Classroom News Archives

May, 2007
Almost 7th graders now.....

We're approaching the end of the year and, while you've been working hard all year, now it's time to put your skills to work and make a strong push to the end. To prove how smart you are, you'll be taking standardized tests in Language Arts and Mathematics. Once that is complete, you'll have a chance to show your creative side by writing short stories and poems! This is always fun since you get to pull together a many of the skills you've learned this year. In Social Studies you'll continue studying ancient Greece then delve into ancient Rome.

This will finish out your ancient history units and prepare you for 7th grade, where you'll get to study Medieval history through the Renaissance and founding of the modern world. It's been fun all year teaching you and getting to know you - so let's finish the year with a bang!

March, 2007
Congratulations on a job well done last month. You did a phenomenal job in during February. I was so proud of everyone for the work you did on your persuasive writing and during our Hatchet unit. It was fun to see you so engaged with your learning. Each of you had ideas and opinions about your persuasive topics, and you were fully engaged when reading Hatchet. I could really tell a lot of you comprehended the story because you took your time to write "stickies" when you had a prediction, question, clarification, connection, or wanted to remember a new word. I encourage you to continue using sticky-notes during your reading.

This month we will be reading another Core novel, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. This fantasy book will take you on a journey to Foster Wood and introduce you to Tuck, Mae, Miles, Jesse, and of course Winnie Foster. Winnie must decide if she will drink the spring water and live forever with Jesse, or if she will choose to die. Will she stay on the ferris wheel of life, or will she choose to step off and watch like a pebble on the side of the road? What would you do if you had the choice?

For writing and social studies this month we will focus our attention on researching various aspects of ancient China. You will learn (or review!) how to cite sources and create a bibliography, take notes to research, and create a PowerPoint slide show. The week before Spring Break you and your partner will present your research to the class.

February, 2007
Welcome to 2nd semester of 6th grade. You are officially half-way to 7th grade now. I'm excited to take you all to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose for our field trip. I know it'll be an experience you'll never forget. You'll be one of the few people in the world who can say that you've seen real mummies!

This month we will continue our study of ancient civilizations by studying ancient India. While studying ancient India you'll continue to learn about the features that make up a civilization; geography, religion, government, stable food supply, written language, social structure, and arts and technology. You'll also be building your very own Web pages to begin to build your online portfolio.

For reading and language arts we'll be reading one of my favorite books to teach, Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. In addition to reading Hatchet, we'll also delve into a short author study of Gary Paulsen. He's a fabulous children's author who has written hundreds of stories and books for children. You'll participate in Book Club discussions as you rotate jobs in your group which will enable you to have a meaningful conversation about literature. And, of course, we'll be continuing our visits to the Media Center so you can continue to choose your independent books to read when you're not reading your assigned books or Hatchet. :)

Hey - one more thing. Do you have an opinion about school uniforms? What about curfew? How about school hours and class requirements? In March, you'll have the chance to prove your persuasive writing skills for our district writing sample. We'll be continuing our writing lesson this month focusing on persuasive writing as our genre of choice. Start thinking and making some decisions because your thesis is going to have to be strong!

January, 2007

Happy New Year - Welcome 2007!
Wow, I can't believe how quickly this year is progressing. It seems like we all just met. :) I'm excited to be back in school with you all. I hope you were able to finish a good book over the holiday vacation and get some well deserved rest.

In Social Studies we are going to be taking a trip back in time to Ancient Egypt. You'll learn about mummies, pyramids, hieroglyphs, pharaohs, and more. All of this will prepare you for our field trip to the Rosicrucian Museum field on February 5th. I can't wait! In additional to learning about Egypt, you'll also be learning a valuable note-taking skill this month. I'm excited to teach you how to take notes using the Cornell Note style. You'll be able to use this in all of your classes, not just Social Studies.

This month you'll also be uncovering the mystery of new vocabulary terms using context clues in Language Arts. This is another valuable skill that will enable you to move one-step closer to understanding word meaning without always having to turn to the dictionary. Our writing focus this month will focus on responding to literature in a thoughtful manner. You will have the opportunity to read two great stories from our literature book, The Ghost of the Lagoon and Peaches and Freckle Cream, then respond to the lessons each character learned. Lastly, we'll be continuing our focus on reading books that are "just right" for us by forming small book groups and having book-club discussions. You will be assigned a fictional "just right" book relating to Egypt. I can't wait, and I hope you are just as excited as I am.

December, 2006
In all honesty, I haven't been archiving the main page updates because I forgot I started this section. Hope it's fun to look back to see what we've done. Here is what was on our page in December.

Happy Holiday Season ! As we approach the winter break it's important to remember that we each celebrate different holidays this winter. Here are some of the mamy holidays you and/or your classmates will be celebrating this season: Chanukah, Christmas, Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year), Divali, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Shichi-Go-San, St. Lucia, Taeborum, Tet, Winter Solstice, Yuletide Lads, Eid al-Adha, Islamic New Year, Three Kings Day, New Year's Day. For a description of the many holidays we'll celebrate this season click here.

May, 2006
Special Thanks
I want to personally thank everyone for throwing me such a fun surprise birthday party on May 10th. You (students) were all very resourceful when planning the party and getting all the food and supplies. I’m still not sure how you did it without me finding out about it. Here is a picture. There are more in our photo gallery on this site, just click on the picture and it'll take you right there. Thanks again, you all are awesome!

April, 2006
Ancient China
Our class worked hard during the month of March to finish our research on ancient China. As part of our study, we also learned how to use Microsoft PowerPoint to present our research to our classmates.

Ancient Greece
Now that we’ve completed our study of China, we are moving on to the study of ancient Greece as we continue to explore ancient history around the globe. We plan to study Greek geography, government, religion, and politics. Throughout this unit, we’ll explore how the ideas of the ancient Greeks affected ideas in the western world; including how their ideas helped build the framework of the United States government.

Language Arts Social Studies Connection
This month we will be getting our “feet wet” in Greek mythology and Greek root words. Combining our study of ancient Greece in Social Studies with the topics of mythology and Greek root words will strengthen our understanding of these areas.

Tuck Everlasting & Writing
We will also be reading Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt. In Tuck Everlasting we’ll continue to explore how authors use words to paint pictures in our imaginations by using figurative language. We’ve divided into reading groups and will be working independently, with classmates, and with Mrs. Belloni, on activities related to the book. These activities will strengthen our understanding of the techniques used by writers that help us learn word choice, voice, and descriptive language.

STAR Testing
We’ll continue to prepare for the STAR test by practicing test taking strategies for vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing.

March, 2006
This month our class learned that we won a $500 mini-grant from the New Haven Schools Foundation. The grant award was for the mummification of cornish game hens we did during our Egypt unit. The grant application was submitted in early January and the New Haven Schools Foundation surprised our class when they announced the award at noon on Wednesday, March 1, 2006.

February, 2006
In Reading and Language Arts we are finishing up Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. When we finish Hatchet we will write a Response to Literature essay; choosing one of five topics to write about. This will help us practice our essay writing skills, revising and editing skills, and serve as a reminder of what's expected for our district writing sample in March.

In Social Studies we are currently studying ancient India. When we finish studying ancient India we will complete our step book-project. In this project, we will demonstrate our understanding of various aspects of ancient India including: Geography, Agriculture/Land and Trade, Writing and Language, Religion, Architecture and Art, Leaders and their Importance, Society and Politics, and other Interesting Facts. We will choose 5 of the 8 categories to write about for our step-books.