Thursday, August 27, 2015

Let's Read!

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 literature 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 download an eBook version of the books that we will read in class. This is not mandatory, but it would give your student the opportunity to notate in his/her eBook as we read through the books in class. 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 book we will read is Schooled by Gordon Korman. Simulataneously, students will be reading a partner text of their choosing. After completing that, we will be joining thousands of other students in the Global Read Aloud (more about that exciting project in another post) by reading the book Fish by L. S. Matthews.

In addition to our whole group literature, genre, or text studies, students will continue to read something of their choice. Students may bring print or digital versions of whatever they are reading to class as each student strives to grow as independent readers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bring Your Own Device Policy

I wanted to take a minute to make all of you aware of the digital device policy for 6th grade. Students at Rock Quarry Middle School are allowed to bring their digital devices to school to use for educational purposes. That includes devices such as smart phones, iPod Touches, Kindles, iPads, tablets, Nooks, or laptops. These devices need to be internet capable.

In our classroom, we will use digital tools on a regular basis to support individual student learning. Outside of each classroom are three signs. The green sign is "ROCK IT." When students see this sign, that means that there is something waiting for them to do with their devices upon entry into the classroom. The yellow sign is "DOCK IT." For "DOCK IT," students need to bring their devices to class, but place it facedown (or closed) on their desk until instructed to use it. The red sign is "LOCK IT." That means that students need to keep their devices in their locker for that class period. 

If your student brings his/her device to school, please remember that he/she must take responsibility for it. 

In our class, we will use devices for different types of assessment (formal and informal), writing, publishing, communicating, creating, and collaborating. It is exciting when students learn how much the tools that they use in their everyday lives can positively impact and support their learning.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

RamsaysClass on Twitter

Research has proven that one of the most powerful learning tools for middle level students is the ability to socialize.  We are fortunate to live in a time that provides us with the opportunity to learn from anyone, anytime, and in any place. In our digital world, social media is extremely prevalent. It is imperative that students learn how to make safe and wise choices when they interact online.

My goal is to prepare them for their lives outside of the classroom walls in today's digital world. We will spend the beginning of the school year learning about netiquette, online safety, and cyber bullying. The students will be developing lifelong habits while in the safety of the classroom. Just like we wouldn't ban pencils from the school if one student writes on the restroom wall, we do not want to prevent students from expanding their horizons by supporting their learning using a tool which can broaden their horizons and cause them to take ownership of their learning journey.

With that in mind, our class will be connecting with students from all over the world through our class Twitter account. You can find us at where you also will gain a peek into our daily activities. Please be aware that I am the only one with access to this account. I will approve and monitor everything that my students tweet out as well as anything that other students tweet to us. Twitter is a powerful tool where students can reflect on their learning, compose stories, participate in book chats, write poetry for an authentic audience, set academic goals, connect with authors, share their insights, and probe other students for deeper understanding of content.

This is my seventh year to tweet with my classes. It is always astounding how much learning is generated in using a simple tool like Twitter. We hope you will join us in our learning journey this year as we tweet away.

PS- You can also find us (@RamsaysClass) on Instagram using the same procedures as we do on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Class Syllabus, Practices, and Expectations 2015-2016

Below you will find the link to our 2015-2016 Class Syllabus. This includes information on our learning and grading practices, procedures, and expectations.

An online version can be viewed here:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Our First Days at #RQMSJags

This school year has gotten off to a phenomenal start. Our days were filled with top secret missions, art, critical thinking, music, challenges, games, engineering, team building, and problem-solving. We spent time establishing our learning environment and setting the norms for a year filled with learning. Below you can see some of the highlights. Be sure to sign up on this blog to get emails when a new post is published and follow us @RamsaysClass on Twitter and Instagram. You don't want to miss a single moment of our epic learning adventures.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Welcome to an Amazing Sixth Grade Year!

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to sixth grade! I am your English Language Arts and/or Reading teacher. I am a twenty-one year teaching veteran, educational author, writer, and National Board Certified Teacher. I have been eagerly anticipating the beginning of a new school year with you; one that I am confident will be highly successful. My class is a student-directed learning environment where students have a voice and choice in their learning with the support and guidance from me that each student needs, wherever they are on the learning continuum. Every practice in which we engage is supported by proven research for best practices in promoting the highest level of success for each student.

 Many of the traditional teaching methods that you may have experienced in the past will look different than the practices in our class. Much of our learning will take place with the support of digital tools using digital age literacy to increase a student’s growth. My students will be connected with students from around the world to collaborate, connect, and learn with throughout this entire school year. Although our learning may appear different, students will be held to high expectations and challenged on whatever level they may be on in each of the content area standards. In this type of environment, students take ownership of their learning. I feel very fortunate to get to witness how each student blossoms and grows in this type of learning environment.

In order for our students to have the highest degree of success, I know that we need to build a strong relationship between home and school. I have arranged several different mediums where we can communicate, and you can stay informed of our classroom learning activities. First, we have a class website, This site contains important information about procedures, routines, and units of study. As school begins, additions will be regularly made. For classroom activities and news, you can visit our class blog,, where we will post more specific activities, giving you a window into our classroom. I will write the first several posts, but then the students will take ownership in writing and publishing the blog posts, under my guidance. Please take time to sign up for alerts when a new blog is posted by filling in the “Follow RamsaysClass by Email.” I know that you will not want to miss any of the exciting things going on in our class. Also, for a further connection, please consider following our class on Twitter and Instagram, @RamsaysClass, for current insight into not only announcements, but also into the learning that is taking place in our classroom and through our global connections.

I realize that for many of us our prime source of communication is through text messages. Please take a minute to join the Remind group where I can disseminate pertinent information to you in a timely manner via text or email. All numbers are confidential. If you would like to sign up via text, please send a text to 81010. For the message, please text the following code: @ramsayrqms. If you prefer to register online, please visit the corresponding website:  

I deeply value your expertise on your student. In an effort to increase my knowledge of your student and to effectively plan instructional practices to support his/her learning, please take a moment to complete the following survey: Collaboratively, I am confident that we can provide your student the most successful year possible. I am thrilled as we embark on this epic learning adventure together!


Mrs. Ramsay, NBCT