English Language Arts (7th)

Welcome to 7th Grade reading class, aka ELA, aka Lit class! This syllabus will explain the description and goals of this class, the tentative weekly schedule of the class, my expectations for my students, and grading and late work policies.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The goal of this class is to increase your communication skills through reading, writing, speaking, and the study of the English language. Our primary focus will be mastery of different writing styles, demonstration of the rules of grammar, and the ability to express yourself effectively while using critical and independent thinking.

READING: This year we will read a variety of fiction and non-fiction text including novels, short stories, dramas, poetry, and essays. We will constantly have a novel or short story that we are studying. The only exception being when we are working on a final essay or poetry project. The novels that we will be reading are The Westing Game, Call of the Wild, Out of the Dust, Call It Courage, The Outsiders, Midwife’s Apprentice, and The Endless Steppe. (This list is tentative and subject to change as needed based on the prior knowledge and readiness levels of each child).

The students will also receive an Article of the Week every Wednesday. This goal of this assignment is to improve the students’ news literacy by making them think independently and critically. We will close read the article in class by following the below steps. Emphasis will be on summarizing the key information, inferring or reading between the lines, deciphering between fact and opinion, and analyzing the author’s craft and structure of the article. This will be done in class this year with the goal of them being able to independently analyze the article by 8th Grade. The students will be responsible for answering the questions that are attached to the article independently. The questions range in level with a primary focus being on citing evidence to support an argument and evaluating if the evidence is valid and relevant. The completed worksheet is due by the following Wednesday.

Steps for a Close Read

Instructions: COMPLETE ALL QUESTIONS AND MARGIN NOTES using the CLOSE reading strategies practiced in class. This requires reading of the article three times.

Step 1: Skim the article using these symbols as you read:

 (+) agree, (-) disagree, (*) important, (!) surprising, (?) wondering

Step 2: Number the paragraphs. Read the article carefully and make notes in the margin.

Notes should include:

  • Comments that show that you understand the article. (A summary or statement of the main idea of important sections may serve this purpose.)
  • Questions you have that show what you are wondering about as you read.
  • Notes that differentiate between fact and opinion.
  • Observations about how the writer’s strategies (organization, word choice, perspective, support) and choices affect the article.

Step 3: A final quick read noting anything you may have missed during the first two reads.


WRITING: The writing assignments will be various forms including argumentative, narrative, informative/explanatory, and literary responses. At least once per trimester, the students will produce a formal final essay by completing the writing process from rough draft which will be revised to the first draft which will be edited to the final draft. These projects should be completed in class with only revising and editing coming home as homework. During the revising phase of the project, I ask that the student read the draft aloud to a parent/adult as the listener completes a questionnaire specifically designed for that project.


  • read together/independently in class on Monday
  • work on a reading standard/skill on Tuesday while also working on grammar
  • close read the Article of the Week on Wednesday (it is due the next Wednesday)
  • check comprehension questions and continue working on reading and grammar standard on Thursday
  • quiz/assessment on Friday

EXPECTATIONS OF ALL STUDENTS IN MY CLASSI expect all students to come to class prepared to learn and with a good attitude.   I expect that you will not disrupt the class in any way that prevents other students from getting the quality education that all students deserve.  Additionally, I expect all students to practice perseverance, self-motivation, and determination and to be able to apply these principles to their learning.

GRADING POLICY:  In this class, you will be graded both informally and formally, using several different types of assessments. These can include rubrics, tests, quizzes, and projects. The grading system in this class is based on the following percentages:

Homework (comprehension questions and grammar worksheets, etc.): 15%

Article of the Week: 10%

Quick Writes, projects, and quizzes: 30%

Assessments and final essays: 40%

LATE WORK POLICY (DIFFERENT THAN SICK WORK):  We strongly encourage students to turn in every assignment on time.  However, in the event that assignments are turned in late, there will be a 10% deduction for each day that the assignment is late.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain needed assignments and submit them to the teacher at an appropriate time (before or after class) in the appropriate place (white wire basket on my desk).  After five days, the late work will no longer be accepted.

ABSENCESIt is the student’s responsibility to ask for make-up work from days missed. When students are absent, it is the expectation that they will check the website or ask the teacher for all work missed. St. Patrick’s homework policy is one day per absence is allowed before sick make-up work is due.

HOMEWORK: It is posted on the board in my classroom as well on our Google Classroom site

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you!