Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family a festive holiday break and a great start to your new year!  Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 5.

Our classroom book exchange was a big success!  Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Snowflake Symmetry

Our classroom has become a winter wonderland of snowflakes showing bilateral and rotational symmetry.  We will be studying snow a bit  more as part of our upcoming lessons after holiday break on weather!


All 2nd Term Work Due Tomorrow!

All second term work is due tomorrow (Thursday, December 17).

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Our Oceanogra-tree

Our classroom has an oceanogra-tree!  It is decorated with starfish and paper chains containing facts we found during our research on oceans.  Come in and see it for yourself.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Missing Term 2 Work

I've stapled lists of missing assignments into your planners today.  Please complete this work by Thursday.  If you did not get a list stapled in your planner, congrats you have handed in all of your term 2 work!  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Week of December 14, 2015

It's the last week of 2015 at Charles Ellis! Let's make the most of our little time together this calendar year by having a good week.

We will finish up our work with inequalities by evaluating one-step inequalities.  You already know this skill, because it is similar to what you did when you solved one-step equations.  You will have homework Monday and Tuesday evening to complete, as well as a quiz (the last of the term) Thursday.  Don't forget to complete you weekly Compass Learning requirement  (2 choices) by Friday.

Monday I will give you your term 2 "I Can" booklet.  This booklet will give you more practice with the topics we've discussed in math and science during this past term. Use it not only to review your work, but to also identify areas of strength and need to guide your future work in our classroom.  Please complete the booklet this week during workitme.  After you finish it, hand it in for me to give you "permission to check".  Once you get permission, use the key to check your work.  Hand it back in once you've checked it, so you can earn a participation grade for the assignment.

All 2nd term work is due to me Thursday.  Be sure to log into PowerSchool to see if you owe me any missing items.   Any work not handed in by the end of the term will receive a grade of "zero".

I'm really looking forward to this Friday because we will get a chance to reveal our secret pals as part of our holiday book exchange!  I have a few other fun holiday activities to share with you, as well.

There are a few more items to keep in mind this week:
1.  I will NOT be holding tutorial this week.
2.  Friday is a dress-down day.  It will cost $1 to participate.  All proceeds will go towards the 8th grade "bridging" ceremony that will be held at the end of the year.
3.  Friday is the last day of school before holiday break.  Classes will resume Tuesday, January 5, 2016.

Have a good weekend,
Mr. Trent

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Trip Around the Water Cycle

Today we used our water cycle dice to trace a path through the water cycle.  Feel free to take the dice off the science shelf and create another path on your own.  You may also try this game from the Project WET website that has you doing the same thing.  Check it out below:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday Book Exchange

Each 6th grader is invited to share a special gift by participating in this year’s holiday book exchange! On Wednesday, December 9th we will be partnered with a secret pal in our homeroom class. Each student will then give a new (or like new book) to their pal during a gift exchange on Friday, December 18.  Your permission slip to participate in this fun activity will be attached to this week's progress report.  Please return the slip to school by Wednesday, so you can be included in the secret pal name drawing.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Week of December 7, 2015

The time between our holiday breaks is my favorite time of the school year!  There’s a lot of fun things going on here at Ellis this week. I look forward to enjoying them with you!

In math we will be working with inequalities.  The work you’ve done with solving equations will come in handy when mastering this skill.  This is the last new topic we will cover this term in math, so make the most of your work time to practice solving inequality problems.  You can use the following resources to help you do so:

You will have math homework Monday and Tuesday evening, as well as a quiz on Thursday.  Be sure to complete your weekly Compass Learning requirement and your Google Classroom Journal by Friday.

In science we will finish our research about Earth’s water.  Complete your “Drop in the Bucket” choice sheet by Friday.  You will have your last science test of the quarter on Friday, as well.  You can use your “Study Guide” and “Vocabulary List” to help you prepare.  

In addition to all this work, there are a number of other items to keep in mind this week.

  1. Progress reports will be sent home Monday.  Please review, sign, and return them as soon as possible.
  2. We will be doing a Holiday Book Exchange in our homerooms!  Details can be found stapled to your progress report.  Please indicate if you would like to participate, or not.  We will be pulling names for the exchange Wednesday.  The exchange will take place Friday, December 18.
  3. The Festival of Lights takes place at Ellis Thursday, December 10.  Please come and enjoy this party highlighting winter celebrations around the world.  The 6th grade will be creating a display about Hanukkah.  
  4. The book fair is this week in the Media Center.  Be sure to visit the awesome book store Ms. Laura has set up for you!
  5. The end of the term is quickly approaching.  All 2nd term work must be handed in by Thursday, December 17.

GMAS Scores Distributed Today

GMAS reports have been sent home today.  The reports contain important information about performance on last year’s GMAS test.  Check out the “GMAS Info.” button above for more information about the test.  Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions about the report.  You do NOT need to sign and return the report.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

You're Invited: MESS Holiday Party!

We hope to see you this Friday at the annual Montessori Education Society of Savannah Holiday Party!  It will be from 6:30-9:00 at 802 Victory Drive.  It is free and open to anyone who supports Montessori Education in Savannah!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Earth's Water Distribution

During your work time, use your time wisely to better understand the distribution of water found on planet Earth.   There is so much information online, in our textbook, and on our Montessori shelves to dive into!  Check out this interactive that breaks it all down for you:

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Weeks of November 23 & 30, 2015

I'm on my way to Costa Rica for the holiday!  You will be left in the care of Mr. Robert while I am away, and I am expecting an exemplary behavior report when I return.

You have a short week coming up!  On Monday and Tuesday, please complete your "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Float" to raise awareness of World Toilet Day.  Remember to use the following rubric to earn the maximum amount of points possible.  You can keep your finished float on top of your cubby.  Your write-up can remain in your travel folder with your rubric for me to review when I return.  I look forward to seeing how creative you can be with this assignment!

students create model Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats 
to raise awareness of World Toilet Day

After Thanksgiving break we will be continuing our work with solving equations in math.  Since we've already talked about adding and subtracting, we will move on to multiplying and dividing.  You will have homework due Wednesday and Thursday.  You will NOT have a quiz in math this week.  Please complete two Compass Learning choices by Friday.  Feel free to check out this resource for some extra practice with the skill:

Our science studies will involve water found on our Earth.  We will not only focus on oceans, but also other salty and fresh bodies of water.  You will have a vocabulary quiz on the following words Friday, December 1.

We will have a few lesson throughout the week all about Earth's water.  The concepts I will cover are include on this study guide:

Earth's Water Notes 

Over the next two weeks, please use the following choice sheet to guide your research.  Three choices from the sheet are due Friday, December 11.  You will also have a test on Earth's Water on the 11th.

A Drop in the Bucket by Trent Kissinger

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving break!  I am very thankful to work at Charles Ellis and get to spend my day with such a fun group of students and colleagues.

I'll see you in December,
Mr. Trent

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Trip to the Water Treatment Plant

We had an awesome time exploring the water treatment plant!  Thanks to all the workers who took time out of their busy days to show us around.  

Parent Education - The Erdkinder Program

Ms. Tanya will host two sessions for parents and families in 6, 7, and 8th grade to hear a presentation on Erdkinder and ask questions.  The two sessions are:  Wednesday, December 2 - 5:30 to 7:00 and Thursday, December 3 - 7:30 to 8:30.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Troubling Tides

Our resident scientist, Ms. Jessica, visited us today to start an activity called "Troubling Tides:  Will Sea Turtles Survive the Rising Seas?"  Students made observations of a model seacoast that contains "turtle nests".  The next time Ms. Jessica visits, she will show the effect a rising tide has on these nests.  You can check our her work published in Science Scope magazine by clicking HERE.

Ms. Jessica shares her lesson, "Troubling Tides:  Will Sea Turtles Survive the Rising Seas?"

Our New Smart Board!

We just got an exciting new piece of technology delivered to our room:  a smart board!  It turns our projector into an interactive screen!  We can use this smart board to give lessons, practice skills, or simply watch a video clip.

Our New Smart Board

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Virtual Algebra Tiles

Today we used algebra tiles to model solving addition and subtraction equations.  Feel free to practice this skill using these online algebra tiles.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Week of November 16, 2015

The cold temperatures won't last long as we head into this week; our research on algebra and tides will be heating up, too!

Last week in math we practiced writing and reading expressions.  This week we will be solving equations.  We will be focusing on solving addition and subtraction equations.  Once we get a handle this skill, we will move onto multiplication and division next week.  Because of our field trip Wednesday, we will NOT have a quiz this week in math.  You will have homework Monday and Tuesday evening, though.  In addition, remember to complete your weekly Compass Learning requirement by Friday.  You will NOT have a math journal to complete this week.  Here is a sheet you can use for extra help with solving equations:

In science, we will continue our research about tides.  Complete three choices from "Tides of Thanks" by THURSDAY.  You will also be having a quiz on tides Thursday.  Use your study guide to help you prepare.

Please keep in mind the following additional information about this upcoming week:

1.  I will be having tutorial this Monday and Wednesday for those of you who normally attend this extra math practice.

2.  We will be having a field trip to the water treatment plant this Thursday.  Please hand in your permission slip by Wednesday.  This is a free trip.

3.  Friday is a dress down day for $1.00.  All proceeds will benefit diabetes research.

4.  We will be starting a special project Friday.  Everyone will need to bring in a shoebox for this activity.  Please bring one in by Friday.  You'll LOVE what we are going to create with them!

See you tomorrow morning,
Mr. Trent

Friday, November 13, 2015

Georgia Needs a Home!

Georgia the chinchilla needs a home for Thanksgiving!  Please bring in a signed note if you'd like to keep her.  I will provide all the food and materials you need to take care of her.  Her cage is large, so you will need a van or truck to pick her up.  Pickup will be Friday, November 20 and please return her Tuesday, December 1.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day takes place on November 19th!  This yearly event raises awareness of the need for sanitary toilet facilities around the world.  Did you know that 2.4 billion people around the world do NOT have access to a basic toilet?

To do our part, we will be taking a field trip to the Savannah Water Treatment Plant to see how water purification is done in our city.   Following our trip, we will explore various ways countries around the world deal with sewage and waste and try to figure out ways we can help developing countries improve their sanitation practices.

World Toilet Day - November 19, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Week of November 9, 2015

Welcome to the week of November 9th!  I hope you are enjoying your weekend and are ready for another action-packed week at Ellis!

In math this week we will be taking a look at reading and writing algebraic expressions.  Please keep in mind that we are simply reading and writing expressions this week, not solving them.  Understanding expressions can be tricky because they include so many key words that you must interpret correctly.  We will have plenty of time to practice this skill in class over the next few days.  You will have homework Monday and Tuesday night to complete, as well as your two Compass Learning choices that will be due Friday.  We will NOT have a math quiz since it is a 4 day week.  Check out the following page that has a great overview of the skill.  The answers are included so you can check your work.

I came across the following helpful sheet while searching the internet.  You may want to use it as a resource when translating words and phrases into expressions.

Our science studies will continue to be all about Earth's oceans.  Over the next two weeks we will study tides.  I will give you a lesson Monday all about what causes tides and the different types of tides you may come across while studying the ocean.  Here is a copy of what I will share during the lesson.

There are a number of vocabulary words that you will need to master before you fully understand the concept of tides.  Please study the following word list.  You will be tested on them Friday.

To guide your research over the next two weeks, please use the following "Tides of Thanks" choice sheet.  Three choices from the sheet are due by THURSDAY, November 19th.  This is also the day you will have a final test on tides.  Please note that this is a departure from our usual schedule of "science tests on Friday" procedure.  Structure your time so that you will be able to complete your required assignments by the due date.  I've update the online classroom calendar to include this information.

In addition to your studies, keep the following in mind:

1.  You do not have school Wednesday because we will be celebrating Veterans' Day.
2.  My homeroom students are invited to order books from the Scholastic Books Catalog.  Please make you selections by Friday, November 13.  You may order online or send in cash (exact change, please) with your order form.  Your orders provide our classroom with FREE books for everyone to enjoy!
3.  Because I have Montessori certification classes each day after school, math tutorial will be cancelled for the week.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Mr. Trent

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November Scholastic Book Orders

My homeroom students are invited to order books from the Scholastic Book catalog that was shared today.  Feel free to send in cash (exact change, please) and the order form. If you wish to pay via debit/credit card, you can order online from our classroom page HERE.    If you are asked to enter the classroom code while ordering, it is HBZB3.  Each purchase earns our classroom books to add to our resource shelves that everyone can enjoy!  Please make all orders by Friday, November 13.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Square Roots using the Montessori Peg Board

The Montessori Peg Board can be used for a number of lessons.  Today, we used it to model finding square roots of numbers.  The students built "squares" of numbers to discover what it's square root would be.  Reading the value of the beads along the bottom of the square will give you the answer.

solving square roots using the Montessori peg board

Our work with surface currents included research on the world's gyres.  We modeled the formation of gyres using beads and water in a shallow dish.  By blowing across the water, we were able to create gyres that moved in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions.  By blowing across the center of the dish (where the equator would be located) we were even able to make two opposite-spinning gyres at the same time!

demonstrating that prevailing winds create surface currents

Monday, November 2, 2015

Set Sail for Exponent Practice

Ahoy!  Are you looking for a pirate-tastic way to practice evaluating exponents?  Check out this game...

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Plate Boundaries that are Good Enough to Eat!

Some students used graham crackers, marshmallows, and icing to model convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries.  Sometimes playing with your food can be a good thing!

graham cracker plate boundaries 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Plate Boundaries Challenge

Take the plate boundaries challenge by clicking on the picture below.  Follow the directions on the left side of the screen to identify the location of major earthquakes and volcanoes around the world.  Can you find them all?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dunk Tank Ratios

Do you want a fun way to practice ratios and proportions?  Check out the following Dunk Tank game!  Just click "Dunk Tank" below and press "Launch".

"Dunk Tank" Ratios and Proportions Game

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Continental Drift Montessori Material

The theory of continental drift is clearly shown using this Montessori material.  It consists of a series of maps and continent puzzle pieces that show the progression of land movement over millions of years.  After completing the maps, some students chose to trace the continent pieces to create maps of their own.

The Continental Drift Montessori Material 

The Week of September 28, 2015

It's time to turn the calendar page again...I can't believe this week we will find ourselves in the month of October.  As we are transitioning into the autumn months here in the northern hemisphere, our friends in the southern hemisphere are just emerging from a long winter and looking forward to the warmth of spring!  The miracle of the seasons is associated with the 23.4 degree tilt of our planet on its axis.  Without that slight tilt we would not be able to enjoy the refreshing temperatures associated with fall and winter.

This week in math we will continue our studies of ratios.  Your lessons will include practice finding equivalent ratios (proportions) and unit rates.  As you investigate this topic, you may wish to use the following resource for some extra practice.  I will gladly check over your work if you choose to do some of the problems from this document as a followup to your lessons.

You will have homework Monday and Tuesday evening to complete, as well as your weekly journal in Google classroom.  By completing these assignments, you will better prepare yourself for a quiz on equivalent ratios and unit rates this Thursday.

You will have this week to further your work associated with plate tectonics.  Make sure you have completed at least three choices from your "Clean Your Plate" choice sheet by Friday.  This Friday you will also have a test on plate tectonics.  You can use your study guide to help you prepare.

Monday you will get some very important information to share with your family:  the final progress report of the term!  The progress report packet will include your current grades, a parent/teacher/student conference sign-up form, and a compact that must be signed and returned to school Tuesday.  Parent/teacher/student conferences will take place in October.  I look forward to speaking with your families about the awesome things going on here at Charles Ellis!  If you notice that you have missing work, please hand it in by the last day of the term (Friday, October 9th).

Enjoy your weekend!
Mr. Trent

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ratio Rumble!

Take a preview of what we are doing next week in math by playing Ratio Rumble!  Who knew ratios could be so much fun?!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dynamic Earth Interactive has a great interactive website all about plate tectonics.  This site will surely help you as you research about our dynamic earth over the next two weeks.  Check it out by clicking on the picture below.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Week of September 21, 2015

Can you feel the change of seasons in the air?  Well, maybe not too much here in Savannah, but this Wednesday is the first day of Fall!  Let's celebrate another change in seasons together!

This week we will be working with ratios in math class.  You will quickly see that ratios look a lot like fractions...and they act a lot like them, too!  We can use your knowledge of fractions to help us understand equivalent ratios.  We will also get some practice graphing the ratios we create on coordinate planes.  This all may sound a bit intense, but I think you'll find that your previous lessons have set you up for success with this skill.  The following video from will show you how it's done.

You will have math homework to complete Monday and Tuesday evening.  You will also have a math quiz Thursday.  Your homework and classwork will help you prepare for this quiz.  I also have a journal for you to complete on Google Classroom.  Please respond to the journal before you leave Friday.

In science, we will dig into the study of plate tectonics!  Use this study guide to help your prepare for you vocabulary quiz (this Friday) and your test (next Friday).

Use the "Clean Your Plate" choice sheet to help guide you in your research of plate tectonics.  It is due Friday, October 2.

I've updated your classroom calendar to reflect this upcoming week's work.  Please use it and your planner to keep track of all your responsibilities.

Have a marvelous weekend,
Mr. Trent