Literacy Units of Study

 
8th Grade - Quarter 3 7th Grade - Quarter 3
Our 3rd quarter will be split between our studies of the Holocaust and Civil Rights.
 
Students will be participating in literature circles with the Holocaust novel of their choosing.  Students will discuss the plot, characters and history of events surrounding the Holocaust.  We will also study poetry that was written by victims and survivors of the Holocaust in preparation for writing our own poems to honor the Holocaust.
 
In support of the Choices in Little Rock unit of study in social studies, we will study the life of Melba Pattilo Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine.  Students will read one of her two memoirs chronicling her young life and her life as she integrates Central High School.
 
At the same time we are reading Beals' memoirs, we will welcome back our Lookingglass Theater Resident Actor, Erica Mott.  Erica will work with the students in a five-week program to help with public speaking, creativity and acting.  Students will write and perform acting scenes from the books as well as creating modernized versions.
 
In 3rd Quarter, we are piloting a new vocabulary program through Membean.com.  Students took part in a pretest evaluation and now are working on sets of words that are at their individual ability level.  They are provided one class period each week during which they will do one 15-minute "training" session.  They are required to complete TWO additional 15-minute sessions (at minimum) each week.  These training sessions prepare students for their individualized test every two weeks.  We will continue to create art cards, assigned the week before the test and due on test day.
 
Finally, we will continue independent reading outside the classroom with an AR quiz to monitor comprehension every two weeks.  Please ask your child to tell you about the story they are reading.  This helps them to remember details as they read.
 
As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me via email at dlrewers@cps.edu.
 
 
Our 3rd quarter will be devoted to the novella The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and Day of Tears by Julius Lester.
 
From The House on Mango Street, we will read a series of vignettes (short, focused stories with many sensory details.  We will study these passages to understand characters and figurative language.  We will also use what we learn from Cisneros' writing to help us write our own personal vignettes. 
 
As part of our African American History unit, we are reading Julius Lester's Day of Tears that chronicles the largest slave auction in US history.  The book is told from the perspectives of many characters from all aspects of the slave auction.  
 
At the same time we are reading Day of Tears, we will welcome back our Lookingglass Theater Resident Actor, Erica Mott.  Erica will work with the students in a five-week program to help with public speaking, creativity and acting.  Students will write and perform acting scenes that fill in the gaps from our story.
 
In 3rd Quarter, we are piloting a new vocabulary program through Membean.com.  Students took part in a pretest evaluation and now are working on sets of words that are at their individual ability level.  They are provided one class period each week during which they will do one 15-minute "training" session.  They are required to complete TWO additional 15-minute sessions (at minimum) each week.  These training sessions prepare students for their individualized test every two weeks.  We will continue to create art cards, assigned the week before the test and due on test day.
 
Finally, we will continue independent reading outside the classroom with an AR quiz to monitor comprehension every two weeks.  Please ask your child to tell you about the story they are reading.  This helps them to remember details as they read.
 
As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me via email at dlrewers@cps.edu.
 
 
 
 
 
 
8th Grade - Quarter 1 7th Grade - Quarter 1
We will be retraining our brains to remember the basics in independent reading and word study and annotation skills, as we did in 7th grade, in the first couple of weeks of the quarter. 
 
I will be introducing a series of skills to help with a deeper understanding of texts.  These skills are called Sign Posts, from a teaching text called Notice & Note.  These skills are adaptable to any piece of literature we read - short text, whole class books, independent reading, as well as literature circles.  We will focus on short texts and video clips to learn the Sign Posts, then follow up by applying those skills to full novels in the remaining quarters of the year.
 
In writing class, we will focus on expository writing and the steps of the writing process.  In our first quarter, I students will learn how to write a five-paragraph essay, which will be a requirement in content area classes now and in the future.
 
 
 
Our first few weeks will be devoted to learning some basic skills and procedures in literacy class.  In 7th and 8th grade, students are responsible for independent reading and word study predominantly outside of school.  The skills we learn in classes will apply to their reading, but because we are limited to 6 hours together each week, these elements are independently driven.
 
I will be introducing a series of skills to help with a deeper understanding of texts.  These skills are called Sign Posts, from a teaching text called Notice & Note.  These skills are adaptable to any piece of literature we read - short text, whole class books, independent reading, as well as literature circles.  We will focus on short texts and video clips to learn the Sign Posts, then follow up by applying those skills to full novels in the remaining quarters of the year.
 
In writing class, we will focus on expository writing and the steps of the writing process.  In our first quarter, I students will learn how to write a five-paragraph essay, which will be a requirement in content area classes now and in the future.