Ms. Heffernan

 

Welcome to sixth grade Reading and Language Arts! We will be learning good study skills and organizational habits. We will also be having many magical and moving experiences through literature! I hope you enjoy taking these many grand adventures with us!

Click here to learn more about Ms. Heffernan.

 

Heffernan 1 Heffernan 2

 

Summer Reading: The Book Scavenger

Sixth Grade Summer Reading

“Life is a game, and books are the tokens.”

  • Read The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bergman.
    • For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about her family’s most recent move to San Francisco is that her literary idol, Garrison Griswold, publisher and creator of the online Book Scavenger site, lives there. When she arrives, Emily discovers that instead of announcing the launch of his epic new game, Garrison has been attacked and is in a coma. For the first time in many years, Emily allows herself to make a new friend in her puzzle-loving neighbor, James. Together, they race against time and from clue to clue to figure out the secret of Garrison’s new game and to find Garrison’s attacker – before they are the next victims!
    • Read along with Emily and James and test your own puzzle-solving skills to see if you can figure out the mystery along with the kids!
    • If you have an Audible account, the narration for this book is excellent, but it listening may make it difficult to keep track of clues & you cannot see the puzzles. Make sure you also have a copy of the novel.
    • Your assignment is due on the second day of school.
    • If you have any questions, you may email me at lheffernan@olwschool.org.  As we get closer to school starting again, I am busy getting ready for you, setting up for Virtues, getting daycare ready, teacher meetings, etc. This means I am less available to answer your questions. Do not create an emergency for yourself and then be upset if I cannot get back to you by waiting until the last minute. The earlier you check it all out and email me, the more likely it is that you will receive an answer in time to be helpful to you.
    • **Please note that there is an error on the Sign Posts page – ignore Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy written at the top. You are finding examples of Sign Posts in The Book Scavenger.**
    • Need a new copy of the directions? Never fear! Just click here: The Book Scavenger

Random Stuff

 

  • Have an amazing summer!!!!

Latin & Greek Root Units

Latin & Greek Roots: Week of : Week of 

 

  • Latin and Greek Roots for this week – 
    • Do not count on much more time in class. You received everything you need for this unit on Friday. You need to start budgeting your time.
  • Flip Flash Cards done in class on Monday 
  • Vocabulary Flash Cards Due Wednesday 
  • Vocabulary Worksheet Due Thursday 
  • Quiz Friday (the roots/prefixes/suffixes need to be memorized; the vocabulary is matching) 

This Week’s RootsFor 

Week Twenty-five  (Week of 04/17): prefixes 

  • ab-, abs-, apo-  (away, from) 
  • Week 25 Vocab. Know these words for the Week 25 Quiz and for the week 28 MAV.
  • abdicate (v): give up power, authority or the throne
  • absolute (adj): without restraint, not dependent on anything
  • abstain (v): to voluntarily refrain from
  • abstract (adj): not concrete or related to specific things; not easy to understand
  • apogee (n): the point in the moon’s or a satellite’s orbit when it is farthest from the earth or the body it orbits

Week Twenty-six (Week of 05/01)roots

  • bio (life) carn (body, flesh) corp (body) 
  • Week 26 Vocab. Know these words for the Week 26 Quiz and for the week 28 MAV.
  • biodegradable (adj): able to be decomposed by biological forces, especially bacteria
  • bionic (adj): related to things that are modeled after living organisms; having abilities improved by mechanical devices
  • carnage (n): great destruction of life, especially in battle; slaughter
  • corpuscle (n): any red or white cell that floats in the blood
  • symbiosis (n): the shared existence of two organisms where they both benefit from living close together

Week Twenty-three (Week of 03/13)roots

  • aqua, aqui  (water)  geo (land, earth) hydr (water) mar, mer (sea)                   terr (land, earth) 
  • Week 23 Vocab. Know these words for the Week 23 Quiz and for the week 24 MAV.
  • aquatic (adj): living or growing in water
  • geology (n): the science that deals with rocks and the physical history of the earth
  • hydrophobia (n): fear of water
  • maritime (adj): on or near the sea
  • terrestrial (adj): existing on the earth; related to the world

Week Twenty-four (Week of 04/04)suffixes This week is the review week and the quiz includes the MAV portion.

  • -ar, -er, -or, -ist (one who)
  • Week 24 Vocab. Know these words for the Week 24 Quiz and for the week 24 MAV.
  • ancestor (n): a person from whom one has descended
  • conspirator (n): one who secretly plans with other people to perform an unlawful act
  • linguist (n): a person who is skilled in the study of language
  • pessimist (n): one who believes the world is bad or who looks on the dark side of life
  • proprietor (n): someone who owns a business or property

 

  • MAV (Measure of Academic Vocabulary) Sample:

MAV Score:

  • 0 = no recognition
  • 1 = familiarity with but no knowledge of word
  • 2 = partial definition of word OR partial accuracy in sentence
  • 3 = accurate definition of word OR partial definition and partial accuracy in sentence
  • 4 = accurate definition of word and partial accuracy in sentence OR partial accuracy in definition and accurate sentence
  • 5 = accurate definition sentence

Each question will include a word from one of the units – only a word the children have made a flash card for! Not the other 5-15 words. There is one word from each of the four units. I will also include an extra credit word – a word using one of the prefixes, roots, or suffixes from one of the units that was not included in any of the units.

The questions are formatted like this:

  • Have you seen or heard this word before? (This should be a YES!)
  • If you have seen or heard it, do you think you know what it means? (This should also be a YES!)
  • If yes, what do you think it means? (Students should all be able to give a definition of the word – they have basic definition of all the words on their flash cards. I have given them time to work with the words in class, and have recommended that they spend a couple minutes a few times a week reading over them. Short bursts over time is the best way to get information into long term memory.)
  • If you think you know what it means, can you use the word in a sentence? 
    • In my experience, this is where students will have the most trouble. This is because they have to synthesize several aspects of their learning to do this accurately. They need to make sure they use the word as the correct part of speech AND make sure the sentence tells me they understand the meaning of the word.
    • For example, writing a sentence like: “I tried to forewarn my mother.” at least tells me the student knows forewarn is a verb, but it doesn’t tell me that s/he knows the meaning of the verb. A sentence that would receive full credit would need to read: “I tried to forewarn my mother that my brother would be coming home with a pet snake.” A sentence like this tells me s/he knows the vocabulary word is a verb and that it means that there is something to warn Mom about before the brother makes it home.

 


Writing

Please remember to look at your child’s grades on Power School.

TOPIC:

TODAY : 

 

Trait: VOICE – Conveying the Purpose – 

  • Think about
    • Is the purpose of my writing clear?
    • Does my point of view come through?
    • Is this the right tone for this kind of writing?
    • Have I used a strong voice throughout this piece?

Children will be expected to use excellent CUPS (Capitalization, Usage/grammar, Punctuation, Spelling & Spacing) when they answer their Reader’s Response questions. This is the Conventions Trait. They will be expected to be practicing this from now on. 🙂 

Trait of Word Choice– As children answer their Reader’s Response questions for their book club books, they will be expected to use appropriate word choice, especially in regards to adjectives. It’s not descriptive enough to tell a reader that a character is “nice” or “mean.” I expect the groups to really get in there and use specific vocabulary. 

Trait of Organization – how to write a hook/lead. We learned many different ways to write a good hook & chose one to practice. From the hook, we led into our thesis statement. The thesis statement for this paper would be the theme chosen for Snow White. By the end of class, everyone turned in an introductory paragraph for a paper discussing the theme of Snow White. This is work to prepare for an entire paper which will be written about their Book Club novel.

What did we learn about writing a hook? Check out the examples here.

Current Unit: Literary Theme. We will be focusing on Organization and writing a lead/hook & thesis statement.

Revising for Clarity Video

How to Write a Killer Conclusion

Thesis video

The writing program used in the Middle School is called 6 + 1 Traits. What follows are the basic definitions of each trait. The program is spiraled, so as we move along, we add to our expertise for each trait – and are expected to use each part with more ease. Children are also expected to use these traits in all of their other classes.

  1. Ideas:
    • Clear main idea on one small topic
      Interesting, specific details
      Lots of examples, explanations, reasons
  2. Organization:
    • Interesting first sentence and a last sentence that wraps things up
      Details are in the right order
      Title shows the main idea
      Not too fast, not too slow
  3. Voice:
    • Show the real “me” and original thoughts
      Addressing the reader or keeping them interested
      The tone is right for the job
  4. Word Choice:
    • Specific words that say exactly what you want (stroll or sprint, not go)
      Words are correct and don’t seem weird
      Describing words (adjectives, adverbs) as well as nouns, verbs, conjunctions
      Describe the sight, smell, sound, taste, feel. Use similies or metaphors.
  5. Sentence Fluency:
    • Correct, complete sentences except sometimes for fun.
      Some short, medium, and long sentences. Different patterns.
      Easy to read aloud without weird sound or pauses
  6. Conventions:
    • spelling
      punctuation
      capitalization
      grammar: no problems with verb tenses, pronoun agreement, pronoun case
  7. Presentation:
    • use your best handwriting/word-processing
    • use of proper graphics
    • show you care about your piece by making it look as lovely as possible

As the year progresses, children will also be learning to write personal narratives (with and without reflection), persuasive/argumentative pieces, a brief research paper, how to write a test response in the appropriate time frame, how to write responses to literature and to nonfiction pieces, and how to take information from multiple texts to answer a question completely.

“Good writing may be magical, but it’s not magic. It’s  process, a rational series of steps and decisions that all writers take.” — Donald Murray

 


Reading

Please be looking at your child’s grades on Power School.

  • ASSIGNMENTS : We may have multiple assignments with multiple due dates. Please pay attention – here, L&G Roots, and sometimes writing.
  • summarizing strategy from Nonfiction Notice and Note– 
    • Somebody/Something (topic)
    • Wanted (what happened)
    • But (conflict/problem/movement/change/opinion/argument)
    • So (conclusion)
  • If your child is having trouble summarizing a passage, ask them SWBS! 🙂 

BLANK BOOK LOG

Quick Reminder of Rules for Responsibility Grades:

  • 3: assignment completed satisfactorily and on time
  • 2: assignment incomplete or unsatisfactory work (if directions are not followed correctly, this could = a 2); turned in on time OR completed in the HATS room on the due date and turned that day
  • 1: assignment turned in one day late (does not apply to absence)
  • 0: assignment turned in later than one day or never turned in
  • Many homework assignments receive only a responsibility grade

What is THEME?

  • The THEME is the central idea to a work of literature. It is a literary work’s PRIMARY PURPOSE – In its simplest definition, it is the MORAL of the story; the LIFE-LESSON the author wants you to take away.
  • It does not apply just to the characters – it is more abstract than that, more universal. It often applies to all of us – at the very least it applies to the world beyond THESE characters and THIS world.
  • Theme is not a subject – a thing/a one word: family, courage, loyalty, love, etc. The theme is the idea the writer wishes to express about the subject.
    • “Family bonds last longer than friendship.”
    • “Friends are very important because they are the family you choose.”
  • Theme is an opinion, not a fact. The theme is not a thing/subject – it is an opinion about that thing.
    • The courage people can show under pressure” – thing = subject
    • “Ordinary people are capable of showing great courage under pressure.” = an opinion about the subject = theme
    • Love = no Love stinks = yes Love is magical = yes
  • Try to come up with something interesting. “It’s good to be fair” is boring and most people would agree. Let’s show some insight. People make generalizations based on their observations and the world around them and their experiences.

A work of literature is a model of the real world. The author wants you to see the world through his/her eyes. She doesn’t usually just SAY it. You learn it by looking at that world the author is showing you and making generalizations. Gain insight, understanding and abstract meaning about the world around YOU through the model of the book.

  • Literature is complex with many themes. Some are large and obvious; some are small and less obvious. If you can support your answer through text evidence, you are right.
  • Sometimes there are opposing themes purposely put there by the author. Sometimes two people can read the same book and come up with opposing conclusions. That’s fine as long as both can be supported by text evidence.
  • The reader owns the meaning of the work – not the author. The theme is what the book means to YOU – what YOU learned/took away from the book. As long as you can back it up with text evidence, you are fine.
  • How to find themes:
    • What happens to the main character? Does s/he change in some important way? Is the character for all of us? What is the author saying about all mankind? The answer is a theme.
    • Watch for statements of theme. Often near the end of a book, a character will make some kind of observation about life. There’s your theme. It doesn’t always happen, but if the author hands it to you, take it.
    • Look at the title for clues. Sometimes the title is just descriptive: Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, Land of Stories. Sometimes the title gives you a hint: To Kill a Mockingbird (what is going on when they characters talk about killing a mockingbird), Divergent (what does the term mean?), People of Sparks (what do sparks symbolize?), Mockingjay (why is that so important?)
    • What is the main conflict? What forces are pitted against each other, who wins, why? NOT specifically, but the big ideas.
      • CONFLICT: the opposition of persons or forces that bring about dramatic action central to the plot of a story.
      • Man vs. Himself: INTERNAL: a psychological conflict within a character (conscience). Internal conflict is not always good vs. evil. It can also be between two positive forces.
      • Man vs. Man: EXTERNAL: (most common): protagonists face down an adversary or antagonist that stands in the way of achieving a goal. The conflict can be physical, emotional, or psychological.
      • Man vs. Nature/supernatural: EXTERNAL: force of nature/natural disaster/ natural phenomena/supernatural force is used to keep the main character from reaching a goal. This is symbolic of conflict between man & the universe or man’s struggle against God. Animals are often used as a symbol of Good vs. Evil. Beasts of popular myth exhibit supernatural strength but are defeated by the cunning & bravery of a human foe.
      • Man vs. Society/technology: EXTERNAL: protagonist is often an outcast of society and feels trapped, paranoid &/or feels something is very flawed about the world around him, but no one else can see it. Characters struggle to change conventions or institutions, often with little or no success.

We are continuing to work on the following skills:

  • building critical thinking skills
  • becoming purposeful and thoughtful readers
  • remembering key information & paying attention to detail
  • identifying main ideas
  • recognizing cause and effect relationships
  • analyzing personality traits, actions, and motivations
  • making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • recalling sequence of events
  • determining the meanings of words in context

We will also be focusing on introducing Notice and Note Sign Posts:

  • Contrasts & Contradictions: This is what happens when a character does or says something that is the opposite of what s/he has been saying all along. Ask yourself why? Answers help you make a prediction about plot and conflict.
  • Aha! Moment: This is when a character suddenly realizes or understands something. Ask yourself how this new understanding changes things? If the character just figured out a problem, you probably just learned about the conflict. If the character understood a life lesson, you probably learned about theme.
  • Tough Questions: This is when you realize that a character has asked him/herself a really difficult question. Ask yourself: what does this question make me wonder about? The answers tell you about conflict and might give you ideas about what will happen later in the story.
  • Words of the Wiser: When you’re reading and a character (who’s probably older and definitely wiser) takes the main character aside to give some serious advice, stop and ask yourself: What’s the life lesson and how might it affect the character? Whatever the lesson is, you probably just found a theme to the story.
  • Again and Again: When you’re reading and you notice a word, a phrase, object, or situation mentioned over and over, you should stop and ask: Why does this keep showing up again and again? The answers will tell you about theme and conflict, or they might foreshadow what will happen later.
  • Memory Moment: When you’re reading and the author interrupts the action to tell you a memory, you should stop and ask: Why might this memory be important? The answers will tell you about theme, conflict, or might foreshadow what will happen later in the story.

We are also working on introducing or 6-Traits of writing as we practice writing Constructive Responses to our novels.

 


Helpful Websites & Study Strategies

Spelling Bee Help

Purdue Online Writing Lab

How to Study

How to Do Homework without Throwing Up tip sheet