Ancient Civilizations

(In-Schools Program)

May 10,2012, 8:10 AM - 9:05 AM @ Everett Middle School
Dear 826 Valencia tutors,

Thank you very much for donating your time to helping my students work on their writing skills.  For their end of the year project, my students are researching a particular aspect of an ancient civilization we have studied:  China, Greece, Rome, Egypt (Hebrews), and India.   Students have been primarily working on their reading skills this year along with focusing on writing responses to literature.  As a result, this is the first research report that they are completing as middle schoolers; they could certainly use extra guidance as they progress through the writing process. 

Currently, they are busy reading about their civilizations and identifying a focus for their reports as they work in groups of 1 to 3 students.  When the tutors work with the students, they will have already gathered evidence and information about their topic.  For the May 9th and 10th class periods, the students will be working on taking their evidence and organizing it into a five paragraph rough draft. 

My students are familiar with the idea of introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions.  They also know that when you state larger ideas, you should expand on them with evidence and elaborations. 

This year, we have been color coding our sentence types, with green being the main idea/topic sentence, yellow being the bigger ideas, and red being the details/evidence/elaborations.  While they are comfortable identifying these different paragraph parts, many of them still struggle with giving relevant details and making their main ideas clear. This year we have worked a lot on sentence structure, so it would be great to work with the students on mixing up their sentence types to make it more interesting for the reader: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex.  

By the end of May 10th, it would be great to have them well on their way to completing their rough drafts.  On the 14th, the focus will be on revising their essays again for organization, clarity, and sentence variety. On the 17th, the focus will be on editing for punctuation, capitalization, and other conventions.  Thank you for any time that you are able to donate!

Best Regards,
Ms. Ambrose  (Katie)

Grade: 6

450 Church Street San Francisco, CA 94114