Thursday, January 31, 2019

Our Next Adventure: Makerspaces and Literacy Standards

We are about to begin a very exciting adventure into a world of creativity in order to strengthen and master our content standards! We will be focusing on reading/writing informational texts, researching a specific topic, organizing and producing clear and coherent writing, communication skills, and using technology to produce and publish informational texts ([W.6.2], [W.6.4], [W.6.5], [W.6.6],  [W.6.7], [W.6.8], [L.6.2]).

Research has proven allowing students to explore their interests in the classroom helps to strengthen creativity, ingenuity, problem-solving skills, collaboration, and engagement. Many classrooms are fostering these ideas by creating a Makerspace for students. Makerspaces allow students to become “makers” by researching their interests in order to create an actual product. These spaces allow students to implement creativity as a problem-solving strategy while also applying academic standards. I have included links to research and examples of Makerspaces.

As you know, our 6th grade class is centered around the needs and interests of each student. Each day our lessons are based upon best practices in order to promote success in every student. I have been fortunate enough to learn from my students everyday. In order to continue the creative and intellectual environment that has been created in our classroom, we have chosen to  transform our classroom into a Makerspace! In order for this unit to be successful, we will need a variety of items donated for student use. I am eager to begin this amazing adventure with your students, and I plan to foster their creativity and imagination, while also mastering academic standards, through this unit.

Thank you so much!

Makerspace Resources:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Flipgrid Book Chats 2019

Flipgrid Book Chats
For our Free Reading Fri-Yay book chats, we are going to begin using Flipgrid, a student-friendly curation tool. Every three weeks, students will shoot a short 90 second video using his/her Chromebook. In the video, learners will select a favorite book that he/she has completed in the last month. In the video, he/she will create a book teaser where he/she gives a brief (and exciting) overview of the book. They need to be sure to "sell" it to their classmates.

This should also include a recommendation of  who would enjoy reading this recommended book. You may not create book chat videos of the books that have been part of our literature groups or that we have read as an entire class. (See list below)

Books that may not be included in the Flipgrid Book Chats

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Schooled by Gordon Korman
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by  James Patterson
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Ungifted by Gordon Korman
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Mistakes that Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones

Friday, January 4, 2019

January-February 2019 Important Dates

Important Dates in January and February

1/11 One Word Presentations
1/11 Report Cards
1/17 Lunch & Learn
1/21 No School
1/23 Lunch & Learn
1/23 Flipgrid Book chats due
1/25 Bring headphones or ear buds
1/31 Lunch & Learn
2/5 Lunch & Learn
2/6 Makerspace plan due
2/8 Progress Reports
2/12 "How To" facts are due (rubric)
2/13 Lunch & Learn
2/13 "How To" glossary due (rubric)
2/13 Flipgrid Book chats due
2/14 "How To" project item due (rubric)
2/15 "How To" conclusion due (rubric)
2/15 Bring headphones or ear buds
2/18-2/19 No school
2/20 Lunch & Learn
2/21 Final "How To" project due (rubric)
2/22 Makers' Faire
2/28 Lunch & Learn

Please check back regularly as these will be updated.
Updated 2/5/19

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Spirit Week 2018

October 22-26 is Northridge Middle School's Spirit Week. Students are encouraged to show their school spirit by dressing up each day with the following themes. House points will be awarded to students each day they participate. Let's show our Jaguar Spirit. Go Jags!

Monday: Galaxy Day

Tuesday: Rock Out Day

Wednesday: America Day

Thursday: Holiday Day

Friday: Country Day

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Important Dates 2018

October Important Dates:

(The narrative writing project is completed in Google Drive. Students will be receiving ongoing feedback in Google Drive.)

10/8-10/9- No school
10/11- Characterization of protagonist and antagonist due (part of narrative writing project; rubric)
10/12- Creation of setting due (part of narrative writing project; rubric)
10/12- Realistic Fiction Book Groups completed
10/16- Outline of narrative plot and identification of theme due (part of narrative writing project; rubric)
10/19- First draft of narrative project due (part of narrative writing project; rubric)
10/26- Sixth Grade: Creepy Science
10/30- Published narrative due (part of narrative writing project; rubric)
10/31- All Hallows Read
11/1- CSI: Hogwarts (investigating evidence and composing a strong argument)
11/2- Reading Carousel to share published narratives

*Updated 10/18/18

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

FAQ- Grading, Retakes, and Procedures 2018-2019

The time is approaching for our first progress report. There may be several questions on your mind regarding the scores that you will see on your learner's progress reports. Here are some questions that you may have when your student brings home his/her progress report.

What exactly does mastery of standards mean? All scores identify the level of mastery that an individual student reaches for each of the 6th grade standards. That means that as we practice with standards throughout the year, students work towards one-hundred percent mastery for each standard. Grades are not compensation for effort put forth but a communication of where he/she currently is on the learning continuum for each standard.

Where are the assignments listed for each grade? Because students are graded on standards, you will see the standard identified for each "assignment." There will also be an indicator as to the specific task, activity, or project for which a score was taken.

My student scored low on a practice assignment or assessment. Can they earn some extra credit? Learners are being graded according to their level of mastery of the 6th grade ELA standards. Extra credit gives inaccurate data on where a child stands in their learning. However, students can continue to work towards mastery of the standards. If a student would like to take the time to reflect on their progress, complete a retake contract and make arrangements to retake an assignment during Lunch and Learn, they are welcome to do this up until the deadline for a specific project or 10 days before the end of a grading period, depending on the assignment. 

I have at least one Lunch and Learn session a week where I conduct mini lessons for students who feel they
need additional assistance in a standard. These are in addition to the small group lessons that I conduct during class. Students are also given access to additional study materials that they can use at home. In case you are wondering, yes, all of these instructional supports have been available and provided for your students since the beginning of the school year. All of these avenues have been thoroughly and explicitly explained to all of my students on multiple occasions.

For our students, part of being in middle school is learning how to take responsibility for their actions. Although, I will work with all students diligently in class and encourage each one to take advantage of all the additional learning opportunities, it is ultimately each individual student's responsibility to fill out a retake contract, meet with me one-on-one, take time to relearn through the plethora of opportunities, and make arrangements to complete a retake.

(You can find the Sixth Grade Reflect, Relearn, Retry contract here: While other sixth grade teachers may us this contract, please be aware that each individual teacher may make slight alterations to this contract and its procedure. For our class, students wishing to retake an assessment must complete the contract, meet with me, and retake their assessment within five school days of a grade being posted.)

How are scores determined on retakes? Students will keep the score that demonstrates the highest level of mastery. In iNow at Home, when you sign-in, you will see the scores noted for each of the attempts. However, only the highest score will be the one that counts towards a final average.

How does my learner know how to improve? For every assignment, I provided detailed feedback on how he/she can improve. In their blog posts, I will leave private comments that are only viewable to that student with specific information regarding their level of mastery and areas they may need to grow. In their Google Drive, I will leave feedback through comments. In all cases, students are also given resources and tips on how they can continue to grow in that area.

Hopefully, these have addressed any questions you may have had in regards to your learner's grades including what they can do to continue to grow. Using these procedures, my students always have an extremely successful school year filled with exponential growth...and a lot of fun along the way.