Course Description: Grade 6 English Language Arts is a reading and writing centered course in which students increasingly become more willing and able writers and readers while appreciating the diversity and beauty of the human experience. The course focuses on narrative, descriptive, and analytical writing. Readings and discussions focus on the five major genres particularly as they serve the goal of growth in writing. The course is taught primarily through the use of models. Excellent examples of writing organized by both genre and theme form the basis of class exploration. Through a unit on Greek mythology and classical literature students understand the myth as a genre and have the opportunity to compose an original myth. Students study So Far From the Bamboo Grove with other readings and examine the novel's historical framework as well its themes. Students read several short stories, poems and essays and experience the challenge of writing about these works using revision, re-writing and proofreading. Reading strategies, grammatical skill instruction and vocabulary development are concurrent as students are engaged in the acts of reading and writing. Particular writing pieces are stored in the student's classroom writing portfolio and comprise the artifacts on which students reflect and sometimes re-visit. Examples of those writing pieces are: the summer reading assessment, the friendly letter, the three paragraph essay, the short story, poem, and the five paragraph essay. Since the craft of writing is taught by focusing instructional attention on the components of effective writing arranged into manageable units, writing competencies are referred to as "Focused Correction Areas" and students learn, practice, and adopt these expectations as the school year progresses. For example, early in the year a student is expected to apply the rules of capitalization, spelling and punctuation of sentences. These are called focused correction areas. When the teacher responds to the paper focusing on such skill correction, the student is encouraged to see that his/her writing suffers from a finite number of problems. The message to the student is one of hope and direction. The teacher and the student know the skills, which need attention. This forms a manageable agenda. By correcting one to three skills at a time, the teacher allows the students to focus directly on those skills. Once mastered, the student is responsible for maintaining control over that skill while others are introduced. Grade 6 English is the fundamental foundation course for secondary English. With this in mind, a central objective is to help students make connections between the content of reading and the students' own lives, and to help students gain greater enjoyment from reading as they become more proficient as readers and writers. Imaginative and expository literature in this course helps the sixth grade student begin to answer his/her own essential questions: "Who am I?" "What shall I become?" and, "How have others persevered during times of challenge?"
What qualities and characteristics allow a person to persevere in the face of challenge?