bill Nye video