Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Week of November 2, 2015

"So dull and dark are the November days.

The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world."
-   John Clare, November

This first week of November is shaping up to be a great one!  In math, we will be exploring exponents.  You may remember touching on this skill when we did prime factorization at the beginning of the year.  You will have some homework Monday and Tuesday evening to complete.  Also, be sure to choose two Compass Learning assignments to complete by Friday.  All of this work will help you prepare of a quiz on exponents Thursday.  While you prepare, you may wish to use this text as a resource:


Our science lessons will continue to be about waves and currents.  I have a fun lab to share with you this week about surface currents.  I hope participating in this lab will help you understand how such currents are formed and the paths they follow around our beautiful blue planet.  As you conduct your research, be sure to complete the Seafood Feast sheet by Friday.  You can use your study guide to help you prepare for this week's science test (also on Friday).  Finally, this week's journal is about currents, as well.  Please complete it on Google Classroom sometime before Friday.

Please be safe if you plan on celebrating the spookiest day of the year this weekend!

Mr. Trent

Ocean Currents

Deep Ocean Currents Model

As part of our research into ocean currents, students observed a demonstration that showed how deep ocean currents form.  The hot and cold water (identified with red and blue food coloring) caused circulation in our model ocean.  We then used the NOAA website to see the path ocean currents take on our planet.  Feel free to explore the site on your own (the site navigation is on the left of the linked page).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The World's Tallest Buildings

We will be practicing our newly acquired skill of using proportions to calculate the height of the Cay Building when we take a trip to Ellis Square next month.  All this talk about high structures got me interested in sizes of buildings around the world.  I came across the following site that lists amazing facts about the world's tallest buildings.  Could you imagine the length of of some of the shadows they cast!?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Progress Reports

Progress will be sent home tomorrow (Tuesday).  Please review, sign, and return them to school Wednesday.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Week of October 26, 2015

I've been staying at school late this past week learning a lot about the Montessori Philosophy by attending classes conducted by Seacoast Montessori.  I'm learning so much about how to create an environment for you where you are free to explore your own interests, pursue personal learning activities, and choose how you share your knowledge with others.  I want to thank the Montessori Education Society of Savannah for making this possible through funding for this training!

In math this week we will be using a method that is quite familiar to you to measure objects that are much larger than ourselves.  We will use proportions to find the height of trees, buildings, and other tall objects!  This is called indirect measurement, and you will come to find out that shadows can help us when calculating the height of unknown objects.  We will have plenty of opportunities to practice this skill throughout the week.  Your classwork, homework (Due Tuesday and Wednesday), and work time choices will help you prepare for a quiz Thursday.  Here is a resource you can use to practice indirect measurement.  Place it in my box for me to check if you choose to do this extra practice. 

Our science studies will continue to focus on the ocean.  Over the next two weeks we will research currents (both surface and deep) and waves.  Use the following vocabulary list and study guide to help you prepare for your upcoming quizzes (Vocabulary quiz on Oct. 30, waves and currents test on Nov. 6).

During your work time you will be free to explore all you can about currents and waves.  Use the following choice sheet to guide your work time choices.  Three choices from the sheet are due Friday, November 6).

I've noticed quite a few people designing games (both on and offline) to help learn concepts studied in class.  A colleague suggested I tell you about  This site allows you to create arcade-like games that are customized to the terms and ideas you are studying.  Check it out HERE.

Ms. Susan and I will complete the remaining Parent/teacher/student conferences continue this week.  Please let me know if you need a reminder about the time your conference has been scheduled.

After-school math tutorials will continue this week.  Tutorial is held Mondays and Wednesdays each week from 3:15-4:00.

It's time for your first progress report of the second term!  They will be sent home to you and your family Monday.  Please review, sign, and return them to your homeroom teacher Tuesday, October 27.

Finally, this Friday is a dress UP day!  Feel free to dress up as your favorite sports superstar!  If you wish to participate, please bring in $1.00 to be donated to the Ellis athletics program.

Have an enjoyable weekend,
Mr. Trent

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Percents Practice

Are you looking for some more practice with percents?  Check out the following resources:

1.  The review cards on the math shelf have been updated to include percent practice.   Complete a card, write the card number at the top of your paper, and hand it in.  I will check it and return it to you.

2.  Our math textbook has some practice problems on page 392.  Remember, all odd questions (1, 3, 5, 7, etc) have answers found in the back of the book. Use this as an answer key to check your understanding of each problem.

3.  Consider choosing a Compass Learning activity that focuses on percents.  This would be a great way to not only prepare for your quiz, but also complete you Compass Learning requirement for the week.

4.  Check out the following interactive lesson on percents.

Monday, October 19, 2015

No Math Tutorial This Week

I will no be holding math tutorial this week, because I will be attending Montessori Certification classes each day after school.  Tutorial will take place the week of October 26.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Week of October 19, 2015

I spent this past few days attending workshops at GEEKEND here in Savannah!  Geekend is a yearly conference focused on all things technology.  It is a chance for people to meet and collaborate on technology-based projects.  I met many people who were interested in using technology to help students learn.  I'm excited to share with you some of what I learned!

Your math studies this week will involve working with percents.  Having knowledge of percents is important because they are seen many places in your everyday life.  You will come across them at the sale racks of clothing at the mall, on food nutrition labels, and even on your report card.  By the end of our time working with percents, you should be able to answer the following questions:

- What is 20% written as a fraction?
- What is 15% of 30?
- 45 is 10% of what number?
- 10 is what % of 30?

Understanding percents will be easier if you keep in mind what you learned about proportions.  We will use the "part(is):whole(of)" proportion to unlock the secrets of percents.  Here is a resource you can use as a reference as you practice this skill:

You will have homework Monday and Tuesday evening and a quiz Thursday.  Your weekly journal will also give you an opportunity to think about percents.  Use your class time wisely so you can get enough practice with this still to do well on the quiz.

The second term also marks the beginning of weekly Compass Learning required assignments.  Compass Learning is a computer-based math skills practice program.  The lessons made available to you are based upon your MAP assessment results, so they are unique to your specify needs.  Please complete two Compass Learning activities of your choice each week.  These choices can be done in class during work time or at home at your convenience.  I will give you your log-in information Monday so you can get started.

Ocean Topography Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

You also can use this week's work time to continue your research about undersea topography.  Your vocabulary list and study guide is a great resource to use when working on your "Go Fish" choice sheet.  This Friday the choice sheet is due, and you will have a test on the landforms we've been studying.  You can use this test as another opportunity to "show what you know".

Finally, please consider attending the upcoming Montessori Parent Education Series information session: "The Montessori Three-Year Cycle".

Have a wonderful weekend,
Mr. Trent

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dive for Pearls While You Practice Number Line Skills! has a fun game where you dive for pearls while practicing your number line reading skills!  See how many pearls you can collect while correcting plotting each number on the number lines.

Using SONAR to SEE the SEA Floor

Check out the following video from National Geographic that shows some scientists at work mapping the ocean floor using SONAR.

Preparing Our Hydroponic Garden

Some 6th graders have been working with the students in Ms. Kiersten's class to build a hydroponic garden in which to grow vegetables and flowers.  With careful tending, our plants should be thriving in just a few weeks!

helping the students we mentor with their hydroponic garden

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Interview with our Resident Scientist, Ms. Jessica!

Many of you have had a chance to spend some research time with our resident scientist, Ms. Jessica.  Here is some more information about our favorite marine scientist!  

Miss Jessica, I have seen you at Charles Ellis, and I am wondering what you do here.
Hello! My name is Miss Jessica. I am extremely excited to return to Charles Ellis Montessori Academy to work with Mr. Trent as the 6th grade resident scientist. My position at the school is supported by the National Science Foundation GK12 Ocean Literacy program. By working in the classroom I am better able to communicate my experiences and expertise as a marine scientist.
What kind of work can you do if you’re passionate about science and conservation?
Before graduate school I worked in outdoor and environmental education in New Hampshire, Michigan, California, and New Zealand. As a biologist I have assisted with research on poison dart frogs, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and manatees in Central America and Mexico. I also spent a few years working to mitigate the impact of dredging on manatees, whales and sea turtles along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and in Puerto Rico as a marine endangered species observer.
How did you get to Savannah? 
 In 2009, I came to Georgia to work in rescue and rehabilitation at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. I later was able to work on Ossabaw Island collecting data on sea turtles for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. I moved to Savannah in 2013, and became a candidate for a Master of Marine Science at Savannah State University.  I am currently conducting research on the population dynamics of common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus of the Savannah River Estuary. 
What is your favorite animal?
If you spend a little time with me you will find that I have a lot of favorites. I love baby sea turtles and tortoises, like gopher tortoises (the GA state reptile).
Do you have any advice for students wanting to become a scientist?

Boys and girls, follow your passion! As a scientist you can work around the world, find cures for the “incurable” diseases, bring sustainable practices to your community, or discover new species at the ocean depth. Scientists, mathematicians, and engineers are great problem solvers, and the world needs you. It can be a lot of hard work, but you are learning the tools at Charles Ellis Montessori to become successful in any field. Don’t shy away from challenges. Embrace them, and you will see your dreams come true. 
Ms. Jessica in Action!

Happy Earth Science Week!

Happy Earth Science Week!  Over the next few days we will be joining students and teachers all over the world in celebrating our beautiful planet!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Week of October 12, 2015

We've worked hard to put closure on term one by finishing our required assignments, collecting your first term PIN folders, and scheduling our parent/teacher/student conferences.  Your final grades are averaged and can be found on PowerSchool.  A report card will be printed and sent home October 16.  Now that we've tied the first term up in a neat little bow, let's move onto term 2!

Your first math lesson of the second term will involve plotting numbers on number lines.  This is an exciting time, because it may prove to be the first time you've encountered negative numbers in school!  We will be focusing primarily on two concepts associated with negative numbers:  absolute value and opposite numbers.  Here is a brief overview (click to enlarge) and video:

Opposite Numbers (Click to Enlarge)

Absolute Value (Click to Enlarge)

Absolute Value Video

You will have homework to complete Tuesday and Wednesday evening, and a quiz Thursday.  Since we are off Monday, it is important that you are spending sufficient time in your math studies preparing for the quiz.  Since it is a short week, you will NOT have a math journal to complete.

You will notice that our science shelf looks a lot different than it did before you left for the weekend! It is now showcasing materials associated with our new domain of study: oceanography!  We will start our studies of Earth's oceans by diving below the surface and exploring undersea topography.  After our initial lesson, please complete the following choice sheet to guide your research.  It is due next Friday.

You will have a vocabulary quiz this Friday on the following undersea topography words:

We will spend a lot of time over the next two weeks talking about the landforms found under the ocean's surface.  Here is a quick overview of the landforms we will study.  You can use this guide to help you prepare for your undersea topography test that will take place next Friday.

This week is the first week of parent/teacher/student conferences.  I am looking forward to meeting with everyone and discussing all that we have been doing this first term at Ellis.  If you forget when your conference has been scheduled for (or if you need to reschedule), please contact me as soon as possible.

Tutorial will continue this week on Wednesday.  We will NOT have tutorial the week of October 19th because I will be in Montessori Certification classes after school each day.  I can't wait to share with you all I learn as I work towards my certification!

Enjoy your long weekend!

Mr. Trent

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

End of Term Reminder

Don't forget that Friday is the last day of term 1.  All first term work must be handed in before you leave for the weekend.  If you have finished all of your required assignments, you may wish to extend your knowledge of topics we've studied this year.  Use your "I Can" booklets to give you ideas on what to focus on (start with those items you scored yourself a check-minus).  Please let me know if you need assistance finding extra-practice materials.

Monday, October 5, 2015


Be sure to stop and take a look at the responsibili-TREES that some students made as part of our grace and courtesy focus on responsibility.  The trees show things that we are responsible for daily.  Can you find something that you are also responsible for on these trees?


Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Week of October 5, 2015

You've made it to the last week of the first term!  Who would have thought that 8 short weeks ago you were starting your first day of 6th grade!?  You have come a long way since then, and I'm excited to see how you grow over the remainder of the year.

This week is promising to be great!  In math, we will use what we've discussed concerning proportions to help us convert between different units of measurement.  We will talk about both the customary and metric units of weight, capacity, and length.  I think you'll find that, by using proportions, doing measurement  conversions is a snap!  You will have some homework to complete Monday and Tuesday evening.  Our geometry shelf will be transformed into a series of mini-labs you can complete using measurement tools to become more comfortable using appropriate units, understanding conversions, and relating the metric and customary units to real-life situations.   Feel free to explore these labs during your work period this week.  These, and other class activities, will get us ready for a measurement quiz on Thursday, October 8.  This LearnZillion site has a wonderful explanation of conversions of measurements.  Check out this great document for more practice with measurement (page 6 focuses specifically on using proportions to convert measuremnts):

In addition to our studies on measurement, we will take time this final week of the term to review all of the topics we've covered so far in both math and science.  In your planner you will find a series of "I Can" statements that we have written daily to focus our learning goals.  The following booklet includes each of these statements and opportunities for you to "show what you know".  Throughout this week, please use this booklet to assess your understanding of these topics.  After you complete each statement, give yourself a check minus, check, or check plus to identify your mastery of that particular skill.  You can use this self-check as a way of identifying skills you have both mastered and others that are still providing you with some frustrations.  I will be providing small-group review lessons on these topics throughout the week during your work time.  Feel free to join any lessons you feel would be beneficial to you.  This completed booklet is due Friday, October 9.   Since Friday is the last day of the term, this particular assignment cannot be handed in late.  The completed booklet will be counted as a "participation" test grade in both math and science.  That means if you complete it, you get a 100% on it!  This is a perfect way to end the term with two strong grades!  Here is a copy of the booklet:

There are a few items to keep in mind this last week of the term:

1.  I do not take off points for late assignments, but any missing work must be handed in by the last day of the term (Friday) to earn credit.  Any missing work not handed in at that time will earn a score of zero.  I will staple a list of missing work to your planner Monday morning.  If I don't give you a list, you have completed all required assignments.

2.  If you have not already done so, please return your parent/teacher/student conference request form.

3.  You will NOT have a Google Classroom journal assignment this week.  Please also notice (because of our focus on reviewing term 1 topics) you will NOT have a science quiz this week.

Have a nice weekend,
Mr. Trent