6th Grade

Homeroom: A102
Phone: (907) 742-0300

Welcome to Mr. Ritchey's web page. Here is an explanation as to how I see some important subjects.

Reading: Reading is a critical skill that every student needs to be strong in. I require 20 minutes of independent reading a night. The material doesn't matter as much as the comprehension of what they read that is important. However, I would prefer that they read a chapter book or informational book however I want the experience also to be enjoyable to them. We don't want students to think all they read for is work. We want them to learn to enjoy reading. There is an important concept to keep in mind in this area. It is called the "Matthew Effect". What this theory states is that we learn through our exposure to words. As we become better readers and have more exposure to more words we become a better reader. Take two students from age of 1st grade going through to 12th grade. The first student only reads 10 to 15 minutes a night all the way through their K-12 school years. The second student reads 30 minutes a night. As we read, we get exposed to new words and thus gain meaning through this exposure. The more words we learn, the easier it is for us to learn and understand what we are reading. Let's look at just the difference in a week. If the first student read for an average of 90 minutes a week, wile the second student read for an average of 180 minutes a week. Multiply that by 4 weeks a month, then by 12 for the number of formal years in public school. By the time both students get to 12th grade the first student has been exposed to so much less words that they can never catch up to the first student's ability to read and understand. A big part of educational success is our ability to read and comprehend what we read.

Spelling: One of the ways to become better readers is through our phonemic awareness in being able to decipher words. Not just understand the meaning of a word, but being able to pronounce it right. We first learn words auditory from hearing others speak words, so as we learn to pronounce words we see, our spelling and reading ability improves. In elementary we study spelling words to learn how to pronounce them and learn to decipher their meaning through the study of spelling words and spelling patterns. In the upper elementary grades this is done by teaching them spelling patterns based on the spelling pattern for a particular sound as part of a word. Each week we study specific spelling patterns to become better spellers.

Math: Math is something we do all the time, just like reading. We do it so often we normally don't even think about the fact we are doing math. Success in math in later grades requires that they learn and retain the material they have been taught in prior years. For 6th grade there are a few critical concepts that we will spend a lot of time making sure they get a good understanding as they are fairly critical for later grades. The first area is in knowing the times tables. This is a skill they need to have mastered by the end of 4th grade. It most of what we will do this year in 6th grade. The second area is a good understanding of fractions. We will get into multiplication of division of fractions. We will start to look at algebra more explicitly as this sets them up for understanding of the math concepts they need to learn in junior high.

One important thing to know is that some of the math concepts I teach will be different than how parents learned to do those concepts. For example; long division and long multiplication are both taught very different today than they where say 20 years ago. If you need assistance in understanding how or what I am teaching your child feel free to contact me.


Robert Ritchey, 6th Grade Teacher; Aurora Elemenary, Anchorage School District