Thursday, December 1, 2016


Steve Jobs and Dalton Sherman Video:

Step 1:  Click on the link for your class period

Period 1:  Click here

Class code:  

Period 2:  Click here

Class code:  

Period 3:  Click here

Class code:   kesofji

Period 4:  Click here

Class code:  

Step 2:  Login as Student

Step 3:  Click Google

Click ALLOW, then JOIN.

You may be asked to reenter the code.  If this happens, come see me.

Step 4:  Congrats!  You're ready to start watching the video!  

Once you get in, help someone who is isn’t there yet. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wednesday 11/30:


Today we will be using a Symbaloo to find articles with specific structures in it.  Please click HERE to access the Symbaloo and begin working.  If you need help, refer back to our blog for yesterday's lesson on the difference between each structure.

At the end of the lesson, please complete THIS form with your partner.  Include both of your names on it.

Nonfiction Text Structure

The structure of text is how text is "built."

Think about a Lego tower you are building. All of the decisions you make go into the structure of your building. You might decide:
  • How big will the base be, to hold up the rest of the building?
  • How many floors will you have?
  • What colors will you use for each floor?
  • What decorations will you put on the building?
  • Will there be stairs or an elevator?
  • Are there enough doors and windows? Emergency exits?
If you think about it this way, when authors write text, they make these types of decisions too. 
  • The "base" might be the introduction. How much background knowledge does your reader have or do you need to put more information at the start so your reader can follow along?
  • The "floors" might be sections. How many sections or paragraphs will you have? Will you have subheadings for different sections? 
  • The "colors" might be what you put in the sections. What is your strongest starter? Do you want to entertain or inform? What types of words will you be using?
  • The decorations may be "extras" you add (quotes, maps, pictures, etc.) 
  • When you're thinking about stairs vs. elevators, or doors and windows, think of the text's organization. Does the design of the text make sense? Can a reader follow it from beginning to end without a problem?

Below is the power point we used to discuss this idea in class on Tuesday, and the examples we  used. You MUST become familiar with the different types of text structures before you can move on to the application of this concept.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tracing and Evaluating Claims

For the past week we have been working to learn the skill of tracing and evaluating claims in an argument. We are working toward proficiency of this standard:

RI6.8 Trace and evaluate an argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

The link to the rubric is here.

Students will be assessed on this skill on Thursday, November 17.

I've scanned and attached all of the resources we have used in class to model and practice with. If students need extra practice at home, please feel free to use the resources linked here. I have also linked some articles that are not annotated so that they may practice using these.

11/8/17: Introduction to Arguments/Parts of Arguments Notes (1) (2) (3)
11/8/17: Model tracing and evaluating claims: Hip-Hop Argument
11/9-10/17: Student practice tracing and evaluating claims: Wasting Fish Argument
11/14/17: Credible evidence notes and practice: Wasting Fish Argument (credible evidence notes)
11/15/17: Student practice tracing and evaluating: Should Dogs Eat Grass
11/16/17: Teacher model proficient constructed response: Should Dogs Eat Grass

Supplemental example: Longer School Day

Non-annotated argumentative articles for practice:
To Buy Or To Lease A Car
Many Believe GMOs Unsafe
The Smart Snacking Choice

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What is Worth Fighting For?

The overarching concept of our new unit is What is Worth Fighting For. The unit is about the Power of Argument. Please check out the What Are We Studying tab for specifics on what standards we will be assessing in this unit.

Today, students explored the essential questions and thought about what is worth fighting for to them. This brainstorm will lead to an eventual argumentative paper in which they defend their ideas about what is worth fighting for.

Period 1:

Period 2:

Period 3:
Period 4:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Analysis is the single most important skill a student needs to be successful in Language Arts. Therefore, we revisit this skill every few months! It's so important it even has it's own tab on this website! Have you checked it out?

Some of the "a-has" we had in Language Arts around the discussion of analysis are:

  • On assessments, we cannot just re-write what is in the text.
  • Language Arts is different than science and math -- there is no one right answer.
  • The student who can explain their thinking and connect it to the text is the student who is proficient
  • Almost every assessment prompt will have the word ANALYZE in it.

We practiced seeing the difference between summarizing and analyzing using quotes. 

Teacher example:

Student work:

Monday, October 24, 2016

Interested in doing an online infographic? Check these sites before deciding!


If you are thinking about doing your infographic online, check out these resources before making your final decision.  You will not get time in class to decide.  These need to be figured out before hand so you can get right to work.  If you find they these are too cumbersome and not worth it, make that decision before you begin so you don't waste time.  Anything not done in class is expected to be finished as homework.  

REMEMBER: I am NOT a resource for this as I do NOT know how to use these sites.  

Infographic sites that we've used in the past:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Inquiry and Infographics

Today, students created an inquiry question about something they would like to research that has to do with consumerism. They are going to research to answer their inquiry question and create an infographic. Please see below for more information about this project that we will be working on through next Thursday, October 27.

What is an infographic?
An infographic is information delivered through graphics, rather than in a written report. We choose to assign infographics to support the development of 21st century skills by aligning informative writing ability with visual literacy. Creating an infographic deepens critical thinking skills and encourages students to make connections and create structures that may not manifest in a written report.

Project Dates: Thursday, October 20th through Thursday, October 27th
Final infographic due: END OF CLASS Thursday, October 27th

Standards being assessed through this project:

Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry where appropriate.

Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Example student-created infographics:

Monday, October 17, 2016

How Does Consumerism Influence My Life?

Good Monday!   

Today you will…explore the concept of consumerism.  To help me… identify my role in this practice and to become more informed.  I’ll know I’ve got it when I have completed the activities on the Symbaloo and answered the questions in my spiral completely. 

Follow these directions to be successful in getting to the Symbaloo:

1. Click on the link to the Consumerism Symbaloo:

YOU MUST CLICK "Start using this webmix," or "Add this webmix" to view the videos.  If it asks you to sign in or create an account, click the 'x' in the top right hand corner.

2. Choose one article to read, one video to watch and one game to play.

In your notebooks, answer the questions that are on the sheet at your table.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Living on One Dollar - Netflix Documentary

Today we started watching the Netflix documentary: Living on One Dollar. Students are expected to take notes on the documentary to complete a constructed response to identify how a key individual, event or idea is introduced, illustrated or elaborated in a text.  

Below are some resources for students and parents who want to learn more about the documentary, and of course if you have Netflix you are welcome to view it yourself (or with your child!) -- we highly recommend it!
Image result for living on one dollar

Summary: Living on One Dollar follows the journey of four friends as they set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala. They battle hunger, parasites, and extreme financial stress as they attempt to survive life on the edge. An unimaginable reality for most young American, the challenges they face are real and plague over 1.1 billion people around the world. While the friends quickly learn there are no easy answers, the generosity and strength of Rosa, a 20 year old woman, and Chino, a 12 year old boy, give them resilient hope that there are effective ways to make a difference.

Supplemental Articles:
The Reality of a Dollar-a-Day Existence
What if you had to survive on a dollar a day?
What's it really like? Four Americans find out

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Narrative Improvements

Narratives were handed back today, October 11th.  Students will have one week to make any revisions they would like to improve their scores. Students are being directed to the resources that were used during their mini lessons along with the feedback I've written on their stories to make improvements. They will not be able to work on narratives in class as we have moved on to another unit.

Like all retakes, students signed up to modify their assessment.  If they did not sign up, their retake will not be accepted.  Also, there will not be a study session offered for this retake as the feedback that I provided them and the rubric should be enough for their understanding.  I am available over the weekend, via email, should your child have any direct and specific questions.  To get a grade on the retake, students must resend their google document with a note in the margins that this is their retake, turn in their retake along with the Request to Retake and the Improvement Plan.

All revised narratives are due Tuesday, October 18th. After this date, the grade book will be for all Unit 1 assessments and no further retakes will be accepted. 

This is the blog post that contains all of the narrative resources.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sixth Grade Fall Conferences Reflection Questions:

Today in class, students completed a reflection on their progress in the last 9 weeks of school. This reflection was given an adequate amount of time, yet students still did not finish. If your child is one that did not, please instruct them to use the questions below to finish. They are the same ones we used in class.

Reflection Questions:
**Remember to include the answers in your response!**
*One thing we’ve learned in class that has really stuck with me is… because
*One thing I am looking forward to for the rest of the semester/year is
*I’ve allowed myself to be successful by… because

*I push myself to
*My current mindset is

*How are you going to maintain your growth mindset, if that is what you have? Or if you have a fixed mindset, how are you working to change it?
Find your MAPS score.  Set a goal for yourself to increase this score.  How many points will you increase it and what will you do to attain this growth?

*I can continue to grow academically by

*One behavior I need to work on is… because

*Is there anything you want to add to your parents/guardians?  Write this at the end.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Exit Ticket Questions and Socratic Seminar Feedback Form:


If you did not finish your Exit Ticket questions in class, here are the questions in preparation for the Socratic Seminar on Friday, 10/7.  There is no reason to walk in empty handed and automatically give yourself a 1 on the rubric!

1. What is one thing you agree with from your text?  Support with evidence in the text.
2. What is one thing you disagree with from your text?  Support with evidence in the text.
3. Identify one speaking goal you have for yourself during this seminar.
4. Identify one behavioral goal you have for yourself during this seminar.

Feedback Form:
To give proper feedback to the inside circle, please click on the link below and complete the feedback form appropriately and completely.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Close Reading

With the start of Unit 2, we have been working on the skill of CLOSE READING. Close reading helps when reading non-fiction high-concept texts, poetry, song lyrics, news articles, or any other type of short text that may be difficult to understand or analyze by just reading it over once.

Close reading is: reading a text multiple times for a different purpose each time, in order to analyze and more deeply understand the text. (For more on what Close Reading is, click here.)

We practiced with an article about Jose Fernandez and the impact he had on the city of Miami as a Cuban refugee. We are now moving on to close reading two articles to prepare for a Socratic Seminar on Friday. (For more on what a Socratic Seminar is, click here.) This will be a graded Seminar, and I've attached the rubric as well.

Sheriff's Posse Goes on School Patrol (preparation for seminar)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Unit 2: Critical Consumers

Today's objective:  Today I will explore the concepts of our new unit:  Critical Consumers to help me discuss and understand the expectations of the essential questions and concept:  Influence.  I'll know I've got it when I have shared my ideas clearly and captured specific, clear information about our unit, concept and essential questions. 

Click here to explore our new unit!  Be sure to take adequate notes that will help guide you through this new learning over the course of a month.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Narrative Resources

Students are working on their narrative story regularly in class starting today. They will have the rest of the week to work on their rough draft, and will have computers available to type their final draft starting Monday.

In the classroom, we do a mini lesson each day focused on one part of the narrative. Below are the resources from the mini lessons that are available on the resources board in the class, as well as here if students want to work at home. Please feel free to use them at any time to help with your work.

Narrative Notes: What is this project about? What are the requirements?
Rubric - this is a BIG project! It will be worth 6 separate writing grades.

How we brainstormed
Strong Beginnings
Developing Characters
Character Traits
Narrative Techniques
Strong Endings


Monday, September 19, 2016

Tracking Character Change

Tracking how a character changes within the course of a story is a key component of understanding the plot. Today, students will read the fabulous short story "Thank You, Ma'am" by Langston Hughes and complete an exit ticket tracking the character change of the main character, Roger. They will also practice identifying the elements of plot (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution), for their assessment tomorrow.

Image result for character change

Friday, September 16, 2016

Narrative Exposition Examples - Hook Your Reader!

Here are some good examples of narrative beginnings. Remember you are trying to hook your reader! Be sure to try some different beginnings out! After you have a couple of different beginnings for your own story, ask a partner to read them and tell you which one makes them want to continue reading!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Finding Plot with Pixar Shorts

Objective: In reader's workshop, students will continue to practice identifying plot elements and charting them on a plot mountain in preparation for assessment RL6.3.

As a viewer today, practice identifying parts of the plot. Pay special attention to how the character changes over time. Make sure you include ALL elements of plot and are SPECIFIC about your details to support each part (use character's names and specific places).


  1. Click on this link to find the Pixar shorts:

  2. YOU MUST CLICK "Start using this webmix," or "Add this webmix" to view the videos.

  3. Choose one video to watch with your group.
  4. In your notebooks, practice identifying the elements of plot for your assessment
    on TUESDAY 9/20

  5. Check your answers AFTER you watch your video.

  6. Find the video you watched using the THUMBNAILS on the left. Then click on that thumbnail. Click PRESENT to view the answers for that video.

  7. If you complete one, choose another video to watch and repeat the process.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Theme Assessment Retakes

The theme assessment was returned this week and students had a lesson on reading and interpreting feedback. They also learned the process for study sessions and retakes. Students will need to fill out a Request to Retake form if they choose to retake this assessment. Your child was offered a retake form today. Study sessions are Thursday (9/8) at lunch and Monday (9/12) from 7:40 - 8:10. Retakes are Monday (9/12) at lunch and Wednesday (9/14) at lunch. These appointments have already been requested and are expected to be upheld. Should your child not attend the one they signed up for, they are no longer eligible for the retake opportunity. Please help me in building a responsible student who takes learning and education seriously.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Today students learned how to find the theme of a story. Please see the links below for the learning we did in class today, and note that there will be an assessment on Thursday on this skill.

Themes are NOT topics.
love"Love can get someone through any trial."
family"Family is the most important thing in life."
never give up"Perseverance is the key to reaching your dreams."

Farmer Will Allen text

Tomorrow we will complete the second part of this lesson, supporting with evidence.  We will begin with a "snowball fight" and support other's ideas of the theme from evidence from the text.  This will prove whether or not the theme was strong and can be supported by multiple pieces of evidence or if a better theme could be used.  We will then explain (in our own words) the importance of connecting the evidence to our theme in a well constructed response that ties it all together.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Letter To Your 8th Grade Self

Each year, Silver Hills 6th graders write letters to themselves. In two years, when you are in 8th grade, we give them to your Language Arts teacher and they pass them back to you. It is one of the highlights of the 8th graders' year! You won't believe how much you've changed!

Today, our 6th graders wrote letters to themselves. See the requirements and some examples below. Students who didn't finish their letters took them home for homework. The latest they should be turned in is Monday, August 29.

Letter Requirements
Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Success Strategies

As the week comes to a close, I wanted to share with you some of the strategies that we have implemented to help us have success academically, while improving our focus and attention.

1. Brain Breaks

Current research supports the need for students to rejuvenate their brains and bodies by moving in the
classroom.  This week we have played fun games such as "Don't Let Me Down" with beach balls and Cross Body Bean Bag (hand-eye coordination).

Click here for more information that supports brain breaks.

Ask your child how the brain breaks in class have helped them refocus their energy and attention on the day's lesson.

2. Mindful Minute

The students really enjoyed this new activity. By learning how to have mindful bodies and mindful listening, students' focus and attention was impacted for the better. Their challenge was to try a mindful minute outside of school without the use of the classroom chimes.

Additional video resources:
The "WHY" behind a mindful minute - from kids!
Mindful School - this is the video we used to learn about mindful bodies
Mindful Minute tips to practice anywhere.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Growth Mindset

This week in Language Arts, we worked with the idea of a growth mindset, what a growth mindset is, and how to go from a fixed to a growth mindset. We discussed the importance of accepting that failure is a part of life and what to do when things don't go the way we hope/expect.

Have you ever thougth about what it means to fail? Society paints failutre in a negative ligth, but that's only true if we don't learn from our failures and try again.

The purpose of learning about the growth mindset is to show that learning goes beyond the four walls of school and if we don't accept that we fail on a daily basis, we will never be true lifelong learners.

Knowing what to do when we have failed is a large part of the developmental process, and being able to make changes to avoid continuous failures is a skill that we will practice throughout the year.

It is my job as your child's teacher to be their coach, not their critic. It is my promise to help them navigate failures and come out on the other end as a well-rounded individual.

Please take a moment to view these videos about celebrating failure with your child.

Fail Harder
You Failed
Famous Failures

Growth Mindset Blog