Hi everyone! I hope you have come over to the blog to vote on Reading class. However, this post is to let you all know that we will finally have a meeting about the building of a milk cartoon transportation model on Wednesday, 9/11, right after car line is finished (think 4) in my room (12) until 5. If you stay you MUST BE PICKED UP AT 5! Unless you are after school. We will talk about the specifics and come up with a game plan. Only those serious about the project should attend. 
See you then!!!
What a whirlwind week last week at GCCAS for the sixth grade. We had a few baseline tests, and I believe there may be more in our future, that took up a lot of time. We also had a fun critical thinking assignment with Mr. Mr. Auer on Friday (that's our principal, Mr. Auer's father). We did some additional review in Math, read the second section of our World History text book online, and then on Friday, we received our new textbooks!
We spent some time Friday looking over the new books and thinking about what is in store. As we move through next week students will be working out of them directly, as well as utilizing some technology. A lot of people have asked me about the Edmodo code (which will be used primarily for Math homework help, but also some review problems) and if you will
send me an email you can have the class registration code before the rest of the class gets it on Monday.
Also, I told you we had a staff meeting on Friday afternoon. Administration has realized that sixth grade often loses their outside PE time due to the rain and to help curb that they have adjusted the days specials schedule. Mrs. Lukomski is working on a new daily schedule to reflect these changes and should have it ready for us all on Monday. Our lunch time has not changed, neither did most of our morning, but the afternoons did.
I was also informed that there will be no set reading curriculum for us this year. This is good and bad. Bad that we have to make up our own course, good in that we get to make up our own course! At the bottom of this list is a poll. Please think about the options before you vote. I believe that we can do one of a few things. 1) We can choose a new novel every grading period. Read it at home or during some classes, discuss the book as well as do activities. 2) Use that class time to work on writing and the mechanics of writing. Not just nouns and verbs, but we can read short passages and then imitate them, have writing workshops, and create original works. These works can be your contributions to the class magazine!!! or 3) Continue using the reading passages like we used last week, answering questions, and learning about various subjects. I am very interested in all three options and would really like for you and your parents to help decide. If we choose option one we will need to either check out copies of the book from the local library, each student provide their own (I can help those who can't afford it), or find ways to pay for class sets.
That's about all for now. I am dutifully working on lesson plans for next week so that we have a great, productive full week of school. Let's go get it!

See you Monday!
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. 
On our half day, Friday, our class was invited into Mrs. Fangmeier's first grade classroom to read to her students. Everyone seemed to have a great time together! We will do this every so often so that each group of sixth graders get's to take part. Just another great way that sixth grade get's to be leaders of the school.
I don't say the above lightly. But, I do have the best group of sixth graders ever to be assembled! Parents, you should be even more proud. As we all know our parent pick up line is not the fastest in town (yet), but today our sixth grade leaders helped us all get finished at about 4:15! They braved the rain with us to help students get to cars. Sixth graders stepped up and helped keep the younger students quiet and calm and preventing them from horse playing. This is a great group of kids.

As we keep moving forward with the school year I have nothing but high expectations for all of you, students. Working as a team we will make it through subjects that might not be our favorite and excel in them. Together we will do the best!

As we continue to get ready for the arrival of texts (eta Friday) we are continually reviewing, re-teaching where necessary, and learning some new foundational skills. We will also be working on writing, creating stories whenever possible, and poetry, but most of all we will be working on the mechanics of writing. We will be working intently on mechanics when we do writing in social studies. The skill of writing is not restricted to language arts or reading, it is a cross curricular skill. Plus, I like writing (do you remember what I said about writing?).

I hope that as we continue to bring the parent pickup times down with the help of these great sixth grade leaders, we can finally have our informational sessions about the magazine and the building sessions. We will do these sometime after the Labor Day weekend.

In the meantime, bask in the glow that is your own awesomeness. You all deserve it. I am as proud as a mother goose!
Hello sixth graders! We are one school day away from the end of our first week! You have already shown yourselves to be great student leaders and I know Mrs. Lukomski and I have been very proud of you many times this week. The whole rest of the school is very jealous of how well behaved you are in just five days! I knew you would be a great group.

Friday is the grand opening of our school! It's also our first spirit day, so wear your spirit shirts if you want, or a school polo or regular polo. It's your decision. The grand opening ceremony will begin around 2:00 and there will be an official ribbon cutting at 3. All of your parents, grand parents, and guardians are invited! 

I am so thankful that you are all in my classes and I know we will learn much this year. 

For your adults: Congratulations on having great students. You must all be so proud of the responsible, respectful young men and women that you have. You are my heroes! 

See you Friday! 

(PS- We could still use some AAA batteries for our student clickers, if anyone has some that can be donated. Thank you in advance!)

   What a great first day! I had a wonderful day meeting all of you and seeing how well you worked together. I think we had a great time learning classroom procedures. Who would have ever thought that, huh? And the days will continue to get better as we move toward content and books.
   Please remember a few important things: first, we need five binders with paper in them by Friday. Three for my class and two for Mrs. Lukomski's class. You will also need to have PE clothes with you (or on order) by Friday as well.
  I want to say thank you so much for all of the generous donations made to the classroom! I may never need to buy hand sanitizer again! LOL! You are all so very kind. I have lots of great things planned for the construction paper and the other items you donated. Thank you again.
  I think one fun activity that we did today was the Marshmallow Challenge. It was so very interesting to see how students decided as groups to build a structure out of just 20 pieces of spaghetti, 1 yard of string, 1 yard of masking tape in only 18 minutes that could support the weight of a regular marshmallow. Everyone worked together, exchanging ideas, and testing their prototypes. It's interesting to note that those who perform best on this challenge are kindergarteners, while the worst performers are college graduates of business school. I have some pictures below of student creations.
   Lastly, I would like to apologize for the parent pick up mishaps today. We had a meeting after all parents were through and believe that we have come up with a better solution. You should have received an email at the email address you have on file with the school. Please check that and let me know if I can answer any questions for you. Thank you for your continued patience and I'll see you tomorrow!
   It's time! Monday starts the 2013-14 school year! It was so great to meet all of you last night, as well as your adults! I can tell already that this is going to be a spectacular year! 
   I hope you enjoyed writing on your "tag wall." I loved seeing all of your names and pictures. I think I will leave that board up for a long while.
   How many of you are nervous? (Can you see my hand way up in the air?) This is going to be a great new adventure for all of us, and our nerves will calm down. We will enjoy seeing and working with one another every day, and I will do everything I can to keep things fun and interesting. 
   I have had a lot o questions about PE. It's ok to be a bit shy about that as well. If you feel a bit of butterflies about changing in the restroom, you can always wear your PE shirt under your polo. As long as you still meet dress code, no one will say anything to you. 
   I want to take a second to say Thank You very much to all the great parents and guardians that took time to come and have cookies with me last night. I hope I was able to answer all of your questions, but I am here if you have more. And sorry for any problems that my school supply list caused. Students should come to class (By Friday at least) with:
  • 5- 1" Binders. Any color, it doesn't matter. 2 will go to Mrs. Lukomski's room, 3 will stay in mine.
  • Wide ruled paper for each binder. 
  • A backpack loaded with a few pencils, pens, some colored pencils, a ruler, a small 4-function calculator, some ear buds (or other headphone), scissors, index cards, highlighter(s), and a USB flash drive. These things will be just for your student and not for class consumption. 

  • If you are donating any items, such as a pack of copy paper, tissues, construction paper, AAA batteries, hand sanitizer, or disinfecting wipes, those can be brought and left at your convenience. 

   This first week will be here and gone before we even know what hit us! We will have had such a good time learning the rules that you might not even know you were in school. 
   Don't forget to visit the school's webpage and look around on ours! See you Monday morning bright and early! 
   How many times do you order the same meal at the same restaurant? Play the same games the same way? We all do it; as humans we like the consistency and scheduled things in our lives. However, life does not always like for us to become so used to things.
   As you (and your parents) transition from fifth grade to sixth grade you will feel nervous and uncomfortable on occasion. That's okay.  These feelings are part of our lives and are to be expected. Part of building character is stepping outside of our comfort zones and be risk takers. Many higher level curriculums, such as International Baccalaureate, emphasis being a risk taker; doing what scares us. If you are nervous about starting, I am too. 
   But, we aren't just talking about changes in you guys. Sadly, last week Mr. Bradfield, the second sixth grade teacher, had to resign his position. he had a family emergency back home in Missouri and we will keep him in our thoughts while we wish him well. Now the administration is reviewing many of the applications that they received looking for another qualified candidate. Because of that, some of the subjects that I am teaching (mainly math) may also change. Boy are my nerves fried! However, I am still moving forward and my enthusiasm is undaunted. I still know that this will be a great year. We will get past all of our butterflies together, make great learning gains, and have a stellar year. 
   Are you coming to Meet the Teacher night? I hope that you come. I really am looking forward to seeing you Friday night at 6!