Classroom News

Classroom Updates

Ms. Biller - Journey LA
February 15, 2019   (02/12/2019)
Our Freak the Mighty unit is drawing to a quick close!  Students are finishing up their final quiz of the unit this week (block 5 will finish on Wednesday next week), and then launch into the unit's final project: Character in a Bag.  Details about this project were shared in classes this week, and students will get two class periods next week devoted entirely to working on it.  Specific dates for everything (and all relevant documents and info) are posted in Schoology, and students have been strongly encouraged to access those dates in order to stay aware of expectations.  I'm so appreciative of the support students have had from their families through this unit as it is different from "business as usual" - especially as we use precious class time to watch the movie version of the book. We will analyze the similarities and differences between the two versions, and explore the choices the filmmakers made in changing parts of the book to make their movie.

As always, stay safe and warm as we enjoy the winter season, and please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have!
February 1, 2019   (02/01/2019)

Hi, Journey Families!  Hopefully, everyone stayed warm & cozy over the three recent days off!

We are nearing the end of Freak the Mighty and are working on honing our skills with writing summaries and making inferences.  We'll be working on finishing the book and its related activities and quizzes in the next two weeks, and then we can dive into our final project!  I have also scheduled us to watch the movie version, called The Mighty, and compare/contrast the book with the movie.  We'll talk about why filmmakers would have made the changes they made as part of plot development for the screen.  Please encourage your student(s) to check Schoology for updates about assignments and quizzes as we move forward, so that they stay informed as I make updates to our unit due to the recent days off.

Enjoy they winter weather, everyone!

January 18, 2019   (01/16/2019)
Hi, Journey families!  Students have been doing a fantastic job with our shared novel, Freak the Mighty.  We're almost halfway through the book, and have focused a lot of attention on characterization, summarizing, and inferencing.  An area we will be focusing on next is attention to detail, and using detailed text evidence to support our claims, predictions and inferences.  There have been many memorable scenes in the book so far as the two main characters develop their friendship - ask your child to share their favorite moments with you!  Moving forward, students are working on a new set of vocabulary words (feel free to help quiz your child!), and expectations for reading at home are gradually increasing as we move through the book.  We hope to finish in early February, ending the unit with an engaging project (and if possible, taking time to watch the movie, too - more info on that will be forthcoming!).  Have a great weekend, everyone!
December 21, 2018   (12/19/2018)
Happy Holidays, Journey!  As we wind down for the upcoming winter break, students are getting situated into our shared novel, Freak the Mighty.  So far, everyone has mastered the vocabulary for our first 5 chapters (hooray!!), and everyone is really enjoying the book!  Students work in teams every day to practice effective discussion skills while they work on summarizing and characterization activities.  Students have become stronger analytical thinkers, and have great insights into the story's characters already!  Many have also become stronger leaders in their teams, and more self-directed as individuals.  We hope to finish the book in the middle of February with an exciting project!

I wish you all a safe and fun winter break, and a joyful new year!
December 7, 2018   (12/07/2018)
Happy December, Journey Families!  I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends!  Everyone has been doing a fantastic job in transitioning from our focus on plot elements into preparing to begin reading our shared novel, Freak the Mighty.  We began after Thanksgiving with our first Book Chat of the year to review our understanding of plot and practice summarizing a novel students have read this school year.  It's the first time they were being assessed (formatively) on their oral speaking, so we took a lot of time to learn ways to support ourselves with a personal visual aid, and we learned how to practice using it effectively.  Students did a wonderful job on presentation day!! Ask your child about theirs!

This week and into next, students have begun working in small teams of 4-5 students.  We began by learning and practicing discussion strategies (how to contribute positively, and how to listen actively).  Each team has been working on preparing a presentation to share out in class about an assigned article that will give everyone background knowledge before we bing reading the book.  Then, Tuesday next week, we start the first chapter together!!  Please be aware, if your child did not order his/her own book, use of an electronic version is expected, with annotations.  Feel free to contact me if you want to order one of our extra books for your child!
Ms. Caputo - Journey Team Student Services Teacher
Caputo's ELA Update   (02/15/2019)
Ms. Caputo's reading and writing class is continuing the System 44 curriculum in the "Special Forces" module. We are learning about the brutal training and dangerous missions the Navy SEALs face. We are also starting to write for the Deerfield Optimist Essay Contest. We took an intelligence test to see what our strengths are.  We are then using that information to define intelligence in out essay. Everyone's reading and writing skills continue to grow, and Ms. Caputo continues to be super impressed with our progress!
Ms. Chow - Language Arts, Gifted Enrichment - 6th Grade
6th Grade GE LA February 15, 2019, Mr. Buzard   (02/20/2019)
Our study of The Miracle Worker  focused most recently on Helen’s life after “The Miracle” and is concluding next week with a trio of summative  tests.  Students will write an in-class essay on a dynamic character of their choice, with access to the play and their notes.  An objective summative test on the entire unit will take place at the end of the week and another objective summative test on the vocabulary used in the play will follow early in the week of February 25.  The essay test will be a “writing grade” and the other two will be part of “reading.”  Next we are going to dovetail with social studies by examining the songs and poems of the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War.  Students will analyze similarities and differences of popular camps songs from both sides.  We also hope to spend some time with the speeches of Abraham Lincoln, attempting to "translate" them into modern words.  We will then move next to a pair of short stories with a focus on the four types of conflict found in literature.  Saki’s “The Interlopers” is a fictional work and George Orwell’s “Shooting An Elephant” is a nonfiction piece from his own experience. Mrs. Buzard has begun a long-term position in seventh grade language arts at Springman and we miss having her in class.  Mrs. Chow will be returning to teach during the first week of March.  I will be available for parent conferences on March 1 and also responsible for the Trimester Two report card grades.  Spending time with the students continues to be a pleasure and privilege for me, and a few weeks from now I will certainly miss all of them.
6th Grade GE LA February 1, 2019   (02/01/2019)
Reading: We are continuing our reading and analysis of William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker. This past week ended midway through Act Two.  Next week we will continue with Acts Two and Three and along with the theme of the story will focus on literary devices including dynamic and static characters, symbolism, dialect, and the roles of protagonist and antagonist. In addition to the reading and analyzing, students will continue studying about sixty vocabulary words from the text that have been identified as words or derivatives of words that frequently appear on the SAT tests.
Writing: The school cancellations pushed back the start of our applied grammar activities, as we were focused on a strong start to The Miracle Worker in our two days of classes the last week of January.  In November we applied the usage of active verbs and participles in describing “The Storm.”  In December Where The Red Fern Grows was rich in description – adjectives, adverbs, and vivid verbs – and we slowed down our reading to appreciate how the author continually created “pictures” in our minds.  Now we are examining how prepositions and prepositional phrases are used to create relationships in a sentence, describing but without incorporating verbs or subjects in their phrases. By reading and creating “prepositional poems” we will see the power of what Mrs. Buzard terms “the humble little fellows that help phrases within a sentence hook up properly without drawing much attention to their selves.”  Each prepositional poem consists of a series of prepositional phrases, leading up to a single independent clause that completes the poem.  At first, using photos for inspiration, students will compose their poems using a common starting point, and then eventually branch out creatively where their own imagination leads them.  The second preposition activity will be a “bedroom description” piece of writing.  Students will identify the “theme” for their bedroom and then create a “video view” of the room using prepositions to move the reader’s eye throughout the scene, maintaining the theme and depicting the physical relationship of the contents of the room.
6th Grade GE LA January 18, 2019   (01/17/2019)

From Mrs. Buzard: As students complete their Mythology Newspaper articles, I am saddened to think that our mythology unit has come to an end. Your children are just absolutely fabulous, and their enthusiasm and energy has made our mythology study full of entertainment and joy.  As we do move on, however, I am equally excited about our next unit of study that will focus on nonfiction literature. We will read and analyze William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker. In addition to reading the play, students will read two chapters from Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy by Joseph Lash. Both chapters give an intimate look into the lives of two such remarkable and lovable women whose lives become so entwined that Helen said upon Annie Sullivan’s death that half of her soul went with her. In the first reading students will learn about Annie’s early journey in and out of the Tewksbury almshouse which profoundly influenced her for the rest of her life. In addition to reading and analyzing, students will also be studying about sixty vocabulary words from the text that have been identified as words or derivatives of words that frequently appear on the SAT tests. It is a great delight getting to teach your children!

From Mr. Buzard: This past week we completed our study of the classic novel Where The Red Fern Grows with a final test featuring open ended questions whose answers demanded supports. We also spent a couple of days with the short story The Lady or the Tiger.  As a writing activity, students were asked to provide their own ending to the question the author, Frank Stockton, left open when he wrote the story in 1882. “Which door did he open?”  Students did a great job of continuing in the author’s voice and each brought the tale to a close in their own unique fashion. We shared the endings in a “pass and react” activity and each of our authors collected written comments from the entire class.  Next week we plan to slide into a quick study of the application of prepositions. Students will be writing “preposition poems” and also complete an assignment describing their bedroom through the correct use of many prepositions. The continuing teamwork and effort by the students in class is a pleasure to observe every day.

6th Grade GE LA January 11, 2018   (01/11/2019)
Happy New Year!  We are completing some major units of study during the next two weeks and starting some exciting new ones.  Mrs. Buzard’s Greek Mythology unit is culminating with three events.  The first event is a group performance of the Greek mythology plays that students worked diligently on before winter break. Preparation for the performances included scripts completely written in class, artistic banners depicting a scene and symbolism from the story, and open-ended discussion questions to lead the class in understanding the story. After rehearsing their productions, students were finally ready to perform and teach the class. Performances were fully costumed with props, and those colorful banners were displayed as backdrops. Performances were absolutely magnificent! Students worked well together, created high quality written work, and performed like stars. We are so proud of their talents and efforts. Our second culminating activity for mythology will be a unit test which will take place on Monday, January 14. Students have created their own study guides and should be well-prepared for the test. And our final Greek mythology activity will be a newspaper article assignment. It will start with the underlining premise of the Greek gods enrolling at Attea Middle School, utilizing the skills of newspaper article writing.  Also wrapping up next week will be our Where The Red Fern Grows novel study.  Working in groups, the class created a study guide for all twenty chapters of the book.  A test on Thursday, January 17, will focus on the writing techniques used so brilliantly in the story.  Beginning the week of January 20 the classes will begin reading the play The Miracle Worker, the story of Helen Keller’s teacher.  The writing classes will commence a short unit on prepositions.  The two highlights will be “preposition poems” and a descriptive paper inspired by each student’s bedroom. Both Mrs. Buzard and I continue to be impressed every day with the skills and enthusiasm of the students.  They have formed a supportive learning community and are a pleasure to know and teach.
6th Grade GE LA December 21, 2018   (12/20/2018)
During the final week of 2018 the classes completed our reading of Winston Rawls’ classic novel Where The Red Fern Grows.  As we read, students completed daily discussion questions and there were five summative quizzes focusing on the content and plot of the story.  After winter break we will examine the author’s craft and message – writing techniques and theme.  Students will complete a study guide and take a final test to complete the unit.  Concurrent to reading Red Fern we have been studying Greek Mythology with a comprehensive reading of all the major stories.  A “mythology” writing component has now begun.  Students have scripted their own plays, based on other actual Greek myths that explain human behavior.  We will address performance standards and a visual arts requirement when the plays are shared with their classmates.  Students will also be writing “news articles” involving the mythological characters and there will be a comprehensive final test to complete the unit.  Mrs. Buzard and I continue to be impressed with the students’ work ethic and thoughtfulness.  We look forward to seeing them in January after a well deserved refreshing break.
Mr. Leinbach - Social Studies Teacher
Social Studies News   (02/14/2019)
Social Studies – This week we learned about how the Election of 1860 and the secession of eleven southern states led to the Civil War. Our students have done a terrific job analyzing how the many differences between the North and South led to the Civil War. We also began previewing some of the initial battles and strategies of the Civil War by performing a Reader’s Theater, investigating an interactive map of the North and South, taking guided notes while close reading the text, and answering inquiry based questions while providing specific text evidence to support the answers.  Great job in social studies girls and boys!

Mrs. Lindner - Language Arts Teacher
February 15, 2019   (02/14/2019)
The Journey writers are completing their mini-unit in applying complex and advance figurative language in their writing.  I have consistently asked the students to flex their writing muscles and create unique figurative language that is indeed an improvement over what they have used in previous years.  We wrote a series of paragraphs about typical subject matter and ended the unit with an independent writing assignment summative assessment.  Next we will move toward informational reading and writing, using topics from FREAK, THE MIGHTY.  Informational pieces will take the form of descriptive, compare/contrast, problem/solution, and cause and effect.  I look forward to seeing how your children take in and explain current issues of our day!  Enjoy the long weekend, and we'll see your children on February 20, and we hope to see you at Conferences on Friday, March 1.
January 18, 2019   (01/18/2019)
Happy New Year to all of our Journey families!  Your children returned to class and almost immediately went right back to work, revising and editing their personal narratives.  Some students chose to write about the hero's journey, others wrote about the characteristics of a hero and how they have demonstrated these characteristics.  Others wrote about acts of kindness, overcoming failure or doubt, or a narrative of their "friend for life".  Moving on, we are now studying figurative language, with an emphasis not on definitions or identifications, but on the most complex and unique examples that we read in literature and more importantly that we can write in our words.  Typically, students see the value in exploring this unit, and they come away with a broader and more expert view of figurative language.  We will continue with this unit for a couple of weeks, culminating in a collection of writings, both prose and poetry.  Figurative language is a true embodiment of our new phrase, "Writing is more the Muscle Memory!"
Language Arts, December 21, 2019   (12/20/2018)
As we look forward to our winter vacation, looking back at these last couple of weeks, I have seen tremendous growth in the Journey writers.  Your children studied the hero’s classic journey, and then looked inward to see how they or those they love have taken that metaphorical journey as well.  We are currently working on a personal narrative that will help us connect to our novel in Reading class.  While the paper remains a rough draft currently, we will continue the writing process in January and work on revising, expanding, and editing.  So, Happy Holidays Journey Families!  May our holiday season and 2019 be ones of peace, joy and togetherness.
Language Arts, December 7, 2018   (12/07/2018)
Happy Winter to all of our students and families!  Writing class has been truly inspirational this week as we began our study of heroes and the journey they all take - either in classic literature, modern literature, or real life.  We used the protagonists from our science fiction stories as well!  Now, we will apply our knowledge of the hero to our Reading book FREAK THE MIGHTY and also to a personal narrative that we begin next week.  I look forward to discussing the heroes in our lives today and teaching how to craft this topic around a personal narrative.  Please continue to chat with your children about the topics of writing and their other classes as well.  It's so important for them to see how the topics covered in school are part of our daily lives.  Enjoy the next couple of weeks filled with holiday joy and cheer!  Here at Attea, we love to share in the season!  Finally, Happy Hannukah to our Journey families who celebrate!
Langauge Arts, 11/9/18   (11/09/2018)
Writing class has been extremely busy these past couple of weeks.  This week we took a summative quiz on writing Narrative Leads, and they did very well.  They are learning to write with specific purpose and learning how to engage the reader.  Next week, we will begin our full fiction narrative unit by using the writing process to craft our very own science fiction stories, using our knowledge of plot, setting, characterization, and conflict.  We have studied this in our Reading class using mentor texts, and now we are the writers in charge of creating our own new worlds!  Once completed with our sci-fi stories, we will quickly move to personal narratives as we connect to the novel FREAK THE MIGHTY.
Mrs. Stern - Math Teacher
Updated: As of February 15, 2019   (02/15/2019)
All of my students have access to math IXL on their IPAD.  It is the same program that they used last year in 5th grade. So if there is downtime at home, please have your son/daughter work on it.

In common core, students took their test today on adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing with decimals.  Next week, we will learn about ordering integers, absolute value, and graphing coordinates in a coordinate grid. On math IXL, students can work on 6th grade X1 - X6, M1 - M6.

In single acc., students have worked on graphing points in a coordinate plane and absolute value.  They have also learned about reflections across the y-axis and across the x-axis.  Yesterday we studied about finding vertical and horizontal distance in a coordinate plane. Math test will be on Friday Feb. 22nd.  On math IXL, students can work on 6th grade x1 - x6, M1-M6.

In double acc.,  students are studying how to solve multi-step equations. Math test for block 4 will be on Friday Feb. 22nd and will be on Monday Feb. 23rd for block 5.
Mrs. Weinzierl
Science Class Update!   (02/14/2019)
The Journey scientists have recently used microscopes to investigate uni and multicellular organisms.  We have also completed an analogy project modeling a cell and the organelles inside!  Ask your son or daughter what analogy they used for their cell model! We have also started exploring the concept of diffusion and why this concept is important to the function of a cell. The Cell Processes Unit summative test will be at end of February, just before conferences. Ask your son or daughter what study strategies they will use to study for the test. Also, in the upcoming weeks we will explore and explain how the cell is one part of the organization of the human body system.  As always if you have any question or concerns please contact me!
Science Class Update!   (01/29/2019)
The Journey scientists have recently explored the characteristics of life! We are now beginning to use microscopes to investigate unicellular and multicellular organisms.  The students will have a mid-point quiz covering characteristics of life and differentiating between plant and animal cells and the organelles in each at the end of the week of February 4th.  The students will also begin working on a cell analogy project. The students will be introduced to the project during the week of February 4th as well.  As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Science Class Update!   (01/16/2019)
Welcome back and Happy New Year!  The Journey Scientists have been exploring our new unit in Life Science: Cells!  The students have explored the characteristics of living things, Cells & will soon discover how we can accurately view the invisible world using microscopes!  We will continue investigation using microscopes in the coming weeks to identify the types of cells, cell organelles and cell function.  As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns. 
Science Class Update!   (12/18/2018)
Our Journey Scientists recently completed our first unit Structure and Properties of Matter!  Great work students!  We are looking forward to exploring our next unit, Cell Processes. When we return from winter break, the students will be introduced to the characteristics of life and begin investigating unknown substances to determine if the specimen are living or not. When we return from winter break, the students will continue investigations on unicellular and multicellular organisms. We will also learn how to use a microscope during labs! Students and Parents, Enjoy your well deserved break! Happy Holidays!

Science Class Update!   (12/06/2018)
Recently, our Journey Team scientists have been working to complete our final unit of the Properties of Matter Curriculum (an introduction to chemistry) with a Lab practicum test and a written test.  By the end of next week the students will have been assessed on analyzing and interpreting data on the properties of substances before and after they interact. The students will also be able to determine if a physical or chemical change (reaction) occurred. The students have done a wonderful job reviewing and preparing for the tests.  Before leaving for winter break, we will investigate how to properly use a microscope before we begin our 2nd curricular topic, "Cell Processes"!