Mrs. Amy Finley

7th Grade Lions Language Arts


October 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Today in class we discussed the genre of horror. This was just a special lesson plan that I put in the middle of our mystery unit to have some fun with Halloween. The students looked at some popular video clips and discussed some of the characteristics of the horror genre. We then looked at some children movie cartoons that were recently released, such as Paranorman, Coraline, etc. and discussed how they fit into the horror genre and debated whether or not they were too scary for kids to see. It was really interesting to hear some of the students response on what they thought!

2nd, 5th & 7th hour: Candy Corn article due Friday, November 2!

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! Stay safe!

~Mrs. Finley


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Today I talked to students about their pre-assessment score. The students who may have the opportunity to compact with me began taking the end-of-unit test today. Many requested more time. My goal is to have these graded by next week so that I can begin to compact with them and let them know the expectations for compacting.

Students took notes in class today about the mystery genre. This will help prepare us for our upcoming readings in class as I will frequently refer back to them.

Mr. Hoskins has sent a flyer for a workshop to learn more about your students KPREP score. The More Than A Score Workshop would be a great resource to attend to learn more about the test.

Students in 2nd, 5th & 7th have homework! The article is due back on Friday, November 2! Candy Corn Article of the Week

I also gave students a copy of the 6th grade Spelling Bee words. I encourage all students to participate, however the studying is completely up to them. I will choose two winners from each class and those students will be part of the schoolwide spelling bee competing against other 6th grade students as well as 7th grade and 8th grade students.

~Mrs. Finley

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Today we took our pre-assessment in class. I discussed with the students curriculum compacting and how it would work. Many students were interested. I have graded all of the pre-assessments so I will be speaking with a few students one-on-one tomorrow who did well to discuss whether or not they want to take the end-of-unit assessment to possibly compact with me. They must score above proficient/distinguished in order to compact.

No homework tonight!

Tomorrow we will get back into our new unit on mystery stories. We are going to first learn about the genre of mystery tomorrow before we start reading any stories.

~Mrs. Finley

Friday, October 26, 2012

Today we finished up our On-Demand writing that we began yesterday in class. The students have worked really hard on their writing. As mentioned before, this time around I will grade the tests using the scoring rubric, however it will not count as a grade in the computer. This really is just an assessment for me to see where the students are currently at with their writing.

I wanted to make all GT parents aware of some opportunities available through LEX KAGE. You can check out some great opportunities on the school website at

I discussed with the students an option today called curriculum compacting. I will be implementing this beginning with this unit and taking place throughout the rest of the year. If students do well on their pre-assessment I will invite them to go ahead and take the end of unit test. If they score above mastery (proficient/distinguished) then they can do curriculum compacting with me. This means that they can opt out of relearning the same information that they showed proficiency on on their test. Research has shown that it is never a good idea to teach students the same things they already know–it increases students boredom and shows them that learning is easy. Instead, if they pass the assessment with mastery  then I will meet with the student and come up with a plan for the curriculum compacting, such as work on an individual assignment, project, etc. of their choosing or something that is approved by the teacher.  On Monday we will be taking the pre-assessment and I will see how the students do on that first before I ask them if they would like to go ahead and try the end of unit assessment.

No homework this weekend!

~Mrs. Finley

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Today we were surprised with a power outtage this morning which lasted a little into 1st hour. Fortunately, the power was only out for approximately 30 minutes. 🙂

In class today we went to the library for book check-out. I only sent students who had a current book checked out or who were able to check-out books from the library. I also sent them down just a few at a time so that they could browse and come back to class. When they came back they were given some time to read on their library book. Several students also asked if it was OK to work on their homework in my 5th and 7th hour and used that time to ask me questions about it. I know that their homework assignment may seem difficult to them and may even frustrate them but they are really doing a great job with these articles and they are able to do it! I feel that it is pushing them maybe outside of some of their comfort zones a bit and some of them are getting frustrated when they do not know the answer, however I always give them a second chance if they get it wrong to fix their mistakes. I prefer to push them than give them an assignment that is too easy for them. They do seem to like the articles they are reading which is awesome because it interests them and keeps them up-to-date on some of the current events happening around the world. 🙂

5th & 7th hour: Article of the Week on Cell Phone Valets due Friday 10/26!

Tomorrow all Language Arts teachers in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade are giving their students an on-demand writing test. Students will be given a writing prompt and they must answer the writing prompt in a specific amount of time. The writing will then be scored using a rubric. Sometimes this is hard for students due to the time limit or the fact that it is basically a one-shot deal. Additionally, teachers are not allowed to assist the students in any way when they are being assessed on their on-demand so sometimes they will get frusturated.

This is the first one of the year and will allow the teachers to assess where the students are currently at with their writing and what we need to really work on. I know that many of the students have already had experience with this in 4th and 5th grade so I feel that they are prepared and ready for this. This will not be for any kind of a grade since this is a raw assessment of where they are currently at so they do not have to fear that their grade will be impacted. This first test is really more or less a trial run to see how it goes and to just assess where the students are at. We will then begin to spend some class time working on how to answer these timed writing prompts and some strategies that we can use to write a response well within the time limit.

~Mrs. Finley

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Today I was busily working in the library with the other Language Arts teachers planning out the rest of the year. The students read a play called The Monkey’s Paw which centered around the mysterious things that happened when someone made wishes using the paw. It is a great story to get us ready for our mystery unit.

Just a note that all final grades have been posted on Infinite Campus for the 1st Quarter. If you have any conerns about your student and would like to set-up a parent conference with the Lynx Team please notify Ms. Murray at or at (859) 381-4920.

Reminder: 5th & 7th hour should be working on their Article of the Week about Cell Phone Valets. This is due on Friday, October 26!

All classes: Tomorrow is library day! Remember to bring your library book!

~Mrs. Finley


I was out all week last week which is why the blog was not updated. Sorry for any confusion! As far as I know there was not any homework assigned by the substitute.

Today we started our new unit which is all about mysteries. We reviewed inferencing today and the students had a great time figuring out a story on who stole the statue.

Homework: 5th & 7th hour Article of the Week on Cell Phones is due Friday, October 26! Cell Phone Valet Article

~Mrs. Finley

Fall Break

I had a great day yesterday visiting Clays Mill Elementary and Henry Clay High School. I was doing some observations of the gifted and talented classes at both the elementary and high school level. I was really glad to hear from the associate principal at Henry Clay how much they loved having Hayes students and how well prepared he felt they were for High School!  What a huge compliment to Hayes and to all of our students!

I hope that everyone has a fantastic Fall Break! I will be grading the students check tests that they took this week. Today in class was a bit of a catch-up day. Many students still had to finish up their test so we had some D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time. We don’t really get to do this enough since our classes are so short so it was really nice to have a chance to just find a comfortable spot and read a good book. It also gave the students time to browse through my classroom library and spot some good new reads! 🙂

I have finished grading all projects that were turned in to me. If your student did not turn their project in they received a zero. If they turn it in before the end of the marking period that will receive late credit.

At the end of the day today all Lynx students watched the movie “The Lorax” as a reward. This deals with many topics that we have discussed in Social Studies, Science and Language Arts so it was a great fit. In fact, my first and second hour had already read the short story and looked at the plot of the story, so it was really neat to see how the movie compared to the book!

I hope everyone enjoys Fall Break and gets rested up! Have a wonderful weekend!

~Mrs. Finley

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Today the students began taking their Check Test. They will continue their test tomorrow and must finish in class by tomorrow. I will be out doing observations at Henry Clay and at Clays Mill Elementary so Mrs. Hunt, the instructional coach, will be covering my classes and administering the test to the students.

Homework: All classes should study their review guide to help them prepare to finish the test tomorrow.

~Mrs. Finley

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