Language Arts Overview

Language Arts' Class Mission:

    Together we will support a learning community through kindness, consideration and fairness. Our priorities will include excellence in reading, writing and speaking.  We will become more organized, responsible and proactive by putting quality and effort into all assignments.

General Class Routine

1.  As you enter class, check the message on the screen for assignment and class information.

2.  Write the specific information in your planner.           

3.  Gather needed daily materials and complete bell work.

4.  Turn in, correct or discuss bell work.

5.   Begin lesson.

6.  Work on assignment.  Any assignment not finished in class that day becomes homework, unless otherwise stated.

7.  Clean up work space, complete exit activity.


    We will be reading independently to help to meet our District Independent Reading Requirement and Common Core Standards by reading  at least four (4) books of 100 pages or more independently and completing a book talk or  written assignment as evidence of learning for each book read.

    In addition to the Independent Reading, you will be reading novels, short stories, non-fiction, poetry and other literary genres in class from our Prentice Hall Literature book.



Term 1: 

Bridge to Terabithia

Term 2-3:

Freak the Mighty

Term 4:

The Outsiders

A Friendly Reminder:

    Every book can teach you something! It is not necessary to like everything you read. Instead focus on the content and what lessons may be learned. Look for universal truths.


    In addition to weekly writing, you will be writing in response to reading and will complete a minimum of three informal essays and at least two formal essays.


    Students will work on both self and teacher directed writing throughout the year.  Not all writing assignments will receive a grade.  Students will select some of the pieces they would like for me to grade, then add them to their student writing portfolio.

Interactive Notebook

    All students are required to keep and maintain an Interactive Notebook. Notebooks serve as journals, a place to record or attach notes on writing strategies, a place for brainstorming, pre-writing and drafting.  As writers, this notebook serves as our sketch pad and the foundation of our writing portfolio. Notebooks should be college ruled, have a closed binding, and be the size of a standard notebook.

Paper Headings and Penmenship

                                    Full Name
                                    Class Period
                                    Assignment Title

*Use this format for all written daily assignments

*The heading should appear in the upper right corner of the paper



                                   Student Name

                                   Oct. 05, 2014

     Language Arts

     Period 5

     Faithful Elephants Essay

All Assignments must be neatly written in pencil or black pen if specified.  Essays may be written or typed.

Papers that are unreadable are “ungradable”.

“No Name” papers are not graded until they are claimed from the “No Name” assignment drawer.


* Missing assignments represent missed learning opportunities.

* Missing assignments will show as “  *  “ in the gradebook.  Students have until the specified grading term deadline to complete the work.


  • Late assignments are not graded with the same priority as current assignments.
  • Late assignments affect “The 21st Century Skills” portion of your grade.
  • Projects may not be submitted past the due date unless due to excused absence.

Assignments and assessments submitted past the term deadline will not be accepted.


    Your Language Arts grade reflects your current knowledge and skill level.  Your grade is weighted in the following manner in these categories:

65%   Tests and assessments       (tests, quizzes, projects, formal essays)

10%   Reading                     (daily assignments)

10%   Grammar/Writing             (daily assignments, first drafts, etc.)

10%   Vocabulary                  (daily assignments, bell work, etc.)

5%   21st Century skills          (Meeting deadlines, perseverance, etc.)


Standards Based  Assessment

4      Above Standard: “I can work independently and accurately beyond expectation.”

3      Meets Standard: “I can consistently work at standard independently.”

2      Below but Approaching Standard: “I can meet some of the expectation with help.”

1      Below Standard: “I am off focus and missing the standard.”


Seventh Grade ELA Letter Grades 

ELA (Language Arts ) grades at CRMS in 7th grade are percentages based on a traditional grade mark converted to better address the ELA Common Core:





F     0-1.74
















    If you notice a problem with a score on an assignment, please write me a note attached to your assignment and place it in the “turn in” drawer marked “Mrs. Denison.”

    Our current gradebook, Skyward, has certain limitations, and teachers have to work within those limitations. When you check your student’s grades on Skyward, you will see your student’s letter grade and a percent for each class. The letter grade is the same for both the traditional and standards-based scale, but due to Skyward’s limitations, the percentages will look different.  The chart below shows the alignment between the different scales.

If you see this percent on Skyward

This is the letter grade

This is the traditional grade range

This is the standards-based grade range







































    Grades may be accessed online by parents through the Skyward Grading Program. A password is required to use this program. Parents may obtain their password through the middle school office. Photo ID is required. For questions, please call the middle school office at 501-2920.


When you are Absent…..

    If you are going to miss class due to personal vacation or athletics or other school events, it is your responsibility to inform me and to collect assignments as early as possible before your absence. Any work assigned to you previous to the day of absence is due according to class guidelines. If you are absent due to illness or other excused event, including athletic or other school related absences, it is your responsibility to find out what was done in class and get the materials needed to complete the work. You may collect the assignment from the assignment file.

    Make up tests and quizzes need to be completed as soon as possible before or after school. If you are in after-school activities you must arrange the time with your coach.

    Students have one day to make up work for every day missed. Existing assignments that are due during a prearranged absence must be completed and submitted before you leave.

Electronic Devices

    Cell phones are distractions and are therefore not for use during class.  This includes checking the time and silencing or turning them off.  Cell phones should not be visible or audible.

    If your phone travels with you to class, you may not take it out or you may put it in the designated cell phone box until the end of class.

    Should a cell phone be heard or seen during class, it will be placed on the teacher’s desk until the end of class.  Repeat offenders will need to retrieve their phone from Mrs. Golden at the end of the day and may be required to have the phone picked up by a parent.

    If you have your cell phone out during a test, you will receive a failing grade for the assignment and will not be permitted to retake the test.

******Mp3 use will be discussed as a privilege to earned.



    My hope is for you to embrace the benefits of life-long literacy and to understand how being an effective communicator, writer and reader can help you to achieve your goals.

   I take my job very seriously, but despite my great effort and my good intentions, I sometimes fumble. Here are a few things that you should know.

  1. I was not a perfect student and I don't expect you to be.
  2. We all learn differently. This year, I hope you will help me understand how you learn best.
  3. Spelling well and reading fast make learning easier, but they have nothing to do with intelligence. I will help you become better spellers and readers, but intelligence is much more complex. Some of the best thinkers struggled with school skills. Please don't get discouraged if some skills are hard for you. It does not mean that you are stupid (at all). This year, we will try to identify some strategies to make school work less frustrating.
  4. Tell me if you are struggling. Effort can often be invisible. I wish I had a crystal ball, but I don't. Let me know if I assign something that feels overwhelming. That way, we can create effective supports or create a plan together.
  5. Sometimes I go too fast. I get too excited or ambitious or impatient. When I do, remind me to slow down. Everyone in the class will appreciate it, including me.
  6. I look forward to finding out what gets you up in the morning (besides your alarm). What are your dreams inside and outside of school? Let's try to connect them. That is where you will find the joy of learning.

    Finally, sometimes school may not be easy, but it should never be miserable. Please don't suffer in silence. (Quoted from Education Week Teacher)


    Mrs. Denison