Resources We Are Using for Sixth Grade English.
Things are changing a bit for us for language arts this year. In previous years, I’ve relied on BraveWriter style copy work and dictation for language arts in addition to our Waldorf/Charlotte Mason-style narration process. We’ve had some Michael Clay Thompson grammar thrown into the mix, and of course some Grammarland. We’ve also played with parts of speech to make sentences in her younger years.
This year though, I’m considering leaving behind copy work, to focus more heavily on the writing process, word study, close reading, and introducing more literary elements. I haven’t decided on the copy work as there is just so much value in copy work. We will continue use Brave Writer’s resources in addition to those described throughout this post.
In this blog post you’ll find
For narration, I would like to further develop grouping ideas into paragraphs and flushing those paragraphs. In the elementary years, our narration would be maybe one, two if we were lucky, paragraphs long. This year I plan to have us take notes as we go, writing down things that we think should go in our narration. I hope to also spend a little more time in the narration process. I may use our narration for spelling and copy work.
To do this, I will be teaching techniques taught in The Writing Revolution, such as introductions to an appositive and sentence expansions, and Oak Meadow’s 100 Ways to Improve your Composition and Creative Writing. The images in this post are linked to the products.
We first introduced word study last year. It was a light introduction as it was completely new information for her. Word Study consists of the etymology (study of a word’s origin,) as well as root words with possible the prefixes and suffixes. For this we used Rooted in Language’s Word Study Packet.
The packet comes with a several exercises to introduce morphology, “the study of how words are formed and built from parts,” leading to the word matrix you see pictured here. One of the characteristics of Rooted in Language that I love is the initiating the spark of curiosity about language. They essentially play with the words. They are not proposing that a child know a root word or what prefixes and suffixes fit with that word, but to explore, play, and discover how language works.
In addition to Rooted in Language’s Word Study Packet, I’m also using a game called Rummy Roots. There are two card decks in this series, each with different Latin and Greek roots. This series of games leads one to learn the Latin and Greek root meanings, and then to combine them to form words.
One of the things that I learned through homeschooling high school with my older son was the concept of close reading. In OER’s World History Class, they have a tool called 3 Close Reads. In the first read, one previews an article, book, or chapter to get an idea of context. The second read is the reading of the article. The third reading is glancing back over the article for analysis and understanding.
What I learned from this exercise and from Rooted in Language’s Trees in the Forest is there is much more to reading than, well, just reading. From Trees in the Forest and a book I used for High School essays, Teaching Arguments, I’ve learned that reading words on a page is a conversation between the author and the reader (and occasionally others brought into the work by either the author or reader.) As we read a work, we engage with that work.
This year, I hope to bring some of that to light by using Trees in the Forest from Rooted in Language. They have several fun and amusing exercises that show this relationship. They use practices like finding the real story, drawing of characters, and comparing our world to the setting to bring forth the elements of reading and understanding. My favorite is a practice they call “in the book/ on the page” where you write down what the books says, and then write how you respond to the passage.
I’m also using Rooted in Language to introduce more literary elements. Up until this point, we have mostly enjoyed our books together with discussions and a bit of copy work mixed in. We’ve had great conversations, but I feel we need something a little more formal. We will be using “Annotating Literary Elements” for introducing plot, characters, setting, and imagery.
Below is a checklist of concepts to explore this year. We definitely won’t get to them all, but this a 3-year goal. Somec concepts will be introduced, some will be practiced, and some will be shelved for next year.
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