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Wrinkle in Time








In May our class performed a musical improvisation of A WRINKLE IN TIME. We read the book by Madeline L’Engle. As part of the analysis of the book, we explored inference, characterization, author’s purpose, figurative language, themes, historical and literary connections, and imagery. We examined the plot line very closely, compared it to the movie, and discussed how each of us connected to the story. One thing that seemed to stand out to us is the anti-bullying message and the need to stand up for yourself and others.

Since September we have regularly used a form of improvisation in our classroom, called Drama Circles. Students have become very accomplished at “thinking on their feet.” We decided to use some anti-bullying songs, which the students choreographed, and build the play around that commonly shared message, through improvisation. As such, we actually had no script, just a list of things we though should or could be included in each scene.

Each character was given a specific HAT to wear. For example, the character of Meg had a purple sparkly hat. In each scene a different student would wear the hat, when they assumed Meg’s character. The roles were shared and students would exchange hats for each new scene. Each student had the chance to play 3-4 different characters in the play.

We had fun creating a large, stuffed brain with blinking lights for the character of IT, and we really enjoyed infusing the play with our unique 6th grade sense of humor.

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Awkward (April 2015)

(A Wrinkle in Time)

Song written by Mrs. Terri McGuire

Music arranged & performed by Mrs. Laura Bayn


Arts is our charter and we try to weave it into whatever we are learning. Since the arts tap into emotions and creativity, they help us remember longer and stronger. So, they are an amazing tool for learning!

This week we had 10 vocabulary words to learn from our reading story. To give them meaning, we created charades for each of the words, then voted on which word we thought each charade was illustrating. These are our results.

By the way, our vocabulary scores were 30% better than the previous week. Yeah!

vocabcharades copy

Why do we do team building in our classroom?

  • Team building has been proven to improve communication skills.
  • Team building requires that you get to know others on a deeper level; which brings people together rather than separating them.
  • Team building teaches new strengths and insights from other team members.
  • Team Building promotes the idea that everybody has good ideas.
  • The more inclusive everyone is, the greater the number of talents and viewpoints will be on hand to tackle problems.
  • Team Building builds trust and creates a safe environment in which all students feel safe to take the risks necessary to learn.
  • Bullying behaviors are reduced, as students get to know and appreciate each other.
  • Students learn to reason, justify, collaborate, problem-solve, communicate, speak kindly, share, synergize, be flexible, think creatively, contribute, feel a part of the whole, work with purpose, and build a shared vision.
  • Having fun together with team building helps students feel valued and rewarded.


When there is time on Friday, I present a 20 minute team building activity. This week we shared a drama circle. Last week we built towers with plastic cups. We talked about strategies, cooperation, communication, and goals.

We discovered that people bring more than their skills and experience to a team; they bring their personality as well. That makes things fun, but it also creates challenges.

My mantras for team building are…  Keep it simple.  Keep it fun.  Make it dynamic.  Showcase new skills.  Bring people together.


Our Team Process

1. Define the problem – What do we need to accomplish?

2. Gather information – What do we know?

3. Analyze the problem – What is possible? What are the problems?

4. Strategize – How should we try to do it?

5. Try it – Share the work.

6. Evaluate results – How well did it work?

7. Adjust if necessary – What might make it work better?


Team Building Photos

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In arts and technology class, students are learning how video cameras and tripods work. They have studied various camera angles and learned about the rule of thirds. A filmmaker can communicate feelings, emphasis, mood, theme, and characterization through different camera angles and shot styles.

As we explore how the camera helps us see the world in new ways, we are making connections to language arts stories; imagining how we might film scenes from School Story. Students thought that the power struggle between Hannah and Letha might be shown with low angle and high angle shots, while the telephone conversations between Natalie and Zoe could be shown with either a whip-pan or close ups. These explorations help us to dig deeper into characterization, which is one of our skills for this first story.


Click on the photos to enlarge them.

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We use the website Vocabulary Spelling City for our spelling and vocabulary practice and the weekly spelling test. Today students learned how to get onto the website. www.spellingcity.com

There is a link for this in the right side menu on this blog.  If you have an iPad, you can download the Spelling City app.

  • The user name is your student’s first name (all in lower case). For example:    terri@saa
  • The password is your last name (all in lower case)

To use this program at home, you will need to have flash installed on your computer. It is easy to check, since the program will either start or tell you that you need flash. At school, students will have 2-3 language arts periods per week that they can use  our class computers and iPads.



Each student has been given a spelling level: beginning (10 words), regular (15 words), and advanced (20 words).  Students who do very well in each group (for 5 or more lessons) can move up a level or receive even more challenging words. Students who struggle with a level (for 5 or more lessons) can move down. I will alert you when I change your student’s spelling group. 

  • Students are expected to complete at least one activity or game with their words every week we read a story.
  • They should take the online spelling test by Thursday. (Students who do not do this may miss a recess or Friday’s teambuilding challenge in order to complete the test.)



Students have 10 vocabulary words they need to learn for each reading lesson. (They do one lesson per week.)

  • By Thursday of each week, students should complete one online vocabulary activity or game. This will help prepare them for the weekly reading test on Thursday or Friday.
  • In place of an online activity, students can choose to practice their vocabulary by creating a crossword puzzle, write the vocabulary words in 10 well-written sentences, complete a Frayer Model (click here) of the words, or something the students and I have agreed is appropriate.


Reflex Math


Students received passwords in class today for Reflex Math, the online skill-builder for multiplication facts. Research studies show that students who are very fluent with math facts will score significantly higher on standardized tests. See the links below.

To log into the program, go to http://www.reflexmath.com (There is a link to the website on the right side menu on this blog.)

  • Click the LAUNCH button in the upper right-hand corner.
  • A new window will open and ask for the User Name, which is: tmcguire
  • The window will show the names of our homeroom students, so click the correct name.
  • The Password is your student’s last name in lower-case letters.

This can count for the 20 minutes of facts practice that students need to do every day for homework. Most students like the program; it is an easy way for them to practice.

Research Highlights

Paul Cholmsky at NCTM 2011

‘Twas the first day of classes, and all through the school

The students were learning procedures and rules.

Supplies were stacked up on the desks and the chairs.

Students sat and they listened to teachers with care.

They spoke not a word, as bell work began.

Writing answers and thinking the best that they can.

They all crossed their fingers that lockers were next.

(They were eager to get those supplies off their desks!)

Some students can tell you about their frustration.

Trying to work with their locker combination!

Next – an assembly with cheerleaders galore,

And a dragon who waved and high-fived at the door.

Out on the playground, teambuilding was next

Students were challenged to all do their best.

Talking and planning to find the best way,

To rescue their teammates and, thus, save the day!

How the time flew!  It’s hard to believe.

Carpools were waiting; they needed to leave.

Students waved at the door, as they walked out of sight.

“Teacher, see you tomorrow, and have a good night!”

- Terri McGuire



(Click photos to enlarge)
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alfredThank you to everyone for coming last night! It was great to see a lot of familiar faces. An extra big welcome to new families and friends! You really are going to love it here at SAA! I just wanted to upload the back to school paperwork from last night, just in case anyone missed grabbing something. I also included a form with information about volunteering. Again, thanks to those who made it! We’re going to have a great year! The following links are clickable.

Disclosure 6th Grade 2014-15

Parent Questionnaire 2014-2015

McGuire Class Volunteers 2014-2015

Supply List 6th Grade 2014-2015

WordleWelcome back to school! Sixth grade at SAA is a challenging, fun-filled experience. I hope that those of you, who are in my homeroom this year, are beginning to receive the letters I mailed to you.

Please take the time to check out the various pages of this blog. You will find a page for Calendar, Kids Teach Kids, Arts and Tech, Dragon Knights, Film Club, and Service by using the tabs along the top of the page.

Our blog will start to look a little differently as soon as school starts. We will take a photo of this year’s class for the banner photo along the top. There will also be links for homework and school handouts.

I would love your feedback about how the blog is working for you. This is an interactive process. The blog grows and becomes better, because of your feedback. Thank you for making the effort.

If your letter has not yet arrived, you can  see a copy of the letter by clicking the thumbnail. (Most of the pictures on the blog can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Student Letter

Graduation 2014

Graduation Slideshows – coming soon

Sixth Grade Graduation Song: 

Click on photo to start video


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