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Syllabus 2015-16
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 8:50 AM

Welcome to Room 206
Dear Families,                                                              2015 - 16

I am sending home a syllabus as a guide for the year.  It is not meant to overwhelm anyone, but I think it helps to know what to expect.  It is not written in stone; sometimes things change or are altered over the course of the year.  We have reviewed the syllabus in school, but I would very much like for you to go over it with your child.  Please sign below and return the bottom portion so I know that it arrived home.
We have had a very good beginning, and we have an awesome class.  I have really enjoyed these first few days with your children.  Thank you for sending them our way.  Hope to see you all at Parent Information Night on Thursday, September 10th beginning at 6:30 P.M.  You’ll have the opportunity to sign up for fall goal-setting conferences, so please bring a calendar.
The middles’ team is also collecting money for planners and Time Magazine for Kids.  I’ll let you know the cost of those items very soon. Thank you for your support.
Please also send back the completed emergency packets as soon as possible.
Here’s to a great year of learning.

                                                                                       Mary Austin 
                                                             and Whitney Zahn                                                  (student teacher)
Cut here. The bottom portion of this cover sheet needs to migrate back to 206. Please sign below.
I received the syllabus and reviewed it with my child.
Child’s name____________________________________________
Parent Signature_______________________________________

Parent e-mail (please write very clearly) Class newsletters!

6th grade families – Only write e-mail address if there has been a change.


Homework for 5th and 6th Grade

Homework will be assigned when it makes sense and enhances the depth of student understanding.  Reading for pleasure is strongly recommended on a daily basis. Every day read a great book.

Spelling: In September we’ll assess each student’s spelling in order to find his or her instructional level.  Throughout the week students will explore spelling patterns and Latin/Greek roots as a way to increase their knowledge and develop their facility with the English language. We’ll assess students each week aka a spelling test.  If students are not mastering the words, additional study-time at home might be necessary. Students may have different teachers depending on their level.

Math: Many of our Middles’ students will be changing classes for math.  Matt, Katrina and Sara will teach 6th grade math. Alexandra, Lindsey and I will teach 5th grade.

Writing: There will be many writing, as in composition, assignments that students will work on both at home and school.  If handwriting, students must always remember to SKIP LINES, and if typing, DOUBLE-SPACE on rough drafts to allow for editing marks/feedback from peer editors and me.  If you don’t skip lines, you will have to redo your work.

Reading: Students will bring a book that they will enjoy reading to school for independent reading time. Barton also has a good selection of books from which to choose.  Sometimes literature circle groups (small book clubs) may decide that they will do some reading at home.  Lit circle groups will not commence until October.  We will begin our first novel The Giver as a whole-class guided reading experience within the first week of school.


Projects for 2015-16

Fall: Literature and Writing of Memories based on anchor novel The Giver

            (2-5 pages long with visual and oral presentations)
For a minimum of ten hours, you will investigate, explore, research and/or experience something in which you are interested. You will work on this project at home, writing your paper, creating an oral and visual presentation that grabs your audience’s attention and shows them what you learned about your topic of interest. This is a chance for you to go into depth about something you have always wanted to learn.  Projects have ranged from learning how to snowboard, knitting, calligraphy, origami, folding a parachute, photography, making a movie, animation, writing a book, learning about a favorite animal, etc. TRULY CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW OR DEEPEN YOUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE ALREADY INTO.
Start thinking NOW! Project due just before spring break.  More info later.

This will be a group project done almost entirely in school. We will be studying United States history, using the HistoryAlive! Curriculum. It will include note taking, a power point or paper, a visual and skits.

Book Projects

Reading is sooooooooo important, and it’s also a lot of fun. To quote the hope and dream of a Barton parent, “I want you to take a wild ride between the covers of a book.” I would also like you to read every day and then share some of those stories with our class.  I have been in the same book club for close to twenty years.  I love talking about books with my children, friends, family and neighbors.  I know that many of you at Barton also love to read and share what you’ve read.  Down below is a brief overview of book projects for each month.  More details or “the specs” will go home with students at the beginning of each month.

Discover Great Books this Year!

September:  fictional chapter book, short written report on story elements and illustrations
October:  fictional chapter book, emphasis on main character
November:  fictional chapter book, short written report and illustrations
December: take a holiday from book projects but not from reading
January:  African-American biography, short written report
February:  own-choice biography, dress up as your subject, oral presentation of your subject
March:  fictional chapter book, share with your family at home, suggested discussion questions will accompany “the specs”
April:  book of your choice, fiction or non-fiction, present to class any way you wish

Field Trips for 2015-16
Down below is a list that will help you plan your year. More information will be available later. (Some things may change or be added.)

Youth Performance Co. – The Giver – October 22nd from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Rollergardens – Friday morning, December 18th from 9:00 to 12:00 p.m.

Youth Performance Co.  - Just Before Sleep – February 5th from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m.

April visit to Southwest Senior Citizen Center at 36th and Bryant

Environmental Learning Camp St. Croix in Hudson, Wisconsin two-overnights/cabin stays  from April 18-20th

Youth Performance Co.  – Sideways Stories from Wayside School  - May 13 from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m.

Bike Trip to Lake Nokomis to be announced in May

ValleyFair  - the last day of school