Alice Johnson Junior High

Course Syllabus 2012-2013 – ELA/Reading Gr. 7- Instructor: Mrs. Uraih
Room: 101

My Hours: 7:45am –4:00 pm (Conference by appointment)
Phone: ______

Tutorials: (By Appointment) 3:35pm-4:35pm


Course Setting

This course covers a variety of literary genres, focusing on the elements of fiction

through short stories, novels, and poems. The course is designed to give students an understanding of how the elements of fiction are used. Grammar, vocabulary and writing instruction will concentrate on developing an understanding of the relationships between words and sentences and how they combine to create a meaningful whole.

Course Syllabus

Students are expected to be active learners, meaning that they must share the responsibility for their own education by participating in activities, taking notes, completing assignments, studying and having good attendance. Homework assignments are designed to enrich learning and provide relevance. Students who have excused absences have an equal number of days to make up the work. Alternative assignments may be given since some class activities cannot be replicated, but they will be equivalent in value. If a student is absent on his or her speech or project date, he or she may give the speech or present the following day, but will be placed at the end of the roster for that day. If a student is absent on his or her speech or project date and has no acceptable excuse, the student will forfeit the grade for that speech or project. Students who go on prearranged absences will need to turn in the make-up work the week they return to class. Students are welcome to pick up the work the week before the pre-arranged absence. Students who skip class will not be allowed to make up the missed assignment/tests. It is essential that students demonstrate character by being honest in their work and testing. There is no need to cheat! Being honest also implies not letting other students copy your work or test answers. This deprives the cheating students of the opportunity to learn and to develop the self-discipline and character needed to be successful, contributing members of the community. If someone asks to borrow your paper, offer him or her real help by showing them how to do the assignment or helping them find the answers in the text.

Consequences for cheating and/or plagiarism

1st Offense: “O” on assignment/test, conference with parent, teacher, student and administrator or counselor

2nd Offense: No credit for assignment and disciplinary referral

Course Goals

The goal of this course is both introductory and mastery. Each student will not only be exposed to various literature forms, but also expected to expand their general knowledge base and their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Additionally, special consideration will be made for the following areas:

Students in English will have a strong control of standard writing conventions (punctuation, capitalization, grammar and usage).

Students’ writings will demonstrate exceptionally, strong commitment to the quality and significance of research and the accuracy of the written document. Documentation is used to avoid plagiarism and enables the reader to check the source.

All students’ writing is clear, focused, and interesting. Main ideas stand out and are developed by strong supporting and rich details suitable to the audience.

The writing contains order and structure that is compelling and moves the reader through the text easily.

The writing has a voice appropriate for the topic, purpose, and audience. It should be expressive, engaging, or sincere.


The writing has an effective flow and rhythm. Sentences should show a high degree of craftsmanship, with a strong and varied structure that makes the reading easy and enjoyable.

Students will have exposure and a working knowledge of the MLA referencing system.
Course Materials

·  notebook (with, Agenda Book or calendar, dividers and pockets)

·  folder

·  pencils (Ballpoint pens are not allowed in this class.)

·  highlighter (Markers are not allowed in this class.)

Required Reading
·  The Giver, by Lois Lowry (excerpts)

·  Tangerine by Edward Bloor

·  Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

·  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

·  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor

Course Introduction and Teacher Expectations

Grade 7 English Language Arts is a course designed to academically enrich 7th graders in grammar, writing, listening and reading.

Grammar is explored throughout the school year focusing on parts of speech, the tenses, and proper sentence structure. The writing process will be involved throughout all writing assignments, such as narratives, expository, academic and persuasive essays, business letter writing, and the research paper writing, and include reinforcement of editing techniques. Reading will consist of comprehending, interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, and appreciating literary and expository texts by using a variety of strategies, through individual and group activities, quarterly book projects, writing activities, and reenactments.

Course Outline
In this class, we will continue to build our English language arts skills. We will work on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. These learning experiences will be developed within the context of different literature units.

Course Assessment

Composition assignments ~ 15%

Homework/Class Work/Participation ~ 50%

Assessments/Class Projects ~ 35%

Units of Study - Prentice Hall Literature Textbook

1. Literary Elements through short stories

1. Plot

2. Character

3. Setting

4. Theme

5. Tone


The Treasure of Lemon Brown

Seventh Grade

Something to Cheer About

Writing assignment for IB assessment:

Write an essay of personal significance.

2. Writing Process through Expository Writing

Process skills include:

a. Prewriting techniques

b. Adding sentence variety (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex)

c. Multi-paragraph with central or controlling idea, thesis & support details

d. Transitions

e. Revision to improve clarity

f. Proofreading for grammar and mechanical errors

g. Lessons on appropriate use of ellipsis and parentheses

3. Author’s craft in literary fiction or nonfiction

Teach all that apply





Figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole-SHAMPOO)

Diction (word choice)

Point of view


Flashback and foreshadowing



Literary elements (Plot, Character, Setting, Theme, Tone, Irony)


Three Century Woman

Fall of the Hindenburg

All Summer in a Day

After Twenty Years

The Safecracker

Writing activity:

4. Writing Process/ Informational Writing/Novel Study

Process skills reviewed:

a. Prewriting techniques

b. Adding sentence variety (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex)

c. Multi-paragraph with central/controlling idea, thesis and supporting details

d. Transitions

e. Revision to improve clarity (NOT RECOPYING)

f. Proof-reading for grammatical and mechanical errors


Letters from Rifka

Two Kinds from the Joy Luck club

I Have a Dream

Life without Gravity

Novel Study:

A Year Down Yonder or The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglas

Writing assignment:

Author’s craft of symbolism essay

5. Research Process with Social Studies or Science Class


1. Clarify and refine topic

2. Construct inquiry questions

3. Use print and electronic sources

4. Use of direct quotes, paraphrase, and summary (CORNELL NOTES)

5. Organize information

6. Summarizing

7. Select appropriate graphics in print or electronic form

8. Create list of sources with information necessary to credit and document source including Author’s name; Title; and Full publication details

6. Drama and Mythology

Students experience the genre of drama through active involvement in a play taught in class.


A Christmas Carol

The Monsters are Due on Maple Street

Icarus and Daedalus

Demeter and Persephone

Popocatepetl and Ixtlaccihuatl

Writing activity:

Write a character analysis essay (Use Thinking Maps to brainstorm ideas)

7. Author’s craft in narrative poetry forms of songs, ballads, odes, and epic poetry

Speaker (narrative voice)




Figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole)

Extended Metaphor


Diction (word choice)




Sound devices (alliteration, onomatopoeia)



Repetition / Refrain


The Desert Is My Mother





The Courage That My Mother Had

Mother to Son

Annabel Lee

Martin Luther King

I’m Nobody

My Papa’s Waltz

The Whipping

Writing activity:

Write original poetry to model specific poetry forms and elements of author’s craft taught in the unit

8. Author’s bias and Author’s Craft in literary fiction or non and IB Vietnam Unit

Students will focus on identifying bias through:

Omission of relevant facts

Unsupported opinions


Bandwagon techniques

Word choice

Inclusion/exclusion of particular information

Glittering generalities

Name calling





Figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole)

Extended metaphor



Diction (word choice)

Point of view


Flashback and foreshadowing



Literary elements: Plot; Character; Setting; Theme; Tone

Media presentation on bias


An American Childhood

Writing activity:

A persuasive letter to the editor employing propaganda techniques

9. Persuasive Writing/Research


All Together Now

Writing activity:


Research a topic of personal interest and present the information in a persuasive product

10. Shakespeare


Twelfth Night

Appendix: Theoretical Framework

Approaches to Learning

Students have ownership in their learning and explore how they best acquire new information. Students work in collaborative pairs which address the social part of the learning process. Students often create their own graphic organizers/Thinking Maps for new vocabulary so it can be retained as study guides. The teacher uses the STAAR and MYP Language a Assessment Criteria rubrics to evaluate student writing.

Students should maintain in their Agenda Book or calendar a record of homework assignments and/or write reflections of class activity. This keeps parents informed of upcoming assignments, projects, and tests.

Community and Service

Peer editing and conferencing help students understand the immediate school community and the world around. Students see the importance of doing for others in a selfless manner. Students are exposed to reading and writing genres that encourage social responsibility.

Human Ingenuity

Students celebrate the creations of man as they grow as readers, writers and thinkers. They write to become better writers and read to become better readers. Students also have a chance to publish and share their work in the classroom. They can also submit writings in various contests. (All students are required to participate in Harris County “Do the Write Thing” essay contest).


Language arts classes stress the interdependence between the learner and his/her surroundings. Students have an opportunity to research and write essays pertaining to the environment. Published works in the classroom allow students to showcase their work as well as help students take pride in the school learning environment. Students explore other cultures through their readings and by participating in integrated unit activities, literature circles, and assignments.

Health and Social Awareness

Students become aware of social issues and explore cultural differences during Black History studies, grade level integrated units, and independent reading and research.

Course Setting

Seventh grade language arts students will participate in an integrated unit on Vietnam. They will read about Vietnamese daily life prior to and during the Vietnam War and follow up by writing a comparison/contrast essay. In the essay students will compare the United States to Vietnam. Students will also read non-fiction articles and speeches with a focus on bias and propaganda. They will also read letters written by personnel in Vietnam and work in pairs to write letters to Vietnam veterans.

Whenever appropriate, students will integrate their language arts content with the content in the other classes. Examples are writing assignments initiated in social studies class and research projects tied to the science curriculum. Students will receive their content grade from the content area teachers with grammar and craft grades from the language arts teacher.

Course Syllabus

The language arts curriculum is a balance of writer’s workshop (topics and genres based on literature selections or self-selected) and the writing projects listed below. Read aloud and the discussions they evoke are also used as a springboard to the personal writing process. Mini- lessons based on individual student’s needs are offered in addition to the ones that follow. Vocabulary is taught in context.

Course Goals and Unit Objectives

§  Understand and comment on the language, content, structure, meaning and significance of both familiar and previously unseen pieces of writing

§  Demonstrate a critical awareness of a range of written and visual texts

§  Use language to narrate, describe, analyze, explain, argue, persuade, inform, entertain and express feelings

§  Compare texts and connect themes to show similarities or differences across genres

§  Express an informed personal response to literary and non-literary texts and demonstrate the ability to approach works independently

§  Understand connotations within a language in order to interpret the author’s or speaker’s intentions

§  Express ideas with clarity and coherence in both oral and written communication

§  Structure ideas and arguments, both orally and in writing, in a sustained and logical way, and support them with relevant examples

§  Distinguish the main ideas in a text from the secondary ideas

§  Use and understand an appropriate and varied range of vocabulary and idiom

§  Use correct grammar with appropriate and varied sentence structure

§  Show awareness of the need for an effective choice of register suited to the audience in both oral and written communication

Group Activities or Discussions

Oral Communication (speech) emphasizes effective listening and speaking techniques and provides opportunities for students to integrate other reading and language arts skills as they learn to express ideas verbally. Oral communication should incorporate correct grammar, usage, vocabulary, reading, and composition skills. Student expectations emphasize both making presentations and being critical participants and listeners. Students have opportunities to deliver well-researched and coherently organized messages to a given audience, which demonstrate effective delivery techniques. Students sharpen critical listening and participant skills by identifying and analyzing characteristics of a speaker’s tone and style of presentation, actively contributing to group discussions, note taking, and collaborating with peers to create written texts, and to make decisions. Other skills related to oral communication include understanding the meaning and consequences of Freedom of Speech, reading about and researching topics using the library and various media resources, and giving and following oral directions as expected in the workplace. (Students are encouraged to speak in complete sentences when responding to teacher or peer).