• Prairie Star Middle School

    English/Language Arts and Reading

    2014-2015 Course Syllabus


    Teacher:  Mr. Jeff Strait (Room 4)




     The sixth grade English/Language Arts course provides a balance of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language skills.  Students will progress through the writing process as they plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish their own specific types of writing.  These writing types include arguments, informative/explanatory texts and narratives.  Students are required to draw upon and write about evidence from literary and informational texts.  Because of the focus of writing in most forms of inquiry, short research projects are infused throughout the year which answer a question, draw on several sources, and sharpen the focus based on the research findings.  Through their writing tasks, students will recognize variations from standard English in his or her own and others’ writing and speaking, and use this knowledge to improve their language use.

    The sixth grade Reading course teaches essential comprehension skills and strategies while students read closely and cite evidence from grade-level fiction and nonfiction to support an analysis of what the materials say.   Students apply skills they learned in earlier grades to make sense of longer, more challenging books and articles.  This includes learning about how authors try to influence readers and then find reasons to support their ideas.  Students develop a rich vocabulary of complex and sophisticated words and use them to speak and write more precisely and coherently.  Including but not limited to skills necessary for formal presentations, students develop a range of broadly useful oral communication and interpersonal skills.  They must learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information from oral, visual, quantitative, and media sources, evaluate what they hear, use media and visual displays strategically to help achieve communicative purposes, and adapt speech to context and task.



    Pearson Prentice Hall Literature 

    Writing Coach, Grade 6



              Students will read and comprehend text across the curriculum and will read and respond to a variety of text.  Students will also write for a variety of audiences, purposes, and contexts while applying their reading and writing skills to demonstrate learning.




    • Analyze how chapters of a book, scenes of a play, or stanzas of a poem fit into the overall structure of the piece and contribute to the development of ideas or themes.
    • Gain knowledge from materials that make extensive use of elaborate diagrams and data to convey information and illustrate concepts.
    • Evaluate the argument and specific claims in written materials or a speech, and distinguish claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
    • Present claims and finding to others orally, sequencing ideas logically, and accentuating main ideas or themes.
    • Write arguments that provide clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources.
    • Write brief reports that examine a topic, have a clear focus, and include relevant facts, details, and quotations.
    • Conduct short research projects to answer a question. Draw on several sources, and sharpen the focus based on the research findings.
    • Review and paraphrase key ideas and multiple perspectives of a speaker.
    • Recognize variations from standard English in his or her own and others’ writing and speaking, and use this knowledge to improve language use.
    • Determine the correct meaning of a word based on the context in which it is used (e.g. the rest of the sentences or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence).



    93-100  =  A

    77-79 = C+

    67-69 = D+

    90-92    =  A-

    73-76 = C

    63-66 = D

    80-82    =  B-

    70-72 = C-

    0-59 = F

    The English/Language Arts and Reading grade will be based upon homework, notes, essays, quizzes, and tests.  The final Reading and ELA grades will be weighted according to the specific task. Assessments OF Learning will comprise 70% of the overall grade, which are end of the unit tests, and Assessments FOR Learning will make up the remaining 30%.  This includes various homework/in class assignments, and other weekly items.



    1.)   Be Prepared- Students should bring all necessary materials with them to class.  This includes their notebook, binder, paper, pencil, pen, textbook, homework, and any other requested supplies.

    2.)Be Respectful- Students should always be courteous and polite toward other students and adults in the classroom.

    3.)Be On Time- Students should be quietly sitting in their assigned seat before the bell rings ready to work.



              It is my expectation that students turn all homework in on time.  If a student does not turn in an assignment on time, students are able to submit an OOPS Pass.  Parents are notified the pass has been used at this time.  Two OOPS Passes are given for each core class per quarter.  If assignments continue to be turned in late, the student will receive a late notice to attend a mandatory PACE study session held after school until 3:30.  Again, communication will be sent home so parents are aware of this occurrence.  At the end of each quarter if students have retained any of their OOPS passes, they may enter them in a drawing for prizes and rewards.



              It is the responsibility of students to determine what work they have missed due to absence.  Questions for the teacher about missed work should be asked at an appropriate time.  This could be accomplished before or after school, during Guided Studies, or even passing.  Please refer to the Student Handbook for the time allowed for work to be made up.  If a student is in attendance up until the day when a test, quiz, or homework assignment is due, it is my expectation the student will complete the assignment, test, or quiz the day they return to school.




    First Quarter 

    Theme:  Relationships

    Skill Focus:


    • Cite textual evidence
    • Determine theme
    • Elements of a story
    • Point of view
    • Narrative writing
    • Writing process
    • Use of context clues
    • Greek/Latin affixes and roots
    • Demonstrate command of standard grade-level conventions
    • Pronouns (subjective, objective, possessive, intensive)


    Second Quarter 

    Theme:  Journey

    Skill Focus:


    • Analyze how pieces of text fit into overall structure
    • Compare/contrast texts in different forms and genres
    • Cite textual evidence
    • Determine central idea
    • Author's point of view
    • Information/research
    • Draw evidence from text as support
    • MLA/parenthetical citations and bibliography
    • Adapt speech to contexts and tasks
    • Present claims and findings
    • Figurative language
    • Distinguish between the connotations and denotations of words


    Third Quarter


    Theme:  Communication

    Skill Focus:


    • Compare/contrast a written story, drama, or poem to another media version
    • Integrate information presented in different media to develop understanding
    • Trace and evaluate an argument and its claims
    • Compare/contrast one author's presentation to that of another
    • Write arguments to support claims with evidence
    • Determine reasons that are supported to those claims that are not
    • Present claims and findings with appropriate eye contact, volume, and pronunciation
    • Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations
    • Use knowledge of language and its conventions when reading, writing, speaking, reading, or listening


    Fourth Quarter

    Theme:  Human Spirit

    Skill Focus:


    • Continue to read and comprehend literature proficiently 
    • Encounter a diverse range of engaging text that motivate the desire to be literate
    • Read both independently and collaboratively to be media literate
    • Continue to write routinely over extended and short time frames
    • Review speaking, listening, and language skills previously taught