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Grade 6 Happenings

Follow the latest happenings in Grade 6 below.

This Week: The Hero and the Minotaur

posted Jan 28, 2018, 5:02 PM by Jason Brunken

This week in Grade 6, we will be exploring Ancient Greece as we read a version of the well-known Greek myth "Theseus and the Minotaur" called The Hero and the Minotaur. This class is really interested in Ancient Greece and their stories of gods and heroes. Many of the kids spent the first half of the year checking out Rick Riordan's popular retelling of these myths with his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I hope they enjoy this week's reading. If you are not familiar with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, take a minute to read more here or watch the video to the right.

The handout with this week's spelling and vocabulary words is posted below. There is also some grammar practice and an overview for what we will be doing this week. Take a minute to review this week. I've posted a slideshow below to help with reviewing the vocabulary words. This week's writing lesson will be to review narrative writing and prepare to write their own myths. I can't wait to see their stories next week.

Extension Week: Writing an Expository Essay

posted Jan 22, 2018, 6:42 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 22, 2018, 6:42 AM ]

This week students are working on their second essay of the year: an expository essay. An expository essay differs from a persuasive one in that it's purpose is to give information about a topic rather than argue a position or opinion. these essays are very common in secondary and post-secondary classrooms around the world. Therefore it is very good practice for the kids to prepare for the next level.

Again, the focus will be mostly on organization. I want the kids to learn the parts of an essay and practice structure in their essays properly. the editing phase of this project will give them opportunities to work on their writing craft and mechanics. Students will be answering on of three questions from the packet below and will be expected to construct a properly formatted essay using facts and details from our textbook.

We will begin the week prewriting our essays and organizing our ideas. Then students will be expected to draft and edit twice before producing a final copy. It is my hope that this practice helps them develop this very important writing skill. Below is the assignment packet the students received from class. Please help your child review it this week.

This Week: The Princess Who Became a King

posted Jan 14, 2018, 9:18 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 14, 2018, 9:18 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.

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 a compare and contrast paper looking at female leaders today and in ancient times. A spelling test will 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 Emperor's Silent Army

posted Jan 7, 2018, 12:52 AM by Jason Brunken

This month, the Grade 6 class will continue to delve into ancient world history. We will touch on Ancient China and Greece, and next month we will look at Ancient Egypt. 

This week, we are reading The Emperor's Silent Army. This selection is about the famous Terracotta Soldiers that were buried with Emperor Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of a unified China. The Terracotta soldiers are one of history's most interesting mysteries. While archaeologists believe the army was meant to protect the Emperor in the afterlife, the elaborate detail and craftsmanship put into each statue makes us wonder if they were not something more. We will be discussing this and more as we cover the text on Thursday.

Did you know that Qin Shihunag's tomb is one of the great archaeological mysteries of today? While the location of the tomb has been found, no one is believed to have entered it since the emperor was buried. There are legends that tell of the magnificence of what's inside the tomb, but no one has been inside to confirm them.

Also this week will be vocabulary, writing, grammar, and spelling practice. A spelling test will be given on Friday. Please remind your child to study. Below is this week's handout with the vocabulary and spelling words for this week as well as some grammar practice. I've also posted a slideshow with this week's vocabulary and a Crash Course World history video about Ancient China for students to view to brush up on their history.

This Week: The Real Vikings

posted Jan 1, 2018, 2:49 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Jan 1, 2018, 2:53 AM ]

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

This week 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: Letter to My Favorite Author

posted Dec 17, 2017, 5:54 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 17, 2017, 5:55 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 the their favorite author. Their assignment is to share what they admire about the author and the author's work, ask thoughtful questions about the craft of writing, and offer suggestions for new work or invite them to Taipei for a book signing. This assignment teaches students the importance of the formal letter format, the use of a formal tone in writing, and how a good letter can get your voice heard by famous and powerful people alike.

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 11, 2017, 5:38 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 11, 2017, 5:38 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 President Tsai about their hopes and dreams for our country. We will mail the letters to the President's office, 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 1, 2017, 7:07 PM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 7:10 PM ]

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 though 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 roll it plays in story telling. 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 26, 2017, 6:35 AM by Jason Brunken

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: Onward

posted Nov 19, 2017, 5:29 AM by Jason Brunken   [ updated Nov 19, 2017, 5:30 AM ]

This week in Grade 6 we are reading the story Onward. This is a biography of a young African-American man named Matthew Henson who traveled with Col. Robert Peary to the North Pole. The two were the first recorded humans to make it to the geographic North Pole of the world. It's an amazing story of braving the frigid arctic climate, dangerous terrain, and food shortages to achieve a nearly impossible goal. I'm sure the kids will love reading this story this week. 

As usual, we will be learning and practicing vocabulary on Monday (see below), learning grammar on Tuesday (verb tenses), and reading on Thursday. There will be a spelling test on Friday, but we will spend most of the day learning about writing a persuasive essay. There will be a separate post about this information coming soon. Spelling words, vocabulary words, and grammar practice can be found on the weekly handout sheet and vocabulary slideshow below. 

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