Mrs. Amy Finley

7th Grade Lions Language Arts


October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Today in class we continued to work on writing our original myth. The students are working on peer editing one another’s paper by asking questions and offering suggestions. 

Some students have chosen to take their folder home with them to continue to work on their writing piece at home. This is okay with me, however they need to make sure they bring it back to class tomorrow so that they can continue to work on it in class. At this point, they should have a rough draft handwritten. Ideally, I would like it to be typed so that as they edit it they can quickly go in and make revisions. 



Read at least 20 minutes of your fantasy or science fiction book to prepare for your November book talk. Your book talk is on Thursday, November 21.

Work on your myth if you took it home for homework.


~Mrs. Finley



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today in class we continued working on our rough draft myth from last week. Some of the students are getting behind because they may have taken longer brainstorming in class. I encouraged these students to take their writing folder home tonight and make sure they came to class with a rough draft tomorrow.

Most of the students are now typing and self editing their rough draft using an editing checklist I gave them. I am also going to model how to use this tomorrow with them.

The students do not realize how as writers we edit our writing daily. Even before I send an e-mail I try to reread it a few times to make sure it sounds the way I would like it to before I send it. If you have an opportunity, it would be great to show your student how you do this too! I basically do a think-aloud. As I write I talk outloud. Sometimes I will say, “Wait, that’s not what I mean…hmm, how do I want to say this? I then mark up my work and continue to edit.” The kids are starting to learn that as a writer I actually spend more time rereading and correcting my writing than anything else. It would be great if you too could share this with your student. 🙂


Read at least 20 minutes to prepare for your November fantasy or science fiction book talk.

Reminder, tomorrow is the last day for the can food drive. If you have any cans that you can donate plese have the student bring them in tomorrow.

~Mrs. Finley

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Today in class we finished up all of the book talks. I will be inputting the grades in the next day or two so that they are all up-to-date. I did video tape most of them so that I could go back if I needed to watch one again. Because they are usually just 2 minutes this is the case for a few of them.

We also had a spelling bee at the end of class. This was an impromptu spelling bee just to determine a winner that could then compete in the school spelling bee. More information will be coming for the winners.


Read 20 minutes of your fantasy or science fiction book for your November book talk.


~Mrs. Finley

Monday, October 28, 2013

*phew* It has been a busy week this past week! Sorry for not updating at the end of the week. Sometimes it just slips my mind and the last two days of the week were especially busy and I just never got a chance. I was lying in bed on Friday night around midnight when I realized I forgot to update. I mentally kicked myself and debated on getting on and blogging but told myself I’d do it on Saturday….that didn’t happen. Sorry!

Even though a few of the students still have to present their book talk in class I went ahead and shared some new books for the November fantasy or science fiction genre with the kids. Today was our library day so if they needed to go get a book I wanted to let them do that and I didn’t want to do that during presentations.

We watched a lot of book trailers. The one book the kids seemed really excited about is called The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. It is very new…i.e. I believe it came out just over the summer. I have not read it yet but I have heard it is PG-13 due to some violence, bad language, etc. A parent had shared this website with me and so I looked up The 5th Wave to get the parent perspective of what is inside the book. Here is the link: It does recommend the book for 13 and over but you can see exactly what is in the book that might be of concern.

As I have said before, Young Adult (YA) fiction is very hard to judge what is appropriate and not appropriate for thirteen-year-olds. Unfortunately, the bookstores consider YA to be middle school to high school so you are going to see a range of appropriateness in the books. I try to have a range of books in my bookshelf at school and if I know it might be questionable I try to ensure that the kids get parental permission beforehand.

Most of the students seemed to know what they wanted to read already…a lot are in the middle of a series and wanted to continue it for the book talk.

Tomorrow we will finish up book talk presentations! 🙂


Read at least 20 minutes of your fantasy or science fiction book for your November book talk.

Reminder: We are still collecting cans for the can drive. All the cans will be donated to God’s Pantry. 

Reminder: The Veteran’s day luncheon and program information can be found here:


~Mrs. Finley

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Today in class the students worked on writing the rough draft of their myth. Many of the students want my immediate feedback on their writing pieces and I am trying to wean them off of wanting me to read their work immediately and instead reread it first and make corrections on their own using a checklist. They are then having a peer edit their writing using the same checklist to give them feedback. After they have made these new corrections I will then look over their work to also offer feedback.

Thursday & Friday we will have our book talk presentations in class. I am assuming that these will carry over to Friday because we needed an extra day last month as well. If every student gives a 3 minute presentation or book “commercial” then it would take up roughly 90 minutes of class.

Monday is our scheduled library day. I’m going to share some fantasy and science fiction books with students in case they are looking for something new. They will also h ave the rest of the class period to check out books from Mrs. Butler.

Tuesday we will get right back to our rough draft writing and editing.


Read 20 minutes tonight to prepare for your book talk.

Prepare and practice your book talk presentation for Thursday/Friday. Be prepared to go on either day–if no one volunteers to go I will do a random draw so you need to be ready.

Start to think about your fantasy or science fiction book for the month of November. (Next book talk is scheduled for Thursday, November 21!)

~Mrs. Finley

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Yesterday I was out sick. The kids had a great report from the sub.

Today in class they continued to work on their rough drafts of their myths. If the student finished I asked them to peer edit another student that had also finished. This first peer edit was very basic–does the student have a myth with a beginning, middle, and an end. I then asked the student to type their rough draft. I find that this helps because the kids are more inclined to making changes since they don’t have to keep rewriting. I too prefer to type something out and edit it as opposed to rewriting it over and over.

Tomorrow we are going to look at the rubric for the original myth and make sure they incorporated what is being asked of them into their paper. Then they will self-edit and peer edit again. They will make the changes that are needed and then submit it to me for revisions.


Read a minimum of 20 minutes.

Prepare for your book talk presentation on Thursday, October 24 (2 days!).

Monday is our library day so start thinking about November’s book genre which is fantasy or science fiction. You can check to see if Mrs. Butler has the book in the library using the online card catalog (on the EJH website).

~Mrs. Finley

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today we reviewed everything that we have learned and practiced for our unit test tomorrow. I made a sample test that we used today in class.

Items that will be on the test include:

  • Figurative Language: Simile, Metaphor, Onomatopoeia, Hyperbole, Personification, Alliteration
  • Character Traits
  • Point of View: First person, Second person, Third person limited, Third person omniscient
  • Tone
  • Mood
  • Theme
  • 4 types of conflict: Character v. Character; Character v. Self; Character v. Nature; Character v. Society
  • Inferences
  • Symbolism
  • Need to be able explain why the myth exists. This will be specific to the myth that they are reading. For example, to explain how the world was created would be the explanation for the myth about Gaea and the story of creation according to Greek mythology.

The whole test is 10 multiple choice questions, 2 short answer questions (7 lines), 1 Extended Response Question.

I expect students to finish the test in class tomorrow. After attendance they will have the entire class period (roughly 45 minutes) to take the test.

There is only 1 reading passage.

Unfortunately, I will be out tomorrow at the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) training that I attended earlier this month. All of the Language Arts teachers in the building will be at this training. However, we will only have one more training left which isn’t until February. YAY!

This means that the students will take the test with the substitute. I think they will do a great job and knowing that it is a test they should not be talking and be on best behavior for the substitute.

When they finish their test they will want to bring a book to read (ideally, their book they plan on using for their book talk) silently at their desk.


Study your study guide to review for your test tomorrow.

Read at least 20 minutes to prepare for your book talk on Thursday, October 24!

~Mrs. Finley

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sorry I did not get a chance to post yesterday! It was a busy day and I just didn’t get a chance.

Today in class we practiced identifying the four different types of conflict using our independent reading book. This was an activity we started on Tuesday. The students used a graphic organizer to find quotes that supporting all four different types of conflict as they read. The four different types that they need to know are:

  • Character v. Character
  • Character v. Self
  • Character v. Nature
  • Character v. Society


Read at least 20 minutes on your independent reading book. Your book talk is on Thursday, October 24!

~Mrs. Finley

Monday, October 14, 2013

I hope everyone had a great Fall Break!

Today was our library day at school. The students checked-out, renewed, and turned in their library books to Ms. Butler. Ms. Butler also talked to the students about reliable websites and how to find a website that is credible and worthy of using in a research paper.

Your student will be expected to write a research paper this year in most of their classes. I know that the students are preparing to work on an essay in science class right now and we are also currently working on a narrative writing piece. Later in the year we will spend some time going through the research process to find primary sources to support an argument. Ms. Butler shared some wonderful information with the students that should really help them to begin thinking about this process.

The best source that we have access to is the Kentucky Virtual Library website. I will be sharing the password and log-in information with the students this week and will ask them to keep it inside of their agenda or in a safe place. KYVL is paid for by Fayette County Public Schools and is a wealth of information! Not only can students find articles to support their claims, but their is a great website called NoveList which will recommend similar books to students based on other books that they liked. I have paired a lot of students up with similar books that they read using this website and it really is helpful!


Read 20 minutes on your mystery/horror genre book to prepare for your book talk on Thursday, October 24.

(note: I opted to schedule the book talk on a Thursday so we could finish them up on Friday. I also opted to do the book talks on the 24th instead of the 31st so that the kids would have an extra week to prepare their book talk before Thanksgiving break and three weeks before winter break.)

~Mrs. Finley

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