Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Pronoun Assessment

On Thursday, September 12th, we will have an assessment on pronouns. This will include subjective, objective, reflexive, intensive, possessive and commonly misused pronouns (L.6.1).

There are several different ways that students can prepare for this assessment:

  • In their comp books, students have class notes, guided notes, and practice pages that have been corrected. All of these can be used for study and practice.
  • Students can visit the class links page on our class website. On that page, I have curated a collection of interactive activities that they use to practice these standards.
  • Mr. Price created several Quizizz to help our ELA students review these standards. Students can go to these links:  
    3. ​
Remember that according to our syllabus, assessments are worth 90% of the grade and practice is worth 10%.

Students should reading at least 20 minutes a night and we strive to reach our 40 Book Challenge.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter(@RamsaysClass) to see the amazing things we are doing in class.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Lunch & Learn begins this week!

We know that every student will not be in the same place on the learning continuum at the same time. Students need different supports and challenges based on their individual, specific learning needs. Therefore, once a week, on Thursdays, I will hold a Lunch and Learn where students can bring their lunch to my classroom to receive extra assistance from me. This time can also be used as additional time to work on class projects or retake assessments. Experience has shown that this time is a beneficial tool in a student's learning tool box.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

FAQ: Grading, Retakes, and Procedures 2019-2020

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, 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. 

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 use 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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

September: Important ELA Dates 2019

We are in full swing. We've started our realistic fiction unit, where we will study characterization, plot, setting, theme and citing textual evidence. Our narrative writing project will connect to this learning as we strengthen and deepen our writing using brushstrokes. Be sure to check this post regularly as it will be updated.

9/2 Labor Day- no school
9/6 Characterization and Citing Textual Evidence assessment due
9/12 Pronoun assessment
9/16 International Dot Day
9/18 Narrative writing project begins
9/20 Characterization of protagonist due
9/23 Finish realistic fiction book- Plot assessment
9/24 Setting description due
9/27 Plot overview due (Narrative Project rubric)
9/27 PBIS Celebration
9/30 Global Read Aloud begins

Two reminders:

  1. We have free reading at the beginning of class every Tuesday and Friday. Students should arrive with a book in hand as these are designated reading times. They are encouraged to come to class every day with a book.
  2. We are participating in the 40 Book Challenge. Students have reading passports in their comp book to document their completed reads. They also will be completing reader responses in their comp book weekly.
Updated: September 18, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

Book Tasting: Realistic Fiction

To kick off our realistic fiction and narrative writing unit, we had our first "book tasting." Students arrived at the Northridge Bistro to sample a wide variety of realistic fiction books. We learned how to preview and shop for a book that is a perfect fit for us as readers. Students wrote reviews of each "dish" on their tasting menu. They even enjoyed an amuse bouche of "bookworms" while we worked through our tasting. This provided readers not only the opportunity to find some great reads, but also to identify the common characteristics of this genre.

Here are some photos from the day (Be sure to check out @RamsaysClass on Instagram to see more.):

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Building a Culture of Reading 2019-2020

Throughout the school year, in our English Language Arts class, we will be reading a wide variety of texts across many different genres. Typically, we will have an ongoing genre study. In today's digital society much of our reading is moving to a digital format. That being said, I realize that many of my learners have devices where they can read a digital version of the books. This is not mandatory, but it would give your student the opportunity to notate in his/her eBook as students work to demonstrate reading mastery through the books that they choose to read.  Similarly, if your student would like to have his/her own print copy of the book, that would be great as well. Although this is not a requirement, having a personal copy in print or digital format would give students an opportunity to have the same text at home and school with their specific notes.

The first literature study in which we will be engaging is realistic fiction. Students will participate in a "book tasting" of highly recommended books in order for them to select a text of their choosing. This is a powerful way for students to demonstrate mastery of reading standards on a text that is of interest to them.

Research has proven that the best way to become a skilled reader is to read. This year, students have the reading goal of reading 40 "new to them" books across different genres. Each night, students need to spend 20-30 minutes reading. These books can be checked out from our class library, our school library, or the local, public library. All TCS students also have access to Sora, an app that gives students FREE access to digital and audio books from our district and the Tuscaloosa Public Library. Students will keep a record of these books in their ELA comp book, use them to show mastery of the standards and skills we are learning in class, and engage in book chats and book reviews with peers, locally and globally.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

COPS Test August 21, 2019

Our first test is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21st. COPS stands for Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, and Spelling. We have done a myriad of activities to help each learner master this content. They will be tested on the following standards:

  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. [L.6.2]
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. [W.6.4]

There are several different ways that your learner can prepare for this assessment.

  1. They can study the notes, sketch-notes, practice activities, and the COPS graphic organizer that they have in their ELA comp book. Students keep their ELA comp book and they can bring them home any day they would like.
  2. Students can visit the class links page on our class website. On that page, I have curated a collection of interactive activities that they use to practice these standards.
  3. Mr. Price created a Quizizz to help our ELA students review these standards. Students can go to this link: The code to join is: 331861
  4. Ms. Cerrina created a Kahoot that we played as a review in class. If you student would like to use it to review they can go here.
Remember that according to our syllabus, assessments are worth 90% of the grade and practice is worth 10%.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter(@RamsaysClass) to see the amazing things we are doing in class.