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 over the year so far to study relevant social issues (such as prejudice or discrimination) in book clubs during fourth quarter. Most book clubs will read several books, and book club members will engage in a series of discussions over several weeks with other members of their group.

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

As always, we encourage students to consider their reading level, interests, and family values when selecting books. If a student begins a book club selection and decides later that the book 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 part of a movie. I'm sending 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 between school and home), 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.

Five 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, 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