6th Grade English (is phat) Welcome to English class. This class is all about giving you lots of opportunities to express yourself in all kinds of ways about all kinds of things. All you need is something to say. English class is split into a few different categories. They all work together, but sometimes it’s easier to learn them one at a time. Thing #1: Reading Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere. Hazel Rochman Reading for real understanding is an important feature of our curriculum. This year you will be reading an assortment of novels, short stories, a variety of non-fiction, and poetry. Your job is to explore the connection between reading and writing, and practice what you learn. A lot. I hope, too, that you will read for pleasure. Books are cool. You will be expected to have an outside reading book going at all times, and to bring it to school every day. You will have lots of opportunities to pull it out and read. Thing #2: Writing Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov Writing assignments will include: *Creative: these range from poetry to free-writes to descriptive pieces, short stories, and beyond. *Expository: you will work on organizing your ideas and thoughts and facts into cohesive pieces, from simple paragraphs to more complex multi-paragraph essays. *Short-answer responses: expressing ideas efficiently and concisely is a tremendous challenge to which all will rise over the course of the year. Thing #3: Vocabulary The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. Mark Twain A broad vocabulary is essential to accurate expression. It’s not about memorizing tons of words so you ace the SSAT’s. It’s about knowing how to say EXACTLY what it is you want to say. It’s also pretty ipressive when you understand how words work and can figure out what they mean by putting the pieces together. Big words become fun puzzles. Like bibliophile. And anthrothermojectocidophobia. Things #4-6: Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it. Carl Sandburg Grammar is important because (insert your own strong opinion here). One reason is that next year, you will tackle that elusive but extremely useful tool, the comma. To do so, you must understand the building blocks of different types of sentences. We’ll be jumping right in with phrases and clauses and building on them all year. Homework and Assessments Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog. Doug Larson All homework should be completed on time. Late homework might cause you some degree of emotional pain and suffering (not counting weekends or holidays). If you have a quiz or text coming up, studying for that is homework. I encourage you to learn sooner rather than later that studying for these things takes time and focused energy. Figure out what it is about each topic that tickles your fancy and pursue it. I expect you to chime in and contribute intelligently to class discussions. Try really hard to ask questions. Binders Save all your work in your English portfolio. Once or twice per term, you will be given an opportunity to look over what you have done, choose a few key pieces, and reflect on them. When You’re Suffering Please come see me! If you get a grade you don’t like or with which you disagree, come find me and we’ll talk about it. If you don’t understand something, I’m almost always available at Study Hall. Also and maybe most importantly, if you have a great idea for a lesson or a project, speak up! I love new ideas! I love saying YES.