Week of October 15th

quarter 2

Welcome back! Things to Remember in Quarter Two:

  • Three Whooo’s Reading books must be completed and tested on per the schedule in the right sidebar. At least one fiction and one nonfiction book required. The third is up to the student. The fourth book will be the in-class novel for this quarter.
  • Students MUST record 120 minutes of reading per week into Whooo’s Reading. This can be done at home or at school. Tracking on paper is OK, but times still must be added into Whooo’s Reading (online) by the end of the day each Friday.
  • Trackers should be signed each night.
  • Wednesday folders should be signed weekly and returned by Friday each week.

New Things in Quarter 2:

  • A new in-class book! We’ll be reading the nonfiction book: “The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” by James L. Swanson
  • Centers for a Blended Learning Environment. This week, students will begin working in centers (aka station rotations). Each center is designed to focus on one element of an ELA classroom. Our centers include reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, standards study (in context). Work is completed in Canvas, in Google classroom (just weekly checklists), on paper, and in SeeSaw.
  • The Language Arts department’s pacing guide for quarter two can be viewed here. On the pacing guide, you can read about standards and activities for this quarter.


Beginning Nov. 7th, I will be offering tutoring in my room every Wednesday and Thursday morning from 7 – 7:30 a.m. to all 5th & 6th grade students who would like support in their ELA learning. No registration needed! Just show up.

Week of October 1st

This Week in ELA

Plans are a little squished together because of our unexpected day off Monday. Students would have been given time in class to complete their third Whooo’s Reading quiz on Monday because the quiz for the class novel, The Breadwinner, had been planned for Tuesday. So it seems both quizzes must done in class Tuesday. Here is the plan going forward:

  • Tuesday: Whooo’s Reading quizzes, Literature Log completion for The Breadwinner, Flipgrid book interviews (on Canvas)
  • Wednesday – Friday: Individual Data Conferences with Mrs. Ray; error analysis on Checkpoint (Wednesday); centers activities (Thursday & Friday
  • Students should continue to log reading minutes this week.
  • Report card grades are submitted by teachers on Wednesday by 10 a.m. (so basically Tuesday  after school).
  • End of quarter is Friday, followed by a week off for Fall Break!

Week of Sept. 24th


Checkpoints are required tests in ELA, math, and social studies that occur three times per year. These tests allow teachers to collect and analyze the growth of our students (similar to the common formative assessments given by ELA recently). While some people question the need for so much testing, I personally find data useful as a guide to targeting student strengths and weaknesses. It allows me to adjust my teaching to meet the needs of each kiddo.

Here is the schedule for checkpoints:

  • Monday, block 1 – ELA
  • Tuesday, block 1 – math
  • Wednesday, block 1 – social studies

Next week, I will conference with each student individually about his or her checkpoint score. We will develop a goal for the remainder of the year.

This Week in ELA

The time taken out of the day for testing means our teaching blocks are shortened. I have decided that the best use of this time in ELA is to read! Students will read The Breadwinner in class. They will also have time to work on Whooo’s Reading and complete their 100-word challenge in SeeSaw from last week. (This week, the final step is peer comments.)

Thursday, students will practice identifying elements of a story with a jigsaw activity called “Book in an Hour” using the classic story, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This group activity requires students to read part of the abridged version of the story, then respond to it visually (using a method of their choice, such as Google Slides, a poster, a skit, etc.).

Friday, students will present their jigsaw activities. Any remaining time will be spent on discovering allusions in pop music and movies.

Finally, each day we will examine grammar and spelling mistakes being made in daily short writes. It’s time to tighten up on this!

Next week, we will continue to apply many of the ELA standards we’ve been learning to the content in The Breadwinner as we finish up the book. Student “lit logs” are a reflection of a lot of this learning, and they will continue to add to these.

News You Can Use

Picture Retakes (or Missed): Wednesday, Oct. 3, is picture retake day!  ID for online purchase is AA508004Y2 at http://mylifetouch.com.  If you want retakes, simply return your original package on this day.

Whooo’s Reading at-home test #3 should be completed by Monday, October 1st. If we finish The Breadwinner on time, which we aim to do, we will take the Whooo’s Reading test on that book in class on October 4th.


Week of Sept. 16, 2018

  • Plot, Point of View, and Allusions are on this week’s menu!
  • We’ve also been learning about various literary devices!

  • We will continue reading The Breadwinner this week and be tested on reading comprehension for chapters 1-3.
  • We will compare characters in The Breadwinner with real kids from the following book:
  • A second common formative assessment will be given to students on Friday.
  • Many students are not logging minutes on Whooo’s Reading, nor are they taking the required quizzes. Remember that these count 20% of final grade, and time is given in class to log minutes and take the test (although it is preferred that these are completed at home).

Literary devices add interest to what we read!

Focus Standards This Week

6.RL.KID.1 – Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw logical inferences; cite textual evidence to support conclusions.

6.RL.KID.2 – Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary.

6.RL.KID.3 – Describe how the plot of a story or drama unfolds, as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

6.RL.CS.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including allusions to other texts.

6.RL.CS.5 – Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fit together to provide the overall structure of particular texts.

6.RL.CS.6 – Explain how an author establishes and conveys the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

6.RL.IKI.9 – Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

6.W.TTP.3 – Write narratives (fiction and non-fiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. (includes a – g).

Week of September 10, 2018

This Week in ELA
  • The common formative assessment will be Monday. We didn’t take it Friday due to shortened class times. We had health screenings Friday!
  • Tuesday will be our kick-off for The Breadwinner!
  • We will play Jeopardy! to practice what we’re learning about figurative language.
  • Short Writes continue daily on SeeSaw. If you haven’t signed on yet, scroll down through older posts on this blog for a link to join so that you can see your child’s work!
  • Whooo’s Reading minutes should be logged daily, and this Friday is the due date for the second required Whooo’s Reading novel test. If your child cannot complete this at home, time will be given in class to do so.
  • If you haven’t already, please sign and return your child’s midterm report card, which was sent home last Wednesday.
Reading On Level

Some confusion arose about Lexile reading levels and book requirements for Whooo’s Reading.  It is suggested that students read books near their Lexile level. Lexile levels are guidelines. As they have been told, this assures that their “reading brains” grow! The bottom line is that students should read grade-level books.

A Word About The Breadwinner
A group of Taliban soldiers.

The slide presentations and discussions we have in class as we read this book usually evoke  shock at how the Taliban treat people.  Since the Taliban are always pictured wearing turbans, I am very careful to instruct students that turbans do not equal Taliban.

This year, I found a video by New Jersey’s Attorney General,  Gurbir Grewal, that I believe will balance out students’ views about turbans and introduce them to the Sikh culture in the United States. Of course I am not trying to push a political agenda with this video; I am raising students’ cultural awareness–one of the themes for quarter 1. Many Sikhs live in the United States. As students read this book, they need to keep in mind that diversity is reflected in many ways and clothing is not a tool to judge a person’s character. After all, Parvana dresses as a boy in the book.

Labor Day Week

Happy Labor Day!





ELA News for the Week of September 3, 2018

Whooo’s Reading clarifications:

  1. Retakes are basically this: read as many books as you want in any time frame per quarter. At report card time, we will take the three highest scores from the books chosen by students (as long as there is at least one nonfiction and one fiction book and as long as they are grade-level books). The fourth book will be the one we read in class, and that score cannot be changed.
  2. Students ARE given daily opportunities to log reading minutes. If your child is keeping a paper log, it is his or her responsibility to log those minutes into Whooo’s Reading at school.
  3. Students MAY take the Whooo’s Reading quizzes at school. Please note the due dates in the right sidebar.
  4. Students must have books approved by the teacher.
  5. Students should follow the links (in the right sidebar of this blog) to check the Lexile level of chosen books to make sure it is near their Lexile level. All students were given a card with their Lexile level written on it.
  6. You should see our photo tree! Each book a student reads for Whooo’s Reading means another photo op for that student and book!
  • Group, solo, online, and paper-n-pencil activities round out this week.
  • Students will learn how key individuals and events contribute to fiction and nonfiction texts.
  • Students will discuss and identify “author’s purpose” in a variety of texts.
  • Students will practice finding and using text evidence.
  • Students will Tweet to photographer Jo Farrell when they have completed their daily lesson. Ms. Farrell photographed the last survivors of Chinese foot-binding. Her work was the subject of the article we read last week.
  • This week, students will read a story related to foot-binding then create an imagined diary entry from the grandmother’s point of view.
  • Next week we begin “The Breadwinner!”  (I had hoped to begin this week, but we had to focus on a few more standards before we were ready delve in!)
  • Last week, students took the CBM tests. Results are being used to help students select appropriate books to read for their required Whooo’s Reading.
  • This week, the ELA Department is giving a “Common Formative Assessment” (CFA).  This online test allows us to measure students’ strengths and weaknesses with the standards being taught.

Only 1/3 of parents have joined SeeSaw to view and comment on their child’s daily “short writes.” Scroll down several posts to find out how to join!


We will cover the following standards this week:

  • 6.RI.KID.3 Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and developed in a text.
  • 6.RI.CS.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in a text.
  • 6.RI.IKI.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats, such as in tables, images, diagrams, and words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • 6.W.T TP.3 Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

Week of August 27th

General News
  • Picture Day is Friday!
  • No School on Labor Day
  • Mid-term reports go home Sept. 5th
This Week in ELA
  • CBM testing on Monday. What is CBM? Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) is a method teachers use to find out how students are progressing in basic academic areas such as math, reading, writing, and spelling. It helps detect students who need more support in a subject, and it helps teachers group students by like- or mixed-ability. This online test is given several times throughout the school year.
  • This Week in Reading. Culture Kick-Off happened last week. Did your child come home talking about strange photos on the slideshow used by our ELA teachers? Did your child talk about the discussions we had? Yes, we talked about what makes a community, and I asked why it is important to belong to a community. In that context, we talked about “normal” for different people in different places. This week, to further our discussion, we will look in depth at the old Chinese tradition of foot-binding using an article from photojournalist Jo Farrell. This nonfiction article will be contrasted with a narrative on the same topic later this week (or early next week) that allows us to look not just at the content itself, but story structure, central ideas, imagination versus fact, etc.  Our discussions, the articles, and the slideshow–with its photos that are outside of our day-to-day experiences in America–create the foundation for the books we will read this year as a class. We will read about Afghanistan lifestyles, British lifestyles, Americans in the JFK era, and one superstar who lived a life of poverty and homelessness but rose to football fame. By week 6 of this quarter, we will be primed to begin this quarter’s novel, “The Breadwinner,” by Deborah Ellis.
  • This Week in Writing. Students will write a narrative from the informational text on Chinese foot-binding.
Whooo's ReadingUpdates from Sixth Grade ELA!
Nightly Reading Grading Scale:

As part of the reading program, all sixth graders are required to read 120 minutes weekly (Saturday – Friday) outside of school hours. This required reading should be documented on the Whooo’s Reading program that students will be using to complete the quizzes. Reading 120 minutes weekly is also counted as part of students’ grades in the Whooo’s Reading category of the gradebook (which counts as 20% of the overall ELA grade). See the rubric to the right for reading times and grade percentages.

*Students reading 0 minute per week will be required to  read during TEAM Time at Homework Hangout.

Minutes Read Percentage
120 (or more) 100%
100-119 95%
80-99 90%
60-79 85%
40-59 80%
20-39 75%
0-19 70%

Quiz completion suggestions:

Student are required to read four books read per quarter on reading level (i.e., no picture books, graphic novels, “Who Was” books, and books such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid.).  Book choices must include one fiction book, one nonfiction book, and one book of his or her choice. The fourth book will be the extended text used in the ELA classroom.

  • First quiz by Friday, Aug. 31st
  • Second quiz by Friday, Sept. 14th Third quiz by Monday, Oct. 1st
  • Fourth quiz to be taken in class between Monday, Oct. 1st and Friday, Oct. 5th

Quiz “Retake” opportunities:

Students will not be allowed to retake another quiz on the same book after receiving a poor score. However, students will be allowed the opportunity to read another book that fits the required genre and take a quiz on that book to potentially replace the unsatisfactory quiz grade. (For example, if the students receives a 50 on the required nonfiction book they may read another nonfiction book and take a new quiz to improve their score). Essentially the top quiz score for fiction, nonfiction, and choice book will be counted toward the quarter grade. The classbook score must count toward the quarter grade.  See the back for a reminder of quiz score scales.

Finally, those of you without computer access at home should sign your child’s reading log OR tracker (where ever he or she has logged reading minutes) to acknowledge that the reading was completed. Then, your child may enter the times during class. Also, time in class will be given on due dates to take the online quizzes for those students who do not have home internet access.

Whooo’s Reading Quiz Scoring Rubrics – 6th Grade

  • 4 (100%) – Wrote 4-6 sentences, restated and answered the question fully with 2+ details from the text, well organized.
  • 3-3.5 (75%-88%) – Wrote 1-4 sentences, restated and answered the question fully with 1-2 details from the text, may not be as well organized.
  • 2-2.5 (50%-63%)- Answered the question but did not restate the question, was overly vague, did not supply evidence, is not long enough, or did not address all parts of the question.
  • 1-1.5 (25%-38%) – Plot summary or personal opinion only, did not attempt to answer the question.

0 (%) – Answer contains or is entirely bad faith (typed something, just to submit, does not pertain to text.


We will cover the following standards this week:

  • 6.RI.KID.1 Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw logical inferences; cite textual evidence to support conclusions.
  • 6.RI.KID.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through details; provide an objective summary.
  • 6.RI.KID.3 Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and developed in a text.
  • 6.RI.CS.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in a text.
  • 6.RI.IKI.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats, such as in tables, images, diagrams, and words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • 6.W.T TP.3 Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.