6 Purple Newsletter

Winter Edition: January 2016

6 Purple's 2015 in Review...

Hello and Happy New Year! The time has flown by as 2015 fades away and we settle into 2016 on 6 Purple. The students have adjusted, the teachers are remembering names, and parents are navigating the websites like seasoned professionals!

Scroll through this newsletter for updates on your students' classes, highlights from fun activities, a summary of upcoming school and team events, and a lot more fun information!

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6P Special Announcement

The 6 Purple students and teachers have been busily and excitedly using our Chromebooks everyday this year! We even received a class set of headphones to enhance the learning experience. However, if you would prefer your child use their own headphones for class activities, please send them in with a pair so that he/she may participate regularly. Thanks!

6P Had Some Serious Holiday Spirit in 2015!

6P Holiday Caroling

Student Section

6 Purple Students were asked: What's the best thing about 6 Purple so far this year? What are you looking forward to on 6 Purple in 2016? These are some of their responses:

  • Brandon - I am looking forward to doing more fun labs in science. I also like Mr. Cummings's English class because he lets us play Smart Rollers to study for the Daily Word Daily Dilemma quizzes.
  • Clare - What is my favorite thing about 6 purple? Where do I start? In ELA we always learn in such a fun and entertaining way. In Social Studies we're always learning new things, and we're always learning together. In Science we're always doing so many enjoyable experiments and activities. Lastly, in Math we learn something new everyday. Throughout the entire unit we have great new technology like our Chromebooks. The teachers are always working together. For example in Science we did a project on a disease and now we are writing a poem about our assigned disease in ELA. In other words... 6 Purple rocks!
  • Jordan - I am looking forward to being able to say that I made it through the first four months without dying! I'm hoping that the new year will bring challenges for me to solve, friendships to grow, and knowledge to expand my mind. Maybe I'll have even written a good story that expresses my passion for writing.
  • Spencer - I liked how on Halloween all the teachers dressed up. I can't wait for Greek Day!
  • Abby - I think the best thing about 6 Purple so far is the amazing teachers!!! The teachers are fun and enthusiastic, and it really improves my day!
  • Cal - The best thing about 6 Purple are the science labs. I'm really looking forward to finding out what our field trip is going to be!
  • Emily - The best thing about 6 Purple so far this year is the amazing teachers, being able to use the Chromebooks in class, and doing fun partner work and projects! I am looking forward to having more fun, and learning new things from my incredible teachers!
  • Mack - The best thing about 6 purple so far is the loving support from teachers when you have a question , projects in Social Studies and English, Science experiments, and writing the answers to the math problem on the Smart Board. I am looking forward to the endless support of my friends and teachers and the fun projects I get to do in all subjects with the whole 6 Purple team!!

Class Updates

Mrs. Wells

What's Happening in ELA?


  • Daily Word and Daily Dilemma (DWDD) - vocabulary acquisition using resources, research, discussion, and written response
  • Prefixes, Base Words, and Suffixes – learning definitions of word parts and their applications through focused study and written response
  • Idioms and Proverbs – discovery through research, writing, and cooperative learning
  • Grammar – parts of speech, sentence structure
  • Short Stories – exploring several classic short stories in various genre
  • Poetry – reading and writing couplet poems
  • Nonfiction – Hero of the Month
  • Short Answer
  • Narratives, Poetry, Open Response to Text
Speaking and Listening
  • Cooperative learning
  • Reader’s Theater
  • Presentation of student writing

Upcoming in ELA
  • Novel – study of longer works that engage students’ imaginations and critical thinking abilities
  • Poetry – reading and interpreting different types of poetry
  • Nonfiction – articles, biography
  • Honing writing skills for open response
  • Writing original poetry of different types such as couplet, haiku, diamante, and limerick
  • Narrative writing – collecting oral histories and writing stories of family heritage
  • Ongoing study of vocabulary DWDD; vocabulary in literature
Speaking and Listening
  • Cooperative learning
  • Elements of Drama
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Mrs. Jensen & Mrs. Bresnahan

ICE: Students have been working hard to learn how to multi-task and manage their time to get all of their homework, projects, and assignments completed. Going from 5th to 6th grade can be a challenging transition, especially now with having a different teacher for each subject. We have been learning to stay organized by writing in our agendas daily, using technology to our benefit (ie. taking a picture of the homework board), and keeping homework folders up to date. Quizlet.com has been an extremely helpful resource to use for studying for tests and quizzes both during ICE and at home. Also, utilizing Google Classroom has been an awesome way to keep track of homework, due dates, & upcoming assignments, and a great way to get a question answered quickly by either a teacher or classmate. In addition, we have been practicing the good ole multiplication facts by using online tools and practice tests. Overall, the students have been doing an amazing job! Keep up the great work!

Tech Tips- Check out the calendar view in Google Classroom for a great look at assignments coming up on 6 Purple!

Mrs. Whapham

This has been a very busy year so far in the Language Program! Students worked hard on a research project on holidays around the world. Students also studied genres and subgenres of literature, analyzed plot structures and studied the 4 themes of literature. In the coming year ahead we will do persuasive and informative writing we will also go into inferential language such as metaphors, similes and the like. My students should be very proud of how much they have achieved this year!

Mr. Cummings

Everything You Want to Know About ELA in 303!

What we've been up to:

  • Since October we have been writing, reading, reciting, reviewing, and a lot more writing! We sailed through our unit on short stories and studied the various elements of a story (plot, setting, point of view, theme). We used those stories, and some nonfiction readings, to begin practicing open response writing. The students were introduced to The Cummings Open Response Plan and how to write using the PIE (present, insert, explain) format! The students expanded their editing skills by learning how to peer edit and helped each other polish and perfect their writing - while secretly becoming better writers themselves! We finished 2015 by comparing a ghost story about a heroic dog to an article about the impressive canines that helped with the 9/11 rescue efforts.
  • We continued our Hero of the Month unit and the students learned about Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Anne Frank, and Martin Luther King Jr. this month. The students were treated to the unhealthy amount of information that Mr. Cummings knows about the Kennedy family in November!
  • Grammatically and linguistically, the students have continued their study of prefixes, daily words, prepositions, and sentence structure.
  • The students worked on three major projects: Haunted Setting, Idiom Project, and an RSA Animation. In October the students pretended they were eccentric billionaires and designed a presentation about a Halloween themed resort. Prior to Thanksgiving we learned about idioms and the students illustrated (hilariously!) the literal meanings of common idioms. Finally, and most recently, the students worked on an RSA Animation (see the example below) to help our room secure grant money for iPads!
  • Which is the perfect segue to 303's best news yet! Thanks to the efforts of the students, the Norton Media Center has generously funded our grant for a near-class set of Apple iPads!!

Looking Ahead...

We have started our unit on Theodore Taylor's novel The Cay. The story blends themes of survival, prejudice, acceptance, perseverance, and discovery following a young American shipwrecked in the Caribbean. We will continue to practice our writing while studying this novel and engage in plenty of discussions and small projects. Finally, as we move through the rest of the winter towards the thawing breezes of spring, we will study poetry and song, figurative language, and a play about children during WWII.

As always, I encourage parents and guardians to engage with their students about what they are learning in ELA, read with or to them, and contact me if there is anyway I can help with either. Thanks for your support!

Mr. Cummings's Students want iPads!

Ms. Scilingo

What’s Happening in World Geography?

Students have been diligently working on their map and research skills in Social Studies class. In our Africa South of the Sahara unit, students explored the climates, resources, cultures, and history of this region. Topics ranged from Apartheid in South Africa to the Maasai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania. On Friday, December 4th students from Wheaton College gave all 6th graders an awesome presentation about their travels to this part of the world. Geography students are now just starting a unit on our next region of the world: North Africa in the Middle East. We began by learning the hazards of the vast Sahara Desert and labeling the key physical features and countries of this region. More to come about the religions, cultures, and conflicts of this region during the month of January!

Recent Highlights:

Each month, five hard-working students are awarded the title “Geographer of the Month” in Social Studies! Here are the winners of this fall:

October: Megan Ford, Kat Powers, JD Artz, Emily Monti, Mathieu Charette

November: Justin Galego, Jack Rilli, Jordan Robbins, Anna Pescod, Megan Cross

December: Ann Marie Franceschelli, John Bamford, Jack McPartland, Kari Cegelka, Adam Lavoie

January: Abby Leo, Nicole Weise, Anthony Tripolone, Isabella D’Arpino, Jack Atkins

In pairs, students researched different countries of Africa and created amazing posters that compiled their research!

Students read passages from Lemasolai Lekuton’s book titled Facing the Lion. In this book, Lemosalai writes about his childhood growing up in the Maasai tribe of Eastern Africa and his journey to becoming a warrior (and eventually a Social Studies teacher!) Students created fantastic works of art retelling Lemosalai’s story through both pictures and words.

Looking Ahead:

In Social Studies, student will continue on their global journey In our Middle East and North Africa unit we will be covering some of the history, conflicts, and physical geography of this region. Then, we will continue on to South Asia!

The National Geographic Geography Bee

Students competed in the preliminary rounds of the National Geographic Geography Bee in Miss Scilingo’s Social Studies class in late December. The top ten geographers that moved on to the next stage of the competition were: Stefanie Deal, Megan Ford, Justin Marando, Aidan Blake, Samantha Graves, Jack Rilli, Nathan Tripolone, Mikey Ng, Emily Clendenin-Coleman, and John Bamford! After several rounds of grueling and challenging questions, Megan Ford was the last geographer standing! Congratulations to Megan and all of our awesome 6 Purple competitors! Megan represented our team Friday, January 15th at the school-wide Geography Bee and placed 3rd!

Mrs. Weise

What We’ve Been Up to in 6th Grade Math:

After working with the percent proportion problems in chapter 2, we solidified our computational skills with decimals. With all types of decimal problems we really should estimate the answers first so we can check if our answers are reasonable and catch those careless decimal point errors. Now that we can divide using decimal places we know we can divide smaller numbers by bigger numbers, so it’s important to pay attention to which number is the dividend and which is the divisor. We can no longer assume the bigger number goes inside the long division symbol. After decimals we reviewed multiplying with fractions and mixed numbers. We see it’s helpful to simplify before multiplying (“bikini reduce”), so that we get smaller numbers in the product which makes it easier to simplify at the end. We enjoy Mrs. Weise’s “Improper Cheer” which helps us remember how to convert mixed numbers into improper fractions. Check out the video! Recently, we have learned what it means to divide by fractions and to divide fractions by whole numbers by drawing fraction bar models to see what it looks like and to find the quotients. Now we are working on the standard algorithm that our parents all know: multiplying by the reciprocal of the divisor. Hey parents, did you know that sometimes you actually can divide straight across with fractions? Try 14/15 divided by 2/3.

What We’ve Been Up to in Pre-Algebra:

We are really into the algebra stuff now! We have learned to simplify expressions using the distributive property and combining like terms. We’ve solved one step variable equations and mastered decimal operations as well. Mrs. Weise has emphasized the importance of the format of our work. We need to show our algebra balance work when solving for the variable in an equation, which means to isolate the variable by using inverse operations and doing the work to both sides of the equation to keep the equation “balanced.” Mrs. Weise realizes this work format is sometimes a real drag for middle schoolers who want to solve it all in their heads, but she assures us it will help us in the future when the problems get super complex. And we have been encountering some really new looking math already. We’ve solved and graphed one-step inequalities with negative numbers and now we’re finding the GCF of expressions with variables and exponents, simplifying fractions with variables and exponents, multiplying powers with variables, finding powers of powers, dividing powers, and simplifying variable expressions with negative exponents! It seems there is no end to the new strange concepts coming our way!

Looking Forward in all Math classes:

On Wednesday, January 20th, all math classes with have their first Benchmark Assessment, which is a cumulative assessment of everything we’ve done this year to date! A study guide went home on Friday, January 8th, and parents are expected to sign off on it.

For 6th grade math classes, we’ll finish up the first Glencoe math workbook with chapter 5 on integers and the coordinate plane. We will be expected to keep this first book at home to study for our future Benchmarks and MCAS. In the second book, we’ll dive into beginning pre-algebra concepts with expressions and algebra properties in chapter 6.

For the pre-algebra class, we will move into Ch. 5 to practice our fraction operations and then solve one-step equations with fractions. We will learn to understand fraction division with creating some fraction bar models before we use the traditional algorithm. Then we will supplement a lot of Ch. 6 with other materials to fully master the 6th grade curriculum domain of ratios and proportional relationships. After that unit, we will be jumping around to different chapters in the book and using supplemental materials to fully cover all the 6th grade curriculum before MCAS.


Using the iPad app for Khan Academy, but can’t find coach’s recommendations or time spent on Khan? Use the browser on your iPad to find the regular Khan Academy website. On the website you can find the coach recommendations tab under progress. Take a screenshot of the recommendations that you can easily refer back to when using the iPad app to know what topics to practice within the 6th grade mission. Some topics may also be found under the Pre-algebra mission as we get into expressions. Pre-algebra students may also find some of their recommendations come from the Algebra Basics and 7th Grade missions.

To find the time recorded for activity on Khan, also use your browser to find the regular website. Then go to progress and look for the activity tab. You can select which dates for which you want to see the time recorded. Hover over the individual bars to see the date and time spent on specific skills and videos.

PS: http://www.take-a-screenshot.org/ - great resource to figure out how to take screenshots on all kinds of devices

6P Math Song

Khan Academy

Mrs. Mulligan

In science, students did a project on bacteria and viruses. We have learned about the Kingdom Protista and viewed organisms under the microscope. We recently explored the Fungus Kingdom and how fungi are part of our daily lives, by learning the parts of a mushroom and baking bread in class. We also captured carbon dioxide from yeast in balloons. We are now finishing our plant unit, in which students learned about photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and the parts of plant cells. We will be starting the animal unit soon, the last of our 6 Kingdoms and when done will mark the end of our life science curriculum. Animal adaptations and Adaptation Island are coming up.

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Mrs. Barrick Bakes Bread for 6P

Mrs. Sullivan

Collaborative Effort Written by 6 Purple Step ELA Class:

Let us explain about the grade 6 Purple STEP students' project learning about how Helen Keller overcame her disabilities to become an amazing role model to others. First, we read the play, The Courage of Helen Keller by Katherine Noli. We learned Helen Keller was born in 1882. Also, we learned how hard it was for her to be blind and deaf because she got Scarlet Fever as a child before Penicillin was discovered. As a result, her family hired a teacher, Anne Sullivan, to teach Helen to speak using sign language and Braille to read and write. Then, we volunteered for parts in the play. We practiced our lines. In addition, with the assistance of Mrs. Zajac, the Speech and Language therapist, we learned about PVLEGS, which is an acronym to remember the following necessary skills to use when giving a performance: poise, voice, life, eye contact, gestures, and speed. We watched two videos and completed a Performance Rubric evaluating each example of a well done performance and another that needed much improvement. Next, we brainstormed on strategies we could use to do our best job possible. Then, we performed our first three scenes. We watched videos of our performance and completed a Performance Rubric on our own performance. Lastly, we shared feedback with each other in a positive, productive manner. Our final product of the last scene is seen in the video included along with the PVLEGS videos we watched in class. We hope you enjoy our performance we sure had fun doing it.

Poor PVLEGS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glZtdD73SeE

Good PVLEGS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMpq7zjcGq0

The Courage of Helen Keller Scene 5

Mrs. Fowler

Term 2 has been a wonderful term here on 6p! I have had the pleasure of meeting every single student and what a fantastic group they are! I will be their counselor for all three years here at NMS until they graduate eighth grade.

*The Guidance Department will be hosting a Parent Night in February to talk about our new School Brains program, as well as internet safety. ​ Additional information will be sent home once everything is finalized.

*Also, please note that MCAS dates are available on our website and if you have any questions, please let me know.

*Our Guidance Newsletter will be coming out soon and it is full of wonderful information and valuable resources for both parents and students. Please keep an eye out for it!

Please take some time this week to talk to your children about their hopes, goals and dreams!

"If you can dream it, you can do it!" : Walt Disney .