Happy Friday!

I hope everyone enjoys a long and relaxing weekend.

2nd and 5th hour began MAP testing today in the computer lab. They will continue their test on Tuesday.

In 3rd and 7th hour we finished discussing the book talk guidelines  and I shared some more books that might interest the students for their first book talk on realistic fiction. It has been great so share many books that the students said they did not know existed! I had five students in one of my classes actually go out and purchase one of the books which is part of a trilogy. One of the students told me he was up all night reading it and is planning on getting the next in the series as soon as possible! This is music to my ears! 🙂

As you know, the beginning of the year is usually a little hectic as we are getting students adjusted to a new year with new teachers. I am so lucky to move up and still get to see so many of my students from last year on a daily basis! However, there are many students that are new to me this year and I am really enjoying getting to know them in class.

The first few days I always go over the school and classroom rules and expectations. This usually takes a few days to go over and to allow the students to absorb it. The second week is when I really get the opportunity to start to get to know all of my students. This year I decided to let the students decorate the covers of their Interactive Student Notebooks (ISN’s). I am now in the process of tapping the pictures that they glued on to their notebooks so that they can hold up all year long with clear “shipping” tape. It has been so fun to see their personalities reflected on their ISN’s! The kids really enjoyed doing this activity and I am really learning a lot about them and their interests. I will have to do this again next year!

I took quite a few photos to share with you of their ISN’s which stay in our classroom. I have blacked out student names, but they are fun to look at and see all the different personalities!


Here are some of the covers the boys have decorated on their ISN’s:

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Somebody loves food…                                           Cars are also a bit hit with the boys….     Oddly enough Dr. Oz even made an appearance!


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Funny faces & cars                                                  Cars, sports & monsters!           Somebody has their dream cars picked out!



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I love the letters cut out to spell whatever they wanted!         More sports…                     and a few “nutty” kids!

Nothing like a dog hanging out the window of a convertible!


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Food seems to be on the mind of                       They could decorate the inside too!

a lot of my boys!



I made a “fakebook” page to learn more about the kids on the first day. It was fun to read their answers and see what they liked and disliked about Language Arts class.

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Great info. on my students!                       A few that are trying to get on my good side early! 🙂      Great input on ideas that make them enjoy                                                                                                                                                                                                                             class more!


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I love seeing what they want to do as a career in the future!


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This is one of my favorites! This student listed that he did not like to read, but look at his TBR list after I shared some books with him! I think he has written down almost every book we have shared!




Another one trying to get on my good side early!                                                                 This last student was a bit upset with me that I brought                                                                                                                                                       donughts in for another class and didn’t share with his class! HA!



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More great information!                                                                                                                 This is a list of book genres that we put in our notebook                                                                                                                                                                                    so we had a definition of each genre. This should                                                                                                                                                                                    help when we are trying to find books for our                                                                                                                                                                                                                 book talks too!


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Here are some of the girls covers…. lots of hearts, shopping, nailpolish….             I love the quote!


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The picture of the raccoon with lips cracks me up!      More great examples of my kids personalities!


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A few were with the boys on food, but mostly desserts!       Other students spelled out their favorite TV shows or quotes!


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Animals are really popular among the girls and the boys.


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Some of the inside covers……more fashion, purses and shoes, and pets!



NotesJust Right Books

These are some notes we have taken so far                                 We also discussed finding a “just-right” book!

this year on symbolism and on the elements of

a narrative.


TBR List Open TBR List Student

To Be Read “TBR” lists my students keep in the back of their notebooks to add to throughout the year.




These close up so more can be taped on top as we need them and to save space!


If you have any extra magazines feel free to donate them to our classroom library! I always keep magazines over there for the kids to look at when they have finished their work early. Sports, cars, animal magazines, fashion magazines, even celebrity gossip is really popular! I just cut off my address label and stick them in the classroom library for the students to enjoy! I’ll take these donations at any time during the school year. 🙂 


This next week I will be MAP testing my classes (3rd and 7th hour will MAP test on Wednesday & Thursday) and I intend to share a few more books with them that they could possibly use for their book talk. I also want to show them how they can find more books they might be interested in based on books that they have liked in the past.

We will then begin to get into our Greek Mythology unit! Each group of students will be selecting a book on their independent reading level to learn more about Greek Mythology. I will then be meeting with groups to discuss their books. They are not reading their books together, but just coming together for discussion. I will also be teaching lots of mini-lessons on our 7th Grade Standards through these books, such as making inferences as they read, identifying character traits of the characters in their books, etc. They will be doing a lot of journaling about these standards in their ISN”s as they read in their mythology books!  I will also be working on some reading strategies with them to help them become better readers.



2nd hour: Summer reading project is due on Friday, September 13! Also, remember to get a good night’s sleep on Monday night for MAP testing on Tuesday! Try to eat a nutritious breakfast too so you are ready to focus and do your best!

3rd, 5th & 7th hours: Summer reading project is due on TUESDAY, September 3! Also, please turn in your book expectations signed homework as soon as possible and return the reading/interest survey if you have not done so yet! You can go ahead and begin to read your realistic fiction book for your book talk too!


~Mrs. Finley