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ELA 2013-2016  View Blog

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My ELA Knights Core Classes are 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 7th period. If students are absent or in some instances made a poor grade, students have the ability to download the assignment and improve their score. This webpage is another opportunity for students to make sure they are completing all their assignments. If students are not completing their assignments or doing poorly on the assignments, it's not just about a grade in a grade book. If grades are low or missing that means students are missing content and aren't learning. I want this webpage to be used as another way to give students chances to learn the content deeply.

This webpage is a great tool to use with access to Infinite Campus-- if a grade is missing, you can find the assignment here to complete. If you forgot the questions at school or didn't get a copy because you were absent, always check this website to access the materials.
Class Announcements
  • Dialogue in Narrative Writing

    Building upon our mastery of the skill of using strong verbs, students are now working on correctly using dialogue in their narrative writing. Dialogue is a great way for students to REVEAL and SHOW without just TELLING.

    Using comic strips, students completed the dialogue on the cartoons and then turned their comics into a short story. Students also used the SAID IS DEAD hand-out for suggestions on how to make their verbs stronger.

    Here is a list of common mistakes we used to revise/edit our papers before we turned them in for final assessment:

    • Capitalize the beginning of the quotation: Robby pleads, "Eat the cake I made."
    • Put a comma after explantory words: Hillary screams, "Don't eat that!"
    • Or put a comma before explantory words: "Why? My cake is delicious," sobbed Robby.
    • Make sure you have strong verbs. Check for too much use of said, went, or told.
    • NEW PARAGRAPH (skip a line) everytime someone new speaks!
  • Strong Verbs

    Learning Target 4. I can understand how to use strong vocabulary, particularly strong verbs.


    Often, students are told that in order to make their writing better, they should use stronger adjectives or modifiers (Example: I am VERY happy!). By middle school, everyone has mastered basic sentences and paragraphs. We have the skills to be good writers, but now we want to push and be great writers. Instead of focusing on whether a sentence is right or wrong, we are going to focus on how to make it better.


    Example 1: Muggs is hungry.

    Example 2: Muggs drools over the dog bowl.

    Example 1 isn’t WRONG, but Example 2 is stronger because of the strength of the verb. Review this YouTube video for help if you are struggling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzhChOZDGDU

  • Narrative Writing Unit 9

    Currently, students are focusing their revision step like binoculars and keying in at specific writing skills to making their good writing even better. While we have great writers in 7th grade, our biggest hurdle is always getting our students to feel confident and BELIEVE they all have what it takes to share and communicate interesting ideas and stories. A big focus of narrative writing is making our writing descriptive and interesting (which are skills that are super important for informational writing as well). By 7th grade, we are stretching beyond the comfort of our mastered elementary sklls and improving sentence variety (making sure we don't start every sentence with the same format/words), strong verbs (the key is strong verbs, not just adjectives!), organization/structure (No more: Hi, my name is. . . or Read on!), and vocabulary (transitions will be higher level that first, second, last).

    Often,students are asked to ADD MORE DETAIL, but don't have the tools neccessary to know HOW to do that. This unit is focusing on specific skills to put in our writing toolboxes to help improve. In informational writing we add more detail with direct quotations and anecdotal evidence, while in narrative writing we are focusing on "exploding a moment" and writing snap shots (showing/revealing details by writing about our five senses) and thoughtshots (telling details by tellng what we think, feel, and say).

    Our final project will be a creative short story due April 3rd.

  • Poetry Unit 8

    On Friday, February 6th, we began our unit on Poetry. Within our poetry unit we will concentrate on learning targets pertaining to figurative language and the craft and structure of the words an author's choose to convey meaning and tone. Prior to 7th grade, students spend a great deal of time concentrating on the definitions of poetry related vocabulary. By 7th grade, it is expect that most have mastered the skill of knowing the definition of words like similes and metaphors. The next step is thinking more about what figurative language means- as opposed to just identifying the types. Our essential questions are WHY would author's use figurative language?

    Students expressed lots of feelings about poetry before we began. They felt that poetry was confusing, deep, and used words they didn't know. We read the lyrics to the song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and discussed how Beatles used a simple phrase in repetition to convey a big feeling.

  • "Amigo Brothers"

    Students began reading the short story, "Amigo Brothers," in class this week. The story is found in their Interactive Reader on pg. 184. This short story will cover Learning Targets 2. I can define conflict, 3. I can list story elements, 9. I can write an objective summary, 10. I can analyze story elements. In class, we are still using extended response techniques such as Text Talking Words and how to attack the prompt.

    Important take-aways from pre-assessment:

    • Students need to know that conflict is a problem! Conflict is not always a fight!
    • Students should have story element vocabulary memorized by 7th grade. For example, students should have mastered the defintion of setting is time and place and that exposition is the beginning of the story. If there are students who do not have this skill mastered, we will work in Reading Academy in small groups next week.


  • Theme: "Seventh Grade"


    Students will read the short story "Seventh Grade" from their Interactive Readers on pg. 2 in class. We are working on mastering the skill of what it means to analyze and how we show this in our constructed responses.

    We have broken this process down in three steps for analyzing theme.

    1. Tell what theme is (recognize theme).

    2. Give text evidence that supports theme. (find direct quotations)

    3. Prove the text evidence supports the theme. Explain. (paraphrase those direct quotations and connect to explaination)

    Don't fall into the trap of either just telling theme OR explaining plot. You must connect!

  • Unit 7 Fiction: "Zebra"Unit 7 Fiction: "Zebra"

    Students have finished reading the short story "Zebra" (pg. 38-69) from their Interactive Reader Work (the maroon workbook they were given at the beginning of the year). In class on Wednesday they were assigned pgs. 67, 68, 69 and there will be a quiz in class on Thursday. Students were also given the constructed response covering Learning Target 11 and will work in partners to complete in class on Thursday.

  • Argumentative Writing Unit 6

    Task: Should parents tell their children that Santa is not real or IS Santa real and we should all never stop believing?

    SPAT and Hand-Organizer is due Monday, December 15th. Writing Guides should be completed by Tuesday and students should start their paragraph writing by Wednesday's class.

  • How Do We Add More Details? Elaboration!

    Use the following guide to help expand on each paragraph and add more detail. All of these strategies will help you add more details to your paragraph and explain your position on your claim.

  • Loch Ness Debates

    A peek at performance targets being assessed during the debates.

  • Kennewick Man; Unit 5 Comparing and Contrasting Media in Informational Texts

    Today we worked on graffiti wall notes while researching claims and evidence in the Kennewick Man controversy. The research we did today will prepare us for when we evaluate the media's representation of evidence and the ways the media can display bias.

  • Loch Ness Monster Debates

    Students have made their claims and are researching evidence on the debate topic of: Is the Loch Ness Monster real? We read an informational text article in SCOPE magazine and from there students were put in cooperative groups to find text evidence to support their claims. We have watched mock debates from middle school debate teams so that we understand the structure of how to have a civilized debate. On Monday after Thanksgiving, students will work on their opening statements, consider the counter argument so they will be able to defend on the rebuttal, and write their closing statements. This debate covers Learning Targets 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (RI.7.8, RI.7.9, SL.7.2, SL.7.3) This activity is also a bridge between analzying texts and then writing argumentative pieces which is Unit 4.

  • Author's Claims

    Learning Targets

    6. I can understand how claims and/or arguments are supported by evidence from the text.

    7. I can trace and evaluate how the claims and/or arguments are supported by evidence from the text.

    12. I can understand that some claims or evidence introduced may not be relevant, sufficient, or substantial to the topic.

    Claims + Evidence = Arguments

    Evidence is the same kind of textual evidence we discussed in Unit 1.

    When evaluating evidence students must consider the following:

    Relevant = Does the evidence relate? Make sense?

    Sufficient = Is it enough evidence?

    Sound = Is it true?


  • Unit 3: Analyzing Two or More Authors

    We begin Unit 3: Analyzing Two of More Authors on Tuesday, October 21st, concentrating on Learning Targets 1 & 3 (I can define and determine author's purpose). It's essential that students have a mastery of this skill before we dive into analyzing 7th grade lexile level material of how two authors take use the same information and interpreted it and analyze it in two different ways. Students receieved their pre-assessment scores on their Unit 3 Standards Learning Targets today in class.

  • Informative Writing

    In class, students are working on the skills they need to write informative writing pieces. We are using research from two articles from our SCOPE magazines about December 21st, 2012. Students will use these articles for research. Below is the SPAT Pre-Write we completed in class to help guide their writing. Students also have a worksheet writing guide to complete before they begin their five paragraph informative writing piece.

    S-Writing about how 2012 came and went without any problems and that we shouldn't worry about the end of the world
    P- Inform
    A- People reading newspaper
    T- Newspaper Article

  • Help with Constructed Responses/Short Answer

    Using these "Text Talker" phrases when answering constructed response and short answer questions helps students focus on the question being asked and that they are giving text evidence to support their answer.

  • Word Choice, Connotation, and Tone

    Currently, students are analyzing author's word choice and the relationship between word choice, connotation, and tone. This is covered under Learning Targets/I CANS 5, 13, and 14.

  • Learning Targets 9 & 10

    Currently, our classes are studying I CAN Learning Targets 9 & 10. Here is a chart of the entire team's pre-assessment for analyzing two or more central ideas. A score of 1 is novice while 3 is proficient mastery. Students had a higher background knowledge of central idea, but the biggest jump for them is analyzing TWO or more central ideas. Most students scored in the 2 apprentice category on the pre-assessment because they analyzed only one central idea instead of two.

  • Blog

    Click on the blog link beside the title of Mrs. Vanoy's ELA Knights Class at the top to read my blog and make comments. I try to include links to the sites we may have viewed in class or review of learning targets.

  • MAP Testing and Lexiles

    Many students completed MAP testing this week. The reading portion gave students a lexile range. To find out more about lexiles follow the link and refer to the chart below.


  • I Can 7 & 8

    The summative assessment on the individual I Can Statement of 7 & 8 was super successful! Below is a chart of a random class that shows I Can 7 & 8 on the pre-assessment and the constructed response score. Student improvement and growth were fantastic. The blue and red shows the pre-assessment of I Can 7 & 8 and the green shows the major growth for the summative assessment. A score of 3 or 4 shows mastery levels of the common core.

  • Self-Assessment

    The last couple of days my classes have been discussing standards-based grading and how we assess ourselves on a scale of 1-4 (novice, apprentice, proficient, and distinguished). The Pre-Assessment they are currently taking are based exactly on the I CAN Statements.

  • Welcome to 7th Grade ELA!

    After our intitial first three days being filled with learning about school-wide rules and procedures, I'm excited to begin teaching our students our ELA objectives!

    Our first unit is titled Informational Text and covers the common core RIT.7.1, RIT.7.2, RIT.7.3, RIT.7.4, and RIT.7.5. These standards are the Key Ideas and Details as well as the first two standards of Craft and Structure under Reading Informational Text. There are fifteen I Can Statements (Learning Objectives) for this unit. Under the section Links, I've included a break down of each learning objective. Students will have a copy that they will keep at school and record the dates the standards were covered.

    On Tuesday, August 12th, students will take a pre-assessment on the unit where each question is tied to a standard and they will be rated a 1-4 which stands for how well they have the standard mastered (i.e. novice, not understanding at all, is a 1, while 4 is a distinguished which means understanding so well they could teach to someone else).

    I'm looking forward to a great year!

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