Mrs. Amy Finley

7th Grade Lions Language Arts


August 2012

Labor Day Weekend

Today we are taking the reading MAP test all day. Students will begin the test today and finish on Tuesday, September 4. Please talk to your child about their MAP score and ask them how they did.

About MAP: The reading MAP test is 43 multiple choice questions taken in front of a computer. Each reading question comes with 1 multiple choice question, therefore the reading test can especially be time consuming. The test is very similar to the GRE test in that it is trying to figure out exactly what the student knows. If a student gets a question right then the test gets harder. If they get it wrong, it gets easier. The score gives the teachers a lot of information about the student. It lets us know exactly what skills in reading the student has mastered and what they still struggle with.

How is the score used? I use their MAP scores to group students when working together as well as when I am differentiating the materials in the classroom. I do not want to give work that is too easy or too hard to a student so it is crucial that they do their best on this test to give the teacher accurate data and to “show us what they know.” The test also gives us a lexile range on the student which helps us when choosing books to read in the classroom. All students in the classroom will not be reading the same book because they are not all on the same level. As you can see, the MAP tests are very important to inform teachers about our students and to help the students in the classroom.

We will continue to take the test on Tuesday, September 4 and will take it in the Winter and again in the Spring.

No homework over the weekend except to continue to work on their Summer Reading project due Friday, October 5. You can see the link to this assignment by scrolling down the page.

I hope you all have a great Labor Day Weekend!

~Mrs. Finley


Homework Grades

Today we finished making inferences about our native Alaskan story. The students worked in a group together and practicing being anthropologists to come up with these inferences. They are doing a great job with inferencing!

I have graded all of the “Ice Cream Inferences” homework assignment and they are uploaded to Infinite Campus. I make comments on all of their grades so that way I know exactly why the student scored what they did and you know why as well. This helps me keep track of their progress in class. I have several no name papers so some students that I have entered a 0 for may have one of these papers and I will fix their grade after discovering the owner. I am now working on the “Cinnamon Challenge” homework assignment.

Anytime a student does not do his or her best work I will ask that they “redo” or “fix” the assignment and earn full credit (if the assignment was late they can still receive full credit up to a 75%). This does not mean that they have to redo the whole paper, only the questions that are wrong. I think that we can all learn from our mistakes and we all deserve a second chance. I want my students to learn the material and to help them so that they can be proficient in seventh grade. The student fixes only the mistakes and turns it back in for me to grade and ammend their grade.

No homework tonight except to continue to work on the Summer Reading Project due October 5!

Tomorrow we will begin MAP testing. Please encourage your student to get to bed early tonight and to eat breakfast in the morning. It is really important that the teachers get good data on the students to know exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are and how we can help them to be more proficient readers.

~Mrs. Finley


Today the students continued to practice their inferencing skill. Students pretended that they were anthropolgists and made inferences about the native Alaskan people based on one of their ancient stories. Most classes did not finish this so we will continue this assignment on Thursday (Wednesday is library day!).

Students in 2nd hour, 5th hour & 7th hour have homework that is due on Thursday, August 30. I have assigned them an article to read and questions to answer. Sometimes I will give them an article and questions to read to help build their prior knowledge as homework. I want my students to become more literate and in order to do that I feel that they need to broaden their reading experiences into real-world text. Many of the articles that I will send home have been in the New York Times, The Week, The Washington Post, etc.

Can the Cinnamon Challenge Kill You  <– Homework for 2nd, 5th & 7th due 8/30!

~Mrs. Finley

Homework and Summer Reading Rubric

I have attached a copy of the Summer Reading Rubric so that you can see how I will be grading this assignment. It is broken down into three categories: Ideas and content, organization, and conventions. Reminder: The project is due on Friday, October 5.

Summer Reading Rubric


Today in class students were assigned new seats! I like to change up the classroom environment often so that students are able to work with new people and learn from one another. If there is ever a problem with their seat you can e-mail me or ask your student to speak with me in person. We also read a fable and made inferences about the fable using the “Ice Cream Inferences” worksheet attached below. Students have homework tonight that is due tomorrow.

1st Hour: Finish the worksheet we started in class.

2nd, 5th & 7th Hours: Choose either “The Lion and the Hare” or “The Boar and the Fox” and fill out the “Ice Cream Inferences” worksheet.

Ice Cream Inferences

Ice Cream Inference Three Fables


The students had a great time today watching a short Pixar movie clip (“Partly Cloudy”) and making inferences as we watched. We also played a game of charades in class today where the students had to infer what their peers mood was based on the nonverbal clues. They are doing a great job with inferencing and are seeing how much fun learning can be! Next week we will begin to apply this strategy to reading passages.

Students have not had any homework this week other than to work on their summer reading project that is due Friday, October 5. I am urging them to get them done as soon as possible so that they do not feel rushed at the last minute. Beginning next week you should expect to see Language Arts homework at least twice a week other than the project that will be ongoing through the month of September.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me about any questions or concerns. I am here to help!


~Mrs. Finley

Summer Reading Project Announced

Today we started working on a new reading skill: inferencing! The students had a great time making inferences based on a short animated Youtube video. We will be working on this skill for the next couple of weeks through various activities.

I also introduced students to their summer reading project. Students are to select ANY 3 activities to complete the project. The due date for all three activities is Friday, October 5, 2012, however students can feel free to turn the assignments in early if they choose to do so. I have also included a student checklist so that students can monitor whether they completed all parts of the assignment. I have attached the summer reading activities and the checklist below.

~Mrs. Finley

Reading Response Activities

Reading Checklist

Timed Reading

Today I introduced the students to Timed Reading. This is something that we will be practicing every day in the classroom to become a better reader. Research has shown that reading fluency is related to how well a student comprehends the material. Therefore, we will be practicing our fluency and comprehension on a daily basis to continue to become better readers. Most of these Timed Readings only take 1 minute to do in the classroom. They are high interest reads about animals, famous people and famous locations. I often use a Youtube video to accompany the lesson on Monday’s to gain student interest and to introduce the new topic for the week.

Today we went over the Timed Reading process and how it works as well as graphing our “cold read.” This process will become streamlined throughout the school year as students get used to the Timed Reading process.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

~Mrs. Finley


Reminder: All students will need to purchase an Agenda for $8, a locker for $5 and dividers for their 3″ binder for $2. This will help keep students organized throughout the school year.

Teachers are in great need of Kleenex for the school year! Please donate some to your child’s first hour teacher.

Language Arts students will need to bring their Composition Notebook to school by Monday so that we can start using them in the classroom.  I have collected them from many of the students and am writing their name on them in permanent marker and then putting them in crates so that we can use them daily throughout the school year.

In Language Arts class today we spent some time going over the Team Handbook and discussing the School Wide Discipline Policy and the Mark System. Students homework tonight should be to get the last three pages of the Team Handbook filled out and return this to their first hour teacher tomorrow (Friday).

Tomorrow we will be going over the syllabus and classroom procedures. Homework over the weekend is for the student to sign the last page of the syllabus and to have a parent/guardian signature as well. This sheet can be cut off and returned to me when they see me in class on Monday.

~Mrs. Finley

First Day!

The students had a great day back to school today! It was wonderful seeing so many smiling faces.

All sixth grade students were given a folder that included paperwork that will need to be turned back in to your child’s first hour class if it applies to you. Please turn in these important papers as soon as possible.

Students will be receiving a lot of papers the first couple of days of school. Tomorrow, students will bring home a Team Handbook that has the e-mail addresses of the teachers, explanations on the discipline policy, school dress code, etc. The last three pages in the handbook need to be completed and signed and brought back to the first hour teacher on Friday. I suggest that your child keep the copy of the handbook at home or in their binder to use as a reference and tear out the last three pages.

I am looking forward to working with your student and know that this will be a great school year!

~Mrs. Finley

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