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Grade 6 Happenings

Follow the latest happenings in Grade 6 below.

This Week: The Princess Who Became a King

posted Jan 13, 2019, 6:28 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 13, 2019, 6:28 PM ]

We continue our look into into ancient world history this week as we read The Princess Who Became a King. This selection is about one of the only women to become Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut had an interesting life. She grew up daughter of a great Pharaoh, married her brother when she was just 15, managed to out-compete other men to take over the throne when her brother/husband died, and became a successful and great Pharaoh in her own right. Her story is amazing and historically remarkable. I hope the kids enjoy reading about her.

To learn more about Ancient Egypt and its place in the context of world history, watch the Crash Course World History video to the right.

As usual we will be working on vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing this week. This week's writing lesson will be preparation for a historical fiction story the kids will be writing next week. We will work on setting crafting and review story structure. A spelling test may be given on Friday. Please remind your child to study. Below are the vocabulary and spelling words for this week as well as some grammar practice. I also put the vocabulary slideshow below to help review.

This Week: The Real Vikings

posted Jan 1, 2019, 4:17 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 1, 2019, 4:19 AM ]

Welcome back! Christmas and New Year have come and gone so it's time to get back to learning lots and having fun.

For the next two weeks we are reading a nonfiction piece called The Real Vikings by Melvin and Gilda Berger. The Real Vikings takes a look at a people commonly known asthe Vikings who entered history in about 700 CE and then slowly faded away by about the 1300s. For about 300 years of European history, the Vikings dominated Northern Europe. They were a scourge on other kingdoms as the Vikings often conducted surprise raids of European lands. They would attack without warning, take everything they could carry, and then be gone before help could arrive. Some historians even attribute the entire feudal system in Medieval Europe as a response to Viking attacks.

The influence of the Vikings in the world can be felt even today as many of our days and months (in English) have Viking names and their myths and stories, gods and heroes still live with us today. But who were these people? One reason Vikings are so popular is because they are such a mystery. We know little about them, but archaeologists are uncovering more and more every year. This week we look at some of what we have learned. What we do know is that the Vikings were the first Europeans to reach and settle North America, they traded with people, as far away as Iraq, and they are responsible for the rise of such nations as England, France, and Russia. I hope the kids enjoy learning more about these fascinating people. 

Below is a copy of our handout for this week with the spelling words, vocabulary words, and grammar concept. I have also posted a slideshow of the vocabulary words for students to review below and a video to learn more about the Vikings. Enjoy.  

Extension Week: Write a Letter to the Mayor

posted Dec 16, 2018, 5:30 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 16, 2018, 5:30 AM ]

This week, the Grade 6 class will be working on and completing formal letters. These are also sometimes called business letters. Formal letters are what we write to people we don't know or those who are of a higher social standing than us. This writing lesson teaches the children a valuable skill that they will be able to use throughout their academic and professional careers. 

Students will write a letter to Taipei's mayor, Ko Wen-je. Writing letters to elected officials is an important part of being a citizen of a democracy. It is one of our rights to make ourselves head by those that serve us. Students will write letters about a problem they have noticed in our city and attempt to persuade the Mayor to take action on it. We will mail the letters when they are finished, and I expect to get responses as the Mayor has been good about replying to letters from our students in the past.

We hope to finish the letters by the end of the week and have them mailed after Christmas Break. In the past, my students have received replies from some of the authors they have written to. I hope we are so fortunate again. Please see the materials below to review how to write a formal letter.


This Week: Any Small Goodness

posted Dec 13, 2018, 12:51 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 13, 2018, 12:52 AM ]

This week in Grade 6 we will be doing the usual, practicing grammar, vocabulary, spelling, reading, and writing. Our story for this week in Journeys is Any Small GoodnessAny Small Goodness is the story of a school basketball team in inner-city California that gets help from an NBA star to teach them not only how to be good basketball players, but also good boys. It is a very positive and uplifting story about giving and working hard for a goal.

As part of this unit, we will also be learning how to write a formal letter, also known as a business letter. Students will learn the parts of the letter and how to organize and write it. This month they will be writing to Mayor Ko of Taipei about ways they think the city can be improved. We will mail the letters to the City Hall, and I am optimistic we will get replies. My students have in the past.

Below is the weekly handout sheet and vocabulary slideshow for this week. Please remind your child to study the spelling and vocabulary words. Please also help your child remember to complete and turn in her WIRSFs each week. These are due Tuesdays. Thanks for your support.


This Week: Airborn

posted Dec 2, 2018, 5:17 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 2, 2018, 5:17 AM ]

This week, the grade 6 class is reading a very interesting story called AirbornAirborn  is an excellent book by Kenneth Oppel that takes place in an alternate reality where the airplane hasn't been invented. Characters travel by airships which fly higher and faster than the balloons we know because of something called hydrium. The skies become like the high seas as the main character, a boy who works on a massive airship, battles pirates, sky monsters, and other dangers on his voyage through the sky. We will only be reading a small excerpt from the novel, but I suggest you head to the city library to pick it up if you like it.

Students will be finishing their essays from last week. Also this week we will continue working on pronouns as we study possessive pronouns. We will spend time on vocabulary and story structure. We will also look closely at literary conflict and the role it plays in storytelling. Students will learn the four kinds of conflict and do some work with the new concept later this week.

Don't forget WIRSFs due on Tuesday. Please be sure to study the vocabulary and spelling words using the weekly handout and the vocabulary slideshow below.

Extension Week: Persuasive Essay

posted Nov 25, 2018, 3:14 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 25, 2018, 3:14 AM ]

This past week, the Grade 6 class has been learning the 5 paragraph essay model for writing academic essays. This is a very valuable writing skill that will apply to coursework and exams students will take in the secondary and post-secondary level, especially at international or Western schools. This week, the class gets a chance to apply what they've learned by writing their own essays in response to one of the three questions I've prepared for them. 

Students will begin by using the prewrite sheet to plan their essays before drafting. They will then complete two rough drafts before preparing a final draft that will be displayed on the wall at school and sent home later in the year. 

A review of how to write a five paragraph essay can be seen in the images below. Follow the links above to access the questions and planning materials for the assignment.


This Week: Star in the the Storm

posted Nov 18, 2018, 4:40 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 18, 2018, 4:42 AM ]

This week in Grade 6 we will be doing the usual: practicing grammar, vocabulary, spelling, reading, and writing. Our story for this week in Journeys is A Star in the StormA Star in the Storm is the story of a girl who is desperate to help her sick friend to get better. She has a terrible fever and the girl wants to find some ice to help. The only ice she can find is from an iceberg out in the middle of the sea. Trying to be a hero, she  sails out alone with just her dog. Suspense follows.

This week we will also begin essay writing. Last week I started to teach the basic organization of an essay. This week I will finish introducing the paragraph model to the class, and on Friday, I will give students the essay questions that they can choose from, and then they will get started planning and drafting their essays. Next week will be a busy week of writing for the kids.

Below is the weekly handout sheet for this week as well as the vocabulary slideshow used to introduce the words in class. Please remind your child to study the spelling and vocabulary words for this week.



This week: Kensuke's Kingdom

posted Nov 13, 2018, 4:22 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 13, 2018, 4:22 AM ]

This week in Grade 6 we will be doing the usual, practicing grammar, vocabulary, spelling, reading, and writing. Our story for this week in Journeys is Kensuke's KingdomKensuke's Kingdom is the story of a boy who gets shipwrecked on an island inhabited only by an old Japanese man. The island is fraught with many dangers known to Kensuke but not the boy. There is a lot of exciting things in the this story. We pick up in the story where our main character thinks Kensuke is a bad man who doesn't let him signal a boat in the ocean. However, later Kensuke saves the boy's life from deadly jellyfish. Is Kesuke a kind of bad man? The fun of this story is finding out.

This week we will also begin our look at essay writing. On Friday, I will teach students how to write a proper five-paragraph persuasive essay. Next week the students will begin crafting their own and then finishing them the following week.

Below is the weekly handout sheet for this week and a slideshow to review the vocabulary words. Please remind your child to study the spelling and vocabulary words for this week. Also, don't forget those WIRSFs!!


This Week: Science Friction

posted Nov 4, 2018, 3:54 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 4, 2018, 3:54 AM ]

This week the grade 6 class will be reading "Science Friction" by David Lubar. This story is a funny look at how collaborative work can work even with people with very different personalities, skills, and talents. This selection is always a popular one with the children. This story is part collection of short stories in the book Tripping Over the Lunch Lady and Other School Stories.

We will begin looking at persuasive writing this week. Little by little this month, the students will learn the basic parts, organization, and strategies for writing a standard five paragraph persuasive essay. This is a writing skill will serve them them as long as they in school. It isn't the funnest writing assignment, but it is one of the most valuable that I teach this year. I hope all of the students try their best to master it. This week students will practice supporting their opinions with facts and examples from a text. 

Below is the weekly handout for this week. You can also find a slideshow for learning the vocabulary words. Please help your child review the spelling and vocabulary words. We will have a spelling test on Friday. Also, don't forget those WIRSFs on Tuesday.

This Week: The Boy Who Saved Baseball

posted Oct 28, 2018, 2:12 AM by Jason Brunken

After wrapping up the ASLA Fun House and Haunted House on Monday, this week we will be reading John Ritter's The Boy Who Saved Baseball. This is a snippet of a longer book about a town that is facing a problem many are facing all over the world: a large corporation wants to come in and use the land that the baseball field is on to build something more profitable. Of course, the baseball field is used by the town's baseball team and is beloved by the kids. After a public outcry caused by the efforts of one boy on the baseball team, the boss of the corporation agreed not to develop that land if the town's team won the championship. We will see what happens on Thursday.

In this new unit, we will be venturing into persuasive writing this week. Our main assignment will be a college-style five-paragraph essay in November. First, we will practice establishing opinions, using facts to back up opinions, and learn the format of this kind of writing. 

Our spelling and vocabulary words for the week can be found below or downloaded here and a slideshow of the vocabulary words is posted below to help kids review. Please remind your children to take some time to study them a few times this week. We will have a spelling test on Friday.


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