Mrs. Guenther's 6th Grade Reading, Language, and History Website
(Always Under Construction)
Welcome to Room 241
Mrs. Karen Guenther
Phone (360) 885-6250
Dear Students and Families,
Hello and welcome! I am honored to be a part of your 6th grade experience, and look forward to an engaging and exciting year, during which students will gain new critical thinking skills, writing experience, and confidence to tackle challenges with a growth-mindset. I am committed to cultivating positive relationships with students that will motivate them to put forth their best effort and to explore content creatively.
I am excited to be teaching Reading, Language, and History. My training includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UC Davis, and a Master’s degree in secondary education from Washington State University Vancouver. Previously, I taught 7th grade English Language Arts and History at middle schools in Amboy and Camas.
An avid reader, I often finish three or four books a week. Three of my favorite juvenile titles include To Kill a Mockingbird, Anne of Green Gables, and The Giver. Previously, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), completing a 50,000-word young adult novel. Besides reading and writing, I enjoy taking photographs, cooking fiery Indian and Thai curries, playing family games, and hiking. This summer I took oil painting and photography classes, traveled to Cannon Beach and northern Washington, and trained our golden retriever puppy, Annie. Are any of you fans of the Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Seahawks? I am. Another interesting fact about me is that I grew up in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, attending the same school as President Obama. Also, I have been a vegetarian for more than 40 years.
I love teaching at Tukes Valley Middle School. I look forward to getting to know all of my students and their families. If you see me at school, please stop and say, “Hello.” If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s learning experiences and progress, please email or call me. Checking Skyward Family Access regularly to monitor your child’s grades will be helpful. Parents are essential partners in their children’s learning; together, we can make sure that 6th grade is a great year for Tukes Valley Middle School students.
Mrs. Karen Guenther
Reading (periods 1 & 7)
- The Language of Literature
- Student-selected independent reading books
- Class novels TBD
Topics and skills:
Students will learn to identify and discuss main ideas and supporting details in complex texts. While reading, students will make inferences and predictions; after reading, they will be able to summarize key ideas. Citing text evidence, students will support and explain their claims, making connections. They will practice strategies to increase comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. Besides correctly using literary terms, including plot, setting, point-of-view, characterization, tone, genre, simile, metaphor, and alliteration, they learn to locate examples in the texts. Students will read and engage with a variety of texts, from poems and narratives, to essays and biographies. Most importantly, I hope your children will enjoy reading their self-selected independent reading books every day! Strong readers grow into strong writers, usually experiencing more academic success in school.
- Monthly Genre Projects
- Independent Reading Logs (self-reported in class)
- Reading Comprehension Assessments
- One-Sentence Summaries
Tests 50%, Coursework 40%, Reading Logs 10%
Language (periods 2 & 8)
- Literacy Journal (composition notebook)
Topics and skills:
During language, students will experience the full writing process, from brainstorming to polishing, utilizing constructive feedback from peers and teacher to revise work meaningfully along the way. Students will write poems, narratives, memoirs, comic strips, expository writing, and persuasive compositions. Creativity, clean mechanics, vivid word choice, varied sentence structures, and experimentation with literary devices will be encouraged. Students will also learn new grammar and research skills. Working all year, students will create student portfolios to demonstrate their learning, and will also complete a 20% Project of their choice in the second semester. Finally, we will devote time each week to learning and using new vocabulary words through varied activities and games.
- Varied Writing Assignments, including formal narrative, informational, persuasive, and poetry assignments, as well as daily writing.
- Personal Portfolio Project (starting in fall), and 20% Project in Second Semester (due in June)
- Vocabulary Study and Tests (every other Friday)
- Grammar Study and Assessments (every other Friday)
Writing 60%, Coursework 20%, Vocabulary 20%
History (period 6)
- History Alive! The Ancient World (purple book)
- History Alive! Workbook
Topics and Skills:
Students will learn about ancient civilizations, including India, China, and Greece, comparing their forms of government, cultures, religions, technological advances, and notable scientific and artistic achievements. Through hands-on projects, students will gain a sense of time and place in the ancient world in relation to current times and events.
- Varied Unit Projects
- Geography Assignments
- Current Event Articles
- Unit Assessments (quizzes, CEEL paragraphs, tests)
Coursework 30%, Projects 30%, Tests 40%
- Students will submit work electronically through Google Classroom, or turn physical papers into the appropriate tray in class.
- I expect students to read for twenty minutes each evening. Students who use class time wisely should be able to complete assignments in class so that they can enjoy family time and pursue personal interests in the evening.
- All assignments should include the student’s full name, the date, and the cohort name, positioned on the right. For example, a student would write:
- The expected due dates for assignments will be listed on the calendar; I often extend the dates when I notice that students, in spite of using their class time efficiently, need more time. Late assignments should be turned in as soon as possible; zeroes hurt grades. Assignments not turned in will be marked as “missing” on Skyward and will be awarded zero points. Students have until three days before the end of the semester to submit missing assignments, but work turned in one week late may lose 10%, and work turned in more than two weeks late may lose 20% of the possible points. (Students with excused absences have one day for each day missed plus one bonus day to make up work.) If students complete an assignment but score below 50%, they will receive 50% as a grade.
Students need to be safe, respectful, responsible and kind.
What does this look like in the classroom?
Safe classroom behavior includes:
- Asking permission to leave the classroom and signing out so that the teacher knows the location of all students.
- Sitting with chair legs flat on the floor, not tipped back, which can lead to head injuries.
- Passing items to another student rather than throwing them.
- Following safety drill procedures and remaining silent until the drill ends.
- Keeping their hands to themselves and refraining from roughhousing.
Respectful behavior includes:
- Using polite language, with no put-downs, curses, or rude humor.
- Being friendly and helpful to all students, staff members, and guests.
- Following reasonable directions from adults without arguing.
- Listening to presenters attentively.
Responsible behavior includes:
- Arriving to class on time, ready to learn.
- Working together to solve conflicts, but getting help from an adult for serious matters such as bullying.
- Communicating about absences and making up missed work in a timely fashion. (Check Skyward regularly for missing assignments).
- Using technology to conduct research on school-appropriate, relevant websites.
Kind behavior includes:
- Showing empathy when someone is sad, discouraged, anxious, excluded, or ill.
- Noticing and helping others to solve problems.
- Using positive words to encourage others to keep trying.
- Appreciating people’s kindnesses to you.
Positive Rewards for Exceptional Community Spirit
- Individual students will earn school tickets for exceeding basic expectations. At the start of class, students may redeem their tickets for special privileges including sitting by friends for a period, enjoying snacks during class, or using the teacher's chair. (Only one person per class may move to sit by a friend).
- Safe, responsible, respectful, and kind actions will be noticed and appreciated. The teacher will respond by occasionally providing students with unstructured time for indoor games or outside play.
- Disruptive Behavior
Consequences depend upon the seriousness of the student’s behavior. For minor issues, a student will:
- Be directed to move to a designated table (our island getaway) to review classroom expectations and complete reflection form
- Be sent to a buddy room (Mrs. Vaught’s room) and fill out a reflection form
- Be asked to come up with a creative way of making amends through service
Consequences for significant disruptive behavior, especially actions that are unsafe or disrespect the rights of other community members, or repeated disruptive behavior, will include:
- An office referral
- A phone call home
Thank you! We are going to have a great year. Mrs. Guenther