This year I am very excited to be back to teaching all7th & 8th graders for reading. I will also have half of the 7th grade (Room 201) and half of the 8th grade (Room 205) for writing as well. I look forward to getting to know all of the 7th & 8th graders this year!
For reading, 7th & 8th grade students can expect a lot writing because the Common Core State Standards demand it. Students must be able to do much more synthesis as they read texts of varying lengths and genres and then use the texts to find evidence to support their interpretation of the texts.
I will be integrating VISUAL LITERACY into reading and writing. I want the students to be as good at reading pictures and documentaries as they are at reading text. This is becoming an increasingly important 21st-century skill!
This quarter in reading, 7th & 8th grade students can expect to begin with lots of review of reading strategies (including the Sign Posts), plotline, context clues, word analysis, and genre. All middle school students will continue to participate in Shared Inquiry using Great Books. This is a method for teaching students to read closely and find evidence to support any argument that they have about a text. Each week-long unit ends in a Shared Inquiry Discussion. We will read poems, fiction short stories, and nonfiction articles. Toward the second half of this quarter, 7th grade will be starting The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton while the 8th graders will delve into a science fiction unit.
Students should be reading and logging EVERY week night beginning the second week of school when the library will officially open! You can help your son/daughter with this by letting them choose books to order from Scholastic. This way they will have new books to read, and I will earn points to buy more new books for the students to check out! You can also help by providing a quiet place for their 60 minutes of reading and then asking them if they filled out their log at the end. Also, find time to ask them about what's going on in their book. See if they can tell you the character's problem and how he or she is trying to resolve it.
For 8th grade writing, we will begin getting into grammar in the first week of school and will build quickly. I will be focusing much of my time on familiarizing them with and preparing them for what will likely be on English section of the Selective Enrollment Exam. 7th grade will start a bit more slowly because a good foundation in grammar will make the more complex topics taught later easier. We will be focusing on parts of speech, subject and predicate, and the components of a simple.
Students can expect to be doing copious amounts of writing from the very beginning. 8th graders will interview and compose a Profile Paper about a classmate as a getting-to-know-you activity. They will also present information about their classmate to the entire class, a warm-up for many more speeches to come throughout 8th grade. The 8th grade students will have regular visits from Mrs. Oliva, our school counselor, to prepare them for the high school application process. Following the Profile Paper, we will begin high school essays that will help them think deeply and analyze their high school choices. All students will also write a paragraph about why they want to attend Chicago Academy High School, which will accompany their application.
The 7th graders will also be starting the year with an All About Me PowerPoint presentation. We will start getting used to a regular routine of writing through Sustained Silent Writing. We will also begin an informative writing piece on a topic of each student's choosing.
It's going to be a busy year! I look forward to working with your children!
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