Units of Study
6th graders study the ancient past. We begin with a close examination of archeological and anthropological field methods as well an investigation of the methods and practices of historians. We then complete a unit on human evolution which includes a study five human ancestors and early human migrations out of Africa, as well as the culture and organization of Hunters and Gatherers. Finally, we complete a global examination of the first human civilizations and world religions which includes the following:
Students will complete one major final project, paper, or test at the end of these units.
English Language Arts (ELA):
We will be completing several essay writing units including a personal narrative, an informational essay, and an argumentative essay. This final essay is a very complex task which requires the careful layering of skills which will be supported in writer’s workshop sessions and other lessons in class. Among other things required of this task, students will be taught how to read text closely to find evidence to support a claim, how to a craft a thesis statement, and then how to incorporate their evidence into a properly formatted argumentative essay. These skills will take all year to learn. I will support the careful acquisition of these skills with our daily notes/work which students will keep in their classroom folders (please note: students will keep the folders in the room, but are asked to bring unfinished work home each night).
We will be covering a vast array of grammar and writing standards as we tackle each of these essay writing units.
We will also be completing several fiction novel units in class. During the first semester, we will read, “Percy Jackson Lightning Thief” together in class together (and at home for homework) and apply the many skills that we have learned/are learning to read text closely.
Students will be explicitly taught how to conduct a careful, “Close Read” of both fiction and non-fiction texts. This is a multi-step process which will take up most of the first semester to complete. Besides this careful instruction, students will also be reading their own free choice novels for our Silent Sustained Reading Program. I designed this program to increase the literacy of all of my students, no matter their current level.
Students select a novel at their independent reading level which they find interesting and are periodically monitored as they read it in class.. They are required to have this book with them each day. They will also be completing SSR logs throughout the year on these novels which will grow in rigor and intensity throughout the year. You can support your child’s literacy gains at home this year by supporting them as they read these independent novels. Below is a list of suggestions:
- Consider reading the same book at the same time with your child and forming a small book club at home. You can discuss the novel in any way you want at home. It can be a really great way to bond with your child each night.
- Get a public library card and take your child to the local public library often. I have a small library in my room, but it doesn’t compare to the ones in the community.
- Buy used/new books for your child as a reward or just because.
- Engage in conferences with your child’s teacher if your child reads more than 1 year below grade level.
- Celebrate your child’s reading accomplishments. You will be getting a baseline reading level score from me in the beginning of the year. I will administer the same test again in the middle of the year. Be sure you check those scores and notice the trends. Email me for a conference if have questions or concerns.
While I provide materials to students who do not have them, it is very important that your child come prepared each day. Below is a list of items in addition to textbooks which they will need in A2.
- 2 blue or black pens and one red one (If you prefer pencil, then bring several sharpened ones as I do not have sharpeners in class)
- Lined, 3 hole punch notebook paper
- Composition books for both history and English
- Post-It-Note flags or a similiar product
- Colored pencils, crayons, or markers for coloring
- Glue stick
I am still learning about the resources provided to me through DUSD, so I have not completed a teacher wish list on Amazon entirely just yet. I do however, have shelving units for our library, as well as a few other items on an Amazon wish list here:
Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Infinite Classroom if you have any questions or concerns. I may call your home during the year to discuss specific matters on my personal cell as I work from home on the evenings and weekends. I am very happy to schedule a phone conference at any time but I humbly ask that you not text or call me on my personal phone. Other than that, I relish all contact with you!
- Be safe, kind, and responsible at all times.
What does this mean?
- Academic and personal honesty
- Always try your best and never give up on yourself
- Treating adults with respect
- Treating other students with care and respect
- Treating the classroom and everything in it with care
- Being on time each day to class
- Turning in all work on time
- Do not disrupt student learning
- Follow all classroom policies and procedures
Procedures Include but are not limited to:
- Participation protocols for whole class discussions and for group and independent work
- Participation protocols for entering the classroom
- Participation protocols for cleanup and dismissal
- Using finger codes to obtain permission to get out of your seat for
Classroom Management Plan
We will be learning a lot this year and working very hard in class. 6th grade is a big adjustment, and I have learned that they best way to support this time of change is provide a calm and safe learning environment where all students feel comfortable. Good classroom management is therefore the key to middle school success. My classroom management has many supports for students and relies on two big principles:
- Building relationships with individual students
- Application of the “discipline hierarchy” with a firm, no nonsense style
How does Mrs. English build relationships with so many students?
- I make it a point to connect individually with students and hold regular classroom celebrations
I have individual, quick student conferences embedded into my practice and I organize regular celebrations of learning! A child will NEVER be excluded from a celebration to due previous classroom behavior.
- I am always available for one on one tutoring appointments.
I generally do not make appointments during lunchtime. Students and teachers need to eat! I will however meet with students during advisory or after school most days. Email through Infinite Campus is the best way to schedule these appointments.
- I communicate regularly with my families
I use, “Infinite Campus” to let you know how your child is doing and to send home email newsletters consistently throughout the year.
- I care deeply about my students
I am a parent of middle schooler too! I know what I want from my own child’s teachers and I work hard to provide this level of dedication to your child as well. I put a lot of effort into creating a vibrant and fun work/learn space in our room. There is an awesome library corner which your child will take turns using, a cool down zone called, “Alaska,” with calming paintings and activities which students may use if they become upset. I also provide extra in class supports to students with organizational challenges.
- I provide positive incentives for on task behavior!
Ask your child about, “Friday Fun.”
What is the Discipline Hierarchy?
I will be using this starting on day 2 of the school year. I provide positive reinforcements before I use this hierarchy as well. Below is the quick list of firm, non-negotiable negative behavior consequences. A normal part of this process typically involves a small number of students who test the waters a bit in the beginning to see how far they can pushJ. That is okay! That is expected from kids who are finding themselves in middle school!! I will contact your directly if I see red flags pointing to patterns of disruptive behavior, but I find that setting high expectations, and being clear and consistent stops a lot problem behavior before I need to call/email home.
I give clear directions to the class once I have their full attention. These directions have a noise level expectation, a movement expectation, and a participation expectation. In other words, I tell them exactly what I need and how I need it to be done. If it is not done exactly as I have requested, I will move through the hierarchy.
- Verbal Warning (first warning)
- Move to Another Seat (second warning)
This will often be at the front of the room with me. I cannot have a child sitting there permanently though since ours is a highly cooperative learning environment. My students are expected to work in groups every day.
- Student Reflection (third warning)
Upon receiving a third warning, your child will be asked to complete a student reflection in class. If the infraction is severe, or if your child has completed prior reflections for the same infraction, I will ask that they take it home to review with you. You will then sign it, and your child will return it back to class. Feel free to email me if you would like to discuss the matter further.
Your child will also be asked to perform a restorative act to the class and will sit out of Friday fun for that week for receiving a third warning.
- Sent out of Class
I work very hard to keep all of my students in class each day, but occasionally students need more than I can provide in that moment to get back on task. If all of the previous interventions do not work, I will send your child out of the room to interact with out of class staff. Often times a child will say things like, “I was sent out for talking to my neighbor!” or, “She sent me out for throwing something away!” This is not the case. I never send a child out for one mundane (ordinary) reason. They are sent out because they have been repetitively disruptive to the learning environment.
I will also send kids out of the room for the remainder of the core (on a formal referral) for any rules violation which creates an unsafe learning environment without moving through the hierarchy. If this happens, school staff will call you and we should set up a time to discuss the matter further on the phone or in person. I have a zero tolerance policy regarding unsafe or bullying/discriminatory/bigoted classroom behavior, and will formally suspend children from my classroom for two days if the behavior continues. This includes harassment of any kind and verbal threats. I will not accept any excuses for this behavior.