Alliance Jack H. Skirball Middle School Growth and Empowerment

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Dr. Joan Wicks » 6th Grade Humanities

6th Grade Humanities

The Humanities course goal is for students to master the 6th Grade Common Core English Language Arts standards using a historical lens to understand people, cultures, and events from the past and the present. Students develop the stamina and strategies needed for independent comprehension and deep reading of complex narrative and informational texts. Students also develop mastery in select 6th Grade Common Core Social Studies standards to further support their speaking/listening, reading, writing, and thinking skills. Additional focus on language and academic vocabulary also help students build these skills. Students demonstrate their knowledge through assessment, research, writing and digital presentations.



Dear Students:


Thank you all so much for the hard work and dedication you demonstrated for your College and Career and Hero projects.  I was extremely pleased with the academic content and artistic representations in your work.


I look forward to closing out the year with a maniacal devotion to improving our reading, writing, and speaking skills, while continuing to grow our technological skills.  Buckle your seat belts.  It's going to be a fast ride!



Ms. Wicks


Just a quick note to wish everyone a wonderful New Year!

Best Wishes!

Ms. Wicks

P.S. Don't forget your homework!  :-)

Fall Semester Make-Up Work

All Destination Success work is due by Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.  

Click on "Destination Success" and then "Show All Homework" to find all of the Achieve3000 articles that have been assigned.

Sign into Achieve3000 and compare your "My Lessons" (activities) work to the work that was assigned.  You should have a minimum of 17 articles with scores of 50% or better.

Please contact me if you have any questions!   ~Ms. Wicks



Blended Learning: "Footloose" with 4th Period

Destination Success Period 4 pilots "Footloose" practicing order of operations. Using Blended Learning, students are in 3 stations. Each group is gradually released for greater independence. Learning is student led and peer supported. Collaborative Station These students have completed the class digital agenda and are now practicing order of operations on task cards. Students discuss and resolve errors together. Upon completions, these students will access the class enrichment list in Edmodo to practice academic (math) language and research the rules of exponents. Independent Station These students have demonstrated proficiency in operations in the direct station and have been moved to independent practice. Once they complete assigned tasks, they will move to collaborative work. Direct Station These students are seated in the front of the classroom. They have received intensive intervention and have just begun independent practice with teacher support. Notice: teacher roams the room and students are highly engaged in their work!

Welcome to Destination Success!

Destination Success class motto: "The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step." `Lao Tzu

The Beginning

We started our leg of this journey by getting to know each other and making friends.  We learned resiliency, the ability to "bounce back" from difficult circumstances is based on 6 domains: a secure base (home), education, friends, talents/interests, positive values and social competencies.  During the first week, we focused on developing friendships through team building exercises.  We also learned the classroom rituals and routines, and practiced "station rotations" for Blended Leaning (integrating technology in the classroom).



During the second week, students began learning about technology and computers.  They have already learned the importance of online safety, key technological terms and navigational skills.  You can view just some of these terms by visiting this link:



Students took a 6th grade math diagnostic and posted some very impressive scores.  Twenty-Eight percent (28%) of students tested as "advanced" in 6th grade mathematics!  The students also began work on an online program called Xtramath to help them become proficient in their math facts.  So far, 11 students have tested out of addition (can answer with 90% accuracy in 3 seconds), so we still have a lot of work to do!   Students also began speed practice in "mental math" by learning to add 9 (difficult for many students) in their "heads" without counting or more importantly, using their fingers :-(.  Students had an absolute blast with these exercises and so did I!

Finally, we are developing our classroom community through Edmodo, a secure online system that allows students to communicate both in class and throughout the day, including weekends.  It's like "Facebook" for the class.

We have already accomplished a lot and there is so much more to do. Next week, we add in English Language Arts (grammar and reading).   I'll try to post something more frequently so that these updates won't be so long!

It is an absolute honor and pleasure to work with these wonderful students.  They inspire me and make me laugh out loud!  We work hard and we play hard as we continue our journey to our Destination: Success

Thank you for your continued support of our school community!


Best Regards,


Ms. Wicks