7th Grade Novels

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by citylove, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. citylove

    citylove New Member

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Hi, I'm new here! Thanks to all for fostering such a great community! Here is my story.

    I work at an independent school, so I have complete control over my curriculum. I love it. However, for the 4th year in a row, due to my inability to commit to a grade level (I think I found it this time ... ) I'm redesigning curriculum.

    This year, I'm teaching 7th Humanities. The social studies portion is Early American, beginning at the age of exploration/1500s ending after the revolution.

    I largely run reading and writing workshop for language arts, but I do want to teach at least three whole class novels. Possibly four. It would be great if they could fit the themes of "rebellion" or "courage" or the displacement of less powerful peoples, but it isn't altogether necessary. Books I'm seriously considering so far include: My Brother Sam is Dead, Fever 1793, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (just because I want to), Excerpts from: Johnny Tremain and "The Crucible," and I'm moderately considering A Young Patriot and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. I'm more interested in excellent literature than okay historical fiction.

    Does anyone have novel suggestions that you think are perfect for 7th grade? Or that might fit with the themes? I welcome commentary on the above ideas - I haven't read the last two and am really uncertain about Midsummer. Something adventurey or piratey might be fun for the exploration era. (I did Treasure Island with some of these guys last year.)

    I welcome any thoughts or advice! Thanks!
     
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  3. KMInfinity

    KMInfinity New Member

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    Jul 9, 2008

    One novel I've used on the theme of "revolutions" is Robert Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky. It's a science fiction novel, which captured a lot of interest, especially with boys. The premise: A group of high school students are taking their final exams in a survival course, and are dropped onto an uninhabited planet for two weeks. Something goes wrong with the pickup, and they’re marooned there, forced to establish their own culture and society.

    The novel lends itself to tons of discussion about viewpoints and choices!

    It’s available thru Permabound.
     
  4. citylove

    citylove New Member

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Oh wow, that looks almost perfect! Thank you for the idea, I've never heard of this book before. It's now on order!
     
  5. slinkytoy

    slinkytoy Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2008

    The Clay Marble is a good book for lower 7th readers. It takes place in Cambodia and is about a young girl surviving during a war. I have used it a couple of times and the students responded well.
     
  6. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. It's a book about a teen who is a bully and severely beat up someone at school and has been in and out of trouble for a long time. Instead of going through the traditional legal system, he is sent to Circle Justice (Native American way of handling things) and is banished to an island near Alaska, alone to survive the wilderness for a year. Many things happen to him and he begins to understand his place in the world. My students loved it!
     
  7. citylove

    citylove New Member

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    Jul 9, 2008

    Thank you for those ideas - Both are new to me, so I am excited to look them up! THANKS!
     
  8. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    Jul 15, 2008

    The Cay and its sequel Timothy of the Cay are both great. I used them this year with my 7th graders. They're about a boy who goes blind and is then shipwrecked on a desert island with an old man and a cat during WWII. You can really get into some touchy middle school topics like friendship, discrimination, etc. My class loved them.
     
  9. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2008

    I love these stories but I never realized how often the theme is used.I found out this summer::eek:
    You see my son had to read Swiss Family Robinson and he was so annoyed-he said to me "Mom.Do you want to know how many books I've read about kids stranded on desert islands?"7!

    He was right::lol:
    The Cay
    Robinson Caruso
    Island of the Blue Dolphin
    Lord of the Flies
    Island Trilogy-Korman
    and I am pretty sure there was another one but I can't remember the name and I don't want to ask him!
     
  10. daiwa24

    daiwa24 Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    Our 7th graders read Fever 1793 and they love it! We tie it into their SS and Science classes. It has just enough "gross" parts for the boys and yet has a strong female lead character that the girls enjoy reading about.
     
  11. jforegolf

    jforegolf Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    I did a similar theme to "Courage" last year and read the following books in this order. Inherit the Wind. It is a classic play about a High school biology teacher who stands up to the city who does not want evolution taught in school. Also secondary characters stand up to adversity. Fahrenheit 451 is a story most are familiar with. It is about a civilization that is destroying literature and the main character fights to keep books alive. Kids on Strike is a book that focuses on child labor during the industrial revolution and the action kids took to change their lives. This book was o.k. but I am probably going to look for a new one this year. The last book is The Chocolate War. This book is about a kid who goes to a private school who refuses to participate in the yearly chocolate sale for a lot of reasons.

    All of these books were a hit with the kids( 7th grade) and led to some amazing discussion about what it means to stand up for a cause. I was able to tie them all together easily at the end of the year with the courage theme. Hope this helps.
     
  12. forchange

    forchange Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    The Last Book in the Universe is a science fiction book that's lower than Fahrenheit 451 about a society divided between normals and "proovs" (genetically improved humans). Many of the main characters show courage and we had a lot of good discussions about which character was the most courageous. Also, the parallels with our own divided society were easy enough for the kids to really understand and appreciate.

    Since you're also teaching about Native Americans, you could teach Sherman Alexie (although his writing is the kind that might get you in trouble, if you don't have a supportive administration). I think one of the failures of the way we teach history is we leave the impression that Native Americans sort of disappeared after the revolution. I taught The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian last year and it was, by far, the most popular book I chose. It's about an Indian boy who decides that the schools on his reservation are not the right place for him to achieve his dreams, so he goes to a white school. It addresses the racism he faces at his new school and also the resentment of the Indians on the reservation. It definitely doesn't present an easy answers and is rich with conversation starters.
     
  13. villageteacher

    villageteacher Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2008

    My sixth graders loved reading "The Cay". I did, too.
     
  14. angeluv73

    angeluv73 Rookie

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    Sep 7, 2008

    I love "First they Killed my father" true story about a girl surviving the vietnam war
     

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