Stories of Migration: Escape from Raqqa

15 Nov

The story of Ahmed and his family, who were caught up in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria. We have learned about why people migrate or leave their home. This is a very powerful video from the BBC that a friend shared with me. Ahmed is just one of nearly 250,000 people who fled Raqqa during the military offensive to drive out the Islamic State group from the city.

Produced by Nader Ibrahim, BBC Arabic and Coda Studio; Animation by Alessandra Cugno; Illustrations by Sofiya Voznaya

News Brief: Pollution in India

13 Nov

The pollution problems in New Delhi have been featured in the news a lot in the recent weeks. Thick smog blanketed areas of northern India, exceeding 10 times the recommended safe limit. Low visibility from the pollution has been blamed for an 18-car-pileup about 30 miles from New Delhi. Breathing the air has been likened to smoking 50 cigarettes in one day. Cold temperatures and slow winds have been blamed for the dangerous rise in pollution. – National Geographic


Sharing our Learning – Migration

9 Nov

Students in Social Studies finished their presentations on why people migrate. They shared their learning in small groups and received specific feedback from classmates on what they did well and an area they could improve. We also began Footstep #2 for Out of Eden Learn (Creating a Neighborhood Map). Students are exploring their neighborhoods, slowing down and looking for things they might not have noticed before. Be like Paul and practice slow journalism! The directions and rubric have been shared via email and has been posted on PowerSchool. 


Student feedback on maps made last year. Photo by Rob Martin


November Birthdays

2 Nov


Happy birthday to the following students celebrating a birthday this month: Catherine and Hanae (3), Eunseong (6), Clara (9), Ema (15), Ellie (16), Adesh and Emily (25), Joao Pedro and Jaehui (27). If I forgot anyone, let me know. Have a FANTASTIC day!

India Week and Guest Speaker

29 Oct

Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin

We celebrated India Week at AISC this week. Parents came to advisory to talk about Rangoli or Kolam designs and their importance. We also finished our research to answer our compelling question (Why do people migrate?). In class this next week, students will be creating a Google Presentation or poster to show their understanding of a group of a people in history and why they migrated. Mr. Phan gave a presentation to a few classes and told his story about his escape from Vietnam after the war. If you were not able to ask him a question, feel free to ask him one when you see him at school.


Photo by Rob Martin


Photo by Rob Martin

Walking the Wild Rim of War (Out of Eden Walk

24 Oct

Paul’s most recent blog posts, Walking the Wild Rim of War and Heart Like a Wheel feature his journey in Afghanistan. His photos and videos are amazing and show a part of the world we often associate with war. Here is a quote that I found very interesting when he described the process of turning wheat into flour to make bread:

“Isolated by 20,000-foot mountains and years of civil war, and rich in tumbling glacial creeks, the people of this remote territory of Badakhshan Province depend on the flexed green muscle of running water to survive—to eat.”

Check out the videos. Not many people are living this way in anymore. It’s a land far removed from the comforts and access to technology we have in our lives. 

Buckshot gravel: facing the bodi Wakhan winds, in ‪#Tajikistan #Pamirs

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Why People Move: The Rohingya Crisis

23 Oct

After a long break (Week Without Walls and our fall break) we are returning to our compelling question: Why do people migrate or move? During last week’s vacation, I watched the continuing coverage of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. Here is a case of a group of people or ethnic group who are moving, in order to survive. 

Who are the Rohingya? The Rohingya are often described as “the world’s most persecuted minority” according to this article on Al-Jazeera. They are an ethnic group, the majority of whom are Muslim, who have lived for centuries in the majority Buddhist Myanmar (Burma). Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya who live in the Southeast Asian country. Due to ongoing violence and persecution, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighboring countries either by land or boat over the course of many decades. Look at this visual from Al-Jazeera and watch the videos to learn more about this group. 

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 11.09.12 PM

Other related or recent news stories:

There’s only one conclusion on the Rohingya in Myanmar: It’s genocide (CNN)

World Book Online -> Log-in -> Student -> Search: Rohingya (translate to your native-language, if necessary). We will make hard copies. 

In class this week, we will finish our group work where we are collecting information on historical events or periods where people migrated or moved for various reasons (ancient humans, African-Americans during the Great Migration, Vietnamese after the war, and Syrians who have fled their country). 

We will also have a guest speaker this week to talk about his story of migration and movement – Mr. Phan!

Week Without Walls (Oct. 9 – 13)

16 Oct
Photos by Rob Martin

Week Without Walls in Panchgani was great! Here are a few photos I took during the trip. Your teachers, along with the Utsaah staff, will be creating a Google folder to add all of our photos. We got very lucky with the weather and it did not rain as much as we thought it might. I enjoyed the hike and the village visit, in particular. The opportunity to interview people in the small village about their lifestyle, local economy, health care, infrastructure, and educational opportunities was a great learning experience. You will find connections between this activity and what we will do for one of the footstep projects for Out of Eden Learn. 

Enjoy your fall vacation, whether you are traveling or staying in Chennai. See you in class on Monday, October 23 (2G day).


Research and Collaboration – Migration and Out of Eden Walk

6 Oct

The “UN Group”  – South Korea, Germany, Thailand, France, and Japan


Looks like an Apple Store with a better view of the palm trees!




A friendly visitor in class.

In class we are answering the compelling question: Why do people move or migrate? We are seeking connections to Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk as we build some background knowledge on his motivation for his 9-10 year walk that will follow the path of human migration. In class students are conducting research that focuses on migration during four different time periods: ancient history, the “Great Migration” (African-Americans in the U.S.A.), Vietnam and the boat people, and Syrian refugees. We want to learn about where they migrated to, why they migrated, and what challenges they faced. 

Here are two current photos from Paul’s walk in Tajikistan. Here is a current story from Paul’s walk, The Ruby Sellers of Vrang. All students should be finished with posting footstep #1, Setting Off, for Out of Eden Learn. You should also be engaging in conversations with other students from other schools in our walking party. We will do Footstep #2 after the vacation. 

Moveable ark. Cargo donkey and pack yak inch south towards Afghanistan. #Tajikistan #Pamirs

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October Birthdays

3 Oct


Happy birthday to the following students celebrating a birthday this month. Let me know if I made any errors or forgot someone. Have a great day: Adam (6), Yumin and Gwenole (8), Ahsir (12), Chanak (14), Taiyo (18), Fuuka (27), Vel (28), William (29), Shinnosuke (30). 

Why do people move?

27 Sep


Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 8.33.49 AM.png

Why do people move? 

Watch the videos below and answer this question? Some other resources you could use:


Great Quotes

26 Sep


You are quickly learning that Social Studies is not about memorizing facts and dates. You are learning many new routines to show your thinking as you make connections to what you know and the world around you.

Out of Eden Launch

20 Sep

Tower of silence: approaching Chilpak, 2,200-yr-old Zoroastrian burial temple. #Uzbekistan #towerofsilence

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

Think about it/Discuss:

Everyone should do what Paul is doing. Agree or disagree? Explain.

Who Paul Salopek? What is Out of Eden Walk?


Image Source: Out of Eden Walk


Spirit Week!

18 Sep

Spirit week

Show your school spirit this week! I will add some photos during the week. If you want to share any photos with me, email me. – Mr. Martin


Sixth grade shows spirit! – Photo by Rob Martin


Best PJs in 6th grade – Photo by Rob Martin

formal 3

Formal Day – Photo by Tommy


Formal Day – Photo by Rob Martin


Formal Day – Photo by Rob Martin


Multiples Day – Photo by Rob Martin


Multiples Day – Photo by Rob Martin

One color1

One Color Day – Photo by Rob Martin

One color2

One Color Day – Photo by Rob Martin


UN Day of Peace – Photo by Rob Martin


UN Day of Peace – Photo by Rob Martin


UN Day of Peace – Photo by Tess Welbes


UN Day of Peace – Photo by Rob Martin


UN Day of Peace – Photo by Rob Martin

Snapshot Autobiographies + Out of Eden Learn

17 Sep


Photos by Rob Martin

Here are a few photos of your work on your snapshot autobiography from class on Thursday and Friday. Most of you nearly finished in class. Finish them before class on Monday and Tuesday and be prepared to share them with your classmates. Review the expectations and rubric that has been emailed to you and also shared on PowerSchool. Out of Eden Learn begins next week! More details will be provided in class. 

"Sadness is but a wall between two gardens." —Kahlil Gibran

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

New pack donkey. Alai mountain crossing, #Kyrgyzstan. Photo credit: Sunny Lambert

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

Poll Question: What is your favorite phone? Claim, Evidence, Reasoning

13 Sep

iphone vs. Samsung vs. ???

Advisory class almost didn’t start today because of a passionate debate between some students about their favorite phone. In light of the release of the new iPhone X, it sparked a debate among some students, so I thought this might be a nice opportunity (optional) to connect what we are doing in class to another topic. In the comment section, write a paragraph where you make a claim (ex. “The Samsung Galaxy smartphone is a better phone than a…”). Make sure you support your claim with evidence and reasoning (your explanation).

If you don’t own a phone, you could also make a claim about a different topic, such as: Why you think people your age should not have a phone. (ex. “Sixth grade students are too young to own their own phone because…”). Another one? “My parents should let me own a phone because…”

Although I now have an iPhone 6+, I owned a Nokia phone for nearly eight years. I loved it! When you post your comment, you need to add your first name only and your email address. Leave the box that says ‘website’ empty. All comments are moderated meaning I must approve them first before they are visible to everyone.

G6 WWW T-shirt Design Contest

12 Sep


Here are some examples of some of the COOL designs we have received, so far, for our Week Without Walls T-shirt design contest. We look forward to seeing more examples. The designs are due on Friday. Please submit your design to your advisory teacher. The finalists will be selected and invited to meet with the man who makes the t-shirts – Wednesday, September 20th during lunch. Pizza provided!

Snapshot Autobiography

11 Sep

We have been working hard on writing narratives to describe three turning points in our own personal history. We have defined a turning point and you have brainstormed memorable events in your life. Each event must include a claim, evidence, and reasoning to support why this turning point was so important in your life. You must also include a timeline (drawn to scale) and an ‘About the Author’ section on the back.

I have created a model to describe three turning points in my life. This week we will revise our writing and ensure that the who, what, where, when and why are answered with sufficient details. You will also work on creating your brochure that will also include illustrations and a title. We are excited to see your finished product!

September Birthdays

1 Sep


Happy Birthday to the following students celebrating a birthday in September: Tommy (6), Sam (8), Tess (9), and Paul (12). If I forgot anyone, let me know. 


Out of Eden Learn is Coming Soon!

30 Aug

Road worker Abdulkhalek Abdrakhmanov carries his daughter, Bukhalima, in the Pamir Mountains of #Tajikistan.

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

Support vehicle: cargo horse and rider, Alai range, #Kyrgyzstan.

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

Seven levels of nourishment: village feast, #Kyrgyzstan.

A post shared by Out of Eden Walk (@outofedenwalk) on

Snapshot Autobiography Introduction

29 Aug
SS1SS2SS4SS5SS7SS6Photos by Rob Martin

We have started our snapshot autobiography project! We brainstormed a list of memorable events, defined a turning point, and interviewed parents about a turning point in their lives. We are also reviewing our rubric to ensure we understand expectations. In class this week, we are learning how to write a claim, use evidence, and support our claim through reasoning (CER). Please see PowerSchool for the slides and our daily agenda. 

Hammurabi’s Code of Law

23 Aug

In class this week, we have been using Hammurabi’s Code of Law as a case study to explore the question: Why are laws or rules important? Here is a short video playlist that includes information about Hammurabi, his empire, and his code of law. We hope you enjoyed the lesson.

What is Social Studies?

15 Aug

This week we are introduced our class, Social Studies. What is Social Studies? Watch these videos. The first one is the one we watched in class and discussed in our table groups. We are will learn about the various themes of this subject, throughout the year – geography, history, civics, and economics.

August Birthdays

15 Aug


Happy birthday to the following grade 6 students celebrating birthdays in the month of August. You can click on ‘comments’ and wish your classmates a happy birthday. Just add your email address and first name only. No need to add a website. If I made any mistakes or forgot someone, please let me know. Happy birthday: Ahmet (1), Luca (10), Junwon and Chaeyun (11), Ritika (17), Neil (21), and DaEun (27). 

Welcome Back (2017 – 2018)

13 Aug

Day 1BDay 1DDay 1EDay 2CDay 1a

Welcome to 6th grade! We hope you had a nice summer and are ready for a great year. Along with PowerSchool, my class blog will celebrate learning and share ideas. This blog is also a great way for parents to see what we are doing in class. As of today, this site has had over 90,000 page views from 174 countries. You and your parents can ‘follow’ the blog by adding your email address in the box at the top right of the blog. You need to confirm you are following the blog when you get a message in your inbox. Anytime Mr. Martin adds a new post on this blog, you will get a message, if you are following this blog

The photos above feature some activities we did in our first day, the name wave. We learned each other’s names and how to pronounce each other’s name. We also did a four corners activity. In addition, we discussed important materials needed for our class:

  • spiral notebook

  • accordion folder

  • pencil case

– Mr. Martin and Mr. Ranson