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7th Grade Language Arts
2016-2017 Syllabus
Mr. Hamilton:
Email: chrishamilton@brownsburg.k12.in.us [email is the best way to contact me]
Website: http://bemschampions.weebly.com/ Team 7.1
Phone: 317.852.2386 ext. 2286
Welcome to seventh Language Arts. Language arts (Literacy) can be defined as the ability to use language to read, write,
listen, and speak. Language, in all of its many forms, is our foundation for purposeful communication and understanding.
In this course, you will build upon what you already know about language and develop new strategies for effective
reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Please take some time to read through this course syllabus and share it with a
parent/guardian at home. I look forward to getting to know you throughout our school year together!

English Goal:
For you to become skilled, passionate, habitual, critical readers, writers and thinkers.

Classroom Objectives:

For you to read and write freely and daily.

For you to experience different reading and writing genres.
For you to learn about writing crafts and conventions and practice them.
For you to speak with confidence and listen to other with empathy.
For you to learn about various reading strategies and skills, and practice them.
For you to appreciate both classic and contemporary literature.
For you to become a lifelong reader and writer.

Please bring the following to class each day:
Assignment notebook (passport)
Subject Folder
Interactive Notebook (composition notebook)
Favorite Writing utensil
Great Ideas
Independent reading book


70% of your grade will be based on the following:

o Writers/Readers Notebook evaluations
o Formal Writing Pieces
o Formative (quiz) and Summative (test) grades
20% of your grade will be based on the following:
o Homework
o Classroom work (Bell work, Bell Ringers, BEMS articles
o Anecdotal record of small group book discussions
10% of your grade will be based on the following:
o Classroom participation
o Whole group discussions
o Effort to grow as a writer and reader

Expectations (For Students)

You, the student, are essential to our classroom environment. Your special talents, the energy
that you bring to class each day, and your contributions in class will have an impact on everyone
around you. Here is what I expect from YOU each day:

Expectations for Writing

Find topics and purposes for your writing that matter to you, to your life, to who you are now and want to become.

Keep a writers notebook that includes: the topics, purposes, audiences, genres, forms, and techniques that are your
specialties or that youd like to experiment with.

Initiate the 6+1 Writing Traits: Ideas, Organization, Sentence Fluency, Voice, Word Choice, Conventions, and

Adhere to the following Interactive notebook expectations:

Good writers write whenever time is provided in school and at home.
Try strategies from the mini-lesson before continuing with your own work for the day.
Respect the integrity of the notebook by taking care of it, writing legibly, and having it in class every day.
The good news is that these will be kept in class. You should respect other notebooks by only reading
entries you are invited to read by the author.

Try new topics, purposes, audiences, genres, forms, and techniques.

Make your own decisions about what is working and needs more work in pieces of your writing. Be the first
responder to your writing, and read yourself with a critical eye and ear.

Listen to, ask questions about, and comment on others writing in ways that help them move their writing forward.

Take notes over writing mini-lessons in your Interactive notebook.

Plan to spend time outside of school working on your writing each week. Remember that writers build quality upon a
foundation of quantity.

Recognize that readers eyes and minds need your writing to be conventional in format,
spelling, punctuation, and usage. Work toward conventionality and legibility, and use what
you know about format, spelling, punctuation, and usage as you compose.

Understand that writing is thinking. Do nothing to distract me or other writers. Dont put your
words into our brains as we are struggling to find our own.

Work as hard in writing workshop as I do.

Expectations for Reading (For Students)

Find books, authors, subjects, and themes that matter to you, to your life, to who you are and who you want to

Keep a list of the books you read including: titles, authors, genres, number of pages, and Lexile score of the

Read all four grade level novels to the best of your ability. Understand we will study these novel, not just simply
read them.

Try new authors, subjects, and genres; expand your reading possibilities.

Grow at Reading Closely. Work to think like the author. Inquiry about authors style, craft, and skill is essential
for reading growth.

Develop and articulate your criteria for selecting and abandoning books; find your purpose.

Go inside your books and respond to the writing you are reading; decide what is working and needs more work in
the books you read.

Read as much as you can, as often as you can.

Plan to spend time reading every night.

Take notes over reading mini-lessons in keep them in your Interactive Notebook

Take care of books we have provided for you. Return each book you borrow from the media center in the same
shape you checked it out.

Establish and work toward significant, relevant goals for yourself as a reader each nine weeks. For example,
increase your SRI score each nine weeks.

Work as hard at reading as I do.

7th Grade Learning Objectives (For Parents)

Your student will learn new ways of thinking within (literal understanding), beyond (making predictions and
connections, inferring and synthesizing), and about (analyzing and critiquing) different texts.
Students will also study the features that characterize each particular genre of literature. For instance, your student will
study the features that characterize narratives when reading stories, novels, and personal experience essays.
The reading of informational texts and the understanding of their text structures, ways in which they are organized
(chronological order, cause and effect, classification schemes), will also be an important component of this class.
Along with reading across the disciplines, your student will work toward greater fluency, continue to expand his/her
knowledge of literary terms and devices, and acquire new vocabulary that he/she will be able to use correctly in reading
and writing.
Writing workshop is designed to provide your student with opportunities to write frequently in a variety of forms and for
a variety of purposes and audiences. This year, your student will write extended compositions, short pieces on demand,
and informal reflections, both to communicate with others and to focus his/her own thinking.
Through process writing, your student will learn to apply strategies for organizing a first draft (brainstorming, planning,
mapping, and clustering), writing successive versions, revising, and editing. Graphic organizers and models of expected
student writing outcomes will help to guide your child through the pre-writing and drafting stages.
Your student will learn to revise his/her compositions by reorganizing sentences or paragraphs for clarity, adding or
deleting information, and finding precise words. Daily modeling and mini-lessons will help with this step by providing
direct and explicit instruction on the attributes of 6+1 writing traits and other qualities of writing.
On-going instruction will review, reinforce, and extend what your student has learned in his/her introductory grammar
lessons in English class in order to help with understanding how to self-correct for grammar, spelling, and mechanical
mistakes so that your student will begin to apply editing skills as he/she writes.
Your students Interactive Notebook is designated as a place for your student to reflect, explore, and clarify ideas in all
content areas. It will also contain your students practice with writing on demand (Quick Writes) wherein he/she will be
required to write quickly, clearly, and succinctly typically in response to a question with the goal of producing a concise
and comprehensible first draft.
Your seventh grader will also engage in research writing using multiple sources and learn criteria for evaluating the
quality of on-line information as well as standards for ethical use of the resources he/she finds.

Types of Writing in 7th Grade

Literary Essay: The literary essay is a journey of a readers thinking about literature and how
literature illuminates life and humanity. It takes the reader through the hypothesis (ideas, hunch) in
steps, unfolding thinking as it goes. It acknowledges and refutes opposing views. It is organized and
clear, containing ordinate (greater) and subordinate (lesser) ideas.
Essay: Randy Bomer defines an essay as something written to take readers on a journey of thought
as the writer tries out an idea. And most major news magazines publish something with the label
essay on it each week, often on the back page. Essays can be about any topic, so depending on
the topic, there are sub-categories of essays: personal, political, cultural, historical, media and literary.
The argument: The argument is defined as presenting logical and fact based reasons and examples
to influence action or thought. Effective arguments require a writer to state a claim or theory (different
from opinion) and prove the stance with extensive, intellectual support. The argument will also
provide the reader with counter arguments. This allows the writing to be balanced and fair.
Commentary: This is the writing the syndicated columnists do, the men and woman of the op-ed
page of the newspaper. Its the writing Rick Reilly does on the back page of ESPN the Magazine
each week. Their job is to comment (hence, commentary) on whats going on in the world. The
writing in them ranges from reflective essay to playful topical writing all the way to the clear
positioning of an opinion-driven editorial.
Poetry: The words of life.
Research: A research paper is the culmination and final product of an involved process of research,
critical thinking, source evaluation, organization, and composition. It is, perhaps, helpful to think of the
research paper as a living thing, which grows and changes as the student explores, interprets, and
evaluates sources related to a specific topic. Primary and secondary sources are the heart of a
research paper, and provide its nourishment; without the support of and interaction with these
sources, the research paper would morph into a different genre of writing (e.g., an encyclopedic
article). The research paper serves not only to further the topic in which it is written, but also to
provide the student with an exceptional opportunity to increase his or her knowledge in that topic.
Narrative/ Memoir: A type of autobiographical nonfiction where a writer takes a reflective stance in
looking back on a particular time in his or her life. This kind of writing has a significant memory/event
attached to quality reflection. Readers do not just get the authors experience; they get a sense of the
person who is remembering.
Fiction: Fiction is one of the most challenging genres to write. However, everyone loves a great story.
Fiction creates a small world that teaches us about the BIG world. Fiction imparts vital life lessons
with a great deal emotion.

What we read in 7th Grade

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world:

greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away
with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A
greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to
watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it,
even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow
greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The
murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to
crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a
greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old,
is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967.

The year is 1963, and self-important Byron Watson is the bane of his
younger brother Kenny's existence. Constantly in trouble for one thing
or another, from straightening his hair into a "conk" to lighting fires to
freezing his lips to the mirror of the new family car, Byron finally
pushes his family too far. Before this "official juvenile delinquent" can
cut school or steal change one more time, Momma and Dad finally make
good on their threat to send him to the deep south to spend the summer
with his tiny, strict grandmother. Soon the whole family is packed up,
ready to make the drive from Flint, Michigan, straight into one of the
most chilling moments in America's history: the burning of the Sixteenth
Avenue Baptist Church with four little girls inside.

In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment,

and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the
community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders
and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth
about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy.
With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner,
Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up
their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas
learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and
boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

What is an Interactive Notebook anyway?

The Interactive notebook is a new concept for many students and parents. The notebook is a storehouse
about reading, writing, thinking; a place to archive the work we do as readers, writers and thinkers. The
student can return to review and reflect upon them. It is also an ever-progressing portfolio of reading,
writing and thinking development.
With that said, the primary use of the notebook is to help individuals become more literate by:
Engaging in critical thinking
Applying Best Practice reading strategies
Engaging in meaningful independent work while the teacher works with smaller groups.
Connecting reading and writing in a meaningful way
Formulating thoughtful and personal responses
Collecting, examining, and using interesting words and language patterns
Examining the writers craft and recording the techniques noticed for later discussion and
application in reading and writing
Collecting notes and information that become tools and resources we need to read, write and think.
What is expected in my childs readers notebook?
Because every student is different and come from different language development histories, the work may
vary from student to student. It is very difficult to set a standard for the size and word count for every
entry, classroom activity, and number of pages completed. As for the assessment piece of the notebook, I
have developed several criteria that measure success. Here are the main indicators I look for in a students

All notes are included

All notes are completely filled in (including any days student was absent)
All activities are included
All activities are completed filled in (including any days student was absent)
Activities demonstrate thought and outstanding effort
Table of Contents is complete
All elements are in the correct order.

Notebook demonstrates outstanding creativity.

Color is exceptional and enhances notes and activities.
Notebook is neatly put together.