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 April 30 - May 4

I do believe we have turned the corner and spring is finally here.  And with that, comes our typical end of the year crazy schedule.
In writing, students have finished up their second persuasive essay.  They are currently researching teen activism for an informational piece.  They are learning that it is important to have a broad perspective on a topic in order to make a claim. 
In reading, we are also researching.  They are working cooperatively in groups to research a decade of time in American history.  This is a fun, multi-dimensional project where students can exhibit their talents as writers, performers, and graphic artists while learning about the culture and history of a time period.  They will be finishing up their projects around May 23rd and presenting in the last few days of school.
In addition, students have studied the geography of South America for the last month and completed a WWII project using Thinglink.
We have a busy month coming up.  Please check out the following important dates.
Wishtree vocab definitions - due May 1
DLR week 24 - due May 1 
Biztown Interview day - May 3
Instrument rehearsal - May 4 & May 7 & 8
Sunglasses day & Track Meet - May 9
Chorus party - May 9
Kid Connect day (Biztown) - May 10
Junior high visit - May 11
Biztown - May 14
Track Meet rain date -  May 16
Early dismissal - May 25
No school - May 28
6th grade party - May 30
Last day (early dismissal) - June 1

Week of April 2-6

Well, Mother Nature pulled a fast one again today.  It's hard to know what to expect next.
In writing, students have published their first persuasive essay and are currently working on settling on a claim and reasons for the second one.  This essay will include a bit of research to back up their reasons with statistics and quoted experts.  I am pleased with how they have grown as writers.
In reading, their are working on researching a WWII topic.  This week they will be creating a Thinglink project to illustrate what they have learned.  On Friday they will be taking a quiz on the Asia map that they received the beginning of March.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Please pay attention to the following important dates.
Progress Reports go home - April 4
Crazy socks and hat day - April 4
Scholastic book fair - April 4 (M) & April 6 (K)
PSSA ELA - April 10-12
PSSA Math - April 17-18
Career Day - May 7
Jr. High visit - May 11
Biztown - May 14
Early Dismissal - May 25
No school - May 28
Last day - June 1 12:40

Week of March 19-23

Our classroom has been quite busy.  In writing, students are finishing up their first persuasive essay.  This essay was on a topic or concern of their choice.  They have learned how to develop an argument in a structured way.  Students will soon be choosing a new topic to persuade.  However, in addition to the strategies they have already learned, they will now incorporate some research as further evidence for their argument.
In reading, we have begun to read and write about WWII.  Each student has chosen a topic to research.  As they read their textbooks, articles, and other trade books, they will take notes and eventually create a project to share in a group.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.
Pay attention to the following important dates.
Graded DLR - due March 20
Town Hall Meeting at the Sr. Hi - March 22 6pm
DLR week 21 - due March 27
2 Hour delay schedule - March 27
No school - March 30
Progress Reports go home - April 4
Asia map quiz - April 6
PSSA's - April 9-20

Week of March 12-16

In writing, students are writing persuasive essays.  They have chosen a topic, created a claim, and crafted 3 reasons.  They have learned how to explain and elaborate, creating a small vignette to illustrate their reasons.  They will be learning how to incorporate a counter argument.  These pieces will be published by next week.  
In reading, students are learning text structures and identifying how authors use structure to develop an idea.  
They are getting a new map this week, learning 25 countries in Asia.  The maps have been important in Social Studies/Geography as they learn about events around the world.  They will begin a study of WWII by the end of the week and will be choosing a topic for a project.
Please take note of the following important dates:
DLR week 20 - due March 13
Graded DLR - due March 20
2 Hour Late Start - March 27
End of 3rd marking period - March 28
No School - March 30
Junior High Visit - May 11
Biztown - May 14

February 26 - March 2

Wow!!  Today Mr. Munchel and I have all of our students here for the first time since December.  Maybe this means we are on the way out of the winter blues and sicknesses.
In writing, sixth grade is becoming proficient essay writers.  They have finished writing and publishing three literary essays.  Now we are turning our attention to persuasive essays.  They will be learning how to craft a good persuasive thesis statement and develop reasons.  As always, weekly DLR assignments help them to practice grammar and writing skills.  They are usually due every Tuesday.
In reading students have been reading, analyzing, and writing poetry.  Last week they completed writing wonderful poems called "What I'm Made Of," modeled after a poem by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.  This week they will choose a poem to share with the class and explain the theme.
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Please note the important dates below.
DLR Week 18 - Due Feb. 27
Geography map quiz - due Feb. 27
The One and Only Ivan Celebration - March 1 & 2
Poetry presentation - March 2
Spring pictures - March 2
Read Across America - March 5-9 (see Notifications)
Reading Response journal assignment - March 6
Dress Your Best day - March 7

Week of February 12-16

This week in writing, students are already drafting with third and final literary essay.  This is a compare/contrast, where they will analyze another story for theme and compare the themes of the two stories.  They will make the argument that the stories have similar themes, while also highlighting the differences.  This essay writing has been an excellent introduction to the structure of a good essay and how to support an argument with evidence.
In reading, we are wrapping up a unit on poetry this week.  Students have been analyzing classic poems from poets such as Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Maya Angelou.  They will be assessed on their skills on Tuesday by analyzing and responding to a poem on their own.  They will also be writing their own poem on Wednesday and taking a quiz on figurative language on Friday.
Students can be studying for the geography map quiz by accessing the game on the Social Studies Google Classroom.  The quiz will be at the end of the month.
As you know, the Friday in-service has now been approved as a student day.  If you have any questions or concerns about our classroom, please let me know.  Below are some important dates:
February 14 - Valentine's Day
                    - Grandparent Visitation Day
February 16 - School in session
                    -Figurative Language quiz
February 19 - Holiday - No School
February 20 - Graded DLR due

Week of February 5-9

In writing, students have published their second essay of this unit on the theme of their chosen story.  In order to determine theme, students must think about the big ideas in text and the message the author is conveying.  Now they will do this work again with another story and learn about how to structure an essay comparing and contrasting the two themes.  As always, students are reviewing and practicing good grammar skills with the weekly DLR, which is due every Tuesday.
In reading, we have wrapped up a unit on author's point of view.  We will begin a unit on poetry this week, looking at figurative language, meaning, and tone.  LJM has begun a school-wide reading incentive using the book The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  There is a calendar of pages to be read every day for the month of February.  I am holding my students accountable for the reading by asking them a question every day on the previous night's reading.  These points will be added up for a reading grade.  I know families are very busy these days, but please encourage your student to read independently at home every night (maybe replacing some of that screen time).
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  Please see below for dates to pay attention to:
DLR Week 16 - Due Feb. 6
Red Out Day - Feb. 7
Workout Day - Feb. 8
DLR Week 17 - Due Feb. 13
Grandparent Visitation Day - Feb. 14
No School - Feb. 16 & 19

Week of January 22-26

Finally, we have a full week of school!!  Maybe we can get back to a consistent routine in class.
In writing, students are working on drafting their theme literary essays.  I would expect that they will be publishing by early next week.
In Social Studies, they are working on publishing the second marking period geography project on Book Creator.  We have been working on it in class, however any part of the project still not done at this point will be completed at home.  It is due Friday. Students have been given a map of Europe to study for the next map quiz at the end of February.
In reading, we have been looking at vocabulary in fiction text, using word parts and context clues to determine meaning.
Reminder:  Parent Visitation is January 24th.  See you then.
Please note the following important dates:
Graded DLR - due Wed. Jan. 24
Soldier letter - due Wed. Jan. 24
Geography project on Book Creator - due Fri. Jan. 26
Reading Response journal - due Wed. Jan. 31
DLR week 15 - due Tue. Jan. 30
Geography map of Europe quiz - End of February
Report Cards go home - Mon. Jan. 29

January 17-19

In the month of January, students have published their first literary essay.  This essay makes a claim about the character.  Those grades are in Skyward and will be included in the second marking period report cards.  They have also begun analyzing the theme of the same story and will start to draft a second essay this week.  
In reading, students have been learning about the Civil War as they read a variety of non-fiction articles and their textbooks.  They have been working independently and with a partner on this self-directed project.  They are also currently publishing their second geography project on Book Creator, an online program. 
Please check the Notifications page for parent information.  As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.  
Important dates to remember:
January 17 - DLR week 14 due
January 19 - Civil War packet due
January 22 - End of the 2nd MP              
January 24 - Parent Visitation day
                   -Civil War soldier letter due
January 29 - Report cards go home 

December 18 - 22

Sixth grade is wrapping up some projects and assignments prior to our holiday vacation.  In writing, we are doing some final revisions and editing to the character literary essay.  The final essay will be published on Google Classroom by Wednesday.  They have also been learning about the rules for using apostrophes and will be taking a quiz on Tuesday.
In reading, literature groups have been reading informational books on a topic in history.  They have been reading, responding in writing, and discussing.  The final discussions will be happening this week.  Students are also reading nonfiction articles about the Civil War.  They are working with partners to read and respond to articles chronicling the events of these historical events.  In addition, students have been studying the major landforms of North America.  They will be taking a quiz on Wednesday.
Please check out the Notifications.  There is a wonderful opportunity for parenting classes coming up in January.  In addition, Mrs. Resline has posted a contest opportunity for our artistic students for the American Heart Association.
I am please to announce that 4 of our students have won 1st through 4th place in the Patriot's Pen Essay contest.  First place - Ariana Valigy; Second place - Marley Holzer; Third place - Jana Shoffner; and Fourth place - Logan Cooper.  Congratulations to these essayists.  In addition, Marley will be going on to the District level with her essay.
Please take note of the following important dates:
December 19 - DLR week 12 due
December 20 - Apostrophe quiz
                         Literary essays due
December 21 - Holiday assembly
                         Ugly Christmas sweater day
December 25 - January 2 - NO SCHOOL - Holiday break

Week of December 11 - 15

In writing, students are rapidly approaching their publishing deadlines for the first literary essay.  They have learned so much about good essay structure, citing evidence, and analyzing the evidence for the reader.  I'm excited to read these next pieces to celebrate their growth.  Students should be publishing by Friday or early next week.
In reading, we are focusing on non-fiction text and skills.  Students are reading and responding to short books about events in history.  They are then meeting in literature circles for discussion.  They have also begun a Civil War study that will incorporate reading online resources, textbooks, and magazine articles.
In Geography, students are studying land features in North America.   They will be taking a quiz next week.
Please check out the brochure in Notifications about Strengthening Families classes specifically geared for parents of 10-14 year olds.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.  Please pay attention to the following important dates.
December 13 - Byrnes Health Center program
December 15 - Patriot's Pen Writing contest awards
December 21 - Christmas assembly
December 25-January 2 - Holiday vacation - No School

Week of December 4-8

This week in writing, students will be developing a claim (a thesis statement) about the character in their chosen story.  They will also be writing 3 reasons for this claim, which can be backed up with evidence from the text.  This is a critical first step in writing a literary essay.  As students begin to draft, they will be following a mentor text for structure.  
In reading, we will begin to explore strategies for understanding non-fiction text.  We will begin with Notice and Note Signposts, which give students something concrete to look for and pay attention to in text.  Learning to critically read non-fiction is a lifelong skill.  Students will also practice reading fluency by performing Christmas reader's theater plays in December.
Some of our students submitted essays to the VFW for the Patriot's Pen contest.  Representatives from the VFW will be coming on December 15th to award the 4 winners.  
As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.  Pay attention to the important dates below.

Week of November 13-17

This week in writing students are beginning a literary essay unit.  They have selected a story and are looking closely at details that develop the character.  They have been writing to think and will soon craft a thesis statement about the protagonist with supporting reasons.  This unit is important because our students will learn how to structure and develop an essay.
Students are finishing up the lessons on finding evidence to support an inference or generalization in fiction text.  We will be moving on to identify theme.
In geography, students have chosen a continent and a country.  They are researching to answer questions about how humans interact with their environment.
I look forward to meeting with you at parent/teacher conferences.  If you have not done so, please make an appointment to meet with me on Monday, Nov. 20 from 8am-8pm or Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 8am-noon.  All time slots have been filled on Thursday evening.  See Notifications in the sidebar for directions to register.  As always, please contact me with any questions or concerns.
Dates to Remember:
November 14 - ALICE drill
                         DLR week 9 due
                         Vocabulary Cumulative Review quiz
November 16 - PRIDE assembly
                         Conferences 5pm-8pm
November 20 - NO SCHOOL
                         Conferences 8am-8pm
November 21 - NO SCHOOL
                         Conferences 8am-noon
November 22-27 - NO SCHOOL - Holiday break

October 30 - November 3

Students will now begin a new writing unit, literary essays.  They will be writing about their reading.  As they read short stories, they will analyze and compare/contrast characters and theme.Today we began by reading a mentor text and writing about the way in which the character changed.
In reading, we are continuing to review and practice reading strategies in fiction text.  Students will practice inferring and supporting with evidence from the text. 
I have sent home several Scholastic book order flyers for those of you who would like to think about books for Christmas.  Please use the online ordering option if possible.  My code is LB6VN. 
I look forward to conferencing with all parents in November.  If you have not done so already, please schedule a conference with your homeroom teacher.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.
Dates to Remember:
October 31 - DLR week 8 due
November 5 - Daylight Savings time ends
November 7 - Graded DLR due
November 8 - Camo/Tie Dye day
Parent/Teacher conferences - Nov. 16 5-8pm, Nov. 20 8-8pm, Nov. 21 8-12
No School - Nov. 20-27
November 28 - Back to school

Week of October 23, 2017

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful autumn weather.  Before you know it, winter will be here and we will dream about days like this.  
Sixth grade is writing up a storm.  Our students have published their second personal narrative this week.  At the end of the week, we will celebrate our accomplishments in the narrative unit, sharing some goodies and our writing.  
In reading, students are looking at characters and what causes them to change throughout text.  They are also actively looking for good vocabulary in their own reading.  They are responsible for finding 2 words a week and recording them on a "Vocabulary Keeper" in their binder.  This is an ongoing assignment which will be collected and graded at the end of each month.  It is important that they pay attention to and expand their knowledge of vocabulary.  On Friday, students will be giving a 1-2 min. demonstration or narration of their choosing.  This is an extension activity for the vocabulary words "demonstrate" and "narrate."
Remember to sign up for a conference with your student's homeroom teacher.    Please pay attention to the following dates:
October 23-27 - Red Ribbon Week
Personal Narrative #2 due - Oct. 25
End of the 1st Marking Period - Oct. 26
PTO Trunk or Treat - Oct. 27
Demonstration or Narration - Oct. 27
DLR week 8 - Oct. 31
US Map quiz - Oct. 31