External vs. Internal Conflict

24 Nov

This playlist features many examples of external vs. internal conflicts in literature and movies. Can you think of other examples of the conflicts in movies you have watched or books you have read? Comment and add some examples of books or movies, or add links from Youtube of scenes showing external or internal conflict. I can also add them to this playlist, if they are appropriate.

Cuneiform – Development of Writing

23 Nov

Watch any of the videos in this playlist and comment on something you learned about the development of writing in Mesopotamia. Why do historians identify the beginning of history with the beginning of writing?

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Geography Awareness Week!

22 Nov
Image source: National Geographic Education

Image source: National Geographic Education

What is geography?
Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. They also examine how human culture interacts with the natural environment and the way locations and places can have an impact on people. Geography seeks to understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time. 
Free Technology for Teachers sent me a list of fun online games for students to play. Check of the some of the links below:
Spacehopper is a game based on Google Maps Street View imagery. Spacehopper shows you a Street View image and you have to guess where in the world the image was captured. You can click the clue button to have the country identified before making a guess. After three incorrect guesses the correct answer will be revealed to you. You can play Spacehopper on a global level or you can specify that you only want to see images from a particular continent.

Smarty Pins is a Google Maps game develop by Google. Smarty Pins presents players with a trivia question that they have to answer by placing a pin on a map. Players earn “miles” for correctly placing a pin on the map. Players can lose miles for answering incorrectly and or taking too long to answer. Games are available in five categories; arts & culture, science & geography, sports & games, entertainment, and history & current events.

Where is…? is another good game geography game. This game uses a popular format for geography games; the name of a city is presented to the players and they have to click the map to guess where the city is located. Players are given immediate feedback on their accuracy in the form of a measurement, in kilometers, of the distance between their guesses and the correct answers.

GeoGuessr. GeoGuessr shows you a Google Street View image and a clue to try to guess where in the world the imagery was captured. Playing GeoGuessr is a fun way to get students to look at all of the visual and text clues they have in order to form a good guess as to where in the world they think the imagery came from.

Capital Toss is a free geography game from ABCya. The game has a state capitals mode and a country capitals mode. In both modes of the game works the same way. The name of a state or country appears at the bottom of the screen and three rows of capital names scroll across the top. When the correct capital name appears players virtually toss a ball at it. After ten correct answers players can choose a new ball. Three consecutive incorrect answers ends the game.

Math Trail provides a nice blend of geography questions and math questions appropriate for 5th to 7th grade students. Math Trail from HeyMath! is a series of map based math trivia challenges. Math Trail offers six thematic games. Each game follows a trail of locations that students have to find by using the clues provided. If they get stumped they can click “show location” but they lose the point value for the question. When they arrive at the correction location students have to answer the multiple choice math question presented to them before moving on to the next question in the trail.

Finally, we will add a Countries of the World Quiz (timed!) that our student really enjoyed playing last year. Give it a try!
Enjoy your weekend!

Pilgrim Roads: Out of Eden Journey

19 Nov
“For almost two years, the Out of Eden Walk project, which traces the global spread of early humans, has taken Paul Salopek from Africa’s Great Rift Valley to the Middle East, birthplace of cities and agriculture. On this stretch of his journey, Salopek left the “oceanic vistas of Arabia” to trek the ancient corridor of the Jordan River Valley to Jerusalem and the West Bank, a route long the focus of conquest and conversion.” – Ryan Morris, NGM Staff
Paul Salopek is still walking in Turkey. A few updates on his journey: He has just written an article for National Geographic that will appear in the next issue. This article is about his walk through the Middle East. You can see it HERE. Also, this is a map of his journey there.  Finally, here is a brief video (less than two minutes long) about his experience there.
"Pastures of stone. The Kurdish nomad heartland, near Mt. Karacadag, Turkey." Image source: Out of Eden Walk - Facebook Page

“Pastures of stone. The Kurdish nomad heartland, near Mt. Karacadag, Turkey.” Image source: Out of Eden Walk – Facebook Page

"A palate of whites. A nomad breakfast—yoghurt, goat cheese, roasted peppers, honey. Mt. Karacadag, Turkey." (Image source: Facebook Out of Eden Walk page)

“A palate of whites. A nomad breakfast—yoghurt, goat cheese, roasted peppers, honey. Mt. Karacadag, Turkey.” (Image source: Facebook Out of Eden Walk page)

Positive vs. Negative Character Traits

18 Nov

Positive and Negative Character Traits

Here is a list of positive and negative character or personality traits. How many of these words do you know? Remember to post a comment on the other blog post and tell us how your friend would describe you. Click on this image to make it bigger.

Life in Sumer

18 Nov

This playlist features video clips that review the legacy and achievements of Mesopotamia. They are a good review of things we have learned in class. Essential Questions to consider:
1) What new tools did the Sumerians invent?
2) Why was the invention of cuneiform (writing) an important development?

The Benefits of Reading

16 Nov
Designed by: gosiarysuje.pl

Designed by: gosiarysuje.pl

Behind Every Writer…

15 Nov
Image source: TitleWave

Image source: TitleWave

Here is an image we shared with parents during the student-led conference. We have shared it before, but it’s always worth sharing again:



Character Traits

13 Nov

In Language Arts, we have been studying characters in the books we are reading. Here are some video playlists which are helpful for understanding character traits. Other materials have been added to Moodle for our current unit. If I asked your best friend to describe you, what three adjectives would he/she use? Please comment.  Also, remember to vote on the poll question we posted last week (scroll down).

Out of Eden in Ancient Mesopotamia & Club Update

7 Nov
Thirsty mule eyes Euphrates River. Photo by Murat Yazar, as it appears on the Out of Eden Walk Facebook Page

Thirsty mule eyes Euphrates River. Photo by Murat Yazar, as it appears on the Out of Eden Walk Facebook Page

This photo appeared on the Out of Eden Facebook page today. We are currently studying ancient Mesopotamia and Paul is walking near the Euphrates River. Here is a recent blog dispatch from him entitled, Loose Thread on the Silk Road. Here is a link to the Out of Eden Map Room where you can see his current location. Turkey is a large country and it will take time to get to the eastern border.

In regard to the Out of Eden Club, there does not seem to be enough interest right now. We realize a lot of students are involved in clubs and sports. We’re all busy! Our SS/LA team is going to look at some options where we can all participate and do the activities created by Project Zero and the Out of Eden Learn program. Stay tuned for more information!

Once On This Island – Go!

6 Nov


Grade 6 students: Make sure you get your ticket to see Once on this Island, our M.S. musical.  There are several students from your grade in the play and working backstage. The students have been working hard to prepare for the show. Support your classmates and go see it!

Poll Question: Traits of a Good Friend

4 Nov

In advisory/Flex classes, many of you have taken ‘friendship’ quiz. Answer the poll question below. If you vote ‘other,’ please comment and add other traits of a good friend.


The Fertile Crescent (Maps)

2 Nov
Image source: media.web.britannica.com/

Image source: media.web.britannica.com/

Image source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Image source: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

November Birthdays

1 Nov

happy-birthday-picture-wallpaperHappy birthday to the following students celebrating a birthday this month: Sunny (9), Rahul (9), Jaehoon (19), Enzo (23), Mutsumi (26). If we made an error or left someone off the list, let us know. Have a great day and a fantastic birthday!

- Ms. Jaya, Mrs. Hall, and Mr. Martin

Happy Halloween: I Bet You Didn’t Know!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween! Here is a link from the History Channel to some other great videos and information on Halloween and the history behind it. It also features information about candy corn, witches, pumpkins, and more. This Infographic is also excellent and shows Halloween by the numbers. Here is the direct link to the short (and cool!) VIDEOS.

Jack O'Lantern (Photo from History Channel)

Jack O’Lantern (Photo from History Channel)

Out of Eden Walk: Mesopotamian Moon God

30 Oct
Photo by Paul Salopek - posted on his Our of Eden Walk Facebook page, 10/30/14

Photo by Paul on Salopek – posted on his Our of Eden Walk Facebook page, 10/30/14

We are now studying ancient Mesopotamia. Paul Salopek just added this photo to his Facebook page today. Home of the Mesopotamian moon god Sin. Center of medieval Islamic learning. Erased by Mongols. Harran, Turkey. Paul is here (click on the map to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 5.45.07 AM


Ancient Mesopotamia – The Fertile Crescent

28 Oct

This week we begin our new unit in Social Studies, Ancient Mesopotamia (Chapter 3). This video playlist will support what we read in the first lesson (Geography) and will give some background to this amazing empire. Mesopotamia is in the region currently known as the Middle East.
Essential Questions to consider in this lesson:
1) How did the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers support agriculture?
2) How did Mesopotamians cope (deal with or overcome) a lack of resources?

Out of Eden: Paul Answers More Questions

27 Oct

Untouchables among refugees: destitute Turkmen nomads from Syria. Kilis, Turkey. (Photo by Paul Salopek)

During the vacation, Paul Salopek wrote me directly for the first time and answered some more questions from our students. Please see his response below and read his two latest dispatches on his blog, Out of Eden.
First: Yes, I would be interested in visiting your school because I have been making educational presentations starting from the trail head in Ethiopia. I can’t guarantee when I’ll be near your area (as you note, the closest I will come is northern India) because the route ahead is so unpredictable. So let’s just keep in touch about this–it could be early to mid-2015.
Again, your interest in the walk is keenly appreciated. I’m glad to have your school walking along.
Warm regards, P.
1) What is a typical day like for a child or teenager like in the refugee camp in Kilis (from Sriya, Bahraini)?
The children in some ways have it easier than adults, because at least they can attend a camp-run school. After classes, they help with small chores in their homes, which are shipping containers–those long metal cubes that fit on the back of lorries–refitted to serve as shelters. There are several playgrounds in the camp, too. But what the children don’t have a normal town or village setting to grow up in. Their future is uncertain. For example, once they graduate from primary school, there is no guarantee that they can continue to study in secondary school, because all such schools are taught in Turkish–the language of the host country. For the parents, life is even worse: Without work, without a way to earn an income, they are trapped in the camp with no future at all.
2) What percentage (approximately) of the children are separated from their parents or family (from Lucie, France)?
Good question. I don’t have an answer. All the children I met were with their families. Children who lost their parents in the war have two options: be taken in by relatives, or go to government-run orphanages. Many of the children with families are missing fathers–many of the refugee men have stayed behind in Syria to guard family property or fight in the war.
3) What initially inspired you to take this journey (from Sunny, S. Korea and Alice, France)?
Storytelling. I had been working as a journalist for many years, and decided that this project would be a good way to tie together all that I have learned, and to string together an important series of questions–where we came from, who we are, where we are going–into a single long journey story. We all love travel stories. This is a very old way of communicating knowledge. It goes back to the very beginning of humankind.
Thanks for your great questions.

Poll: Vacation or Staycation?

17 Oct

Have a nice vacation. We’ll see you on Monday, October 27th (Day # 4: F-G-H-E Day). Comment and tell us what your plans are for the vacation. Read a book!



India Week Celebrations!

17 Oct

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I Want a Great Book!

13 Oct
s49wzrp1xg2ax9d9o8cnStudents are always looking for new books to read. We have reviewed many places where you can find new books. Here is a list of some links. Remember, your friends are always the best source of ideas!
Mrs. Hall/Ms. Jaya’s Book Blog
Mr. Martin/Ms. Jaya’s Book Blog
Popular Grade 6 Books from goodreads (scroll down and click the next page to find more!)
Great books for boys 
Great books for girls
Awesome 6th grade books
You can also find books by reading level, as well as other links on our Moodle page.

Remember to write a book review this week!




Learning to Farm

12 Oct

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This is  a video playlist gives an overview of what we are learning in Chapter 2, Lesson 2 – Learning to Farm and Raise Animals. Think about: How did agriculture change the way people lived together? What are the major crops grown in your country? Write your country and list the major crops.



2014 Nobel Prize Winners

10 Oct
Source: Getty Images (BBC)

Source: Getty Images (BBC)

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize went to advocates for children’s rights with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi of India sharing the award on Friday.
Yousafzai, a schoolgirl in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, became a worldwide symbol against abuses by the Taliban after she was shot in the head in 2012 by militants who stormed the bus she was riding with other students.  Yousafzai, now 17, later become an advocate for girls’ education and has appeared in some of the most high-profile forums, including an address at the United Nations last year.
Satyarthi, 60, has fought against child labor more nearly two decades and is credited with helping free tens of thousands of children from harsh work conditions and other forms of forced labor, including in the carpet industry and traveling circuses popular in India.

Read this really nice interview with Malala, who talks about her favorite books.

Find this book in our school and class library.

Find this book in our school and class library.

News: Cave Paintings in Indonesia Redraw Picture of Earliest Art

9 Oct

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Great timing! Here is a story that Mrs. Hall and Mr. Hoover shared with me. According to this National Geographic article, a “hand painted in an Indonesian cave dates to at least 39,900 years ago, making it among the oldest such images in the world, archaeologists reported Wednesday in a study that rewrites the history of art.The discovery on the island of Sulawesi vastly expands the geography of the first cave artists, who were long thought to have appeared in prehistoric Europe around that time.  This BBC article features a short video on the caves. Click on the map below to enlarge, and you will see where Sulawesi is located in Indonesia.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 8.47.15 AM

A Journey of Learning

8 Oct

Paul Salopek shares a video message to students around the world from Turkey where he currently is on his Out of Eden Walk. His latest blog post is entitled ‘This is not a life.” It is about his time in a refugee camp in Turkey on the border of Syria. Check it out!



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