6th Grade Trail Tidbits

By: Susie Rogers 5th-8th ELA

“For the wood was full of light, entirely different from the sight she was used to. it was green and amber and alive, quivering in splotches on the padded ground, fanning into sturdy stripes between the tree trunks. There were little flowers she did not recognize, white and palest blue: and endless, tangled vines; and here and there a fallen log half rotted but soft with patches of sweet green-velvet moss.” With their eyes closed, the 6th grade students listened to this excerpt from Tuck Everlasting as an introduction to the concept of sensory imagery in writing.

This passage from Tuck Everlasting was our inspiration for our own trail walk to apply sensory imagery writing techniques. Students armed with a notebook and pencil marched eagerly to enjoy Mother Nature along the St. James Trail. They were not allowed to discuss what they were writing as students examined the woods and took notes about their trek. Upon returning to the classroom, they were asked to write a description essay about their experience. Students volunteered to read their stories out loud, and they were amazed by the different aspect each student had. The students’ writing came alive with this assignment. Here are some examples of the 6th grade students’ sentences:

“Stumps with moss, bugs, and flowers were near an old bridge.” David

““There were thorns that looked like they were protecting something like a knight protecting their princess.” Heath

“As I step over the green grass, you can just admire how beautiful nature really is.” Jonah

“There were so many colorful berries. Some were red and purple.” Staten

“The sun was beaming down on top of the trees and making them glow.” Kaden

“…radiantly colored berries.” “…vibrant green colors.” Katherine

“…trees hollowed out by the years.” Morgan

“The vines were ever so perfectly draped over the trees.” Addison

“it was dark, but little bits of light peeked through the cracks of the trees.” Zachary

“Spiders were everywhere- on trees, plants, and my face.” Ayres

Students thoroughly enjoyed getting out of the classroom and describing what they encountered. Learning really does come alive at St. James Day School!

Susie Rogers
Sixth Grade is off to a great start!

By: Marie Goodwin-5th-6th grade Math and Science teacher

6th grade started the year off by participating with the 7th grade class in an escape game. The students used clues, math skills, logical reasoning, and most of all, teamwork to solve various puzzles and remove locks from a breakout box. The game included information about the space program, and was a kickoff to our study about earth and space. The students showed strong problem solving skills as they worked together to put together a timeline of the Apollo missions and other space related puzzles.

Later in the week, the students were challenged to design and and build a rover from limited supplies. For this activity they were paired with the 5th grade, and every group came up with a different design. Each group was successful!

The entire middle school participated in a kickball game on Friday. It was a pleasure to watch how well they worked together.

In math class, we explored ratios by analyzing the student’s collections. We had all kinds of collections, including trading cards, buttons, patches, shells, marbles, and legos.

In science class, the students explored the relative size of the planets in our solar system. They used large amounts of Play Doh to demonstrate the sizes. The students were asked to hypothesize the size of the planets, and were surprised by the actual size of them in scale.

This group works well together, they are competitive, energetic, intelligent, and most of all, kind. I am excited to see what they will accomplish this year as a class, and as a part of the middle school.

IMG_0655 (1).jpg
Marie Goodwin


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