Degrees and Certifications:
6th Grade ELA (Writing)
In 6th grade we are fortunate to have ELA split into two separate blocks: reading and writing. This gives the students an opportunity to really focus on their writing. As a class we will be completing what I would call a survey of writing, focusing on personal narrative, poetry, descriptive, expository, persuasive, and creative writing styles. We start with our Special Object paragraphs, a descriptive piece of writing which will be completed entirely in school. After this assignment, we will continue paragraph writing, including what goes into writing a paragraph, structuring a paragraph with strong topic and clincher sentences and a well-developed body of sentences, and honing our editing skills. Once we have a handle on that we will move on to longer pieces of writing that work on tying multiple paragraphs together into one well-written and developed piece of writing.
I require students to type final copies of their writing. I believe typing is an important skill, and I joke with the kids that they won’t want to take their parents to college with them to type their papers. Students will have a determined length of time for typing depending on how long the assignment is. You know your students and their typing abilities better than I do, so if you feel they need help typing that is certainly fine. I tell the students it is my hope that they will type some section of the piece they are working on, but they can certainly divide up the work.
Students will receive rubrics for every polished writing assignment. They will usually get these rubrics a week or so into working on the assignment. I don’t pass them out the day we begin a new assignment because I have found in the past that students had a tendency to hyper-focus on what they were being graded on, which took away from the overall quality of their writing. I have found that giving them the rubric once they have a good base to work with allows them to edit for content and create a much stronger piece of writing.
Wordly Wise –
The students were thrilled to hear that they would not be using the spelling program in sixth grade. They were not so thrilled when they were told that spelling was being replaced with a vocabulary program. We will be using the Wordly Wise program in 6th grade.
Because I do not always see your students on Monday or Friday, I am unable to keep to a weekly spelling schedule. Instead your student will have a specific day of our rotating schedule that they take their quiz or have their workbook pages due.
If your child is in PERIOD 1, their quiz will be on Day 2&9, and their vocabulary pages/homework will be due on Day 6&13.
If your child is in PERIOD 3, their quiz will be on Day 2&9 and their vocabulary pages/homework will be due on Day 7&14
If your child is in PERIODS 4, 5 or 7, their quiz will be on Day 3&10, and their vocabulary pages/homework will be due on Day 7&14.
This rotation will allow a minimum of 9 days between each vocabulary quiz, which is more than double the elementary school schedule for spelling quizzes. We will be going over study tips in class to help prepare each student for success.
**Students are NOT to rip ANY pages out of their vocabulary books.**
We will also be using the Scott Foresman program for grammar as well as learning opportunities in our writing assignments. Grammar is done throughout the year. Students will be leaving their grammar workbooks in my classroom in order to ease the load of what they need to carry from class to class. The book will occasionally go home for a homework assignment.
Helping Your Child –
Every year I am asked how much help with editing parents should be giving their children. Here is my request: When your child is working on a rough draft for an assignment, let them make mistakes. It is more important to me that they get their thoughts out onto the paper than they spell everything perfectly on a rough draft. As we go through the editing process and are working towards a final copy, I encourage you to help your student find their mistakes, be they spelling, grammar, punctuation, or otherwise. Please make sure you are doing your best to guide them to discovering errors on their own rather than simply pointing them out. The more they are able to discover these errors on their own, the better they will become at editing.
I will be giving the students different editing tips in class in the next few weeks to help them discover how to edit their work. The editing strategy I find to be most helpful is to edit from the end of a piece of writing to the beginning. For example, if the assignment is one paragraph long, start with the last sentence in the writing and edit one sentence at a time working your way to the top. As I explain to the kids, our brains know what we meant to say, so they tend to fill in the gaps that might be there instead of identifying them for us. But, when we read things out of order, we are forcing our brains to look at each sentence (or paragraph) on its own, and are more apt to find errors in our writing.