What Are We Going to Do For the 6th Six Weeks?!?!

Thursday, April 3, 2014
your curly friend, Suzanne

Raise your hand if you've asked yourself that question lately.  The test is over, but {for the sake of mental health, I'm not going to count} weeks lie between us and summer.  What's a girl (or guy) to do?!

{insert trumpet blasts}

Might I present to you the 6th installment of our Common Thread series: Growing Up.  If you're thinking to yourself- "Whoa! How did I miss 1-5?!", you're not alone.  Common Thread is a lesson series that I've had envisioned for a while now but just brought the first one to completion...here at the end of the school year.  Whoopsie!  So, we'll get a taste for this AND finish the year strong.  Sound like a plan?  Good!

Common Thread is collection of 12 texts that revolve around a central theme- in this case, growing up.  Students can be as dependent or independent as you want them to be.  You can pick your favorites to whole group.  Choose several texts for students to jigsaw, or allow them to have free reign and choose the texts they want to read.  The goal could be to read all 12 texts or you could ask them to choose 2 from each category.  Several different summarization tools are included.  

After students have spent a class period or two reading, have them select two texts to work with in a connecting Short Answer Question.  Theme-based essay prompts are also included.  

Each thematic until will include a different extension activity.  For this collection, students will end by writing an epic poem of their life.  Step by step instructions are included that help students generate ideas and include poetic devices.  There are also easy ways that you could scaffold up or down as needed.  

I LOVE ending the year this way!  Students reflect on their journey thus far- successes, defeats, and what they've learned.  They then think about the future and what they hope to accomplish along the way.

To recap:
We love this first sixth Common Threads pack because it...
-provides twelve, thematically connected texts (3 literary, 3 expository, 3 poems, and 3 others)
-includes 5 Short Answer Questions, 2 expository prompts, and 2 persuasive prompts
-gives step-by-step instructions so that students are self-sufficient* while writing their epic poem 
-gives you a reason to incorporate and coo over their baby pictures
*As self-sufficient as they ever are.  I'm not a miracle worker!
Baby Lori & her baby 'fro
Baby Suz & her baby 'fro

What's not to love?!  Click here to have the 6th Six Weeks taken care of for you, and look for more in our Common Thread series this summer.


  1. Hey guys! I'm looking through Common Thread #6 and I'm curious about two of the summary strategies. Do you have a blog entry on how you do pages 7 and 8? I understand page 7, I just don't know your details of doing it, and I am clueless about the strategy on page 8. :) Also, the link for Drummer Boy is not working, but I have that text in an anthology.

    1. Hi Teresa!

      The Gist Statement on page 7 is a 25 word summary. That usually works out to 2-3 sentences. It encourages students to focus only on what's most important and using concise vocabulary. We have our students use this summary strategy for their Article of the Week.

      The countdown strategy on page 8 is similar. Students summarize the passage in 6 words, then 5, 4... The goal is that the one word summary is touching on the theme. I don't tell them that; I prefer to be sneaky about it!

      I tried opening Drummer Boy from the link with Google Chrome, and it worked for me. If you are still having trouble, email me (thecurlyclassroom@gmail.com) and I will send it to you as an attachment.