What a week! We had a long week of baseline testing (fun stuff!) and full day visits in class. In social studies we learned about ancient Sumer and how to write in cuneiform. (I thought that was pretty cool!) In math we reviewed dividing decimals by decimals and learned about multiplying and dividing by the powers of 10. (Don't forget to do you homework, pages 66-67 1-42 odd problems only for Monday.) Students also did a wonderful job in predicting our class novel's, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, direction through skits, songs, and poems. I was so impressed, so was Mrs. Lukomski. 
   Next week will be even better! We have only four days of school (yes, we are out Friday!) and it's spirit week. Monday is hat day, Tuesday is super hero day, Wednesday is class color day. We are yellow, so wear it proud! Thursday is pajama day. Don't forget your rules when choosing what to wear. Those who violate the guidelines will have parents called for a change of clothing. Don't test the rules or we may not have another week like this. 
   In class we will finish up Chapter 3 and learn about Gilgamesh. We will explore Hammurabi's code and write a paper. Thursday will be a Chapter 3 quiz. In math we will learn to divide by powers of 10, explore some word problems, and finish up Thursday with a test as well. What else finishes on Thursday? The grading period!!!! 
   If you are missing any assignments they must be to me by Wednesday. If you have been absent you need to make sure that you make arrangements with me to make up any tests that you may have missed. If you missed any in class assignments you can not make those up, sorry. 
As a STEM school we want as much technology inside the classroom as we can get, and when that helps boost a lesson in Math, it's even better. This past week, through donations of batteries from you wonderful parents, we were able to use our clicker system for the first time. By utilizing assessments with this system, I can get instant feedback on what areas we need to focus on, and with which students. The data collected helps to differentiate the class, allowing students to get the most out of instruction time. 
We also had a visit from Principal Auer. He came in to tell the sixth graders how great they have been as school leaders and role models for the younger classes. That makes us all proud! 
Also, in Math we watched a video about how math and algorithms have changed the face of origami,  then we folded some "fortune tellers" that we used as question generators to ask one another questions about the printing press. Things are always happening in sixth grade! 
Last week we started to understand why people, archaeologists in particular, study the past and how difficult that job might be at times. Students were divided into groups where they had to perform a number of tasks. They wrote a letter to the future (what would be important to share with people in 3013?), read about the profession of archaeology, dug up bones and reassembled them like real archaeologists, and looked through layers of the ground to see what might be buried and how they came to be so. Students also got to interact with the OneBoard  and reassemble dinosaur fossils. 
One of the things I heard the most was how difficult some of the tasks that seemed to be easy really were. That was an eye opener. Students also learned some practical applications for the vocabulary we learned about archaeology that will follow us throughout our world history studies this year. 
I'm sure by now you have heard the term Common Core, but do you really know what it is? Don't feel bad if you don't, we are all learning about it. So let me see if I can shed some light on the mystery for you.

Here's what I know: 
1. Common Core was an initiative developed by a group of experts to help place an emphasis what all students should know by the time they graduate high school. 
2. Common Core has been adopted by 45 states. Florida is one of the states who has adopted Common Core. 
3. The Common Core standards have a focus on English (across all subjects) and Mathematics. I know more about the English standards, but the Math standards are very com
4. Common Core standards help bring critical thinking into all subject areas and have a heavy emphasis on writing, justifying, and analyzing many types of text including fiction stories and non-fiction (or informational) texts. 
5. Compared with the Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for the subject of Social Studies, which is comprised of 85 individual standards, there are 10 Common Core standards. The difference is the NGSSS standards focus on content students should know, while CC standards focus on how students should be able to read and write with regards to that content. 

I think you will find that for all the issues that the media and other organizations can have with Common Core, you really won't see them in action. As sixth graders it is important to start to look at material given to you and start to analyze it. You should be looking for unfamiliar vocabulary and questioning main ideas. You should also be able to write a summary about any reading and provide justification (or citations) from the reading to support your own interpretations. 

Every day in our classes we will address the NGSSS standards as well as CC standards and we will have a great time doing it. Make sure you stock up on paper! Let's get to writing! 

To learn more about Common Core standards visit their website.