# Welcome to Otto

## Beginning the year as a Bobcat!

The school year is in full swing and we couldn't be more proud of our 6th grade Bobcats!
The beginning of the year has been full of new experiences, organization, and independence for our incoming students. Lockers have been mastered, schedules are memorized, and getting to class on time is in the books! Each 6th grader should be utilizing their agenda in all their classes. As a reminder students and guardians can always check class websites and agendas for any upcoming assignments.
Growth Mindset Video

## English Language Arts

Sixth graders are diving into their past and special memories to communicate personal experiences through reading and discussing memoirs in class and writing their own. Specific lessons in this unit include a study of how to develop a list of meaningful topics for writing, how to recognize and craft the life lessons that make memoirs more meaningful, and how to communicate memoir-like writing in a variety of formats. We will be visiting the library every week in order to self-select a chapter book that they would like to read during Reading Workshop time. Reading Workshop is done every day in class, during the first twenty minutes. We will also be reviewing the parts of speech in a fun and interactive way, called Color Coded Grammar.

## Math 6 and 6 Honors

There will be pizza!! Ask any 6th grade student if they are hungry, and they might be because we have been learning about fractions. Dividing common items into like sized parts helps our kids visualize all the operations of fractions while keeping their interest- who doesn't like the neat lines of a pizza? Next, we will extend our fraction knowledge into equivalent decimals while looking at the operations associated with decimal work. Who knows? There may be a few brownies along the way as we cut up the pans to study the relationship between fractions and decimals and all the parts of a whole represented. By the end of our first 6 weeks, we will be prepared to apply that knowledge to percents and proportions. Stay hungry, 6th grade!!

## Math Rocks

We traveled away to Ancient Greece to study the famous mathematician, Pythagoras, and his famous theory about right triangles. Your student should be able to work this formula with any variable- upside down and backwards, rotated and reflected triangles.

Our next step is scientific notation and the ability to express very small or very large numbers in a simple way using negative and positive exponents. The last step we will look at is similarity of polygons while investigating their unique properties with loads of formulas along the way.

## Science

Sixth grade scientists are exploring the digestive system with exciting labs featuring the structure and function of each organ. As they explore division of labor, they will discover how efficiently the system works as a whole. Students will begin to use experimental design to form a hypothesis and gather quantitative and qualitative data.

## Social Studies

Sixth grade historians are introduced to world cultures and geography. Our first unit is on cultural relationships in the Middle East/North Africa region. This area is defined by certain cultural characteristics and we will be discovering what those characteristics are and how they define this region. Students will explore the basics of the major world religions and brush up on their geography skills.

## PACE

Ode to Humanties! This six weeks in PACE, students will be introduced to the idea of the humanities by helping them discover how their lives are saturated with all elements of humanities. Students will create a working definition for the word humanities that they will refine as the year goes along. There will be group projects that they will be working on in class as they discover the elements of humanities as well as defining culture. We will also look at the role geography plays in the development of cultures.

## Counselor Corner

As School Counselors, we work with students on an individual basis, in small groups and in their classrooms. The focus of the counseling program is on academic skills, career awareness, and personal/social skills. We also attend parent-teacher conferences at the request of the parent/guardian or teacher, as our schedule allows.

Here are some reasons students might want to talk to the School Counselor:

• "I had an argument with my best friend and she doesn't want to be my friend anymore."
• "Some kids in my science class are talking about fighting after school."
• "My parents argue all the time and I don't know what to do."
• "My grandfather is really sick and I'm scared he's going to die."
• "My mom just had a baby and she doesn't have time for me anymore."
• "We're moving again!"
• "My dad wants me to be an engineer like him, but I want to be a pilot."

Here are some reasons parents might want to talk to the School Counselor:

• "This is John's third school this year, and he's having difficulty adjusting."
• "My husband is being deployed in two weeks and Carolyn may need some help coping with this change."
• "Sam used to be excited about school, but lately he doesn't seem to care."
• "My wife and I recently separated and our daughter could use some help understanding this."
• "My son seems to be the target of some teasing and bullying after school. Can you help?"

Teens and Technology Tips

As your child enters middle school, they may either already have a cell phone, or they may be incessantly begging you for one because “all of their friends have one.” Parents today have a lot to think about when it comes to allowing their child to utilize social media, as well as apps on smart phones, and the many other trends in technology that capture the attention of our youth. Children are children, and they are learning how to navigate through a complicated social world that includes technology as a key piece of the social interaction puzzle. Because our youth view technology as a necessary element to maintaining friendships and accessing information, it is difficult (if not impossible) to limit what they view, but as parents and educators, we should always be aware of what and whom our children are exposed to. As you continue to raise a middle school child in a tech-happy world, here are some tips:

• As you allow technology to be a part of your child’s life, consider putting in place a Parent-Child Technology Agreement. This will allow your child to understand that as a parent, you are not invading their privacy; rather, you are trying to help them protect it.
• Work to understand emoticons and leetspeak. Not sure what your kid is texting or even saying? There are leet translators on the internet that are easy to find and use!
• Be aware of the lengths that youth will go to in order to keep a conversation “private.” Kids may program a friend in under a different name, so when you think it’s Veronica that left sixteen voicemails, it could actually be Timmy! Also, be aware that many students text within apps, so if you look at their text messages, you may not see their complete conversations. KIK is a popular app that many students chat and send photos/videos over, and kids can block their parents! Instamessage is a new social networking app that is totally private, and Stickam.com is a site on the internet where a person can meet other people to chat with via webcam.
• Feel like restricting them from everything? That is a totally normal gut reaction. While you may be able to keep the technology at bay for a few more years, there will come a time when your child will access what they want with or without your involvement. Smart kids can be sneaky! Technology is part of student culture and both colleges and employers want to see that youth are not only immersed in social media, but that they know how to use it properly. Years of experience and parental guidance will help them get a hang of personal branding using technology.
• Want to keep on top of all of the technological trends but don’t have enough time? That’s what blogs like www.hightechdad.com are for!