ELA Core Plans
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July 15, 2015 @ 2:44 PM

I set up my classroom by putting my desks in three long rows.  I have found this to work wonderful for my seventh graders.  The BEST thing I do, however, is to place what I call “stations” throughout the room so that every four or five students can share what is in the station.  This can be a small shelf or table.  In addition, I use duct tape to tape the legs of every two desks together and velcro pencil boxes in the middle of every other desk. We keep supplies in those too.  We need most supplies in the boxes for interactive notebooking!

What is housed in stations?

Dictionaries and thesaurus

A stapler


Boxes of colored pencils

A box for turning in or passing out papers

Sets of novels that we......

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May 13, 2015 @ 10:01 PM

So, here we are in MAY and counting down the days!  I'm riding out the year with one of my favorite activities, the "Welcome to My Fairytale" creative writing unit, and my students are loving it as usual!  I thought I would take a minute to share.  I like reading bullets, so I will use that format to be quick.

  • First, with the class, brainstorm a list of well-known fairytales.(The three bears fits this category in my book!)
  • Put students in groups of four or five.  Six would work too for a large class.
  • Have each group decide on a fairy tale to "twist".  I don't let two groups do the same one, but you could.
  • Tell them that their job will be to modernize the fairytale.  For ...
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February 11, 2015 @ 1:23 AM

So, with all of the craze about gluing things in a notebook, I decided I would give it a try.  I must admit, I was skeptical at first.  To me, it seemed a waste of class time; cutting and pasting can really eat away the clock.  I decided to try it with a spiral five subject notebook rather than a composition notebook.  I'm here to tell you that it is February, and our notebooks still have covers.  So far, my classses have created three sections in their notebooks:

  • Grammar Gremlins - We cover one pesky writing problem a week and call them gremlins.  The notebooking is working perfectly for these lessons and foldables, and I LOVE that the kids have all of the lessons to look back at when needed.  It&...
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October 22, 2014 @ 2:12 AM

So, this October, here are some of the lessons that I'm brewing up in my classroom.

1.  We are reading the play "Sorry, Wrong Number".  This eerie tale is in our new Literature book this year, and it's my first time teaching this story.  Before reading, I'm showing my students a Powerpoint that explains the history of the telephone.  Some of my kids have never heard a busy signal, and some do not even realize there was a time when there was no caller ID.  I feel 100 years old when I tell them about growing up with a rotary phone where you put your finger in a hole and turned the little plate to dial a number!  

2.  We will also read the teleplay "The Monsters are Due on Maple......

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March 28, 2014 @ 2:54 AM

Before reading O. Henry's "After Twenty Years" with my seventh graders, I had them write a letter to themselves in the future.  They had to tell  what was going on in their lives now, make some guesses about what their lives would be like in the future (ex. I guess you're married now), and finally give themselves some advice.  I found a cool website  www.futureme.org where you can type in a letter, your email address, and choose a date to have the letter delivered in the future.  While I didn't require my students to do this, I did tell them about it.  Many of them were very excited about this!  I gave them the option of sealing the letter and keeping up with it for ...

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January 22, 2014 @ 4:53 PM

At our school, we gender group in the seventh grade, and nearly 100 seventh grade boys walk into my door daily.  It would be a lie if I told you teaching a class of twenty-eight thirteen-year-old boys were a breeze, but it does have its benefits, one being the love they have of a good monster story. 

We recently completed the reading of Rod Sterling’s The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, which was a big hit with the seventh grade boys of WMS.    Before we began the play, we made predictions and discussed some terms with which they could possibly be unfamiliar.   Before I assigned the roles, we disused the genre of drama and the specific elements of a teleplay.  Assigning ......

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January 6, 2014 @ 1:16 AM

 So, here I am on the last day of my Christmas break, and I decided I better finish up some grading.  Right before the break, my seventh graders turned in their independent reading packets for the novel The Tale of Despereaux.  Now, you may be thinking, “Seventh graders reading that book? Isn’t that for fourth graders?”  My answer would be, it could be…or it could be for seventh graders. 

Before starting the novel, I polled my classes to find out how many of them had already read the book.  Surprisingly, out of my seventy students, only three had read the book. A few had seen the movie, but because the movie is so different from the book, this didn’t concern me.

 This novel...

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December 16, 2013 @ 6:01 PM

Last year, when my colleague and I told our seventh graders that we would be starting another writing project, we endured the groans for a few seconds and then turned those groans into cheers. We told them that for this assignment, they would work together in teams, and they would be entering a contest! 

Scholastic holds an annual competition called Kids are Authors. In teams of at least three, students write and illustrate their own children's book.   We knew there would be several steps to take to churn out polished picture books from our seventh graders, and we were aware that it would take some time.    We began the work in October. 

First, ......

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