Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SRC Basics

All students in Language Arts 7 will be required to read four books per marking period independently.  These selections may NOT include anything read as a class or in previous school years.  Students who complete all four selections in a marking period may opt to submit additional books for added points.

When a student completes an independent reading selection, he/she may either take a 10-question SRC Quiz on a CMS computer OR submit an alternative assessment chosen from a list of options provided by me.  I will NOT accept sloppy work or alternative assessments based on sixth grade language arts requirements.

Students are most welcome to submit SRC assignments early, and will receive extra credit points for doing so.  There will be a specific due date for each SRC, and a text reminder will be sent home 5-7 days in advance of each due date.

Here are the SRC due dates for the 2014-15 school year.

Marking Period 1
Summer Reading SRC - Wednesday, September 10th
SRC 2 - Tuesday, September 23rd
SRC 3 -  Tuesday, October 14th
SRC 4 - Thursday, October 30th

Marking Period 2
SRC 1 - Tuesday, November 18th
SRC 2 - Tuesday, December 9th
SRC 3 - Tuesday, January 6th
SRC 4 - Friday, January 16th

Marking Period 3
SRC 1 - Friday, February 6th
SRC 2 - Wednesday, February 18th
SRC 3 - Friday, March 6th
SRC 4 - Tuesday, March 24th

Marking Period 4
SRC 1 - Friday, April 17th
SRC 2 - Friday, May 1st
SRC 3 - Friday, May 15th
SRC 4 - Wednesday, June 3rd

Some wisdom from the great Nelson Mandela...

Quote of the Week (Color) - 36 quotes included use one each week! Quotes teach students to never give up, use their imaginations, value education, be unique, and be a friend.

Awesome Work

This page will feature great pieces of student work.  Get excited to check it out soon!

Writers' Notebook

One of your first assignments will be to design and organize your WRITERS' NOTEBOOK.  I have designed my own as an example.  This book will be a VERY important part of our class this year, and it's therefore important that you take good care of it and always bring it to class.  You're welcome to leave it in the classroom if you'd like, but many students like to take the notebooks home to be able to write freely outside of school.  We will engage in what some have called SWT (Sacred Writing Time) at the beginning of most Writing Workshop classes, and we'll also use our notebooks to free write, brainstorm, and take notes on good writing techniques.

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The front cover of my Writing Notebook.
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The back cover of my Writing Notebook.

Friday, August 15, 2014

September is coming!

Hey there, y'all!

I'm shocked to be saying it so soon, but September is upon us!  I am eager to meet my new classes and to begin using the Writers Workshop curriculum to help my students to embrace the writing process.  Though the school year won't officially begin until September 4th, I want to say WELCOME to all of you!  I cannot wait to get to know each and every one of my students, and to get started reading and writing together!

Below, I'd like to share the e-mail that I sent to all of the parents and guardians of my incoming class of seventh graders.  Please be sure to review the information and be in touch if you have questions or concerns.  I'm looking forward to the first days of school!

Much love,
Miss Whitman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

My name is Sarah Whitman, and I will be teaching your child this year at Collingswood Middle School.  I will be teaching both Language Arts 7 and Writers Workshop 7, and I'm so excited to about sharing my love for reading and writing with your children!  I wanted to send a quick e-mail before the first day of school to share a few important pieces of information.  Since I like lists, I've numbered them below.  Thank you for entrusting your children to me this year.  It is an honor to be able to guide them as they grow into leaders and thinkers.

1. Please check out--and bookmark--the class website that I'll be using to update students and their parents/guardians on important announcements, due dates, and assignments.  The website can be found at  Please check it regularly and consider "following" the site so that you'll receive e-mail updates when announcements are made.  I plan on using the website as a form of communication as often as possible.

2. I believe that students have already received a list of required supplies for class, but I wanted to send a finalized version.  Students should come to class with the following items:
1 package of blue or black pens
1 3-ring binder and lined paper
1 black and white composition book
1 colored folder
1 colored notebook
1 box of tissues
2 packages of 3x5-inch index cards
Post-It notes--lots of them!

3. In addition to updating our class website, I'll be sending out regular reminders about homework and assignment due dates using Remind (previously called Remind101), a service whereby I can send text messages to students and parents with important class information.  I will send home a form with your student at some point during the first few days of school, and he/she will be responsible for sharing the information with you and giving you the opportunity to enroll in this free service.

4. Though it's not something I mention every single day, students are expected to spend at least 30 minutes of each weekday engaged in independent reading.  Students will be expected to read at least four independent reading selections each marking period.  I will provide additional information on due dates and book reports during the first few days of school, but I would ask that you encourage your children to read often and enthusiastically.  The BEST way for you to do this is to exemplify good reading habits in your own lives.  I would appreciate any and all efforts to get your children reading, and would also suggest the following article as a resource:

5. Collingswood School District requires that all students complete one independent summer reading selection.  Upon returning to school, students will be given the opportunity to take a brief, ten-question quiz on their selected reading.  Please remind your child to read and review his or her selection, and to be prepared to take the quiz during the first few days of school.

I am so excited to meet my students this year, and hopefully to meet many of you at Back to School Night on Thursday, September 18th.  Please feel free to be in touch if you have questions or concerns before then.

Have a wonderful last few weeks of summer!
Sarah Whitman

Seventh Grade Language Arts Teacher
Collingswood Middle School

Friday, August 1, 2014

A record of homework assignments will be kept on this page for students and parents.