Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year!  We will be making greater use of Google Classroom this year, so once your student has joined, you will be added as their guardian.  That is the platform through which they can receive and then submit online assignments.  I can also easily share announcements, online videos and articles through that forum.

I look forward to meeting your 6th graders on Tuesday, and I look forward to a great partnership with you!

November Happenings

Our year is well under way now!  We have one novel under our belts and have built sufficient background knowledge of geography concepts to start applying them to the countries of the world.  We are now on to studying Northern, Southern, and Western Europe as those areas tie in to the settings of our first two ELA novels, The Witches (Norway and England) and Number the Stars (WWII Denmark and general reading/study of WWII non-fiction reading materials).

Students also created their own blogs where they will publish some writing throughout the year.  Ask your 6th grader for the password to be able to see their blog after clicking on the name of it in blue under the owl to the right of this post.

Thank you to all the families who have sent in artifacts for our World Geography Museum so far!  You can click on the interactive map to the right of your screen to see what we have borrowed so far and where the items originated from.  We could use more!  Please ask family at Thanksgiving if you get the chance!  Your generosity is much appreciated!


Off to a Great Start!

The 2017-2018 school year is off to a great start!  Students have mastered lockers and schedules and are getting to know each other and their teachers better as the days progress.

We have established routines and in ELA daily warm ups all year, we will work on character traits/character education, interpreting quotes/figurative language, constructing detailed sentences while identifying and discussing parts of speech, editing for COPS (capitalization, organization, punctuation, spelling), and writing.  We have reviewed common Greek/Latin roots and students have been challenged to find them in their SSR books over the course of the year in order to earn hillbills.  We have also reviewed literary genres and have practiced identifying the genres of books from our classroom library.  This week, we will wrap up the genre unit, talk vocabulary strategies, and may get to literary devices and figurative language.  A spelling and vocabulary assessment is planned for Friday- the word list can be found at quizlet.com by searching for “hillbills” and then choosing “17-18 ELA” under the Classes tab.

In Geography, we have reviewed map basics such as continents, oceans and important latitude and longitude lines including the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, the Equator, and the Prime Meridian.  We have introduced the five themes of geography and will continue to explore them as the year unfolds.  We will look at geographers tools more closely over the course of this week an next.  Students all have access to the online text by visiting connected.mcgraw-hill.com .  They have a sticker on the Geo pocket of their red folders with their login information.  An online assignment was started in class and is due on Friday.  Please have your student arrange a time to stay after school with me, or a trip to the Charlton Public Library if computer access at home is an issue. 

You can see pictures of some of our class activities by following @CMSOwls on Twitter or Facebook.


This blog is to provide information to parents and students on our ELA and Geo class activities throughout the school year.  Be sure to subscribe (look down and to the left of this page) in order to receive emails when something new is posted.  There are also ways to receive homeroom reminders and test and quiz alerts on your cell phones.  To sign up for homeroom reminders like spirit days, report card release dates, parent teacher conference reminders, etc:

Text the message  @1718hrinfo to the number 81010

To sign up for quiz, test, project alerts from Ms. Hill and Mrs. Gering:

Text the message @6-1alerts to the number 81010

Attached is the team letter that will go home with students on the first day of school, in case it helps you with getting ready early.  We’re looking forward to meeting everyone on Tuesday.  It is going to be a GREAT year!  🙂

6-1 and 6-2 Team Letter 2017-20k8249

MCAS Next Week

Students will be taking their ELA MCAS next Tuesday and Wednesday.  Please reassure them that they are ready since all of the reading and writing they have done all year has been preparing them- for the test, yes- but more importantly for their next years of school and ultimately, whatever path they choose in life.  The reading and writing they have done has improved their skills, but also has introduced them to new times in history and to people of different backgrounds, and in doing so has cultivated empathy in them and an approach to understanding the neighbors that share this earth with them.  Everyone grows and grasps knowledge at their own unique pace, but all of our kiddos have grown and I am very proud of them for their efforts.  Tuesday and Wednesday, let them show off all that they are capable of, and then I look forward to getting back to exploring great books with them afterwards.  🙂

Extra Credit Opportunity

We are currently beginning study of Middle Eastern Countries in geography and are reading the book I am Malala in English Language Arts.  In both classes, as well as in the news quite regularly, the topic of Islam comes up.

On Thursday, March 9, the Charlton Public Library is hosting a presentation by Mona Ives of the Worcester Islamic Center from 6:30-8:00.  Students can receive an extra 100 test grade in geography by attending the event.  I will provide library staff with documentation to give to students who attend and students will briefly share some of what they learned with their classmates.  A flyer is attached below with information on how to register.

Wrapping up Quarter 2

Students are currently reading the novel, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963, a historical fiction novel which uses humor to introduce students to this time in our nation’s past.  Their vocabulary test on words from this book is this Friday, and in order to help get ready, students are completing a vocab personifying activity which is due Thursday:

Students should choose 10 of their vocabulary words (these can be found on quizlet.com- search hillbills, then choose Watsons go to Birmingham 1963- if their list was forgotten at home).  They then need to personify these words by turning them into a person and writing a three sentence biography telling what the person says/does to make them live up to their name.  Their characters can be related or interract if it makes sense.  They should also draw a picture for each.


Mr. Cower–   Mr. Cower lives huddled in a corner since he is terrified of just about everything and everyone.  He trembles pretty much non-stop because of this fear, which actually burns a lot of calories and keeps him trim.  He has a crush on Ms. Scarlet, but nothing will probably ever come of it since Mr. Cower also has a phobia of the color red.

Inline image 1

Ms. Scarlet–  Ms. Scarlet is a very fashionable lady who always wears the color red.  Her hair is also a shade of red and she always wears red lipstick.  She embarrasses very easily, so it should come as no surprise that her face is often red- especially when Mr. Cower is nearby.

Inline image 2

In Geography, we are learning about Western Europe’s History and Culture and then we will move on to the Middle East so that students will have an understanding of the setting/background of I am Malala which we will read in late February/March.

Happy Holidays!


Early next week, we will be wrapping up our reading of the C.S. Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.   Through this novel we have explored vocabulary in context, identified figurative language and sensory imagery as it was used in context, have practiced fluency and understanding how quotations are used for dialogue through reading this in “Reader’s Theater” style, and we reviewed the story elements of character, setting and plot.  As the culminating project for this book, students are creating a set of 12 trading cards based on their understanding of the characters, setting, and plot of the story.  We will compare the book to its movie version on 12/23 as we transition into vacation mode.  🙂

In geography, we wrap up our learning about Northern and Southern Europe this week with our discussion of culture, including an exploration of Greek myth.  Next we move on to Western Europe followed by Antarctica.

Important Dates:

Progress Reports go home: 12/16/16

Spelling/Vocab Test on Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe word list: 12/20/16

LWW Trading Cards Due: 12/23/16

Season of Sharing Gifting Day- 12/23/16  Please see the gold sheet your student brought home on this- they chose another student to think of this month and to present with 1)a used book they will enjoy, 2)a recipe to make with their family, 3)a set of window clings (we made these in school), 4)something cool/beautiful from outside in nature, and 5)a Google Doc with a letter, a picture from the internet their person would enjoy, and a link to a video their person would enjoy.   Nothing should be purchased for this activity- we are hoping kids will enjoy thinking about a peer and planning these little gifts for them.  It is the thought that counts here!  Thank you for helping make this activity a success.

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday and winter break!  See you next year!

November Update

Number the Stars Spelling/Vocabulary on Quizlet

We are about to begin our exploration of WWII through the novel Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  To prepare for this novel unit, students are researching the setting of Denmark in geography and building background knowledge about the war through video and non-fiction resources.  This background knowledge will provide a scaffold on which to build their understanding of the events and the characters’ feelings and motivations in the story.

In addition to text based spelling and vocabulary activities and assessments, students will create a graphic novel version of the book as their novel based project.  Students will be assigned chapters and tasked with choosing the 8 most important events to depict and convey in the very concise graphic novel format.

Number the Stars Cover

Students are also practicing interacting with the text by making predictions before reading each day.  These predictions are on their blogs.  Ask your 6th grader if their predictions panned out!  🙂

In geography, we are finally ready to apply all we have learned about climate, land forms, and the elements of culture to actual places in the world.  We start with Northern and Southern Europe.