The 2018-19 school year has flown by, and I can hardly fathom that this class, whom I taught 5th grade, is now completing the 6th grade. We have enjoyed a fantastic year full of diverse learning experiences, from Egyptian Fair to Mo Ranch five-paragraph essays, from class novels and poetry to the Ancient Greek Olympics. How much these sixteen students have grown in their writing, reading and analyzing skills! They have also learned over 350 Latin vocabulary words in the last three years and have strengthened their translation abilities immensely. We rounded out our Latin studies with the annual Roman Feast and Carnival, which involved multi-faceted project-based learning. Students selected a deity or monster, researched him or her (or shall I say “it”), and then chose a mini-project to apply their research. Students produced colorful comic book style drawings, fancy dinner party invitations, and versatile diary entries and group newsletters showcasing their deities’ personalities. Next, split into correlating teams with fifth and seventh graders, students designed a carnival activity that complemented their deities’ skills and behaviors. With the assistance of the 4th graders, the deities hosted the Carnival for all of the younger students. What a fun way to end our year in Latin!


Favorite Memories

We have enjoyed many memorable learning experiences together in 6th grade Math and Science. Here are some of the students’ favorites…

Some of my favorite memories were working on the roller coaster and the Augmented Reality Sandbox.


My favorite memory in math is when I got tape for my birthday. My favorite memory in science is when we made the marble run.


In science I loved doing the projects and of course Science Olympiad. In math I liked how it was like a conversation; it helped me understand more.


I liked everything that went on this year; this was one of my favorite classes.


I liked when we went on strike; it was fun. I also liked when we got hot cocoa in science and got to build our own roller coasters.


It is hard to choose just a couple of fun or happy memories because every moment has been amazing.


I have so many memories, and I hope we will have as much fun next year as we did this year!


I really enjoyed when we all made roller coasters, and I liked learning new things everyday. Also I think something really fun we did was watch the movie in the planetarium.


I liked it when we went to Science Olympiad, and I liked Khan Academy.


My favorite thing that we did in science was making roller coasters. It was fun, and I loved making them. My favorite thing we did in math was learning new skills while having fun. I had a great year with math and science.


I love Science Olympiad, and it was fun. I remember our first time doing Kahoot and we were crazy!


I have had a lot of fun and learned a lot.


One of my favorite things from science was when we watched a movie in the planetarium, and one of my favorite things in math was when we had hot cocoa and cookies!

Susannah Joyce


Sixth graders are finishing their poetry unit with the novel-in-verse, Out of the Dust. A novel in poetry form is an excellent way to study figurative language within the traditional story elements of characters, setting, and plot. Also, as the story is told in short poem entries, it moves quickly. The class has discussed the events as a whole group, met in small groups to dissect characters and answer comprehension questions, and write individual “self-portraits” in the same style as Billie Jo, the protagonist, wrote in the beginning of the novel. We plan to complete this study with a choice mini-project and play an Out of the Dust board game constructed by students a couple of years ago.



When games like Fortnite and movies such as Endgame have captured kids’ attention, why not use their interests for academic purposes? Our students have been creating and sharing games to review key vocabulary terms in science, and we’ve stumbled upon a relatively new online game platform called Gimkit. This game was itself designed by a high school student to make classroom review more engaging, and he did just that by making “Thanos Mode” available for a limited time. Students answer questions and earn [imaginary] money for correct responses. They can then use the money to purchase upgrades to increase their earning power. In Thanos Mode, students purchase a series of six Infinity Stones of increasing value--the first stone is $5 and the last is $150,000. The first student to acquire all six stones is the winner and gets to “snap” half of the class (apparently this is a trademark move for the legendary Thanos)...we were all on the edge of our seats waiting to see who survived the snap!

Susannah Joyce


We are deep into our poetry unit, and we are having a blast! The 6th grade class’ writing strength is in poetry. As I looped with this class, I knew that they could write poems last year, and it wasn’t a fluke-- they are writing lovely, expressive lines again! We have emphasized a variety of poetic devices this year, expanding our knowledge from 5th grade. To reinforce understanding, we have practiced recognizing and creating poetic elements each week-- through pictures, through our read-aloud novel, and through movement (a poetic devices egg hunt through the commons). The students are mastering these devices by stretching their learning in multiple ways-- it is FANTASTIC!

Susannah Joyce


It’s all about United States geography in the 5th grade! Students researched a state to create a “great state plate,” and then studied the locations of all 50 states to label them correctly on a blank map. Through a set of diverse stations, students have enjoyed interactive practice of the states’ locations. They have studied through a wooden puzzle, a write-and-wipe laminated map, a web-based game, and the fan favorite, the giant blank floor map. What a great way to appeal to each student’s learning style!

Math and Science:

Science & Engineering Festival

Our fifth through seventh grade students put a new twist on the concept of a science fair and hosted an interactive Science & Engineering Festival. Teams of students studied topics of interest and used their findings to create a hands-on exhibit to share with younger students. We invited younger grades to join us for our festival, and the cooperative learning experience was a great success. The students enjoyed pushing their limits to learn in new ways and share their findings with others.

Cardboard Planetarium:

Augmented Reality Sandbox:

Marble Run:

Mystery Architecture:

Crime Busters:


Circuit Lab:




Anatomy & Physiology:

Rainbow Paper:

Susannah Joyce


All Roads Lead to Rome…

Sixth grade has been studying Ancient Rome as part of our Ancient Civilizations curriculum this year. Already familiar with several aspects of Ancient Rome through Latin class, the class has learned Roman geography, government, social classes, and daily life. This week, we are focusing on Roman achievements in architecture and engineering this week. Students broke into teams to rotate through a series of stations about five feats of architecture and engineering-- arches, domes, aqueducts, baths, and of course, roads. Students read a short passage about each topic, play around with visual images on Google Maps, and then watch a short video further explaining the engineering behind each achievement. Then, they discuss and write answers to comprehension questions as a group. The science behind the construction of all these objects is fascinating, and it is wonderful to reinforce the students’ understanding of physics as well as appeal to their artistic senses. Not only is an interactive study like this a good way to move around our classroom at the end of the day, but it also reaches different learning styles through a variety of media to explain each topic. As each group finishes this assignment, each student will choose the most important achievement and cite evidence from his or her notes to support his or her choice. Therefore, not only will students have remembered and applied their knowledge to writing their answers, but they will also have synthesized the information and then evaluated it to form an opinion. This is learning at its best!

Susannah Joyce