Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Important Dates for November 2019

November 1- Creepy Science
November 1- Book Fair begins
November 4- Visit Book Fair
November 7- Context Clues Assessment
November 8- Clubs
November 8- Reading R&R- bring a beach towel
November 11- Veterans' Day- schools closed
November 12- Begin argumentative writing project
November 15- CSI: Hogwarts
November 15- Clubs
November 18- Chromebooks deliver to students whose parents have attended Chromebook Camp
November 21- Immigration Day
November 22- Argumentative writing project due: Urban Legend Smackdown
November 25-29- Thanksgiving Holiday

This month, we will conclude our participation in The Global Read Aloud with the book Front Desk. We will be doing a variety of activities to connect with other classes to discuss this book.

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.
Updated 11/13/19

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Hideaway Hall of Fame 2019

Yesterday, we ankled our way down to The Blind Pig where we are learning about innovators and inventors of the 1920s and beyond. We analyzed biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs at The Blind Pig to learn about great innovators and change-makers, building on our learning in our social studies class with Ms. Williams. 

The Hideaway Hall of Fame was the bee’s knees. If we figured out the secret password, we even got a swig of giggle juice.

Thanks to all of you for your generous donations that helped make this day so special. Enjoy a few photos from our day.

P.S. The Blind Pig was inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling

Thursday, October 3, 2019

October Important Dates

Welcome to October! Below you will find important due dates and events. Please check back regularly as these dates may change and be updated.

October 3 Final day for make-ups and retakes
October 4 First draft of our narrative project is due (Rubric). All feedback, writing, and revisions are done in students' narrative writing documents in their Google Drive ELA folder. Students can access this at home by logging in to their TCS Google account.
October 4 Front Desk comic strip due
October 7-8 Fall Break- no school
October 9 Theme and evidence from narrative due (Rubric)
October 9 Spirit Week: Wild West Wednesday
October 10 Spirit Week: School Spirit Day
October 11 Final revisions for 2nd draft of narrative project due (Rubric)
October 11 Report Cards come home
October 11 School Spirit Week- Decades Day
October 16 Final published narrative due (Rubric)
October 17 Guest Readers for the Global Read Aloud
October 18 Publishing Party
October 18 Pink Out- Wear Pink
October 23 Hideaway Hall of Fame
October 23 Parent Chromebook Camp at NMS
October 24 Guest Readers for the Global Read Aloud
October 28 Red Ribbon: Team Up Against Drugs (team wear)
October 28 Storytelling Project Due (rubric)
October 29 Red Ribbon: Wear red
October 29 Bring earbuds/headphones to class
October 29 Guest Readers for the Global Read Aloud
October 30 Throw Shade at Drug (wear sunglasses)
October 31 All Hallows Read
October 31 Red Ribbon: Say Boo to Drugs
November 1 Creepy Science
November 1 Red Ribbon: Sock it to Drugs

This month, we are participating in The Global Read Aloud with the book Front Desk. We will be doing a variety of activities to connect with other classes to discuss this book.

*Updated October 18. 2019

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.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

RamsaysClass on Social Media 2019-2020

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 tools 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, authors, and experts from all over the world through our class Twitter and Instagram accounts, @RamsaysClass.
Through our use of these tools, under my close supervision, 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 and post as well as anything that other students, authors, and experts tweet or post to us. These are powerful tools 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 interact with other students for deeper understanding of content.

This is my eleventh year to use Twitter with my classes and my seventh year to use Instagram. It is always astounding how much learning is generated in using these simple tools. We hope you will join us in our learning journey this year as we tweet and post away.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

ELA Syllabus, Expectations, and Practices 2019-2020

Below you will find the link to our 2019-2020 Class Syllabus. This includes information on our learning and grading practices, procedures and expectations.

An online version can be viewed here: 


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Welcome to Sixth Grade 2019

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to sixth grade! I am your English Language Arts teacher. I am a twenty-five 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 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. This year we will be moving to new communication platform
called Class Tag. Look for more information on that coming home soon.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Important May Dates 2019

May 2- Begin decade project
May 6-8- Camp Northridge/NOLA trip
May 10- Library books due
May 13- Chromebooks collected
May 14- Historical fiction speech due
May 15- Decade vocabulary game due
May 15- Last day to RSVP for Game Day
May 16- PBIS Celebration- Food Trucks
May 17- Game Day
May 17- Last Flipgrid Book Chat due
May 20- Social Studies Decade Project due
May 21- 6th Grade Honors Day
May 21- House Games
May 22- 1/2 Day of school
May 23- 1/2 Day of school

Please check back regularly as dates and events will be updated.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Important April Dates 2019

April 1- Ballad due  (Rubric)
April 4- Epic due (Rubric) 
April 8- Poetry Portfolio due (Rubric) 

April 8-10- Performance Series Testing
April 9- Wear clothes to go outside
April 10- Lunch & Learn
April 12- Fairy Tale book due

April 15- Published poem due
April 15- Lunch & Learn
April 16- Fairy house building project due
April 17- One- Sheet Due (Rubric)

April 18- Bring earbuds/headphones to class
April 18- Queen of Hearts Garden Party
April 19- No school

April 22- Earth Day Celebration
April 24- Flipgrid Book Chat due
April 24- Lunch & Learn
April 25- PBIS Celebration (Teacher/Student Basketball game)
April 26Bring earbuds/headphones to class
April 29- Lunch & Learn
Please check back regularly as these will be updated.
Updated 04/08/2019

Friday, March 1, 2019

March-April Important Dates 2019

Important March-April Dates

March 5- Lunch & Learn
March 6- Flipgrid Book Chats due
March 8- Bring earbuds/headphones to class
March 11-15- Spring Break
March 22- Report cards come home
March 22- Rocket Day
March 25- Lunch & Learn
March 27- Flipgrid Book Chats due
March 27- Ode due (Rubric)
March 29- Bring earbuds/headphones to class
March 29- Figurative Language Foldable due
March 29-April 5- NMS Scholastic Book Fair
April 1- Ballad due  (Rubric)
April 4- Epic due (Rubric) 
April 8- Poetry Portfolio due (Rubric) 
April 12- Fairy Tale book due
April 17- Flipgrid Book Chat due
April 18- Bring earbuds/headphones to class
April 18- Queen of Hearts Garden Party
April 19- No school

Please check back regularly as these will be updated.
Updated 3//25

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