ISS Grade 6: Mr. Catanzaro LA/SS

Mr. Catanzaro's Sixth Grade Page

This page will contain regular updates to keep sixth graders and their parents linked together as they journey through the middle school humanities curriculum.  Click on the page links on the left hand side menu to see even more. 

Greek Research Paper/Greek Agora: Friday, April 23, 2010


The students are working on second drafts of their Ancient Greece research papers.  They are working to add quotes from different sources into their body paragraphs to support their thesis statements.  Additionally, they will begin preparing their artifacts and "booths" for the Greek Agora all-school presentation on Friday, April 23.

New Novels and Literature Circles (Start of Semester 2)

This week, we will begin the second half of the year with a new class novel about character change.  We will also work in our literature circles to complete our group Voicethread project that we hope to publish February 15, 2010.

Last week, students enjoyed a wonderful cultural experience as we skated on Stokka, embracing the Norwegian tradition of finding ways to enjoy nature and the beauty of Norway. 

Survival Novels and Research Papers (Weeks 16-17, Dec 7-Dec 16)

As we approach winter break, students are reminded of their "To do" list for 6th grade English/SS. Before you leave for break:
1- Turn in your Hatchet project reflection and grading rubrics.
2- Turn in your clay cuneiform tablet.
3- Turn in or explain your Mesopotamian artifact.
4- Turn in your first draft of your 5 paragraph research essay on Mesopotamia.
5- Complete any work you owe.
6- Make sure you have your Independent Reading Survival Novel and packet.  It is HW.

Hatchet Essays & Projects / Mesopotamia Exam & Research Topics (Weeks 14-15, Nov 23-Dec 4)

The Code of Hammurabi, The Louvre, Paris
Students will work on Hatchet essays and survival group projects.  The writing traits that will be emphasised through the Hatchet five paragraph essay will be organization and details.  Student will learn how to insert the author's words into their body paragraphs to help illustrate their thesis statements.

We will also be using some new technology in the classroom as we will utilize the free recording program Audacity to record survival, multi-voice poems.  These poems will be played with setting drawings created by the students displayed on digital slides next to their survival projects. 

In SS, the students will have a Mess-o-potamia: writing on clay tablets, build cardboard ziggurats and finish our city state maps.  Along the way, we will continue to compare/contrast Mesopotamia to other early river valley civilizations.  Students will begin to plan their Mesopotamian research projects.  A reminder to check out the links on the SS page to learn more about Mesopotamia.

Finish Hatchet, Survival Projects and Mesopotamia (Week 13, Nov 16-Nov 20)

Students will finish Hatchet, begin survival group projects and work on their beginnings of a Hatchet five paragraph essay.

On Friday they will take a vocabulary quiz in Language Arts.

In SS, the students will finish the textbook reading of Mesopotamia and begin to plan their research.  Check out the links on the Social Studies page to learn more about Mesopotamia.

Turning Points, Survival and Mesopotamia (Week 12, November 9-November 13)

This week, students have turned in second drafts of creative stories, analyzed the turning point of Hatchet and studied the life of ancient people in Mesopotamia.  Along the way, we will meet another survival expert this week: Dick Proenneke.  We will watch the documentary Alone in the Wilderness and compare Dick Proenneke to Brian Robeson.  To learn more about Dick Proenneke, click here.

Report Cards and Parent Conferences (Week 11, November 2-November 6)

As we continue our survival novel and begin Ancient Mesopotamia, we will also be having first report cards and parent conferences.  A reminder that there is no school for students on Thursday and Friday as I will be meeting with parents.  I look forward to meeting with parents and discussing their child's progress.

End of Quarter (Week 10, October 26-October 30)

The students worked on reading and analyzing Hatchet, understanding early farmers, writing four paragraph essays, and charting how people use skills, equipment and hope to survive. They also had a guest speaker visit with them regarding internet safety.

Students also participated in a "Pink Day" fundraiser to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

Characterization, Hatchet and Early Farmers (Week 9, October 19-October 23)

A sleepy pajama day Homeroom

During this school spirit week, students have posted their characterization projects, started their first whole class novel, Hatchet, and discussed early farming as the big change for early humans.  Along the way, students have dressed up for the theme days of spirit week, planned for the last quarter 1 notebook check and vocabulary quiz (Friday) and reviewed their reading strategies with a poem and the survival novel, Hatchet.

ISA Tests, Short Stories and Early Farmers (Week 8, October 12-October 16)

We have ISA (International School Assessment) tests on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 13th and 14th.  These tests are standardized tests designed to see what level of proficiency students are working at in reading, analysis, writing and mathematics.  There is no way or need to study for these tests.  All we ask is that students try their best so that our results are as accurate as possible.  The results of these tests will be shared with parents later in the school year.
In Language Arts, we will finish our "Amigo Brothers" characterization drawing and finish discussing "Thunder Butte."  Students will receive two more writing prompts that may be used as early drafts to their 'published' writing for later in the quarter.
In Social Studies, we will begin to discuss how early farmers were able to domesticate plants and animals.

Enjoy your fall break!

A reminder to students that there was language arts homework over break.  You need to finish your "Amigo Brothers" character drawing.  You must also read "Thunder Butte" and complete the literary terms packet.
Remember that when you return we have ISA (International School Assessment) tests on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 13th and 14th.  These tests are standardized tests designed to see what level of proficiency students are working at in reading, analysis, writing and mathematics.  There is no way or need to study for these tests.  All we ask is that students try their best so our results are as accurate as possible.  The results of these tests will be shared with parents later in the school year.
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Outdoor Education Week (Week 7, September 28-October 2)

We are enjoying ourselves at Fevik and learning a lot about Norway's maritime environment. Click on the page link on the left (Leirskole Photos 2009) to see our week as it unfolds.

Get ready for Fevik Maritime Leirskole! The bus will depart from ISS at 7:00, on Monday, 28th September, and will arrive at Fevik in time for orientation meetings before the evening meal. Please bring your child to ISS by 6:45. Students should bring packed lunch and healthy snacks.  We ask that you do not provide your child with candy to eat on the bus. There is no eating on the bus.  We shall be stopping for lunch breaks on the way and bathroom breaks when necessary.

We plan to return to ISS at 14:00 on Friday, October 2.  Parents can plan on picking their children up at 14:00.  Ms. Wallace will send out an e-mail with updated arrival times on the morning of Friday, October 2.  The mobile contact number while we are at Leirskole is 91133116.  Mr. Catanzaro will have this phone at all times and allow students to call home during the evening free time if they so choose.

The Fevik Maritime Leirskole web page is:

Reflect and Analyze (Week 6, September 21-September 23)

In this short three day week, we will reflect on what we have learned so far and analyze how this fits into where we are going next.  Our summative assessment on Early People will include reflections from our field trips last week.  This will lead us into Leirskole week where we will be working in groups and reinforcing our knowledge of clan life.  After Leirskole, we will begin to discuss early farmers. In Language Arts, we will use "The Amigo Brothers" to teach us conflict, characterization and theme.  Creative writing starters will be a journal focus.

Division of Labor (Week 5, September 14-September 18)

This week we will be working in groups in both SS and Language Arts.  Groups will hunt and gather reading codes and literary terms in Language Arts.  In SS, we will work as a small clan as we live history at the Stone Age cave in Randaberg Kommune called Svarthola.  The groups will have to divide the labor and survive different tasks as a team.  The week will culminate with a Friday afternoon trip to the Stavanger Archaeology Museum to see the body excavated from Svarthola.

Hunting and Gathering (Week 4, September 7-September 11)

Thanks to all of the parents who attended Open House.  It was great meeting and seeing all of you in our classroom.  Please remember to send in your child's permission slip for Leirskole.  There is a supply list for the Leirskole trip that can be downloaded by clicking on Leirskole in the menu on the left. 
In week 4, we are working on gathering all of the information we can about ancient people as they hunted and gathered in a migrating pattern.  We made cave paintings similar to ancient people so we can feel history come alive.  We will continue this hands on approach when we gather together next week for our first field trip.  We will journey to an ancient Stone Age cave in Randaberg Kommune called Svarthola
In Language Arts, we are hunting down our reading codes as we read our first short story together.  This will help us next week when we begin to hunt and gather the literary terms we need to analyze literature.  Week 4 will end with a words of the day vocabulary quiz on Friday.

All About Me (Week 3, August 31-September 3)

In week 3, we conclude Unit 1, All About Me.  The Personal Timelines for SS have helped students show who they are and where they are headed.  These amazing artifacts are now on display in the sixth grade hall and classrooms.  In English, portfolio covers are completed and personal pictures and poems are being finalized for display.  On Thursday, we are all looking forward to Open House.  Parents will walk in the footsteps of their children as they follow their middle school child's schedule from class to class. While walking through a typical day in their child's life, parents will also be seeing projects and meeting teachers.  In addition, there will be a short meeting regarding our upcoming Outdoor Education week at Fevik Maritime Leirskole.  I look forward to welcoming all of the parents into our classroom!

Putting Ourselves on the Map (Week 2, August 24-28)

In week 2, we will continue to discuss artifacts as we develop our Personal Timelines.  Students will be using pictures and memories to make a timeline of their lives.  Parents are encouraged to discuss memories (especially the early years) with their children and help them construct their outlines.  In addition to timelines, they will finalize their portfolio covers to symbolize themselves.  The week will also culminate with a Word of the Day quiz on Friday.  The words are all writing traits which we will use to discuss writing throughout the year. 

First day of School (Week 1, August 17-21)

Welcome to the International School of Stavanger Middle School.  I am Mr. Catanzaro and I am ready to begin a new school year!  In this first week, we will learn a lot of new procedures as the changing daily schedules of middle school affect each day. This will be an adjustment. Coping with a locker and moving classrooms between classes will feel odd at first, but you will soon enjoy your new schedule.  The sixth grade team is ready to assist you in this transition.
As the team leader, I welcome you to the first day of school and will be happy to help with any questions, concerns or problems you may have. You can contact me at