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Grade 6 Common Core Language Standards Alignment
Conventions of Standard English:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.a: Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.b: Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.c: Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.d: Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.e: Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others’ writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
Students will be able to write poems that incorporate and call attention to these conventions of English grammar and usage.
Conventions of Standard English, continued:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.a: Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1.a: Spell correctly.
Students will be able to write poems that incorporate and call attention to these aspects of English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
Knowledge of Language:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.3.a: Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.3.b: Maintain consistency in style and tone.
The WITS program is designed so that students will be able to pay close attention to language, use care when making choices for effect, and write with authority. Students will be able to produce cohesive poems, in which consistency in style and tone is maintained throughout. Students will also be able to experiment with and adapt their writing style in order to suit the exigencies of various exercises. While students will be able to vary their style and tone from prompt to prompt, they will also be able to maintain consistency in style and tone within an individual poem.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 6 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.4.a: Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.4.b: Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., audience, auditory, audible).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.4.c: Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.4.d: Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
Visiting writers will read published poems as models aloud to the students. Through class discussion, students will then be able to collectively decode unknown words by using context clues. Word banks (and/or other vocabulary tools) will also be used to call students’ attention to words with common affixes and roots. Students will be able to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words, and incorporate these new words into their poetry. Visiting writers also incorporate classroom dictionaries and reference materials into prompts and exercises as well.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, part 2:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5.a: Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5.b: Use the relationship between particular words (e.g., cause/effect, part/whole, item/category) to better understand each of the words.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5.c: Distinguish among the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions) (e.g., stingy, scrimping, economical, unwasteful, thrifty).
Our poetry prompts are designed so that students will be able to demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. Some of our prompts are designed so that students will be able to distinguish among the connotations of words with similar definitions, to better understand relationships between words, and to use word relationships in writing for effect and for meaning-making.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, part 3:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Many of our prompts require students to focus their attention on the careful selection of words and phrases and to consider the importance of language with regard to comprehension and expression (with regard to audience, especially). Visiting writers will read model poems aloud to the students. Through class discussion, students will be able to discuss the meaning, effects, and importance of words and phrases, and then, individually, students will be able to incorporate vocabulary and phrases from these works into their own poetry.
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Grade 6 Common Core Reading Standards Alignment – Literature
Key Ideas and Details:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
When presenting prompts, visiting writers will read published poems aloud as models. Through class discussion, students will be able to verbally cite textual evidence from model poems in order to support analysis of what the text explicitly says and to support inferences about the poems’ meanings and themes.
Key Ideas and Details, continued:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Visiting writers present prompts using published poems as models. Through class discussion, students will be able to summarize the poems and identify themes therein. Students will also be able to determine a theme or central idea and refer to specific details from the text in order to support their analysis.
Craft and Structure:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5 Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
When presenting prompts, visiting writers will read published poems aloud as models. Through class discussion, students will be able to analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot. Many of our prompts are designed to call attention to organization and structure. Some of our prompts instruct students to write multiple stanzas. In addition to re-ordering their stanzas, students will be able to re-order their lines as well, and notice the effects (i.e. changes in emphasis and meaning) in doing so.
Craft and Structure, part 2:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6 Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Much like how fiction contains a distinct “narrator” and a separate “author,” in poetry, we refer to the “speaker” of the poem so that we do not falsely attribute the attitudes and beliefs expressed within a poem to its poet. Visiting writers will read model poems aloud to the students. Through class discussion, students will call attention to the speaker of the poem’s point of view. Also, students will be able to write poems using creative narrators (personas), including body parts, inanimate objects, weather events, and/or other people.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Visiting writers introduce students to poems both at grade-level and above grade-level. This contributes to students reading, comprehending, and seeking out advanced texts by the end of the academic year.
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Grade 6 Common Core Speaking & Listening Standards Alignment
Comprehension and Collaboration:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.a: Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.b: Follow rules for collegial discussions, set specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.c: Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1.c: Review the key ideas expressed and demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing.
Visiting writers lead a 2-day discussion and workshop about poetry, poetic terms, and creative writing with the students. Students will be able to listen to the writers, participate in guided discussion, build on one another’ ideas, clearly express their own ideas, and ask (and answer) questions for clarification. Our workshop takes place over two consecutive days, and students are required to recall the previous day’s lesson, review and explain key ideas, draw upon that information and apply it to their work on the second day. Upon the completion of each prompt, when students take turns sharing their poems by reading aloud to the class, the class will be able to adhere to the “poets’ code” and practice careful and respectful listening.
Comprehension and Collaboration, part 2:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Visiting writers will read model poems aloud and/or project model poems onto a screen for the students. Through class discussion, students will be able to summarize the text, paraphrase portions of the text, and recount key ideas and details from the work. Some of our prompts are designed so that visiting writers will display artwork or play a piece of music for students. Students will then consider the meaning, tone, and themes of the presented work and develop poems that recall specific details and communicate students’ reflections, observations, and responses.
Comprehension and Collaboration, part 3:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3 Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
Visiting writers will read model poems aloud to the students. Through class discussion, students will call attention to the speaker of the poem’s point of view. (Much like how fiction contains a distinct “narrator” and a separate “author,” in poetry, we refer to the “speaker” of the poem so that we do not falsely attribute the attitudes and beliefs expressed within a poem to its poet.) Students will be able to summarize the speaker’s claims, and distinguish claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.4 Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
WITS prompts are designed so that students will be able to draw from their own knowledge, observations, and experiences in order to make poems. Our program emphasizes the value and effects of specific, concrete details in order to describe an abstract concept. Many of our prompts contain a revision component that is designed to call attention to organization and structure; through re-ordering information, students will be able to notice how emphasis and meaning can be determined by structure. At the conclusion of each prompt, students are given the opportunity to take turns reading their poems aloud to the class.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas, continued:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Students will be able to adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks and write poems that incorporate formal English and informal discourses. Through this activity, students will be able to call attention to the relationship between discourse and appropriate task and situation.
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Grade 6 Common Core Writing Standards Alignment
Text Types and Purposes:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6.a: Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6.b: Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6.c: Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6.d: Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.6.e: Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
Visiting writers present prompts that ask students to write narrative poems (real or imagined) and students will be able to employ effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. Students will be able to use narrative techniques–such as dialogue, pacing, sequencing, and description–to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. The WITS program emphasizes the value using precise language, and is designed to encourage the employment of concrete details and sensory details in order to convey an abstract concept. Specificity is emphasized and encouraged. Students will be able to call attention to the sequencing of elements and their development, and establish a beginning as well as close with a fitting conclusion. Many prompts are designed so that students will employ transition words and phrases, calling attention to the relationships or shifts between events or thoughts (or the relationship or shift between thought and event).
Production and Distribution of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Students are given clear, specific instructions and prompts for making poems and will be able to produce clear and coherent poems containing proper development, organization, and style. Lessons and prompts are designed in such a way that students will be able to consider their own poem’s organization and structure, style, purpose, and intended audience.
Production and Distribution of Writing, continued:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Visiting writers will ask students to brainstorm (collectively and/or independently) before writing. Visiting writers walk around the room and spend one-on-one time with students as they work on their poems. Visiting writers also introduce students to revision techniques such as replacing weak, vague verbs with strong, specific verbs; improving descriptions by choosing more specific language; and/or removing ineffective lines from their poems. Students are also encouraged to play with syntax and re-order their lines. Many WITS prompts are designed with a built-in revision component.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.9.a: Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
Many prompts are designed to function as responses to and/or imitations of model published poems. Students will be able to determine themes and approaches within poems and make comparisons between poems. When making their own poems, students will synthesize their own experiences, observations, and knowledge with the forms and techniques presented by visiting writers in model poems.
Range of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Students will be able to write poems from a variety of prompts over short time frames (each prompt ranges from 2 to 15 minutes). Prompts are presented using published poems as models. Visiting writers guide students in a discussion about the model poem’s purpose and intended audience, and students will be able to write with a specific purpose and with a specific audience in mind.