Monday, September 26, 2011

Field Day - September 26

Sixth grade participated in a field day today and rotated through a variety activities designed to encourage community.  In my room we played Scattergories in teams.  Everyone had a great time thinking of creative and original words for each category.  Even the rain couldn't keep us from enjoying ourselves and learning a little something in the process!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 19 - September 23

It was a busy week as the sixth graders wrapped their minds around whether or not Johnny Cade should be guilty of murder or manslaughter in the death of Bob Sheldon.  One thing was for sure, it was not a clear-cut case.  Solid arguments and rationalizations were made on either side.

Nonetheless, reaching an individual decision has allowed the students to practice their persuasive writing skills.  They worked on organizing their thoughts in an attempt to convince an audience to believe what they believe.  Students analyzed effective hooks and organizational patterns and began to experiment with building their case.  Next week, they will critique various types of conclusions and participate in a peer review with their own pieces.  Whatever the verdict, students will be expected to defend it with the text.  Good luck, Johnny!

Last, but certainly not least, the sixth graders began their monthly book talks with the middle school librarian, Mrs. Eppelsheimer.  They were presented with six current and intriguing novels - all great choices for our ORB.  I know that I am excited to read a few myself!

Friday, September 16, 2011

September 12- September 16

This week we read one of the most exciting chapters of The Outsiders and we are really beginning to think critically about the actions and motives of the characters.  At the same time, we started to analyze the various themes that are surfacing in the story and used passages from the text to support our ideas.

Additionally, we took a much closer look at active literacy and practiced the skills we learned in earnest.  I have included the presentation below.  Feel free to view and discuss its content with your children.

Finally, we rounded out the week with our first vocabulary quiz.  We focused on the terms the we studied from the first two chapters of the book and demonstrated our understandings on Friday.  Due to the quiz, there will be no homework this weekend!  Enjoy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 6 - September 9

What an exciting week in sixth grade!  In the lead-up to the big homecoming game, students enthusiastically participated in Spirit Week.  From Crazy Hat Day to Jersey Day, we really enjoyed the opportunity to display our creativity.  Without a doubt, the best day was 60's Day on Friday.  Many of the sixth graders chose to dress like their favorite Greaser or Soc and brought The Outsiders to life.

Speaking of The Outsiders, we spent time creating personality profiles for the six main characters of the book.  Each character was labeled and accompanied by a paragraph illustrating how that label fit.  Additionally, students created alternate settings for the novel.  For example, instead of the urban 60's, what would the novel be like if it were taking placing in the future, the Wild West, or even during the Renaissance?  One thing we noted was that no matter how much some things would have changed, others would have stayed exactly the same.

We really dug our heels into the text this week.  We did a deep reading of Chapter 2 and examined the many layers of a well-written text.  After many class discussions, a PowerPoint, and even some YouTube videos we feel we are ready for Chapter 3.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

August 29 - September 2

After getting into the swing of things during the initial days of school, we spent our first full week building the background knowledge necessary for our study of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  In addition to learning about the author, we discussed and wrote about our essential questions for the year: 
  • What does it mean to 'fit in'?
  • Is it important to 'fit in'?  Why or why not?
  • What is normal?
  • What does it mean to be an outsider?
We quickly realized that there are no easy answers to these questions, and the consensus we reach today will surely be different tomorrow.

On a lighter note, the students enjoyed a read aloud of The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss.  We discussed its relevance to what was discussed thus far and predicted how it might connect with The Outsiders.  It's amazing how a seemingly simple book can explore such complex themes!

We also began to study important terms from the first chapter.  Students utilized Marzano's strategies and context clues to help develop long-term relationships with the words.