Deborah DeKoff

Language Arts


Hello, and thank you for visiting my page!

I am a career educator with an MS in education with an emphasis in leadership. I’m a creative person who has a passion for photography; a love for acoustic; and thinks up my favorite lessons while out “on a run”. I do not watch tv because there is so much life to live and I love living it!

At Ecker Hill, I am a 6th grade writing teacher. And, I LOVE playing with words!
My goals for you, as a student in my class, are to fall in love with writing, to KNOW, DO, and UNDERSTAND what “good writers do”, applying these techniques in a myriad of writings. You will write EVERYDAY;) You will think, and learn to support what you say.

I am looking forward to an amazing, learning filled, fabulous year!

Please remember to check CANVAS for all assignment updates and info! Check your calendar daily! And peruse POWERGRADE several times per week.

Disclosure letters have gone home, along with supply lists. Students are very aware of the expectations that I hold for them, and know that I am here to assist them in being successful. However, one can not work up to his/her potential if he/she is not prepared for class physically and mentally. Please assist your child by making sure they are prepared for school each morning by reviewing the night before. Begin by spending a few minutes reveiwing the online calendars for assignments. I strongly encourage you to view the calendar nightly, until such a time that your child demonstrates that he/she is successful in his/her own right in accomplishing this task. I do write parents notes both on Powergrade and in emails. Please do check powergrade on a weekly basis as well to check your child’s progress. It is a powerful tool! Grade print outs are due 2x per month – on or about the 1st and on the 15th. Your child will know what I am expecting and why.

Oh, and, most importantly, TALK TO YOUR CHILD! I cannot tell you how many parents don’t do this! Do not accept “I don’t know” or “nothing” as excuses. Have your child ask me questions, or explain to you why he or she got a certain grade. Do not continue to “rescue” your child from making these very important steps towards growing up.

  • I continue to urge all students to make sure all assignments are recorded on their calendar. The assignments ARE listed on the right side of the board – by class. Additionally, those in my advisory class will have an “agenda review” day once per week.
  • Yes, your child has “homework”. There is no way possible to do everything at school, and thus, some assignments need to be completed at home. That said, some students will have very little “homework”, others will have more due to not finishing an assignment in class.
  • All students are “assigned” spelling homework – and are rewarded for doing so. Simply, the words that were misspelled that week on the pretest become their homework: write the word 5x each CORRECTLY, and receive a 5 point bonus certificate to place on the test. The bonus is truly two-fold: A higher grade from studying, and bonus points for doing it. If the homework isn’t completed, your child is not “penalized” by loss of points, but rather, it may effect his/her grade due to lack of preparedness (not practicing) , and no bonus points will be earned.
  • All students have vocabulary work. Bubble vocabulary quiz forms or fill in the blanks will be given the same day as the spelling test. (Remember, the words are the same!) Forms are filled out in class, and will be graded by your child in a marking pen. EACH portion of the vocab form must be filled out to receive full credit. Spelling counts! After your child scores the form, the paper is turned in to the bin so that I may peruse the work.
  • Writing assignments should have a “pre-write” or “brainstorm” aka “sloppy copy” attached. This is an important component of the writing process, and helps me to understand your child’s thought process. Do note that this first DRAFT of any written assignment is not graded, the final product is. However, credit is often given for submitting a sloppy copy/rough draft, so don’t throw it away!
  • ALWAYS PRINT TWO COPIES of all final writing products. One for me, and one for your child to hold and share, then store in their language arts binder. If two copies cannot be printed, you may have your child A)email a copy to me B)Give me the single copy prior to the start of the school day so that I may make a copy before class starts.
  • Do not type the assignment for your child. I must know if your child needs assistance in punctuation, etc…, and this copy sans errors only tells me that you know how to edit. Editing is part of the writing process.
  • Students MUST have a writing section in their binder. This is where the 2nd copy of the writing product goes! It is imperative that your child monitor his/her growth during the year.
  • Journal Composition books are checked! This is an “EASY” A. Journals must be a MINIMUM of 5 sentences long or 1/2 page unless otherwise noted. (Create an ad for x. Include y and z.) Expect this to be checked for midterm and end of term.

Standing Assignments

ON GOING: Spelling

20 spelling/vocabulary words are given in a pretest format. Students check the words in class, w/teacher pointing out the “tricky parts”. (See lists posted on line) Students are to write their misspelled words 5x each prior to the testing date. THIS EARNS THEM 5 bonus points. This is checked the day of the test. Regarding the test, student tests are graded the same day,same class period. Homework: misspelled 10x missed word. Rotating Pattern: Day 1: pretest and discussion of words Day 2:no spelling or vocab Day 3: Test

ON GOING: Vocabulary

Vocabulary is currently based upon spelling words. Latin/Greek roots, prefixes, suffixes are studied and applied.

ON GOING: Grammar

Students are learning the traditional and structural definitions of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, etc. Color pencils are used to identify these in written work.

ON GOING: Journal

IB MYP standards are brought into the classroom via journals. Students are asked to address a prompt and answer a thought provoking question. Answer must be a MINIMUM of 1/2 page/5 sentences. Journals may also be in the form of RAFTS in order to better understand voice.

ON GOING: Penmanship – ongoing

Students will learn how to critique and improve their penmanship. Slant, letter size, formation, etc., will be examined. After basic letter lessons, students will critique their own work. Later, students will learn how to use a calligraphy pen and produce artful penmanship.

Literary Devices – on going

Students will identify similes, metaphors, alliteration, personification, 3’s, in novels, advertising, etc. Examples will be shared.

This is a generic form letter from Scholastic:

Online Ordering Information
Web address:
Class Activation Code: H32HK

Dear Parent,

Now it’s easier than ever to find the perfect books for your child—shop our NEW online Book Clubs Web site. Choose from a much-wider selection of books than in the printed flyer. Plus, you can send your orders directly to me online and use your credit card to pay.

Best of all, we earn a FREE book for the classroom library every time a parent places an order online.

It’s so simple! Here’s how it works:

  • SIGN UP at On the parent page, register by clicking click the “Don’t have a user name or password?” link. When prompted, enter the one-time Class Activation Code shown above. This unique code ensures that your order is sent to me.
  • SELECT the books you’d like to order—choose from thousands of titles—many more than in our monthly flyers.
  • SEND your order to me online by the due date and your child’s books will be delivered directly to my classroom.

Ordering online is fast, easy, and secure.

Of course, you can still order using the form from the printed flyer. But why not see for yourself how convenient it is to order online?