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ECMS 6th Grade Happenings!

Meet and Greet!


6th Grade Jr. Wildcats Meet and Greet

Friday, July 28, 2017 – 9:00AM – 10:30AM

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Week of August 22


Thanks for an amazing turnout to Back-to-School Night! Parents, you are doing an amazing job transitioning to middle school… The students are transitioning well and it is wonderful to see their bright faces every day! It was a pleasure meeting many of you.  It is my hope that you had the opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and learn more about their school day. Parents remember you may access teacher’s online gradebook in Synergy, ParentVue. To stay up-to date, access teacher’s blogs for the day-to-day happenings in their classrooms.

As you may know, Ms. Schwak, one of our math teachers, is currently on maternity leave. Please welcome Ms. Raena Basile to serve in Ms. Schwak’s absence. We ask that you continue having students come prepared to learn as our 6th Grade math department will work collaboratively with Ms. Basile to ensure students are on pace with the other 6th grade math classes.  Thank you so much for your understanding and patience.

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Welcome to 6th Grade!




Welcome to 6th Grade! I have had the pleasure of working with your child as the 6th grade Assistant Principal. We are off to a great start and students are actively engaged in learning! Students and teachers are moving full speed ahead and classroom instruction is great!   By now, all students have been given Connection classes (5th and 6th periods) and they are transitioning nicely into the routine of 6th grade.  On August 8th and August 9th, students participated in Team Talks. Team Talks is a discussion that administrators have with all students by grade level to discuss expectations for the year, including the Student Code of Conduct (a copy of the Student Code of Conduct was sent home in your child’s first week folder and is also printed in your child’s agenda).  Lastly, administratively, we will be leveling classes and your child’s schedule may change.   In the event of a schedule change, I will make every effort to keep your child with the same teacher for consistency.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

August 18th ECMS we will have Back to School Night.  I look forward to meeting you!

As you may or may not know, Ms. Schwak, one of our math teachers, is currently on maternity leave.  Mr. Kampman was hired to serve as a long-term substitute to teach in her absence.  Friday, August 5, 2016 was his last day at East Cobb Middle school as he has recently been hired as an Orchestra teacher at another school. The administrative team has been working diligently to find the most qualified candidate to teach your child until Ms. Schwak returns. We anticipate having this position filled as soon as possible. In the meantime, please have students come prepared to learn as our 6th Grade math department has prepared plans that are relevant and appropriately address 6th grade math standards.  Our expectation of high standards will not waiver; we are being selective about the quality of teacher we will choose for this position and we are expecting a seamless transition. Should you have any questions, please contact the 6th Grade Assistant Principal. Thank you so much for your understanding and patience. Have a wonderful start to the brand new school year!

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May 2016 – Summer Break

See you August 1st!

See you August 1st!

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May 2016



Report cards will be mailed home on Friday, May 27th! 

Summer Break is around the corner…  May 26th – July 31st!  Have an amazing Summer!  While on break, here are some fun idea suggestions to engage your child/children in…

Fun Learning Activities for Summer Break By: Carrie Jean Ross

The summer is here, and as you think about the lazy days over the summer break, it’s important to plan for activities to keep your student thinking and learning. Did you know that many students experience learning loss over the summer if they are not engaged in educational activities? And teachers typically spend between four and six weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer.

Instead of looking at summer as “time off” from learning, approach summer as a time for fun hands-on, experiential activities and projects that may not be possible during the school year.

One way to ensure a fun summer filled with rich learning activities is to work as a family to create a list of summer projects. Post the list in a common area in your home. At the end of each week, go through the list with your family, discuss and check off activities that were completed, and add any new activities that came up.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    • Community service activities: Help a neighbor mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, cook dinner..
    • Household improvement projects: Have your child look around the house to find projects that he or she would like to work on, and/or offer projects that you would like to have completed. Have your child help in the planning, purchasing, and completion of these projects. Summer is a perfect time to plan a fun project that will help your student develop scheduling skills
    • Play school: Reverse roles and have your student create a quiz for the Learning Coach. Children love trying to stump their parents. Allow your child to be the teacher, and have family members act as the students. Your child can plan activities/worksheets/lessons
    • Family reading time: Set aside a time each day for family reading time. Try The Knock, Knock Game when you hear your younger students read. The child reads but knocks on the table when he or she comes across a difficult word for you to help with. Sometimes you find that your child remembers the word the next time it comes up in the story
    • Time in the kitchen: Have your child plan and cook a meal
    • Writing activities: Use your imagination to come up with a fun writing contest with your kids, or even challenge them to write a book over the summer
    • Send the kids outside: Studies have proven that physical activity helps grow not only strong muscles but also strong brains. From old favorites like tag, leapfrog, and wall ball, to more organized games like basketball and baseball, outdoor activity stimulates both the mind and the body. So send your kids outside to play. Bonus points if they make up their own games! Here are some more ideas for fun summer learning games: Play Time Is Learning Time
    • Become a backyard astronomer: With the warm and clear nights, summer is a perfect time to observe the stars. All you need is a star chart and your own eyes to view many interesting celestial bodies. If you’d like to kick it up a notch, you can always contact your local amateur astronomy group. Many of these groups host frequent star parties, where folks can gather and observe the heavens through telescopes. To find an astronomy club in your area, click here
    • Be a tourist in your own town: Check with you local Chamber of Commerce or City Hall for guidebooks about your town. Then go visit all the things a tourist would normally go see. Or discover the artwork of famous museums around the world by going on virtual museum tours with your kids
    • Play video games: I know what you’re thinking: How can video games be good for growing brains? But certain kinds of games, particularly those that require problem solving and reasoning, can improve a student’s ability to learn. So let the kids play Civilization IV-just be sure to still send them outside.

Implementing just a few of these suggestions into your summer schedule can have huge academic rewards for your children when they return to school. Additionally, the summer should be a time for some downtime and family fun, so remember to keep things low-key, simple, and relaxing!

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April 2016



Welcome back! It is my hope that everyone had an exciting Spring Break!  We are in the final push to the end of the semester AND 6th grade!  April 1st marks the end of the 5th Six-Weeks marking period.  Progress Reports will be distributed on April 15th!  Parents be on the lookout.

Georgia Milestones is HERE!  For information regarding the EOG/ Milestones Assessments, see my blog posts from:  December 2015 – Milestones Results and March 2016

Looking ahead in 6th Grade?

Language Arts:  The week students return from Spring Break, all language arts classes will be reviewing for the Milestones test by playing review basketball, jeopardy, and bingo! If you walk into a language arts classroom after testing, you will find a variety of interactive and intriguing lessons going on such as: Greek and Roman Mythology units (a favorite among the students), novel studies, and a 7th grade preview of language arts to prepare our 6th graders for success next year!

Math:  In math, students are learning about rational numbers. This is one of the most exciting units in math, as students are learning key concepts that they will continue to use throughout middle school and into high school. Students will engage in a lot of fun activities during this unit, including human number lines, integer war, coordinate plane pictures, and more. Once this unit is complete, students will do projects to further their understanding of math standards they have learned this year, and they will preview the first unit of seventh grade math (operations with rational numbers). Continue to check the blog for great resources and games to strengthen your math skills!

Social Studies:  6th grade students will be reviewing up to the Milestones for social studies after Spring Break.  The remainder of the year, students will begin their last DBQ (Document Based Question) in which students will be given a historical question and will analyze historical documents and write an argumentative essay citing specific sources in their writing.  Students will have the opportunity to explore in more depth standards from the year through novel studies, debates and differentiated standards-based projects.

Science:  Students are in our LAST unit for 6th grade, which is out of this world.. LITERALLY. Students will be studying Astronomy which includes not only our galaxy, but the possibilities that lie outside of the Milky Way as well. After the last unit students are going to be reviewing intensely for the Milestone using all of the previous knowledge they have acquired this year. Students will be competing to finish the most tasks in the days that we have available in order to prepare for the Milestones. After testing, each teacher will be doing a novel study with a book that relates to the 6th grade Earth Science Curriculum, then finish up with a preview of the 7th grade curriculum and differences between plant and animal cells.  PARENTS AND GUARDIANS: If you are looking for materials to use to help your student practice for the 6th grade Science Milestone, look for the purple ‘Coach Books’ that are a great resource to walk through the entire curriculum for the year. This book can be found on Amazon if you would like to purchase one. Teachers also allow students to check-out textbooks if you would like one at home to assist your student during review.


Mark Your Calendar!

  • EOG – Milestone                       April 13 – April 19
  • Chick-fil-a Spirit Night                May 2
  • 6th Grade Night of the Arts         May 5
  • 6th Grade Field Day                    May 18
  • 6th Grade Awards @ 9:30           May 23


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April 2016 – Spring Break

April 4th - April 8th

April 4th – April 8th

Have a wonderful Spring Break!


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March 2016



As we forge ahead through this last semester of 6th grade, Georgia Milestones is in the near future. Students will test April 13th – April 19th!

Here are some tips that you may find useful in helping your child prepare.

  • Make certain that your child gets plenty of sleep each night of testing week. • Ensure that your child eats a nutritious high protein breakfast. • Be sure they are arrive to school on time so that they can get settled before testing begins. • If they wear glasses, be sure they have them for testing. • Encourage them to pace themselves instead of rushing through the test. • When answering short answer questions on the test, they should remember the acronym RACE. R – Restate the question as a statement in your own words. A – Answer the question. C – Cite evidence from the text with details to support your answer. E – Explain how your evidence from the text supports your answers. • Remind them to read or listen to all directions, questions and all answer choices carefully. • They should make their best guess if they do not know the answer, but refrain from making wild guesses. • Suggest that they find one or two answer choices they know are wrong, and then choose the best one from the remaining choices.


What is the Georgia Milestones Assessment System?

The Georgia Milestones is a comprehensive summative assessment program for grades 3 through 12. Georgia Milestones measures how well students have learned the knowledge and skills outlined in the state content standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Students in grades 3 through 8 take an End-Of-Grade (EOG) assessment in each content area. High school students take an End-Of-Course (EOC) assessment in eight courses. Georgia Milestones includes the following types of test items: •open-ended (constructed-response) items in language arts and mathematics; •extended writing responses to passages read during the test in language arts; •norm-referenced items to provide a national comparison in all content areas; and •multiple-choice items in all content areas.

How are the results of the Georgia Milestones scored?

Your student’s performance on the assessment is reported in one of four achievement levels: (1) Beginning Learner, (2) Developing Learner, (3) Proficient Learner, or (4) Distinguished Learner. Descriptions of each achievement level are given in the ISR. Your student also received a scale score for each test. Using the scale score, you can compare your student’s performance with the average student in the school, district, and state. Your student’s performance in each subject is described in greater detail using domain categories for each subject area.

Where do I obtain more information about the Georgia Milestones?

The Georgia Department of Education has provided detailed information about the Milestones for each subject area on their web site. To access this information, visit



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February 2016

Love, Love, Love!

Love, Love, Love!

Winter break is on the horizon…  February 15th – 19th!  Take some time to rejuvenate to push through this last semester of 6th grade!

In the fast paced world we live in, here are some tips for monitoring social media…

13 Tips for Monitoring Kids’ Social Media – Internet safety tips for kids and their parents… 

By Jeana Lee Tahnk of Screen Play

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released findings from a comprehensive study on the impact social media has on kids and families. Although there are real benefits to kids using sites like Facebook, including increased communication, access to information and help in developing a sense of self, there can be serious downsides to all this online sharing too.

Social networking is on the rise, and the study found that 22 percent of teenagers log onto their favorite social media sites more than 10 times a day, and that 75 percent own cell phones. This level of engagement online increases the risks of cyberbullying, “Facebook depression” (a new phenomenon where “de-friending” and online bullying lead to symptoms of depression), exposure to inappropriate content, and sexting.

Just as we prepare our kids for life in the real world, we should prepare them for life in the online world. Read on for tips that every parent should keep in mind.

No Underage Facebooking
Did you know that no one under the age of 13 is permitted to join Facebook? However, there is no real way for Facebook to truly enforce it, because anyone can lie about their year of birth. You need to make sure that your child stays away from Facebook until 13 AND until you are comfortable with him or her having an account. There are measures put in place, such as reporting an underage child, but ultimately, it should be the parent who has the say on when and if that account gets created.

Check Privacy Settings
Check that your privacy settings for the Internet and Facebook are set to the strictest levels. Depending on which browser you are using, you can adjust the settings directly from the options tab and adjust levels around cookies, third party sites and more. This not only protects the computer user, but also the computer from the threat of viruses. Checking your Facebook privacy settings is easy as well. Simply go here to ensure that you are up to speed on its privacy policy and make any changes you deem necessary.

Use Filtering Software
There are software suites you can purchase to monitor your child’s Internet usage; many even enable you to view the exact keys that were typed, time spent online and all computer activity in general. Popular programs such as Net Nanny and PureSight PC let you monitor social media sites, block chats, filter content and much more. You can even monitor your child’s cell phone with a software program like My Mobile Watchdog.

Create Ground Rules
If your kids are old enough to be using the computer on their own, they are old enough to understand that there are rules they need to abide by. Breaking them should not have a lesser consequence than if they broke a rule in the offline world. The best way for families to agree on ground rules is to create a contract that all parties must sign. The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) encourages parents and kids to have an open discussion about what these rules mean, and offers a good example of a contract here.

Get To Know What Your Child’s Habits Are
You don’t need to be a super sleuth and spy on your kid’s every online move, but it is important to be aware of the kinds of sites he is frequenting and the people he is associating with. You get to know the friends he’s hanging out with at school, and his online friends shouldn’t be any different. One of the contract rules should be that you have full access to his Facebook friends and can take a look whenever you wish.

Keep the Computer in a Central Location
It’s much easier to keep tabs on any online activity when the computer is located in a high-traffic zone than if your child is using a computer in the privacy of her own room. Place the computer in a central location like your kitchen or family room so that everything is out in the open.

Urge Your Kids to Avoid Questionnaires, Free Giveaways and Contests
A pop-up ad appears and tells kids they can win a free iPad by simply clicking the link. Anyone would be tempted by this kind of offer, but kids are particularly susceptible, so it’s important to warn kids against falling for this kind of Internet trick. Many of these ruses are attempts to glean personal information. Inform kids that even if they are forwarded a fun questionnaire from a friend, it’s best to close the window and not participate.

Monitor the Pictures Your Child Posts Online
In an ideal world, your child would never post a photo of herself online, but that might not be entirely realistic. If she wants to share photos with her friends via email or a social networking site, be sure you know exactly which pictures are being posted. Make sure the content of the photo is completely innocuous and that no identifiable locales in the background are noticeable.

Be a Good Example of How to Use Social Media
If you are tweeting and updating your Facebook page at a stop light and taking every opportunity to “just check something,” you’re setting a poor precedent for social media usage that your child will surely follow. Always remember to ask yourself if you’re setting a good example and demonstrating proper technology etiquette as well.

Limit Cell Phone Use
Just as you would limit use of a computer, TV or gaming system, you can do the same with a cell phone. Set rules for the device, only allowing cell phone usage at certain hours in the evening or after homework has been completed. If you have teens of driving age, the most important rule to enforce is that under no circumstances should cell phones ever be used while driving. Phones should be kept off so incoming text sounds aren’t a distraction or should be kept in the glove compartment, out of reach.

Teach Kids about an Online Reputation
Many kids don’t seem to understand the permanence of the online world. Make sure to stress to your kids what a digital footprint is and the impact inappropriate messages or images could have if a future college administrator or employer were to stumble upon them. As stated in the AAP study, what goes online stays online.

Talk to Kids about Online Dangers
You may feel like you’re scaring your kids when talking to them about the dangers of being online, but it’s better for them to be scared than to be unaware. Having an open line of communication is crucial the minute your kids start using the Internet more independently. Parry Aftab, noted online safety and privacy expert and Executive Director of WiredSafety, says, “Who’s a stranger online? Everyone is! You need to remind your children that these people are strangers and that the standard rules always apply.”

Get to Know the Technology
Kids have gained a mastery of technology so quickly and can easily pick up on the nuances that any new gadget has, far more easily that we can in some cases. It is every parent’s responsibility to know exactly which key features are included in the gadgets our kids are using. Stephen Balkam, founding CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, says, “This can be a humbling experience. You may find that you had no idea that the Sony Playstation Portable that you bought your 11-year-old last Christmas had a web browser. Or that your 5-year-old son (with the help of his older brother) has managed to create an avatar on Club Penguin and regularly goes for in-world pizzas with his other penguin friends.”

Want more tips? Check out The Secret Life of Kids Online: What You Need to Know

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January 2016

Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

It is my hope that everyone had a restful winter break!  December 18, 2015 marked the end of 2nd Quarter!  We are half way through 6th grade!

Georgia Milestone is around the corner, let’s refocus and reenergize for the final stretch.  Report Cards go home on January 8, 2016.  Parents, be on the lookout.

Calendar of Events:

  • 1/5 – Beginning of 2nd Semester
  • 1/18 – Martin Luther King Jr. School Holiday – No school!
  • 1/21 – International Night and PTSA General Meeting 6-8pm

What’s coming up?

Next semester in Language Arts will be quite exciting! Students will be participating in various novel studies, examining different poets and types of poetry, exploring drama in literature, and discussing well-known fables and myths as well as working on sharpening our writing skills along the way.  The class novel studies will vary from teacher to teacher but a few of the titles include: Maniac Magee, Monster, and Wonder.  The students will draw on previous concepts learned this year by analyzing themes, characters, plot, and conflicts for each novel.  In the poetry unit, students will examine different types of poetry as well as the types of figurative language that make poems so enjoyable to read. The semester will end by taking a look at mythology (Greek and Roman) and fables. In Math, students will learn about geometry and statistics.  In the geometry unit, students will engage in several hands-on activities as they calculate area and volume. In the statistics unit, students will learn about collecting, displaying, and analyzing data. They will also complete a project that allows students to survey their peers on topics that interest them, and they will display and analyze the data. In Science, the students just finished up fresh water but will now take a closer look at oceans since this is where the majority of our water is on earth. They will look at the locations of the oceans, salinity, currents, waves, and even the ocean floor! The topography of the ocean is very important and we make sense of this with the use of sonar and also the theory of plate tectonics. After the students look at oceans, they will see how the evaporation of the water in the oceans contributes to weather and dive into meteorology. Do you know the difference between climate and weather? Finally the students will finish up with Astronomy with looking at the solar system, moon, and even the possibility of other planets that could support life! Social Studies students will say goodbye to Europe in the 2nd semester and travel across the Atlantic Ocean to learn about Canada and Latin America.  There, students will look at geography, environmental issues, religion, and history that has impacted this region of the world.  Students will also be looking at the governments and the economic systems of selected countries of this region. Students will leave Latin America and Canada for our final destination, the country and continent of Australia.  Students will learn about the aborigines and the British Penal colony along with 20th century issues and events for Australia.

January 6, 2016 we will  conduct Team Talks with our 6th graders.  During this “Talk” topics of discussion included but were not limited to: academics, retention, attendance, behavior, goals, and upcoming events that can be earned for appropriate behavior.  Students with appropriate behavior will be rewarded with 6th grade Field Day, and other upcoming activities.  Students will receive a letter outlining a graduated behavior plan that is being implemented beginning January 8, 2016.

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