Ms. Withers



Degrees and Certifications:

BA English/Secondary Education Endorsements: Reading, History, Humanities

Ms. Withers

Hello! Welcome to the 2020-21 school year here at MMS. This year will be different, but I promise to do my best to teach my students 6th grade English skills and make personal connections online and/or in person with them. Below is the syllabus for both Literature and Writing classes. Please don't hesitate to reach out if your student is struggling academically, socially, or emotionally. 

This is my fifth year at Meridian Middle, but I began teaching in 1996. After the 2010-2011 school year I decided to take a break from teaching at the high school level and try something new. I worked as a freelance writer, for HP as a Technical Writer, and then as a Digital Managing Editor (a fancy way of saying I managed wesites) for Townsquare Media. I discovered how important reading and writing skills are, and that there is nothing better than being in a classroom with kids, so I decided to return to education. I love Meridian Middle School, and I thoroughly enjoy weird, wacky, and wonderful sixth graders.

Other stuff about me:

♦ My first priority is being a mom. I am lucky to have two teenaged daughters, Bailey and Brooke, and a son, Jordan. Jordan is working on a doctorate degree in business at Idaho State University, Bailey is a sophomore at Boise State University (my almamater), and Brooke will be a senior in high school this year. 

♦ I am married to my best friend, Brad.

♦ We have a Cocker Spaniel named Max. Although he is not the brightest animal in the world, we love him.  

♦ I love the Boise State Broncos!

♦ I enjoy watching and playing sports, anything outdoors, and of course, reading and writing. I am a published author.


I'm looking forward to getting to know my new sixth graders. Here's to a great year, and remember, we can, we will, we are Chiefs!



6th ELA Syllabus

Course Descriptions

Lit and Strategies: This course focuses on reading strategies and comprehension skills. Students will read from various genres.

Writing and Composition: This course focuses on the writing process, modes of writing, writing traits, and language usage.


Grading Categories and Weight

Classwork: 35% 

Assessments: 50%

Practice (at home assignments): 5%

EOC (End of Course Exam): 10%


Power Standards (what students will learn)

Quarter 1

Lit and Strategies:

RL.RI.6.1 I can cite textual evidence to support the analysis of a text.

RI.6.2 I can:
• determine a central idea from a text.
• identify details that support central idea.
• summarize the text objectively.

Writing Composition:

W.6.2 I can:
• write informative/explanatory texts.
• organize ideas using text structures.
• organize ideas using different text features.
• develop the topic using facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
• use transitional words, phrases, and clauses to show relationships among ideas.
• use topic specific vocabulary to inform and explain the topic.
• maintain a formal writing style.
• develop an appropriate and formal conclusion.

W.6.8 I can:
• Gather information from multiple sources and assess the credibility of each source.
• Use my gathered information to answer a question.
• Quote and paraphrase information without plagiarizing.

L.6.1-L.6.2 I Can:
• Spell, capitalize, punctuate, and use proper word forms.
• Use pronouns in their proper cases.
• Use pronouns to add emphasis and maintain subject-verb agreement.
• Use pronouns that match in number and person.
• Use specific pronouns to eliminate vague language.
• Edit my own work, and the work of others for errors.

L.6.4.a I can use context clues and parts of speech to determine the meaning of a word or phrase. 

L.6.4.b I can use word parts to determine the meaning of a word. 

Quarter 2

Lit and Strategies:

RL.RI.6.1 I can:
• Cite textual evidence to support the analysis of a text. 
• Identify and interpret connotative meaning in a text to determine what is being communicated

RI.6.8 I can:
• evaluate the claims in an argument.  
• evaluate the evidence and reasoning used to support a claim.
• identify valid evidence and reasoning.  

Writing Composition:

W.6.1 I can:  
• state a claim and cite evidence to support my argument.  
• use credible sources to determine relevant evidence and develop reasons to elaborate ideas.  
• use transitional words, phrases, and clauses to connect my claims and reasoning.  
• use precise language and specific vocabulary to support my argument.  
• establish and maintain a formal style.
• develop an appropriate and formal conclusion.  

W.6.8: I can:  
• Gather information from multiple sources and assess the credibility of each source.  
• Use my gathered information to answer a question.  
• Quote and paraphrase information without plagiarizing 

 L.6.5.c I can tell the difference between the connotations (associations) of words with similar denotations (definitions). 


Quarter 3

Lit and Strategies:

RL.6.1 I can:  
• determine the difference between explicit language and inferential language.  
• cite textual evidence to support inferences. 

 RL.6.2 I can:  
• determine the theme or central idea of a text.  
• cite the details that demonstrate the theme or central idea.  

RL.6.3 I can:  
• identify the elements of plot in a story.  
• track the changes of a character throughout the story.  
• identify the main events in a story that advance the plot.  

RL.6.4 I can:  
• identify figurative language in a literary text.  
• interpret figurative language in a literary text to determine what an author is communicating. 

RL.6.6 I can:
• Explain how an author develops a point of view of a narrator or speaker in a text. 
• Show that the point of view supports the author’s purpose 

Writing Composition:

W.6.3 I can write a narrative that:
• Engages the reader by carefully structuring a plot. 
• Moves the plot forward by establishing exposition, conflict/inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. 
• Uses narrative techniques such as effective dialogue, descriptive and sensory language, and appropriate sequencing of events. 
• Uses transitional words, phrases, and clauses to move between time frames and settings. 
• Develops an appropriate conclusion that resolves the story.  

L.6.5 I can:  
• interpret figurative language in context.  
• better understand the meaning of words by examining their relationship to one another.  


Quarter 4

Lit and Strategies:

RL.RI.6.10 I can read and understand grade-level text independently. 

Review of all Reading standards for the ISAT tests and EOC (end of course exam).

Writing Composition:

W.6.10 I can organize my writing to fit many diverse tasks, audiences, and, purposes.  

Review of all Writing and Language standards for the ISAT tests and EOC (end of course exam).