Deal or No Deal?

Sixth grade had to make some quick decisions with our “Deal or No Deal” game on Kahoot! Given the original price and a new deal, they had to determine which was the better purchase. They raced against the clock--and each other--to find the best buy.


Prior to the Christmas break, 6th grade began its informational writing unit with a familiar text structure, compare and contrast (they did this with Christmas celebrations of different countries). This week, we continued our unit with the sequence text structure. After reading a short essay and answering questions about the essay’s structure, students chose one of three prompts to draft a short sequence essay. Needless to say, the most popular prompt was how to teach an older relative to play a new video game. I think I know how to play Fortnite now!

Writing these type of essays requires students to use a variety of skills-- planning, organization, and review-- and manage all components of an essay-- topic sentence, a hook, clear presentation of ideas, concluding sentence, and proper writing conventions of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Balancing all of these elements is not an easy task, but our 6th graders do it well.

Katelyn Gunter


Sixth grade is reading “The Gift of the Magi”, the classic Christmas story, this week. It has a heartwarming theme that anyone can appreciate. As the story is written in the early 20th century, the vocabulary tends to be rich with figurative language, but somewhat difficult for 21st century twelve year olds. The students are studying the vocabulary and learning the appropriate meanings in context. After defining the words and writing sentences with them, the students played charades to grasp a better understanding of the words, which also adds a fun element to the learning. Approaching context in a different way leads to gains in comprehension!



Baby It’s Cold Outside

It may be cold outside, but things are heating up in 6th grade science! We are studying thermodynamics and properties of heat transfer. We started by formulating hypotheses and debating which type of cup was best for drinking hot cocoa. Of course, we had to test this!

Students were then issued the challenge of creating a device to keep a beaker of hot water warm for 25 minutes. We are currently in the building and improving stages of the design process. Things are getting messy, but isn’t that how great learning should be?

“I liked talking about the new science stuff that we are doing. I am really excited to start it and research the stuff for it with my partner. I am really looking forward to building it too!” ~Annabelle

“The hot chocolate was really fun!” ~Bramlett

“I think that math was a lot of fun; plus we got hot chocolate. It was so much fun, and I loved learning about ratios. I would like to thank Mrs. Ayers for a great week and for the yummy hot chocolate.” ~Ella

“My most memorable learning experience this week was learning about heat and how it moves around. I learned this in Science!” ~Aimee

“I liked making the hot chocolate. It was really good and fun. I want to keep doing more things where we make stuff.” ~Alex

Katelyn Gunter


Last Thursday, November 1, the 6th grade class hosted its annual Egyptian Fair for all classes and their parents. As a culmination of our Ancient Egypt history unit, students chose a profession common to Ancient Egypt, researched it, and wrote a descriptive paragraph explaining the profession. Next, students cranked their creative juices to role play and develop their own business based on the profession. Not only did students have to write a paragraph persuading customers to buy their products or services, but they also designed magazine ads and business cards. All of these elements were displayed on tri-fold boards and “shops” were set up around our focal point, the Great Pyramid of Kennley. One of our enterprising students asked if she could build a pyramid in the commons, and with the amazing eye and direction of our talented Ms. Denise, Kennley did. With Denise’s guidance, the students even created the Nile River, as our fair featured some professions that relied on water. Overall, the Egyptian Fair reflected St. James’ commitment to experiential learning, as students practiced the art of persuasion in their writing, their designs, and their delivery of speeches about their businesses. What a wonderful way to learn!



Roller Coasters

We are learning about force, motion, and energy in sixth grade science. Students are building roller coasters to test how potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy. They have approached the topic from many other angles as well, including online research, interactive digital investigations, and using photogates to measure the speed of a rolling marble.

“I liked making the roller coaster. Everybody, especially Nick though, had a cool roller coaster. They’re so fun to make and our conversations whilst making them are hilarious. I wanna build more stuff out of trash. :)” ~Alex

“I liked science because it is fun. I also liked that it involves building.” ~Charlie


Katelyn Gunter



Sixth grade students were issued the challenge of researching an ancient Egyptian pyramid and calculating its surface area. They had to create a two-dimensional net to represent the actual measurements, and then they made a three-dimensional model pyramid out of upcycled materials. Students created a variety of paper and digital presentations to share their findings.

“I enjoyed math because we were doing the pyramids. Making the pyramids was fun. Finding the area of the pyramid was sort of fun.” ~Hannah

“I loved math it was so much fun. What we did was: we were in groups and I was with my friend Annabelle and we built different pyramids. Mine was the Bent Pyramid; it was so much fun building the pyramid and a little bit of the slideshow.” ~Ella


“I liked when we built our pyramids. It was fun, and people made really creative pyramids. It was fun making ‘JeffaMid’ and I want to do something like this again.” ~Alex

“I liked doing the thing in math with the pyramid. It was fun building our own pyramid. Also, the finding the surface area wasn't that hard.” ~Kennley


“My favorite learn activity was finding the surface area. I had some fails and disappointments, but I got thru it!” ~Aimee

“My favorite learning activity from this week was the pyramid project. It was a little challenging but it was worth it in the end. I loved this project it was so much fun.” ~Abbie



The Egyptian Fair is rapidly approaching, and sixth graders are working hard on developing their chosen professions. What fun they are having, too-- experiential learning always yields more interest and effort! We will feature a range of businesses from a baker to a laundress to an engineer, with a variety of professions in between. Not only have students researched their profession to write a paragraph explaining their role in society, but they have also created a few documents advertising their business and products. This week, as they have finished most of their requirements, students have enjoyed a small art project-- crafting Egyptian cartouches with hieroglyphics for their names. The Egyptian Fair will be set up as a perimeter around our grand masterpiece pyramid, envisioned by Kennley and constructed by her with Ms. Denise’s keen eye. Please visit the Egyptian Fair November 1-2.


Katelyn Gunter


In our year-long study of ancient civilizations, 6th grade has ventured from Mesopotamia to Ancient Egypt. We have learned the importance of geography and natural resources, especially the Nile River, to the growth of Egyptian civilization. After completing a geography webquest with interactive maps, we learned about Egyptian social structure and religion. Following group summaries of various aspects of Egyptian religion, Mrs. Jordan and Mrs. Kirkland treated us to a virtual reality tour of Egyptian pyramids via Google expeditions. That was definitely our favorite activity, cites H.B. and B.B.

We have been time traveling between 1500 B.C. Egypt and 1919 America, as we also write essays about women’s suffrage for the annual Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest. We are putting ourselves in the shoes of a character living through the passage of the 19th amendment and its impact on America. It’s difficult to imagine that 100 years ago, women couldn’t vote in America, at least not in national elections.



Who Dunnit?

Sixth grade had a great mystery to solve, a real-live CLUE investigation was set before them, complete with unknown white powders, clear liquids, metals, fibers, hair samples, and fingerprints. They had to research and apply chemical and physical properties of matter to identify nearly two dozen compounds. Then they used this information to synthesize a logical account of who commited the crime. After much deliberation and thorough analysis, they found Mr. Green guilty!

“I liked the "Clue" game where we got to find the out who was the murderer. The powders were a little hard to find out what they were. The liquids were also a little hard.” ~Kennley

“My favorite learning activity was science when we did the clue game. I learned some stuff about different chemicals. It was really fun and I can’t wait to do it again.” ~Alex

“I liked science the most because it was just plain out fun. I also liked it because it was very challenging. It was also neat that Mr. Green (now known as convict 18402) was going to be the bad guy.” ~Charlie

“My favorite learning activity was in science. I enjoyed when we had to figure out what were the mysterious liquids and powders were. I learned how to take clues, put them together, and find the answer.” ~Elle


Katelyn Gunter