A novel for 7th grade Language Arts

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Mr.MiddleSchool, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2009

    Hello All!

    New teacher here! I teach 7th grade Language Arts and I absolutely love it so far.

    I was wondering does anyone know of a novel that I can possibly teach during the 2nd semester?

    Granted, I know that traditionally The Outsiders is taught in 6th and 7th grade (awesome book by the way! Never gets old. JMHO) but unfortunately its already been taught to them. Does anyone have any other suggestions. I'd like to stick with more traditional titles rather than go on the "newer" spectrum... The Giver, The Chocolate War, The Rag and Bone Shop, etc.

    Has anyone used a novel that never fails to get their students attention and that they really enjoy?

    thanks!

    -Mr.MiddleSchool
     
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  3. trina

    trina Companion

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    Jan 11, 2009

    I teach The Pigman simply because it was one of the first novels written for adolescents. I love teaching them the reasons why a brand new genre- young adult lit- was created. The novel has so many different levels that you can delve in to. I think it's always important to have them realize that the time it was written in- 1968- means that their parents were teens during this time (generally).

    So I guess if you want an "older" one...I'd vote for it. I also teach The Giver and it is BY FAR the best book I teach. I have kids say they never liked to read until they read The Giver.

    By the way....can anyone tell me what the hoopla is all about with The House on Mango Street? I read it intending to teach it this year, but for the life of me, I didn't get it. I understand that it's a good character analysis book, and I like the vignettes, but I couldn't get into it.
     
  4. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2009

    thanks for your reply. I've never even heard of The Pigman. I'm sure you know as well as I do that the "must read" book now for adolescents is Twilight but hopefully I won't have to teach that for another 10 or 15 years. *laughs*

    -Mr.MiddleSchool
     
  5. MizDubya

    MizDubya Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2009

    I teach a group of ELL 7th graders, and we recently finished up Holes. It may be a bit too easy for your students, depending on their reading level, but my kids *loved* the book!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2009

    Here's the summer reading list for my school for grades 6-8: (sorry, the formatting got a bit mixed up and I've got to get my kids up any minute now.)

    Cadets -- Class of 2015
    North, Sterling Rascal. New York, NY: Puffin Books,
    Penguin Books USA, Inc. 1963. ISBN 0-14-034445-4 $4.99

    O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. New York, NY:
    Dell Publishing, 1960. ISBN 0440 43988-4

    Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. New York, NY: Batam,
    Doubleday, Dell, 1971. ISBN 0440 94250-0

    Burnett, Frances H. The Secret Garden. New York, NY:
    Harper Collins Publishers, 1987. ISBN 006 40188-X

    Mongomery, E.M. Anne of Green Gables. New York, NY:
    Scholastic, Inc., 1989 ISBN 0590 42243-X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    Select any two books in your category to read.
    Tyros -- Class of 2014

    London, Jack. Call of the Wild. New York, NY:
    Penquin Books. ISBN 0-451-52390-3. $2.25

    Twain, Mark. Tom Sawyer. New York, NY:
    Penquin Books. ISBN 0-590-43352-0. $ 2.25

    Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders. New York, NY: Bantam Doubleday
    Dell Publishing Group, Inc. 1987. ISBN 0-440-96769-4. $3.25

    Speare, Elizabeth. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. 1990
    ISBN 0-440-995779. $3.50

    ~ Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island. New York, NY:
    Ne.w. A.m.eri.ca.n .Li.br.ary., .19.8.7. .IS.B.N .0-.45.1-.52.1.89.7. .$.5..70.
    . . . . . . . .
    Select any two books in your category to read.
    Scluires -- Class 2013

    Greene, Bette. The Summer of My German Soldier. New York, NY:Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1973.
    ISBN 0-440-21892-6 $3.99

    Magorian, Michelle. Good Night, Mr. Tom. New York, NY:
    Harper Collins Publishers, 1981. ISBN 0-06-440174-1 $3.95

    Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles.
    New York, NY: New American Library- (Signet Classic)
    ISBN 0-451-52478-0 $3.50

    Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper. New York, NY:
    BantadDoubleday Books. ISBN 0-553-21256. $2.25

    Tolkien, J.R. The Hobbit. New York, NY: Ballantine Books
    (Random Books), 1986. ISBN 345-33968-1. $5.95. .
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2009

    I think a great book for them would be Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick. It is short, intriguing, and thought provoking. The characters are complex and the many issues raised (disabilities, bullying, respect, power) could inspire great discussions.
     
  8. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Jan 14, 2009

    The thing is, I want a book that can be followed with "cool" during reading and after reading activities. I teach 102 kids, my biggest class being 27 kids. So, I need A. find a set of books and B. make sure the book is interesting. The only books right now that I have in my classroom (I just took over for a teacher who left) is The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(which I have no intention in reading).

    So yeah, that's my dilemma.

    -Mr.MiddleSchool
     
  9. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    Jan 14, 2009

    We're finishing The Giver tomorrow, and the kids have loved it! There's always a groan when we have to move on from reading and discussing the book. The CD's are really well done, too.

    It's great for teaching characterization, especially when you're looking at how a character changes throughout the story.

    If you teach it, though, be prepared to discuss adult concepts - specifically, hormonal changes/sexual desire, euthanasia, and suicide. They're not overdone in the book, but you'll need to have basic, skim-level conversations with the kids.

    By the way, I have a high ELL population, so we do a lot of storyboards and "what just happened here?" conversations, but the vocabulary in this book isn't so far above their level that they can't understand the narrative.
     
  10. jwhitg

    jwhitg Rookie

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    Jan 14, 2009

    My favorite book for 7th grade is The Watson's Go To Birmingham - 1963

    When I teach the novel, I have a large unit on the Civil Rights Movement. The book deals with some very heavy issues and the bombing of a church, killing several children. So many of our students just don't realize how far as a nation we have come.

    The kids love it because it was so serious but also has some very funny parts. GREAT book!
     
  11. firemaple

    firemaple Companion

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    Jan 16, 2009

    What about "Where the Red Fern Grows," if you already have it in your position? That book is always a winner.
     
  12. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Jan 16, 2009

    Yes, I do indeed have a set of Where the Red Fern Grows and I'm thinking in the end, that is the book we will read. However, I want to present it in a way that is "fun" with interactive activies and everything. Do you have experience teaching this novel? If so, do you have suggestions on how I could go about doing that?

    -Mr.MiddleSchool


     
  13. firemaple

    firemaple Companion

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    Jan 17, 2009

    I've never taught it, but I just remember how much I loved the book as a kid. It ranks as one of the top reads of my childhood. I've done the Outsiders, Old Yeller and Touching Spirit Bear to name a few. Those are all big hits too.

    I would do some Google searches. There have to be some activity books for WTRFG. For example, the Old Yeller supplement I used, had instructions on how to make soap in the class just like they did on the Texas range. Stuff like that. And I purchased the book from Amazon for about ten bucks.

    I say go for it!!!
     
  14. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I have decided to teach Where the Red Fern Grows. I have decided to present it as a script reading (like a movie) so that the students can volunteer to read lines of a character if they wish. I have seen this technique used when reading The Outsidersand it is phenominal to see how much the kids get into it and practically will do anything for a "role". I even used this earlier when reading "The Gingerbread Man" when teaching subject-verb agreement. You wouldn't think students would be psyched to have the opportunity to be a cow, a horse, or a fox but they do! And they make the characters their own changing their voices and everything! I'm really looking forward to this!

    -Mr. MiddleSchool
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Feb 4, 2009

    Ooh, I like that idea Mr.MS! I am gearing up to teach Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and it is always very intensive instruction in the language of the south and all of the dialogue. I might have to steal that idea!
     
  16. AF Mom

    AF Mom Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I don't know how strict your school's policies are about what kids are allowed to read, but my 7th graders are reading A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck. This book covers birth, death, and the daily life of a young Shaker boy growing up in the '20's'. My kids love it so far even the discussions. I had to be the CD because the ending is very sad and I have a hard time reading it to the class and the kids usually can't read it without some tears. Freak The Mighty is a great book that my kids enjoyed and Trouble River, The River, and The Giver. Good luck!
     
  17. AF Mom

    AF Mom Rookie

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    Feb 4, 2009

    OOPS I forgot to mention that my kids watched Where the Red Fern Grows and took notes, and when we finish "The Day no Pigs Would Die", we will do a compare/contrast project on the two stories.
     
  18. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Feb 4, 2009

    I loooove A Day No Pigs Would Die...very sad, very, very sad...
     
  19. azure

    azure Companion

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    Mar 1, 2009

    Midnight is a Place.
     
  20. azure

    azure Companion

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    Mar 1, 2009

    Walkabout
     
  21. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    Mar 2, 2009

    I decided to go with Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. We are reading it as a script reading (i.e. I took the time to photocopy the novel, and made script books for all the different characters. I read the part of Billy (the narrator) but the students can volunteer to read the other parts... mama, papa, grandpa, etc.

    The demand for parts is so great I have to assign 2 to 3 chapters at a time to keep the peace. I would recommend this "strategy" to anyone who doesn't know how to go about presenting a novel to a class.

    -Mr. MiddleSchool
     
  22. Vegas Art Guy

    Vegas Art Guy Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2009

    Good to see you have a conclusion. You might want to do To Kill a Mockingbird as well in the future.
     
  23. Reddhead

    Reddhead New Member

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    Apr 20, 2009

    I started reading Among the Hidden by Haddix. I intergrated science with it and we read it in the spring so that I can have them do an experiment to see which gladioli plant will grow bigger. Each group has to change one thing-last year one dug up a worm and put that in the plant-while one group is the control group. Many of my struggling readers have really enjoyed this book and it's a great one to end the year.
     
  24. IowaLA

    IowaLA Rookie

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    May 7, 2009

    Touching Spirit Bear is a great one too--even the boys in my class loved it! We end with a big totem pole project which the students also enjoy. If you decide to do this in the future, let me know and I can share what I have done!

    Also intrigued by the script idea--how much work was it to put together?
     
  25. LVinTCHin

    LVinTCHin New Member

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    May 9, 2009

    I WOULD LOVE to teach Twilight, but I live in an area where books such as that (and Harry Potter) are a rocky subject. I'd have a few parents swear I was "corrupting" their child ... I have read the series and have five copies of each book on my shelf ... well DID - they STAY checked out. The book creates SUCH wonderful things: discussion, promotes reading - even in my 7th grade boys!!! - imagination, and excitement!

    I also teach Outsiders - they LOVE it! Some others I have taught are: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Nothing But the Truth; Tears of a Tiger (ANOTHER GREAT HIT!!!); And Then There Were None. Many of these the kids would NEVER pick up and read on their own - but once they have read them in class (I use audio tapes whenever possible) they say, "Wow, I loved that book, and would have never picked it up to read on my own!" :)

    Have a great year!
     
  26. kidsandpups

    kidsandpups Companion

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    May 24, 2009

    My classes LOVE The Cay (boy on a deserted island) and The Westing Game (murder mystery).
     
  27. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    May 25, 2009

    Twilight is actually being read by 8th grade in my school. It's not my cup of tea, but what really has me concerned is, it's "all the rage" and when upcoming 5th, 6th, and 7th graders do finally get to 8th grade they will have already read it and then there goes the 8th grade English 2nd semester up in smoke (unless they find another book).

     
  28. Mr.MiddleSchool

    Mr.MiddleSchool Comrade

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    May 25, 2009


    Well, it does take a good amount of prep time to create the script books-- photocopying the novel, reading ahead of the students and identifying parts, and then going on to highlight the lines in the script books you create. I didn't mind b/c I'm into projects like that. But the kids love it! They love to volunteer for parts.. I had to book parts 3 to 4 chapters in advance for Where the Red Fern Grows the kids really got that into it.

    And I'd love to see your materials for Touching Spirit Bear!
     
  29. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jun 17, 2009

    Last year I taught 7th/8th. We read Crispin:The Cross of Lead by Avi, House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, The Giver, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Next time I'll teach Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
     
  30. beachlady

    beachlady Rookie

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    Mr.MiddleSchool;

    Try FREAK THE MIGHTY, THE CAY, LIGHTENING THIEF, MISFITS,NGHTJOHN,
    Good Luck
     
  31. beachlady

    beachlady Rookie

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    Jun 20, 2009

    Freak the Mighty, The Cay, Lightenging Thief,Misfits
    Good Luck
     
  32. dbelmo

    dbelmo Rookie

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    Jun 21, 2009

    Tangerine
     

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