Larry J. MacalusoElementary School

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Mrs. Brenda Kilgore » BIO


I am pleased to introduce myself through this short biography.  I graduated from York College with my degree in elementary education, certified K-6.  I began my career as a teacher of English as a Second Language, and subsequently received my Masters degree in ESL.  I spent three rewarding years teaching students from many culturally diverse backgrounds in various school districts as an LIU employee.  I was then hired by Red Lion School District as a third grade teacher at Edgar Moore Elementary.  I taught one year in third grade and two years in second grade before being assigned to a sixth grade classroom.  I have come to love this grade level and the developmental age of these students.  When Edgar Moore building closed, I moved to LJM, still in sixth grade, and have taught here for seven years as a language arts teacher.  Since being at LJM, I have also been coaching the 5th-6th grade Envirothon teams to prepare for the annual competitions.  
My husband and I have a large blended family.  Our adult children and grandchildren are a great source of enjoyment and activity.  We also enjoy boating and cooking.  I am an avid reader and participate in a book club with friends that meets regularly in our favorite restaurants.

Recent Posts

Week of September 18, 2017

In writing, students are very close to beginning the draft of their first published piece.  They will be experimenting with different leads this week and drafting by the end of the week.  Writing is hard work and requires attention to detail.  The DLR work that they do is a test of their ability to pay attention to little details like periods and commas.  
In reading, students are continuing to learn about signposts in text that will help them infer, predict, determine theme and analyze a character's problem.
Dates to remember:
First day of autumn - September 22
Wear all one color day - October 4
Columbus Day (no school) - September 9

Week of September 11, 2017

Students are continuing to learn from mentor texts about good narrative writing.  Sixth graders are still working hard to move into storytelling instead of telling about.  This week, they will be working to craft good beginnings and figure out the underlying message in their stories.
In reading, we are beginning to learn about paying attention to "signposts" in fiction text and what questions they lead us to ask.  Students have been building up their reading stamina with good chunks of classroom time to read.
Please check Skyward for updated grades.
Take note of the following dates:
September 12 - PTO meeting
September 22 - LJM Kidstuff Fundraiser book or $ is due

Week of September 5, 2017

 I hope everyone had a safe and fun Labor Day weekend.  This week in writing, our students will continue to evaluate other narrative texts to learn what other authors do well and how they can apply these ideas to their own writing.  They have been practice writing small moments, and will continue to do so.  This week they will receive a graded DLR, which is due next Tuesday.  They may use their resources to complete this.
In reading, students are learning how to write about an inference that they can make in their reading. They have been given a format to follow that will help them write logically and coherently.  
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Please check the Notifications link to the right.  There is some important information there that you may need to be aware of.
Dates to Remember:
September 6 - Vacation T-shirt day
September 12 - Graded DLR due

Week of August 28, 2017

 Sixth Grade is settling into language arts.  We are getting to know each other and what our expectations are for this year.
This week in writing, students will begin to analyze various narrative texts to understand what good writers do.  They will be focusing on the details of a scene, using good word choice and description so that their readers can visualize the moment.  This is the beginning of the narrative unit of writing.  Students will eventually complete 2-3 published narratives.  All final writing is published in Google Classroom, which can be viewed at home through Google.
In reading, we are setting up our reading workshop time and reviewing various skills that good readers use.  Students have been given a reading log that they will complete every day.  At the end of the month, they will turn in their log, which will be graded for completion.
Please go to the link under Notifications in the sidebar to familiarize yourself with the new car rider policy.
Dates to Remember:
August 30 - Picture Day
September 4 - Labor Day (no school)
September 6 - Vacation T-shirt day
September 12 - PTO meeting

Welcome Back

 Welcome to my sixth grade language arts classroom. I will be updating these posts on a weekly basis with information about daily routines, expectations, and what is currently happening in our classroom.  I'm looking forward to meeting many of you at Meet the Teacher Night on August 17th.  Let's make this a great year of learning, relationships, and growing.

Final Week of 6th Grade!!

Students have been wrapping up projects this past week.  The teen activist essays have been published and are on their Google classroom docs for you to see.  I think they not only had another opportunity to write a well constructed essay, but they learned something about teenagers around the world who are making a difference.
They have also been enjoying working on a Decades project for Social Studies and reading.  In groups of 4-5, they are collaborating on a presentation about a decade in time, from the 50's to the 90's.  They will be presenting skits, music, fashion, and major events.  
Please note, there is a new policy from our school district regarding sunscreen.  A paper notice has come home explaining this policy.  If you feel that your student needs to have sunscreen for the times that they may be outside longer than 15 minutes, then please send it in with a note giving them permission to apply.  The sunscreen should also have a label on it with your student's name.  In addition to PE classes, we will be going outside next week several times for activities.
Please take note of the following dates:
May 25th - Sixth Grade party (after school)
May 26th - Select chorus going to Hershey
June 2nd - Last day of school - early dismissal
                                       Have a safe and enjoyable summer!

Week of April 24, 2017

In reading, students have finished up their WWII poster projects and taught their classmates about their topic in small groups.  For many students, this has spurred an interest in this era and they have begun reading various books about that time period.  We will continue to read non-fiction material about the 20th century events that bring us up to present time in America.
In writing, students have been researching the topic of teen activism by reading and viewing videos about various teen activists with different causes.  They will soon be developing big ideas about this topic and writing an informational essay.
See below for important upcoming dates:
April 25 - Graded DLR due
April 25-27 - Math PSSA
May 8 - Track and Field day
May 10 - Sunglasses day
May 15 - Career day
May 17 - Junior High visitation day
May 25 - Sixth Grade after school party
June 2 - Last day of school

Week of March 20

Happy Spring (although the snow and temperatures are out of whack).  I guess the groundhog was right after all.  Nevertheless, we are continuing to "plow" ahead here in sixth grade.
In writing, students have finished up their first persuasive essay and received their grades.  We are already beginning to develop a plan for a second persuasive essay.  This one will include some factual information that they will research to support their claim.  This second essay will not be published by the end of the third marking period.
In reading, students have been working on an independent research project on some aspect of WWII.  These topics include The Nazi Party, The Holocaust, Japanese Internment Camps, D-Day, and Pearl Harbor among others. Students are reading articles and books from a variety of sources.  They will create a poster as a final project and present to a group.  In addition, students are continuing to work on various language skills, such as affixes, Latin and Greek roots, use of pronouns, and vocabulary.  
As always, thank you for the wonderful support our students receive at home.  Please see below for important upcoming dates.
DLR week 20 - due 3/21
Graded DLR - due 3/29
Book orders - due 3/22
Vocab definitions - due 3/23
Memory book group pictures - 3/21
2 Hour Delay - 3/28
End of Marking Period 3 - 3/27
ELA PSSA dates - 4/4, 4/5, 4/6, 4/7

Week of March 6

In reading, our sixth grade ELA students have finished up a unit on WWI, learning the cause and effect relationships in this historic event.  We are currently focusing on some testing skills in preparation for the upcoming PSSA tests.  By next week, they will begin to work on individual projects on various topics associated with WWII.  The focus is on using different types of resources to gain an understanding of this topic.  We are also continuing to expand our vocabulary, working with words that we find and exploring Latin and Greek roots.
In writing, students are on the final publishing stage of their persuasive essays.  They have learned how to craft a well worded claim and develop 3 reasons to support that.  They have to learn to explain their reasoning in a well developed paragraph.  This week, they will choose another issue and develop a second claim.  For this essay, they will research some statistics or quotes to further support their reasons.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  Please pay attention to the important dates listed below.
DLR week 18 - due Tuesday, Mar. 7
DLR week 19 - due Tuesday, Mar. 14
Latin/Greek roots - due Wednesday, Mar. 8
Dress up Day - Wednesday, Mar. 8
Vocabulary story - due Friday, March 10
Daylight Savings - turn your clocks ahead Mar. 11
End of Marking Period 3 - March 27
2 hour delay - Tuesday, Mar. 28

Week of January 30

Tomorrow is the 100th day of school and we have already worked through 2 marking periods.  Our sixth graders are well on their way to leaving elementary school for the junior high.
This week in writing we have finished publishing the last literary essay, this one being a compare/contrast.  The next unit we will focus on is persuasive.  Students will choose a topic to argue and write an essay, using structure, reasoning, and well written explanations.  We should have the next piece published by the end of February.
In reading, we are beginning a unit on drama.  Students will learn about the format of a script, and will have an opportunity to perform a short play.  They will be expected to read fluently, with expression.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.  I appreciate the support you give your student at home as they continue to practice their language arts skills through reading and writing independently.
Please pay attention to the following dates:
Graded DLR - due Tuesday, January 31
Latin & Greek roots - due Wednesday, February 1
Vocabulary definitions - due Thursday February 2
In-service (no school) - Friday, February 17
President's day (no school) - Monday, February 20
Grandparent's day - Tuesday, February 28

Week of January 23

In writing, students have been working on their last literary essay, a compare and contrast.  They are developing 4 paragraphs describing the similarities in theme and contrasting the differences.  These will be revised, edited and published this week.  We will finish up with a "Writer's Celebration" on Friday to end the unit.
In reading, we have completed a poetry unit.  This week students are reading non-fiction articles and writing responses.  Then we will be moving onto a drama unit.  In addition, students have been working with vocabulary from our read aloud.
Please note the following dates:
DLR week 14 - due Tues. 1/24
Graded DLR - due Tues. 1/31
Vocabulary quiz - Thurs. 1/26
Report Cards go home - Wed. 1/25
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Weeks of January 4-13th

In reading, students have finished our non-fiction unit on the Civil War.  They wrote soldier journals in first person to demonstrate their understanding of the unit.  We are now beginning our lessons on poetry, which will be completed by the end of the 2nd marking period.
In writing students have been writing literary essays about a short story of their choosing.  They analyzed the characters and the theme and wrote two 5-paragraph essays, making a claim and supporting it with evidence from the text.  They are now beginning to work on a compare/contrast essay, comparing the themes of two stories.  These assignments have been excellent reinforcements of higher level thinking, reading, and writing skills.
Here are some of the important upcoming dates to remember:
DLR week 2 - due 1/10, Tuesday
Vocabulary definitions - due 1/10, Tuesday
Poetry quiz - 1/9, Monday
Backwards Day - 1/11, Wednesday
Martin Luther King, Jr. - No School - 1/16, Monday
Professional Development - No School - 1/17, Tuesday
End of the 2nd marking period - 1/18, Wednesday

Weeks of November 1 - 11

We've made it through the first marking period!  Report cards have been distributed and we are moving quickly into the second marking period, which always goes so quickly with the holidays.  I look forward to meeting with each parent at our conference times on November 17th, 21st, and 22nd.  If you have not already done so, please schedule a time to meet with Mr. Munchel and me.
In writing, students have finished up the narrative unit and we have had a class writing celebration, sharing our pieces with each other.  Students are now beginning an argument literary essay unit, learning how to craft a claim about a character, supporting it with reasons and evidence.
In reading, we have begun our nonfiction unit on the Civil War.  Students are very engaged and excited about learning how this period of history unfolded.  In the process, we are looking at nonfiction text structures, vocabulary, and author's point of view.  We have had a number of wonderful books added to our library.  I am encouraging students to really step up their commitment to reading, striving to read 60-90 minutes a day.  Thank you for your support at home as they work to become literate, thoughtful citizens.
Please note the following important dates and deadlines:
Vocabulary quiz - Tues. Nov. 8
Graded DLR due - Tues. Nov. 8
Workshop Packet due - Tues. Nov. 8
Camo/Tie dye day - Wed. Nov. 9
Parent/Teacher conference window closes - Mon. Nov. 14
Parent Teacher conferences - Thurs. Nov. 17 5pm-8pm
                                                  Mon. Nov. 21 8am-8pm
                                                  Tue. Nov. 22 8am-noon
No school/Thanksgiving vacation - Nov. 21-Nov. 28
Back to school Nov. 29

Week of October 17 - 21

Students are working hard to write a second personal narrative.  It is a challenging task to apply all the lessons taught and follow a rubric to write an even better narrative than the first one.  They have received their grades for the first narrative and marked their rubric with the scores.  Their stories are published on Google Classroom, so please take some time to read their piece and discuss their grades with them.  My goal is for them to have their next piece published by Friday, at the latest, beginning of next week.
In reading, we have finished up a unit on theme and will begin our final fiction unit before switching to nonfiction/Social Studies.  The Social Studies grade for this marking period will come from Biztown.
Please take a minute to sign up for a time slot for parent/teacher conferences.  I look forward to meeting with everyone to discuss your student's progress.  Information has come home explaining how to use the online system.
Please take note of the following important dates:
DLR week 6 - due Tuesday, Oct. 18
Biztown field trip - Wednesday, Oct. 19
PRIDE assembly (superhero theme) - Tuesday, Oct. 25
2 hour late start - Tuesday, Oct. 25
End of the marking period - Wednesday, Oct. 26
Picture retakes - Thursday, Oct. 27

Week of October 11 - 14

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable 3 day weekend.  In writing, students have worked to craft a good lead for their next narrative.  They will be learning how to slow down parts of their story and tell it bit-by-bit in order to build tension.  On Wednesday, they will receive the next DLR (week 6) which will be due on Tue. the 18th.  
In reading, we have begun to look at theme in fiction text.  Students are thinking about the message the author is conveying and the life lesson that could be applied to their own lives.  They will be viewing short films, reading fables, poems, and stories as they decipher theme.  Students are continuing to read their own self-selected books for workshop.  I am pleased by the many students who are excited about the books they are reading.  Thank you for supporting their language arts skills at home.
Please take note of the following dates:
Shop at the Book Fair - Wednesday, October 12
Biztown Interview Day - Friday, October 14
X-Country Day - Monday, October 17
DLR week 6 due - Tuesday; October 18
Biztown Field Trip - Wednesday, October 19
2 Hour Late Start - Tuesday, October 25
End of the First Marking Period - Wednesday - October 26