• 6th


    Ronda Backus-ELA

    I have been teaching sixth grade ELA in San Antonio, Texas for the last few years. I am a graduate of Baptist Bible College and have a Bachelors of Science in Education. My husband, the new principal at Deer Valley Middle School, and I, spent 25 years in Tucson raising three children.  I taught in the Flowing Wells Unified School District for 14 years. Most of those years were spent with sixth graders as well.

    What draws me back to Phoenix is the arrival of three precious grandchildren, two that have been born this year. I love that I have influenced the lives of more than a thousand students in my life, but truly look forward to playing a wonderful role in the lives of these and any possible yet unannounced arrivals.

    Samantha DeVriendt-Math

    Welcome Back Wolves!  This is my fifth year teaching 6th grade math at Canyon Springs.  I received my bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan in 2013.  I have endorsements in both math and language arts.  I lived in Michigan for 22 years before moving to Anthem, AZ to continue my adventure in education.  In my spare time I love sports, shopping, and Starbucks! 

     Liz Hackash-Science/Social Studies

    My name is Liz Hackash and this is my 18th year of teaching.  I have taught 1st, 4th, 5th and now the 6th grades.   My favorite subjects to teach are science and social studies so of course I am super excited to be teaching both at Canyon Springs this year!   I graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Communications in 1995.  I then went back to MU to become a teacher from 1999-2002 where I received my certification to teach kindergarten through eighth grade.   I have lived here in Anthem with my husband, daughter and four pets for the past 16 years.   My daughter is also a sixth grader at Canyon Springs this year so we are new to this journey together!


    Together, with your support, we'll have a phenomenal 6th grade year!


    What Will We Learn This Year?

    Curriculum: Our curriculum is based on the Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards as well as the Arizona State Social Studies and Science Standards.

    Units of Study


    Collection 1:Facing Fear-inference, compare and contrast, cite evidence, analyze point of view, and summarize plot and main idea.

    Collection 2: Animal Intelligence-Character motivation, character analysis, public speaking, analyze author's purpose.

    Collection 3: Dealing with Disaster-poetry, figurative language, analyze cause and effect, and analyze elements of tone.

    Collection 4: Making Your Voice Heard-interpret theme, identify internal and external conflict, trace and evaluate an argument, analyze author's style and tone, analyze persuasive techniques.

    Collection 5: Decisions that Matter-identify memoirs and biography, analyze primary and secondary sources, compare and contrast two genres, analyze structure of a poem, describe how poets use symbols and structure to convey a theme

    Collection 6: What Tales Tell-identify and understand the elements of parody and folk tales, theme, analyze and cite textual evidence

    We will also be utilizing the Engage NY curriculum for the novels we will be reading.

    Novels: TBA


    6th grade math students will be utilizing the Illustrative Math curriculum.  The new curriculum features short, rigorous lessons.  Students discover important math concepts through use of manipulatives and technology, as well as through discussion with peers and teachers.

    Unit 1: Area and Surface Area, Unit 2: Introducing Ratios, Unit 3: Unit Rates and Percentages, Unit 4: Dividing Fractions, Unit 5: Arithmetic in Base 10, Unit 6: Expressions and Equations, Unit 7: Rational Numbers, Unit 8: Data Sets and Distributions


    Weather and Water, Diversity of Life, Inquiry Process

    Social Studies:

    1st semester: Geography Timelines, First Civilizations, Ancient Egypt, India and China

    2nd semester: Ancient Greece and Rome, Middle Ages/Renaissance/Reformation and Enlightenment, and Ancient Americas, Ancient Arabia, African Medieval Kingdoms.


    As a STEM Academy, Canyon Springs' students will be engaging in rigorous, real-world learning experiences that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Projects will be ongoing and cross curricular.  Students will be able to make connections among the activities completed in all of their core classes.

    College and Career Readiness State Standards


    “The College and Career Readiness State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” (CCRSS Initiative, 2012)


    The following websites will provide more information. 


    o   Shifts for students and parents http://www.engageny.org/resource/shifts-for-students-and-parents/

    o   Resources for parents and community: http://achievethecore.org/common-core-intro-for-parents