Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mastering Map Skills and Keyboarding

Students are underway in practicing map skills. This week they practiced latitude and longitude, and learned about the first two themes of geography. The themes of geography are one way that geographers organize the study of the earth. In all, there are five themes that are used to help understand the world better. The first theme is "Location" and answers the question "Where is it?" This theme focuses on using the skills of latitude and longitude, as well as defining directions. The second theme, "Place" answers the question "What is it like there?" So this next week students will define about 30 landforms, ones that will be important in our study of history. Then they will have a quiz over the landforms on Thursday. Defining landforms will help students to describe what a place is like.

During Flex periods students also began practicing another skill, keyboarding! We will be in the computer lab about three weeks to help them hone in on this important skill that will help them to complete Smarter Balance testing in the spring. I wish we could spend longer in the lab, but we have to share time there. However, students can access the program from home if they would like more time to practice.

Below you will find pictures of children practicing their keyboarding skills.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beginning Our Study of Geography


We have completed the first real week of school and I think students enjoyed beginning their study of geography. We first looked at hemispheres, and defined the equator, as well as the prime meridian. Then we discussed the importance of grids to help us find places. Students seem very comfortable using alpha- numerical grids, lets hope they become as comfortable with latitude and longitude.



This next week we will practice latitude and longitude, and will learn about the first theme of geography: location. Some students will find little difficulty using the global grid, while others will struggle a little with this very abstract concept. Honestly, I believe understanding latitude and longitude is somewhat developmental, and we will continue to practice it throughout the year.



Below are some pictures of students ripping the shape of an assigned continent and researching facts about their continent.




Monday, September 1, 2014

Seahawks 6th Grade Social Studies



 Welcome to Mrs. Bigelow’s blog for the 2014-2015 school year. I hope that you will become a frequent visitor here. By visiting this site you can know what assignments your child will have in Social Studies, see what is happening in class, as well as view some student projects. Some things you might want to consider as the school year begins:

  • Please help your student be prepared for the school year by supplying them with needed school materials. (You might want to also consider scheduling a date a few months down the road to resupply your student since supplies do run out.) 
  • Please establish a regular evening routine, with a scheduled homework time and a reasonable bedtime. 
  • Make sure to look over paperwork (I know this can seem overwhelming, but it really is necessary), including picture day instructions, emergency forms, and Google Docs permission pages. When student forms are complete and turned in it makes life flow smoother in school for your child. If you have any questions about the forms, please call the Hazelbrook Office, 503-431-5100. 
These are just a few things to keep in mind, and I will try to inform you of others as they arise. I have two calendars you can access to see when assignments are due. A Google calendar is the tab titled “Calendar” and a second calendar that prints well is located at the “Important Links” tab. You might want to bookmark or subscribe to this blog to make it easier keep up with what is happening in my classroom.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

End of the Year is in Sight


With the end of the year fast approaching, we are studying the geography of Latin America, and the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas. This week students completed a map of Mexico and Central America. Combined with reading about the Mayas from the textbook, they now have a good understanding of these early Mesoamerican people. We also had fun this week celebrating the Mayas and the Aztecs by having a Chocolate Day. These two cultures discovered the virtues of the cacao bean and even used it as currency.
This next week students will be examining the culture of the Aztecs. The Aztecs built Tenochtitlan, a beautiful amazing city, years ahead of European cities at the time. The homework for this week is a reading assignment entitled “Aztec Religion”. Next week students will need to complete a large map of South America as we begin a study of the Incas. Students can also expect two tests at the end of the year, one over the geography of Latin America, and another test over the cultures of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas.
Pictures that follow are of students working on their Mayan stelae and enjoying Chocolate Day.










Saturday, April 26, 2014

Winning War Lords

We ended our War Lords of Japan simulation on Wednesday with some real intense battles between teams. Winning student teams worked very hard to achieve the role of Shogun, often by taking work home for the night to earn them extra moves. I was also very impressed with students who knew the facts on their background essays. They were tough to beat because they learned their Japanese history and were ready for face-offs with opposing teams. I am so proud of everyone, and have to say this year's simulation was one of the best. (See pictures of the winning teams at the end of this blog.)

This coming week students will have a unit test over China and Japan on Tuesday and then we will start into our final unit for the year. We will finish the sixth grade year by studying Latin American geography and learning the history of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas.

Below are pictures of students who won the War Lords of Japan simulation.





Blue Block Winners: C. Van Meter, H. Velazquez, E. Gomez, E. Guttierrez, and V. Solis.
(Absent at the time of the photo was E. Ruybalid.)

Red Block Winners: E. Elder, C. Carteno, K. Crook, K. Portscheller, L. Gonzalez, and R. Hernandez

Green Block Winners: R. Meyer, M. Hundtoft, S. Strode, M. Estrada, W. Van Bax, and E. Badaracco

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Learning About Japan

Students are studying the history of Japan by participating in a simulation called War Lords of Japan. They compete in groups to become the Shogun of Japan by taking daily quizzes over history background readings and completing tasks. It can be very exciting and fun to do. Usually everyday I find students plotting their strategies in front of the large map stapled to the bulletin board that serves as the game board. We will complete the simulation this next week and students will then prepare for a unit test that will include China and Japan.

Pictures below are of students in different blocks participating in War Lords of Japan.










Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pictures from Outdoor School

This post will basically be pictures from our three days at Outdoor School. We had a great time and a truly authentic experience because of one day of rain. Students got wet, muddy, but truly learned about environmental science.

Next week we will start our simulation of War Lords of Japan. This is probably my favorite unit of the year. We have a great time and learn lots of Japanese history.

The end of the third term is also at the end of next week. Students who have any late work will need to turn their late assignments in on Monday so that grades can be prepared.  I can hardly believe it, but the end of school is fast approaching.