Olympic Middle School

OMS Mission: Ensure academic growth and social responsibility. Serving students in grades 6 and 7 in Shelton School District. Graduation Matters Shelton

 

This Week in Literacy
January 17-20, 2012
 
Reading Focus: This week we are doing the benchmark easyCBM assessment.  There are three areas being assessed: fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.
Writing Focus: The students will be working on elaboration and introductions this week after spending some time early on reviewing punctuation and capitalization.
 
Writing
This week we will be continuing our work on introductions and elaboration.  The students will be assigned their second letter to self.  These letters are a series that the students will receive back in the spring of their senior year in high school.  They are great fun to receive and a wonderful teaching tool for us now.  This letter’s focus is “My World.”  They will write about the following ideas (and if they can come up with some others they can include them, too).


·         A description of my home
·         A description of my school
·         Of my neighborhood
·         Town
·         Favorite places to go
·         Chores
·         Allowance
·         Pet(s)
·         Possessions
 
·         Clothes
·         Religion
·         Current events
·         Favorite books
·         Music groups
·         Movies
·         TV
·         A description of my bedroom
 

All classes will begin this project on Tuesday, introducing to the students what they will be writing about and giving time to work on their pre-writing.  We will spend one more day during the week writing the letter.  This will be all the class time allowed for the project.  If your student does not finish in class he/she will have a bit of homework to wrap it up. 
We will be assessing the pre-write, and the introductory paragraph.  See the rubric in the Documents section entitled Introduction, Elaboration  & Conventions for how the paragraph will be assessed.
easyCBM
We are taking the easyCBM benchmark assessments in the computer lab this week.  We are doing the fluency (one minute oral reading to the teacher) in class throughout the week.  In the lab we will be taking both the comprehension and vocabulary assessments.  This should take one class period per classroom.  The schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, January 18th – Mr. Case’s classes
Thursday, January 19th – Ms. Aisenberg’s classes
Friday, January 20th – Ms. Shrum’s classes
 
Esperanza Rising
We will finish reading the chapter, “Los Duraznos,” peaches, pages 214-233, and hopefully get to “Las Uvas,” grapes, this week.  “Las Uvas” is the last chapter in the book.  Using this text we will continue to work on using context clues to determine vocabulary and supporting an opinion about an event in the book with details from the story.
Reading Logs
We passed out reading logs on Tuesday.  They are due Monday, January 23rd.  We will have
SSR and write summaries here in class on Tuesday and Thursday.  Please check to be sure the lexile is right for them.  If your child lost their reading log you can either get one from the document section on this site, or write it on notebook paper.
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.

 

This Week in Literacy

January 9 - 13

Writing

 

We will begin the week with a review of conventions (capitalization and punctuation).  We find that many of the students know how to write correctly, but are not always motivated to do so.  We will be viewing three Brain Pops: “Punctuation,” “Capitalization” and “Run-on Sentences.”  The students will have a study guide to work with as they go through the Brain Pops and then keep in their binders for reference.  We are expecting correct conventions in all the students’ writing.
We will also be back to working on our introductions.  Last week we focused on adjectives, so this week we will take a look at how adjectives can be used in the elaboration of their introductions.  Friday the students will take an assessment.  They will be writing an introduction using correct conventions and elaboration.  Wednesday we will introduce the concepts and Thursday will be a day to practice these skills.  The students will be assessed in all three areas: conventions, elaboration and the quality of the introduction itself.
Esperanza Rising
We will read the chapter, “Los Duraznos,” peaches, pages 214-233.  Using this text we will continue to work on using context clues to determine vocabulary and supporting an opinion about an event in the book with details from the story.
Reading Logs
We passed out reading logs on Monday.  They are due Monday, January 16th.  We will have
SSR and write summaries here in class on Tuesday and Thursday.  Please check to be sure the lexile is right for them.  If your child lost their reading log you can either get one from the document section on this site, or write it on notebook paper.
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
 

 

This Week in Literacy
January 3-6

 

January 3-6, 2012
Reading Focus: Using context clues for understanding vocabulary and creating a summary
Writing Focus: The students will learn what an adjective is and how to use it in a sentence.
 
Writing
This shortened four-day week we are exploring the wily adjective.   We began with a PowerPoint lesson on adjectives and then having each student writes a piece about their vacation.  They then underlined the adjectives they used.  The next day we gave the students a lengthy list of adjectives and asked them to pick five.  They added a noun to each of them and used three of them correctly in sentences. With the list in hand we had them go back to the vacation writing and beef up the adjective count.  We also found adjectives in a section of our book, Esperanza Rising.   Finally, they were to find the adjectives and adjective phrases in a piece called “Blackberry Motorist” by Richard Brautigan.  After checking their adjective findings, they wrote a second chapter to the story using adjectives and adjective phrases of their own.
All the things we used to teach this unit are available for downloading in the Documents section.
Esperanza Rising
We will read the chapter, “Los Esparragos,” asparagus, pages 199-213.  Using this text we will continue to work on using context clues to determine vocabulary and supporting an opinion about an event in the book with details from the story.
Reading Logs
We passed out reading logs on Tuesday.  They are due Monday, January 9th.  There is one less day than normal for the students to finish, so they will have to keep on top of it.  We will have
SSR and write summaries here in class on Tuesday and Thursday.  Please check to be sure the lexile is right for them.  If your child lost their reading log you can either get one from the document section on this site, or write it on notebook paper.
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
 

 

This Week in Literacy

December 5-9, 2011
 
Reading Focus: Using context clues for understanding vocabulary, supporting answers using details from the book, and creating a summary
Writing Focus: How to write a quality Introduction.
 
Writing
We will be working on introductions again this week.  The students will be looking at some examples of introductions and, using a rubric, scoring them.  The students will be asked on Monday to find an example of an introduction, as homework, and bring it to class by Wednesday.  We will then look at these examples and score them using the rubric.  After this the students will be writing their own introductions.  We will write practice introductions on both Wednesday and Thursday, and be assessed for the first time on Friday.  If you would like to see the rubric, scoring sheet and other materials we are using, look for them in the documents section.
Esperanza Rising
We will read the chapter, “Las Papas,” potatoes, pages 158-178.  Using this text we will continue to work on using context clues to determine vocabulary and supporting an opinion about an event in the book with details from the story.
Library
We will be going to the library for book check out this week.  Ms. Shrum’s and Mr. Case’s classes are going on Tuesday, Ms. Aisenberg’s class is scheduled on Wednesday.  The students are allowed to check out two books at a time.  We require one of the books to be a fiction chapter book in their lexile.  That is their work book to be used during their in-class silent sustained reading time and for their reading logs.  The other book can be whatever they want to read.
Lexile and SRI
We just took the SRI again, so be sure to ask your student how he/she did.  Most of the students went up which was great to see.  Our goal is to see each student go up 25 points or more each time we take the test.  We take the test at the beginning of each quarter.  We will next take it in late January.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
The books in the library all have lexile numbers on them.  If the book they find is at their lexile to one hundred points above it, it is a book that will challenge the reader but not frustrate him/her.  They will improve their reading simply by enjoying a good book!
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
SSR / Reading Logs
SSR is silent sustained reading.  We will have SSR both Tuesday and Thursday this week.  The students will read in their novels for fifteen minutes and then spend five minutes writing a two to three sentence summary in their reading logs.  That will leave the students with three summaries and 70 minutes to read on their own this week.  Reading logs are given out each Monday at the beginning of class, and are due at the beginning of class the following week.  If your child lost theirs you can either get one from the document section on this site, or write it on notebook paper.
 
 

 

This Week in Literacy
November 28 - December 2
 
Reading Focus: Comprehension, summary
Writing Focus: Introductions
 
Writing
We will be working on introductions this week.  We will be looking at effective ways to introduce a paper and ineffective ways.  They will be writing listing the ineffective ways in their spirals with the international sign for not over them – a big red slash.  Then we will be looking at some examples of introductions and, using a rubric, scoring them.  After this build up we will write our first introduction.
 
Esperanza Rising
We will read the chapter, “Las Cireulas,” pages 139-157.  On Wednesday, we will have a comprehension assessment over the chapter.  The students will get their papers back next Tuesday, December 6th.  The assessment will have some multiple choice questions, a couple of vocabulary questions and conclude with their choice of two short answer questions.  They will answer one for a possible three points.
 
Lexile and SRI
We just took the SRI again, so be sure to ask your student how he/she did.  Most of the students went up which was great to see.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
The books in the library all have lexile numbers on them.  If the book they find is at their lexile to one hundred points above it, it is a book that will challenge the reader but not frustrate him/her.  They will improve their reading simply by enjoying a good book!
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
 
 
SSR / Reading Logs
SSR is silent sustained reading.  We will have SSR both Tuesday and Thursday this week.  The students will read in their novels for fifteen minutes and then spend five minutes writing a two to three sentence summary in their reading logs.  That will leave the students with three summaries and 70 minutes to read on their own this week.  Reading logs are given out each Monday at the beginning of class, and are due at the beginning of class the following week.  If your child lost theirs you can either get one from the document section on this site, or write it on notebook paper.
 
 

 

This Week in Literacy
November 14 - 18

 

November 14-18, 2011
Reading Focus: Text features, main idea, summary
Writing Focus: Elaboration, prewriting
Writing
This week we are going to write our first Letter to Self.  This is an opportunity to take a snapshot in time – not to be looked at again for six years.  This is the first in a series of about five letters that will be given back to the students in the spring of their senior year of high school.  Each letter has a different focus, from friends to activities to family, etc. 
One writing focus for this letter will be prewriting.  The students will be doing a prewriting activity to get their thoughts together before starting.  We will be teaching the webbing method this week, so they will be able to use either it or the alphabetic taxonomy they learned last week to generate their ideas.  This prewrite will be scored for the grade book.
The second focus will be elaboration.  The students will be scored on how much they elaborate on their thoughts.  They will be able to choose their grade –
Here is how it will be assessed:
            To earn a “3” you must write 2 ½ complete pages. 
            To earn a “2.5” you must write 2 complete pages.
            To earn a “2” you must write 1 ½ complete pages.
            To earn a “1.5” you must write 1 complete page.
            To earn a “1” you must write ¾ of a page.
Text Features
The students will receive their text features III assessments back on Monday.  If they made a brochure, it will be back to them by Wednesday.  You can check all scores online at Family Access.  Ask at the office is you do not have this already.
Esperanza Rising
This week we will be finish reading “Los Cebollas,” pages 100-120.  We will use the descriptions of both the cabin Esperanza and crew land in and the camp to draw a schematic of the cabin and a map of the camp.  This will work on their comprehension skills.  We will then read “Las                                                                                                            Almendras,” pages 121-135.
Scholastic Reading Inventory and Lexile
We will be taking the SRI assessment Friday of this week (Case) or Monday (Aisenberg) or Tuesday (Shrum) of next week.  This is an important assessment to the students, because it determines what books they can read or not read for their reading logs.  They should get a good night’s sleep the night before the assessment and a good breakfast that morning for best performance.
Sixth grade lexile level is between about 820 and 1100.
Ask your student what their lexile is.  This is a number they should know.  They need to know it in order to find the right book.  If the book they find is at their lexile to one hundred points above it, it is a book that will challenge the reader but not frustrate him/her.  They will improve their reading simply by enjoying a good book!
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
SSR / Reading Logs
SSR is silent sustained reading.  We will have SSR both Tuesday and Thursday this week.  The students will read in their novels, at their lexile, for fifteen minutes and then spend five minutes writing a two to three sentence summary in their reading logs.  That will leave the students with three summaries and 70 minutes to read on their own this week.
 
Library
Our scheduled library time for next week, is either November 21st & 22nd.  Ms. Shrum’s and Mr. Case’s classes will be going to the library on Monday the 21st.  The students in Ms. Jones / Aisenberg’s classes will be going on Tuesday the 22nd.  The library is also open before school and at lunch.  The students can drop in, on their own, to check in/out and renew books at either of these times too.
 
 Students may wish to do a lexile search for books before going to the library.  This is an easy way to find the books they want.  They can do this from home by finding the Olympic Middle School web site, going to the library, clicking on Destiny and running a lexile search.  They can find out what books are in their lexile range, whether or not they are checked in, and read a summary about them – all from either home or school.
 

 

This Week In Literacy 

November 7-10, 2011
 
Reading Focus: Text features, main idea, summary
Writing Focus: Sustained writing, prewriting
 
Writing
We will use our alphabetic taxonomy from last week to write a paragraph during our 10 minute write this week.  The taxonomy should help the students think of details as well as narrow their topic.
 
Esperanza Rising
We will be reading one chapter in Esperanza Rising this week.  We will read “Los Cebollas” pages 100 to 120.  This week the students will be testing their comprehension skills by drawing a schematic of the cabin Esperanza moves into. They will also draw a map of the camp based on the descriptions written in the book.
Thursday we will be making yarn dolls in class.  If you have any yarn lying around the house that you could donate we would  greatly appreciate it.  We are doing this because there is a scene in the book when Esperanza’s mother makes a yarn doll for a little girl to try to make up for Esperanza’s rudeness to the girl.  Ask your son/daughter about it.
 
Lexile
Ask your student what their lexile is.  This is a number they should know.  They need to know it in order to find the right book.  If the book they find is at their lexile to one hundred points above it, it is a book that will challenge the reader but not frustrate him/her.  They will improve their reading simply by enjoying a good book!
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexiles or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
 
Text Features
We will give our third assessment on text features on Wednesday.  We re-taught text features last week using a slightly different model.  The students filled out a graphic organizer about all different types of text and graphic features.  The graphic organizer had one column that told what the feature was, one that defined it, a third that told what its purpose was and a final column for an example generated by the student.  These are in their binders.   If the student scored a 3.5 or better on the last assessment, they are working on an historical brochure based on the United States in the 1930’s, the time frame of our book: Esperanza Rising.   You can find the brochure in the documents section of this site.
 Following are the state mandated goals we are focused on this week:
2.2.2 Apply understanding of printed and electronic text features to locate information and comprehend text. W
·         Locate information using grade-level appropriate text features.
·         Select, from multiple choices, the purpose of a specific text feature and/or information learned from a text feature.
·         Explain how specific text features help you understand a selection (e.g., how a chapter heading helps you think about the chapter, how boldface or italics signals a new term that can be found in the glossary).
The students that earned a 1.5 to 2.0 have one set of tasks, students that earned 2.5 to 3.0 will have another set of tasks, and the students that earned 3.5 to 4.0 will be working on an independent project.
 
SSR / Reading Logs
SSR is silent sustained reading.  We will have SSR both Tuesday and Thursday this week.  Tuesday is also library for Ms. Shrum’s and Mr. Case’s classes; Wednesday is library day for Ms. Aisenberg’s class.  The students will read in their novels, at their lexile, for fifteen minutes and then spend five minutes writing a two to three sentence summary in their reading logs.  That will leave the students with three summaries and 70 minutes to read on their own this week.
 
Library
Our scheduled library time in class is this week, either November 8th and 10th.  Ms. Shrum’s and Mr. Case’s classes will be going to the library on Tuesday the 8th.  The students in Ms. Jones / Aisenberg’s classes will be going on Thursday the 10th.  The library is also open before school and at lunch.  The students can drop in, on their own, to check in/out and renew books at either of these times too.
 
 Students may wish to do a lexile search for books before going to the library.  This is an easy way to find the books they want.  They can do this from home by finding the Olympic Middle School web site, going to the library, clicking on Destiny and running a lexile search.  They can find out what books are in their lexile range, whether or not they are checked in, and read a summary about them – all from either home or school.
 

 

October 31 - November 4, 2011

This week in 6th Grade Literacy

Reading Focus: Text features, main idea, summary
Writing Focus: Sustained writing, editing, prewriting
 
Writing
We will be doing two ten minute writes this week focusing on proofreading; but before we begin writing, we will do a lesson on what it means to proofread.  We will work on reading critically for purpose.  We will read a paragraph that needs to be reworked and practice by finding what is wrong with it and re-writing that portion of the paragraph.
 Next, we will write our essay, writing continuously for ten minutes.  Then, we will go back and proofread.  The students will need to fix at least one sentence, changing the order or rewording the sentence to improve it.  They will underline this improved sentence before trading papers with another student for proofreading. 
Now, they will proofread another student’s essay offering thoughts about what makes it a strong essay and suggestions on how it could be improved.  They will focus their comments on the proofreading changes the writer has made.
On Friday, we will work on pre-writing.  We will be teaching the students the alphabetic taxonomy method of generating and organizing their thoughts.
 
Esperanza Rising
We will be reading two chapters in Esperanza Rising this week.  We will read “Los Melones” pages 81-99, and “Los Cebollas” pages 100 to 120.  The students will be answering a comprehension question as their ticket out the door at the conclusion of each chapter.
 
Lexile
Ask your student what their lexile is.  This is a number they should know.  They need to know it in order to find the right book.  If the book they find is at their lexile to one hundred points above it, it is a book that will challenge the reader but not frustrate him/her.  They will improve their reading simply by enjoying a good book!
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  Paste this into your favorites for easy access.
If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email or call your student’s teacher.
 
Text Features
The students will be continuing to work on their understanding of text features.  Following are the state mandated goals we are focused on this week:
2.2.2 Apply understanding of printed and electronic text features to locate information and comprehend text. W
·         Locate information using grade-level appropriate text features.
·         Select, from multiple choices, the purpose of a specific text feature and/or information learned from a text feature.
·         Explain how specific text features help you understand a selection (e.g., how a chapter heading helps you think about the chapter, how boldface or italics signals a new term that can be found in the glossary).
The students that earned a 1.5 to 2.0 have one set of tasks, students that earned 2.5 to 3.0 will have another set of tasks, and the students that earned 3.5 to 4.0 will be working on an independent project.
 
SSR / Reading Logs
SSR is silent sustained reading.  We will have SSR both Tuesday and Thursday this week.  The students will read in their novels for fifteen minutes and then spend five minutes writing a two to three sentence summary in their reading logs.  That will leave the students with three summaries and 70 minutes to read on their own this week.
 
Library
Our scheduled library time in class is next week, either November 8th and 9th.  Ms. Shrum’s and Mr. Case’s classes will be going to the library on Tuesday the 8th.  The students in Ms. Jones / Aisenberg’s classes will be going on Wednesday the 9th.  The library is also open before school and at lunch.  The students can drop in on their own to check in/out and renew books at either of these times too.
 
 Students may wish to do a lexile search for books before going to the library.  This is an easy way to find the books they want.  They can do this from home by finding the Olympic Middle School web site, going to the library,  clicking on Destiny and running a lexile search.  They can find out what books are in their lexile range, whether or not they are checked in, and read a summary about them – all from either home or school.
 
 
 

 

October 24-28, 2011
This Week in Sixth Grade Literacy
 

 

Short Week

 

This week, with the exception of Monday will be on a half day schedule.  The students will be released at 11:40 Tuesday through Friday.  Tuesday through Thursday will be conferences.  Monday is on a regular schedule.  During the half days, classes will each be about a half hour long.
 
Assessments Returned
We will be giving back and going over the results of the two assessments from last week.  The first was our second text feature assessment; the second was the second comprehension assessment, this one taken from the “Los Higos” (figs) chapter in our Esperanza Rising book.  The students will graph their results in the back of their spirals.
 
Conference Prep
We will spend a bit of time on Monday prepping for conferences.  Each student will have a sheet of paper with all their assessment scores on it (easyCBM, SRI and MSP) ready for their conference.  The in class assessments they have taken will go in the back of their spirals.   Be sure they show these to you during conferences.
 
Reading Logs
The reading logs will be collected from the previous week and passed out for this week on Monday.  There will be no SSR time provided in school this week because of the short schedule.  All reading and summaries will be homework, with the reading log due on Monday, October 31st at the beginning of class.
 
Writing
We will be writing three times this week using the ten minute writing format.  Monday we will write about moving and include one correctly written question.  Wednesday we will be writing about cuts, bruises, or broken bones and our focus will be to include one correctly written exclamatory sentence.
 

 

October 18-21, 2011

This Week in Sixth Grade Literacy

Reading Focus: We will be assessing text features and comprehension.
Writing Focus:  This week we will be continuing to work on how to write a summary and how to write continuously for a set period of time.
Assessments
We will be giving two assessments this week.  On Wednesday will be a text features assessment.  Thursday or Friday will be a comprehension assessment.  These are the second assessments in each of these areas.
Text Features -  If the students scored 3 or under on that assessment, we have continued to work on how to find things in text books using the table of contents and the index.  If they scored a 3.5 or better, they are working on application of their knowledge.  These students are creating a brochure on an historical event from the 1930s, which is when the book Esperanza Rising takes place.  These students will not be taking the assessment; their brochure score will take the place of that assessment score.
Comprehension –This assessment is based on the “Los Higos” chapter in our book, Esperanza Rising.  All questions will be from that chapter.
Lexile and Reading Logs
Summary – Literature book page 230
This is our weekly homework in Literacy.  They will always go out on Monday and be due on the following Monday as the students enter the classroom.  The reading logs require the students to read at least one hundred minutes in a novel that is at their lexile level.  The lexile is determined by the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) we took recently. The books in our library here at OMS have been lexiled.  The newer books have the level written below the call number or author’s name on the spine of the book.  The rest have it in the first couple of pages in the book, written in ink at the top of the page.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email your teacher and we will provide you with the information you seek.
The reading log also requires the students to write a brief (two to three sentence) summary of what they have read.  They must fill in all five summaries, so they cannot simply read for one hundred minutes on Saturday and be done.  If your student loses theirs, or you wish to check out the letter (or print a new reading log to replace a lost one) you can find it in the Literacy documents section here on this site.
Some of the students are having a difficult time getting the reading logs turned on Monday.  If it is not in, we are giving them an opportunity work on it during the first fifteen minutes of each lunch time.  This is the only time we have during the day to help them.  They still get 20 minutes to eat their lunch, but it does make it a bit rushed.  The solution to getting full lunches is having homework done on time.  Any help you could give us will be greatly appreciated.
10 Minute Write
We did our first 10 minute write this week.  Here the students are asked to write on a subject for ten minutes straight.  We start off with pretty easy subjects just to get them writing, but we will go to more difficult subjects as the students become more comfortable with it. Our first subject was favorite things. We will also use this platform to teach some of our grammar.  Once again, we began easy; they started with including an identified complete sentence.  This too, will become more difficult as they get more comfortable with the writing.  We will be doing these on a regular basis from now on. 
 

 

October 10-13, 2011

This Week in Sixth Grade Literacy

Reading Focus: We will continue learning to find the main Idea in a passage and how to use the text features in a text book.
Writing Focus:  We will spend some time writing quality summaries using the main ideas we get from the passages we read.
Library
Ms. Shrum’ and Mr. Case’s classes will be going to the library on Tuesday this week.  Ms. Aisenberg’s class will be there on Wednesday.  The students will be learning about our new library system, Destiny.  Be sure to ask them about it.  You can access Destiny from home as well as school.  We will be using it to run a Lexile search to find books to read in class.  Perhaps they could show you how it works.
Assessments
We will be giving back the two assessments from last week.  One was about text features, the other a comprehension assessment based on the first two chapters in our book, Esperanza Rising.  We now know overall that they do all right in the area of comprehension, but text features is a class-wide problem.  Ask your child for the assessments to see how they fared.  We asked them to put them in their binders. 
 Reading Logs
 This is our weekly homework in Literacy.  Our response from the students to the due date on the first reading logs was a bit dismal.  We each had an average of six to ten students in each class turn in their completed assignments on time yesterday.  We really need your help on this.  We will do two entries per week here in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The other three are to be done at home.  There is also a spot for parent signature on the form; it is one of our ways of keeping you in the loop about our class.  Please read over the summaries when you sign; it makes a huge difference in the quality of the work when they know adults are reading them.  They should show in two to three sentences the main ideas in the section of the book they read for the entry.  We are continuing to work on main idea and summary writing in class this week.
The reading log requires the students to read their novel and write a brief (two to three sentences) summary of what they have read.  They must fill in all five summaries, so they cannot simply read for one hundred minutes on Saturday and be done.  There is a letter on the back of the log that explains all the requirements.  If your student loses theirs, or you wish to check out the letter (or print a new reading log to replace a lost one) you can find it in the Literacy documents section.
Lexile
Ask your student what their lexile is.  This is a number they should know.  They need to know it in order to find the right book.  If the book they find is at their lexile to one hundred points above it, it is a book that will challenge the reader but not frustrate him/her.  They will improve their reading simply by enjoying a good book!
If the book comes from the OMS library, the lexile is usually on it.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email your teacher and we will provide you with the information you seek.
Text Features
This week we will be focusing our work on text features, specifically on the index and the table of contents using the Social Studies text.  The assessment and our subsequent conversations with the students have shown us that this is a fairly new thing for them.  They are important features to understand if any real research is to be done.  The students will use the skills gained here when they do their Classroom Based Assessment in Social Studies at the conclusion of their Social Studies semester.
Main Idea and Summary
We are working with main idea and summary again this week.  The students will be reading paragraphs, discussing with their groups and then writing what they think the main idea is in a two to three sentence summary.  We will also be writing summaries when we finish a chapter in the Esperanza Rising book we are reading together as a class.  We will continue to work on this skill throughout the month.  This is the same skill they will use to write their summaries in their reading logs.
No School on Friday
Don’t forget!  Friday is a state-wide teacher in-service day. 
 

 

October 3-7, 2011

 

This Week in Sixth Grade Literacy

 

 
Reading Focus: We will be learning to find the Main Idea in a passage.

 

Writing Focus:  This week we will be learning how to write a summary.
Assessments
We will be giving two assessments this week.  One will be over the material we learned about text features over the last two weeks, the other will be a comprehension assessment based on the first two chapters in our book, Esperanza Rising.  These assessments will tell us how well the students learned the material and what they need more work on.
Lexile and Reading Logs
Summary – Literature book page 230
Tuesday we will send home our first reading logs.  This is our weekly homework in Literacy.  Even though we are giving the first logs on Tuesday this week, they will normally go out on Monday.  They will always be due on the following Monday as the students enter the classroom.  The reading logs require the students to read at least one hundred minutes in a novel that is at their lexile level.  The lexile is determined by the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) we took recently. The books in our library here at OMS have been lexiled.  The newer books have the level written below the call number or author’s name on the spine of the book.  The rest have it in the first couple of pages in the book, written in ink at the top of the page.  You can check books you get from other sources by going to The Lexile Framework for Reading at http://www.lexile.com/fab/.  If you have a question about lexile or the lexile level of your student, email your teacher and we will provide you with the information you seek.
The reading log requires the students to read their novel and write a brief (two to three sentence) summary of what they have read.  They must fill in all five summaries, so they cannot simply read for one hundred minutes on Saturday and be done.  There is a letter on the back of the log that explains all the requirements.  If your student loses theirs, or you wish to check out the letter (or print a new reading log to replace a lost one) you can find it in the Literacy documents section.
Main Idea and Summary
We are working with main idea and summary in class this week.  The students will be reading paragraphs, discussing with their groups and then writing what they think the main idea is in a two to three sentence summary.  We will continue to work on this skill throughout the month.  This is the same skill they will use to write their summaries in their reading logs.
 

 

This week in Literacy
September 26-30, 2011

 

Reading focuses of the week: Text features, Author’s Purpose and Vocabulary
 
Esperanza Rising – We are going to begin reading and working with this novel this week.  We will be reading and using it as the core for our activities until around Thanksgiving break.  Below are the activities Esperanza has inspired for us.
 
Text Features - This week we will be beginning with a map of the state of Washington.  We will be discussing the features in the key; city and highway sizes, symbols for fishing, state parks, etc., how to use the index and grid system to find places on the map as well as how to find driving distances from one city to another on the Minimum Driving Distances chart.
We will also get a black line map of Western North America that we can use to plot the places in the books we are reading.  We will set the map, creating a couple of text features, a spot for a key and a compass rose.  The first places we will put on the map are Aguascalientes, Mexico (where the book Esperanza Rising begins) and Shelton, where, of course, we are located. 
 
Vocabulary – there is some great vocabulary from the book we will be starting out with.  You will find it listed at the end of this section.  We will be finding antonyms and synonyms for each of the words if they are available.
crochet   inspiration   grandeur   recollections   prominent   circumstances   immigrated  
We will talk about the words: communal and jamaicas.
 
Author’s Purpose – The author’s purpose is the answer to the question, “Why did the author write this book, story, or include this section in the book?” Sometimes a bit of history about the author is necessary to do this.  Therefore,  we will start the book not on Chapter One, but on the Author’s Note in the back of the book.  Here, Pam Munoz Ryan, the book’s author, writes about her grandmother, Esperanza Ortega, who the novel is loosely based on.  When we finish reading this note, we will ask the students why they think she wrote this book.  It will be a bit of a prediction, as well as an inference about the author’s motives.  It will give us something to come back to as we read.
 

 

This Week in Literacy
September 19-23, 2011
 
Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI)
The students are taking the SRI this week.  This is a reading assessment that lets us know what specific level the student is reading at.  The books in the library are aligned with the levels the students receive in the assessment.  We are better able to target books for them that will stretch their reading limitations a bit, but not frustrate them.  All the students will be taking this assessment either Monday or Tuesday.
 
Text Features Week
We are introducing and working with text features this week.  Text features are the parts in text and reference books that either help you to find information or help you to better understand the information being presented.  Here are some examples of text features.


o title page
o headings
o bolded or highlighted words
o vocabulary boxes
o main idea boxes
o glossaries
o graphics (pictures, graphs, charts, etc.)
o table of contents
o review questions
o index
o atlas
o chapter titles

We will be doing a variety of activities this week, either discovering what text features are or putting them to use for one purpose or another.  The following is a list of our week’s activities.
Discovering Text Features
The students will be making lists of text features in each of three different text books, and using these lists to create Venn diagrams showing what the three books have in common.  They will use one of our Social Studies textbooks, our Literature book and the book we use to teach grammar.
Write Source 2000 Scavenger Hunt
The students will be given a scavenger hunt paper (a list of clues to follow) to find specific items in the book.  They will need to use the text features of the book to find each of these items.
 
 
The Friends of Kwan Ming
Here, the students will use the text features in the story to make a prediction about what the story will be about.  They will write their prediction down and then read the story, analyzing how closely the story follows their prediction.  After they finish reading the story, they will compare their prediction to what happened.   If they were correct about their prediction, what text feature clues did they pick up that led them to that conclusion?
Washington State Map
The students will be learning about the text and graphic features included in maps.  They will learn the symbols used to describe the sizes of cities, highways and how big they are, etc.  We will also practice using the grid system on the map and begin plotting routes to different places, making some estimates about distances traveled using the map scale, yet another text feature.

 

 

 

September 12, 2011

In a Million Words or Less

 

Parents, we want to thank you if you have already turned in your homework assignment.  The information you give us immeasurable and we are grateful for your cooperation. Each letter gives us some insight as to how to work with your child, information that might have taken us weeks, perhaps months, to figure out. If you have not submitted your assignment, there is still time, and we will look forward to reading it. You can send it back in hard copy (with your student) or email it to us. Here are our email addresses:

 
Boot Camp
Olympic Middle School is in the middle of “Boot Camp”. We are spending the first hour of each day with our Advisory Class, traveling throughout the building, and learning about our Power Standards. Our Power Standards are our school wide expectations on how we treat each other.
                P = Pride
                O = Ownership
                W = Warmth
                E = Encouragement
                R = Respect
 
“The Sound of Summer Running”
We read the story in class on Monday, discussing it as we went along. Now the students are working on designing a shoe of the future. They are including “Text Features” as they explain how their shoe works. If the student doesn’t complete it by the end of class on Friday, they will be bringing it home for homework. These shoes will be displayed in our classrooms all year long, so look forward to seeing them when you come to visit or during conferences.
 
easyCBM
All sixth graders will be taking the easyCBM test this week. This reading test will provide information about the student’s fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. This information will drive our curriculum and how we serve your child during the year.
 

September 7, 2011

Letter of Introduction
Write a letter to your teacher introducing yourself and how you feel about writing.  Include information about yourself and who you are, how do you feel about writing, what you did last year that was successful or unsuccessful for you in writing, what do you like and dislike about writing, and any other information that you want me to know.  You can find both this document and In a Million Words or Less in the Documents section of this web site.  This is due on the second day of class.
 
In a Million Words or Less
What is this you say? Did you say homework for the parents?  What kind of class is this anyway?  We are indeed asking you for some homework, on a subject you hold near and dear, your child.  We would like it if you could keep your comments under a million words if at all possible, but this is your chance to tell us all about your child.  What do they like to do?  Where do they like to go?  What do they like about school?  Anything and everything you can think of that you would like to tell us.  If you could get it back to us by Friday, September 23, 2011 we would really appreciate it.  You can send it back in hard copy (your student has been given a copy) or email it to us.  Here are our email addresses:
 
“The Sound of Summer Running
We will be reading and working on “The Sound of Summer Running” story on pages 2-10 in the Literature book.  This story is also available on the net in PDF using the following link:
 
 
After reading the story we will:
 
  • Create the perfect tennis shoe.  This doesn’t have to be a shoe that it is possible to make right now.  It is a shoe of the future.  It will have at least four different features. The features can be anything the students can imagine the future of shoes holds in store for us.  The final copies will be displayed on the walls in our classrooms.
 
 

 

​​The Shelton School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employee has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Linda Arnold, Director of Human Resources. 360-426-1687. 700 S. 1st Street; Shelton, WA 98584. Complaint procedure can be found on this website under Board Policy #3210 (students) and #5010 (employees).