In sixth grade, students were introduced to a new project to show off their acquired skills for reading nonfiction narratives with agency. All students chose topics last week and have been "reading up a storm" to become an authority in their chosen topic. The poster project directions were handed out today, January 11 and it is due next Thursday, January 17. There will be time to work on the project on Monday and Tuesday.
For ALL students: Reading logs have made a strong comeback. They are handed out on Mondays, and expected back by the following Monday. Sixth grade goal= 250 pages and 225 minutes. Seventh grade goal = 300 pages and 275 minutes. Anything over that amount is in the A range for grading.
In seventh grade, students are gathering information through research of text sets showing two sides of an argument. The information will be used to develop a debate and then an argument essay (in Mrs. Papale's class). Research skill from last year will be built upon, particularly in understanding the counterargument of an issue.
Here we are at the end of the first trimester and report cards will be going home very soon. All students are now very familiar with class routines and procedures and the pace has been stepped up a bit. Always remember to let me know if your child is talking about stress or struggling, we can work together to work out the issues.
Seventh grade students are immersed in their "Companion Book" projects, a series of literary essays that capture the essence of a favorite book. We are continuing to explore connections of characters, settings, and themes across fiction genres.
Sixth grade students have just begun the "Literary Essay" unit and are learning the structure and components of a quality essay. We are reading many wonderful short stories to motivate the writing process.
Happy Holidays and may your vacation time be filled with family and laughter!
This may be a bit long winded, but I promise it is a necessary communication for all my students and their important adults.
Many students have been neglectful of their home reading and filling out the Reading Log. Whether it’s an issue of a child that doesn’t want to read, a child that’s a struggling reader, or even one who has very little free time, reading at home is a necessary requirement and should be part of the homework routine.
There is no better way to become a stronger reader than to spend quality time, every day, with a good book. That is: a book that holds the interest of the reader, a book on or near the student’s independent level, and reading without distraction. I suggest that students not set a timer, record the start time, and commit to 25 or more pages (you should always read to the end of a chapter), then see how long it takes them to finish, and finally, record the end time.
25 pages should = about 25-30 minutes.
If your child reads without you asking them to do so, or they read without complaint, please send me an idea of what reading time looks like in your house. I will not use your name, but would love to be able to share ideas with families who are struggling to motivate their child or who have little time in their day to fit the reading in.
In middle school, the only way I could get my son to read was to model it by doing my own reading at the same time, or to read aloud to him, when he started a new book, so he’d be hooked in. With my daughter it was, “Put that book down; it’s after 10!” Both have waxed and waned through their school years and both struggled to find the right book occasionally. I left some of the challenges up to their teachers-that’s what they pay them for, right?!
Just to let you know, I’ve had lots of experience helping students choose books, but they usually get their best recommendations from siblings or peers.
With all this being stated, the most important aspect is that students are not prepared for class if they are not reading.
Now that we are nearing the end of the first term, students who are not reading at home will be asked to read during lunch in a quiet area in a supervised “pod” or classroom. They may even need alternate homework assignments. This is not truly a punishment, but instead, is a way for them to be well prepared for the hard work we do in class.
As always, if there are any questions, the best way to reach me is via email:
Team 6/7 Language Arts Update
Grade 6- Amy Koepke
Hello Families! I am sending this message to you through email, hoping that you get it in time to support your child/children in my class. There are several important due dates I want you to know so your child will have less stress about our work in writing.
The narrative unit is going smoothly so now it’s time to start reaching the revision, then publishing, stages of the writing process. I handed the first story back to students and have now told them that they will need to type the story on Microsoft 365, print it, and bring a copy to class on Tuesday, October 23. I talked about the importance of making changes as you type, but this will not be the final piece. I will confer with every students to help put final touches on to their stories. This is done through small group mini lessons. The second narrative will be drafted on Tuesday, October 23 and I hope to have a class set of computers so everyone will be able to work more efficiently. That typed copy is due Friday, October 26. As you can see, your child will need to be doing much of the typing at home. If you do not have a reliable computer that can be connected to the internet, please let me know right away so I can be sure your child has time at school. Also, printing can be done at school during homeroom or Flex, but anyone coming to class without the piece will be considered late.
I am also offering two afters chool work sessions for anyone who needs to type. I will be at school on Monday 10/ 22 and Wednesday 10/ 24 until 4:30. All students are invited to stay with me to get their typing done. Please send in an HKMS dismissal note telling me they have permission to stay and letting the office know how they are getting home.
Sorry to be so wordy, but I am dedicated to setting your child up for success in this very busy writing unit, and that includes making sure families know what is needed from home.
I look forward to meeting with many of you during conferences next week. As always, let me know if you have any questions.
Hello Families- Here is an update for my classes.
Sixth Grade- Students are finishing up their assessment for the Character Unit. We are now ready to dive deep into the world of Personal Narrative. In this, our first focused writing unit, students will tell ‘small moment” stories from their own lives. We begin by making a long list of possible stories to write such as: Misquamicut Beach when the seagull landed on my head, The broken leg of 1995, Driving to South Dakota for the eclipse, or any other true life experience they can fictionalize. Students will practice narrative techniques to improve their writing skills and to capture the attention of their audience.
Seventh Grade- I have been reading aloud the ever popular, timeless and treasured The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton. Each time I have read this story, I have a student point out something, a tiny detail that stuns me. Your children are thinking critically and are transferring their work to independent reading-I am impressed. This unit will not come to close until the beginning of November; that is when I will assess their knowledge and growth. Look for more creative ways of showing thinking, but still expect your child to be “Writing Long.” If any seventh grade students are having difficulty keeping up with 250+ pages per week, they may find that the work is getting harder. Please encourage your child to keep up with home reading and make time for it in their day.
As always, contact me via email if you have questions.
Happy Fall- Amy Koepke
Hello 6/7 Families!
My name is Amy Koepke (think kep(t) the key) and I teach sixth grade Reading and Writing as well as one seventh grade shared class where I am the Reading teacher and Mrs. Sharon Papale is the Writing teacher. This is my 30th year of teaching! That seems impossible to me, but I have really been with RSD #17 for that long. I have taught at the HKMS for the past 5 years and love the fast pace almost as much as the age group. I have lived in Killingworth most of my life and love bumping into families all over the state (and sometimes in less likely places). I have a grown daughter who has finished college and moved on to sunny Philladelphia, and my son just started 9th grade at HKHS where he says things are quite different. I also live with my good-natured husband, Keith, and a lovable but very fresh little cat named Tom. We spend lots of time traveling and experiencing the world around us. I look forward to getting to know you and your families; this looks to be a wonderful group!
I contact families each time we move to a new unit and alert you via email when there are important updates, long term projects, or work that may need attention at home. This year I will be using Microsoft 365 "Teams" to help students and families be informed about my class.en House I will be able to let you know how this tool works.
Don't hesitate to contact me- Email is best, but you can also call the school.
We have had two terrific field trips and now it's on to conferences. Feel free to prepare questions ahead of time as we are trying to see as many parents/ guardians as possible and our time is limited.
Both 6th and 7th grades are coming to the end of our first unit. Students will be taking a post assessment next week to determine what they have learned from our focused study of characters and theme. This is not an assessment that students can 'study' for. Anyone who has had strong agency and paid attention during class will do well. Retakes are available to anyone who stays after school with me for a reteaching work session-more on this after the assessment.
6th Grade: Our next Unit of Study is: Social Issues Book Clubs All students must have a realistic fiction book by next Friday, November 3. Students will be grouped by their book choice. I have many choices in my library and I will be taking both classes to the HKMS library as well.
7th Grade: Our next Unit of Study is: Analyzing Texts Across Genres This is an exciting unit where students will be analyzing author's purpose, theme, and author's craft across genres as diverse as nonfiction-informational to poetry. Students need to continue to have an independent book at all times in class.
Hello 6/7 Families,
As we continue our reading work with getting to know characters, we will begin focusing on multiple themes within one book. Author's often teach us a lesson through their characters' growth and discovering the central message can come through noticing smaller messages. Work will be based on author's craft, recognizing it and understanding the moves the author made in order for the reader to grasp the messages/ themes.
All students have been given a note taking sheet for a book review project. The notes and cover plan are due on Tuesday, October 10th for seventh grade, and Thursday, October 12th for sixth grade. I have a copy of the note sheet on my "home page." Final projects are to be typed on MS365; I will have the template ready by this Friday.
Seventh grade final project due: Monday, 10/16/17
Sixth grade final project due: 10/19/17
I am looking forward to meeting many of you at conferences; I have had the chance to get to know your readers and am anxious to let you know how they are doing.
Hello 6/7 Families,
It is my pleasure to finally officially say hello to all of you as my website is now live! I will update this Blog often so you know the work your child is doing in Reading class. I must say that I am impressed with your children who have been incredibly responsible as all have now finished and handed in their Reader's Notebook projects. Grades are in Powerschool for those who handed it in on time. I will update frequently, so expect to see grades for the first reading log before the end of the week.
As for reading logs, all students are responsible for handing in a completed log every Tuesday; they will then get the new log. For the first three or more logs, I will copy the rubric on back so all can get familiar with it. Our goal is to read every night for 30+ minutes which equals 25-30 pages if the book is "just right."
SIXTH GRADE: All students need a realistic fiction book to read during class and at home. We are tracking characters very closely to understand their personalities, actions and words, and how they change throughout the story. It is a good idea for sixth graders to become involved with series books. This enables them to track character changes more fluidly.
SEVENTH GRADE: All students need to have fiction books with strong characters and I highly recommend students choose a series or author they enjoy. Our work is rather challenging as we are moving past straight character study and moving into closer study of author's craft. Students will be asking themselves, "Why did the author..."
I look forward to an exciting year with your children and will be glad to meet you at Open House on September 27. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to email me.
Mrs. koepke's BLOG