Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas is Almost Here!

Wow, we are almost down to single digits in our Christmas countdown. This year is flying by!

Math: Last week students worked hard at adding and subtracting fractions and mixed numbers. This week we are starting an art project that incorporates fractions and flowers. Students will be using their knowledge of fractions and mixed numbers to create a masterpiece!

Writing: Wow, our Greek expository books are finished and they look great! Our next genre of writing that we look at will be persuasive writing. We have started a class catalogue in which students use persuasive word choice to sell products. Writing is keeping us busy!

Spelling: Word Work is going smoothly; however, since December is a crazy month full of assemblies and Sing Around the Tree, we will not have formal spelling tests until after we return from Christmas break. Until then we will be spending more time on our weekly vocabulary words.

Reading: Students have been busy visualizing and describing with their senses what they see as they read text. When we use the word visualize we usually think of our eyes. Students visualize their text using their eyes, hears, nose, taste, touch, and their emotions. One of our favorite activities was "reading" a wordless picture book and decribing what we visualize from the pictures.

Social Studies: Students learned how the Greeks organized their city-states. They should be able to tell you how the town was set up and the Greek words for different parts of the 'polis'.

Science: Wednesday will be their final microorganism test. Thanks to Mrs. Andersen and her student teacher for all the time they put into the unit. It was full of fun experiences and new knowledge!

Remember: For part of our Christmas party the students will be putting together gift baskets to give to those in need. If you have the opportunity bring in a small treat for gift for our baskets.

Thanks for all you do for us and your children! We are so blessed to be the teachers of these students!

Monday, December 7, 2009

December Already!

Parents, we are so sorry that we have been slacking on our blog and will do better at completing our weekly posts. The students have been very busy learning.

Reading: As our questioning comprehension unit came to an end the students were able to ask many questions while reading, label what type of question it was, know where to find the answers, and what questions would be good to use in a discussion. We read "Henry's Freedom Box" and discussed all the questions we had while reading and after the story was over. This week we started learning more about visualizing while reading. We will be using our five senses to dive deeper into our stories.

Students are finishing up their second guided reading group books. They use metacognition while reading to keep track of their thinking on post-it notes. We use these notes for our group discussions and to write about our reading at the end of the books.

Science: The students continue to learn about microorganisms. This week they are reviewing the vocabulary words for their end of unit test. This will be next Wednesday. Science is hard in sixth grade but very doable for all students. They are expected to be studying for their tests.

Social Studies: It was fun to learn about Greek mythology. Man, those Greeks were crazy! We discussed how the Greeks made up mythology to explain things that were happening. We will be learning more about the Greek culture and their way of living.

Math: Students have been busy working with fractions. We enjoyed making Chex mix using improper fractions and mixed numbers. Here is the recipe. Have your student show you how to change the improper fractions to mixed numbers, the mixed numbers to improper fractions, and how to put a fraction in simplest form.

Chex Mix
24/2 cups Chex cereal
2 2/3 cups pretzels
2 8/12 cups cheese crackers
16/4 Tbs. melted butter
8/8 package ranch dressing mix
6/9 cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir. Repeat until evenly coated. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool. Enoy!

Writing: Students have been working hard to publish their Greek expository texts. We are currently working on publishing expository books, complete with a table of contents, glossary, and index, using students' finished texts. These are looking great and we can't wait for you to see them at SEPs!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beginning of November

October was such a fun month and we are looking forward to Novemeber!

Math: Students have been reviewing the properties of numbers as they have worked with prime, composite, least common multiple, and greatest common factor. They will be tested at the end of the week.

Writing: Since we have finished our personal narratives the studnets have been working on their own stories. Next week they will write an expository text using their information from their god/goddess/creature report.

Spelling: We started the Words Their Way spelling program this week. Students have different lists assigned to them according to their spelling ability. I am excited for this program because every student will be challenged at their personal level.

Reading: Students are learning about expository texts this week: what they are, why we use them, and when they will see them. This is in preparation to writing their own.

Science: Mrs. Andersen has let the students grow their own mold and will be having a "Moldy Universe" contest. We're loving the bags of moldy bread all over the classroom. They made Oh Yuck! posters about wonderfully yucky concepts.

Social Studies: We are now in Ancient Greece. We looked at the geography and talked about the major cities that we will learn about. Students saw that most of the area was surrounded by water. Because of this the Greeks traded on water, and much of their living depended on the surrounding water.

Students have been given their research topic on a god/goddess/creature from this time. Please make sure to read over the packet, sign, and send it back to school. We encourage that you do the research with the students. It is best to use the links from our uen pages. Their research is due no later than Monday, November 9th. Information must be found from at least one book and one email site. These must be cited at the bottom of the page. They can be found on the right hand side of this blog. Call or email with questions or concerns.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Exciting Week!

We have really enjoyed this smart, talented group! As we finish up decimals (for now) and say goodbye to ancient Egypt, we have some exciting things on the horizon. We also have our rewards party this Friday.

Math: Students have been working to master multiplying and dividing with decimals. As they complete their test review this week for homework, make sure to always ask them, "Where does the decimal go?" We will be testing this concept on Friday, so if students have questions about their review make sure they ask before school.

Writing: After studying the writer's process in-depth, we have moved on to the trait of Word Choice. Last week we killed the following boring words: said, went, good, bad, and cute. Students can no longer use these words in their writing. We practiced using the thesaurus to find more interesting, descriptive words. We also did some Halloween Quick Writes and I was so impressed with the way students were able to come up with poems off the tops of their heads. Prompt your student to always be looking for the best possible word to use.

Spelling: This week's unit focuses on spelling the /er/ sound at the end of a word. Before the test on Friday, ask your student when to use the -or, -ar. or -er at the end of a word. Our vocabulary words this week are: Maneuver, Perpendicular, Scholar, Geyser, and Acre.

Social Studies: The students turned to Pharaohs last Wednesday. They made their fancy neckwear, a cartouche with their name written in hieroglyphics, their sarcophagus, and a pyramid filled with the things they would like to have in the afterlife. On Thursday we will learn about mummifying as the students mummify a stuffed animal. (Please remember to send one to school!) Next week the students will begin learning about Ancient Greece.

Science: This week is all about sound. As the students make their sound instruments at home we have been learning the properties of sound and how it is produced. The classroom got extremely noisy during our sound centers but we were able to see how the slightest difference can change the pitch of an object. Students learned words like: amplitude, frequency, wavelength, pitch, vibration, and medium.

Reading: Our class is filled with amazing readers who love to dive deeply into books. I have been so impressed with our book discussions as the students ask questions, predict, analyze and so much more about the books they are reading. We have been working on making connections to our reading and discussing how they help us understand the book better.

Look for your Parent/Teacher Conference times coming home this week. Please promptly send back the sheet letting us know if you will be able to attend.

CHeck SIS for your child's grades before you come so you can be prepared with any questions you may have. Their homework folder contains a label with their login and password.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Parent Teacher Conferences

Our first set of conferences will be held on October 29. This year the office is doing the scheduling. To schedule your conferences make sure to call the school as soon as possible to get the best time for you. (801) 489-2850. Thanks!

Sorry so Late!

Reading: I am so impressed by the students' discussions during their book groups. They are digging deeply into all their books, finding connections, analyzing characters, stopping when they are confused, and asking great questions. It is so fun to listen as they enthusiastically talk about their books.

Science: Monday is their seasons test, it has been a fun unit to study and I think the students will do very well. We will next learn about the properties of sound.

Social Studies: Egypt is always a fun civilization to learn about as the students already have a lot of background knowledge. We are going to be researching Egypt and making travel brochures. Save any unwanted Stuffed Animals and shoe boxes for a "mummifying" activity later in the month.

Math: Students did a wonderful job at adding and subtracting decimals. They were able to quickly move on to multiplying them.

Writing: Many students have been revising and publishing their Personal Narritives. It is so fun to read about the adventures in their lives.

The students have done well adapting to having two teachers. They are such a wonderful class and we feel so lucky to be working with each and everyone of them!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall has Arrived!

I am so excited for fall: the changing leaves, cool weather, and holidays!
The book order date has been extended to Sept. 30th so please get your orders in!

Math: Students are amazing at algebra and will be testing on Wednesday. They will then go into decimals: adding, subtracting, (should be review) then multiplying and dividing them as well.

Science: We are finishing up seasons and the students will be tested on this next week and we will move on to the properties of sound. For extra science credit this week students can take a Seasons UTIPS test.
From the blog: Link on the Mrs. Birds UEN page link
Click on the Tests link under “My Bookmarks”
Take the Seasons test—you can take it as many times as you want to help you learn the information

Social Studies: We looked at a map of Ancient Egypt and talked about all the students background knowledge. This week they will learn about their class system and start reports.

Reading: We were so excited to start guided reading last week! I love every book that the groups are doing and look forward to our conversations.

Writing: Students continue to work through the writing process with their personal narratives.

**The students will be tested on their past 25 vocabulary words this week instead of a spelling test.

Mrs. Davis is back!! She teaches during the morning and Mrs. Bird is the afternoon teacher. Feel free to email us:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Scholastic Book Orders

Reminder: Book Orders are due by Sept. 28. You can order on line or send them back to school with your student.

To Order Online:
User Name: doubletrouble
Password: books

Some Top Picks:
Timeless Treasures: Fun for whole Family
56. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane-For everyone
28. Gary Paulsen Pack-Outside Adventure
79. 39 Clues-Mysteries
45. Junie B. Jones-first and second graders
55. Max Lucado Pack-great for goodnight read alouds
83. Wayside School Pack-Timeless books, I remember reading

Arrow: Great for Sixth Grade
98. The Witches-only $1
78. Smiles to Go-new book by well known author Jerry Spinelli
48. Inkdeath-last book in the series
8. The Big Field-for sports lovers
48. Bill Wallace Pack-for animal lovers
67. Percy Jackson & Olympians Boxed Set-Great books but if bought I ask you not to read until we have finished the first book in the series as a class.

Tab: Higher Levels
36. The Graveyard Book-2009 Newbeary Medal
43. The Hunger Games-great books for mature readers
3. Among the Hidden-$1 special
8. Best of TAB Pack-5 great books
84. Uglies Trilogy-also great reading for more mature readers
35. Giver-classic

There are so many good books it was hard for me to choose what to put on here but I included books I thought you might not be familiar with and ones I love!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Week Alone

This is Mrs. Bird's last full week and Mrs. Davis' last week of maternity leave. It is bitter sweet for the both of us!

Math: Students are doing a wonderful job learning algebra. They are all catching on so well and really seeing the joy in math. Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Davis have such a love for math to pass on to these students!

Writing: Students are working on writing their personal narratives. They have made sure their story has all the components it needs and everyone has begun their draft.

Social Studies: We have been through all of Ancient Mesopotamia. Last week we learned about the battles between the Assyrians and Babylonians. After many years of wars the Babylonians finally defeated the Assyrians once and for all. The brains out smarted the muscles.

Science: Students have been learning the reasons for seasons. We measured pictures of the sun and noticed that in the summer the sun appears to be smaller: the class concluded that this means the sun is actually further away in the summer. The difference in the distance is so small that it does not affect our seasons.

Reading: Students are wonderful at thinking about their thinking while reading. We have begun working on "Monitoring for Meaning." This means that the students know when something doesn't make sense in their reading and they use appropriate strategies to figure it out. We are starting our reading groups this week.

I was very impressed with President Obama's speech. He talked about how he has talked with teachers and parents about their responsibilities for educating the children but this speech was specifically on how it is the students' responsibility to be educated and learn at school. He talked about trying over and over again until you get it, Never giving up, and that what and how much you learn is ultimately up to you.

Thanks for all those who donated to our basket, and to Emily Flake for putting it together. It looked absolutely delicious!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Movin' and Groovin'

It always amazes me how fast each week goes by. We are having so much fun in school as we move through the curriculum.
Math: The students worked with place value, estimation, rounding, and learned about exponents. We saw huge numbers like a googol and googolplex, also saw how quickly numbers grow exponentially and were amazed as we tried to make towers that grew exponentially by 2. The students will be tested on Wednesday.

Reading: We continued in Zlata's Diary and asked many questions about the war she faced and Sarajevo where she lived. We compared her life to ours and her war to the ones we know about. The students wrote long journal entries about their thinking and the discussion we had as a class. Wow! These students sure can write.

Writing: We continue to learn about the writer's process and collect ideas for stories in our idea's notebook.

Social Studies: It was fun to compare the hunter/gatherer society with the society that started agriculture. We learned that as their farms became more productive city members had a chance to do other things besides worry about food and the first real civilization is born.

Science: We began learning about the seasons. This week we will combine all the students survey answers to see what the majority of people think about seasons. A similar survey was given to Harvard students at graduation and most of them got the answers wrong. In a few short weeks your students will be smarter than college graduates!!

Please make sure that when you sign your child's homework you check it for completion and make sure it is legible.

I look forward to another great week!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lovin Learnin

What a fun week we have had!! Our class is absolutely amazing. They are great writers, mathematicians, and readers. Everyday I am impressed by their wide range of abilities, and their love for learning.

Math: We continued to review multiplication strategies and moved on to division as well. Next week we will spend a little more time with dividing, and start chapter one in our mathbook reviewing place value of numbers.

Writing: The students are getting ready to start Writer's Workshop by writing down ideas, prewriting, and practicing all parts of the writting process. We wrote poems about what our hands have done and will do in the future. They will be hung up in the hall next week for all to see and read.

Reading: We have been practicing metacognition; thinking about our thinking. The students are doing wonderful with takin notes as we read, expanding those notes in a journal and using their notes for discussion.

Science: The week was spent discussing what good scientists do. We did a lot with observation and inference.

Social Studies: It was fun to get to know the students better by looking at the artifacts about themselves. We also studied artifacts from years ago that many of the students were unfamiliar with. We began learning about the beginning of civilizations-the Ice Age. While watching "Ice Age" the class made a list of things in the movie that could have been real. They also drew a picture of the hunter/gatherer civilization.

Homework: Students should be reading at least 150 minutes per week. They can split this up however they like. Also-On last weeks homework there were many students who turned in incomplete work. Please make sure they are doing all their assigned work. I do not feel like my homework is overwhelming in any way and feel the students should be able to complete all of it. Remember to sign the homework sheet as well.
**For extra credit this week the students can watch "Finding Nemo" for a writing activity we are doing next week.

I got some volunteer lists back, but feel that I might still be missing come. This came in the mail at the beginning of the year. If you did not get one or missed placed yours let us know and we'll get you another one. It is always so helpful when parents come in.

Friday, August 21, 2009

We made it!!

It is amazing how fast the weeks fly by. I can't believe that we have already have completed three days. Before we know it we will be able to say that about the year. We had so much fun this week getting to know one another. The students created timelines about their lives, completed a scavenger hunt using activities that each other have done, and answered questions about themselves from our question ball. In math we have been reviewing multiplication strategies and are breaking down multiplication problems to see how they really work. For science we discussed how large we can feel when we consider microscopic things, but also how small we are compared to the universe. In social studies I was amazed to see all the many far away places the students have traveled to as we colored a world map and pointed out where we had been. Such world travelers we have!!
Since our classroom is set up like a community we came up with a town name (Double Trouble), and each student made their house for our town. We look forward to starting our jobs next week.
I'm am so excited for this year. The class is absolutely wonderful and already gets along so well!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our cute class and the friendship bracelets we made!! It's amazing, I just love them already.
Thank you parents for quickly returning the papers and the large amount of supplies!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Policies and Procedures

Attendance and Tardies--School starts at 9:00 and ends at 3:15 (2:30 on Wednesdays). Students are not to be in the building before 8:30 and will be asked to stay up by the office if they are earlier. Sixth grade is a very crucial year for the students. Missing one day can really put a student behind and requires a lot of make up. It is important that your child is at school everyday possible, but because of the flu outbreak keep them home when they are sick. We ask that you schedule any appointments after school hours and keep vacations during school days limited. We start math first thing in the morning, which makes being on time even more vital. The state is getting very strict on absents and tardies and you will receive a note home after 10, and be asked to meet with the principal after 15.

Homework--Students will receive their homework on Mondays in their homework folder and it is due back by Friday. They are asked to read 150 minutes every week and complete the assigned math, science, social studies, writing or spelling work. Part of their score is a parent signature. This lets us know that you have looked over your students work. We do this so you know more about what they are doing in school, and you can monitor the quality of the work they are turning in. Occasionally they will have extra math, or projects that you are informed of ahead of time.

Grades--The students' grades will be recorded on the SIS database system. We will send home instruction on how to sign on and view your child's grades.

Management Plan--Our classroom is not only run by the teachers. We feel that the students are old enough to take on a lot of responsibility in helping around the class. They will have weekly jobs and receive a salary for these jobs. They will change every other week so all students have a chance at the jobs. Students are in charge of: taking attendance and lunch count, passing out papers/supplies, monitoring the hall lines, monitoring class behavior, library clean up, news reports, and so on. The money they earn gets them into our monthly reward party. They receive bonus' and fines based on their behavior that is also calculated into their party spending. The bonus and fines papers will be sent home twice a month so you can know what they are getting. These are also recorded on SIS.

Curriculum--The sixth grade curriculum is very large but also extremely fun. In math they will work very deeply with the relations of numbers, learn lots of algebra, and further their studies of fractions and decimals. We study ancient civilizations in Social Studies and find the many ways they influenced our culture today. For Science we cover a wide range from microscopic things to the Universe. They will learn about microorganisms, sound, heat, light, seasons, moon phases, constellations, solar system, and universe. Each teacher instructs a different area of the science core. This gives the students a chance to learn from all of us, and a chance for us to become experts on certain topics. We will continue to read many books and dig deeper to find their meanings. Students will participate in Writer's Workshop where they will have the chance to write their own stories and study different genres. They will also have weekly spelling and vocabulary tests.

Every week the blog will be updated with the current events of the classroom. Check back often. Our door is always open and we love to have parents in the classroom. Let us know if you would like to be more involved. We have made a shared email account so we both know what is happening in the classroom and can stay in touch with the parents. The email is checked at least twice a day by us both. Feel free to email at any time with any concerns, questions, or comments.

Mrs. Davis had her baby last Friday, a very healthy little boy and will be posting pictures soon. She will be back in six weeks. Until then, Mrs. Bird will be teaching full time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Check out the blog weekly for updates on what is happening in the school and our classroom!

Leave a comment so we know who has been to our site

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meet Your Teachers!

Mrs. Davis

Zac and I on our first

My family in our favorite places, Disneyland and Hawaii.

I am a Utah girl, born and bred. I grew up in Ogden but moved south to go to BYU. I graduated from BYU with my Bachelor's degree and just completed my Master's from SUU this summer. This will be my fourth year teaching--I taught third grade for two years and made the move to sixth grade last year. I am so excited to be working with some of my third graders again! My husband, Zac, is a student at UVU and sells pest control in Texas during the summer. We love to watch sports and we love the Boston Red Sox. We have been waiting all summer for the arrival of our new baby, Beckett. He will be joining us on August 14th and we can't wait! I love nothing more than my family, teaching, and reading a good book. This year I will be teaching Math, Writing, and Spelling in the morning. I look forward to working with this class after my maternity leave. I know we'll have a great year!

Mrs. Bird

Chris and I on our Wedding Day 7/11

Brighton, my wonderful
baby boy!

My family

I am originally from Las Vegas, but have been living in Utah for 7 years. I graduated from BYU with my bachelor degree and from SUU this summer with my Masters degree in education. My first year teaching was in second grade, and this will be my 4th year teaching sixth graders. I am so excited to be working with many of the students I taught in second grade this year. Back then I was Miss Albright which of course changed when I married my wonderful husband Chris Bird. He owns the Orem Baskin Robbins with his family, sells cars, and also works in telecommunications. Last year I had a baby boy named Brighton. He is just the cutest little baby, and very bright already. He loves to look around and see what is happening in the world. My loves are Chris, Brighton, my family, and teaching. I will be teaching Reading, Social Studies, and Science this year. I look forward to working with my new class in a few weeks.