Monday, September 29, 2014

Update: Week of 9/29/14

This week, we'll read a dramatic adaptation of Lois Lowry's The Giver. 
Students will consider the following "essential questions:"

Should we always try to make our lives easier?
What makes us human?
What role does memory play in our lives?
In addition, we'll discuss the literary element "theme."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Update: 9/22/14

This week, the students will be working on the following assignment:

Write the story of an important event or decision; it can be real or imagined. What understanding or insight did this experience reveal?

Here's a model that students may wish to emulate from the website

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Checking In... The Week of 9/15

ELA class is in full swing after a smooth opening.
This year, we'll work partly from a new text book series. Here's an excerpt of a letter to parents from the publishers of Scholastic's Code X

What does it mean for your child to be college and career ready? How well is 
he or she prepared for the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation 
Assessments? How can you help support your child on the path to success? These 
are some of the questions at the center of instruction in Common Core Code X. 
So, what is a codex, anyway? To find the answer, we have to go back almost 2,000 
years to ancient Rome. People wrote on long rolls of paper called scrolls. These 
scrolls were very long and very heavy. The Romans realized there was a better way. 
They started stacking sheets of paper on top of each other and binding them together 
to make a book. The first book was called a codex, meaning “block of wood.” Soon, 
the whole world was using them!
The ancient codex revolutionized how people wrote and read. The Common Core 
Code X provides students with a whole new way to access texts. Your child will learn 
to ask questions to analyze and understand different kinds of texts from The New York 
Times and Smithsonian. He or she will write about new discoveries in science and 
technology and create a short story. 

Last week we read an excerpt from the novel "Call Me Maria" by Judith Ortiz Cofer as part of a unit in which we are examining real and imagined "difficult decisions" that people and characters in literature sometimes face. Soon, students will have a written assignment related to this theme.

Next up, we'll study Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken".

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School!

I am glad to welcome you to the 2014-2015 school year, and grade 7 ELA class!
Here's an excerpt from the opening day handout that I will send home with ELA 7 students:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to grade 7 ELA class!
I’m looking forward to working with you to help your student have a great school year.
Here are some expectations I’ll share with your student related to behavior in my class:

  1. We listen respectfully when someone is talking.
  2. We arrive at class ready and prepared to learn.
  3. We show respect to each other at all times.
  4. We work to the best of our ability.

I’m hopeful that you’ll find these rules fairly straightforward and easy for your student to follow.
In addition, I’ll enforce the rules of student conduct as explained in the middle school handbook.
While the majority of assignments will be completed during class time, occasionally there will be work for the student to do at home. Typical homework assignments may include independent reading, writing/revising essays or other written assignments, etc.

I'm looking forward to meeting your students tomorrow and then you on September 16 at "Open House and Meet the Team Night."

Please don't hesitate to reach out sooner if you have questions by emailing me at

In the meantime, please check out this back to school message from one of my favorite authors, John Green, as it captures some of the sentiment that I'd like to share with students at this time of the year.