Students should be bringing home their independent reading books each night and engaging in 20 minutes of reading. To compliment the work we've done in class as part of our short story unit, students will create a Character Portrait or Character Collage to describe the character traits of this person. They can choose to use the outline of a person provided, or use blank paper for a collage. The project can use words, phrases, text evidence, and/or pictures. Creativity is encouraged! Once the portrait/collage is complete they should write a paragraph or two that links evidence from the book to the elements of their collage. They don't need to finish the book in order to complete the project, though they should reach at least the middle of their independent text. They each have a direction sheet.
This project is due on Wed., Sept. 26. Their homework for the next week is to continue independent reading and to work on the project. They are not required to do any additional responses, although they are encouraged to take notes to key quotes to help them with their explanation.
Greetings and Welcome to the 2018-2019 School Year!
I've learned over the years that with our middle schoolers, school notices don't always make into backpacks, let alone out of them into your hands.
To help keep the lines of communication open, I will send emails regarding 7th grade events, Reading/Writing Projects, etc. I will also post information to my webpage which can be found here. Information specific to reading and writing will be under the Language Arts News Tab, general school information or team specific news will be posted under 7th grade team information.
Several of you asked about communication regarding missing work. I strongly believe 7th grade is a year to build organization and self-advocation skills in our students. When Language Arts (reading/writing) projects or other assignments are missing, I will typically have a conversation with the student first. If the assignment is not turned in following that conversation or if I notice a pattern of late and missing work, I will reach out to you. I also encourage you to use PowerSchool as a resource. Students were given a copy of their login information yesterday, but if you need another copy, we will have it available at Open House.
Should you have any questions or concerns, now or at any time during the school year, please feel free to reach out! Email is often the quickest way to reach me.
Finally, a few reminders:
We look forward to seeing you at Open House!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Continue independent reading over the April Break. There are no required reading logs, but you need to finish your independent book and complete the Character Alphabet Project. The final project is due Wednesday, April 25.
You will need to brainstorm a work or phrase for each letter of the alaphabet that relates to your main character. Write them as statements:
A is for the AGONY Percy felt when he lost his mother to the minotaur,
B is for BETRAYAL. Luke betrays Percy and the entire Half-Blood Hill Camp.
C is for the CHAOS and CATASTROPHE that Percy creates during his quest.
D is for Percy's DETERMINATION to find the Lightning Bolt and his mother.
Presentation counts! You will need an illustration for at least 10 of the letters. They can be drawings, symbols, clip art, etc.
How you present your Character Alphabet is up to you. You can create a book with each letter having their own page. Other ideas include: a poster, a slideshow, etc.
The start of April brings the beginning of the final marking period of 7th grade. Flyers for a lot of events have been handed out, but I know they don't always make it into or out of backpacks. =) I wanted to share the calendar of events for the month.
Report Cards: The third quarter officially ended on Thursday, March 28. Teachers have this week to wrap up grading. Report Cards will be mailed home later next week. We are officially into the 4th marking period.
Standardized Testing: April brings the start of the Smarter Balance testing. We are confident that each student is prepared to do their best. Today, Ms. Bacon, our school counselor, shared some tips for managing stress. We talked about deep breathing (especially using a 5, 7, 8 count---Breath in count to 5, hold the breath for 7, breath out for 8). We discussed some sensory check ins. We also discussed a tracing technique and students were given blue patterns to help guide them with tracing and breathing. We certainly don't expect every student to utilize every technique, but wanted to continue to give them strategies.
On Monday (April 9), students in 7A and 7C will take the literacy portion of the Smarter Balance Assessment. 7B students will begin with math. On April 30, 7A and 7C students will take the math portion, and 7B will take the literacy portion.
We strongly encourage students to get a good night's sleep and eat a breakfast (whether its at home or at school) every day, but especially on testing days. You will likely see a decrease in homework during those weeks because students will not be in all of their classes.
Language Arts Updates: We've been using read a variety of short stories these past few weeks to practice strategies. This month we will work on our argument essays, start a nonfiction book When Elephants Fight, which will go along with some of the work we've done around the UNICEF program. There will be some work over the April Break, and I will send more information in the next week.
Upcoming School Events:
Book Fair: April 4-12
Science Fair: April 12
Family Science Night: April 12
Early Dismissal: April 13
April Break: April 16-20
Rescheduled Trip to Peabody: April 24
As always, please let me know if you have any questions
As we are approaching the February Break, we are nearing the midpoint of quarter 3! Progress reports will be sent home with students when we return from the break.
Students recieved a packet today for language arts reading. They should select an independent book (or two) to read over the break. They will need to read for 20-30 minutes at least 8 times. They have packet to record their reading and their thinking. I will post the questions to my website in case they go missing =).
We have spent the last week or so turning our notes into research papers. I will start review drafts (there should be an introduction and at least 2 body paragraphs) completed by this point. When we return from break, we will finish drafting, and then begin publishing.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day, and as always please reach out with any questions!
It is a busy time of year, and for grade 7 students, it will be even busier when we return in January.
The end of marking period 2 is only a few weeks away. Grades close on January 12. Teachers have a week to finalize and catch up on grading. Report Card Conferences are on January 31. They will be similar to the conferences in the 1st marking period--you'll get to choose which teachers to conference with during a 2-4pm afternoon session or 5-7 evening session.
I know many people have reached out for blank scores in PowerSchools. This quarter involved a LOT of extended response writing, and I am slowly catching up. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about what you see in PowerSchools!
In the meantime: students should be reading their next independent book. They had a chance to get books from the library or my book shelf this week, so each student should have a book. They need to read a MINIMUM of 6 times between 12/19-1/1. When we return on January 2, they should bring their book and the reading journal they've kept that demonstrates their thinking about the book.
We'll wrap up the Phineas Gage story, work on our research paper, and read our independent books throughout January.
January will also include testing in all of their classes. They will have their end of quarter assessments, as well as the SRI, MI, etc. We will do our best to spread the tests out, but please encourage your children to get a good night's sleep! I'll send more information on specific dates, once we determine the testing schedule.
I hope the days off are restful! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!
We are back from Thanksgiving Break and continuing with Phineas Gage. For homework on Tuesday, they had a concept circle activity to practice summaries. This week students have worked on identifying text structures in nonfiction texts and explaining why authors utilize them.
I have collected reading logs and response entries from the past week. Today they recieved details for their Independent Book Project. For most students, they are using their fiction book. They will write a book review (Due Dec 8) and select 1 of 4 mini projects (Due Dec. 13). Details are attached to this post.
This week we will also select a question for their research paper. To help them decide an area of focus, they have an article about the brain to read and answer questions on. This is assigned Wednesday and will be used in class on Thursday.
For homework this week, students have recieved an independent reading packet. They should work on finishing their independent reading books by next Monday.
Over this next week, they need to read 5 times. Each time they read, they should jot down the pages they read and then answer one of the response questions. These notes will help them when they complete their Quarter 2 book review.
In class, we are working on close reading skills by solving various cases. We'll return to the case of Phineas Gage in the next weeks.
Enjoy the time off!
It was wonderful to see so many of you at Report Card Conferences on Wednesday. My appologies for the lines that started to develop. If you were unable to attend the conference or if a line kept you from meeting me (or any other teacher), please feel free to reach out via phone or email.
Many of you expressed interest in getting more information moving forward regarding homework and projects. I will use my weebly site (msapgarlanguagearts,weebly,com) to post regular updates. I will continue to send emails around projects and other due dates. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. Email will often get you the quickest response, but I am available by phone as well (Just call the school!)
We are a few weeks into marking period 2. In class we have wrapped up The Lightning Thief, completed our personal narratives, and spent a lot of time on readers' workshop. We've spent time over the past week, reading books of our choice and practicing various strategies. Students will write another book review on this independent book later in December. Right now they should continue to read the book at home. A strategy we have discussed is using sticky notes to mark areas where they have questions or notice something important. I will send a follow up email when the direction sheet is sent home! (Look for it after Thanksgiving).
We are also moving into non-fiction. We have spent time this week on several brainstorming activities and working on strategies for content-specific vocabulary. Our CORE text, Phineas Gage: a True but Gruesome Story Behind Brain Science involves a lot of scientific terms. We'll read the book in class, but there will be several extention activities sent home. Tonight, (Thursday, Nov. 16), they will have an assignment called Inquiring Minds Want to Know. It is another brainstorming activity getting them to think about how the brain works.
For the weekend, they should continue to read their indpendent books!
Progress reports will be sent home in early December. I will send a more specific date shortly.
Please let me know if you have any questions!