Creating Neighborhood Maps

23 Oct

Students have finished Out of Eden Learn, Footstep #2 – Creating a Neighborhood Map – and written a story using one of the five prompts provided by Out of Eden. Here are is a sample of some more of the maps that were created. After Week Without Walls, we will share the maps in a Gallery Walk with our classmates. Click on the images to see a slideshow.


Social Studies Updates

19 Oct

Peer editing with a focus on capitalization (Photo by Rob Martin)


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Peer editing (Photo by Rob Martin)

We have had a busy two weeks leading up to our Week Without Walls trip on Monday. You are in the process of finishing your Egypt or Mesopotamia Inquiry Project (G.R.A.P.E.S. Historical Themes), and most of you have also finished your latest Out of Eden Learn activity, Footstep #2, Creating a Neighborhood Map. I have shared some photos here of some of our work, and will share some more here on the class blog and my Twitter handle (@DigitalNomadRob – #G6SSAISC). Out of Eden Learn has already seen some of your maps and has shared them as well. Great job!

You will be given class time tomorrow and Friday to work on your project. Please finish them over the weekend, if you do not finish tomorrow. When we return from Week Without Walls on Tuesday, November 1 (No school on Monday, Oct. 31), we will only have four days left in trimester 1. Our goals for the rest of the trimester are:

  1. To make sure everyone has finished their summative (final) project.

  2. To make sure you have finished Footstep #2 (Out of Eden Learn) and posted it on their site.

  3. Written comments on other posts from our OOEL walking party – Part 3 of Out of Eden Learn, Footstep #2.

When these things are done, you will need to write a reflection and add both #1 and #2 above to your e-portfolio (More on this later!). Keep up the good work!



Living with Less Plastic

18 Oct


I saw this nice infographic on social media that was shared by The Tree Foundation in Chennai. Do you live with less plastic by doing any of these things? 

Out of Eden Learn: Uncovering the Everyday – Share Your Photo!

16 Oct


This is a photo taken by a former student, Kennedy Porter (8th grade), when she did Out of Eden Learn. It is currently on display at Harvard University’s Monroe C. Gutman Library Gallery. Out of Eden Learn is inviting students to take photos of something interesting in their neighborhood. See the directions below. You can share your photo via Instagram or Twitter or email your photo and a brief description (example: what it is and where it was taken) to:

I have shared a few photos I have taken in my neighborhood, Kottivakkam.



Decorated dump trucks in Kottivakkam, Chennai, India (Photo by Rob Martin)


Decorated dump trucks in Kottivakkam, Chennai, India (Photo by Rob Martin)


Kottivakkam neighborhood (Photo by Rob Martin)


Kottivakkam, Chennai, India (Photo by Rob Martin)

October Birthdays + Next Week

8 Oct

Happy birthday to all of the grade 6 students celebrating birthdays this month: Leo (15), Lokesh & Seongwon(19), Junwoo (25), Yejin (26) and Hana (28). If I left anyone off this list or made an error, let me know. Enjoy the rest of your vacation and see you on Monday, which will be a 1A Day. I am enjoying my vacation in Vietnam and have added some photos to my Instagram account which is on my class blog. Here is one photo I took the other day.

We look forward to hearing about your vacation, whether you stayed in Chennai or traveled. Next week we will continue working on our research project and also introduce Out of Eden Learn Footstep #2 – Creating a Neighborhood Map. Students in our walking party have already begun posting their maps. You can see their maps and comment.

Saigon Street near Fine Arts Museum. #hochiminh #travel #travelphotography #vietnam

A photo posted by Rob Martin (@digitalnomadrob) on

Week Without Walls Blog

28 Sep


Check out the Grade 6 Week Without Walls Blog – all your questions answered! It will be updated regularly, so check it out often.

World Book Online

27 Sep

Screenshot by Mr. Martin

Mr. Jet has taught you how to access and use World Book Online. There is a link for this resource on the right side of this class blog (under ‘class resources’). I have also added it to Moodle. Please use this site as you begin to collect and locate information for your project. The password has been shared in class. 

UN Day, Our Research Project, & More…

23 Sep

We have had a busy week! Here are some photos from today’s United Nations Day celebrations. Here are some videos from Mr. Hoover from students around the world sharing their views on peace.  


Grade 6 social studies invited Mr. Jet to our classroom this week for a talk on how we find information for our project. What is information? Where do we find it? How do we know it’s good information? He shared some tips on how we can evaluate whether a source is good or not (i.e. Is the person who write that book an expert?) and also shared the World Book Online website, which we will use as one of our resources when doing our research project. Students also finished their first footstep for Out of Eden Learn. You have introduced yourself to our walking party and you are commenting and asking questions to learn more about the other students around the world who are in our walking party. Finally, what is a compelling question? That was also reviewed this week. Have a great weekend!

Mesopotamia vs. Egypt

23 Sep

This is a great video that features a comparison between Mesopotamia and Egypt.


20 Sep

I know some of you want to add this song to your playlist! :>)  This song is a review of the historical themes we have been learning about in class. 



Achievements (Science, Technology, Mathematics, Inventions)

Politics (Government)


Social Structures (including Culture)

Watch Paul’s Interview!

17 Sep

Thank you to the students who wrote questions and watched the LIVE interview with Paul Salopek from Uzbekistan. If you missed the interview, you can watch it here! I feel fortunate that I was invited to be among a small group (five!) that was able to be on screen and to ask questions on behalf of you. There were many good questions for Paul, but I was able to ask two (at the beginning and near the end). Several of the questions that you asked and posted on our ‘wondering wall’ were among the questions asked by other students around the world.

I learned many new things about Paul, his guide (Aziz), and his journey: the power of storytelling, borders, why he walks, his role in helping others, schools he visits in other countries, what keeps him going, his family, plans for writing a book, the funniest moments on the trail, countries and regions he looks forward to visiting, crossing large bodies of water, and whether or not he listens to music while walking. There were several other topics he discussed. Watch the video and comment on something you learned or thought was interesting.

Some personal takeaways that I made connections to:

Some comments by Paul in his interview: The walk is his work. His workplace is the road, the trail, the mountain pass he must cross. Many strangers he meets have been kind. People are compassionate. Compassion erodes (or defeats) fear. It is important to be curious about the world. It is important to engage in the world and to learn it. Walking gives him a sense of confidence and he has become calmer and more peaceful. He will most remember the people he meets on his journey.

Mr. Martin

LIVE interview tonight with Paul Salopek (Out of Eden Walk)

16 Sep

Image source: Out of Eden Walk Instagram page


Photo taken by John Stanmeyer (@johnstanmeyer) – Out of Eden Walk Instagram

The interview with Paul Salopek is tonight. I have sent you a link where you can watch it live. The local time for the interview will be 8:30pm and it will end at 9:30pm. I hope he will answer one of our questions!


Photo by Rob Martin



Paul Responds to Class Tweet!

12 Sep

In our classes today and last Friday, we created a mind map to review the Who, What, Where, When, and Why about Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk. We heard many great questions that we will soon share on our ‘wondering wall.’ During H Block, I tweeted two questions to Paul that came from our class and he responded. Here are two screenshots of his responses:


Screenshot by Rob Martin @DigitalNomadRob

Screenshot by Rob Martin @DigitalNomadRobscreen-shot-2016-09-12-at-4-23-44-pm

A Busy Week!

11 Sep


Students –

We learned about Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk last week. Next, you will join our walking party for Out of Eden Learn and start your first footstep. Here are the towns or cities who will be in our walking party:

Location:  from the U.S.A. Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Danville, California; Marblehead, Massachusetts; Oak Hill, Florida; Portland, Oregon; Oxnard, California; Hockessin, Deleware. From other countries: Accra, Ghana

Here are two photos of students learning about Paul Salopek and his journey.


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin

Finally, students shared their Egypt and Mesopotamia mind maps in a gallery walk and we worked on developing skills in giving feedback and learning what is helpful (good) vs. Not so helpful or detailed feedback (Mmmmm….not so good). We will continue to work on this throughout the year because one thing you will be doing a lot of on Out of Eden Learn is giving feedback and asking questions to other students in our walking party.


Helpful, detailed feedback on the right vs. Not so-detailed feedback. We will continue to work on this skill. (Photo by Rob Martin)


Gallery Walk for our Mind Maps


Gallery Walk

August and September Birthdays!

1 Sep


Happy birthday to the following students who either celebrated a birthday last month or are celebrating this month. Make sure you add your birthday to the Google Document I shared with you last week, so I can add your name this year. Have a great day, and post a comment to wish your classmates a happy birthday. 

August: Hyeonsu (5), Shiv (7), YeongJun (24) and Owen(28)

September: Dhivya (9), Ava (12), Suman (17), Moeno (19), Gyubo (22). 

Mind Mapping – Thinking about our Thinking

1 Sep

Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin

A few photos from the past two days where we are learning about the power of mind (concept) mapping, why we do it, how we can organize our ideas, and how we can collaborate to share our thinking. Students will now do a mind map for the civilization they are studying (Egypt or Mesopotamia). We look forward to seeing these next class. 


Out of Eden Learn – Coming Soon!

30 Aug

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 10.28.13 PM.png


Image source: National Geographic Dec. 2013 issue

The Long Dry Spell (role play)

24 Aug

“The brutal heat makes it difficult to work. Yet every day you must walk to the river with animal-skin bags to get water for the plants. You repeat the trip hour after hour, until your legs feel like they won’t support you any longer. Your back aches from carrying water and bending over your crops. The plants need every drop of moisture they can get. But the heat of the sun seems to evaporate the water as soon as it hits the ground.” – The Long Dry Spell” (pages 80 – 81).

Geography and Scarcity in Mesopotamia and Egypt

22 Aug

This video playlist features short videos on the geography of Mesopotamia and Egypt. In class you will be conducting research to answer the question: How did geography and scarcity influence the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia and Egypt? After watching a video, share something you learned.


First Two Weeks

19 Aug

Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin

A few photo from our first two weeks of school – using our new magnetic whiteboards to jigsaw ideas and share learning. “What is a great social studies class?” and learning how to distinguish hunters-gatherers and early famers. 

From Hunters-Gatherers to Early Farmers

17 Aug

This video playlist features videos that support things you have been reading in Chapter 2, lesson 2, including human migration, hunters-gatherers, communication, and the development of early farming practices. 

Ice Man Murder Mystery (PBS NOVA)

16 Aug

Several students asked me to share the documentary made by PBS Nova (Ice Man Murder Mystery). How did Otzi, the Ice Man die? What did scientists and doctors learn about his life from studying his body? What can we learn about the lives of hunter-gatherers from the artifacts they found with his body? Here is a LINK to the museum where Otzi ‘lives’ in Italy. Here is a link the the PBS/Nova website where you can find a transcript to the documentary. Watch this playlist and documentary to see what happened (optional). If you do watch it, post a comment and share something interesting you learned

Sentence stems:

Something interesting I learned from the documentary is…

I used to think Otzi was…..Now I think….

One question/wondering I still have is…



What makes my life easier?

15 Aug

Image source: Morguefile

What inventions do you benefit from today? Think about one you carry with you and one at home that makes your life easier. Add your answers to the comment section.

Our First Week

10 Aug

AGreat Social Studies Class...What is Social Studies?

You will soon learn how to access this blog, make a comment and use our Moodle page. I hope these two sites will help support your learning this year. During our first days together, we talked about what you thought social studies is and what a great (social studies) class looks like. Here are the two anchor charts I created after we collected all of the results. 

Welcome back (2016 – 2017)

5 Aug

Ms. Lucy (Learning Support), Mr. Martin (Social Studies), and Mr. Ranson (EAL Support)

Orange you are glad to be on the Grade 6 Team

The Grade 6 Team – ‘Orange’ you glad to be in 6th grade?

Dear Students –

Welcome to 6th grade Social Studies. Along with our Moodle page, our class blog will host videos, student work, helpful links and much more! Please use it as a resource in Social Studies. You can ‘follow’ this page by adding your email address to the widget on the top right side of the blog (see image below).If you follow the blog, you will receive an email message anytime I post something new on the blog.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 8.52.41 AM

There are many things you can do to keep updated on Middle School events. You should read the Middle School Daily Bulletin blog each day for information about clubs, sports, M.S. parties, etc. Here are some general reminders for students from all of your 6th grade teachers:

  • Store backpacks and belongings in your locker and carry only the necessary items to class with you.

  • Use the bathroom during break times. Teachers may permit short bathroom/brain breaks during the block as per discretion.

  • Students should remain outside the classroom until the teacher is in the room, and/or until five minutes before the start of class.

  • Belongings are not to be stored in the classroom between classes.

  • Devices should remain switched off until directed by teacher.

  • Cell phones in class are for class purposes only (pictures, recording, etc.).

  • Eating is permitted only outside the classroom.

  • Student use of the common area is with teacher permission and supervision.

Have a great year, and please see your advisory teacher or your classroom teacher if you ever have any questions. E-mail me, if you have questions about Social Studies.

Mr. Martin (