• Sossaman Middle School             

    7th Grade Language Arts—2019-2020

    Class Overview:

    In order to ensure a successful academic year, all the information below should be carefully reviewed and followed.

    In reading, students will focus on comprehension and analytical reading skills through the study of a variety of authors and genres.  Students will learn how successful readers think and visualize when they read, interact with, and examine text. In writing, we will focus on explanatory and argumentative essays, as well as reflective literary analysis pieces. Additionally, we will learn how to write meaningful and concise short responses, summaries, and be able to accurately integrate and cite text references. 


    Curriculum:  The curriculum for this course aligns with the Arizona State Standards for Language Arts and the College and Career Readiness Standards, which may be viewed on the Arizona Board of Education website, http://www.ade.az.gov/.


    Textbook:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) Collections 2017


    Novels/Short Stories/Plays/Poetry:


    Students will be responsible for adhering to the assigned reading schedules for classroom novel studies.  Classroom discussions/seminars, activities, reflective writings, and assessments will be based on the reading.


    1st Quarter:  Short Stories, Non-fiction, Drama—Perception and Reality: Collection 2

    (Class novel study The Westing Games by Ellen Raskin)

    (self-selected independent reading with guidelines)


    2nd Quarter:  Non-fiction, Explanatory Writing—Collection 6-Guided by a Cause

    (Class novel study Touching Sprit Bear)

    (self-selected independent reading with guidelines)


    3rd Quarter:  Short Stories, Non-fiction, Argumentative Writing—Risk and

    Exploration: Collection 4

    (self-selected independent reading with guidelines)


    4th Quarter: Short Stories, Non-fiction—Bold Actions: Collection 1

    (self-selected independent reading with guidelines)

    (Class novel study: Out of the Dust by Karen Hessee)


    *Note- Students will need to obtain a copy of their self-selected independent novels from the library or bookstore for at-home reading.

    Outside Reading Requirement:  In addition to classroom reading, students will be responsible for selected level appropriate novels throughout the year (minimum of 1 per quarter). Additionally, projects will be assigned to correlate to the self-selected and novel study readings.  Project sheets, guidelines, and rubrics will be supplied.

    *Important Note: Parents must approve all self-selected outside literature selections.  Students should select new (not previously read) novels for outside reading. 


    Homework/ Homework Policy: Students are expected to read 20-30 minutes every evening from their current novel. Homework assignments are for enrichment, exercise, practice, and review. Other assignments may include work that was not finished in class. We will allot time during each class period to have students copy the assignments and to review the directions and expectations. Students can access homework via the classroom Canvas page.

    After School Detention(ASD):

    SMS staff and administration believe in the value and importance of teaching students responsibility and accountability.  As a result, students may be assigned After School Detention (ASD).  ASD will be held three days a week.  Students who are assigned ASD will serve on the next scheduled ASD day. Students will not serve on the day it is assigned to allow parents the opportunity to make arrangements to pick up their child.  District transportation cannot be provided for ASD.  Students will need to be picked up no later than 4:30PM. ASD may be assigned by a teacher for the following reasons:

    -Tardy to Class     -Unprepared for Class (missing materials, uncharged iPad, etc…)     -Failure to submit an assignment

    Plagiarism/Academic Integrity: Academic integrity is expected on all assignments.  Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated in this class. It’s that simple. This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Copying assignments
    • Dishonesty during testing
    • Presenting the ideas or writings of another as your own (plagiarism)
    • Copying directly from group members when the assignment calls for individual ideas
    • Allowing others to use your work for the purposes of cheating

    Any student caught cheating will receive a failing grade for the assignment, a referral to the office, and his or her parents will be notified.

    This policy includes working on Language Arts work in another class. Do not do this without direct permission from the teacher of that class. Be aware that all of the 7th grade teachers know to take away the work and contact one of us. Working on another teacher’s assignments in class is a sign of disrespect to the teacher of that class and we will not accept any assignments that were completed this way. This also means that assignments from other teachers will not be allowed in our classroom as well.

    Work Submission: All submitted work must have a proper MLA heading written or typed in the upper left hand corner of the page.  Essays must follow MLA guidelines. Students who turn in work without a name will need to track down their assignment from the No Name Tray. I will not grade an assignment until a student’s name is on it. I cannot grade work that I cannot read. Messy work will be returned to be redone legibly and then resubmitted.

    Essay and Projects--Work must be submission ready—this means typed, printed, and stapled.  It is the student’s responsibility to type and print papers prior to the assigned due date.  You must consult with the teacher before the submission due date if you have printer issues. E-mailed papers will not be accepted.

    *If you do not have access to the Internet a hard copy of assignments will be supplied to your child.

     **If you do not have access to a printer a note with parent signature must accompany the hand written assignment.


    Daily assignments--A completed, quality effort assignment must include complete sentences for short answer responses

    Absences:  It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve missed handouts/assignments from the missed assignments folders.  Assignments for the week are posted on the white board and are accessible through Edmodo.  Students have one day for each excused absence to turn in missing work. In the event of an extended absence, personal arrangements will be made.

    Help Time:  If a student needs additional help with an assignment beyond the academic school day, please notify me.  Students may schedule a help session for additional support.

    Tardies: You are expected to be in your seat with required materials ready at the start of the class period and to be actively engaged in the warm-up assignment.  If you are running late from another class, you must have a pass to excuse the tardy. Excessive tardies may result in a discipline referral. This means in your seat before the second bell rings!!!

    Grading Policy:  All grades will be based on points and weighted using the scale below. In middle school, grades are cumulative for each semester (Fall and Spring). The following are the weighted categories for this class:

    Weighting Scale:

    • Assessments (Tests/ Projects/Essays/Quizzes)                                                     60% of grade
    • Assignments (Homework/Warm Ups/Class Activities/Interactive Notebook) 20% of grade      
    • Final Exams/Benchmarks                                                                                      20% of grade

    Grades will be posted and available online using the Synergy gradebook system.  Grades are based on the quality of the work product, not just completion.  Failure to complete and submit an assignment will result in a zero. Rubrics will be used for the majority of class grading of Interactive Notebook content and writing.

    A = 90% – 100%                 B = 80% – 89%       C = 70% – 79%            D = 60% – 69%               F =59% or below

    A teacher has the discretion not to accept assignments from students who do not meet minimal standards of completion.  Any assignment that remains un-submitted at the end of the unit of study or two weeks after the original due date (teacher discretion) will remain/be entered as a zero in the grade book. 


    SMS encourages students to re-do/re-take assessments on which they performed below their desired level of mastery. In order to be eligible to schedule a re-do/re-take time with a teacher a student must complete the following tasks:

    -Ensure all assignments for the unit of study are turned in.

    -Meet with the teacher to establish criteria to complete the re-do/re-take form and associated tasks.

               *A student’s opportunity to re-do/re-take an assessment is always subject to teacher discretion.

    Suggested Supply List for Language Arts

    A 3 - subject college ruled spiral notebook (vinyl/plastic cover preferred)

    1 --pack of #2 pencils (to be replenished as needed)

    2 --red pens for editing and correcting

    1-- pack neon multi-colored highlighters

    1—12 pack colored pencils

    1- Jumbo glue stick (to be replenished as needed)

    1--roll of transparent tape for Interactive notebook cover (dollar store)

    1 --personal pencil sharpener

    Please Note: Paper and index cards are to support the flee mapping and drafting processes within the writing curriculum, and will be collected by the teacher.


    1 --package of college ruled notebook filler paper

    1--pack of lined index cards

    1 flash drive to be used for all classes

    Classroom Rules:

    We maintain high expectations for our students and ourselves.  The following rules are in place to create a safe and positive learning environment for ALL students.

    **Note:  Detailed classroom procedures will be reviewed with students the first week of school.

    Be Respectful

    • Raise your hand to speak
    • Listen when others are speaking
    • Be mindful of other opinions

    Be Responsible

    • Turn in homework and assignments on time
    • Ask for help when needed
    • Make up work when absent

    Be Positive

    • Have a good attitude
    • Actively participate in classroom activities

    Be Productive

    • Stay on task
    • Do not distract or disrupt others

    Be Prepared

    • Come to class on time with necessary materials
    • Expect to learn and be challenged every day

    Behavior and Discipline

    Students are expected to arrive to class on time, be prepared with books and materials, and show respect.  Students are also expected to adhere to the school-wide and classroom rules and expectations at all times. 

    • Electronic devices (cell phones, i-pods, video games, etc.) are not permitted unless they are being used for instructional purposes. If you are using your cell phone during class, it will be confiscated and turned in to the front office for a parent to pick it up.
    • No gum chewing, eating, or drinking (juices, colas, etc.).  Water bottles are encouraged!

    If caught with gum, student will serve 15 minutes lunch detention for each offence.

    • No toys of any kind will be permitted within the classroom
    • Hats must be removed within the building.
    • No skateboards or scooters in the classroom.
    • Students must adhere to the school dress code.
    • Students must respect the personal space and property of their peers.

    Individual Consequences:

    If a student is acting inappropriately or being disruptive the following steps will be taken:

    1. Verbal Correction—student reminded to be on task or to stop a behavior
    2. Refocus—student will be moved within the classroom in order to refocus and redirect
    3. Buddy Teacher—student sent to a buddy teacher’s classroom to complete assigned work.  Completes a behavior form.  Parent contacted.
    4. Parent/Teacher Meeting-a behavior and/or work contract may be initiated
    5. Administrative Referral

    *Incorrigible/Violent Behavior-automatic disciplinary referral and removal from classroom

    Helpful Hints for a Successful Year:

    • Write down/record all assignments to be completed at home.
    • Actively make notes in your Interactive Notebook.
    • Complete assignments promptly and place them in your work folder.
    • Save and organize all papers until the end of each semester or as otherwise instructed.
    • Remember to put a proper MLA heading on your work.
    • Submit QUALITY work (neat, thorough responses, complete sentences, evidence of thought)
    • Read for a minimum of 20 minutes every night.
    • Come to class on time (in seat before the bell rings) and prepared to work.
    • Keep absences to a minimum.
    • Be accountable for your own work, speech, and actions.
    • Actively participate.
    • Have a positive attitude and ask for help if you are struggling with an assignment.
    • Pursue a growth mindset.

    We look forward to an exciting and productive year of growth, discovery, and learning. Parents, please email us during the year if you would like to discuss your child’s progress.   We are available and ready to be of assistance. 

    We am here to support you!  Let’s have a wonderful school year together. Together we are Spartan Strong!


    Mrs. Burke and Mrs. Calimpong