6th and 7th Grade Humanities--January, 2018

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6th and 7th Graders have been busy this school year, learning the following:

  • How to write a research paper on Ancient Civilization topics
  • How to make an outline
  • How to create a Works Cited page (formerly called a Bibliography)
  • How to write a 5 paragraph essay
  • How to write a compare and contrast essay
  • What are primary and secondary sources
  • What are credible and non-credible or unreliable sources

In the first trimester, 6th and 7th graders explored the contents of a Traveling Trunk from the Williamson County Museum.  Our trunk was called “Digging Up the Past” and contained sample archeological dig items, buried in shoeboxes full of sand, artifacts and fossils (flint, arrowheads, a buffalo bone, flint, Indian scrapers and rock tools, etc.), and a bunch of brochures and pamphlets.   We learned about the Leanderthal Lady (a skeleton found in Leander, Texas) and also learned what an archeologist does in the field.  We then studied in our history textbook about what was the difference between a historian, an archeologist, and a paleontologist, and began our study of Ancient Civilizations.

Sixth and seventh graders are now in our third unit of study, and are individually researching different topics in Ancient History, and then are presenting their research to their peers and are “teaching the class.”  Students complete research and then prepare a written report, along with a PowerPoint or Prezi and a game or other visual activity, to use as a teaching tool to help teach their peers about their topic of study.  Students take notes on the presentations of their peers, and then practice what they have been taught by using Quizlets created by their peers.  At the end of each unit, students take either a quiz or a test, which holds all students accountable for the topics presented by their peers.

6th graders have finished two research projects so far this year:  Ancient Civilizations and Ancient Israel, and are currently researching either Ancient Greece, Ancient India, or Ancient China during the month of January.   7th graders have also finish two research projects so far this year:  Ancient Civilizations and the second on Ancient Israel, Greece, India, or China.  7th graders are now researching Ancient Rome during the month of January.

In addition, 7th graders are weaving the theme of “Heroes in History” throughout our studies.  In the first trimester, all 7th graders interviewed a grandparent or a relative over the age of 60, and then did some research on some of the topics shared with them by that grandparent or relative.  7th graders then wrote a short story about the interview, in the style of the Chicken Soup for the Soul stories.  Members of the 7th grade Humanities class will conduct two more interviews this winter trimester and again in March, and our hope is to publish a collection of stories in our own 7th grade Soup for the Soul type book.

Both 6th and 7th graders are also creating games for each research unit, and we hope to create our own Traveling Trunk, which will then travel to some of the younger grades in the spring, when 6th and 7th graders will become a “teacher for a day” and teach a lesson to one of the younger grades here at AJA.

Another theme about which Mrs. Girardot is very passionate is “Hunger.”  All middle school students were able to visit the Mazon Hunger exhibit in the large white 18 wheeler that you may have seen parked outside the JCC in December.  All 7th graders had the opportunity to visit the Central Texas Food Bank on January 5th for the Souper Bowl of Caring Central Texas Media Kick-off Event.  We had students working on three teams to build a Canstruction design at the early morning event (from 5:30-9:30 am, because that is the time of the early morning Austin news shows).  Students had a private tour of the new Central Texas Food Bank warehouse, and we plan to visit again later this spring, to do volunteer service work at the Food Bank.

Coming the last week of January, Mrs. Girardot’s Algebra students will be team leaders to work with each class at AJA to create a Canstruction design here at AJA.  Students will be asked to collect specific types of can goods, and a team of two Algebra students will supervise the actual Canstruction design, on January 31st to February 2nd, ending the weekend before the Super Bowl.  Mrs. Girardot was able to make a connection with a regional representative from HEB and from Randalls, and our best Canstruction designs will be de-Canstructed, and then re-Canstructed at a local HEB and Randalls, in our community!

All 6th and 7th graders are really learning a lot, and are progressing as researchers, writers, and critical thinkers.  Mrs. Girardot is extremely proud of the progress of her students in Humanities, and is honored to teach here at the Austin Jewish Academy!

Prototypes for some of our Canstruction designs can be seen on the attached pdf flier.  [gview file=”https://www.austinjewishacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Canstruction-Flier.pdf”]

Contact Mrs. Girardot, 6th and 7th grade Humanities teacher, for more information!