Mr Reynolds Grade 6 (November, 2021)
Fun With Fluency
Building students’ confidence in their ability to read texts aloud and communicate a text’s meaning is an important aspect of the Clifford Bilingual English Program. Giving students the tools to improve their reading skills while at the same time ensuring they can communicate the meaning of what they read is a major focus of the Grade 6 reading fluency program. Through guided class practice, smaller group practice and paired work as well as individual reading practice and assessment, students demonstrate their ever growing ability to read texts out loud and summarize what they have read in a fun and interactive way.
At the start of the fluency lesson students are given an individualized assessment that aims to match their reading abilities with reading materials that are suitable and challenging to their skill level. The students then begin by reading texts from a power point presentation as a whole class guided activity. Students are then shown how to read a text out loud while focusing on the key ideas and information contained in the text. Students will then practice reading the texts as table groups. Next, students focus on some key ideas relating to reading fluency. For example, students look for and identify familiar letter and word patterns that repeat in a text. Also, students are shown how to break words into syllable or sound parts to make them easier to pronounce. In the next lesson students focus on working with a partner and individually on the skills learned in the previous lesson. Students take turns reading to a partner and asking each other questions about the main points to the reading. Students focus on reading at a good rate of speed and practice their pronunciation and reading fluency skills.
In the final lesson students get the opportunity to showcase their improved fluency skills by playing a reading game. In this game students are separated into teams and each student on the team is responsible for reading a page of a given text. However, to make the game more exciting and interesting the students must read the words before they disappear from the screen, thus challenging the students to read with greater urgency and fluency. When the students have completed this activity they are then asked to write out and present a summary of what they read during the game activity Finally, the students’ are given another assessment to mark their progress to see how they have progressed over the course of the week.
Mr Shaikh Grade 6 (October, 2021)
Families around the world
Students in 6.5 undertook a project regarding families and the roles family plays in society.
Firstly, students created their own family trees for homework, to have a better understanding of different family structures and what defines a family.
Students then created family profiles; trying to describe each family member and the roles they play within the family structure by using metaphors and similes to add humor to the description.
Students began researching case studies on families around the world. Each table was given a country to do research on, and students had to watch videos to note down similarities and differences between families from these countries and their own.
Students then used computers to search online to find out how families in their allocated country compare to their own. They looked for information regarding ‘’mutual understanding’’,’’ how the family home functions’’ in that country and different ‘’family traditions’’.
After information was gathered, students use students created posters to present their findings to their classmates. They presented comparisons between the groups and gave conclusions on what they found.
Finally each student conducted a speech on ‘What family means to them’ and expressed their opinions based on their research and what they studied while other students debated the opinions based on their own research.
Mr Ian Grade 6 (October, 2021)
Journal Writing – Getting Back into the Habit of Writing
At the start of the first semester the 6.4 students are encouraged to get back into the habit of writing in their journals every week. To help spark the students imagination and get them using their existing knowledge of English vocabulary we always start with a picture prompt.
The students follow a 5-step writing process: Brainstorming, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Publishing. This is followed by a presentation of the story to the class.
1. Brainstorming. Every story has a beginning, middle and end; and characters, plot, and setting. To help the students with their story writing they are encouraged to think about the 5W’s (Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?). Just by looking at the photo prompt they can provide a lot of detail on the middle section of the story and describe who is in the story (characters), what is happening (plot) and where it is taking place (setting). If they think about what happened before the photo was taken, and how and why it is happening they can provide a beginning to the story. They can then use their imaginations to create a neat ending by thinking about what might happen after the photo was taken.
2. Drafting. The students write a first draft in their journal writing books.
3. Revising. They then read through the journal entry checking their writing using a rubric.
4. Editing. Students then edit and write a second draft in their journals (8). During this phase they also read their story out aloud to a peer to check that their story is coherent and makes sense.
5. Publishing. Students type up a final copy during computer class. Microsoft Word assists them to identify any grammatical and spelling errors.
As a final step the students then present their story out to the class. These presentations are also a good way to help build their confidence and prepare them for speeches that they will present later in the semester.
Ms Ashley Grade 6 (October, 2021)
The 6.1 classes discovered how to use prepositions to develop prepositional phrases which help build grammar skills and exciting sentences. Prepositions are words showing where something is in relation to something else. To begin our lesson and activities, the students participated in learning about the meaning of prepositions and prepositional phrases. We explored how using prepositions and prepositional phrases can help them continue to make their stories, poems, and writing more exciting and interesting. The students verbally answered questions and presented examples of prepositional phrases. Developing strong sentences using grammar helps create solid writers.
During the next part of our lesson, the students enjoyed making paper airplanes which would help them write prepositional phrases. We went outside where the students flew their paper airplanes and as they landed, the students wrote a prepositional phrase in relation to where the plane landed. If a plane landed under a tree a student may have written a phrase such as “underneath a tall, beautiful tree.” The students continued to enjoy this fun activity until they had written ten different prepositional phrases on their airplanes.
The finally piece of the activity allowed the students to use their prepositional phrases to develop Halloween Poetry. They were asked to create poems with Halloween vocabulary, descriptive words, and their prepositional phrases. By using these three components, the students showed they could build stronger, exciting sentences. The poems developed were scary, fun, showed imagination, and displayed an understanding of how to use prepositional phrases.
Mr Adam Grade 6 (October, 2021)
A Deeper Understanding and Expression of Respect, Responsibility and Self-Discipline
As the students enter their last year in Elementary, we encourage them to be reflective of their actions and decision-making processes and to make good choices. At the beginning of the year our focus was on how students should be respectful, responsible and demonstrate self-discipline, and also for them to be able to communicate their understanding of what is disrespectful, irresponsible and lacking self-discipline.
The Grade 6 teachers performed skits showing positive and negative behavior. The students took notes and were asked to discuss what they had seen and to reflect on the advantages of a classroom environment with students who make good choices.
Then, in groups the students were given different scenarios in which to perform their skit that included: on public transport, the park, a restaurant, a hospital, in the supermarket, in the classroom and many others.
While performing their skit, they were told that their audience must be able to identify where they were, which character each of the students were and what positive and negative behaviors were demonstrated.
After each skit was finished, the audience discussed in depth what they had seen and how the negative actions and choices could be replaced with choices that show respect, responsibility and self-discipline.
At the end of this entertaining project of expression, we came to a consensus that a classroom environment that shows respect, responsibility and self-discipline is more enjoyable and conducive to learning.
Mr Thomas Grade 6 (July 2021)
Word Study Activities
Getting students to communicate well in English is a major focus of the Clifford Bilingual English program. Being able to use and apply English in everyday life is one of the goals grade six works hard on achieving. As a means of achieving this goal vocabulary is a vital part of giving students the tools to better express themselves in English. Through our Word Study lessons, students get the opportunity to develop their vocabulary knowledge in a number of different ways. Through speaking, reading, writing, and drawing; students get the opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of their new vocabulary words.
Students begin their vocabulary units with an introduction to the new word list. The students read and repeat the words and their meanings out loud. Here the students learn the proper pronunciation of each of their new word study words. Then students get a chance to discuss their word study words and practice using their words in their writing journals. During the next word study class we practice our Word Study words by using them correctly in sentences. Students work independently filling in the correct Word Study word into the sentences to form a complete English sentence.
After the students have had time to practice their words in writing and pronunciation, they finally get the chance further express their knowledge of their Word Study words by constructing a Word Study poster. Students work in small groups constructing posters that visually represent their Word Study words. The students have completed their posters they get take turns displaying their work. The students give small presentations and speeches to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the assignment. Finally, the students’ work is displayed and hung around the classroom to further help them in future writing assignments.
Mr Ian Grade 6 (May 2021)
12 Sides to Every Story
During the March into Reading month the grade 6 students created a book report on their favorite book. Books read included Dog Man, Fly Guy, Bad Guys, and The Lorax. But this was no ordinary book report. They had to create a three dimensional 12-sided ball (dodecahedron) with each side of the ball covering an aspect of the book. In the first semester the students had learned about elements of a narrative including: plot, setting and character. At the beginning of this semester we also looked at summarizing, and text connections. The book report required that the students produced English descriptions for all of these narrative elements. The students followed a set of instructions and proceeded step by step to fill in the relevant details on their favorite book. The 12 sides of the book report included: Side 1: The student’s name, date and class. Side 2: a drawing of the book cover. Side 3: A mini-biography of the author. Side 4: A summary of the book including plot, and setting. Sides 5, 6, and 7 required descriptions of the three most important characters in the book. Side 8 Text connections: descriptions of what the book reminded the students of in real life, and other books. Side 9: Names of friends and family who should read the book. Side 10: Description of a favorite scene in the book. Side 11: Explain why someone should read the book. Side 12: A rating out of 5 stars. Putting the book together once all the sections had been completed was a lot of fun and a test of the student’s patience and dexterity! Once the students had completed putting it together they had to present their dodecahedron to the class with a one minute speech. The book report gave the students a number of ways to practice their reading, create descriptive sentences, and exercise their speaking skills. It produced a great visual and colorful output for the class!
Mr Shaikh Grade 6 (July 2021)
Planet Creating Conundrums
In Grade 6 we studied the different planets in our solar system and decided to research the potential for other planets outside of our solar system and beyond.
We differentiated the difference between terrestrial and gaseous planets as well as identified the different features of the planets within our solar system. Some topics we covered included:
By researching these topics we were able to truly understand how vast our universe really is, we expanded
our vocabulary and were able to conduct speeches based on the knowledge we had learned about space
travel and exploration. We created profiles on self-created planets based on the planets we already knew
about and so began our creations .
Using the information we learned from existing planets as well as our galaxy we decided to create our own
planets by first creating drafts on paper with written profiles and features to describe the planet.
When the profiles were written we decided to use paper lanterns to create a physical manifestation of our planets
and here were the results …..
Finally we transformed our classroom into our very own galaxy. We were able to use the new vocabulary and
knowledge to present our very own planets explaining their features and how it may be possible for them to
exist in our very own universe.
Mr Paul Grade 6 (May 2021)
Breaking the Wall of Unknown Words, A Redwall Story
Reading is difficult and time consuming, but the rewards of knowledge, the excitement a good book brings and the sense of accomplishment you feel helps build character and expand the mind. Our goal was not only to read and understand the children’s fantasy Redwall by Brian Jacques, but to show off how hard we worked to understand a high level book.
During “March Into Reading”, we dove into Redwall using an application created that allowed us to read together and focus on understanding while practicing reading fluency and listening in a controlled comfortable environment. Students started by reading simple sentences, then complex, next simple paragraphs, finally they were brought to read aloud 100 words per minute. (6) While students were reading aloud, practicing fluency, pronunciation and volume, other students were tasked with finding unknown words, listening and summarizing.
Next, we took the unknown words from the book and learned how to make them into pictures that included; unknown words, part of speech, a definition, translation and the unknown word used in a sentence. They were then tasked during computer class to find a picture that best represented the meaning of the unknown word.
After collecting, defining and assigning a picture to over 1,000 unknown words, from “Abbey” to “Wisdom “the pictures where collected and made into a mosaic.
In the end, 6.1 created a mosaic of over 1,000 unknown words depicting an important tapestry described in the book using words they did not know, wrote over 200 summaries of 40 chapters, 53 character analysis sheets and read over 50,000 words.
They should be proud of their hard work. Working hard is never easy, but we can turn hard work into art!
Mr Adam Grade 6 (May 2021)
Cultural Awareness in a Globalized World
As students travel in their journey of discovery through the Elementary Bilingual Program, we scaffold their language acquisition in a series of structured exercises that build and expand more on what was previously learned. In our class this year we have used a similar approach in our Social Studies topic of World Cultures, and tried to expand the students’ awareness of a deeper meaning of world cultures that include: religion, food, GDP (Gross Domestic Product), economy, trade and more. Firstly, an overview was given and the students were told what learning outcomes they were expected to achieve. Then, each of the 69 students in our class was given their own country to research. During our library class, the students found the initial basic information for their country from our extensive library resources and added this to our classroom world map that shows capital cities, population, religion, languages and GDP. For the following computer class, the students researched more information about their country. Initially, they found comprehensive and interesting, facts about their countries, wrote them all down in their notebooks and presented them with colorful info-brochures. The next step of this learning process was for the students to present the information they have gathered about their countries to the class. Then, have each student in the class make connections with their countries and the region, food, religion, language and trade in relation to the country being presented. This has enabled the students to see how through the connectedness of cultural awareness, our world is becoming more and more globalized and easier to understand.
Mr. Vince's Grade 6 Class (February 2019)
“Who’s an Author?”
Over the course of the first semester, the students have learned many aspects of writing a narrative story. Finally, they had a chance to create their own authored book. It was a long process, but it left them all feeling very proud. The process began with each student brainstorming different ideas, characters, and settings.
Once those parts were determined, it was onto outlining the plot. The students created main idea sentences for 10 different chapters of their story. Next, they wrote, and they wrote. When they were finished writing it was time to edit their story looking for grammar corrections, adding more description, and strengthening their overall story. Their work was still not complete. The next step was to recopy their edited story into the final booklet.
The final steps of the process involved designing a creative cover and adding pictures throughout the story (if time permitted). Once their stories were complete it was time to showcase all of the books. The students had an opportunity to share their stories and explore others. All the students worked hard throughout this process. The teacher was very impressed. It was a long process, but everyone is extremely proud of their accomplishment. Who’s an Author? Everyone is an Author!
Mr. Reynolds' Grade 6 Class (January 2019)
Word Study Activities
Getting students to communicate well in English is a major focus of the Clifford Bilingual English program. Being able to use and apply English in everyday life is one of the goals grade six works hard on achieving. As a means of achieving this goal, vocabulary is a vital part of giving students the tools to better express themselves in English. Through our Word Study lessons, students have the opportunity to develop their vocabulary knowledge in a number of different ways. Through speaking, reading, writing, and drawing; students have opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of their new vocabulary words each week.
Students begin their vocabulary units with an introduction to the new word list. The students read and repeat the words and their meanings out loud. Here the students learn the proper pronunciation of each of their new word study words. Then students have a chance to discuss their word study words and practice using their words in their writing journals. During the next word study class we practice our Word Study words by using them correctly in sentences. Students work independently filling in the correct Word Study word into the sentences to form a complete English sentence.
After the students have had time to practice their words in writing and pronunciation they finally get the chance further express their knowledge of their Word Study words by constructing a Word Study poster. Students work in small groups constructing posters that visually represent their Word Study words. When the students have completed their posters they get take turns displaying their work. The students give small presentations and speeches to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the assignment. Finally, the students’ work is displayed and hung around the classroom to further help them in future writing assignments.
Ms. Nicholls' Grade 6 Class (January 2019)
Guided Reading Rhyming Games
Guided Reading is an essential part of Grade 6 curricula and offers many opportunities for all students to improve their skills in the areas of prediction, context clues, making inferences, and narrative elements. One of the programs available for teachers in our Teacher’s Resource Room is the MacMillan reading program. This program is used during Guided Reading lessons and it offers some fun activities for bringing more hands-on, group-learning approaches to English acquisition.
Our students played a rhyming game using words from the book, Dan Tries to Help from one of the MacMillan books we are using in class. The first word we used was ‘bee.’ Using whiteboards, students had five minutes to come up with as many words rhyming with ‘bee.’ Then raced to write as many words as the team leaders could in one minute. The teacher went through the list with the class calling out all the words on the whiteboard and eliminating errors (another great reinforcement tool). The winners got the most points on a 5 to 1 scale). This activity warmed up the class and provided more anticipation for the second word ‘ear.’ Students raced to come up with even more words. The total time was about 30 minutes but could be expanded as necessary.
Mrs. Isom's Grade 6 Class (December 2018)
Our current thematic unit in grade 6 is simple machines. The wheel is one of the simple machines we are learning about. We began by first focusing on the two new vocabulary words for this machine: wheel and axle. We looked at the part of speech, definition, and drew a picture to better remember what they are.
Then we watched a BrainPop video that explained more about the wheel and compared it to a lever, which is what we had previously learned about. After watching the video, the students took the comprehension quiz to test their understanding of how the wheel works. Then the students drew a comparison of the wheel and axle and the lever on their whiteboards, labeled the parts, and explained to a partner how the two simple machines work in a similar way. We then brainstormed a list of machines that have a wheel and axle component to help them work.
Finally, we began building our own simple cars made from a water bottle, skewers for the axles, and cardboard for the wheels. We also marked one of the wheels on each car and counted how many rotations a wheel made in a certain distance. We then compared the size of the wheels to the number of rotations and found that a larger wheel makes fewer rotations than a smaller wheel over the same distance. This process helped the students better understand how the wheel and axle work, as well as incorporating our current math unit dealing with circles and circumference.
Mr. Paulsen's Grade 6 Class (December 2018)
In the first semester of grade 6, we spend a good deal of class time working on narratives. Making a good narrative usually requires good dialogue, so we had a lesson about how to write dialogue. We started by watching a video of a story: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. In this story, some crayons write letters to their owner, telling him why they aren’t happy. The teacher told the students that they would do a similar thing: write a dialogue between themselves and their own school supplies!
First, they watched a PowerPoint demonstrating how to punctuate and format dialogue in English properly. Then, to help the students, the teacher showed an example of a dialogue between the teacher and a blue whiteboard marker. Once they had seen this, it was time for the students to try it themselves! The students quickly got into choosing a school supply to write about and then started writing! The teacher walked around to help students who needed it.
Punctuating and spacing dialogue can be a bit tricky, so the students did sometimes make mistakes. But once they got a little help from the teacher, it was nothing an eraser couldn’t solve! After about twenty minutes, the students had completed some wonderful and creative dialogues! We hung them on our display board, where they show our students’ good work every day.
Mr. Paulsen's Grade 6 Class (Nov 2017)
Finding Plot Elements in a Music Video
In grade 6, students learn about narrative elements: the things that good stories need to have, including characters, setting and plot. Right now, we are learning about plot elements: the events that occur during the story and that make it interesting. To understand this better, the students mapped out the plot of a Taylor Swift music video “You Belong with Me”. They started by identifying the characters and the setting of this story. The students found this easy, as they had already practiced this several times.
They then went on to a new task: identifying the conflict between the characters of this story. Though this was more challenging, the students were ultimately able to recognize the problem the protagonist of this story faces of loving a boy who already has a girlfriend. To help understand the plot better, they then watched the video again and listed the various events that drive the plot up to, but not including, the point where the conflict is resolved. They found many examples, such as the boy arguing with his girlfriend on the phone, his communicating with the protagonist through written notes and his winning a football game.
After that, the teacher explained to the students that they needed to watch and try to find out how the conflict is ultimately resolved. When they watched, they found that it was resolved when the boy realizes he loves the protagonist. After they found this, the students were able to explain how the story of this music video ends. This was an excellent opportunity for our students to practice mapping out the way a story develops from a conflict to its resolution using a popular music video!
Mr. Reynold's Grade 6 Class (Nov 2017)
Word Study Activities
Helping students to communicate well in English is a major focus of our Clifford Bilingual English program. As a means of achieving this goal, vocabulary is a vital part of giving students the tools to better express themselves in English. Through our Word Study practices, students get the opportunity to develop their vocabulary knowledge in a variety of different ways. Through speaking, reading, writing, and drawing students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of their new vocabulary words.
This process begins with an introduction to the new word list. The students read and repeat the words and their meanings out loud. Here the students learn the proper pronunciation of each of their new word study words. Then students get a chance to discuss their word study words and practice using their words in their writing journals. During the next word study class we practice our Word Study words by using them correctly in sentences. Students work independently filling in the correct Word Study word into the sentences to form a complete English sentence.
The students also create a Word Study poster. Students work in small groups creating posters that visually represent their Word Study words. When the students have completed their posters they take turns displaying their work. The students give a small presentations and speeches to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the assignment. Finally, the students’ work is displayed and hung around the classroom to further help them in future writing assignments.
Mr. Vince's Grade 6 Class (Nov 2017)
“Can THAT be used again?”
Reuse means to use something again. It’s actually a simple concept that often goes overlooked. Over the past month, the students have learned about reducing, reusing, and recycling many types of ordinary everyday items. All students were asked to bring to class one item that can be recycled. All the items were put into one pile, and each student had an opportunity to choose any item they wanted. Each table then had 6 or 7 pieces of recyclable items. Instructions were given for each group to use all of their 6 recyclable items together to create one or two things that can be useful.
They were then asked to brainstorm for 3 minutes as many things they could think of to make with their six items. After brainstorming came the big decision, what will they end up making, and how will they make it? For the next 15 minutes they needed to work as a team (speaking English of course) to not only create their reused item, but to plan a way to give a two minute presentation introducing it to the class with everyone speaking during the presentation. There were many interesting and creative ideas, which cause one to stop and think about how much more we could actually do. All these students now have a better understanding of what recycling is including what gets recycled, how it gets recycled, and what types of things can be made from recyclable items.
Ms. Nicholl's Grade 6 Class (Nov 2017)
It’s Journal Time! Using the Writing Process!
Every day, the students of are encouraged to engage in the writing process to develop their writing skills. Some students thrive on this part of the curriculum while many others struggle with this weekly task. Integrating the weekly topic throughout the content areas encourages higher student engagement for every student. By 6th Grade, many students are familiar with the writing process, and how it helps develop and refine their writing skills. The 5-step writing process is Brainstorming, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Publishing but I would like to add another beneficial process – Presentation!
So, by following the Writing Process from start to end (and by adding a speech presentation component), the students are able to complete both a Writing task and a Speaking task every week!
Mrs. Isom's Grade 6 Class (Nov 2017)
In Grade 6, the students learn the elements of a good story, which helps them to write their own creative story in December. This week, we learned about the basic elements that all stories have: a plot, setting, protagonist, antagonist, and a complication. The students made pages in their interactive notebooks, which is basically a workbook that each student creates for themselves. They wrote down the meaning for each of these vocabulary words, so that they can refer to it later.
Then we watched a short video telling the tale of “Little Red Riding Hood.” The students broke down the film and made notes in their interactive notebooks explaining the plot, setting, what the complication was, and who were the protagonist and antagonist. The next step we took was to look closer at how the same story can be told in different ways. We watched a different version of Little Red Riding Hood called “Fetch,” and the students compared the similarities and differences between the two short films for the new vocabulary words. The next day we discussed how setting affects the story as well. Then the students were challenged to take the basic plot of Little Red Riding Hood, but change the setting and retell the story.
After they had written their first draft, they were then given a rubric requiring them to check their sentence structures for compound sentences, complex sentences, and run on sentences. They were also asked to go back and add more adjectives and adverbs to provide richer images for the reader. The finished product was a creative take on an old fairy tale. This activity really helps students to include all the elements of a good story when writing their own stories and it was fun as well!