Collingswood Middle School
Language Arts 7 · Writers Workshop 7
Miss Whitman

Welcome to Seventh Grade Language Arts and Writers Workshop!  These classes are designed to help you become better readers, writers, and speakers, and to foster a lifelong appreciation for literature of all types.  Please review the below syllabus carefully and return the signed agreement to Miss Whitman within ONE DAY.  This is your first homework assignment of the year—be on top of it!

Course Texts
In both Language Arts and Writers Workshop, we will utilize a wide variety of texts, most of which are available at Collingswood Middle School.  We will read short selections and complete novels from a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry.  While our class novels change from year to year, some typical seventh grade class reads are:

            Crunch, by Leslie Connor
            Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick
The Fat Boy Chronicles, by Lang Buchanan
            The Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis
            Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
            Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanan
            Schooled, by Gordon Korman

Student Responsibilities
1.      Class begins promptly when the bell rings, at which point you should be in your assigned seat and working on the “do now” assignment.   At the end of class, I dismiss you—NOT the bell.
2.      Some of your class materials will be stored in Room 204, and you must retrieve them prior to the start of class each day:
·         3-Ring Binder with Organizer Tabs
·         Composition Book
·         Word of the Day Cards

You are required to bring the following items to class with you each day:
·         Blue or Black Pen (NOT pencil)
·         Agenda Book
·         Independent Reading Book
·         Writers Notebook
·         Any Completed Homework Assignments

3.      There are to be no cell phones, iPods, tablets, or other electronic devices used in class without express permission from the teacher.  These items should be turned off and out of view.  Not only is it remarkably rude to use your cell phone in class—it can also be seen as a cheating device and a distraction to your classmates.  If I see you using a cell phone or iPod, I will confiscate it and return it to you at the end of the day.

4.      Please use the bathroom and/or get water before or after class whenever possible.  Should you have an emergency need, you must take the class hall pass with you to your destination.  If I find that you have abused your hall pass privileges, I will take them away entirely.

5.      Late assignments will lose an automatic ten points per day of lateness (for example, a paper turned in Wednesday that was due Monday will receive a maximum score of 80%).  Computer/printer issues are NOT a valid excuse for incomplete assignments. 

6.      Please do not touch anything on the teacher’s desk, filing cabinet, window shelf, etc.

7.      Unless specifically told otherwise, students are to work independently on all assignments.

8.      If you miss work due to absence, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed and turn in all assignments.

9.      Plagiarism and cheating are both considered forms of stealing in this class.  If you are caught in either activity, you will receive a zero for the assignment.

10. Be nice to each other.  Be nice to me.  Respect will take you very, very far.

Grading will be based on a point system.  Every assignment is worth a certain point value, and at the end of the marking period, students will receive a percentage grade based on how many points they received out of the total number possible.  Typically, homework assignments and class work will be worth 10-25 points per item, while essays, tests, and projects may be worth 50-100 points.  Students will be made aware of the point values of all assignments, and the values will also be reflected in Genesis.  Students will also receive academic points for class participation and behavior based on teacher observation and Class Dojo data.

Items considered toward your final grade:
Tests, Projects, Public Speaking Assignments, Essays
Independent Reading (SRC)
Quizzes, Short Writings
Class Work (Writers’ and Readers’ notebooks are part of this, as are Word of the Day cards)
Participation and Classroom Behavior

Required School Supplies
All students are required to obtain and bring in the following supply items for this year’s language arts class.  All students should have their supplies before Tuesday, September 9, 2014.
            1 3-ring binder and lined paper to fill it                            
1 package of blue or black pens
            1 black and white composition notebook
            1 colored folder
            1 colored notebook
            1 box of tissues
            2 packages of 3x5-inch index cards
            Post-It notes—lots of them!
Class Communication
All classroom information, including these expectations, will be posted on a class website, and all students and parents will have access to the link.  The website can be found at

All students and parents will also have the opportunity to sign up for text and e-mail alerts about important class items through Remind101.  Students will receive access codes during the first few days of school.

Writing Revision Policy
If you receive an undesirable score on an essay or project, you may meet with me to discuss submitting a revision.  You will no longer be eligible for a perfect score, but you can improve your overall grade, perhaps bringing your D to a C or C to a B.  It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to approach me if you are interested in this opportunity.

Teacher Contact
I am eager for you to succeed, and will be available before and after class in Room 204 to offer extra help, answer class questions, and provide academic support as needed.  I will seek to be in my classroom beginning at 7:15 AM each day and stay after school until 3:15 PM.  PLEASE ask for help as often as you need it.  I am here for you, and I believe that every student in my class is capable of excellence.

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.  If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”