2008-2009 Electronic Newsletter for Sixth Grade

The sixth grade students have been working on a variety of projects this year. I would like to share our work with you. As we work on the Internet, I have taught the students to find the links through a website called delicious. If you or your children would like to access these sites, you will need to click on the word All Tags on the right side of the screen and select sixth. Your student can demonstrate this process to you.

Saint Michael Delicious account

There is a link saved to send your name to Mars on a computer chip. We did not do this in class. You may use the link with your child if it is of interest to you. My whole family is sending our names to Mars on the 2011 mission. As a parent, you may be interested in creating your own Delicious account. You can save bookmarks and open them on any computer.

As the year progresses, I work on many different projects with the sixth grade students. You may click here or click on the word sixth on the left side of the screen to see my plan for the year.

We have used a variety of software this year. We see each other twice per week this year and have been able to complete more complex projects.

Earlier in the year, the students had an opportunity to test our new tablet PCs. We listened to La Bamba through Discovery Streaming. The students practiced typing the lyrics using Open Office Writer. Open Office is a free suite of word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing tools that is similar to Microsoft Office. It is available for the Mac, Windows, and Linux. The sixth grade students used Windows Journal to test writing with the stylus. These tools are now being used on the second floor thanks to the prize we won from CDWG and Discovery.

We explored Gimp. It is a free, open source painting and photo editing tool. It is available for the Mac, Windows, and Linux. The students drew an image to represent themselves as an avatar in the work we complete this year.

The students had an opportunity to continue building their skills in PowerPoint with a presentation called "Dinner with Guests". They chose a restaurant, menu, and four famous people. The guests could be living or deceased, real or fictional. The students practiced finding images, proportionally resizing the images, and writing notes. The notes included descriptions of the restaurant and foods. They had to explain who the famous person is, when they first heard of the guest, and why they were invited. There was great variety in the presentations. When we return from break, the students will watch videos of themselves. They will be evaluating themselves on their presentation style.

We have been slowly working with a class in Pennsylvania on math. Our first project involved taking surveys, creating charts, and generating questions about the charts. The students in Pennsylvania did the same. It is being worked on at the Math Connections website. After vacation, we will be taking digital photos of geometric shapes around the building and adding them to the Geometry Gallery on the same website.

The students practiced some new word processing skills. We learned about page break, headers, and footers.

In groups, the students explored a program called Media Blender. They created little stories to share within the class. The stories included text, sounds, images, and movement. It was fun to see everyone explore and entertain each other with their creativity.

During Terra Nova test week, the students and I explored optical illusions. We had an opportunity to use the Activote devices that we won with the CDWG/ Discovery prize package. The illusions can be explored from home. We used the Activotes again as we learned about the Cookers for Darfur fund raising project on Saint Patrick's Day.

The sixth grade is in the process of learning about the Internet and creating movies to explain it to the fifth grade. Their research included reading through an online student's book called Small Pieces Loosely Joined for Kids. First, they created a script, in groups, in Word. They are now learning how to use the built-in iSight cameras on the Mac with iMovie. Once the movie is filmed and edited, they will create intro and outro music in Garageband. The finished movies will be presented to the fifth grade for commentary.

A website we use on occassion is Free Rice . It is a great opportunity to learn and help others.

The school has a Flickr account to store photos taken throughout the school day. Please take some time to enjoy the photos. Click on a blue word (tag) to see that collection of images.