Sixth Grade Newsletter

September 28th

Language Arts

In language arts this year we have embarked on genre studies. A genre study is when students study a genre in depth. It begins with reading and analyzing many different pieces within the genre so that they have a clear and strong understanding of all elements of that genre. After students have a complete understanding and are able to analyze the pieces, then we move on to writing within the genre. Our first unit of study is persuasion. It fits with our world class outcome of: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Students will demonstrate this outcome by analyzing various persuasive texts and critiquing the reasoning of the author. They will also have to construct viable argument by choosing an issue/argument and create a project to persuade their audience to change its mind or act on the issue/argument.

In ELA, due to the limited time spent in class, we will not have formal spelling tests. Students will work on spelling within the context of their writing and have words for which they will be accountable. Words that students work on will be based on student need.

Homework in ELA will consist of averaging 160 minutes per week. I know that some nights students won't be able to read or won't be able to read the full 40 minutes. For that reason, they just need to average 160 minutes per week. Sometime throughout the week I may give them an open ended question to answer regarding the reading they are doing. Each week the homework will be posted on the students' Google Classroom site for ELA.

We are doing AR this year and a good portion of the reading for this needs to take place at home. Students should be bringing their AR books back and forth to school. They must take the tests at school, however. I have included the link for you to monitor their progress in this newsletter. It is also posted on my Google Classroom site. Students login using their AR login and password used at school. Click here to access the link.

To login students type in last name first middle initials and the password is Dcsdlunch number- Ex. smithjr Dcsd88888. All the children should be able to login.


Unit 1 - Collection, Display, and Interpretation of Data

Students learned to:

  • find data landmarks and measures of spread and to compare the median and mean for sets of data
  • create, read, and interpret line plots, stem and leaf plots, box plots, broken-line graphs, bar graphs, step graphs, and circle graphs
  • analyze data displays and explain ways in which data can be presented to misrepresent or mislead

Unit 1 Test 9/29/15

Final Activity for Unit 1:

Students will create a graph that is misleading based on data that is researched. They will be able to analyze other students' graphs and their reasoning of how and why they created the graph. They will also create an advertisement or commercial around their misleading data and be evaluated on communication. (WCOs - Evaluate the relationship between ethical decisions and their impact on a global society and Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others)

Unit 2: Operations with Whole Numbers and Decimals

This unit will build on students' conceptual understanding of place value and whole-number operations.

Areas of focus are:

  • to read, write and interpret numbers written in standard, number-and-word, expanded, and scientific notations,
  • to review adding and subtracting decimals
  • to develop power of ten strategies
  • to estimate products and quotients of decimal numbers,
  • to develop strategies for multiplying and dividing decimals

**Please continue to support your child in learning the algorithms for multiplication and division. They need to have a solid understanding of these algorithms to be able to successfully master decimals with multiplication and division.

All students are signed up to use Khan Academy. I strongly encourage kids to use this as a resource. It offers kids practice on skills for sixth grade along with help hints and videos when the child needs help with a skill. Students will have some time to work on Khan Academy in class. It will be an optional homework assignment if they are not able to complete practice in class. If a student chooses to go on Khan Academy at home for extra practice, that would be great!

Homework: Your child has access to a Google Classroom for math. This is where they will get homework assignments and other information that is needed. There will be Study Links and other math practice activities. Homework for the week is due by Friday or the last day of the week.

Contact Information:

Social Studies

In this unit of study, the students have researched one of these four topics: Women's Suffrage, WWII, Civil War, or Civil Rights Movement. While researching, students were to look at two different points of view and include both primary and secondary sources in their notes. Each student has a google classroom that correlates with the topic they studied. Here, students responded to some questions from me and were able to collaborate with classmates by posting articles/websites that they felt were useful.

Right now, students are having discussions on each of their topics while others are taking notes on what they have learned from their peers' discussions. Examples of what these discussions look like are on your child's social studies google classroom. You can also find their discussion on their topic google classroom and on their social studies google classroom.

Next, students will be taking the information they have found and connecting it to the world today by looking at social issues that are going on today. Students will be creating a project that shows how decisions impact a global society and clearly states their point of view on a topic/issue.

Just a note: If you ever want to see what your child is doing in Social Studies, you can view your child's google classroom. They can access it for you through their email.


What we have learned: We spent the first month of school developing an understanding of the scientific method. We were given a purpose (a question was asked) and worked building background information through researching a topic (which led to a lesson on the reliability of a website and relevance of information presented). We learned how to write a hypothesis using the If/Then/Because method. We learned about the importance of following a procedure and how varied our results are when we we are given all the same materials without a procedure. We explored how recording different observations will lead to creating specific graphing of the results. We began the process of how to write and communicate an analysis of results making sure to keep it factual. Lastly, we practiced how to write a conclusion that answers the purpose of the lab while acknowledging how the variables impacted the results. These labs included: designing tin foil boats to float the most pennies, designing paper airplanes for distance, how to place the most water droplets on the surface of a penny, testing the acidity/base of household items.

What we are learning: Our 6th grade students have been exploring the relationship between potential and kinetic energy for the past two weeks. Students have created videos showing examples of each and watched classmates' videos and posted critiques to the videos on Padlet. We have built temporary models to test the first law of thermodynamics-energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. Using this theory, students have begun calculating potential and kinetic energy with our independent variable being the height of the object (what we change each time we test the same object). We will be continuing to calculate kinetic and potential energy this week and exploring how the energy transfers from potential to kinetic and vice versa.

What we will learn next: We will continue to have a focus on energy through the lens of renewable and nonrenewable resources and how our ethical decision in using these resources impacts our society. We will examine the importance that each of these has on our economy and what each student thinks is his/her own responsibility now and in the future with these resources. Topics covered will include: Types of energy (Mechanical, Radiant, Solar, Chemical, Hydro, Electric, Nuclear), distribution of resources on a local and global scale, how fossil fuels work, how alternative energy resources work, what resources our community values and how/why it might look different somewhere else in the world.

If you work in the field of energy and would be interested in sharing your expertise with our students, please contact Mrs. Marks-

Upcoming Dates

Our first science test will be on Thursday, October 8th. A study guide and sample problems will be posted on our Google Classroom this Monday evening which can be accessed via your child's email.

Thursday, 10/1 - Fun Run - Sixth Grade color run starts at 2:45

Week of 10/5 - Student Led Conferences

Wednesday, October 7th is International Walk to School Day.

  • Please encourage your students to walk or ride bikes to school that day. To celebrate, there will will be treats for the kids that morning by the flag pole and mobiles.

Friday, October 23rd from 6:00PM - 8:00PM - FSE 2015 Fall Festival

  • Bracelet orders are due by 10/8 (Bracelets are $10.00 for unlimited access at the festival. They will not be sold at the door.)

Friday, 10/9 - Sunday, 10/ 18 - No school - Fall Break