Tuesday, January 3, 2012

7th grade homework 1/3 and through midterms

With MIDTERMS fast approaching (third week of January), homework will focus on exam prep.  For 7th graders, this means TWO THINGS:


1.  Every night we have school (so, yes, even Friday), students are to review their notes and glean topics, concepts, ideas, definitions, and facts that are likely to be on the exam.  They will make THREE FLASH CARDS each night, and bring them to class the next day to share and use during exam review time.  This will be graded.


2.  Between now and January 11, students are to write a five paragraph essay on their historical fiction novels.  This essay will form a sizeable portion of their exam.  It is due a week prior to the exam to give me time to read and assess it fairly.  I will reduce late essays by 10 points per day, with the three day weekend counting as 30 points.


In early December, we had a library lesson on the genre of historical fiction, and students were given note-taking bookmarks to use as they read.  These novels were picked in early December and reminders have been given to read them.  The five paragraph essay is to focus on “author’s craft”, which is a term used in language arts class to mean the tools the writer uses to tell the story well.  Author’s craft may include similes, metaphors, flashbacks, sensory description, point of view shifts, and more. One specific craft in a historical fiction novel is the use of historically accuracy – the items of everyday life, the news and famous personalities of the time, the ideas and prejudices of the time, et cetera.  The five paragraph essay will focus on THREE aspects of the author’s craft, as evidenced in the novel, with a requirement that ONE of these be historical accuracy.  A sample thesis statement is:  The writer of Lyddie, Katherine Paterson, creates a well-written novel by incorporating a believable character, using figurative language, and maintaining historical accuracy throughout.  Another sample: The novel, Lyddie, by Katherine Paterson, is a well-written historical fiction novel because it uses a believable character, figurative language, and historically accurate details. 


Between now and midterms I will be available most days after school to help students with reviewing topics they are struggling to master and to provide tools (such as revising guides) and guidance for working on their essays.  We’ll also be dedicating homework time to learning one review strategy (note cards) and about ten minutes per day of class time on drilling and reviewing.

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