December 17

Prewriting with Block 1/5


Seven Things You May Not Know About Mrs. O’Brien

  1. I really wanted a dog growing up but I had to wait until I was 22 years old before I got one.
  2. My middle name is Rose.
  3. I used to write feature articles for the Washington Redskins magazine at Redskins Park.
  4. I’ve never been on a cruise; I’d like to go on one.
  5. I  am left-handed.
  6. When I was little, I used to be terrified of the theme song to an old TV show called, “Unsolved Mysteries.
  7. I love pretty containers of all kinds (boxes, jars, bottles); one of my favorite stores is The Container Store.

Classwork Today – Block 2/6


As we continue to read “Fish in a Tree,” I wanted to give you time during class to reflect on what we’ve read so far.
I would like you to spend ten minutes on this.

1. Take the first few minutes to think  about what you want to say. Jot this down somewhere so you stay focused as you write.
2. Think about including your answers to the following questions:

  • What do you think about Ally?
  • What do you think about her classmates? Who do you find likeable – why or why not?
  • What do you think of Mr. Daniels? Explain.
  • Do you find the story authentic and real-to-life? Explain why or why not.

3. After you are finished, before you submit for review, please check that you have:

  • used capitals when needed;
  • used correct punctuation;
  • elaborated with text examples;
  • and spelled words correctly.

Welcome Sixth Graders!

Dear Students,

I’m very excited to introduce our  class blog with you. The best part? Each of you will contribute to its AWESOMENESS (is that even a word?!) by linking your individual blog to it!

How do I do that? you may be wondering. That’s okay. That’s what the next few classes will explore. We will be kicking off our journey today by studying last year’s student blogs. As we browse the blogs, please ponder the following questions:

  • What did students do last year on their blogs that you like and may borrow? How will you build upon their ideas and what you discover today?
  • What do you think you could do better?
  • What topics are you itching to write about and share with others?
  • What audience do you hope to attract with your blog? Your classmates or other sixth grade students?  Students in other grade levels here at Eagle Ridge? What adults will be reading your blog? Other teachers at Eagle Ridge, parents, adults in Loudoun County, and the WORLD?!
  • What privacy/safety precautions should we always follow as we blog?
  • How will blogging help us learn and grow as readers and writers?
  • What will your first blog post be about?
  • What title or name will you give your blog? How will it announce your blog’s purpose?

Lots to think about today as we explore. My heartfelt hope for each of you is that you will truly enjoy blogging this year, and find your unique voice to add to the Blogosphere.

Mrs. O’Brien



Creative Response to Story: Choose one of the following. You should finish this for homework and bring to class to share tomorrow:

Choice 1: Write a vocabulary poem (like the ones from The Crossover) using a word from the article. A detailed example with guidelines is on the class The honors classes already had this for homework so you Block 5 will definitely need to review the guidelines.
Choice 2: Write any kind of poem you wish that shows me how you feel when you think of The Holocaust and/or the life of Anne Frank.
Choice 3: Write a Thank You letter to Anne explaining why you are grateful she left us her diary.
Choice 4: Draw a picture that illustrates how you feel after reading this article. You must include a one paragraph explanation of what you drew and why to submit with your drawing.


My Vocabulary Poem

Reflection: As I was trying to choose a word for the poem, I struggled to find a word that represented all of the emotions that surround the life and death of Anne Frank. And what her legacy is for me. I thought maybe I should write from my unique perspective as a teacher, who used to be a young girl and student.

Legacy is the word that comes to mind for me. As Anne wrote in her diary, “If God lets me live…I shall not remain insignificant…I shall work for in the world for mankind.” The article ends with the sentence, “Through her diary, Anne Frank lives forever.”
Isn’t that what most of us want? For our lives to have meant something? As a teacher, I want my time in the classroom to inspire others. I want to make sure my students have time to discuss and respond to life in ways that are relevant to them. I am excited to see how my students will respond to this article on Anne Frank. So I’m going to title my vocabulary poem, “Legacy.”




Vocabulary Poem Guidelines

  • Find an interesting word in a book you are reading or that you’ve wondered about before for some reason. Maybe it sounds cool or you’ve always wondered how to use it in a sentence
  • Title of the poem is the word you choose. It should be written EXACTLY as it appears in the dictionary (
  • pronunciation should be written underneath title (exactly as it appears in the dictionary)
  • part of speech (from dictionary)
  • Length: It should be at least 4 stanzas
  • Stanza 1: A version of the dictionary’s definition
  • Stanza’s 2, 3, 4 (or more) should begin with:
    As in:
    and then give an example of using this word in a sentence. The sentence should reflect either your personal feelings about a topic using your word; or, the feelings/perspective of a character you are reading about. (Or both, if you choose)
  • The final stanza should use the word and let the reader know what your “So What” is for the word…in other words…why is this word important enough to you that you chose it as your poem subject
  • Make sure you italicize the word in the poem whenever you use it.


Here’s an example from The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (p.104):

 i ron ic

[AY-RON-IK] adjective

Having a curious or humorous
unexpected sequence of events
marked by coincidence.

As in: The fact that Vondie
hates astronomy
and his mom works for NASA
is ironic.

As in: It’s not ironic
that Grandpop died
in a hospital
and Dad doesn’t like

As in: Isn’t it ironic 
that showoff JB,
with all his swagger,
is too shy
to talk
to Miss Sweet Tea,
so he gives me the phone?





Need a prompt?

If you would like some ideas for blog posts, consider the following from our reading of “The Golden Curse” in Scholastic Scope:

* The Roman Philosopher Seneca once said, “It is not the man who has little, but he who desires more, that is poor.” What did Seneca mean? How do the essay and the play both support Seneca’s statement?

*What do people need in life to be happy?

*How important is money in life?

king-midas (2)

*Can you have too much money?



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Posted December 17, 2015 by Mrs. O'Brien in category Uncategorized

About the Author

Greetings! I'm Mrs. O'Brien! I teach sixth grade language arts for Loudoun County Public Schools in Northern Virginia. This is the classroom blog I created to share all of the fabulous things the students do in class with their parents, teachers, other students, and the entire blogosphere!

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