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!