Scary Stories

Scary Stories – Written By 6-1    Click on this link


We are excited to show our work through our scary stories. Slightly prior to Halloween, we wrote scary stories and submitted them to the Poughkeepsie Journal in a competition against different schools all over! Here’s how we wrote them:

  • We wrote our drafts. We wrote one paragraph at a time.

  • We had to make them less than 300 words. That was a new aspect of writing for us, as it meant that we had to make each word count.

  • We checked our stories over with some partners for clarity, spelling, etc

  • We made sure we had a few peer edits.

  • We submitted our stories to the Poughkeepsie Journal!

Every year we write scary stories. It is difficult to  win because we have to compete with 6th, 7th, and 8th grades!

Our stories will send a chill down your spine. We hope you will enjoy them!

News Update…

We have some recognized writers in 6th grade!  Zach in 6th grade was chosen as the runner up and Zoe and Elizabeth were given honorable mentions. Congratulations! Click on their names to read their amazing stories

The First Few Weeks of School

The First Few Weeks Of School

Middle School

Our PDS Middle School Environment is very different than other schools. We have a wonderful learning space called the learning commons. In the commons we have comfortable work spaces.  We also have many fantastic classes including one that some people probably haven’t heard of. It’s called Humanities. and is a mix of English, Social Studies and History.

We also get the chance to use online academics and we call our teachers by their first names. We can organize our own dances and put on plays and perform for our families. We have a great arts program, and this year we just got a new music program in the middle school. PDS is always trying to create a better environment for their students, faculty and parents.

The lunches at our school are different than others. They have the option of a side salad or fruit bowl which most schools don’t have. We also have different things that most schools don’t have including dumplings for Chinese festivals and a salad bar for people who like to customize their salad. Over time every chef we’ve had has been different. One year snacks used to be brought to your classroom. They could be sweets or even healthy food like vegetables and fruit, but now we don’t have that. We have Pizza day and an occasional Taco Tuesday. I hope in the future we get more healthy foods!

The PDS athletic program offers many choices to encourage our students to be involved in multiple sports. All middle school students are eligible to join the basketball and soccer teams, they are also able to join the high school cross country teams. Girls in 7th and 8th can join the varsity softball team, and 8th grade boys and girls can sign up for the varsity Ultimate Frisbee team. Our sports program is off to a great start as our soccer players build momentum toward their first game of the year!

Even though most of the middle school has not gone on any field trips yet, we all know what to expect. The 8th graders are going to have a wonderful time in NYC. They will be seeing the Broadway show The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Another field trip that happens every year in the middle school is Nature’s Classroom. Please note that this is being written by a group of 6th graders who have not yet gone of this field trip. So we will explain the best we can! Nature’s classroom is a time when the whole Middle school goes to stay for a week in Massachusetts, learning and having lots of fun! We will have more on field trips for you once we go on one!

At PDS our Music program encourages everyone to play a wide range of instruments. We have teachers for wind instruments to strings percussion brass and vocals!. This year we were given the option of being in a chorus or in an ensemble. Both are great but if you don’t play an instrument there’s always the great choice of learning a new instrument. In chorus you work with our vocals and piano instructor, Brielle Grover on an expanse of different songs, all to improve your vocal range or just to have fun. In ensemble you will get to work with our bass instructor Damon Banks but he is a great instructor at everything. There are different sections for every instrument. Piano, Guitar(acoustic or electric), Percussion and vocals. We can’t wait to do our first performance for Chorus and Ensemble!

The middle school at PDS uses computers and technology for most of their work. The school provides each student with an e-mail account, that way students and teachers can communicate in an easy way.  On the first day of school every middle schooler has to sign a tech agreement, to agree to use technology in a responsible manner. Every day students are required to bring their laptop into school with a protective sleeve. We use our  laptops every day in almost every class. We use them for classwork, homework, and more.

6th Grade

The difference between Lower School and Middle School is really big, so here is a little about it. In Lower School we had classes in the same room, now we change rooms basically every class. In middle school we have break time so we either eat a snack, go outside or go on our computers. In lower School we had recess and snack time. Now in 6th grade we have to remember what classes we have at what time, and not be late. It is sooo different in 6th grade.

We also have tons of more responsibilities in 6th grade, like going to the bus by ourselves. W have to be careful when we do that so we don’t miss the bus. Going to classes is a lot harder because we don’t have teachers to tell us where to go and we have to look at our schedules and navigate the day by ourselves.  We have to pick some of the classes we take, which is always a hard decision for those who don’t know what they want.

In Math, we are learning about ratios. Ratios are things that let you explain the difference between two numbers (example: There are 5 boys at a party and 4 girls, the ratio for that would be 5:4 or 5 to 4). Equivalent ratios are Ratios that mean the same thing but they have different numbers. How you get an equivalent ratio is you multiply both number by 2, 3, 4, 5, etc? (example: 5:4 x2 = 10:8 – so 10:8 is equivalent to 5:4).

In Science lately we have been doing some labs. Right now we are finishing our Lifesaver Lab. The Lifesaver Lab is a lab where we are putting different colored Lifesaver in water to see which color goes quicker. Our results vary a little bit but orange seems to be the slowest.

In Spanish we have been learning about the days of the week. Also we have been doing stories where the teachers narrates and asks questions and we answer the questions in Spanish using the clues on the board.

Students did a few polls to see what the 6th grade likes the most. Our first poll was what do you like better, Middle School or Lower School? The answer was that the 6th grade likes Middle School better. Our Second poll was what is your favorite class, Science, Spanish, Humanities or Math? The answer was that the 6th grade likes Science the most.

Humanities is a mix of a different subjects, and this year we are learning about medieval times.  We learn about times from a long time ago and how they did things. We did some summer reading about a medieval times book called Crispin the Cross of Lead by Avi. It was interesting to see how much the world has changed since then and now. In Humanities we do lots of activities that have our group work together. One time we had to write what we thought Humanities was going to be like this year. Shirley is our Humanities teacher and she puts us in groups for a lot of different things. For example, we have things like editing which we do in pairs. We also do lots of other things in groups.  We are reading two books right now. One is The Story of the World and the other is The Boy Who  Harnessed the Wind. Humanities is a very fun and exciting class!!!

Canstruction JR®

Canstruction JR®   
Hunger is a huge problem in the United States and has been going on for centuries. More than 45 million people in the US alone don’t have enough to eat and about 840 million in the world are also in need of food. There are organizations and projects that are trying to stop world hunger. One of these charities is a group called Canstruction. The idea for this organization was started by a designer in 1992. It was a competition for engineers who would use donated cans to build structures. Out of that event came Canstruction Jr, a similar competition for kids in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
This year, we are in 6th grade and we are attempting to design an amazing structure for Canstruction Junior to build at the Galleria Mall on January 30th.  We are happy that we get to be a part of helping the hungry all around the Hudson Valley.                                  
We have been working every D Day to complete this Canstruction project. We worked on this feat by creating groups and giving those groups different jobs. This year we are building a medieval castle made of cans to show people that hunger has been a problem for a long time. Each group works on different things to build this structure. This year, we have a Tinkering team, Engineers and Architects, PR and Marketing, Fundraising and Procurement and a Digital Story Group. These groups help us to complete all the tasks necessary to have a successful build.
Our team for Canstruction Jr® is Tinkering. We have to figure out what mechanical devices we can include in the Canstruction design. We have been trying to see how we can incorporate movement , sound, and lights into the head of the king.  So far we have figured out how we are going to build the king and the measurements for the head, body, and arms. We also are in the process of designing the arms. One thing we still have to do is design the lights and movement for the king. Even though we ran into a couple distractions and obstacles I think we work hard and well together.
Engineers and Architects
Our job is to design and calculate all of the statistics of the structure. To design the structure, we will need to look and think about the best way to have the structure stand on its own. We are using Tinkercad to help with the design. When we are finished designing, we can use the designs to help calculate the number of cans that will be used to build our structure and measure to see what our base and height is. When all of that is done we will start to print on the 3-D printer.
Eamonn and Quinn worked on the schedule of the build while Sebi and Ethan worked on all the dimensions for the castle project. Our group has finished the amount of cans, the schedule, what cans we need, the length and width of the towers and the length and width of the castle. We still need to finish the dimensions for towers and walls, and we still have to practice-build parts of the castle. Our team has worked well on the activities, except for a few distractions.  Our group really likes Canstruction Jr®, and are all excited for the big build.
 PR and Marketing
We are the PR & Marketing group. Our job is to promote Canstruction JR® and tell people what Canstruction JR® is all about. So far we have sent letters to Coca Cola® and Goya® so we can get cans and water bottles donated to build our school’s structure. We still need to complete getting the word out to our school and the community. We are trying very hard to get the word outside of our school. We are thinking about going to the elementary school meeting to tell them about Canstruction. 
Our team has worked together well most of the time on all of the activities that we have done so far. We also have finished a presentation, and we have also accomplished making donation boxes for cans. We have had a lot of fun so far and we to have more in the future. We all like this project very much and we are very excited for the day we get to build our Canstruction Jr® project! 
 Fundraising and Procurement  
Our job is fundraising to raise money for our build. We also plan on donating to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley so they give food to the less fortunate. We are having the bake sale at our school on Wednesday, January the 21st. We made posters to tell people that we are having a bake sale then put them around the school. Some people in our group worked with people in the Public Relations group, and made the donation boxes to put in various places in the school. Then we organized the Canstruction Jr. T-shirts our class is going to wear. Our group is working really well. We work together to make posters and raise money.
We need to gather more people to bring in food for the bake sales and make more signs to promote it. Also, the donation boxes need to be finished. Things need to be worked on with the bake sale, because it’s happening on Wednesday. There needs to be six boxes and we currently only have four. We can’t wait until Canstruction Jr® officially starts!

Review Update – January

Science and Humanities combined classes

In science we did a class project, where we peeled and pickled apples. Then we made faces on the apple heads with rice and cloves. To begin our project each of us made a hypothesis about how much water the apples would lose. We weighed them by grams in every science class using the same balance scales to see the changes in mass. Our final results showed that about 80-90% of an apple is water. All of our information was recorded in graphs and charts.

We decided to create some Scimanities classes to interweave science and humanities learning. Since we are studying medieval times (500 AD-1500 AD) and the people in that time period, we decided to make medieval characters from our apple heads. We took the apple heads and put them on sticks and then dressed them up as different people. We chose names for them like, Sir Robert Apple, Avalon, Celestia, Crispen etc. When we had finished decorating the apple heads, we wrote biographies about our characters and turned them into a Voicethread.



Our middle school has been working on NaNoWriMo Book Talks. NaNoWrimos stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is a writing program for students of all ages coordinated by The Office of Letters and Light.  Students are asked to write a novel with a certain amount of words in one month. The 7th and 8th grade students in our school all wrote novels between 2,000 – 10,000 words. Instead of writing the novel, 6th graders decided to create individual book talks using the Book Talk Questions from NaNoWriMo. A book talk is where you write about specific points of interest in a book of your choice without giving the book away. Every student in our class chose a book we liked and wrote a book talk about it, to get others interested. Check them out! They are really cool!)

Do you like reading novels? Check out our Book Talks on some amazing books and get some ideas for reading..

Book Talks by 6th grade

Weekly Update – October 22nd

The sixth graders are working on a lot of projects in Humanities. We are having so much fun that we want to share our experiences with everyone.

In class, we were working on scary stories for the Poughkeepsie Journal’s scary story contest! Every student in the 6th grade had to participate. The scary stories had to be 300 words or less, so it was very hard for some people to make their story. The winner of the scary story contest gets to have a photo shoot and have their story and picture in the Poughkeepsie Journal. The person who wins also gets a gift card to Barnes and Noble! We are very excited to see who will win!!!
Scary Fiery Pumpkin

Picture By: Clappstar, from Creative commons

In humanities, we are working on the EDUblogs blogging challenges. Every week Miss W. posts a new challenge for students to work on. So far, we have worked on avatars, widgets, passions and local festivals. The most recent challenge involved geography, language, and history related projects. The blogging challenge we are working on now is about geocaching. Geocaching is a treasure hunt where a GPS is used to find caches all over the world. A cache is little treasure which can hold little toys or other small items which can be taken and replaced with something of equal or greater value.

Twitter is a social network that allows us to tell the world what we’re up to with 140 characters or less. So far, we have been tweeting about our class and to other students. Twitter is a great way to chat with other people without meeting them in real life. As a class, we really like the way twitter allows us to communicate with other kids in schools around the globe, although it is difficult to fit our tweets in 140 characters. We hope we can meet a lot more schools through twitter and get tons of followers and follow other people too. Our twitter account is @Pds6th and maybe you can follow us. We love our followers!

Twitter Logo

In class we are working with the 7th graders on being food detectives. Being a food detective we try our best to learn about and raise awareness about unhealthy foods. While we’re being food detectives we are also reading a book called “Chew on this” by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson.

We’re learning about what we eat and how it’s made, when fast food was invented and how it changed us to be one of the most overweight countries in the world. It makes people think twice about what they eat. It’s hard to realize how bad the food that is sitting on our plates is until we learn how its made. People don’t usually think about it. It’s cruel how badly the animals and workers are treated and slaughtered to make most of the unhealthy fast food.  Not only are we learning about it we’re going to try to make a difference in the American culture. And schools now have to go with the cheapest option for food or else they lose the privilege of serving it.  We hope that this post makes other people want to become food detectives too.


Weekly Review – December 1st

Weekly Review – December 1st

We have been very busy recently with Thanksgiving and have not updated our weekly review for a while.  We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) and our class is looking forward to the holiday season. The 6th grade is wondering why there has been no snow around our area recently.

In humanities, we just finished watching a video about medieval cathedrals in the Gothic style, mainly in France. It really taught us how medieval people felt about their religion. We learned how people made stained glass and how it took between 50 and 70 years to build a cathedral. Part of the walls of the first cathedral in the video fell down because the stone was too weak.  After replacing the stone, the people built a very tall spire to be closest to God. Cathedrals were not just used for religion but were places where education and trade took place and where the poor and needy were helped. Legal documents were stored there and of course, praying to God and learning about religion from looking at the paintings, the carvings and the pictures took place.

This week we completed our last edublogs challenge. We had fun doing all the challenges and learned a lot about attribution and copyright law. Out of the ten challenges, we completed six. Our class began this challenge the first week of school in September. We still have to decide if we want to take part in the next challenge in March. This is also the time to nominate blogs that people enjoyed.

On Tuesday, we had our last community service day where each student went to a place to volunteer. The places we went to are, two food kitchens, a day care center, a senior residence and outdoor trail sites. The entire  middle school has given 1,376 hours of community service to help others since September.

Weekly Update – Thursday, November 3rd

Weekly Update – Thursday, November 3rd

Last Friday night, our middle school had an annual Halloween Dance. There was an awesome DJ from Superior Sounds who played our favorite songs and played games with us.  We had lots of snacks and refreshments (including a bowl of pickles) and our student council decorated the Chapman Room with spooky bats, cats and webs. Almost all of the middle school participated and some people wore Halloween costumes




We just had an unexpected five day weekend because of a major snow storm that took out the school’s power. This snow storm also blew out lots of students’ electricity and internet. Almost all of our students now have their power back. During that time there were lots of trees that fell down and took down the power lines. It was fun for the first couple of days but was annoying after that. This experience has made us think about how much electricity and technology that we actually need and use every day.

Speaking of electricity and power, on October 26th there was a futurist conference in Geneva, Switzerland in which all of our 6th grade students participated.  This ITU11 and world11kids conference was amazing and we were able to Tweet our questions and ideas to the panel on Twitter and the panel responded. It was very exciting for the students because we were able to communicate with CEOs of major world companies in real time. The panelists talked about technology of the future and how it will affect us. We want to attend more conferences like this. Our blog page on this conference

The panelists were…
Gerd Leonhard, CEO,The Futures Agency,Switzerland
Juliana Rotich,CEO, Ushahidi Inc., Kenya
Rachel Armstrong,Senior TED Fellow, Senior Lecturer, University of Greenwich, United Kingdom
Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future, United Kingdom
Simon Torrance, Founder 2.0 Initiative, and Chief Executice Officer, STL Partners, United Kingdom

Most of the students have finished our wiki projects on Crispin by Avi. There are a variety of presentations all using web 2.0 tools. They included, Glogs, Slideshares, Vokis, Xtranormals and Scratch. We hope you will visit our Crispin Wiki and look at all our presentations. Crispin is a great book and we would recommend it to all 6th graders.

Weekly Update – Friday, September 30th

We finally finished our scary stories and have entered them into the Poughkeepsie Journal competition. Our class created individual covers for each of our stories. We think that all our submissions were excellent because of all the details, descriptions and juicy words we included. The sixth grade hopes we have a winner! Over the past years we have had several winners. On Tuesday, the entire sixth grade went to the F.D.R. farm site in Hyde Park to study trees and salamanders. It was a cloudy warm day, and there were many, many mosquitoes. The mosquitoes were very vicious and they put us on edge which made it difficult to listen. On our trip we saw many salamanders and learned many things about trees. We found a lot of different species of salamanders. Some of them were the Jefferson, Red Backs, Red EFT’s  and Spotted Salamders. Not only did we find a lot of salamanders but we also found a lot of worms, newts, centipedes and ants under the boards.




We learned that when farmers manage a tree plantation, not just any trees can be cut down. The farmers have to choose trees that when they are seen through a prism look a certain way on a chart.  This was difficult to do and understand.  The rangers taught us how to find out how much money a cuttree would be worth by measuring the diameter and circumference of trees. We also helped saw down a part of a tree using a two man saw and that was fun, although hard to do.


Thanks to Susanne and Cathy for helping us learn so much about salamanders and trees.                ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Weekly Review – Friday, September 16th

Weekly Review Friday, September 16th

Shirley’s 6th grade humanities had lots of fun during the first full week of school. We began writing scary stories for the Poughkeepsie Journal contest and we hope we have a winner. Last year we had a runner up prize winner. In class, 6th graders started writing our first blog post about ourselves. It is called Myself and will be posted soon. Editing was an important part of getting our posts ready for our blog and we spent a lot of time editing with partners.

On Monday we began reading the book, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind,  which is a biography about William Kamkwamba, written by Bryan Mealer. Before we read the book we watched the TED talk with William talking about his accomplishments.

TED talk video about William Kamkwamba.


The entire middle school went to Ramapo on Tuesday. Ramapo is in Rhinebeck, NY and is a place where kids can challenge themselves and face their fears as well as being safe. This camp has lots of climbing facilities and we used the low ropes and high ropes. At Ramapo we learned how to build trust as a group and have fun at the same time.






Weekly Review Thursday, May 12th

Weekly Review  Thursday, May 12th – Written entirely by the 6th graders.

Last Thursday the 6th grade went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We drove there in two school vans, a car and the drive was about two hours long. After we arrived, we split into two groups each with a tour guide. Our groups saw many pieces of Ancient Greek and Roman art from pots to grave markers to statues. During the tour we learned about different styles of Greek art and what they symbolized. The exhibit was on two floors, and on the top floor there was a real ancient Etruscan chariot. The tour took about an hour and then we went to lunch in Central Park.

During lunch, some 6th graders were doing Parkour and the rest of us were watching or playing tag. The park we played in had many trees in bloom, cherry blossoms, large rocks and was hilly. We met a kid named Max who lived close to the Museum and he played tag with us. Everyone was excited to have a break, free time and have lunch.

We returned to the museum and split up into three small groups. In the groups we completed a scavenger hunt booklet about different kinds of art. Also, as part of the activity we tried to find certain pieces of art that were mentioned in The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan. The night before the trip, each sixth grader researched a favorite art piece found on the Metropolitan Museum website. On the scavenger hunt, we tried to find our individual art pieces and had to describe them. One of the groups went to the Egyptian wing for a little while. Our final stop before heading home was the gift shop where some of us bought souvenirs.

We finished our notes on our individual ancient Greek reports and most of us are now ready to begin our first drafts.  Final reports are due on Monday, May 23 and our media presentations is due on Friday, May 27.