? for Language Arts Teachers

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by MrsCAD, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Jun 22, 2006

    This will be my first year teaching 7/8 Language Arts and I will be teaching the usual English stuff along with Reading....my question is what do you usually start the year out with? Reading is very important to me and I would like to dedicate 2 days a week to reading and use the rest of the week for English, does that sound doable? What do you do? - These are those things they don't teach you in school. I am the only 7/8 LA teacher in my school so I don't have anyone to plan with.:thanks:
     
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  3. agsrule!

    agsrule! Companion

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    Jun 22, 2006

    How long are your class periods? My class periods are 80 minutes long (block scheduling), so I am able to do grammer, reading and writing all in one period. Some days we don't write essays, but we are working on open ended questions that go along with our novel. I think if you have shorter class periods, then alternating days sounds fine.
     
  4. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jun 22, 2006

    Because the ISTEP was given in the first semester, I always started out with Grammar and Spelling, and saved the Literature and Comp for after Christmas. This lets the kids learn all the fundamentals (ha ha ha) before they begin their major writing projects, and is a kind of review for all the grammar that's on that Test.

    Lucky you, I LOVE that age!!
     
  5. MrsCAD

    MrsCAD Companion

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    Jun 22, 2006

    My class periods will only be 45 minutes long. I would like to read an ongoing novel everyday, but don't think I'm going to have time for that after doing my starters, I'm probably only looking at 35-40 minutes of actually teaching time.
     
  6. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Jun 23, 2006

    It boggles my mind that they expect teachers to cover Lit/Spelling/Grammar/Writing in 45 minutes. I have 90 and I don't do near as much as I would like to.

    I think 2 days for lit is fine, if you can cover a story in that amount of time (I think you can). I would do it two consecutive days. I would also assign 2 books per quarter to be read independently with a report of some type to be given. (There is your Oral Expression. :) ) Require at least five or six different genres throughout the year. Informational books could be handled when you do your research report.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jun 23, 2006

    We have a core content from the state, and a program of studies. We have to make sure the kids know EVERYTHING on that list by testing. Of course, that varies each year based on the needs of the kids we gets. Some years it's easier to cover things than others. We've had from 60 to 100 minutes to cover language arts and reading classes. That's pretty much writing, reading, and literature. We don't actually teach spelling, vocabulary, or grammar except as needed within the other units. Oh, and we also read AR books and class novels.

    Here's a copy of our curriculum map from last year. It's shows you what we did when. http://www.geocities.com/mrs_hill_ecms/FFocus050.html
     
  8. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Jun 23, 2006

    Start out with grammar. then have literature/reading two days a week. vocaulary once a week, grammar once a week and writing once a week. you also might start out with correcting mistakes for sentences. The Daily oral Language 6th grade or DAily Grams is great for this. make sure you look at your state's standards. God luck, I envy you and I am still looking. Terry G.
     
  9. Tubby Teacher

    Tubby Teacher New Member

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    Jul 2, 2006

    For mainstream EO classes, I use the following focus map:
    Monday - vocabulary/grammar mini-lesson
    Tuesday - into activities/author backgrounder/Cornell Notes
    Wednesday - read/Socratic discussion/text extensions
    Thursday - beyond activities/response to literature
    Fridays - spelling text/vocabulary extension/selection test/grammar mini-lesson

    When I switch to writing, I leave Mondays and Fridays the same. I switch writing into Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Having a pattern like that lets me plan, and it also lets my kids know what we are going to be doing. I teach in California, so the emphasis is on four types of writing for the seventh grade state test (narrative, persuasive, response to literature, and summary). The state test is in early March, so we need to have practiced all four types of writing before then.

    I start the year with a horror story. We then deconstruct it using a story grammar. The kids then create their own stock characters, and they build a simple horror story with all of the elements. Usually, they get stuck on dialogue. I then switch the genre to mystery. Science fiction and fantasy require too much prior knowledge for the time I have available. Romance can too easily go astray. Heartwarming stories require many rewrites, and autobiographical pieces can reveal things that can cause problems during peer reviews.

    We spend most of the time working on five paragraph responses to literature. The form is trite (how has character X changed during the story OR describe the themes and symbolism in story Y). By the time they have written their sixth or seventh RTL, they have the hang of it.

    I have the same kids for social studies, so I have them do persuasive and summary writing in there.

    When the state testing is over, we switch to fun units (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Pirates, poetry, etc.). The kids have to read something every day, and they have to write something every day. The only time I use book work (read the story and answer the questions at the end) is for subs. My kids tend to get mad when I have a sub and am not there.
     
  10. Rían

    Rían New Member

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    Jul 7, 2006

    I have been teaching many years in a *very* small school (K-8). Due to legislative action in our state, our small schools have been forced to consolidate with the larger K-12 districts that we feed into. Now, I've taught 4th-8th for many years but with only 3 students in a class at a time. I am now going to be teaching 7th grade langauge arts--reading and English--exclusively. My periods will be 50 minutes long. Where do you start? I've always done reading and English as separate subjects; now I need to do them in one class period. Getting a little nervous here. Do most of you do alternate days with reading/English or do most of you try to get it all in in one period? Any scheduling suggestions will be most appreciated.
     
  11. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    Jul 8, 2006

    Do reading and English on alternate days. You might want to get some grammar warmups. Try Daily GRams or Daily Language Review Grade 6. Alternate days you can do grammar warmups and journaling to start the class. Then you can do comprehanesion questions after reading a short story or a novel. You might want to do some other activities with a story for the kids. Get the Literature Companion. It has a lot of activities to do with a book and it is great for junior high. You might want to include vocabulary grammar and writing on your language arts days. A list of words pertaining to the literature selection might be good for vocabulary. The kids could have a vocaulary quiz when you finish a literature piece. You might have them doing a written response to the story to tie reading and language arts together
     
  12. msmteacher

    msmteacher New Member

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    Jul 13, 2006

    I had to combine literature(reading) with grammar and composition in my 8th grade advanced class. I devoted Tuesday and Friday to literature and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday to grammar/composition, tying composition with the book we were reading at the time. I used these novels, in this order:

    Tangerine
    A Break with Charity
    A Christmas Carol
    The Diary of Anne Frank
    Assorted Poetry/Dead Poet's Society
    The Coffin Quilt
    A Midsummer Night's Dream
     
  13. E Bunni 99

    E Bunni 99 Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Congrats! You will love teaching 7/8 Language Arts! It is a great class to teach- I wouldn't trade it for anything!

    I start the year with teaching Fiction. We spend about 6 weeks on this unit and then move into Nonfiction. I save a research debate for the end of the year. Throughout the entire year I use a grammar and writing strategy I learned at an inservice- The Kansas University Sentence Writing Strategy. It is great. I use it as a warm-up every day along with a journal to practice writing skills and emphasize a lot of time on the reading.

    How long are your classes? I have my kids 5 days a week for 90 minutes, so I have plenty of time to do a lot of stuff.

    Also, I do SSR (silent reading) every Tues. and Thurs. and a Read Aloud on Friday. We visit the library every other Friday too.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! I am glad to help.:p
     
  14. E Bunni 99

    E Bunni 99 Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Oh yeah-

    Novels I use in order (could be helpful- great idea msmteacher!):

    Freak the Mighty
    Nothing But The Truth
    Phineas Gage
    Park's Quest
    Tangeriene

    *** I also do an independent novel study where the students select an author to read 2 books from and then compare and contrast items in the book.
     
  15. zus_123

    zus_123 Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2006

    Can you explain how to do the Univ Sentence Writing Strategy? It sounds like something I would be interested in.
    Thanks!
     
  16. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 21, 2006

    Reading all of the posts here is like being in the college class I always wanted to take! Wow, what ideas!

    Last year in 9th English I taught
    Mythology (Hero's Quest)
    Romeo and Juliet
    Of Mice and Men
    The Chocolate War
    Poetry

    We wrote an essay with each book. The students were also expected to read a book each quarter (which I would change to be shorter) outside of class.

    (I wanted to teach To Kill a Mockingbird, but was talked out of it by the other teachers. For new teachers, do not be scared to teach something you are passionate about!)

    In 8th Reading I taught
    Counterfeit Son - a great read for inference!

    Give yourself the freedom to experiment with different strategies! I found myself giving up some of the things I really wanted to try because I let other teachers talked me out of them.
     
  17. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2006

    How was The Chocolate War? I am interested in that book, but heard it can be controversial.

    Thanks,
    Chrissy
     
  18. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2006

    It is controversial, but overall, it was a good read! The students seemed to enjoy it because the language was easy (unlike R&J), it was about kids their own age (unlike OMM), and it didn't rhyme! I tried to tie in my journal everyday to keep the students thinking like/about different characters in the book. We also had to keep a character log and complete a study guide, which I wound up creating myself. and we played a Jeopardy game at the end to help the students make any final connections!
     
  19. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2006

    Why a teacher would talk you out of teaching To Kill a Mockingbird is beyond me! I taught it this year - my first year teaching - and I loved the whole experience!
     
  20. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2006

    Just out of curiosity what is so contoversial about it. I really should read it, but I am reading about fifteen different things right now and running out of time before school starts.
     
  21. E Bunni 99

    E Bunni 99 Rookie

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    Kansas Univ. Sentence Writing Strategy

    This is a strategy created by the University of Kansas to help kids learn grammar and writing skills. Students are taught to learn the parts of speech and how to write 14 types of sentences. Kids complete games, worksheets, verbal quizzes, etc. In order to get the materials, you have to be trained through a mentor in the program. It is awesome, and the kids love to see the progress!
     
  22. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2006

    The Chocolate War is contoversial because...

    Challenged for profanity, scenes of ************ and sexual fantasy along with segments denigrating to girls

    Challenged for sexual content, offensive language, religious viewpoint, being unsuited to age group and violence.


    Which is exactly why kids seem to like it. I think it challenges kids to stand up for themselves and not just do things for the sake of doing them.
     
  23. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2006

     
  24. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2006

    Two out of four of the 9th grade English teachers wanted to read TKAM - we were both new to the school. The other teachers said it took too long and the kids didn't get it...blah blah blah. Those of us who wanted to read it were pretty much outvoted - even though it was a tie, I think we let their experience talk us out of it. I'm beginning to think that experience, while helpful in most things, isn't what changes things.
     
  25. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2006

    I think you are right. I found TKAM very valuable to me and the kids. It is my favorite book of all time, so I felt it was a privilege to teach.

    Thanks for filling me in on The Chocolate War - I got the whole m word :eek:) The aspects that make it controversial are definitely the aspects that make things appealing to the kids.

    Thanks!
    Chrissy
     
  26. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jul 24, 2006

    My brother read TKM in his freshman english class... I didn't read it in mine, but I would have if I'd live up here then. My brother was always the type who needed mom or dad to sit down and read WITH him or do book-on-tape due to his LD/Dyslexia. I have vivid memories of my mom hating that teacher, because she'd do a few chapters, then go on to something else, then come back to TKM, then insert another unit, then go back to TKM... Jeff ACTUALLY wanted to read ahead and finish the book, which was a FIRST.

    My high school had a list of "required" books for each class, but the rest of the year's novels was up to the descretion of the teachers. I always appreciated that, because my teachers often were able to give us a choice or pick books that had topics interesting to our class.
     

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