Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekly update 1/27/12 by Anna and Mili with help from Cici and Morgan

This week's Community Project update is from Anna and Mili's Giving Garden group.

Hello! I'm Anna(left), and I'm Mili(right). We are the creators of the Giving Garden! Our project is about  making a garden and giving all the food we will will grow to the Wheeling Township Food Pantry in the spring when we plant. We have a link to find out more information at! When you get there, you can scroll down to the link labeled,"community garden."We are also applying for a grant! Don't forget to volunteer!

It's the Chinese Year of the Dragon!
In Chinese we celebrated the year of the dragon by making red envelopes called Hong Bao which older Chinese people give to younger kids during Chinese New Year.  They are usually filled with gifts of money, so we filled ours with fake Chinese one dollar (yuan) bills.  

Mili, Morgan, Shane, Nicholas, and Elton
James, Kyle, Kate, Sammi, and David P.
Mrs. Hsu giving David P his Hong Bao
In social studies we are continuing our exploration of Ancient Egypt.  Below are some of our sticky note reading responses to a book called Secrets of the Mummies.  We chose sections of the book to read based on our interests.  Morgan was surprised and intrigued that pharoahs' brains were poured out during mummification, and Cici was surprised that Ramses II had a passport for when his remains traveled out of Egypt to experts in Paris in 1974.   His passport said "Occupation:  King (deceased)"!  Two things we want to learn more about are Egyptian gods and what mummies look like today when they are unwrapped.

Mrs. Lussem brought her "mummy" in to show everyone and talk about Ancient Egypt.  
Here Mick is holding it for her.
Sammi and Mrs. Lussem.

For one of our History Alive simulations, we sailed down the Nile River in an Egyptian boat or "felucca."  Here are the girls reading and listening to our guide as we learned about the Pharoahs and monuments of Ancient Egypt.

To kick off the PE dance unit, we had a Polynesian dance assembly for the whole school on Tuesday.  The singers and dancers taught us about different dances from different Polynesian islands.  We learned that there are 132 islands in Hawaii but people only travel to 7 of them.   Below are short clips of two different dances.  We also learned that the dancers tell stories with their hands.

In science we started our unit on populations. We will be looking at how a specific population was affected by yellow fever by reading the book The Secret of the Yellow Death in LA.

Finally, here are the Sigma girls celebrating the end of the week and the start to the second half of the school year!
And the REMIX!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekly Update 1/20/12 by Katherine, Lauren, Mick, and David R.

This week's Sigma Community Project update is from the "Bring on the Books" group which is raising money to buy books for Patton's LMC.  This group is made up of Katherine, David R, Mick, and Lauren, former Patton Elementary School students who identified the need for more exciting books for 4th and 5th graders at Patton.  

Katherine, Mick, and David R. holding some of the awesome books we've gathered so far.
(Lauren isn't pictured because she was helping another student during lunch.)

Here's our update:
First we researched about popular books for 4th and 5th graders.  Then we emailed Mrs. Melamed, Patton's LMC director, to tell her about our project and ask her what books she thinks the LMC most needs.  After that, we went to Patton to meet with the principal, Dr. Olsen, and our 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Goumas.  They all agreed to help us with this project.  Our first idea to raise money was through Scholastic book orders.  We sent order forms to all of the sixth grade LA teachers and then we collected the orders and money and submitted the orders online.  We were able to get about 15 books for Patton with the bonus points from our order.  Also, Mrs. Ziegenfuss and Kate donated some books, so we have a total of  30 right now.  

Our next idea is an activity night at Patton on February 3.  We are planning the activities and organizing the night. The money we raise from ticket sales will go to a charity and to our book drive.  Here is the flyer we made for Patton's Friday packet.  We are really excited about our project and can't wait for February 3!

This was our last week of drama. We will miss Ms. Fergus and all of our fun activities!  On Tuesday we were in the audience for the 8th grade improv class's final performances.  We enjoyed making suggestions for their crazy skits.

The Sigma audience on the stage
Luke, George, Paul, Diana, and Colette
8th grade performers from Zeta

In social studies we are learning about early human settlements in Egypt and Canaan.  Everyone is really excited to be learning about Egypt, especially about the pharoahs and mummies.

Kyle, Sammi, and Eddie are attempting to decipher a message,
just as archaeologists did when they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Lucas and Elton with their "secret message."
Mrs. Ziegenfuss shared the photo album she made of pictures from her trip to Israel. 

Below we are illustrating the physical features of Egypt by pretending to be the Nile River and major seas and deserts.  You can hear the deserts chanting "hot and dry" and see the seas creating waves and the Nile flowing.  
Period 4/5

Period 7/8

Students have been working hard after school and during lunch on perfecting The Chaos Tower.  Here they give a demonstration to the whole team on their efforts.  Pretty cool.  Thanks to Mrs. Katie Maatta for the classroom gift.

In math we took a quiz on negative exponents, and multiplying and dividing exponents.  We are also wrapping up our Roller Coaster projects and will make presentations to our classes next week.

In science we are wrapping up our Smell Unit.  Here students created image podcasts on smell topics of their choice.

The evolution of smell by Nick and Shane

How pregnancy can affect your sense of smell by Kevin, Cici and Mick.

The history of Smell-o-vision by Mili and Gina

Path of Smell by Gina

Path of Smell by Mili

At lunch on Friday we had another technology lunch and learn with Mr. Morse.  He taught us about the electronics in computers and let us watch him repair a Dell computer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weekly Update 1/13/12 by Cici, Stephen, Nicholas, and Shane

This week's bloggers, representing the healthy foods groups: Stephen, Shane, Nicholas, and Cici.
This week's Community Project Update is from our healthy foods groups.  
Group 1 members are Kate, Stephen, Max, CiCi, and Samson
Group 2 members are Shane, Nicholas, Elton, Eddie, and Andrew

So far for our project we researched healthy lunch menus and ingredients; talked to the District 25 food service director Mrs. Hines-Newell about rerouting the cafeteria and offering healthier choices; and surveyed all of the sixth graders to see what types of vegetables they would like offered in the cafeteria.  Two things we are really proud of are that V-8 Fusion drinks are now being sold in the cafeteria, based on our suggestion, and a table with vegetables displayed will be in the middle of the line so that people will see them and buy them!  We have more plans for encouraging healthy eating, and we are very happy with our success so far! 

The new V-8 Fusion juice in the cafeteria.

We love V-8 Fusion!
On Tuesday we practiced our Spanish by skyping with Amanda, a family friend of Mrs. Ziegenfuss's who is a teacher in Spain.  In college she majored in accounting and minored in Spanish and then decided to teach in Spain to improve her Spanish-speaking skills. We asked her questions about how her life is in Spain and about traditions in Spain.  We asked them in Spanish, and she answered in Spanish and then English.  We learned that everywhere in her town in walkable and that her apartment is cold.  We also learned that she traveled to France and lots of other places because other countries are closer and cheaper to get to than they are for us in the U.S.  Listen below to some of our conversations!

In drama we are learning about advertising and commercials.  Below Mili, Max, and Kevin are performing their creative commercial for gym shoes using advertising that appeals to vanity.

In social studies we are learning about Judaism.  Morgan and her 8th grade sister Blaire came to Sigma Team Time to teach us about their religion and the Hebrew language. Here we are trying our best to sing the Aleph-Bet, the Hebrew alphabet song.  Thanks to Morgan and Blaire for sharing their culture and religion with us!

Blaire and Morgan teaching the Aleph-Bet.

This is a Hebrew comic book.
Shane can "read" in different languages--even Hebrew!

Teachers are students, too! :)  Here James is teaching Mrs. Ziegenfuss how to use iMovie.

Here is Cici during our smell lab in science.  We talked about smell and memory and how close they are to each other in our brains.  Cici was able to identify nine of the fifteen smells--the best on Sigma!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekly Update 1/6/12 by Kevin, Jake, Matthew, and Lucas

Starting this week, different Community Project groups will be blogging each week to update everyone on our progress.  This week's bloggers represent the Food Pantry groups.  
Group 1 includes  Matthew, Jake, Morgan, Gina, and Sammi.  
Group 2 includes Lucas, Kevin, Jasmine, Josh, and Hannah

Jake, Lucas, Matthew, and Kevin with a few of our donations.

The problem we identified in the Arlington Heights community is that the Wheeling Township Pantry gets low on food after the holidays.  We are trying to reverse the process right now by having a food drive at Thomas from Jan. 3-13.  To plan the food drive we talked to Mr. Kaye to get permission to have the drive and to ask what dates would be good.  Then we emailed Mrs. Hernandez at the pantry to ask for permission to collect food and to ask her what food they need the most.  We also looked on the website to get a list of foods.  Once we got permission we made posters and flyers and hung them up around the school.  Mr. Kelly helped us film a video for the morning announcements.  We also put the flyer below in the Friday packet.  This week and next week during homeroom we are going to every classroom to collect donations and remind people about the drive.  So far we have over 200 items!  We feel proud (but not arrogant) about this project.

The all-school Geography Bee was held during Advisory on Thursday.  Kyle represented Sigma and did a great job on some tough questions.  Josh was Sigma's runner-up.  Congratulations to both of them!

Here we are having fun pretending to be a Greek chorus in drama.  We learned that Greek choruses all said their lines together until Thespis came along and individual actors said lines.

In social studies, we used Inspiration to connect what we learned about Sumerian civilization to American civilization today.  Here are two examples of what we decided we would include in our own Museum of American Civilization.

In science we are doing image podcasts on smell topics we have picked to do further research on.  Some of our topics include weight loss, mosquitoes and smart phones.  How do these topics relate to our sense of smell?  Stay tuned to find out!

In math, in addition (pun intended) to learning about multiplying and dividing monomials and negative exponents, we have also started a roller coaster math project where we will design our own coaster for an amusement park.