Dragonwings

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imagesThis week, we begin reading Dragonwings, an award-winning historical fiction novel by Laurence Yep.

Here are resources to increase your comprehension and enjoyment of this historical fiction novel.

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Discover the major milestones in aviation with this aviation timeline.

See footage of San Francisco after the earthquake of 1906.

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Just for fun, here are instructions on how to make your own kite.

About This Book

Moon Shadow is eight when he sails from China to join his father, Windrider, in America. Windrider lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown and works in a laundry. Moon Shadow has never seen him.

Moon Shadow soon loves and respects this father, a man of genius, a man with a fabulous dream. With Moon Shadow’s help, Windrider is willing to endure the mockery of the other Chinese, the poverty, and longing for his own country to make his dream come true.

Inspired by the account of a Chinese immigrant who made a flying machine in 1909, Laurence Yep’s historical novel beautifully portrays the rich traditions of the Chinese community as it made its way in a hostile new world.

Praise for Dragonwings

“[A]n unusual historical novel, unique in its perspective of the Chinese in America and its portrayal of early 20th century San Francisco, including the Earthquake, from an immigrant’s viewpoint.” — School Library Journal

1976 Newbery Honor Book
ALA Notable Children’s Books of 1971-1975
1976 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Honor Book
The New York Times
 Outstanding Children’s Books 1975
School Library Journal Best of the Best 1966-1978

Interest Level  Grades 6 – 8

Reading Level  Grade level Equivalent: 6.1

Type of Book  Chapter Book

Genre  Historical Fiction

Themes/Subjects  1) Changes and New Experiences, 2) Immigration, 3) Chinese and Chinese American

from Scholastic.com

Exploring the Indus Valley

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This week, we  dig deeper into our research about Ancient India.  At the BBC Primary History Indus Valley website, you will  select an area to explore, research your topic, take notes, analyze pictures, graphics, videos, and timelines, test your knowledge with quizzes, and share key concepts in our comment section of this blog post.

Here is your Primary History – Indus Valley Note-Taking Paper for the research project.

Have fun, sixth-grade scholars / historians!

Ancient India

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Ancient-India-Pictures2This month, we begin our study of Ancient India in our RCD unit entitled “Stability and Change.”

Overview:  The earliest civilizations developed on the Indus River where the peoples’ wealth grew from their successful economy in trading food and goods.  When the Aryans settled in India, they established Sanskrit, a caste system, and the foundation of Hinduism.  You will explore how the people in India met their spiritual needs and expressed themselves in the arts.  You will also refine your skills as you compare and contrast multiple religions, literary genres, and text structures.

Vocabulary Resources:  

Academic eFlashcards

Glossary eFlashcards

People/Places/Events Flashcards

Combined Flashcards

Research Resources:

Chapter Overview

Hinduism and Buddhism Chart

Hinduism and Buddhism PPT

Primary History  Indus Valley

Test Yourself!:

Concentration Game

Self-Check Quiz

Where a Letter, a Spoken Word, and a Novel Meet

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“As a young boy in France, Jay Frankston witnessed the rise of Hitler’s anti-Semitism leading up to the war and the Holocaust. The experience of watching so many people stand by and do nothing affirmed his belief in speaking up against wrongs, no matter how small.”

Listen to Jay Frankston’s words heretib-frankstonj-105932-200.

This past week, we have read and analyzed an Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham City Jail.  To increase your understanding of this magnificent letter, watch A Reading of the Letter From Birmingham Jail – OFFICIAL TRAILER from Jamaal Bell on Vimeo.

What do these two works have in common?  What can they teach us today?

This week’s topic for your argument paragraph is as follows:  What is a common theme in Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, Jay Frankston’s audio recording Speak Up, and Lois Lowry’s historical fiction Number the Stars?

How do you write an argument paragraph?  Make a thoughtful claim!  Support your claim with evidence!!

ELEMENTS OF ARGUMENT

Fact vs. Opinion

Facts can be proven, while opinions are personal feelings about a topic. Argument writers use both fact and opinion when developing pieces.

What Is an Argument?

An argument is an opinion supported by facts. Writers refer to opinions as claims and facts as evidence. The claim clearly states a stance on a topic or issue. Evidence to prove this claim can include reasons, personal experience, statistics, confirmed facts, and expert research.

Your paragraph should have:

  1. A topic sentence with a clear claim that states the common theme for all three works.
  2. Textual evidence (at least one example from each work) to support your claim.
  3. Explanation of your textual evidence that brings the reader back to your claim.
  4. Transitional devices that help organize and sequence your writing.
  5. A concluding sentence that reinforces your original claim.
  6. Proper grammar (in the present tense)
  7. Accurate spelling
  8. Proper punctuation
  9. Sixth-grade vocabulary
  10. Original, compelling ideas!

Here is our comparative analysis writing rubric.

Enjoy the thinking and writing process, Sixth-Grade Writers/Scholars!

More WWII and Holocaust Literature

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Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, a gripping novel set in Denmark during World War II, has captured our hearts and imagination, stirred our spirits, and piqued our interest in literature about the Holocaust.

For those of you who wish to dig deeper still, here are a few more recommendations.

Diary of Anne Frank519HKX9M69L

Interactive Site: The Secret Annex Online

The Book Thief Unknown

Movie Trailer: The Book Thief

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit553384

What’s the Big Idea?

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The big idea is this!  We are learning how to determine central ideas or themes of a text and summarize the key supporting details and ideas.  Over the weekend, you will continue to practice and apply your knowledge of theme.  

To begin, review this Theme PowerPoint to learn about Big Ideas, what theme is and is not, and how to evaluate theme.

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Then, watch this Theme Tutorial to increase and solidify your understanding of theme.

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Now, it is your turn to create a story and determine its theme.  Click on Creating a Theme Practice to try it out.  Fun!!!

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After viewing these tutorials, practice what you’ve learned with this Theme Worksheet.  You may check your answers here to see if you are on the right track.

Finally, you are ready to apply your knowledge of theme and supporting details with your daily reading!

Your mission over the weekend: Write a Response to Literature paragraph about the central theme of your book.

10 Steps:

  1. Choose a fabulous AR chapter book.
  2. Read for a minimum of 35 minutes daily.
  3. As you read, think about the “Big Ideas” or themes in your book.
  4. Make a List of Themes that appear in your book.
  5. Choose one central theme.
  6. Write notes on the details that support this central theme.
  7. Review how to write a Response to Literature paragraph.
  8. Write a Response to Literature paragraph on the book’s central theme.
  9. Evaluate your writing by completing the Central Theme Writing Rubric.
  10. Submit your paragraph on Monday, January 13, 2014. :)

Here are a few more tools to help you:

Sweet themes, sixth-grade scholars!

Ms. Rankin

What’s the Big Idea?

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The big idea is this!  We are learning how to determine central ideas or themes of a text and summarize the key supporting details and ideas.  For the next two weeks, you will practice and apply your knowledge of theme.  (Two weeks?  Why, yes, alert readers, this is your Holiday Homework.  You’re welcome!)

To begin, review this Theme PowerPoint to learn about Big Ideas, what theme is and is not, and how to evaluate theme.

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Then, watch this Theme Tutorial to increase and solidify your understanding of theme.

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Now, it is your turn to create a story and determine its theme.  Click on Creating a Theme Practice to try it out.  Fun!!!

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After viewing these tutorials, practice what you’ve learned with this Theme Worksheet.  You may check your answers here to see if you are on the right track.

Finally, you are ready to apply your knowledge of theme and supporting details with your daily reading!

Your mission over Winter Break: Write a Response to Literature paragraph about the central theme of your book.

10 Steps:

  1. Choose a fabulous AR chapter book.
  2. Read for a minimum of 45 minutes daily.
  3. As you read, think about the “Big Ideas” or themes in your book.
  4. Make a List of Themes that appear in your book.
  5. Choose one central theme.
  6. Write notes on the details that support this central theme.
  7. Review how to write a Response to Literature paragraph.
  8. Write a Response to Literature paragraph on the book’s central theme.
  9. Evaluate your writing by completing the Central Theme Writing Rubric.
  10. Submit your paragraph on Monday, January 6, 2014. 🙂

Here are a few more tools to help you:

Sweet themes, sixth-grade scholars!

Ms. Rankin