Week of Sept. 24th

Checkpoints

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!
Overview
  • 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!)
Testing
  • 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.
SeeSaw

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!

Standards

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.

Standards

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.

Week of August 20th

Helping You Understand Whooo’s Reading Requirements
  1. Students should begin logging reading minutes in Whooo’s Reading this week and do so for the remainder of the year. (Passwords will be sent home Monday.)
  2. Students should complete their first quiz for a completed book in Whooo’s Reading by Friday. (Due dates for this quarter’s quizzes are in the right-hand sidebar of this blog.)
  3. Please download the information letter here about Whooo’s Reading. Talk with your child about the requirements. Have you turned in the signature page?

Other Things to Double-Check
  1.  Have you joined Bloomz yet?
  2. Have you completed the parent survey?
  3. Last week, we sent home a sheet with the links and login information.  Here is a copy: Join Us 
This Week in ELA
  1. We will have completed several entries in our “Lit Logs” by Monday. Students will have information in charts about the three types of writing for this year (narrative, informative, argumentative), and an annotation chart.
  2. Students will read three articles this week. One allows them to practice annotation with symbols; the other two will be the basis of an argumentative essay (to be written in class and completed by Wednesday or possibly Thursday). Students will work on their essay in Canvas (so absent students can work on this at home).
  3.  We will begin our culture kick-off with an interesting slide show that sparks deep conversations about cultural similarities and differences around the world.
  4. Students will complete Short Writes on SeeSaw every day. If you haven’t created a parent account yet, please do so that you can see their work.

SeeSaw Account Creation

Dear Families,
This year we are using Seesaw to share and communicate with families! Your child will post to Seesaw to share their learning. I’ll also use Seesaw to send you messages and reminders. Seesaw is private; you’ll only see posts created by your child.
Please Sign Up Now :
–Click on this link: https://app.seesaw.me/s/248-155-172
–Choose your child from the list
–Create your account
–Once I approve you, you can see content from your child
After you sign up, download the free Seesaw Family app and sign in. You can also access Seesaw from a computer at https://app.seesaw.me.
Thank you for supporting your child’s learning!
Mrs. Ray
P.S. If you used Seesaw last year or have more than one child using Seesaw, follow the link above, then click the ‘Sign in’ tab at the top of the screen. You do not need to create a new account.

Week of August 13

This week in ELA

  • Common Sense media lessons on digital safety (continued from last week)
  • How to Tell a Story,” by Donald Miller (chapters 1, 2) continued via a Nearpod lesson. In this lesson, we lay the foundation for understanding story structure and how it applies to not just writing but also reading. If you understand how authors write, you can dissect a novel. Why dissect a novel? Consider these points from MaryAnn Diorio, Ph.D, in her blog post “Why Dissect a Novel?
    • Structural Understanding. We analyze in order to understand.
    • Language Understanding. Modeling gives the writer an understanding of the author’s use of language. This use includes literary devices such as metaphor, simile, synecdoche, and personification, among others.
    • Character Formation. Characters drive fiction and are its raison d’être.
    • Theme Recognition. Another reason to learn how critically and objectively to analyze a published author’s work is to understand how an author weaves theme into his fiction.
  • Quarter 1 “Culture” Kickoff via presentation, discussion, and readings
  • Review of narrative, informative, and argumentative writing

Homework

To Do Due When?
On notebook paper, compose the answer to the following two questions after deciding what minor event/problem you faced in life.

1.       Who were you at the time and what did you want, or what were you trying to accomplish?

2.       What was the problem you encountered, and how did it make you feel?

HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGN YOUR TRACKER.

Each night, you will build part of your written response, which has to be turned in Friday. Do this part Monday night.
On the same piece of paper, compose the answer to the following two questions.

1.       Who did you meet or what did you read that helped you? This would be your “guide.”

3.       What plan did you come up with after meeting the guide?

HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGN YOUR TRACKER.

Each night, you will build part of your written response, which has to be turned in Friday. Do this part Tuesday night.
On the same piece of paper, compose the answer to the following two questions.

1.       What did it feel like to take action on that plan?

2.       What could have been lost (or what might have happened) if your plan had failed?

HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGN YOUR TRACKER.

Each night, you will build part of your written response, which has to be turned in Friday. Do this part Wednesday night.
 

YOU MUST SELECT YOUR FIRST NOVEL TO READ AND BEGIN IT. See below for details.

 

 

Select it by Wednesday and begin reading!

Give your parents your Wednesday folder. Remember to have it signed on the back.

HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGN YOUR TRACKER.

Return your Wednesday folder by Thursday or Friday at the latest.
On the same piece of paper, compose the answer to the following final question. Then edit and revise all of the sentences you wrote this week to make your writing flow, using transition words and adding any other information you think it needs.

1.       What was the happy ending you experienced?

HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGN YOUR TRACKER.

Each night, you will build part of your written response, which has to be turned in Friday. Do this part Thursday night.
TURN IN YOUR WRITING ASSIGNMENT

HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGN YOUR TRACKER.

FRIDAY

 

Your child must select a book for his or her first required reading. As a general rule, a book should be completed every two weeks so that the test can be done on Whooo’s Reading. The first test will be done on August 24th. Please download the information letter here.

  • The ELA department is currently in discussions about required weekly reading homework. When a decision has been reached, you will be notified via Bloomz, this blog, and a letter home.
  • To reach me with questions, comments, praises, or concerns, please use the private message feature of Bloomz. Thanks!

Welcome to 6th Grade ELA with Mrs. Ray

Greetings families! Welcome to our classroom blog where you can find important updates, calendar of events, and so much more.  Please browse the site and visit it often.

FYI:

No IR this year! Instead, we’ll be using Whoo’s Reading. Whooo’s Reading Parent Letter

TO DO:

I. Join Bloomz

Please sign up for Bloomz communication! Bloomz is a new app that works both on your smartphone as well as on your computer. You will receive quick updates and photos of class activities, be able to access our class calendar, and more–all in a private and secure environment. Coyote 2 teachers use this to communicate with families almost daily. Instructions will be sent home and are also here:

New Bloomz Parent
1. Download the “Bloomz” app from the AppStore/PlayStore and click “Create Account”. If browser, go to bloomz.com and click on “Join Bloomz”
2. In the text box, enter FK8MFX
3. Create your account

Existing Bloomz Parent
1. Log into your Bloomz account
2. Click “+Add Class/Group” on the left navigation.
3. In the text box, enter FK8MFX
4. Click next

… or join using text messaging instead
Text @FK8MFX to 1-858-BLOOMZ1 (1-858-256-6691) to
receive 1-way text messages from your teacher

Need help? Go to support.bloomz.com or email us at support@bloomz.com

II.  Join SeeSaw

–You will be able to see your child’s writing and responses in SeeSaw.
–Please join by following the instructions that will be sent home with the new school year’s paperwork!

Schedule