See what is happening in sixth-grade language arts in 2011 and what we have studied in past years! Assignments may be found on Moodle under LA 6, using your user name and password.


Ben Mikaelsen books and visit to CA (2010)

Your reading in the summer provides a way for your classmates and me to get to know you better. Whether meeting in small groups, drawing a diagram, or presenting a play involving the characters and themes of your books, you will be "on." I look forward to getting to know you and to seeing what you liked or did not like about the various books that you read.

Nothing But the Truth (2010)

In this documentary by Avi, we will look at what it means to be responsible for ourselves: what we do, what we say, and how we interpret what we hear. In the process, we will consider the true meaning of "character" and "truth." How do people interpret "character," and what is our own "character"? Can you cite examples of your own character in the way that you handle responsibilities? What is the "whole truth"? Is it important to tell the whole truth, or is it okay to tell just part of the truth? Is that the truth?
During this unit, we will also consider the role of the media in portraying the truth. Do reporters have a responsibility to tell the truth, and where does the truth end and sensationalism happen? We will have a journalist come in to talk to us about real-life scenarios that required judgments about what to write, and you will have an opportunity to write your own news story, trying your own hand at objectively conveying an event. This article will be just the first of many for you as you begin to complete your own newspaper this year.
Be ready to examine your own values and actions; be willing to take a look at your own character and consider what is "right." If you were a reporter or a judge of character, could you do what you expect of others?

Hoot, Thoreau, and Civil Disobedience

What do YOU do when you don't get your way? What kind of behavior do you exhibit, and what responsibility to you have toward others in the process of arguing your case? During this unit, you will read and study Hoot by Carl Hiaasen in an effort to explore the tactics of a mysterious young boy who wants to change the way things work in a small Florida town. In the process, we will investigate a thinker named Henry David Thoreau and will try to see how his ideas compare to those of the runner boy. Words and concepts like "Transcendentalism," "pop culture," and "civil disobedience" will become familiar terms as we look at how we, too, can make a difference in the world.

Dateline: Troy, Myth, and Journalism--We will not be doing this unit in 2011

During this unit, you will take a look at the story of the Trojan War. How much has changed since that time, if things have changed at all? Was the Trojan War a fictional event or a factual reality, or a bit of both? What myths centered around Greek history and became a part of Greek culture, and how might they relate to our world today? What techniques does the author use to make us think about these questions?

We will take a look at this book by Paul Fleischman and will employ our own understanding and journalistic tools in order to come to a better understanding of ourselves, Greek culture, and how literary technique can influence our views.

Poetry--What's Your Line?

Shape, sound, rhythm, rhyme, imagery...These terms will become part of your regular vocabulary and experience as you put them to work in your writing. We will read mentor pieces and then practice these concepts ourselves throughout the year.

Civil Rights Movement and Freedom's Children

You may have heard of the Civil War, and when studying Hoot, we discussed the meaning of "civil." Remind yourself of the meanings of "civil," and civil types of behavior--those types that allow us to get along and treat each other decently. Now, think about the meaning of "civil rights." What privileges do you have as individuals, and what is "decent" or "fair" about them? How can we as a society, a community, or a school respect each other's civil rights?

These questions and more will drive our studies of the book Freedom's Children by Ellen Levine. This book, which includes memories of the Civil Rights Movement by people who were children at the time, covers topics such as school integration, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Children's Crusade, the March on Washington, protests, and more.

In addition, this book will provide a chance for you to read a non-fiction book, a memoir. What is a memoir, and why should we read this genre, if we should? Get ready to discover a new type of work about a topic that you likely have not covered in your studies so far. Perhaps you will learn something about yourself and those around you that will make our school, our community, and our world a better place.

Midnight Magic and Crispin--an Avi mini-literature circle

While you study medieval times during Social Studies class, you will read a work of fiction related to this time during Language Arts class. This reading will relate to a webquest on which you will work independently throughout the unit.

Portfolio Development

Please save everything on which you work throughout the year. You will gather these items and reflect upon them for conferences and at the end of the year, even re-doing some of them to polish them forever. Your portfolio will showcase your progress throughout the year and will include writing assignments, tests, vodcasts, quizzes, artwork, and in-class essays. I look forward to seeing your work, and you will enjoy having a portfolio showing your efforts.

Phantom Tollbooth

LIfe seems dull, and Milo is on a search for meaning. We will travel with Milo as he passes through the lands of Confusion and tries to restore Rhyme and Reason. In the process, we will discover many idioms, uncover the concepts of plot, point of view, tone, and character. We will hold a word market that will introduce us to various parts of speech and then document our travels on a map or brochure of your own making.


We will be covering the parts of speech, the parts of sentences, and diagramming this year. Students will move at different paces through the units. We will also have regular "Use It or Lose It" quizzes, incorporating mechanics, usage, and grammar topics throughout the year, as well as topics covered in lower school, such as idioms, dictionary usage, and spelling.

Word Within the Word--

Use the links that follow to practice learning the stems that we will study as part of this vocabulary program: Quizlet practice
Brett Lettiere's web site