On this page you'll find a variety of resources, many of which your child has (or will have) seen, studied, and taped or glued into his or her composition notebook. Because we generally keep composition notebooks in class, I'm including the handouts here (under "Reading Materials" and "Writing Materials") so that you may help your child with our second quarter reading and writing goals in mind.


Sixth graders will study nonfiction texts during third quarter, looking critically at how the texts effectively communicate information through text structures (how the text is organized). Students will read for main idea and author’s purpose, looking specifically at how multiple writers write about the same topic. The class will move through a shared research cycle on the topic "Within and Beyond Borders: Immigration in America" with a shared informational essay. The class will then research individual topics and write an argumentative essay on their choice of topics, "All Seeing Eye: The Public and Private Life of Drones" or "Robots: The Rise of Robots: Helpful or Harmful?"

Students will do most of their brainstorming, drafting, and editing in class.

Some students will be able to research their topics online. Here are instructions for online work: Go to the McKnight Library Homepage -> Click on “Catalog” -> Click on “Destiny Discover” on the left -> Click on the topic you’re studying (immigration, drones, robots, etc.). Links:
Within and Beyond Borders: Immigration in America
The Rise of Robots: Helpful or Harmful?
All-Seeing Eye: The Public & Private Life of Drones
Links are interactive multi-user eBooks, websites, videos, database articles, physical books that can be checked out from Ms. Nelson, and more. Some of the resources included require a log in. The user ID and pw is on pg. 28 of your planner, and also here:
Username = mcknightms
Password = student


Every student needs to find a "Just Right" independent reading book to bring to class every day.

Every student should read 2 or more hours a week. This generally translates to about 80-120 pages each week and equals to a grade of a "3" (out of "4"). For a "4," students should read more pages for more hours, and from a variety of genres. Students should have a “Plan B” book (or “back-up” book, or “next” book) ready to go when they finish the first. Students should also continue their annotating work, aiming to show different kinds of thinking (summaries, predictions, questions, connections, etc.) and to write about three sentences on each sticky note.

Six things you can do to help your child be successful with reading in L.A.:
1) make sure s/he has an Independent Reading book every day; 
2) make sure s/he has a "next" book on deck and ready to go when finished with the first; 
3) strive to provide a regular time and, if possible, a quiet and distraction free space for your child to read; 
4) ask to see his/her reading bookmark. This records of pages and minutes spent reading are turned in every Mon.
5) ask about "stop-n-jot" sticky note annotations. We do about six each week. 
6) ask your child questions about the books.


I try to keep students at the forefront of the conversation about their learning, so I do not update my website every day. I write a lesson plan for each day of class, so whenever you want a record of what activities we’re doing or what concepts we’re learning, let me know and I’ll fill you in. I also keep detailed records of students' reading habits and behaviors (page count, minute count, trends, and other observations), so whenever you want to know what I'm seeing from my end, contact me at dsmith2@rentonschools.us or derek.smith1@rentonschools.us. (I've heard reports of emails bouncing back, so if you do not receive a response from me within 24 hours, try the other address.)

Thank you so much for your concern and support!

Mr. Smith