News at 6

posted in
Send by email
April 2010

News at 6

The following newsletter – News at 6! contains an enormous amount of important and useful information. Please take the time to review carefully, making any necessary calendar notes and of course feel free to contact the school with your questions. It’s long, but very important…
As you know, our week long trip to Cape Arago is quickly approaching – May 17-21. This week on the southern Oregon coast culminates our marine science unit and outdoor education lessons for the year. Perhaps most importantly, this week will provide students and adults alike with an unforgettable community experience. We would like to take a moment to remind you of some important items to bring on the trip, and to provide you with a schedule for bringing camp gear to school. 
Everyone on the trip must have good rain gear! This includes both a waterproof  raincoat and waterproof rain pants. Windbreakers or “water resistant” gear is not sufficient. Also, please send enough fleece/wool type clothing to keep your student warm, as it will get cold at night. A fleece hat and gloves, and warm socks, are must haves. 
Students must have the following items at school by Friday, May 14. We will be pre-loading this gear on Sunday afternoon, May 16.
  • Tents for their tent group, labeled.
  • Two tarps for each tent, labeled.
  • A sleeping bag, sleeping pad (Thermarest type), and pillow. Place in one or two white, labeled kitchen garbage bag(s).
  • Supplies from the Equipment List placed inside plastic kitchen garbage bags inside the luggage.
For the luggage, a soft duffle-type bag is preferred. Line it with a large garbage bag that can be used to protect it from water. 
Do not put rain gear, hat, and gloves in the main luggage bag. Put them in the daypack. The daypack should also contain a sketchbook, art supplies, pencils, water bottle, lunch in a reusable sack, toiletry items (if they aren’t packed in the luggage), cards, books, and an MP3 player or cell phone if you are bringing one.  
An MP3 player or cell phone is for the bus ride only. Please have your child bring it in a labeled Ziploc bag that can be turned in upon our arrival at camp. The MP3 players and phones will be locked on the bus. Leave the charger or other electronic games at home.
Please leave “raccoon bait” like candy and gum at home too. 
Last, if your child takes medications, please deliver them to Ann Fyfield or Olivia Miller by Friday, May 14 in a labeled bag along with written instructions for dosage and use. Medications should be in their original container.
If you have any questions about the trip or the packing list, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to a fun trip with your children!
Finally, we are of course back in the saddle after spring break and we have heard about some amazing Breakaway adventures. Surgery Day was a terrific way to usher in the spring term and we are so grateful to the numerous parent volunteers for supporting this unique and educationally valuable program. 6th basketball was a great experience for the 30 plus boys and girls who participated and now we are in the throes of our after school Track & Field season. We have a lot of school left before Arago, as well as upon our return.
What follows are some important class-by-class highlights and details.
The Sixth Grade Team

Notes from the Team:


Science – Larry


v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}




Surgery Day  

Many, many thanks to the Catlin Gabel parents and medical community volunteers for enabling our sixth grade class to spend an amazing day immersed the active surgical environment known as “Surgery Day”. We are very fortunate to have had former parent Dr. Claudia Gallison as the event leader and organizer, and Drs. Juliana Hansen, Paul Hansen and Andy Michaels as station leaders on this fantastic day. Staffed by numerous medical volunteers and fellow parents Jett McCabe, Suzanne Ganote and Drs. Sharon Grayzel, Karen Selden, Jocelyn White and Andy Zechnich, students participated in rotations covering suturing, urology, plastic surgery, minimally invasive surgery and a presentation on “Nurses Talk Tough” trauma prevention.
Thank you Henriette Emond, Traci Bennink and Sue Spooner, who made the whole event run smoothly, and parents and grandparents Asma Ahmed, Mehri Alba, Annette Bergen, grandmother Dodson, grandfather Dodson, Alex Drucker, Lisa Ellenberg, Jim Gowgiel, Dan Hotchkiss, Dana Otto, Sharon Richardson and Leslie Williams for volunteering their time on site. Many thanks also to the numerous parents who provided the delicious snacks for the adults and children…it takes a village!
Back to the science classroom: After finishing our field test of the NIH unit on Rare Diseases (emphasizing leukemia, Marfan syndrome and flesh-eating bacterial disease), we are now discussing and recording notes on the diversity and natural history of fishes, with a day of fish dissections planned as a wrap-up. Next we will study invertebrates in preparation for our sojourn to Cape Arago in mid May.  The Arago field trip will serve as our outdoor science laboratory for studies of marine flora, fauna and habitats, as well as an extended opportunity to practice skills in journaling, sketching, camping and outdoor cooperative living, and community service.

Math – Nagme

After spending a fair amount of time on fractions, decimals and percents, 6th graders started the second term with a probability unit. They applied the basic concepts of probability and types of events. They also computed probabilities for simple events using methods like organized lists or tree diagrams. They worked on different chance games to study fairness.
After calculating our chances and possibilities of winning we studied various strategies for problem solving. 6th graders looked for different solutions for daily life problems and discussed effective solutions. To enhance problem solving skills they worked in small groups to devise original and creative solutions to Destination ImagiNation instant challenges. Not only did they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving but, also they practiced collaborative group work.
We have just concluded our measurement unit where we focused on the metric system. While exploring processes of metric measurement we experienced the metric units of length, mass, capacity and temperature.
Now, we are ready to give a start the fun part… Geometry!

Language Arts – Carter

Since winter break, students have read two award-winning novels as well as numerous thematically related nonfiction articles. They met in their literature circle groups to set their reading calendars for their novels, to discuss the books, and to create projects that presented the texts to other classmates. In addition, they learned the expository essay body paragraph format—topic sentence, examples, and explanations—which they then employed in their own writing to analyze authors’ themes in the books.
Utilizing the full expository essay format that they learned, students wrote their first of many five-paragraph essays that they will write over the upcoming years. These papers insist on a clear thesis, clear topic sentences, supporting examples and explanations, and transitions.
Because we shifted in the winter to expository writing, away from the memoir and fiction pieces that we were writing in the fall, a fair bit of class time has also been given to writing mechanics in the service of making their writing more sophisticated and lyrical. They have learned phrase, clause, and sentence type so that they can combine shorter sentences into longer, more mature sentences. They have also learned the comma rules so that these more robust sentences will be punctuated correctly.
In addition, students have written six poems—one metrical, three free verse, and two open form—for contests and publications outside of school, and some for entry into our own 6th Grade Poetry Box competitions. Several of these poems will be anthologized, eventually, in their yearlong Heroic Journey anthologies that will be completed in May.
Beginning this month and continuing until late May, students will be busily engaged in Heroic Journey Anthology production. They will be revisiting the Moodle posts, stories, poems, and essays they have written this year in Language Arts, going over proofreading marks and questions in the margins, and revising their pieces for a final time before book production. The multi-genre writing will be combined with art and photos into one long file that the students will paginate and eventually print in book form. They will create covers, a book title page, a table of contents, a dedication, chapter titles, and an About the Author page. At the end of May, the students will print their anthology, drill holes in the left margins, then sew them together using tapestry needles and ribbon.
In addition to the anthology production, students will also soon begin working toward memorizing a poem that they will be reciting from memory at Arago. These recitations on the beach will be one of many highlights from our week on the southern Oregon coast.

Humanities –Len & Ann

Students have worked hard reading Making 13 Colonies and learning through the text, class discussion, activities and mini-lectures about colonial life in America. We have worked hard at reading comprehension through continued efforts with active reading including all variety of note taking – margin notes, sticky notes, summarizing with bullets, Cornell Notes, etc. There has been a certain amount of vocabulary building too, with periodic quizzes and tests. Perhaps the largest single assignment of the past few months was the recently completed Colonial Atlas which included 4-detailed maps of the colonies, expository writing on a colony and evidence of the student’s hands on work which ranged from book reports, timelines, letters, cooking, dioramas, etc. In the weeks ahead we will finish up the Colonial period, including the thorough completing and examination of our text. Accompanying this will be a culminating test which will include geography of the colonies, key vocabulary, and important aspects of colonization that we have focused on – religion, economics, government and important individuals. We will provide a review sheet for the test by the end of the month.

Spanish – Spencer

6th grade Spanish students are finishing the movie, Viva Cuba and learning new vocabulary all the while.  Viva Cuba tells the story of 11-year-old Malú whose mom is planning on taking her out of Cuba due to a marriage with a foreigner.  Malú, and her feisty friend Jorgito, escape the woes of their respective, crazy households, seeking the far end of the country so that Malú can prevent her father from signing the leave papers.  It’s all in very fast Cuban Spanish.

We are joined by Miguel Rojas Ortega every Monday and Tuesday, our 10th grade Costa Rican exchange student who will be helping us as my TA.  

In these next months, we will focus more and more on core content with regard to vocabulary and grammar – what abilities they will need to hit the ground running in 7th grade.  Finally, we will end the year with a book project.  They will create a 4-chapter story in Spanish about characters of their choice.  Stay tuned for summer tips.

Francais – Monique

We have just finished Unit 3 of our text and the students did fine presentations of “un must de la chanson française” entitled “Aux Champs-Elysées” (yes, French people love to use words like “must”, “best of”, “look”, etc. because it’s “super cool!”, all with a French accent of course).  The students either acted out the song as they sang its three verses by heart, or, through a PowerPoint, they showed slides of images chosen by them that represented what most lines of the song playing in the background were about.  Then, they were taped singing the song by heart, away from their classmates’ staring looks.  I hope you’ve heard your child singing around the house, it’s a pretty catchy tune!

We’ll now start the world of gender nouns and the agreement of articles and adjectives that modify them.  The projects coming up are assuming the role of a famous French person and being interviewed by their classmates (to practice questions), a glogster (an online poster of themselves that allows them to insert videos and audio clips produced by them) that will be their portfolio, and comic strips summarizing some chapters of the chapter story that we are reading.


Chinese – Li-Ling

6th Grade Chinese students have been studying a unit called “What’s inside my backpack?” since March. In this unit, they learn to identify a variety of objects inside their backpacks. They recycle the sentence structures in previous units while new vocabulary is used to scaffold. A very unique language aspect, measureword, is also introduced to increase the complexity and accuracy of language.
Prior to this unit, students studied Family and watched a film called The King of Masks.
They interviewed faculty members to create a three-generation family tree and did a presentation to describe the relationship of the family members on the family trees. After watching the film, The King of Masks, we did an in-class discussion on whether it is fair to pass a family trade only onto sons.
    We will wrap up our current unit in two weeks, and spend the rest of the school year reviewing all they have studied this year.
To help your child stay with the pace of the class, please monitor their homework assignments and encourage your child to use flash cards at home. They are welcome to contact me either through phone calls or emails if they have questions about their learning.  

Outdoor Education - Olivia

Outdoor Program Spring & Summer trips sign-ups are happening now! There are lots of different trips being offered: biking, climbing, rafting, & backpacking. These trips are perfect opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom, to make new friends, to learn about themselves, and to build confidence through new experiences. They are usually pretty fun too.

Physical Education – Brian, Hedy, John, Carrie

We just completed units on basketball and hockey, and rotating units in rock climbing, badminton and pickle ball. Now we are on to track and field with the big Middle School all day meet set for Friday, April 30. (Don’t forget that the MS meet on 4/30 is a separate event from the after school Track team.)
(From John) …we adjusted the second hurdle much closer than its measured position so that each of the students could run their measured start to the first hurdle and then do a three step pattern between the first and the second hurdle. Just before we finished our class we asked for a few volunteers to demonstrate what a three step pattern will look like.  After only one session of practice on getting our steps down, Soha, Lauren and Carly all volunteered to do a demo run for their classmates to see. – nice!     

Shop – Tom

Our own 82nd Avenue Auto Row is beginning to burgeon like spring flowers!  Think “Classy Chassis”.

Music – Mark

The latest class of sixth graders have just begun their second rotation of music. In this class we explore music of another culture (in this case Japanese music). We will incorporate performing on classroom instruments, adding vocals, original lyrics and improvising. We’ll compose at the computer and on xylophones to create pieces using Japanese instruments in a traditional style, a Techno styled piece and ultimately “The Go Cart Cheer”. This last piece will be performed over a PA system at Sixth Grade Portfolio Night as the go carts careen down the back path to the Gym. All of the students work will be burned to a CD and brought home towards the end of the rotation.

              Cape Arago Trip Gears Up!

On Monday, May 17, the sixth grade will hit the road on a trip that is more than a thirty-year tradition and the culmination of this year’s marine biology study. We will camp in the D loop of Sunset Bay State Park Campground. This beautiful spot on the south coast is just south of North Bend/Coos Bay on the road to Cape Arago. The campground has bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, so we will be comfortable, and sometimes clean. We will help place the students in congenial tent groups.  Each tent group will need a tent, so if you have an extra to lend, please let Carter Latendresse know. You can find out more about our location on the website for Oregon State Parks.
Your child will be given a packing list of his/her own (a copy is below) and soon we will go over packing, dishwashing, camp etiquette, what to expect in the way of weather, activities, assignments and schedule. We will practice putting up tents, tucking in ground cloths, and anchoring rain flies. We’ll hope for good weather, but be prepared for anything. Please make sure your child has what he or she needs to be comfortable in rain or cold, as well as sun. If you need help supplying anything, give us a call. 
We are expecting a wonderful week with your children. We are expecting that they will be well-behaved, follow the rules of safety and courtesy, and learn a great deal in one of the loveliest places in Oregon. Should anything go amiss, we will ask you to come to collect your child.
We appreciate offers to help us with all aspects of the Arago field trip: supply purchasing, snack making, packing and van loading, and post-trip unpacking and cleanup. Thank you for your support!
Arago Equipment List, 2010
Please anticipate and plan for cold, possibly wet weather.  Although the campsite is at sea level, evenings will be chilly and damp, and mornings are often misty. Layering is essential. 
Pack for 4 days and 4 nights. Remember this stuff will likely get dirty and wet, so opt for polypropylene, dri-fit, fleece, or wool rather than cotton.
Make sure your raingear is waterproof, not simply water repellent. This includes both a waterproof  raincoat and waterproof rain pants. Windbreakers or “water resistant” gear is not sufficient.
Please label everything.
Put the following inside plastic trash bags, then put those packed plastic bags inside your luggage. Bring this luggage, not your daypack, to school of Friday, May 14.


o       underclothing for 5 days
o       6 pairs of socks,
o       long underwear
o       3-4 T-shirts
o       1-2 long sleeve t-shirts
o       2 sweaters, and one sweatshirt
o       2 pairs of long pants
o       1 pair of shorts
o       pajamas and teddy bear (bedtime comfort object)
o       Waterproof rain gear—coat and pants
o       1 warm coat
o       warm hat
o       warm gloves or mittens
o       a cap or hat for sun
o       at least 2 pairs of shoes – good fit and broken in
§         1 appropriate for walking on uneven ground
§         1 for wet and mud
§         optional flip flops for shower
  • seriously warm sleeping bag – Cotton or lightweight bags are insufficient. If you do not have an appropriate bag, consider borrowing or renting one from an outdoor store – REI does rentals
  • tent with rain fly (a vestibule is nice for shoes) – one person from each tent group needs to supply the tent. Note: The students must know how to set it up. Make sure the tent is waterproof and in good condition.
  • two tarps – one to go under tent and one to line the inside
  • sleeping pad thick enough to sleep on comfortably
  • pillow, if wanted
  • garbage bags – to keep gear dry in camp and to use for dirty clothes
  • flashlight – strong beam, not a pen light
  • extra batteries
  • re-usable lunch sack
  • daypack
  • water bottle
  • sketchbook/journal
  • art supplies you particularly like to use
  • plate, mug, bowl, silverware
  • mesh bag with loop to hang mess kit from tree
  • towel and washcloth
  • toiletries, including lip balm
  • sun screen
  • bug repellent
  • small whistle
  • two cloth napkins
  • camera
  • stamps for postcards
  • hand lens
  • binoculars
  • whisk broom  to sweep out tent
  • a little money to buy small keepsake
  • sunglasses
  • 2-4 pinch-type clothespins
  • small personal first aid kit
  • cards, travel games
  • book and booklight
  • Ipod / cell phone for long bus ride only (these will be locked on bus)
Dates to Remember
April 7                          Service Learning
April 23                        Dance, hosted by 7th grade, 7-10 pm
April 30                        Middle School Track Meet (see Peek for details)
May 12                         Service Learning
May 14                         Arago luggage to school for pre loading
May 17-21                    Arago Trip