Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mathopoly Day!

September 25th was Mathopoly! Mathopoly is a fun day when we play a BIG, interactive Monopoly, but with math! We got to go from classroom to classroom, doing different centers! The teachers were also dressed up as the Monopoly conductor! It was very fun! 

In the first class I went to, we read a book about pi. We got to blow bubbles and then find the circumference of them! We learned that you multiply the diameter of the circle by pi, to get the circumference. This station was called Literature Lane.

In the next station, Cooking Court, we got to multiply fractions in a recipe. This recipe made some really yummy trail-mix!

Then we went to our math teacher at Pattern Parkway. We learned about rotational symmetry. Rotational symmetry is when you can turn a shape any way and it all looks the same! In that group we got to draw rotational symmetry patterns on a circle! 

I then went to Restaurant Row, it's where we ordered food by multiplying decimals. We could order any items that we wanted from off the Rock Quarry Cafe menu up to $2.00. It was yummy. 

Then it was off we went to Bubblegum Boulevard where we chewed gum and graphed how many bubbles we could blow in 2 minutes. 

My group finally went to Track and Field Trace. There we threw shot-put and measured how far we could throw it in meters. Then we had to convert those meters to decimals. 

All of these skills could help us outside of school, so I like how we learned it in a way that we will use it a lot. If we ever have to measure in the metric system, we know how to convert, or if we ever need to measure a recipe or multiply fractions to help us cook. Instead of just note taking, we got put in hands-on situations to learn it! 

At each station we could earn Rock Quarry Money. We got $10 if we applied our math skills accurately and $5 if we needed some assistances. At the end of the day, we could cash in our money for a popsicle. We all sat down with our  class and ate popsicles together. I loved Mathopoly, it was a really fun day, and I hope we can have another day like this soon! 

~Emily B

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Mathopoly Storify

Here are some of the highlights of our hands-on, minds-on Matholpoly Day where students spent the day applying their math standards to authentic situations and challenges.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lit Centers with Mrs.Ramsay

 Lit Centers with Mrs.Ramsay are so much fun!  The word lit means literacy. Literacy is all the things that have to do with reading and writing. We work on these during our ELA class. Some are very chellenging, but fun. In Lit Centers, we get to do fun things like make up memes, read, create blogs, go online to work on Google Drive, and do vocabulary.com. All of these activities help us become better readers, writers, thinkers, and speakers. We work to master our standards and create great projects to show what we are able to do.

One of our centers is Liberating Lexis where we work on building our vocabulary. We do things like crating a Pictionary Dictionary and vocabulary.com. Also, we each have our own Personal Dictionaries that we build in the back of our comp books. Vocabulary.com is where you go online and practice finding definitions for words. On this website, it helps you learn the words that YOU need to learn. Everyone's list is different. That's cool, huh?

One more example of what we do is we get to practice with things that we may individually need to work on like naming verbs, adjectives, parts of speech, adverbs, and infinitive verbs. We call this center Grammar Grabber. It helps us learn how to make more complex sentences so that our writing is interesting...and so lots of others will read our writing.

Also in Lit Centers, we get to learn some new things that we don't know about everyday. We sometimes get to talk to friends about what we are reading. This gives us ideas for new books to read. We get to comment on other people's blogs. Our comments tell about what they did well at and what suggestions on how they can grow.  We do this everyday to improve on our learning skills. You should come to Mrs. Ramsay's class and do Lit Centers. They are so much fun!

~Sydney and Elenie

Friday, September 18, 2015

Our Dot Day Celebration

On September 15, 2015 our class celebrated Dot Day. The day is named after the book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. Dot Day is a day in which everyone celebrates how they are going to make their mark on the world.  We also celebrate how creativity is a brillant thing that can really make the world a better place.

The Dot is a book about a little girl, Vashti, that thinks she can't draw. Then her teacher comes over and says "make a mark and see where it takes you."  She gave it a good jab, and the teacher said, "Now sign it." So she signed it. The teacher took her "jabbed art" and framed it. That's when Vashti realized that she could do so much more than just that small dot. Her creativity grew and she inspired another young artist to try something new and make a mark on the world. (Read hte second book in the series, Ish, to learn his story.)

So we discussed how each of us has something unique about us that can make the world a better
place. A unique talent is how you can make your mark on the world.  Even a small mark can make a big change in the world.  Even if you think you can't do somthing, we learned that you just have to try. Even little things you do you can make your mark on the world of just one person. That's important.

We made a lot of things for Dot Day.  Some of the things were a name cloud using 30 words that described ourselves. We also did an art project using a recucyled jar lid. We create an abstract piece of art in teh lid that represents who we are on the inside. It will become a magnet for our locker to remind us to make our mark. We also  wrote a tweet about how we will make our mark on the world and shared it with the one million other students who were also celebrating Dot Day aroud the world. We did challenging dots puzzles.  We even had a Dot Day Cafe that consisted of DOTS, smarties, and skittles!  

WE LOVED DOT DAY!!!!!!! Not only was it a really fun day, it was a day with really important conversations and sharing of ideas. 

~Lili, Sarah, Anna Claire

Friday, September 11, 2015

Patriot's Day

Today, we watched Boatlift and discussed what it means to be a true hero.

Here are our thoughts about heroism told through a Storify.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

FAQ- Grading, Retakes, and Procedures

It's that time...the eve of our first progress report. There may be several questions on your mind regarding the scores that you will see on your learner's progress reports. Here are some questions that you may have when your student brings home his/her report Friday afternoon.

What exactly does mastery of standards mean? All scores identify the level of mastery that an individual student reaches for each of the 6th grade standards. That means that as we practice with standards throughout the year, students work towards one-hundred percent mastery for each standard. Grades are not compensation for effort put forth but a communication of where he/she currently is on the learning continnuum for each standard.

Where are the assignments listed for each grade? Because students are graded on standards, you will see the standard identified for each "assignment." There will also be an indicator as to the specific task, activity, or project for which a score was taken.

My student scored low on a practice assignment or assessment. Can they earn some extra credit? Learners are being graded according to their level of mastery of the 6th grade standards. Extra credit gives inaccurate data on where a child stands in their learning. However, students can continue to work towards mastery of the standards. If a student would like to take the time to reflect on their progress, complete a retake contract and make arrangements to retake an assignment during Lunch and Learn, they are welcome to do this up until 10 days before the end of a grading period. 

I have at least one Lunch and Learn session a week where I conduct mini lessons for students who feel they need additional assistance in a standard. These are in addition to the small group lessons that I conduct during class three to four days a week. Students are also given access to additional study materials that they can use at home. In case you are wondering, yes, all of these instructional supports have been available and provided for your students since the beginning of the school year. All of these avenues have been thoroughly and explicitly explained to all of my students on multiple occasions.

For our students, part of being in middle school is learning how to take responsibility for their actions. Although, I will work with all students diligently in class and encourage each one to take advantage of all the additional learning opportunities, it is ultimately each individual student's responsibility to fill out a retake contract, meet with me one-on-one, take time to relearn through the plethora of opportunities, and make arrangements to complete a retake.

(You can fin the Sixth Grade Reflect, Relearn, Retry contract here: https://goo.gl/B6Fnim. Please be aware that each individual teacher may make slight alterations to this contract and its procedure.)

How are scores determined on retakes? Students will keep the score that demonstrates the highest level of mastery. In iNow at Home, when you sign-in, you will see the scores noted for each of the attempts. However, only the highest score will be the one that counts towards a final average.

How does my learner know how to improve? For every assignment, I provided detailed feedback on how he/she can improve. In their blog posts, I will leave private comments that are only viewable to that student with specific information regarding their level of mastery and areas they may need to grow. In their Google Drive, I will leave feedback thorugh comments. In all cases, students are also given resources and tips on how they can continue to grow in that area.

Hopefully, these have addressed any questions you may have had in regards to your learner's grades including what they can do to continue to grow. Using these procedures, my students always have an extremely successful school year filled with exponential growth...and a lot of fun along the way.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lunch and Learn

We know that every student will not be in the same place on the learning continuum at the same time. Students need different supports and challenges based on their individual, specific learning needs. Therefore, once a week, on Wednesdays, I will hold a Lunch and Learn where students can bring their lunch to my classroom to receive extra assistance from me. This time can also be used as additional time to work on class projects or retake assessments (more information on this in a blog post coming soon). Experience has shown that this time is a beneficial tool in a student's learning tool box.