Welcome to Mrs. Conley's Room 13 Web Site
May 27, 2017

Happenings in the classroom: 
In math, we finished the geometry unit with solving surface area and volume problems of rectangular prisms. Students have been actively engaged through creating worksheets and earning extra denarii for their Roman gen. We had the unit test on Friday and will be taking the cumulative test on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. That test signals the end of our textbook teaching and leads into a more project oriented and hands-on approach to math. I will also combine it with some engineering challenges related to our ancient civilization unit. The first project involves students bringing in 20 pictures from home. I will explain the specifics to the students on Tuesday. The pictures will be due on Monday June 5th. Also, if you have any newspapers and grocery paper bags you do not need, please send them in to help with our projects.
In ELA, we are finishing up the "Courage-themed" books this week. We will conduct group discussions on how courage is described in the different books and how it relates to our lives. In writing, we are in the midsts of composing argumentative essays. Students picked a debatable topic, wrote a thesis statement, conducted research to find evidence and started writing the introduction and body paragraphs. Next week we will practice writing counter arguments and a conclusion. We will peer-edit to polish our pieces before submitting them. Even though your last vocabulary test came home with your child this weekend, we will continue to practice grammar and conventions.
The year-end play is in full swing. Students are creating the set, props and costumes along with the program. It is amazing to see how they are cooperating to get the projects done. Starting June 7th we will be practicing on stage rather than in the classroom. 
In social studies, we finished the entertainment via on Friday and will start the government via on Tuesday. As part of this via we will conduct an election to select a "political class leader." To end the Rome unit we are planning on a Roman Feast. We will be looking for volunteers to help out on that day either by bringing in food and/or serving it. Please be on the lookout for an email in early June.
Last, but not least, Health. This week we started out talking about changes that happen in both boys and girls during puberty and ended the week by separating into gender groups. The anatomy lessons will continue this week in gender groups. Students might have questions for you related to the topics we are talking about in class. 

Upcoming Dates:
5/29           no school - Memorial Day
5/31           Cumulative math test day 1
6/1             Cumulative math test day 2
                  Early release
6/2             Activity day
6/6             Climate Change presentation
6/9             "Ball in the House" Assembly
6/12           Roman Government quiz
6/13           Human Growth and Development Unit test
6/14           6th Grade Plays
6/15           Talent Show
                  Early release
6/16           De Cordoba Field Trip
6/19           Roman Feast and Kickball Game
6/21           Step-up Day
6/22           6th grade send-off

May 2017

Anticipation is in the air as we approach the last weeks of school. With MCAS testing complete and warmer weather approaching, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for the students to stay on task. Therefore we have many hands-on activities planed to break up the day. 

Materials that came home in Friday Folders:
  • Vocabulary Unit 7 Test
  • field trip form for DeCordoba Museum on June 16
  • variety of math worksheets
Our regular science classes are complete. Health classes have begun with us covering nutrition, acne and this coming week sleep and hygiene. Students completed a food log on what they ate for a day and discussed changes to make for a balanced diet. In case they have questions, a good place to start is https://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

In social studies we discussed how the geography and climate were conducive to establishing a civilization on the Italian peninsula. We learned how myths of Aeneas, Romulus and Remus meshed with the historical facts of the early beginnings of Rome. In their gens (families), they created standards (flag poles) and were given their bullas (amulets) at the naming ceremony. This week we will focus on the daily life in Rome. Students will use math skills to create a floor plan for their domus (house/villa). They will also learn about the Colosseum as one of the Roman architectural marvels and venues of entertainment.

In math, we are turning the focus back to our geometry unit. We covered distances on coordinate planes and this week will venture into polygons. The following week we will finish up with surface area and volume of solids. At the end of May students will take the geometry unit test followed by a cumulative test in the beginning of June. Then we will use the newly acquired concepts and apply them to a variety of math projects to round up the year.

In ELA, our courage book groups are well on the way. I will start the end of the year reading assessments this week. After introducing the argumentative writing style with a mentor text, we stated to analyze the difference between persuasive and argumentative writing. Students have chosen the topic for their paper and will continue the research and drafting of their essays this week. You can follow their progress in google classroom.  

We have been practicing the Greek play with scripts and are going off scripts this week so that we can work on actor placement on stage and projection of voice. Planning for advertisement, costumes and props for the play are taking shape and the production stage will start this week. This is a student directed activity and a wonderful opportunity to work together as a class. 

Upcoming dates:
5/18           early release Thursday
                  Art Show at Gates
5/19           Nutrition/Acne/Sleep quiz
                  Talent Show entries due
5/25           Memorial Day Assembly
5/26           Math Geometry Unit Test
5/29           no school - Memorial Day
5/31           cumulative math test day 1
6/1             cumulative math test day 2
                  early release
6/2             activity day
6/13           Human Growth and Development Unit test
6/14           6th Grade Plays
6/15           Talent Show
                  early release
6/16           De Cordoba Field Trip
6/19           Roman Feast and Kickball Game
6/21           Step-up Day
6/22           6th grade send-off

April 2017

One MCAS down, one more to go! I am extremely proud of my students this week. They put a lot of effort into the assessment and managed to sit quietly for more than three hours on two consecutive days. This is not easy for 6th graders at this point of the school year, when they are starting to outgrow the elementary school furniture. Luckily, the weather cooperated on the second day and we were able to go outside for a break to stretch and move. 

Speaking of MCAS, the Math section of the test will be administered on May 9th and 10th. In order to prepare for it, we will devote next week to reviewing and practicing "old" versions of the test. Students were given their first packet on Thursday and are expected to complete it by Monday, May 1. The next packet will be due on Wednesday and the last one on Friday. Please remind them to work on these packets and be ready to ask questions when we review them in school on Wednesday and on Friday.

Friday Envelope materials include:
  • Greece unit test
  • Greece Open Response on Athens vs. Sparta
  • Greece Open Response on Minoans and Mycenaeans
  • graded computation sheet
  • various math class worksheets
  • graded MCAS "Alice"
  • self-corrected MCAS "Chinese Army"
  • Climate Change Project Rubric
  • Climate Change Yeast Investigation
  • Utopian book report rubric
  • Ice cream social information
With the Greece unit completed, we started learning about the geography and origin of Ancient Rome. Next week, to the excitement of the students, we will continue our interactive and project oriented unit by introducing the Roman "gens" (family units). Students will complete assignments and daily activities in these gen groups over the next couple of weeks. They will choose a Roman name both for their family and for themselves. Just like any family, they are earning Denarii (Roman currency) and keeping a financial record of their incomes and expenses. After each "via" (thematic lesson unit) they have the opportunity to earn a "corona" (crowns) to attach to their "standard" (family banner).  

In reading, we will start our last book groups. Students will be paired up to discuss a courage themed book of their choosing. They will read the book at home and at school, write sticky notes to help with their discussion and find text based evidence to support their statements. We will focus on how the main character changes as he/she is faced with difficult situations. In additions, we will elaborate on the theme of "courage" as it applies to our lives. 

In writing, we will expand on the persuasive writing skills students have already and introduce counter claims to practice argumentative writing. Next week we will look at different examples and learn how an argumentative writing piece is organized and how it differs from persuasive writing. 

I started to have conversations with students about my recommendation for their math placement next year. The students have a good understanding of their comfort level with math and most know the level I picked for them. When making the decision, I not only take test grades into consideration, but also their confidence and independence levels with new materials. By the end of next week each student will know their placement. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me.

Important Dates:
May 1            MCAS packet 2013 due
May 3            MCAS packet 2012 due
                      Vocabulary Unit 7 Exercises due
May 4            early release Thursday
May 5            Junior High Registrations due
                      MCAS packet 2011 due
                      Vocabulary Unit Test 7
                      6th Grade Social

May 9/10       MCAS Math
May 9            Health unit starts
May 12          Rome Geography and Origin Quiz
May 19          early release Thursday
                      Art Night 

June 14         6th Grade Play 6-8PM
June 22         6th Grade Send-off for families and school community

April 9, 2017

Dear Room 13 Families,

It is so nice to look outside and know spring is finally here. The students have been thrilled going outside and enjoying the warmer temperatures. With spring excitement also comes end of year planning and anticipation for the junior high. On Tuesday this week, we will be visited by couselors and student ambassadors from RJ Grey. Students will receive a thick envelop with information for you and your child to look through and discuss. Please send the forms required back by the due date. I will post the dates in the calendar once I learn about them. 

After vacation we will be starting preparations for the end-of year plays. Our class will perform a play from Ancient Greece, Mrs. Montepeluso's class one from Ancient Egypt and Mrs. Acheson's class one from Ancient Rome. Please mark your calendars for this special evening performance on Wednesday, June 14 and let me know ASAP if your child has a schedule conflict on that night. It will determine their role and responsibility for the play. Thank you very much.

List of materials that came home in the Friday envelop:
  • Several graded - Magic Elizabeth and Green Glass Sea- and one ungraded - March of the Shepherd - MCAS practices.
  • Climate change quiz #1: signed reflection is due on Wednesday 4/12
  • math classwork samples
  • The MCAS statement your child will have to sign before taking the MCAS test. This is for your information only and does not need to be returned to school. 
  • Human Growth and Development form to sign for those students who have not handed them in yet. The form is due Monday, 4/10.
Upcoming Dates for planning purposes:
4/11              Visit from the junior high
4/12              Ancient Greece Unit Test
4/14 - 4/23    Spring Break
4/26 - 27       ELA MCAS 
5/5                final science rotation day
                     Ice Cream Social
5/8                Math MCAS practice
5/9 - 10         Math MCAS
5/18              Art Night
5/25              Memorial Day Assembly
5/29              Memorial Day - no school
6/2                Activity Day
6/9                Weather permitting Kickball Game with Douglas School
6/14              Evening Performance Ancient Civilization Plays Grade 6
6/15              Talent Show
6/16              Art Field Trip to DeCordoba Museum
6/19              Roman Feast with Entertainment
6/21              Step-up Day: Field Trip to Junior High
6/22              Short day with 6th Grade Send-Off 
                     Term 3 ends

March 2017

On Friday we finished Term 2, and I wanted to remind you that progress reports will be available through the Parent Portal on Friday, March 31. If you would like to make a copy of your child's report do so right away as the window to view the report will close after a certain time.

As a result of the end of the term, we had a light Friday folder this week. It only contained an: 
  • in-class MCAS exercise -Able's Island - that was graded. 
  • homework MCAS practice - Leopard's Drum - that was corrected and scored, but does not count as a grade
  • menu for April

As students are becoming more independent and reflective in their study habits, I am making the following changes for the last term
  • Each weekend, I will send out an email listing the Friday folder content, so you can ask your child about any of their work.
  • I will still contact you per email, when your child scores below a "2" on any sections of an assessment, but you do not need to sign and return the reflection forms anymore. 
  • Friday cards are only issued for students who had more than 5 missed homework assignments.
In math, we continued our statistics work, learning about MAD (Mean Absolute Deviation) and how to display data in box and dot plots. We created our own data sets and analyzed them using measures of center and spread. This week we will look at histograms and various other ways to display and interpret statistical information. 
In ELA, the focus has been on practicing and understanding MCAS and Parcc language to help students prepare for the tests after spring break. I am very pleased with the effort students are showing to write complete open response and hope they will continue their progress as we cover more recent test items.
The government of Greece has been the topic of the week in social studies and has spurred many interesting conversations about the Greek direct democracy versus the representative democracy of the USA. It was an eye opener for many to realize that women in Ancient Greece were not considered citizens and could not vote. This week we will focus on the city-states of Athens and Sparta.

Upcoming dates:
3/30    Early release Thursday
4/1      Gate Auction - looking forward to see many of you there
4/5      Unit 7 math test
4/6      Early release Thursday
4/11    JRH ambassadors will meet with the 6th graders 
4/12    Greece unit test
4/14    no school
Spring Break
4/25-27  ELA MCAS  

March 17, 2017

Despite the snow day, we had a busy week. Students started their community service hours and came back to the classroom abuzz about all the activities they had been involved in. Some were helping with younger students, others were tuning instruments or hanging art work on bulletin boards. The sign-up for the talent show ended and children received their audition forms. We officially started ELA MCAS prep, in social studies the Ancient Greece unit and in math the statistics unit. 

Please check your child's Friday folder for:
  • Postural screening information form 
  • Unit 4/5 Math Test 
  • Unit 6 Vocabulary Test
  • Egypt Unit Test  
  • Hatshepsut persuasive writing piece
  • two MCAS practices that have been discussed and scored both by the students and myself. The MCAS open response scale runs from 0-4, with 4 being a complete answer.
The April 1 Auction is just around the corner and I hope many of you can attend the fun event. Thank you to Indira Persand who has taken on the job of assembling a wonderful Auction basket and to all the parents who have contributed to the worth-while cause.

I realize the ground outside is still covered in snow, but end-of-year planning has started. Be on the lookout for an email from the yearbook committee to all sixth grade parents asking for precious pictures for the 2017 edition.  

Representatives from the junior high will visit us on April 11 to talk to the students about their transition to 7th grade. They will be able to ask questions and will receive an envelope with important information for you to look over together. 

Mach 5, 2017

I hope you all had a relaxing break with your families and enjoyed the spring-like weather. 

The following items came home in the Friday Folder this weekend:
  • Math Module 11 Quiz with an attached reflection for you to sign.
  • Human Growth and Development form for you to review, sign and return to school by April 10.
This week we started to discuss the ELA MCAS. The students completed one practice test. We then reviewed and practiced good reading habits and skills using the sample text. This week we will focus on planning and writing complete open responses. Besides practices in school, you can expect students to bring home a MCAS practice packet each week. The packet will go home on Monday and is expected to be returned on Friday. All open responses require a graphic organizer or an outline as well as a handwritten response on a separate sheet of paper. 

On Wednesday, the students eagerly started the new book groups and engaging discussions emerged about the similarities and differences among the books already. The selections include Wrinkle of Time, Messenger, Gathering Blue, Ender's Game and City of Ember. Reading groups meet twice a week on Monday and Wednesday. They discuss one teacher-directed question and one question they posed themselves. Students read independently at home and are expected to write evidence-based sticky notes to aid in the upcoming discussion. 

In math, we will be finishing our Expression and Equations Unit on Monday and will start to review both units 4 and 5 for the reminder of the week. Students will receive a review packet on Monday that is due on Thursday. Besides reviewing for the test this week, we will also work on a hands-on project related to algebraic equations. 

Our time spent on the Egypt Unit is coming to an end with the wrapping of the egyckens on Monday, review for the test on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Egypt unit test on Thursday and the Burial Ceremony on Friday.  The students worked cooperatively to finish all necessary burial items and I have to say there are some fantastic amulets, canopic jars, book of the dead, sarcophagi and pyramids waiting for the "hen" mummies. 

The last science rotation has started. The students are working with Mrs. Acheson on climate change. Their current  library time has changed to Tuesday.

Upcoming Dates:
3/8      Egypt Study Guide due
3/8      Vocabulary exercises due
3/9      Egypt Test
3/9      Unit 4&5 Review packet due
3/10    Vocabulary Test
3/10    Unit 4 & 5 Math Test
3/10    MCAS packet "Flying Frogs" and open response due

We have been talking about strategies to manage and prepare for the many assignments due this week. Please remind your students to plan out all their work so they are not overwhelmed the night before assignments are due.

March 2017

Our classroom is abuzz with a variety of different activities and projects:
  • The Egypt unit is well under way. We learned about the geography of Ancient Egypt, the gods and goddesses, the different kingdoms and most recently the achievements. We are half way into the mummification process of the Egyckens and students have recorded the changes to weight, measurements and appearance of the hen. They are using their artistic skills preparing pyramids, sarcophagi, canopic jars, amulets and spells for the upcoming burial ceremony. Here are some pictures of your children at work. https://www.wevideo.com/view/856780458 Thank you to Mr. Jacobs for putting this video together.
  • In science, students finished their energy unit and will be joining Mrs. Acheson after vacation to learn about climate change.
  • How to read, write and evaluate one-variable algebraic equations was the math topic over the last two weeks. When we come back from break, we will graph equations and apply our knowledge in an equation project to complete the algebra unit. 
  • On Friday we watched the movie The Giver and compared the book we have read to its cinematic version. The students picked out many differences and discussed why they think those changes were made for the viewers. They enjoyed reading this novel so much that they voted to continue the utopian theme for the book groups we will be starting after vacation. In case anyone wants to read a sequel to The Giver, the next one is called Gathering Blue, followed by Messenger and finishing with The Son. All are written by Lois Lowry. 
  • Poetry has been the topic of the most recent book projects. Students have searched for and read several poetry novels or books to find the one they are connecting with the most. They analyzed the mentor poem using a method we learned in class to better understand their poem. They are using what inspired them from their mentor poem to write their own poem. We will finish up the poetry project after vacation. 

January 2017

Along with the new year, we are starting our next social studies unit of Ancient Egypt. We will be learning about another river civilization and why early people settled along the Nile River. The focus this week was the geography and the early history of ancient Egypt.

In math we are finishing up our ratio, rates and percent unit. This proportional thinking is required for the following unit of expressions and equations so we are spending much time setting up problems and showing all steps of the process. I hope these become second nature before moving into unit 4. Next week is the unit test so students will be given a homework packet as a "practice test" to review for the test on Friday. We will discuss the packet before the test so that they have it as a study resource.

In ELA students are practicing presentation and public speaking skills by presenting the biography slides they have created about a person of interest to them. The presentations range from sports to historical figures and everyone in between. Students have access to these online presentations, so if they have not shown it to you yet, you might want to ask for your own showing. I am always amazed at how well versed the students are with the features technology has to offer. Aside from the informational features, the 6th graders added important facts about their personality based on their own research using the computer as well as a biography they read. 

Starting Monday, Officer Mike will be coming in to teach the I-Safe program. He will talk to the students about internet and technology safety as well as drug and alcohol awareness. These are high-interest topics for the students and they have many questions. I wanted you to be aware of the topics so you can help students navigate them as questions might come up even outside of school. 

Upcoming Dates:
1/9/17       I-Safe starts
1/13          Vocabulary Unit 3 Test
                 Math Unit 3 Test
1/16          No school
1/17          Energy quiz #2
1/19          Early Release

Have a safe and healthy 2017

September 15, 2016

We successfully completed our first full week of school and are starting to settle into our daily routines. We finished our getting to know activities such as the extended name tag, the Important Book pages, and the "writing from the heart" pictures. You will get to admire your children's creations on Open House Night, September 27. 

As a class we decided on classroom rules and have been practicing these along with daily routines. Respect and fun are the two key points students wanted to include so we mix working hard with short games or movements to energize us. Ask them about the "twist."

In reading, we have been focusing on the reading process and the many strategies we can use to help ourselves understand and enjoy a text. We are halfway through the book The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. Students have picked independent reading books to get them started on their reading adventure for the year. 

In narrative writing, we are learning techniques that work from other writers. We analyzed a small moment piece and wrote two goals to focus on for our own writing. Students are now in the process of collecting ideas for small moment stories so we can start to draft these narratives next week.

In social studies, the five themes of geography were introduced with an ear worm of a song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIqC79WrpKg After discussing and taking notes on each theme in more depth, students picked a city to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. They researched their city and assembled the posters in school today. Their city posters will be on display on Open House Night.

In math, we started Unit 1 about Integers. So far we covered the classification of numbers, and how to identify, compare and plot them on number lines. Students have been able to finish their classwork in school and therefore have not had any math homework. We do give them an optional worksheet with each Module and some students have been completing those for extra practice and review. They also have been given their user name and access code for the online textbook  www.my.hrw.com which provides additional practices and reteaching videos.

In science, we practiced thinking and acting like a scientist by designing a bridge made out of paper to support the load of 100 pennies. We have some great engineers among us as several successful designs emerged. This week we started with our meteorology, ocean and atmosphere unit and have already conduced two investigations showing how the sun, oceans and the atmosphere work together to create weather patterns. 

The homework each night consists of reading - either for pleasure or assigned - studying, reviewing materials, keeping up with the organization of the binder, and working on parts of projects. The homework is posted on the calendar of my classroom website. On the website are also links to the updated table of contents (TOCs) and links to websites. 

August 2016

Hello Room 13 Superhero -

Welcome to 6th grade at Gates!  We are continuing our theme from last year Super you, Super me; Superheroes we all can be - so be ready for an exciting ride. As you know, heroes take risks and accept challenges when going on their journey. They never give up and in the end succeed. I am thrilled to be your guide on your journey through your last year at Gates. Let's make it a memorable one.

School is still two weeks away, but preparations have started. I will be in my room preparing on most days, so if you want to swing by, say hello or drop materials off, please feel free to do so. The first two days of school will be spent getting to know each other, setting up our classroom, and sharing summer memories as well as goals for this year. I look forward to hearing about your summer adventures and your dreams and expectations for your last elementary school year.  

If you have time, explore the website a little, so you become familiar with it.  Mrs. Montepeluso, Mrs. Acheson and I will be posting homework, tests and quizzes on the homework/calendar link daily.  I mention all three teachers because you will be rotating to each classroom for Science. 

    Mrs. Montepeluso    - Science/Energy 
    Mrs. Acheson           - Science/Climate Change 
    Mrs. Conley              - Science/Weather 

Our Specials are as follows:
    Tuesday                    - Music
    Wednesday               - P.E.
    Thursday                   - Band or rotating specials (Music/P.E./Art)
    Friday                        - Art

I am excited to be your teacher and look forward to meeting you real soon.  

Mrs. Conley

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