Thursday, October 31, 2013

Deep Ocean Currents Lab

This week's lab showed us that differences in water temperature can cause deep ocean currents to form.  The red dye represents the less-dense warm water, and the blue dye is the more-dense cooler water.  The warmer water rises as the cooler water sinks.  This causes currents to form far below the surface of the ocean where wind energy cannot reach to move the water.

This lab demonstrates that deep ocean currents can be caused by differences in ocean water temperature.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Progress Reports

Progress reports were sent home today.  Please review, sign, and return it tomorrow.  If you have any questions, write them on the orange cover sheet and I will get back to you as soon as possible.  You can also email me at

Mr. Trent

Monday, October 28, 2013

From Expressions to Currents

Today was a busy day in math and science class.  We started out with an expression word sort that prepared us to begin reading and writing algebraic expressions.

Word choice is important when writing expressions.

Next, we moved on to talking about ocean currents.  Click below for a link to the amazing surface currents video we viewed in class.

"Perpetual Ocean" is an artistic masterpiece created using time-lapsed images from NASA showing surface currents in motion.  

Finally, we investigated the cause of deep-ocean currents by viewing a demonstration that proved that cold water is more dense than warm water.  As seen in the picture below, the cold blue water does not mix with the warm clear water above it.

Because it is more dense, the cold (blue) water does not mix with the warmer water above it.  Such changes in temperature (and salinity) cause deep ocean currents to form.  

I look forward to seeing what else you discover this week about expressions and ocean currents!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Week of October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween Week!  I hope this week brings you more treats than tricks!  
This week in math we will begin our work with algebra.  I know even just saying the word "algebra" can make some students shudder with fear, but we will work together to make it as painless as possible.  Our lessons begin with a discussion on how to read and write expressions.  You will have some homework Monday and Tuesday night.  On Thursday, we will have a quiz.  Your Compass Learning activity on expressions is due Friday.  Here are a few resources you can use to practice reading and writing expressions.  The first one is a textbook chapter.  If you choose to do some practice work from this resource, bring it into school and I can check it for you.  The second one is a worksheet that has the answers conveniently found at the bottom of the page.  

In science, we are continuing our studies of the ocean.  We will spend the next two weeks talking about currents and waves.  You will have a quiz on the following vocabulary words this Friday, November 1.

In class, I will present a lesson on currents and waves.  I will give you a note-taking sheet to help you organize your thoughts during the presentation.  I've also included a completed copy of the sheet below.  This is your study guide for your final test on currents and waves on Friday, November 8.

To help guide your studies on currents and waves, please complete the following choice sheet entitled "Seafood Feast".  You will need to complete on appetizer, entree, and dessert by Friday, November 8. Please hand you choices in to be corrected as you complete them.  Don't forget to use a rubric if required.

Here are a few more notes to keep in mind for the week:

1.  Even though I thoroughly enjoy Halloween, please remember that costumes are not part of our dress code.  Please come to school in uniform on Halloween.
2.  If you've been invited to math tutorial, please be in the classroom at 7:15 am Tuesday and Thursday.  Tutorial will continue to holiday break in December.
3.  This Friday is a dress down day for $1.00.  All donations will be donated to "Pennies for Patients".

Finally, I am going to take a few minutes throughout the week to share some spooky short stories from one of my favorite books:  "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark"!

Mr. Trent

Monday, October 21, 2013

Exponential Reasoning

Today we used the Montessori bead materials demonstrate exponents.  We then used a number cube to generate random bases and exponents and identified them in their exponential form, standard form, and value.

The bead material can show exponents in three dimensions! 

Randomly generated bases and exponents provided us with valuable practice of basic exponent concepts.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Triassic Triops

Congratulations to Davonte for winning the Triassic Triops as part of our Earth Science Week celebration!  If you'd like to get your own triops, start saving up your allowance money and check out

Grow your own Triassic Triops!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Week of October 21, 2013

I am really enjoying getting to meet with everyone's parents at conferences!  Talking about all the wonderful things we've done so far in our classroom makes me so excited to see what is yet to come this year!  Those of you who signed up online can review your conference day and time by visiting the Sign Up Genius page.  I look forward to meeting with the rest of the 6th grade parents this week.

During school hours, we will be having some math lessons on exponents.  Our lessons will include some work with the exponent montessori material, a fun number cube game, and plenty of other opportunities to practice this important skill.  You will have homework Monday and Tuesday night.  A quiz on exponents will take place Thursday.  Don't forget your weekly Compass Learning requirement (it's all about exponents, too)!  Here is a textbook excerpt and a few notes you can use to further your understanding of exponents.

Exponents notes (click to enlarge)

Exponents notes (click to enlarge)

In science, we will finish up our studies on ocean floor topography.  Your "Go Fish" choice sheet is due this Friday.  Please complete at least three items as you do your research.  You will also have a test this Friday about the different landforms we discussed.  Use your study guide to help you prepare.  During our lab time, we will be doing a simulation where we will map the ocean floor using data collected from sonar equipment aboard a research vessel.  When you are finished, you will have a map of what landforms lie below the waves.    

Speaking of oceans, I came across this great song parody about how amazing the world's oceans are.  It was created by the people at, who are committed to protecting the ocean ecosystem.  Do you recognize the song?

Finally, check out this awesome game from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Join players from around the world who are working together to reveal an aquatic image by answering trivia questions about the ocean.  It's a lot of fun, and you are guaranteed to learn something new!

Don't forget to keep an eye on the online class calendar.  I make sure it is updated often with assignment due dates, upcoming tests, and other important information (like this Friday's free dress down day).

Have a wonderful weekend, and i'll see you bright and early Monday morning!
Mr. Trent

Burton 4H Fieldtrip on Tybee Island

A great time was had by all on out field trip to the Burton 4-H on Tybee Island!  We saw snakes, turtles, alligators, and even dissected a shark!

Our trip to the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Picture Day - POSTPONED

School pictures have been postponed for 6th grade.  A make-up day for school pictures will be announced in the near future.

UPDATED:  6th graders will have their school pictures taken Friday, November 15.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hands-on Measurement Stations

It's impossible to understand units of measurement without hands-on practice using them.  This week, we are visiting a number of stations set up to offer practice using both metric and customary units of length, weight/mass, and capacity.

The measuring spoons, cups, and buckets are used to show capacity.

Students watched a Brainpop movie about the history of the customary and metric units of measurement.  

This matching activity helps get us in the measurement mindset before we use rulers, yardsticks, and metersticks to find length of various objects.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Week of October 14, 2013

Welcome to the first week of term 2! As of now, everyone has a 100%, A+ in every subject!  It's your challenge to keep it that way.  It is also Earth Science Week!  Be expecting special prizes and surprises throughout the week!

Earth Science Week takes place October 14 - 18!

This week is promising to be great!  In math, we will use what we've discussed concerning ratios 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 ratios, doing measurement  conversions is a snap!  You will have some homework to complete Monday and Tuesday evening.  In addition, you will need to complete a Compass Learning activity of your choice by Friday.  Our lab time this week will be devoted to using measurement tools to become more comfortable using appropriate units, understanding conversions, and relating the metric and customary units to real-life situations.   These, and other class activities, will get us ready for a measurement quiz on Thursday, October 17.  This LearnZillion site has a wonderful explanation of conversions of measurements.  Check out this great document for more practice with measurement:

In science, we will be diving under the surface of the ocean to investigate the many landforms found there!  Please study the following words for a test on Friday, October 18th.  Note:  This will be the first science grade of the term.

This picture may help you when you are studying your vocabulary words:

Click the picture to make it larger.

I will present the following PowerPoint as part of my introductory lesson on ocean topography early this week.

To help guide you in your studies, please refer to this "Go Fish" choice sheet.  You will need to complete THREE of the choices by Friday, October 25.

It's never too early to prepare, so here is a study guide you can use to get ready for your final test on ocean topography that will take place on Friday, October 25.

There are some other exciting activities going on this week, too:

1.  Our fieldtrip to the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee is this Friday.  Get ready to learn all about coastal ecology and shark anatomy!  Remember, your permission slips and payment ($13.00) are due Wednesday.

2.  This friday is also picture day!  We will get our pictures taken before we head to Tybee Island.

3.  Parent/Teacher/Student conferences will take place over the next two weeks.  I look forward to meeting with your families to speak about all the wonderful things going on at Ellis and how we can work together to help you reach your goals.

I'll see you Monday morning,
Mr. Trent

Thursday, October 10, 2013

PowerSchool Parent Access

Monday is the first day of the 2nd term, and we will be making the transition to using the PowerSchool program for recording grades.  This will allow us to print your child's first report card at the end of the 2nd term!  The program also allows you access to up-to-the-minute grade reports of your child's performance.  Is soon as we enter a grade, it is available for you to see.  You will also be able to see your child's class averages, missing assignments, and assignment-specific notes from your teachers.  It's a wonderful program that makes communication between school and home a snap.  We will discuss this program a little more at our upcoming conferences.

In the meantime, take your photo-ID to Ms. Debbie in the office to get your log-on information.  The sooner you sign up, the sooner you will have access to your child's grades.

Once you have your log-on info, go to the PowerSchool site.  You can access it from, from the link to the right of this blog entry under "Useful Sites", or by clicking below.

Do you want access to PowerSchool while you are on the go?  Check out the PowerSchool apps for smartphones!

If you have any questions about using the program, check out this video or FAQ.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Percents Practice

Our final quiz of the term in math is on Thursday!  Would you like some extra practice with percents?  First, be sure you have completed your Compass Learning activity for the week.  The movie will review with you how to calculate percent problems and give you some problems to quiz yourself.  You can also review this video, and then try these percent problems on your own.  The answers are at the bottom of this blog entry.

If you are looking for a little extra challenge, try this awesome game from The Legend of Dick and Dom from the BBC.  It's really fun, and provides quite a percentages challenge!

Check out this awesome percentages game!

Have fun discovering percentages!

Answers to percentages problems found above.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Important Progress Report Information

Progress reports are being sent home Tuesday. Please review the packets, sign, and return them by Wednesday, October 9. In addition, please note the following reminders found on the coversheet of the progress report:

1. Parent/Teacher/Student conferences will begin the week of October 14. We are offering an online sign-up option for your convenience. Please visit and click on the “Sign Up Genius” button at the top of the screen. We have attached a form to the progress report packet you can use to sign up if you are unable to access a computer. Please keep in mind that conferences are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. We kindly ask that you sign up for a conference by Friday, October 11. Once you sign up, we will send you a note verifying your day and time. We look forward to meeting with everyone to talk about the great things going on at Ellis!

2. A permission slip for a fieldtrip to the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island is attached to the packet. The trip will take place on Friday, October 18. Permission slips and payment ($13.00) are due by Wednesday, October 16.

3. Friday, October 11 will be “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul” Day! We invite you to bring a crock pot of chicken soup to share. Parents are more than welcome to come to the classrooms at 12:30 to enjoy the soup.

4. All students will need a copy of "Hatchet" by Gary Paulson by Monday, October 14.  A copy of the book can be ordered from Amazon for less than $5 (shipping included).

Please obtain a copy of "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen by Monday, October 14.  

5.  This Friday is the last day of term one!  All work must be handed in by that day for credit on first term averages.

If you have any questions concerning your child’s progress, please make note of them on this coversheet. We will respond to them as soon as possible. You can also contact us at or

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Week of October 7, 2013

Welcome to the LAST week of term 1!  The year is almost 1/4 of the way over already!  Time flies when you are having fun, right?!

This week in math class we will be looking at percents.  We will spend a lot of time working on finding percents of numbers.  You will have some homework Monday and Tuesday night, followed by a quiz on Thursday.  Check out the following resource for more information about percents and some extra practice.  These pages are self checking: the answers to the questions are located at the bottom of each page.


Check out this wonderful how-to video all about percents.

This week in science we will be finishing up our work with plate tectonics.  I've really enjoyed looking at your work over the past week.  Overall, there is an obvious increase in the amount of quality work due to the student-created rubrics you are using to guide your work.  Careful planning pays off!  Keep it up!  Your "Clean Your Plate" choice sheet is due Friday.  Friday you will also have a test based on the study guide I gave you last week.  Please work hard to prepare for this test because it will be the last grade for the term...and you last chance to bring your grade up as high as possible.  In lab this week, we will be creating a scale model of the Earth's interior and identify the characteristics of each of its layers. The activity is a great mix of science and math!

Please take note of the following items:
1.  ALL WORK is due this Friday.  I cannot accept any work after the last day of the term, so please work hard to make up any missing assignments.  Any work not handed in by Friday will become a zero.

2.  Progress reports will be sent home Tuesday.  Please review them with your family, sign, and return them to your homeroom teacher on Wednesday.

3.  Parent/Teacher/Student conferences begin next week.  Please sign up for your conference online HERE. A paper sign-up sheet will also be sent home for you to request a conference time, if you choose not to use the online sign-up option.  Conferences are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  You will receive a written confirmation from me about your conference date and time when it has been scheduled.  Remember, all families are required to attend four conferences a year.  Both Ms. Carol and myself will be part of this first conference.

4.  Please return your permission slip and payment for the upcoming fieldtrip to the Burton 4-H Center on Friday, October 18th.  All forms and money ($13.00) are due by Wednesday, October 16th.  

Have a wonderful weekend,
Mr. Trent

First Term Parent/Teacher/Student Conference Sign-up

Next week marks the last week of term 1!  That means it's time to plan parent/teacher/student conferences.  Ms. Carol and myself would like to meet with you to talk about your child's progress so far this year.  We are offering an online sign-up option for conferences.  To do so, click on the "Sign-up Genius" button below.  I will also send home a paper copy of the schedule, if you choose not to use the online form.  Please keep in mind that conferences are scheduled on a first-come, first serve basis.  I will send home a note confirming your day/time when it is scheduled.  Please make a conference date/time request by Friday, October 11.  If you have any questions, please contact me at

Click here to sign up for 1st term parent/teacher/student conferences. Please choose a conference date and time by October 11, 2013.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Plate Boundaries Good Enough to Eat

This week we used some food to make models of the different plate boundaries we've studied.  Models can be used to demonstrate natural phenomena that is too large in scale to recreate in the lab.

Two graham crackers can be used to represent plates creating a mid-ocean ridge at a divergent boundary.

We used a graham cracker to represent oceanic crust and a rice crispy treat to represent continental crust.  When pushed together at a convergent boundary, the oceanic subducted and created a trench.