Over the past four weeks, I had the opportunity to grow as an educator by teaching summer school; however, I was even more fortunate enough to get to know 18 incoming 6th graders for the upcoming school year. They brought with them a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.
During our summer school reading program, we focused on a different reading topic (context clues, main idea, summarization, and inferences) each week for four weeks. Over these past four weeks, my students mastered these topics and demonstrated their learning through projects, activities, and assessments. Students had the opportunity to investigate these four topics through various online videos such as BrainPop and Flocabulary, construct interactive notebook pages on the topics we studied, reading and decoding A TON of non-fiction text, and writing… A lot of writing. As a class, we wrote on a daily basis, and I was fortunate enough to NOT receive the typical question, “Mr. Marconi…Why do we write so much?” until late into the third week.
Throughout the four weeks that I worked with these students, we worked on constructing a well-developed paragraph on a daily basis. Every week we started out with a new brainstorming page and moved to writing our details/explanations. After that came our topic and closing sentences, and finally we put everything together and constructed our weekly paragraph. At the end of each week, we usually utilized our paragraphs by completing various activities that extended our learning of the topic for that week, especially during our two weeks on main idea and summarization. In one of the pictures below you can see where I had my students copy their paragraphs onto chart paper in order to allow other students to identify the topic, main idea, and supporting details of their classmates’ work. After students completed finding the elements of main idea in the paragraphs their final task was to summarize the paragraph they mapped out in twelve words or less.
Overall, these four weeks have given me an extreme amount of hope and satisfaction. I have hope that each of the 18 students I worked with will take the information they learned into the new school year with them as new middle school students, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that my school will be getting some amazingly talented new 6th graders come August 25! :)