6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Families,

It was so great to share the Rite of Passage night with you and your children. Perhaps the night spoke for itself in terms of what we have been up to this week. We culminated the week with Rainbow Day/Field Day, in which we got to experience both cooperation and competition and to have a ton of fun!

"Yo Play: It's in Our Nature" is an event at Smith Playground next week. Your child will share ideas about the importance of various types of play. We hope you can join us at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6, at Smith.

Questions to ask your 6th grade student:

  • What team were you on for color day?
  • What is the name of your nature play site?
  • What will you miss most about your family group this year?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Thanks so much for partnering with us this year!

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Sixth Grade Parents,

What an end to the year for the sixth grade! TED Talks this week have allowed students to directly answer our trimester’s essential question, How do we define ourselves? These TED Talk–style presentations include research, data, and images. As an audience, we have witnessed our peers examine themselves and bravely take ownership of their growth as learners and people. 

We also continued to prepare for our presentation on nature play moments (details below). 

Announcements: 

Rite of Passage Evening
The year culminates in a celebratory evening of music, dancing, and reflections about lessons learned throughout the year. The 6th Grade Rite of Passage evening will be on Thursday, June 1, at 5:30 p.m. All parents, siblings, and elders are invited to this special occasion. This event is held in the Garage. This is also a potluck event, and we ask each family to bring food or drink to share. A more detailed invitation will be sent home next week. 

Play Symposium
Smith Memorial Playground and the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) are considering starting an Urban Nature Preschool at Smith. The Philadelphia School's 6th grade students are studying play this spring. They will share their ideas with parents and administrators on Tuesday, June 6, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at Smith Playground.  

Have a great holiday weekend!

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Families,

We have returned from one of the largest 6th grade rites of passage, the backpacking trip! Early in the week, students prepared to backpack and camp in the woods. Sixth graders learned various skills like how to pack a bag, go to the bathroom outdoors, and "leave no trace." On Thursday, the 42 sixth graders headed off to the Delaware Water Gap and hiked the most popular part of the Appalachian Trail. After a 3.5 mile hike, the group set up camp in a large clearing. Groups worked together to set up their tarps so they would stay dry and protected throughout the night. Later we hiked to Sunfish Pond where students had silent time to reflect while looking at the beautiful views.

After a "restful" night, students packed up and headed back to ground camp. We are excited that we had another wonderful trip with amazing weather! The students and teachers are exhausted and are all looking forward to a restful weekend! (Please make sure to have your child perform thorough tick checks tonight and over the weekend!) 

Questions to ask your 6th grader:

  • What was the most unusual animal you saw on the trip?
  • Who was in your tent group?
  • What was one part about the trip that pushed you outside of your comfort zone?
  • Have you performed a tick check?

Important Reminders:

Rite of Passage Evening
The year culminates in a celebratory evening of music, dancing, and reflections about lessons learned throughout the year. The 6th grade Rite of Passage evening will be on Thursday, June 1, at 5:30 p.m. All parents, siblings, and elders are invited to this special occasion. This event is held in the Garage. This is also a putlock event, and we ask each family to bring food or drink to share. A more detailed invitation will be sent home next week. 

Play Symposium
Smith Memorial Playground and the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) have plans to start an Urban Nature Preschool at Smith. The Philadelphia School's 6th grade students are studying play this spring. They will share their ideas with parents and administrators who are developing the nature preschool on Tuesday, June 6, 10:30-12:00 p.m. at Smith Playground. 

Have a great weekend!

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Despite mornings full of ERB testing, we have barely slowed down. Your child has had many opportunities to consider his/her place in the world. Teams of 6th graders presented micro-history projects in which they decided on a creative way to tell the history of an independence movement through one event or person. Through memoir writing, students explored their own history of play. Concurrently their independent research has led them to connections between their own play today and play movements over the last 150 years.

Questions to ask your 6th grade student:

  • How do you tie a trucker's knot?
  • What questions do you have about the backpacking trip?
  • What is unique about writing in the format of a memoir?
  • How did your micro-history presentation go?

Reminder to parents whose children are in the Lobbying Intensive: Please send in the permission slip for the trip to Harrisburg on May 24.

Have a good weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

This week has been spent doing research, conducting experiments, reflecting on our lives, and calculating statistics. We have continued our unit on play by examining original records and artifacts in the attic at Smith Playground. We have also been working on creating play spaces in the woods adjacent to the playground, influenced by the Play Inspiration Boards we made.

The sixth grade has also begun working on their TEDTalks about how we can evolve as people. Students watched as Mike, Jess, Terry, and Katrina modeled their own TEDTalks about ways we want to grow. We will continue creating these presentations for the next couple of weeks. 

Questions to ask your child?

  • What is the most surprising thing you learned in your microhistory project?
  • What topic are you considering for your TEDTalk?
  • What is your favorite six-word story that you wrote?
  • What are you looking forward to the remainder of the year?

If your child has handed in a permission slip for tonight's Student Council Spring Fling, please note that it runs from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Students need to check in and check out with a teacher. The admission fee is $3 (please bring the exact amount). 

Upcoming Events:

  • May 18 & 19: 6th grade overnight backpacking trip (more details to follow).
  • June 1: 6th Grade Rite of Passage Night (more details to follow).

Have a great weekend,

6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

Our spotlight for the week was all about culture. The students took a close look at the film industry in Nigeria, called Nollywood. Some of them were a part of a skit where they reenacted the Africa Magic People’s Choice Awards. This is a red carpet awards ceremony that celebrates African actors, directors, and films. The students also had to make a form of entertainment for their imaginary country.

In math, it was all about ratios.  The students learned how to set up proportions to help them solve for a missing part of a larger ratio. In science, we continued to explore the nature of play by observing young TPS students play and by creating play experiments that will unearth principles of human behavior.

In language arts the students finished up the unit on Out of Bounds and then took a quiz. We also began looking at memoirs. The students will eventually write a memoir about something that is important to them.

Reminders

  • To attend the Middle School Spring Fling next Friday evening (6:30-8:30 p.m.), students must return a signed permission form by Monday 5/1.
  • The Move-Up Meeting for rising seventh graders is Thursday 5/4, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
  • The ERBs are soon approaching; they are the week of Monday, 5/8.

Question to ask your 6th Grader:

  • What form of entertainment do the people in your CYOC participate in?
  • What was your hypothesis for the play experiment with the preschoolers?
  • What conclusion did you reach from the experiment?
  • If 2 out of every 3 sixth graders are attending the Spring Fling, how many sixth graders would attend if there were 120 students?

Thank you,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Hello, 6th Grade Families,

This week we turned our focus to Rwanda and the legacy of colonization leading to civil war and genocide. Students studied how the country has been able to move forward after the 1994 genocide. Students have discussed how people from Rwanda have been able to reconcile with others after such tragedy.

Jess presented about her trip to Rwanda two summers ago that she went on through the Sandra Dean Teacher Fellowship. Jess reported on changes in Rwanda over the last two decades since the genocide based on her trip to East Africa this past summer. She also discussed Tanzania and cultural differences across East Africa. Students asked many insightful questions to gain more knowledge about this region.

Closer to home, we traveled back to The Schuylkill Center on Tuesday to continue our play unit. The 6th graders observed the SCEE Nature Preschoolers and took detailed observations of preschoolers in our ongoing investigation of the importance of play in defining one's self. We will be visiting the preschoolers this coming week to conduct play experiments and gather data about play.

Questions to ask your 6th graders:

  • How have Rwandans reconciled post-Genocide?
  • How are conflict and resolution related to the play study?
  • What is the unit rate for "20 books in 5 piles"?
  • What moment are you focusing in on for your micro-history project?

Have a great long weekend!

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parent,

Your child has been busy considering the meaning of independence. In theme, students have been researching independence movements throughout history. In LA we have continued to explore the short stories in Out of Bounds and have used them as a springboard to our studies of apartheid in South Africa. In our study of play, 6th graders have explored the balance between independence and safety through reflecting on their own play, observing preschoolers playing, and studying the ideas of play experts.

Questions to ask your 6th grade student:

  • What is the optional homework about "dangerous" play?
  • What microhistory topic have you chosen to research?
  • How are ratios, percents, and fractions related?
  • What is a moment from a story in Out of Bounds that seems important to you?
  • What is the symbolism of the flag for your imaginary country?

Enjoy the weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

Our investigation into "How do we define ourselves?" has begun. We spotlighted Ghana and the country's journey to independence. They were the first African nation to gain indolence from their European colonizer. The students will create a graphic short story of their CYOC’s independence. In language arts we began a new novel that is comprised of eight short stories told by South African youth during apartheid. We have looked at how plot develops with the aid of story arcs, which we utilized in reading a graphic short story.

We traveled to Smith Playground on Tuesday and enjoyed the natural playscape of the woods and the playground, the perfect setting to begin our investigations on the importance of play as a formative process in growing up. Students played, reflected on the experience by interviewing a partner, and created categories for the types of play in which they engaged.

In math the students began a new unit in the study of ratios. They made comparisons in real life scenarios. The students will recall the fraction decimal percent unit to be able to move fluidly between those concepts and ratios.

Parent reminder: Now that we have began going back into the woods, please make sure your child checks for ticks on Tuesday evenings (and other evenings, as well).

Questions to ask your 6th grader:

  • What was the moment of play you described to a partner?
  • How did your CYOC become independent?
  • What has been the most interesting part of the plot in one of the stories you read in Out of Bounds?

Enjoy the weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Greetings 6th Grade Parents, 

Students participated in Spring Mini-Courses for most of the week. All 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were in courses in which they had a special interest, such as Dissection, Cardboard Arcade, the Art of Protest, and Yoga. Students learned various new skills, danced, cooked, built various items, and so much more.

Additionally, students prepared for their conferences that will take place next week. Students have reflected on their growth, set goals for the future, and rehearsed their presentations. We look forward to sharing their information soon. Reminder: Some conferences start on Monday!

Questions to ask your 6th grader:

  • What is one thing I should know about conferences?
  • How have you prepared for your conference?
  • What is one thing that you created during mini-courses?

Have a great weekend! 

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

As the winter term comes to an end, 6th graders have spent the week synthesizing ideas from the trimester, revising work, tying up loose ends, and reflecting on their growth as learners and members of our community. 

As we culminate our study of how others define us, it is coming into sharp focus how people have become "the other" over the last 160,000 years through migration and evolution. In addition, your child has been putting the final touches on the textbook on the history of her/his imaginary country and revising the Big Idea Paper by adding details, fixing grammar, and honing the flow of their writing. 

We have also begun preparing for conferences by reflecting on learning habits, academic skills, and personal qualities. This work will continue through next week as each student will delve into the work of the trimester to mine specific evidence of growth and challenges. Your child will be leading the upcoming conference. To help prepare, s/he will give you homework this weekend, which is to write about what you want to discuss.

Next week is mini courses, a whole week of elective courses and a unique opportunity to explore diverse topics. 

Questions to ask your 6th grade student:

  • What is my homework?
  • What mini courses are you excited about?
  • What strategies do you use to figure out the angles created by a transversal intersecting parallel lines?
  • What human adaptation are you researching?
  • What are you most proud of in your Big Idea Paper?

Enjoy the weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear Families,

Our primary endeavor this week has been crafting Big Idea Papers. After studying each of our four spotlights on modern Africa, students developed big ideas, or thesis statements, about the legacy and influence of outsiders on the continent. Last week students took information from Spotlights, interviews, and online research to craft outlines. This week they transformed their outlines into body paragraphs, created hooks and conclusions, and learned how to format their works cited page. The week ended with making captivating titles for their research papers. 

In math we began our understanding of prisms. Using the 3-D paper cubes, or rectangular prisms, that they created, students began to understand the difference between triangular prisms and pyramids. In science students finished a unit on meiosis and mitosis. Mitosis Matt and Meiosis Mike wowed everyone with their lyrical talents in a rap about the wonders of cell division. 

Questions to ask your child:

  • What title are you giving your Big Idea paper, and why did you choose this?
  • How does meiosis differ from mitosis?
  • What is the difference between a triangular prism and a pyramid?

Have a great weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Hello 6th Grade Families,

Our primary endeavor this week has been crafting Big Idea Papers. After studying each of our four spotlights on Africa, students developed big ideas, or thesis statements, about the legacy and influence of outsiders on the continent, and how Africa has, in turn, influenced the rest of the world. This process captures the work we have been doing all semester. To support their writing, we have learned about powerful and engaging introductions, smooth transitions, and crafting logical paragraphs. We are excited with the effort students have given and the deep and provocative ideas they are working on. Keep an eye out for their finished products!

We have also spent time exploring the hidden world of cells in science, ways to further spread awareness of the problems with using conflict minerals in theme, and measuring areas and volume in math. 

Questions to ask your child:

  • What is your hook for your big idea paper introduction?
  • What possible presidential executive order relates to conflict minerals?
  • Why do cells look different from each other under a microscope?

Have great weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

Our primary endeavor this week has been crafting Big Idea Papers. After studying each of our spotlights on various countries in Africa, students developed big ideas, or thesis statements, about the legacy and influence of outsiders on the continent. They have spent the bulk of the week further developing these big ideas and supporting them with examples. Students created their outlines using a mapping program that allowed them to make connections visually, and then the program turned their thoughts into a standard outline. They created a Google doc for their outline, which has allowed us to communicate with students and support them throughout the process.

In math, we extended our understanding of shape and volume. Students have studied rectangular prisms and began to understand surface area and volume, as well as why the formulas for each make sense. We switched our focus to circles, and the 6th graders discovered why pi is so important with circle work. Also, students discovered how the circumference and area formulas were developed. 

Questions to ask your child:

  • What is one of your supporting details in your big idea paper outline?
  • Why does the formula for the area of a circle make sense?
  • What is one way that music in America has been impacted by West African cultures?
  • How and why do onion cells look different?

Have a great long weekend!

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

This week we turned the lens from how others have impacted Africa to how Africa has impacted the rest of the world. Specifically we've spotlighted how capoeira incorporated aspects of African culture and was used to resist oppression in Brazil. We interviewed Michael Hanchard, a professor of Africana Studies at Penn, about social movements in Brazil and compared them with those in the US. All of this is in preparation for students' writing the Big Idea Paper, an essay in which a thesis about Africa and the influence of others is supported by detailed examples. 

Sixth graders also planned an Encuentro this week. They highlighted the importance of taking action to influence electronics companies to avoid conflict minerals. Check out the website they produced:

https://sites.google.com/prod/tpschool.org/stoptheconflict/home

Questions to ask your 6th grade student:

  • What happens to the perimeter of a fixed area rectangle when the shape becomes elongated?
  • What does the DNA from your epithelial cheek cell look like?
  • Do you think capoeira is a dance, a fight, or a lifestyle?

Enjoy the weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

We spotlighted conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we considered the impacts, both positive and negative, that natural resources have on a country. We widened our scope by examining data, images, and materials showing diamonds, oil, and conflict minerals in Tanzania, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. As we weigh the costs and benefits, as well as who pays and who benefits, we are asking ourselves, “Is having natural resources a blessing or a curse?”

We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Omekongo Dibinga come and speak to our class and the middle school. He is a powerful spoken word poet also known as the UPstander. His life’s mission is to inspire all across the globe to take a stand when they witness an injustice, no matter how small or large. His visit launched a new project in theme, where the students began to work on campaigns to raise awareness about conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In math we began exploring geometry and the relationship between shape and size. In science we have been learning about DNA in order to understand the evidence for human migration over the last 160,000 years. 

In language arts we began a new unit in nonfiction. We read some news articles and discussed the main idea. We also looked back at a couple of Spotlights and gathered information to create a main idea around language and colonization.

Questions to ask your 6th grader:

  • What is inside my cellphone that comes from Africa?
  • What does DNA look like?
  • What happens to the perimeter when a fixed area rectangle goes from being long and skinny to being more square like?
  • What are your campaign ideas?

Have a good weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

We began our week with a spotlight on humanitarianism in Malawi. We had the honor of hearing from and interviewing an expert, Ms. Temwa Right. After growing up in Malawi and moving to Philadelphia, she has returned home with Pamoza, an organization dedicated to providing sustainable ways to help communities, in addition to Christian outreach. Students continued to grapple with the notion of outsiders providing assistance, comparing intent with outcomes, by looking at the supposed positive intentions of European colonization of Africa.  

Friday was Poetry Day in the 6th grade! We wrapped up our poetry unit with the “They think / I AM” poems. Students identified a poem written by another that answers the question, “How do others see me?” They then reflected and wrote a poem that answers the question, “How do I see myself?” with focuses on race, gender and nationality. Younger students came to The Cameroon Cafe to listen to 6th graders share their poems, and were able to see their older peers share deep and powerful poems through spoken performances, as well as in a poetry gallery.

Special Note:

On Saturday, April 29, Agnes Irwin will host Tech Savvy — a day-long science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference for 6th-9th grade girls and their parents. For the girls, this will be a day of interactive, hands-on STEM workshops that will introduce them to female scientists and engineers, as well as workshops to teach “savvy skills,” such as financial literacy, self-advocacy/interview skills, and creative problem-solving. Families are also invited to attend a separate parent program, which will include sessions on the college process and how to encourage girls in STEM, as well as time to visit student STEM workshops and resource tables staffed by representatives from colleges/universities and STEM-related organizations in the Philadelphia area. The program will run 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. on April 29, and the cost to attend is $20 for students and $10 for parents. Agnus Irwin will post a link for online registration on their site in March.

Questions to ask your 6th grade child:

  • What was a poem that you enjoyed from Poetry Day?
  • What are the four principles of humanitarianism?
  • How will the 6th grade hallway timeline be laid out?

Have great weekend!

6th Grade Team

Join the Tara Project

TPS is looking for a group of 6-10 middle school students who would be interested in making a connection with students in India. Interested students would join Monday morning Skype sessions in Justine's office starting the first week of February. Breakfast will be provided. Here are the scheduled dates:

February 6, 7:10 a.m.
February 13, 7:10 a.m.
February 27, 7:10 a.m.
March 6, 7:10 a.m.
March 13, 8:10 a.m.
March 20, 8:10 a.m.

For more information, click here. If you are interested in participating in this exchange, please email Jena Croxford at jcroxford@tpschool.org. 

6th Grade Weekly Note

Hello, 6th Grade Families! 

Although it was a short week, it was full of exciting topics and learning. In math, students worked in teams to develop a proposal for how to create a giant timeline in our stairwell. Teams figured out how to fit events from 200,000 BCE to current day. Each team developed different scales and incorporated various technological features to present their proposals on Thursday or Friday. The giant timeline will be used to hang multiple assignments that will be created throughout the semester.

In language arts, students are still in the poetry unit. Students have learned about various types of poems and different devices to include in poetry. This week 6th graders took their first crack at writing their own poetry. Some poems were free choice, others were about being an American, and soon they will write a poem about their identity. Their favorite poems will be shared next week at our Poetry Day, where we will present to other grades. 

Questions to ask your 6th grade child:

  • What was your team's proposal for the timeline hallway project? What team won?
  • Do you prefer free verse poetry or more structured poetry?
  • What is a tip that you learned about how to use microscopes?
  • What happened at the Berlin Conference, and how did it affect African countries?

Reminder: 

On Tuesday, January 24, we will eat lunch at a local Ethiopian restaurant and explore a couple other West Philadelphia locations connected to Africa. We will walk to Abyssinia, located on 45th and Locust. There will be no need to bring a lunch to school that day; however, if a student is concerned about liking the food, s/he may bring a lunch to eat after we return. The restaurant has told us that all of their entree dishes are nut-free, although there are nuts in the desserts (we will not be eating dessert there). There will be vegetarian options available. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

The 6th Grade Team 

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

This week, as part of our exploration of the influence of others in Africa, we spotlighted colonization in Sudan and its impacts even today. In LA students investigated the idea of otherness through the character of Kek, a Sudanese refugee who comes to America in Home of the Brave. As we begin our study of human migration over the last 160,000 years, students are being challenged to consider how this idea of "the other" developed historically.

On Friday, January 27, our class will participate in a Poetry Day event presented by the 6th grade. The sixth graders will recite poems they have written to other units in the school. As a part of this special event they will serve hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is peanut/tree nut free and is the approved brand by the school nurse, Sara. 

Questions to ask your 6th grade child:

  • What is a word problem that involves dividing decimals?
  • Do you think Katrina is a psychic when she plays the game "Black Star"? How does playing this game help you empathize with Kek?
  • What time period in the history of human migration were you assigned to research? What do you know so far?

A message from TPSA:

Please join us for the 6th & 7th Grade Mardi Gras Potluck (adults only) on Tuesday, February 28, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Garage.  

RSVP HERE: https://tpschoolblog.squarespace.com/potluck-rsvp (Or you can use the Events page of the Parent Portal.)

Please bring what you can to share, such as appetizers, main courses, desserts, or beverages (alcoholic or non). The South Street and Lombard Street parking lots will be open. Questions?  Email Sue (sgl2024@yahoo.com). We look forward to seeing you there!

Have a good weekend,

The 6th Grade Team

6th Grade Weekly Note

Dear 6th Grade Parents,

Whew, we made it through our first week back! This week we embarked on our second trimester. Throughout the next two months we will be dedicated to answering the question, "How do others define us?" Students will explore this question through multiple forums, with special attention to how Africa and Africans have been defined by outsiders. In addition, students will have the opportunity to build on the countries they created and shared in the fall.

We began the new year looking at our goals and declarations. Students also reflected on their strengths and areas for growth from the first trimester. This reflection process, which included finding work samples to showcase their abilities, will be useful practice for when they will be leading their second trimester conference.

On Tuesday we took a trip to the Penn Museum. Students were able to explore ancient Egyptian artifacts and learn about many aspects of African culture. That day, the sixth grade also looked at a unique form of calculating: ancient Egyptian Math. The students learned how the Egyptian system worked.

In language arts we started a unit on poetry by looking at how poetry has influenced our lives since early childhood, through nursery rhymes, sonnets, haiku, free verse, and song lyrics. We will begin reading Home of the Brave, a book of poems about the experience of the Sudanese Lost Boys' journey of living in America.

The 6th grade collected the most pet food for Student Council's Helping Hands collection this fall; therefore, they won a pizza party!  Pizza (including a gluten-free option) and lemonade will be served this coming Wednesday, January 11.  Families can reach out to Nurse Sara (sforgione@tpschool.org) if you have any questions.

Questions to ask your 6th grade child:

  • What was an interesting artifact you saw at the Penn Museum?
  • What is a new goal you have for the 2nd Trimester?
  • What is a strength you identified from reflecting on the fall trimester? What example do you have from classwork, homework, or a project? 
  • What was your favorite type of poetry you read? (ex. sonnet, free verse, haiku, nursery rhymes)

Have a great weekend,

Mike, Jess, Katrina, and Terry