Today we practiced adding the "action parts" to the good sentences we wrote last week, thus making the good sentences better.
After building on yesterday's "good sentences" lesson with a discussion today about "action parts" (adverbs), we returned to the drafts of our descriptive duck paragraphs from early November. Our mission was simple: make them even better.
To this end, we focused on four small but specific writing techniques: exact nouns, vivid verbs, appositive phrases, and similes. Today's revision goal was to incorporate at least one of the latter two items and as many of the former two as possible. The buzz in the room was exciting as students shared their revised phrases and sentences with table mates during the work time. On Monday, we will type up the paragraphs.
Meanwhile, the ducks are watching ...
First up, we reviewed this week's grammar snacks (all about subject-verb agreement). Then, to make sure we had that, we did a little extra practice with those concepts.
For the second half of the class, we started the first in a series of writing lessons aimed at helping us to construct better (more detailed) sentences. Today's focus was on making sure we had a descriptor (adjective) for the subject and then a strong - VIVID - verb. The goal is to find a verb that does some "heavy lifting" ... why use plain old "said" when you can be vivid with a verb like "whispered," "screamed," or "commented"?
To catch up, today's classes were a flip flop of Monday's.
Students were also given a copy of the review for the upcoming grammar test (scheduled for next Tuesday). One study strategy suggested was to do the entire review, divided into three parts. First, tackle all of the sentences with a number that is a multiple of three. Then on the second night, do the remaining evens; finally, do all the remaining odds. This provides small bits of practice with ALL of the concepts (rather than waiting to do some concepts until just before the assessment). It also means that students can identify earlier in their study process which concepts they may need some extra help with and can come in well before the assessment to review and practice one-on-one.
A .pdf version of the review is attached here.
Because of the delay, there was no 6G double today.
6Y worked on finishing their root set 3 vocab packets. We also took time to start one-on-one writing conferences about the the duck description paragraphs.
6G's study skills class period was donated to English (muchas gracias, Mrs. R.). We used it to follow up on the grammar homework for lessons 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7 with additional textbook practice.
Vocab test on words from the first three root sets.
Notes and practice with perfect tenses.
We also learned how to format a works cited, or works consulted, page. These were created in class today (for the Rone TBPs) and then shared.
GRAMMAR: all about simple tenses, with a preview of tomorrow's topic: perfect tenses
LIT: notes in interactive notebooks about conflict
VOC: worked on assessment project for voc/dict words
WRITING: practiced short answer response (LIT, part 2: question topic = characterization)
IRP: current IRP books were the texts used for all short answer responses.
RESEARCH SKILLS: students practiced MLA citations for their IRP books cited in the short answer responses.
Today we discussed the importance of taking full advantage of one's resources when working on a project for which the grading tool (rubric) has been shared ahead of time. On the recent History-English textbook page research project students were given the rubric for both classes at the start of the project. Class time was provided in both English and History, as well as library, for the research and writing. Almost all students finished their projects with ample time to spare - but not all students utilized this extra time effectively. Many were unable to earn credit for portions of the assignment related to editing, mechanics and grammar. Few students took time to revise their work before submitting it. Also, few students used the rubric to make sure they had incorporated all required elements. In class today, we discussed how students might better take advantage of resources - rubrics, time, their teachers - to improve their finished products in the future.
We will be completing a second, similar project at the end of the term, so students will have an opportunity to apply lessons learned from this first project.
Don't they look sad???
This is the group acting out a person sitting "hunched" and pouting.
We read Nikki Grimes's poem, Summertime Sharing, today. One of the characters is sitting on the stoop, hunched and pouting. We discussed what that looks like and feels like when WE sit that way or when WE pout (background knowledge). Then we used our experiences to infer that Danitra probably feels sad because she can't get ice cream from the ice cream truck driving by. Sixth graders are still learning how to combine text details with their own life experiences to make inferences. They have the hardest part with naming their own experiences - the tendency is to over complicate that step. This poem was a great opportunity for more guided practice on this reading skill.
In small groups today we added notes about how authors provide characterization details to readers. Other groups worked on adding definitions, in their own words, for the vocabulary words that will be on the assessment this Friday. At the end if class, we reviewed those together to make sure everyone had a good definition. Students also worked on finishing their vocabulary projects.