sixthGradeCulminations COVEROn Friday, January 20, the entire sixth-grade community of students, teachers, and families gathered in the evening for the annual First Semester Culmination, which aims to highlight some of the incredible work the students and teachers completed during the fall.



The sixth-grade historians conducted oral presentations of their personalized versions of the Declaration of Independence.

With their cries for freedom varying from the tyranny of overnight homework and classroom rules to calls for independence from air pollution, discrimination, and pain, the students vented their opinions through the structure and spirit of the original document — reciting a unique preamble, a list of complaints, their attempts to resolve the issues, and finally, their declaration of freedom.

Reflecting upon the evening, Gary Kaplan, sixth-grade humanities teacher, said, “I was very proud of the originality of their ideas and their effort to be clear and efficient in their presentations.”


The sixth-grade writers had the majority of their work from the semester on display for their classmates and families to browse.

First, the students demonstrated their understanding of the summer reading novels by writing four essays, which included a discussion of communities in the books and in their own lives, an analysis of a choice made by the characters and themselves, and a reflection on the role of mentors in the books and in their lives. All of this work was collected on display during culmination.

Then students shared their American folktales, in which they explored written character and setting sketches, as well as creating plot outlines for longer, original folktales.


Writing and Math
Finally, the students presented their mathematician biographies, the final unit of the semester, which was an integrated project combining the disciplines of art, math, research, and writing. In math class earlier in the term, students researched a mathematical problem that their mathematician discovered, advanced, or popularized.

The final poster consisted of a letter of recommendation nominating the mathematician for one of six awards, an infographic, and a thank-you note from the mathematician to an inspirational person in his/her life. This work was the focus of a Visible Learning Project documentation piece last year. The final posters were on display during culmination aand students were available to answer questions about the lives and mathematical work of their mathematicians.


Computer Science
At the beginning of the semester in computer science, students were exposed to three areas of programming: art and animation with processing Javascript, web design with HTML and CSS, and computing with spreadsheets.

For the final project of the course, students chose an area to study in greater depth. Their projects required them to utilize programming as a tool to display content they had learned from other disciplines.

During culmination, projects were on display that ranged from animations of their folklore characters to webpages about clubs and spirit animals. There were many calculators and spreadsheets that summarized or extended their knowledge from math class.


Attempting to summarize the science contribution to the evening, Dalton Lobo Dias, middle school science teacher said, “Our sixth-grade scientists showcased their Egg Drop and Space Mission Project prototypes, along with pictures and videos of their work.

“In the Egg Drop Project, the challenge was to design a structure from only 70 straws and a single roll of duct tape that could protect an egg from a 5.6-meter drop.

“In our astronomy unit, students designed and proposed their own Space Mission that could help answer questions about our solar system and beyond.

“Both projects were framed with a design thinking approach that involved deep-dive research, developing user need statements, and brainstorming. Once the prototyping began, students designed and tested their iterations.”



 January 27, 2017



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