Hello and welcome! 

Fourth quarter is all about book clubs, and our major thematic focal point is social issues.

Sixth graders will use all they have learned about the study of individuals, groups, and ideas in fiction and nonfiction during third quarter to study relevant social issues (such as prejudice or discrimination) in book club selections. Readers will be organized into smaller book clubs, and most clubs will read several books. Students will be expected to read novels at the same pace as their group members and engage in a series of discussions over several weeks.

All clubs will analyze what social issues are present in the texts and explore how the social issues are depicted, using structures of peer-to-peer conversation and collaboration to deepen their thinking. Toward the end of the quarter, students will research their social issues and complete a creative project that includes evidence from sources and highlights what they've learned about the issue.

As always, when selecting books we encourage students to consider level, interest, and family values. If a student begins a book club selection and decides later that it doesn’t fit with their values, we can always change it up. Though each of these novels has been selected by the district curriculum team to reflect a different aspect of the theme for the quarter, we also remind students that it’s okay to skip parts of a novel that cause discomfort—just like we might close our eyes during a part of a movie. I sent a letter home with your child with the titles and authors of the books as well as additional information. Keep an eye out for it!

In terms of independent reading of "Just Right" books, students will need to continue to bring a book of their choosing to class every day. If students would like to leave their books in my classroom (to avoid hauling two books back and forth: their book club books and their independent reading books), they can. While we will not be collecting reading log bookmarks during fourth quarter, students should continue to read fiction texts with independence and stamina for 2 or more hours a week.

Four 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; 
5) 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 send you the plan. I also keep detailed records of students' reading habits and behaviors (page count, minute count, trends, goals, observations, and more), so whenever you want to know what I'm seeing from my end, contact me at dsmith2@rentonschool.us.

Thank you so much for your concern and support!

Mr. Smith