Ms. Chow's Classroom News

6th Grade GE LA February 15, 2019, Mr. Buzard   02/20/2019
Our study of The Miracle Worker  focused most recently on Helen’s life after “The Miracle” and is concluding next week with a trio of summative  tests.  Students will write an in-class essay on a dynamic character of their choice, with access to the play and their notes.  An objective summative test on the entire unit will take place at the end of the week and another objective summative test on the vocabulary used in the play will follow early in the week of February 25.  The essay test will be a “writing grade” and the other two will be part of “reading.”  Next we are going to dovetail with social studies by examining the songs and poems of the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War.  Students will analyze similarities and differences of popular camps songs from both sides.  We also hope to spend some time with the speeches of Abraham Lincoln, attempting to "translate" them into modern words.  We will then move next to a pair of short stories with a focus on the four types of conflict found in literature.  Saki’s “The Interlopers” is a fictional work and George Orwell’s “Shooting An Elephant” is a nonfiction piece from his own experience. Mrs. Buzard has begun a long-term position in seventh grade language arts at Springman and we miss having her in class.  Mrs. Chow will be returning to teach during the first week of March.  I will be available for parent conferences on March 1 and also responsible for the Trimester Two report card grades.  Spending time with the students continues to be a pleasure and privilege for me, and a few weeks from now I will certainly miss all of them.
6th Grade GE LA February 1, 2019   02/01/2019
Reading: We are continuing our reading and analysis of William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker. This past week ended midway through Act Two.  Next week we will continue with Acts Two and Three and along with the theme of the story will focus on literary devices including dynamic and static characters, symbolism, dialect, and the roles of protagonist and antagonist. In addition to the reading and analyzing, students will continue studying about sixty vocabulary words from the text that have been identified as words or derivatives of words that frequently appear on the SAT tests.
Writing: The school cancellations pushed back the start of our applied grammar activities, as we were focused on a strong start to The Miracle Worker in our two days of classes the last week of January.  In November we applied the usage of active verbs and participles in describing “The Storm.”  In December Where The Red Fern Grows was rich in description – adjectives, adverbs, and vivid verbs – and we slowed down our reading to appreciate how the author continually created “pictures” in our minds.  Now we are examining how prepositions and prepositional phrases are used to create relationships in a sentence, describing but without incorporating verbs or subjects in their phrases. By reading and creating “prepositional poems” we will see the power of what Mrs. Buzard terms “the humble little fellows that help phrases within a sentence hook up properly without drawing much attention to their selves.”  Each prepositional poem consists of a series of prepositional phrases, leading up to a single independent clause that completes the poem.  At first, using photos for inspiration, students will compose their poems using a common starting point, and then eventually branch out creatively where their own imagination leads them.  The second preposition activity will be a “bedroom description” piece of writing.  Students will identify the “theme” for their bedroom and then create a “video view” of the room using prepositions to move the reader’s eye throughout the scene, maintaining the theme and depicting the physical relationship of the contents of the room.
6th Grade GE LA January 18, 2019   01/17/2019

From Mrs. Buzard: As students complete their Mythology Newspaper articles, I am saddened to think that our mythology unit has come to an end. Your children are just absolutely fabulous, and their enthusiasm and energy has made our mythology study full of entertainment and joy.  As we do move on, however, I am equally excited about our next unit of study that will focus on nonfiction literature. We will read and analyze William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker. In addition to reading the play, students will read two chapters from Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy by Joseph Lash. Both chapters give an intimate look into the lives of two such remarkable and lovable women whose lives become so entwined that Helen said upon Annie Sullivan’s death that half of her soul went with her. In the first reading students will learn about Annie’s early journey in and out of the Tewksbury almshouse which profoundly influenced her for the rest of her life. In addition to reading and analyzing, students will also be studying about sixty vocabulary words from the text that have been identified as words or derivatives of words that frequently appear on the SAT tests. It is a great delight getting to teach your children!

From Mr. Buzard: This past week we completed our study of the classic novel Where The Red Fern Grows with a final test featuring open ended questions whose answers demanded supports. We also spent a couple of days with the short story The Lady or the Tiger.  As a writing activity, students were asked to provide their own ending to the question the author, Frank Stockton, left open when he wrote the story in 1882. “Which door did he open?”  Students did a great job of continuing in the author’s voice and each brought the tale to a close in their own unique fashion. We shared the endings in a “pass and react” activity and each of our authors collected written comments from the entire class.  Next week we plan to slide into a quick study of the application of prepositions. Students will be writing “preposition poems” and also complete an assignment describing their bedroom through the correct use of many prepositions. The continuing teamwork and effort by the students in class is a pleasure to observe every day.

6th Grade GE LA January 11, 2018   01/11/2019
Happy New Year!  We are completing some major units of study during the next two weeks and starting some exciting new ones.  Mrs. Buzard’s Greek Mythology unit is culminating with three events.  The first event is a group performance of the Greek mythology plays that students worked diligently on before winter break. Preparation for the performances included scripts completely written in class, artistic banners depicting a scene and symbolism from the story, and open-ended discussion questions to lead the class in understanding the story. After rehearsing their productions, students were finally ready to perform and teach the class. Performances were fully costumed with props, and those colorful banners were displayed as backdrops. Performances were absolutely magnificent! Students worked well together, created high quality written work, and performed like stars. We are so proud of their talents and efforts. Our second culminating activity for mythology will be a unit test which will take place on Monday, January 14. Students have created their own study guides and should be well-prepared for the test. And our final Greek mythology activity will be a newspaper article assignment. It will start with the underlining premise of the Greek gods enrolling at Attea Middle School, utilizing the skills of newspaper article writing.  Also wrapping up next week will be our Where The Red Fern Grows novel study.  Working in groups, the class created a study guide for all twenty chapters of the book.  A test on Thursday, January 17, will focus on the writing techniques used so brilliantly in the story.  Beginning the week of January 20 the classes will begin reading the play The Miracle Worker, the story of Helen Keller’s teacher.  The writing classes will commence a short unit on prepositions.  The two highlights will be “preposition poems” and a descriptive paper inspired by each student’s bedroom. Both Mrs. Buzard and I continue to be impressed every day with the skills and enthusiasm of the students.  They have formed a supportive learning community and are a pleasure to know and teach.