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Grade 6 Happenings

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Follow the latest happenings in Grade 6 below.

This Week: Number the Stars

posted May 1, 2015, 7:54 PM by Jason Brunken

This week the Grade 6 class is reading a part of one of my favorite books for young readers, Lois Lowry's Number the Stars. This is riveting story of a family's brave actions to save Danish Jews from Nazi concentration camps during WWII. If you are unaware of the history, Hitler's Germany invaded and conquered Denmark in 1940 at the beginning of WWII and occupied it until 1944. During that time, the Nazi Regime tried to capture, imprison, and exterminate the entire Jewish population of Denmark. However, because of their love for their fellow Danes, the Danish people worked together to smuggle nearly all Danish Jews to neighboring Sweden on fishing and motor boats. In the end, only a few of Denmark's thousands of Jews were captured and killed by the Nazis. It is one of history's more amazing stories. Please encourage your child to pick up and read the whole book. It is available in Happy Kids's library.

This week students will be working on poetry, practicing their vocabulary, spelling, and learning about contractions. There will be a spelling test on Friday. Please remind your child to study. The spelling and vocabulary words are posted below.


Poetry week

posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:03 AM by Jason Brunken

This week, the Grade 6 class will be writing poetry. That's right, all week long. I have tasked the kids with writing at least seven poems on various subjects and in various styles. We spent last week learning about how to approach poetry and a method for writing it using the resources like the magic formula below.


The poetry assignment is posted below. More information about writing poetry and different poetry styles can be found on the Shadow Poetry website. Students' poems will be posted around school, at Open House, and at Graduation.

This Week: All Alone in the Universe

posted Apr 12, 2015, 12:54 AM by Jason Brunken

This week, the Grade 6 class will be reading a wonderful short story about friendship from our text called All Alone in the Universe. This story is for anyone who has ever felt left out or betrayed when our best fried makes a new friend. It's a common situation for kids and never easy to deal with. This story is an uplifting look at how one girl deals with this situation. I think the students will be interested to see how much like them our main character is.

Below are the spelling and vocabulary words. Please help your child to study and review the words before our test on Friday, April 11. Our grammar focus this week will be progressive verbs. We will also begin our writing unit on poetry by beginning a special poem for graduation.


Surviving the Applewhites Extension Project

posted Mar 23, 2015, 8:13 AM by Jason Brunken

This week the Grade 6 class will be wrapping up the novel we have been reading on Fridays this year. The kids have really enjoyed this tale about discovering passion and talent and how it is often not what you think it will be. Students will get to choose one of four different extension project options to work on for this assignment. You can read about them all below. 

This Week: The Princess Who Became a King

posted Mar 13, 2015, 8:07 AM by Jason Brunken

We finish our look into into ancient world history this week as we read The Princess Who Became a King. This selection is about one of the only women to become Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut had an interesting life. She grew up daughter of a great Pharaoh, married her brother when she was just 15, managed to out-compete other men to take over the throne when her brother/husband died, and became a successful and great Pharaoh in her own right. Her story is amazing and historically remarkable.

To learn more about Ancient Egypt and its place in the context of world history, watch the Crash Course World History video below.



Also this week will be vocabulary, writing, grammar, and spelling practice. A spelling test will be given on Friday. Please remind your child to study. Below are the vocabulary and spelling words for this week as well as some grammar practice.


Finished Website Project (2015)

posted Mar 13, 2015, 8:03 AM by Jason Brunken

A while back, the kids were given a large project: How would you make a website about an ancient civilization? To answer that question the researched an Ancient civilization of their choice and, with their groups, constructed a website teaching about their civilization using Google Sites. Below are the two websites. Enjoy! Comments are welcome below.

This Week: Team Moon revisited

posted Mar 6, 2015, 8:30 AM by Jason Brunken

This week we are circling back to a lesson in the textbook that we covered briefly back in December. We were unable to do the reading at the time, but did get through the vocabulary and grammar lessons. To review the vocabulary words from this lesson, you can find the handout here.

While we will be reading Team Moon  this week, we will be deviating a bit from our normal routine. We will be two vocabulary review activities on Monday. Students will get an opportunity to review some of the vocabulary words we have already covered this year. You can find all the vocabulary sheets from this year hereWe will also be taking another week to review verb conjugation by playing a some grammar review games and a review practice sheet.

Finally, to close the week, we will be reading Team Moon and discussing the magnitude of the feat accomplished by those brave astronauts. Students will get an opportunity to do a writing response to the reading and work on some unfinished writing like the students' myths and websites.

This Week: Onward!

posted Feb 26, 2015, 11:46 PM by Jason Brunken

This week in Grade 6 we are reading the story Onward. This is a biography of a young African-American man named Matthew Henson who traveled with Col. Richard Peary to the North Pole. The two were the first recorded humans to make it to the geographic North Pole of the world. It's an amazing story of braving the frigid arctic climate, dangerous terrain, and food shortages to achieve a nearly impossible goal. I'm sure the kids will love reading this story this week.

As usual, we will be learning and practicing vocabulary on Monday (see below), learning grammar on Tuesday (verb tenses), reading on Thursday, and reviewing spelling and doing some writing practice on Friday. Spelling words, vocabulary words, and grammar practice can be found on the weekly handout sheet below. Please let me know if there are any questions.


The Website Project

posted Feb 1, 2015, 12:02 AM by Jason Brunken

For the next two weeks, the Grade 6 class will be working on our website project. I do this project each year instead of a written research report. Present day website building applications like Google Sites make it very easy for anyone to make a website. The handwritten report is a dying form of writing, and digital information is here to stay. Students will not only need to know how to write informative paragraphs about a topic in their future. Their future will require them to know how to use the Internet to find information and to use online tools to create content and share it. This project provides my students with the opportunity to practice all of these skills.

Starting Monday, we will be choosing topics and get started with this project. To learn more, head over to the Website Assignment page. There you can find the details and all resources related to assignment. Students in the past have made some great websites. I'm looking forward to seeing what this class's work. I'll show you all at conferences in March.

Write Your Own Myth!

posted Jan 23, 2015, 2:15 AM by Jason Brunken

This week, students will be writing myths. A myth is a story that explains something in nature or tells of a heroic deed by great hero. Myths tell of the actions of men and gods and goddesses, plus a great many other supernatural creatures like monsters, fairies, angels, and nymphs. Most famous to English speakers are the myths of Ancient Greece. However, all civilizations have their myths. Stories that tell about their history, culture, religion, and geography in a not so realistic way.

For this assignment, students will write one of two kinds of myths:

  • a myth that explains something in nature

  • a myth that tells of a hero’s or heroine’s quest against a monster or villain


Students will follow the following process to write their myth.

Step 1: Prewrite

Before writing, they will prewrite or plan their myth and characters carefully to help you tell a great story. They will use the following resources.


Step 2: Draft

In their journals, they will write a draft for their myth. There are examples of myths on the bookshelves in classroom and two more can be found here. Focus on organization. Make sure the story flows well. Remember to use dialogue and actions to show things about your characters and monsters.

Step 3: Edit

Bring drafts to Mr. Brunken to edit the story.

Step 4: Draft

Complete a 2nd draft in your journal.

Step 5: Edit

Read through 2nd draft by themselves and check for errors. Then bring it to Mr. Brunken to edit again.


Step 6: Publish

Write up or type a final draft for the myth. Early finishers can draw a picture to go with their awesome tale.


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