Monday, March 25, 2013

"This day I have sent couriers to every part of our country, to every city and village. They carry this decree. That I have set a task for Egypt. . ."

". . .which in any other land would be impossible on the desert sands. You will raise a pyramid, a structure greater than any in the world. This pyramid shall be resting place for the second life. Each man has a covenant with me to work as man has not yet worked in all time. And as the living God of Egypt, I promise you that each man by his labor shall secure for himself a place in the life to come."  ~William Falkner's Land of the Pharaohs 


We continue our study of Ancient Egypt through the completion of our Mini-Books and Research Reports.  As you will see, assignments are a little different now, since much more time is given to students demonstrating their understanding of the concepts we've covered throughout the year. Working independently and with each other, they are creating and polishing projects of interest to them, gathering ideas and insights -- and help in problem-solving -- from their peers.   

The first is a Mini-Book of facts about the everyday life of Ancient Egyptians. This project not only covers reading for information, highlighting important facts, effective note-taking, and compiling information into a visually appealing, polished document, it also demonstrates students' understanding of informational text features.  In fact, each book is required to include at least ten.

This project will be due on Friday, March 29th.

The "Pharaoh Report" is a major research project.  Written in first person, it recounts the lives of some of the greatest kings of Ancient Egypt. Students scoured the internet and printed off three documents that they found most helpful -- to be used as the basis of their report.  They read, highlighted information that they were required to include in their report, took notes, and began the writing process -- one paragraph at a time -- in class. In no time, students were seeking additional information on their own, and were identifying relationships with one another's pharaohs as they began to unravel the history of each of the great kingdoms through a continuum of dynasties. Awesome.  
This is to be an academic paper, complete with bibliography written in APA format.  Ask to see your child's syllabus.  In it, I outline each of the parts of the report (which will become the rubric for grading) as well as the timeline for completion.

MARCH 25-29 


Monday: Begin work on COVER -- an Egyptian scene utilizing the artform known as frontalism.  The words ANCIENT EGYPT will be written in hieroglyphs. We will work on this again tomorrow, after which any unfinished work will need to be completed at home or during study hall in the afternoon.

Tuesday:  Complete cover (include color) and work on any other unfinished aspects of the project.  (Remember "Presentation Quality!")  After today, you're on your own to complete and turn in your project no later than Friday.

Wednesday:  Center Square Activity

Thursday:  Complete Center Square Activity and put finishing touches on this month's Writer's Notebooks.

Friday:  Share Mini-Books, turn in Writer's Notebooks for March.

Monday:   Mrs. M.'s class completed the concluding paragraph/s (death and legacy).  All the paragraphs should be organized onto one document -- the second draft of the report -- and turned in for feedback.

Tuesday:  Mrs. D.'s class is a day behind.  We will work on accomplishments and interesting facts paragraphs. 

Wednesday:  We'll share our reports with our peers and seek their advice.

Thursday:  Mrs. D.'s class will complete the concluding paragraph/s (see Monday's assignment above). 

Friday:  No class. 

SPELLING, GRADE 6 (No task cards this week!)

Monday: Art got in the way; we'll catch up tomorrow.

Tuesday:  191-194

Wednesday:  195-196

Thursday: 197-200

Friday: TEST


Monday --> Friday:  
  • Concepts of Comprehension activities
  • Independent Silent Reading
  • Study Hall (lots of informational reading is associated with projects in most subject areas)
I hope this week will be productive and fun as project work becomes increasingly creative and students work more freely with peers to critique and complete them. 

“ my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?' it was all I could do to get out the words, 'Yes, wonderful things.”   ― Howard Carter, Tomb of Tutankhamen

Ancient Pharaohs illustration:
King Tut illustration:

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Then come the wild weather, come sleet or come snow, we will stand by each other, however it blow." ~ Simon Dach


Well, there is consolation in knowing Spring is coming even if its effects cannot be felt for awhile...

MARCH 18 -- 22
So much more work is project-based this trimester.  
It relies on your ability to stay on task and work productively and independently.

Words for the Week:  indefinite, illuminate, jealous, emit, uncommitted, ancient overworked, thoughtless, illegibly, achieve
Two of your task cards should be to write definitions for each of these words and use them effectively in a sentence.

pages 181-182 & task cards
pages 183-184 & task cards

pages 185-186 & task cards
pages 187-190 & task cards

Test - collect task cards


Write Source Assessment

Review informational text features. Finish typing & adding text features to mini-book.  Check off which text features are included in your mini-book using worksheet provided to you.

Egyptian Art Form Activity -- Frontalism.  Complete practice sheet and begin planning cover. (If you're not done typing your mini-book, this must now be done for homework or during free time.)

Work on cover art (Ancient Egyptian scene utilizing Frontalism) and hieroglyphs ("Ancient Egypt")

Finishing touches on mini-book -- turn in!


Mrs. M.'s class -- Write paragraph/s (background, description)

Mrs. D.'s class -- Same as above

Mrs. M.'s class -- Write paragraph/s (accomplishments/ interesting facts about your pharaoh)

Mrs. M.'s class -- Same as above

No class (Complete any unfinished work)


Work on Reading project for the end of the month, Social Studies informational reading/writing

Tuesday --> Friday:
Comprehension activity, then silent reading, informational reading/writing 

Wonderful cartoon that pretty much sums up our hopes for Spring in this week of snowstorms: 

Monday, March 11, 2013

“Mud season is also sugaring season. We really prefer a long and difficult spring. ... We're alone in that.” Patrick Hooker

the world dissolves
in weak sunshine and water:
Mud sucks at your shoes.
It’s impossible to keep the floors
or the dogs clean... 
     ~from Mud Season By Alice Persons  

When I think of mud season, I remember hauling my young children into the woods on an old toboggan to gather sap.  We made our way to our meager stand of maples on a long-abandoned road, little more than a muddy/slushy path now.  It made traveling pretty challenging--especially on the way back with buckets brimful of sloshing sap and giggling pre-schoolers in tow.  No one minded the mud. It was part of the experience.

"You cannot open a book without learning something."  ~ Confucius
Remember, 6th Graders, Story Maps (on your first book for the month) are due on Thursday, March 14th. 

MARCH 11 -- 14


Notes for sub-sections "Ra" through Nile River due TODAY!  10 points off if turned in  tomorrow.  "Cool Facts About Ancient Egypt" page due tomorrow.

Type facts (from all sections). (Refer to syllabus for directions.)  Work must be "Presentation Quality" -- include sub-headings and at least 5 pictures.  Be creative, and remember G.U.M.!

Continue typing, Grade 5!   Grade 6, continue to work independently since we'll be at Hunt's Farm during your class time.

Finish, finish, finish typing!  Associated art projects and book completion next week.


No assignments this week.  However, tomorrow we'll have the Vocabulary Test associated with last week's work.


Monday, Grade 5:
Complete Note-Taking using Graphic Organizer I provided you

Tuesday, Grade 6:
Same as above

Wednesday, Grade 5:
Complete Introductory Paragraph using notes from Graphic Organizer.  Turn both in at the end of class.

Thursday, Grade 6:
Same as above

READING, Mrs. Maynard's Class

Lesson -- "Steps to Textual Analysis" (no assignment)
Silent read

Grade 5 -- A Real Life Bat Man (textual analysis--figurative language)
Grade 6 -- A Hole in the Planet (textual analysis--vocabulary in context)

No class -- Read-aloud (listening skills/comprehension) with Mrs. Chamberlain

Grade 5 -- A Stargazer's Guide to Mission Control (textual analysis--genre)
Grade 6 -- A Liger's Tale (textual analysis--figurative language)


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ― L.M. Montgomery

Hello, families--

After a weekend of last-minute corrections and updates, report cards are done.  Your students will bring them home on Friday, but in the meantime, feel free to check PowerSchool.  Lessons come in many forms; whether your child is learning from celebrations or challenges, each one of them have value. I hope you use this opportunity to keep the conversation going.  I'm doing the same!

While our schedule is slightly altered (in Science) for the next two weeks, I have created some Language Arts/History activities (which will happen more and more often for this trimester) that will provide some interesting flexible work time for everyone.  In Language Arts, our Ancient Egypt Mini-Project will involve research, reading (interpreting text), note-taking, writing, editing & revising, using technology, and art -- and culminates in a "Publication Quality" piece that demonstrates students' understanding of the every-day life of ancient Egyptians (and each student's individual creativity). (Please peruse the grading rubric included in the packets to see how each piece will be assessed.)

In Social Studies, we are beginning our Research Report project on one of the mighty pharaohs of Egypt.  Everyone received a packet of information, which they should share with you.  The dates are something that we will negotiate together, so they may be subject to "slight alteration," but the final, final, final date for completion is April 12.  Presentations will follow.

Cool sites to check out about Ancient Egypt (You can use this for both Language Arts and Social Studies!):


Introduce packet and read together first three subheadings.  Students are shown how to highlight appropriately (well, it still needs a little practice. . .) and to choose interesting facts (from Daily Life, Marriage, and Food & Cooking), which they must rewrite in their own words for use in their project.  At least TWO facts from each subheading are required, but students are encouraged to find more. (I will collect and look over.)

More independent work time.  Students must read (at least) the next four subheadings (Cosmetics, Hair, Jewelry, Clothing), highlight information they find interesting) and write it (in their own words) on paper for use later. (I will collect and look over, since staying on track is essential.)

Again, read (at least) the next four subheadings (Housing & Furniture, Entertainment, Government, Pyramids) and follow the directions above.

Read the next five subheadings (Mummies & Mummification, Hieroglyphs, Papyrus, Book of the Dead, Pharaohs) and follow the directions above.

No class for 6th grade since we'll be at a play, but the work continues! Read Ra, Food, and Clothing (very short) and write down at LEAST four facts that you found interesting in the "The Nile River" section.

READING (for Mrs. M.)

More of this time (for both Mrs. M. and Mrs. D.) will be used for informational reading associated with Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts projects.  However, time will also be given for Independent Book reading (associated with book projects due each month (twice a month for 6th graders). USE IT!  Also, expect short comprehension sheets--quick checks that will be part of your Reading grade for the last trimester.

     Grades 5 & 6:  The Gift of the Nile comprehension activity
     Grade 6:   "A Bird Came Down" interpreting poetry
     Grade 5:   A Bad Move comprehension activity
     Grade 6:  A Constitution for Kids comprehension activity
     Grade 5:  A Hero With Heart comprehension activity
     Grade 6:  A Secret Note comprehension activity
     Grade 5:  A Juicy Problem comprehension activity


Monday, March 4 (Grade 5):
  1. Introduce Pharaoh project
  2. Choose Pharaoh
  3. Set up "Pharaoh Research" folder on desktop or documents to keep all information you find.
  4. Find cartouche
  5. Find picture of pharaoh for front page
  6. Begin gathering information from web and documenting websites.
VERY IMPORTANT: Understand that for every resource you use (pictures or writing) you need to save the URL address on a word document so that you can go back later and get information for the Bibliography page. 
Tuesday, March 5 (Grade 6): 
Same as above.

Wednesday, March 6 (Grade 5):  
Finish collecting information from websites.  WARNING:  Don't just hit "print" when you find a good website.  It may be dozens of pages long.  If you need to, cut and paste into a word document ONLY what you need, and include the URL address for later! I will collect all these papers later, so don't throw them out.

Thursday, March 7 (Grade 6):
Same as above. I will provide you with a graphic organizer to help you organize your information.

Friday, March 8 (Grade 5):
Use this additional time to highlight and take notes for your pharaoh.  I will give you a graphic organizer that will help you - and make it easier to find the information you need.

SPELLING (Grade 6)

Monday:  pages 167-168

Tuesday:  pages 169-172

Wednesday:  pages 173-174

Thursday:  pages 175-178

Friday: TEST

NOTE:  No Task Cards this week.

Report card image found at: