Sunday, November 30, 2014

6th Grade Ellis Student 'Letter to the Editor" Published in Savannah Morning News

Congratulations to Makayla West, whose letter to the editor concerning ocean pollution was published in the Saturday, November 29th 2014 edition of the Savannah Morning News!

Fight plastic pollution, one piece at time 
Pollution can travel thousands of miles in an ocean gyre. The pollution and waste clumps in the middle of the gyres, and then go onto the coastlines of the beaches. 
A negative effect on the environment is that when baby sea turtles go to the ocean, they go into the ocean gyres, because in the middle there is seaweed, and the turtles use the seaweed for shelter. 
There are two practical ways to decrease the amount of plastic used in daily life. One is to pick up five pieces of plastic pollution, which I do whenever I’m out. Anther is to buy items that have the least amount of plastic packaging.

The Week of December 1, 2014

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."

-   Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

There is a lot in store for you this first week of December!  I've updated the classroom calendar to reflect all upcoming assignments and tests.  You can get to it by clicking on the "calendar" tab above, or by simply logging onto your Google account (it is synced to your Google Calendar).  

Our math lessons this week will focus on solving algebraic equations.  We will be "using inverse operations to isolate the variables".  While this may sound a bit confusing, with practice you will catch on.  Here is a quick-reference chart you can use when working problems:

Solving Equations Quick-Reference Chart (Click to enlarge)

As usual, you will have homework Monday and Tuesday evening to complete.  Your lessons, Compass Learning requirement (due Friday), and Google Classroom journal (due Friday) will help you prepare for a quiz on solving equations Thursday.  

If you'd like some more practice solving equations, check out the following sheets.  The answers to the problems can also be found in the document.  

We will continue our work with Earth's water, but expand our focus from the oceans to other places where water is found.  You'll have "the world in your hands" during a fun introductory activity using an inflatable globe during tomorrow's lesson.  Your notes from the lesson and weekly vocabulary words are found below.  Use them to study for Friday's vocabulary quiz and next Friday's test.

You will have the next two weeks to do your own research about Earth's water.  Use the following "Drop in the Bucket" choice sheet to help focus your work.  Four assignments from the sheet are due next Friday.

There are also a few other things happening this week you shouldn't forget about:

1.  The Montessori Education Society of Savannah is having its annual holiday party this Thursday from 6:30-9:00 at 802 East Victory Drive.  Please click HERE for more information and to RSVP.

2.  Math Tutorial will take place Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15-4:00.  This is an invite-only tutorial.

3.  Career Day is this Friday!  Ms. Carla has scheduled many community members to come into school and talk about their jobs.

Finally, when you are signing-in tomorrow at our entry area, be sure to check out our classroom "Geolo-tree"!  It's covered with festive rocks, minerals, and fossils!

Mr. Trent

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this holiday break brings you happiness and time with friends and family you will cherish all year long!  Happy Thanksgiving!

See you December 1st,
Mr. Trent

Copyright: Schultz

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Week of November 24, 2014

Even though we only have school for two days this week, we are going to fit a week's worth of learning into it!  I'm excited to share with you a mini-unit on the effect of Earth's oceans surface currents on pollution.  Through a series of experiments, videos, and readings I hope you come to understand that local trash can become a global problem if not disposed of correctly.  In preparation for our lessons, I suggest you check out the 5 Gyres website,  The 5 Gyres project aims to being awareness to pollution transported by surface currents found in the ocean.

5 Gyres:  Understanding plastic pollution though exploration, education, and action 

What is a Gyre?

Because of our limited time together this week, you will NOT have a Compass Learning requirement or Google Classroom journal to complete.  While I will not assign homework, I suggest that you take the time you normally spend on your studies in the evenings to do the following:

1.  Catch up on any missing assignments you may have (classwork, homework, Compass Learning, journals, etc)
2.  Review any topics from this year that you feel you need more practice doing.
3.  Complete some extra Compass Learning lessons.
4.  Do some independent study concerning ocean gyres and pollution.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Mr. Trent

Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Field Trip to the Water Treatment Plant and Ellis Square

We had a beautiful day today to visit the Presidents Street Water Treatment Plant.  Seeing the dirty influent water go through the facility and emerge as clean effluent water was quite an amazing site!  Thank-you to the great workers at the plant who gave us the tour.

Presidents Street Water Treatment Facility

After our time at the water treatment plant we took the bus over to Ellis square.  We had a quick lesson on architectural features found in many Savannah buildings.  With the help of some measurement tools (and our knowledge of indirect measurement) we were able to estimate the hight of the Cay building!  We ended our day with a picnic in the square and a walk around City Market.

Ellis Square

I hope you are filled with civic pride seeing Savannah at its best today.  Your city is filled with hard-working people (like those at the water treatment plant) who help keep Savannah running smoothly so we can enjoy places like City Market.

Field Trip Fun!

UPDATE (Nov. 22): The architect of the Cay Building, Christian Sottile, learned of our trip, and would like to share with your the following information about the building:

...the design is concentrated on providing different scales of legibility and viewing.  One scale is from a distance with the design of the strong cornice and the deep shadow lines, as well as the patterns created by the Serliana (Palladian) window motif.  This allows the structure to engage in the Savannah skyline with distinction as a taller building. The other scale is that of the pedestrian up-close.  The human scale.  Here, the attention to finer-grained detail at the street level includes embellishments like the engraved street names, detailed lanterns, canopies, street trees, street clock, etc.

Students may also note from the square how the strong color differentiation between base middle and top help to relate it to surrounding buildings.  The base levels are intentionally aligned with the building on the neighboring Trust Block to the south.

Of course, also of interest is that the structure is built over a four-storied underground parking structure--meaning that effectively you are looking at a ten-storied building.  This as you know made construction a real challenge, but the result is a balanced plan with parking out of sight and public space where it belongs--in the square.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Say Hello to Our Newest Resident Scientist, Ms. Keya

My name is Keya Jackson, and I am really excited to be working with Mr. Trent and Mr. Christopher at Charles Ellis Montessori Academy this school year. This opportunity is funded by the National Science Foundation GK-12 Ocean Literacy Program (NSF GK-12) at Savannah State University (SSU). The NSF GK-12 program is designed to help scientists improve their communication skills by partnering with experienced school teachers. Aside from my work at Ellis, I am pursuing my Master of Science degree in Marine Sciences at SSU.  My bachelor’s degree is from Hampton University (VA). For my master’s thesis research, I am assessing the socioeconomic impact of black gill disease on commercial shrimp trawlers in Georgia by observing infection rates and interviewing shrimpers. The disease does not impact humans when consuming the shrimp, but reduces the energy output of the shrimp and may make the shrimp product less marketable.  I hope to share some of what I learn from my research with the students. The take home message that I hope to impart on Ellis students is that we are just as connected to this world as any other organism, and that we need to be cognizant of our actions and potential influences on our surrounding environment. 

Ms. Keya, our resident scientist 

Graphing Spring & Neap Tide Data

This week we've been taking a close look at tidal data from around the world.  As part of our studies of Spring and Neap tides, we charted tide heights in Boston and Saint Johns Bay.  By comparing the data, we can clearly see that the tidal ranges in Saint John's Bay are almost double that of those in Boston.

graphing Spring and Neap tide data

Working with all of these numbers can really make your head spin!  Luckily, we were able to take a break from our studies when Macy, the therapy dog, stopped by our classroom.  Macy visits hospitals and nursing homes to provide comfort to those how are dealing with health issues.  

a visit from Macy the therapy dog

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Water Treatment Plant Fiedltrip Permission Slips Due Tomorrow

Don't forget that permission slips for this Friday's trip to the water treatment plant are due tomorrow (Wednesday).  This is a free trip.

Progress Reports Sent Home

Progress reports will be sent home today.  Please review them with your family, sign, and return them to school tomorrow (Wednesday, November 19).  Please keep in mind that the most up-to-date grades are available anytime by logging into the Power School Parent Access Program.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Week of November 17, 2014

This time of year we often pause to think about the things we are thankful for in our life.  I am thankful that I get to come to Ellis each day and spend time researching our amazing world!

Our math lessons this week will continue to focus on algebraic number sentences.  Not only will we be talking about expressions, but also equations.  Equations are a bit different than expressions because they include the "equals" sign (=).  You will be spending your week investigating the properties of multiplication as they are related to expressions and equations.  Here are the properties you will get to know:

Properties of Multiplication (Click to enlarge)

You will have a homework to complete Monday and Tuesday night, and a quiz on Thursday.  Please complete your weekly Compass Learning assignment and Google Classroom journal by Friday.  All of these assignments will help you master these properties.

In science, we will continue our research with tides.  Be ready for an awesome lab where we will plot neap and spring tide data in Boston, MA and St. John, NB to visually compare their tidal ranges.  Your "Tides of Thanks" choice sheet is due Friday.  You will also have a test on tides Friday.  You can use your study guide to help you prepare, as well as the following presentation I shared last week:

There are a number of other things going on this week:

1.  Math tutorial will take place Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15-4:00.
2.  Friday is a dress down day.  It will cost you $1 to participate.  All the proceeds will benefit "Pennies for Patients".
3.  Friday we will be taking a field trip to the Presidents Street Water Treatment Facility to see how waste water is cleaned and returned to nature.  We will also be traveling to Ellis Square.  Once there, we will use what we know about indirect measurement to find the height of the Cay Building!  Afterwards, we will enjoy a picnic lunch in the square before returning to school.  This is a free trip, so please return your permission slip by Wednesday to participate.
4.  Friday night is the middle school Fall dance.  Please return your permission slip to join the fun!

Enjoy your weekend,
Mr. Trent

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NO Math Tutorial Thursday, November 13

Please note that there will not be math tutorial Thursday, November 13th.  Math tutorials will continue the week of November 17th on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15-4:00 pm.

Reading & Writing Expressions Practice

Do you need some more practice reading and writing expressions?  Check out this fun game by clicking on the picture.
"Who Wants to be a Billionaire?" Expressions Review Game

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Updated Promotion Requirements

The school board just passed updated promotion requirements for this school year.  Please review them below.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Week of November 10, 2014

I've had a great time in Orlando, Florida at the National Science Teachers Association Conference.  I have so many awesome things to share with you from my time spent there!

This upcoming week in math we will be taking a look at some basic algebra.  Don't be afraid...we'll start at the beginning with learning how to write algebraic expressions.  The key to understanding how to do so is identifying key words.  Here is a practice sheet that tells you all about how to do it and gives you some practice problems to complete.  The answers are found at the bottom of the page.

You will have homework to complete Monday and Wednesday night (this is a bit different from our normal routine because we do not have school Tuesday).  You will also need to complete a Compass Learning assignment and a journal activity on Google Classroom by Friday.  This practice will prepare you for a quiz on writing expressions Thursday.

In science we will continue our research on oceans.  Over the next two weeks, I will ask you to focus your work on tides.  Here are a copy of your notes, vocabulary words (quiz Friday), and your choice sheet to guide your research (due next Friday).

Please keep in mind that Tuesday is a school holiday for Veterans' Day.  Be sure to structure your worktime in such a way that you can complete all of your required assignments in a timely manner.

I'll see you Monday morning,
Mr. Trent

Good Morning, from the National Science Teachers Association Conference!

I'm learning so much with some fellow science teachers at the NSTA regional conference in Orlando, Florida!  My brain is swimming with things to share upon my return.  Here's a preview of a fun lab I'd like to conduct with you.   Can you guess what it could be about?

Please remember your grace and courtesy as you move throughout your day today.  Place anything in my box that you would like me to correct when I get back to Savannah.  Don't forget to complete your Compass Learning and journal assignment.  I've already corrected a few of your journal entries in Google Classroom.  Keep up the good work sharing resources you come across in the comments section of the prompt.

Have a nice Friday,
Mr. Trent

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Progress Reports & Fieldtip Permission Slip Sent Home Today

Progress report will be sent home today. Please review, sign, and return them tomorrow (Wednesday).  Please email or if you have any questions.  Remember, you child's most up-to-date grades are available at any time by logging into the PowerSchool Parent Access program.

Attached to the progress report is permission slip for our upcoming field tip to the Presidents' Street Water Treatment Plant and lunch in Ellis Square.  It is a free trip, so please simply complete both sides of the form and return it to me by November 19.  The trip will take place on November 21.

Ellis Square in Savannah, GA