Core 6

SIXTH GRADE CORE: LANGUAGE ARTS, READING AND LITERATURE, SOCIAL STUDIES, MATH

Language Arts

Writing, grammar, and research skills are emphasized.  Written language experiences are provided through response to literature and informational text, research reports, essays, quick writes, and poetry. Oral language experiences include reader’s theatre, speeches, and class presentations.  Scroll further down this page to read more details about the writing program.

Text:    Grammar and Composition Handbook, Glencoe/McGraw Hill

Reading and Literature

Emphasis is on improving comprehension through the continued development of reading skills and vocabulary as well as analyzing various genres of literature and informational text.  Students study novels, short stories, poetry, articles, and non-fiction material through discussions, written responses, and projects.  The PMS teacher-librarians guide students in selecting books for independent reading through book talks, as well as independent consultation with students.  To see a variety of genres, click here.

Text:    The Reader’s Choice, Course 1, Glencoe/McGraw Hill

Social Studies

From the earliest known people through the fall of Rome, students examine how ancient civilizations have contributed to our lives. Students learn about the geography, history, culture, and economy of these civilizations  from reading and discussing a wide variety of resources including the textbook as well as many supplementary materials.  Students create projects, maps, presentations and learn important study skills for taking content-area tests.

Text:    History Alive!  The Ancient World, Teachers’ Curriculum Institute

SIXTH GRADE WRITING PROGRAM

Instruction in writing is integrated throughout sixth grade core in language arts, reading, and social studies classes.  Writing is taught as a process. Students engage in a wide variety of activities such as journal entries, poetry, free-writes, paragraphs, single drafts, and multiple revisions of essays. Rubrics based on common core standards provide guidance for evaluating persuasive, informative, and argumentative writing. Mechanics and grammar are taught both as part of the teaching of writing and as separate lessons throughout the year.  Following is a list of areas of focus:

1. Constructing A Solid Paragraph
Students are taught to write a topic sentence, add supporting details, expand on ideas, use transitions, and write interesting concluding statements.  They also work to maintain focus, develop appropriate voice, consider the audience, etc..

2. Expository Writing is used to explain, describe, give information or inform (see examples of assignments below).

Multi – Paragraph Essay
Students are taught to outline as a way to organize ideas.  They then learn to develop a thesis statement before writing an introduction, three body paragraphs, and concluding paragraph.  Students learn about the use of transitions, voice, and moving towards writing in the third person.

Research Report
Teacher-librarians teach students about library resources and how to read them critically (PMS Library Research Process: Read-Think-Write). They then take notes, write formal outlines, write multiple drafts and ultimately publish a comprehensive report, including works cited.

Speech Writing:  Persuasive and Informative Writing
Students research and take notes about topics of their own choosing.  They then create a speech, considering their audience, voice, organization of ideas, how to grab the audience’s attention, the art of effective delivery, appropriate listening skills, using literary devices such as metaphor, and incorporating visual aids.

3. Narrative Writing
Teachers help students to select meaningful events, craft compelling stories, choose a first or third person narrator, and weave together narrative and dialogue to bring events to life.  Writing could be a work of fiction or a personal narrative.

 4. Poetry
Students read to understand and analyze published poetry; recognizing symbols, imagery, economy of language, metaphorical language, and poetic license.

HOW TO HELP YOUR STUDENT WITH WRITING ASSIGNMENTS

Many parents want to help their children, but don’t know what to do.  It is important to remember that teachers want to see what students can do on their own, without your help.  It gives us valuable information about how we should tailor our instruction to meet their needs.  Most of the time, it’s probably best to allow middle school students to do their work on their own, show it to the teacher, and get feedback from him or her.  However, we do have a few suggestions about how you can help your students at home as they prepare to turn in major assignments.

a) Keyboarding: Encourage your child to practice keyboarding skills.  As they move through middle and high school, more and more teachers will require typed final drafts of their papers.  In fact, the high school English teachers all require that students post their papers on a secure website called turnitin.com.

b) The Nature of the Help: If your child asks you to read a piece of writing, find out what they want from you.  It’s possible that they just need you to say, “Wow, that’s really interesting,” or “I didn’t know that!”

c) Self-Editing First: If your child wants your help, avoid the temptation to grab a pencil and start “correcting” the work.  Instead, ask him or her if (s)he has proofread the work for spelling, punctuation, complete sentences, and clarity.

d) Helping without Doing It Yourself: If (s)he has already done that and still wants your input, then compliment him or her on what’s already done well before bringing up areas that need work.  Ask questions such as, “What did you mean by this sentence?” or “Do you think this sentence might be a little too long?” or “Could this sentence be incomplete?”  This gives him or her the responsibility to make adjustments.

e) Spelling: In terms of spelling, ask him or her to look through the document just looking for possibly misspelled words. (S)he can point to questionable words, you can indicate whether they need fixing or not, then the student can use the computer’s spell-check, ask you how to spell the words, or consult a dictionary if (s)he is generally a pretty good speller.

f) Mechanics: If you’ve noticed punctuation or capitalization errors, you might let your child know that the paper is missing some periods or capital letters then challenge the student to locate where the mistakes are.

You are valued partners in helping your child to grow and develop.  Please contact the core teacher if you have concerns about your child’s skills or about the writing program in that classroom.

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Six-Trait Writing Rubric – Piedmont Middle School, Sixth Grade

 

Below Grade Level Expectations (1-2 Points) Meets Grade Level Expectations (3-4 Points) Far Exceeds Grade Level Expectations (5-6 Points)
Organization Ideas, details, or events seem loosely strung together, might lack topic sentence, supporting details and/or concluding statement. The organizational structure (topic sentence, supporting details and concluding statement) allows the reader to move through the text without undue confusion. Some use of basic transitions. The order, presentation, or internal structure of the writing is compelling, and guides the reader purposefully through the text. Sophisticated use of transitions.
Content / Ideas Sketchy information forces the reader to make inferences, and the paper includes an unclear topic and limited or unrelated details. The writing has clear ideas with adequate support. Avoids extraneous information. The text is clear, well-supported, and developed, enhanced by the quality and quantity of detail that keeps readers interested.
Voice The text lacks life, spirit, or energy. The writer seems distanced from the audience, topic, or both. The writing seems sincere and willing to communicate with the reader on a functional level. The writer seems aware of audience. Energy and passion for the subject drive the writing, making it unique, expressive and/or engaging. Appropriate for the purpose and audience.
Word Choice Limited, vague, or redundant vocabulary, and clichéd or incorrectly used words or phrases impair the writing’s effectiveness. The language communicates in a workable manner and gets the job done. Attempts to use descriptive language. Precise, vivid, and natural language paints a clear and complete picture in the reader’s mind. High level vocabulary and lively verbs are used.
Sentence Fluency Reading the text is difficult as run-ons, fragments, and other sentence problems impair meaning. The text moves along with complete sentences that do not distract from the ideas presented. Occasional variety in sentence structure and length. The complete sentences flow with a rhythm that makes this text easy and enjoyable to read. Some variety in sentence structure and length.
Conventions Grammatical errors and lapses in standard writing conventions distract the reader’s ability to focus on ideas or organization. The writer shows adequate control over  standard writing conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization and syntax) making the paper easily readable. The writer shows excellent control over a wide range of standard writing conventions and uses them with accuracy.