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.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


This post is  going to be basically pictures of what students did last week. They spent the first half of the class writing an essay for their writing test, and then the second half of class was spent creating Yin and Yang kites.

Next week is only three days long because of conferences and a teacher inservice day. Conferences were by invitation, so if  you didn't get a letter in the mail enjoy the free days.

Pictures below are of the Red Block working on their writing test, and the bulletin board in class showing student Chinese writing projects with Yin and Yang kites.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Enjoying China

China is proving to be a surprise and novelty for Seahawks 6th graders. This week they learned how Confucius developed his philosophies because of the precarious Warring States Period in China. During this 250-year period of turbulence other philosophies also began, philosophies like Daoism and Legalism. Legalism and its harsh methods were chosen by the Qin dynasty to lead the very first empire in China. It proved to be a method that allowed the emperor of Qin to unify the fighting states, but it also alienated the people because of its harshness. At the emperor’s death the people rebelled, throwing out his son as ruler, and ending the dynastic reign of the Qin.
This past week students worked hard to create some beautiful Chinese writing examples. Next week they will have no homework because they will be completing an informative writing test in class.
Below are pictures of students holding their Chinese writing projects, and participating in a class discussion about the first emperor of Qin.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Learning About the Dynasties of China

This week students became more familiar with China’s geography by completing their own map of China and the surrounding countries. China is a land of large: the highest mountains, the tallest plateau, and one of the longest rivers. It is also a land with a unique culture and history.
Besides learning the geography, students also completed an activity where they learned about the Shang dynasty, a dynasty that was considered a legend until the  1920’s when artifacts were found to prove all the legendary stories.
Next week we will look at some important philosophers in China: Laozi, Confucius, and Li Si. They were influential during the Zhou dynasty. Students in periods 2, 4, and 7 will also be completing a writing project by trying their hand at Chinese calligraphy.
Below are some pictures of students working on their maps.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Starting China

We are starting our unit on ancient China.  Often this unit is hard for students because they do not have much understanding and background with the Chinese culture. However, it is an exciting culture to learn about. The Chinese were great inventors, and developed its own unique civilization isolated from the rest of the world.
This week students will learn about the geography of China, and begin a map of China and its surrounding countries. They will also take a quick look at some of China’s early dynasties, the Xia and Shang. Students in periods 2, 4, and 7 will also practice their writing skills by completing an essay about Chinese inventions. I am having them write in practice for an upcoming writing test the first week of March.
No pictures this week due to the snow day and early release.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Egypt

We are at the end of our study of Egypt. This next week students will have a test over Egypt and its neighbor to the south, Nubia. We spent the last week studying this ancient kingdom, which is modern day Sudan. Nubia, also know as Kush, had an interesting relationship with Egypt. It was often a relationship of conflict, but also one of conquest. In fact, Egypt conquered and controlled Nubia for a good 500 years. As well, the black African pharaohs of Dynasty 25 controlled Egypt for about 100 years.
Once we have finished with our Egyptian unit we will be on to studying ancient China. We begin this unit by first looking at the beginning of Buddhism, since Buddhism is an important religion in Asia. Also, Buddhist monks spread this religion from India to China and Japan, both cultures we will be studying this spring.