7th Grade ELA

Mrs. Long's English Language Arts Class

April 2014 Newsletter

Reading Highlights

Wrapping up third quarter, students read a play version of the famous Charles Dickens short story A Christmas Carol. In addition to reading the play, students completed a short author study requiring them to read, discuss and synthesize a variety of sources in order to think critically about "who is Charles Dickens." Particular attention was given to the dynamic character, Scrooge! Look at the photos below to see highlights of students discussing their non-fiction articles. There were a total of four different articles; students first read individually, then discussed with others who had the same article, and then discussed in a group with students who read the other articles. It was a challenging activity, that required us to talk about how to struggle.

The literature complexity is stepping it up even more this quarter. Our poetry unit is in full swing. Students know the five steps to take when reading complex literature and each day brings the reading, comprehending, and analysis of a new poem. Once again students have engaged in discussions with other students who had prepared for the discussion by answering different questions. Their discussions requiring students to synthesize, infer, and draw complex conclusions were incredibly rich in content and were a huge success!

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Watch Extra Credit Neuroscience Video Presentations

This Google Doc provides the links to all student presentations submitted as part of the optional research enrichment project

Language Arts Musings

Argumentative essays about whether or not money can bring you happiness have been planned, written, conferenced, edited, typed, and submitted. The final pieces of this writer's workshop turned out to be very thought provoking, well supported pieces of non-fiction literature. I am in the process of grading them and will hope to have them finished by next week. Make sure you read your son or daughter's essay, it would start quite the dinner conversation.

During our poetry unit, students have spent the majority of the time learning how to read, interpret, comprehend and analyze complex poetry mostly from the 18th and 19th century. However, they have also had the chance to explore the importance of emotion and narrative poetry during language arts. I Can't poems provided students a chance to explore their inner emotions, while their Jabberwocky rewrites gave them a chance to impose their individuality onto a classic piece of literature. Poetry will be on display during open house, make sure you stop by room 101.

Character Education: Social Emotional Learning

Step It Up is the formal character education program used at Daniel Wright JHS. Students participate in a variety of lessons targeting an array of topics regarding social emotional development and character education. Before spring break students engaged in a lesson requiring them to reflect upon the concept of respect. Look at the photos below to see some of the great points students found important in a variety of settings. Students were told to think about what respect is and is not, what it looks and sounds like.

Differentiation and Enrichment

Ask your son or daughter about "Leveled Questions Homework." These assignments further our class lessons in a differentiated approach. Students are required to answer a certain amount of questions per differentiated section, taking students from a developing level to the most complex critical thinking. While it is not required to answer all of the questions in a given section, the large variety provides an opportunity for enrichment to students wanting to push their thinking further.

Before spring break some students in first and seventh class period worked with Mrs. Braskich, the ELM coordinator. Their final projects resulted in in-depth discussions about drama, universal topics, and a monologue performance. She was not able to take students during fourth period due to scheduling conflicts.

Don't Procrastinate: What's Happening Long Term

Just a heads up, students have a few projects and assessments coming up that they should be preparing for.

Quarter 4 Book Report

Students will be placed in groups to complete a two part poetry project. Part one requires students to analyze a poem and part two requires students to perform poetry. Grades are individual and students will receive rubrics with the project description later this week.

Poetry Quiz/Test

Not quite a full test, but more than a quiz, students will be having their poetry assessment next Thursday, April 17th. The assessment will cover poetry terms, application of poetry elements, and comprehension.

Quarter 4 Book Report

Students will be required to read a non-fiction book for this quarter. Encourage students to pick a book that is a good fit for them. IPICK is an acronym we use in class: I choose a book, purpose for reading, interest in topic, comprehension of text, knowledge of most words.


Latin and Greek Roots

Each quarter students have a mini final exam over all the roots assessed throughout the quarter. Students should begin review roots from Chapters

Elements of Fiction Test

Students will have a final assessment over all of the literary terms taught this year. From the plot diagram, literary elements, non-fiction elements, science-fiction elements, and poetic elements, this test will reflect back upon the curriculum from the entire year.

Coming Up Next

After the completion of the current poetry unit the class will begin our final novel study of he year. During the month of April and May students will read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. A paperback copy of the books will be distributed to students during class. I have a CD audio recording of the book. If any student would like a copy of the digital recording please have them bring a flash drive to school. Ebook versions of the book are available through Amazon and iTunes.

Open House

Tuesday, April 8th, 6:30-8pm

1370 N Riverwoods Rd

Lincolnshire, IL

From 6:30-7:00 Mrs. Erinn Vincent, NJHS faculty advisor, will provide information to parents and 7th grade students about the application process for the National Junior Honor Society.

From 6:30-8:00 Enjoy walking around the school with your student, visiting their classes, view their work and saying hello to teachers.