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Grade 6 Happenings

Follow the latest happenings in Grade 6 below.

This Week: Kensuke's Kingdom

posted Nov 15, 2020, 5:21 PM by Jason Brunken

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.

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. Great job getting those WIRSFs done!! Keep it up!


This Week: Science Friction

posted Nov 8, 2020, 5:03 AM by Jason Brunken

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. Also, don't forget those WIRSFs on Tuesday.

This Week: The Boy Who Saved Baseball

posted Nov 2, 2020, 5:02 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 2, 2020, 5:02 PM ]

After wrapping up the ASLA Fun House and Haunted House on Friday, 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. 


Extension: Preparing the 2020 Haunted House

posted Oct 16, 2020, 7:23 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Oct 16, 2020, 7:23 AM ]

An annual Happy Kids tradition in my 6th Grade or the past 10 years has been for the students to help prepare and then perform in the Haunted House for the other ASLA students during our ASLA Halloween Fun House. This is a unique opportunity for the kids to get creative and test their abilities for drama, cooperation, and problem solving as they try to bring their visions for a scare scene to life for an audience. I will of course be there to help them along the way, but this is largely their show. I always enjoy watching what the kids come up with.

We will be spending the next two weeks (five class days) working on this project. The Halloween Fun House will be on Friday, October 30th this year. I'll see if I can post some pictures after the event.

This Week: The Meyers Family

posted Oct 4, 2020, 10:05 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Oct 4, 2020, 10:06 PM ]

This week the Grade 6 class will be reading "The Meyers Family", a biography of Walter Dean Meyers and his son, Chris Meyers. Walter Dean Meyers is a prolific black author of young adult literature. He has written such classics as Monster, Fallen Angels, and Harlem. His son, Christopher Meyers, is a talented artist who has illustrated many of his father's books. The reading is about how two people, father and son, have worked together to find success by complimenting each others' talents.

Below is the weekly handout sheet for this week. On it, you will find the spelling words, vocabulary words, and other important information for this week. While we may get this lesson started mon Tuesday this week, we will be spending 4-5 class days on it. Please feel free to use the vocabulary slideshow below to help your child practice the vocabulary words for this week. Please remind your child to study and to bring library books and WIRSFs on Tuesday. 

This Week: The ACES Phone

posted Sep 26, 2020, 6:23 AM by Jason Brunken

Hello Grade 6! This week we are moving on in Journeys to The ACES Phone. This is a wonderful science fiction story by Jeanne Duprau. Duprau is a popular science fiction writer for young adults. Perhaps her most famous book is The City of Ember. We have a few of her titles in our library that I highly recommend the kids pick up. You can see a complete list of her books here.

Due to the short week next week, this lesson may run into the following week. Stay tuned here in case. I will introduce vocabulary on Monday and grammar on Tuesday, and the Reading lesson may be the following week after the holiday. Below is the weekly handout and a slideshow of the vocabulary words to help your child review and practice at home. On it you will find all of the spelling and vocabulary words along with some grammar practice.

The kids did well with our Fruit Bowl Project from last week, but some need a little time to finish. Those pieces will be ready for you to view at conferences time. I hope to have pictures posted before next week. I'm looking forward to sharing their work with you all.

Extension Week: Our "Fruit Bowl" Project

posted Sep 21, 2020, 2:55 AM by Jason Brunken

It's finally here! This week, the 6th grade class will begin its first extension activity: a "fruit bowl" project. This activity comes straight from our reading last week. The idea is that writers use words like painters use paint. When two painters paint the same bowl of fruit, the results are never identical. The same goes for writers. Give different writers the same elements of a story to work with and they will manipulate words differently to create very different works.

For this assignment we will be writing our own “Fruit Bowl” Project. The students' task is to create pieces of writing of any genre that includes the seven elements below. They will begin by drafting at least three different ideas in your journal (some can be short, but not all.) They will then choose their favorite two to edit and make into final drafts.

Final drafts should be written with graphics and text features and displayed in a creative way. These will be hung outside the classroom for all of Happy Kids to see how awesome they are. They will also be posted on the class website when they are finished. The seven elements that students must include in their pieces are listed below. I think we will have some very creative work this year.

The Seven Elements

  1. 6th grade
  2. at the end of class
  3. a boorish teacher
  4. a girl in agony
  5. a tumult
  6. a flying eraser
  7. a culprit comes clean

Meet Mr. Brunken

posted Sep 17, 2020, 6:28 AM by Jason Brunken

This week I emailed and sent home a video introducing myself, my teaching, and what's going on in 6th Grade this year. I hope you all had the chance to watch it. If you forgot, don't worry. I'll post it here too for you to see. Remember you can always contact me with questions and concerns. I look forward to meeting all of you at Parent-Teacher Conferences later in October.

This Week: The Fruit Bowl Project

posted Sep 14, 2020, 6:21 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Sep 14, 2020, 6:22 PM ]

Hello, Grade 6! This week we are reading The Fruit Bowl Project. It is an interesting story of a class of students who, using the same seven elements, create a menagerie of compositions that, while similar, are completely different. Kind of like a fruit bowl! This selection comes from the novel of the same name by Sarah Durkee. It's about a class of 8th graders who get a visit from a rock star. He teaches them how words for a writer are like paint to a painter. He gives them the "fruit bowl" assignment, and amazing writing happens.

After inspiration form this novel, the class will be creating its own fruit bowl project starting this Friday. Details to come later.

Below is the weekly handout for this week. Please remember to practice the spelling words and review the vocabulary. I've included a vocabulary slideshow below for you to use to help review. The grammar questions on page two of the handout can be completed for extra credit as well. 

This week, in preparation for our first writing project, I will be going through a writing lesson about using showing sentences instead of telling ones. The kids really enjoyed on on Monday.

I'll have a video introducing myself and the class out later this week. Stay tuned.



This Week: Knots in My Yo-yo String

posted Sep 6, 2020, 6:04 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Sep 9, 2020, 7:12 PM ]

This week the Grade 6 class is reading Knots in My Yo-Yo String by Jerry Spinelli. This book is an autobiography. Mr. Spinelli writes this book telling us about how he grew from a sports-loving kid to a successful author. While Spinelli has written some books I would never recommend to anyone, he has also written a few of my favorite for young readers. Three must-read books by Jerry Spinelli are Loser, Maniac Magee, and Stargirl. All are available in Happy Kids's library. The reading skill packet for this week can be found here.

Below you will find the weekly handout sheet that your child should have brought home with her this week. On it, you will see the spelling words that will be assessed this week, our target vocabulary words, the grammar concept we will be looking at, and other useful information about the week. Please review and study at home. To help, I have also attached a slideshow of our vocabulary words this week below.

This week will continue working on writing skills with writing traits mini-lessons focused around using descriptive language and adding detail to writing. 


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