Formal Writing Assignments, KAA, and Suspense Building in Wrinkle

by Mrs. Nilsen on November 9th, 2012

Weekly ELA News 11/5 - 11/9

Formal Writing Assignment - Narrative

We do a LOT of writing in 6th grade ELA.  Most of it stays in the "drafting" stage as we play with words and ideas in our notebooks. This writing will continue all year as we learn strategies successful writers use.

Occasionally, though, we will choose a piece of writing to take through all the steps of the Writing Process and get to a "publishable" piece.  This writing will be turn in to be formally assessed according to the traits of writing we're studying in class (Ideas and Content,.  This first writing assignment is a narrative, a story from the student's past told from their perspective.   We've spent the majority of time working on "Ideas and Content" this first part of the year, so that is the category I expect all students to get a 3 or better on.  We will build on each formal writing assignment, so that by the end of the year, all students are working to score a 3 or better in each of the traits (Ideas and Content, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, and Conventions).  I've enjoyed look through student drafts, helping students give feedback to each other, and giving feedback myself.  Between revision lessons and editing time, we spent a good chunk of our ELA time this week immersed in this assignment.  The final draft is due next Tuesday, November 14th.    

Kids ARE Authors Project

"Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to students in grades K–8 in the United States and U.S. international schools and is designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills.
Under the guidance of a project coordinator, children work in teams of three or more students to write and illustrate their own book. The creative process of working in teams helps provide a natural environment to practice editing, teamwork, and communication skills necessary for future success. All students involved get a sense of pride and accomplishment from submitting the team project.
One Grand-Prize winning book will be published in each of these categories: Fiction and Nonfiction. The winning books will be published by Scholastic and sold at Book Fairs throughout the country." [1]

I'm so excited to have students participating in this project again this year.  There will be some time in class devoted to helping students and groups be successful with this project (especially here in the beginning as we get started).  Ultimately, though, it will be up to the group to find times to meet (homework club is a perfect example) to meet the deadlines of the project.  Students will be scored on their final product as well as cooperation and completion of the steps along the way.  A big part of being successful is their project journal.

Project Journal

Use this space to organize your thoughts, brainstorm, and work as a group on the book you are writing.  Here are some ideas of journal entries, although you are not limited to these:

  • Journal (talk about feelings, progress, struggles, or what you're doing.
  • To-Do lists
  • Brainstorming activities (narrowing a topic, heart maps, etc.)
  • Notes on other books you like or want to model after
  • How you’re dividing up activities among group members. 
  •  Reflect on past winners
  • Outline plot
  • Discuss ideas for artwork (medium, subjects, etc.)
  •  Write parts of the plot you’re struggling with
Major Due Dates 
Note: Smaller assignments may be added along the way as needed.  These are the major check-ins.
November 9 – Project Journal created and have your groups selected and teacher approved.
November 16 – Plot outline of story (for fictional work) or outline of information to be present (for non-fiction work) and Action Plan Due.
December 7 – First draft of written text due, and list of art ideas for each page due
December 14 – Four pages of artwork due, and group cooperation check-in.
January 16 – Eight pages of artwork due, and 2nd draft of text due
January 30 – Twelve pages of artwork due, and 3rd draft of text due
February 15 – All artwork due, and fourth draft of text due
March 1 – Final Project Due and group evaluation/peer assessment 

More information about the KAA project to come!  

Starting the 2nd half of Wrinkle

As the 2nd have of our novel study commences, the author is building suspense!  Students are always sad when we have to stop reading.  It's getting intense and we'll be finishing the 3 unit (ch 7-9) before Thanksgiving Break.  

In addition to the vocabulary study and literary analysis we've been doing of A Wrinkle in Time, we're learning/reviewing a variety of reading strategies as we work through this text together.   As a class we've mastered a lot of Comprehension strategies this week.  We reference and use these strategies all year long to help strong and struggling readers have the words for their progress as a reader.  It's wonderful to have students who know that they should, "back up and reread," or that they are "building vocabulary by being a voracious reader."  


Don't forget: Only one more week in this Trimester (grading period).  All late work for all classes must be turned in by Friday.

Monday, November 12th
·         No School

Tuesday, November 13th
·         Subway Lunch orders due
·         3:00 to 3:45 p.m. – Leadership Team Meeting
·         3:00 to 4:00 p.m. – Homework Club

Friday, November 16th - end of Trimester
·         MRA T-Shirt and Sweatshirt Orders due
·         3:00 to 4:00 p.m. – Homework Club

·         November 19th to 21st:      No School, Teacher Planning Days
·         November 22nd and 23rd:   No School, Thanksgiving Break
·         November 27th and 28th:   Pick up of Wreaths and Poinsettias
·         December 3rd to 11th:         Candy Cane Shoppe in the Library
·         December 7th:                    Winter Program at MRA, 7:00 p.m.
·         December 11th:                  2/3 Play, time TBA
Work Cited

[1] "Kids Are Authors - About the Contest." Scholastic Book Fair. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. <>.

Posted in 6th Grade ELA Updates    Tagged with Novel study, KAA


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