Success in Sixth Grade

Volume 8. Issue 10


"How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

A Note From Mr. Nakano

Our theme for the month was "unwrapping." We unwrapped our learning targets and focused on the ones that we are still working on. This month has been about individualized learning and taking ownership of our learning targets.

The feedback from their student surveys helped me to gauge which direction to take their learning as we move forward in the year. I hope to better meet the needs of those who feel the desire to be challenged more, require more (or less) homework, and honor both the intro- and extrovert learner. There were some interesting new classroom designs I received to try out and learned what they enjoy most (and least) about our classroom community. Above all, it was nice to know that they all share a positive attitude and enthusiasm towards learning.

Thank you to those who filled out the parent survey as well. It is always nice to know what is or is not working in terms of meeting your child's needs. They are the best source of information to know what's going on in the classroom, and I'm pleased to hear that they're doing a great job in communicating.

If you'd like to offer your feedback, the survey is still available at:

Outdoor Ed

We're eagerly anticipating the arrival of Outdoor Ed! Each day, we'll be focusing on an element of the Outdoor Ed experience (What to Pack, Learning Activities, Fun Activities, Night Activities, Food, and Bunkhouses). They'll get a preview of what to expect and we'll answer any questions they may have along the way.

You can preview what to expect too at:

We've also compiled a list of our most FAQ that are answered at:

DARE Graduation

Monday, Jan. 25th 2016 at 1:45pm

12025 Yale Court

Irvine, CA

On Monday, January 25th, the students will be participating in a DARE graduation ceremony in which they will commit to leading a drug-free lifestyle. The students will make a pledge and the winners of the DARE project and spirit wear contests will be announced.

You are invited to attend this ceremony in the MPR (should be around 40 minutes) as they make their commitment and we celebrate our time with Officer Mendoza in the DARE program.

Their DARE projects are due the Wednesday we come back from winter recess. Their only homework this week is to allow time for them to work on their project, so it's not something that needs to be worked on over the break.

Hour of Code

In celebration of logical thinking and possible future endeavors, we celebrated the Hour of Code last week. Students participated in an hour of learning computer programming language. Some created artwork designs, some programmed an object like BB-8 from Star Wars or Elsa from Frozen to move, and others went straight into learning Javascript and other coding languages. With their prior experience with coding, the students were excited to reboot this learning and take it to a new level.

What Most Schools Don't Teach

Mystery Skype

As part of the #Skypeathon with Ellen Degeneres, students around the world worked together to Skype over 1,000,000 miles from December 3-4. Our class did a Mystery Skype with a classroom from Jonesboro, Arkansas, logging in 1,761.4 miles. Once again, the class marveled at our weather outside.

We were very close this time to solving where they were located. This time, we were only one question away from solving it! Our students got their home state before they figured out ours. When we heard they were using Bing Maps, instead of Google Maps, we were thrilled (because of the Google office in Irvine). But then, we remembered there is a Microsoft office, too, so that didn't help much, either :).

The students are really honing in on their deduction skills, as well as their communication and collaboration.

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RTI / Language Arts

It's sad to say that our story of Maniac Magee has finished. The students watched the Nickelodeon version of the story and created a double bubble that compared and contrasted the movie version to the novel. In the end, they are creating a piece of writing that focuses on the most significant similarities and differences that they found. The biggest omission for them was the fact that Grayson was not a part of the movie at all! All throughout the movie, they would shout, "That's Grayson's line" when another character said it instead.

Technology Focus

Our technology focus this unit was "summarizing" and the students used the Chatter Pix app to retell the story of how a mummy is created, from the mummy's point of view. It was fun to hear some of the students use writer's voice in their work as they described the delicate bath a body first receives or how it felt to have the organs removed from them and how "lighter" they felt afterwards. They have such great creativity and it truly shows!


Unit 3 - Expressions and Equations

We are moving on to a bit of algebraic thinking with the introduction of our next unit - expressions and equations. We're taking things a bit slow, with winter recess and Outdoor Ed upcoming, so the duration of this unit will be longer than the previous ones.

Dates to Remember

12/18 - 9:30 Holiday Party

1:30 Minimum Day

12/21-1/1 Winter Recess

1/4 - Return from Winter Recess

1/12 - 15 Outdoor Ed

1/18 - Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day