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Mr. Fleischman, Ms. Francoeur, and Mrs. Hess welcome you to the 7th & 8th Grade Language Arts website for Merton Intermediate School. 


Required Materials: All students are expected to have the following materials every day in Language Arts class:
  • Independent Reading Book
  • Charged chromebook or personal device with access to Google Drive & Classroom
  • Writing Utensil
  • Notebooks - 1 Reading and 1 writing
Reading Requirements: All students are expected to increase their current reading level by two levels over the course of the school year. By the end of the year, 7th grade students are expected to reach Level Y and 8th grade students are expected to reach Level Z. In order to meet these expectations, students are required to read at least 200 pages per week. All students are expected to have an independent reading book with them every day in class. Failure to come to class prepared will negatively affect your grade.

Homework / Grading Policies:
  • If a student is absent, it is his or her responsibility to check Google Classroom and/or Skyward to see what happened in class and what was assigned. Teachers will direct students and families to these resources when asked what was missed.
  • If a student turns in a late assignment on Google Classroom (even when due to an absence) it is the student's responsibility to notify the teacher of his or her submission. Google Classroom does not alert teachers to when assignments are turned in. Without the student's notification, an assignment may go unnoticed.
  • Late/Absent work will be recorded in Skyward as missing and be assigned a zero grade until the teacher is notified that the student has submitted his or her work. Once submitted, the assignment's score of zero will be replaced with the score earned by the student. 
    • Each teacher may have different policies regarding deadlines of when work will no longer be accepted and/or if late work receives full credit.



7th Grade Units of Study:

Unit 1: Author Study Partnerships &

Realistic Fiction Writing

Our first reading unit will have students in partnerships reading several books from the same author. Students will mainly be focusing on the characters in their books, how they change and grow over the course of the novel, and analyzing how the author develops the characters in their book. Within their partnerships, students will also be working on their discussion skills, specifically focusing on comparing and contrasting novels by the same author, the techniques they see their author using in each of their books, and authorial intent. Some of our whole class texts for this unit include short stories by popular realistic fiction authors like Meg Cabot, Bruce Coville, Todd Strasser, Eve Bunting and Rachel Vail.


The first writing unit is a narrative genre - realistic fiction - in which students will be learning several different strategies for generating story ideas. Students will also learn how to plan out a fiction story using a traditional story arc. Throughout the writing process, we will focus heavily on using a conflict/resolution structure, balancing narrative craft moves, and punctuating dialogue.


Unit 2: Analytical Reading & Companion Books

The second reading unit will see students in book clubs that will allow them to choose any author or genre that interests them. Students will be using book clubs as a way to analyze and discuss their books in an interesting and complex way. We will focus deeply on identifying universal themes from a text, specifically pushing past identifying general life lessons. In addition to that, we will continue our work on identifying and analyzing author’s craft in a text. Some of our whole class texts for this unit include short stories by famous authors such as Ray Bradbury and Liliana Hecker.


The second writing unit is an informative genre - companion book - in which students will be creating a “bonus book” of a favorite text they’ve read in the past two years. This book will help to answer reader’s questions and provide readers with more information about some of the interesting concepts within the text. Throughout the writing process, we will focus heavily on introducing, providing, and analyzing evidence that supports a claim or topic, using a claim and support structure, and correctly using APA format to cite sources in-text and on a references page.


Unit 3: Nonfiction Reading / Research & Argument Essays

The third reading and writing units are closely tied together. Students will be researching the topic of competitive sports for their first argument essay and will be able to select from a list of relevant nonfiction topics for their second argument essay. The reading unit will focus on identifying the main idea of a nonfiction text and nonfiction author’s craft techniques. When writing argument essays, the focus will be on writing a clear claim, acknowledging and refuting counterarguments, and introducing, providing, and analyzing evidence. We will also be continuing our work on correctly using in-text citations and reference pages in APA format. Students will be in partnerships for this unit.


Unit 4: Analyzing Poetry & Writing Poetry

After all of that essay writing, students will get a bit of a break with our poetry units. When reading poetry, students, in partnerships, will build on their analysis skills from previous units, while also learning how to identify symbolism within a text. Throughout this unit, students will analyze a variety of classical and modern poets/songwriters such as Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, Carrie Underwood, Alfred Lloyd Tennyson, Billy Collins, Train, Alfred Noyes, William Wordsworth, and Zac Brown Band.


With writing, students will learn how to write a number of different kinds of poems throughout the unit, such as Acrostic, I Am and Biography poems, Haikus, Limericks, Quatrains, Cinquains, and Rhyme Royals. We will focus on including a variety of different kinds of figurative language within our poems while also incorporating interesting structural techniques. In the end, students will put together a portfolio of different poems that are related to a topic of their choice.


Unit 5: Historical Fiction Book Clubs & Historical Documentaries

Our final reading unit of the year will see students, once again, in book clubs, reading Historical Fiction. We will focus heavily on setting, how the setting affects characters, and comparing and contrasting fiction to fact.


The final writing unit will be an informational writing unit. Students will research and gather information about a historical event, write a script, and create a historical documentary that will be presented in front of the class. They will use mentor documentaries and digital storyboards to help them through this process. We will focus heavily on choosing an appropriate structure for their script as well as citing sources within informational writing




8th Grade Units of Study:

Unit 1: Fantasy / Dystopian Book Clubs & Application Essays

Our first reading unit will have students reading the specific genres of fantasy & dystopian in book clubs. Students will be focusing on the importance of setting in these genres as well as working on identifying and supporting multiple complex themes which are universal AND debatable. With Book Clubs, students will also be working on their discussion skills in small groups and will record book club discussions for grades throughout the unit. Some of our whole class texts for this unit include short stories by famous fantasy and dystopian authors like Ray Bradbury, Jane Yolen, Shirley Jackson and Lloyd Alexander.


The first writing unit is a narrative genre - the application essay - in which students will be learning to tie together narrative writing with personal  reflection in order to develop a theme about themselves. We focus heavily on keeping writing concise, paragraphing, and transitions.


Unit 2: Analytical Reading & Literary Essays

The second reading unit will also see students in clubs, but this time, they will be reading multiple different texts and analyzing these deeply while writing literary essays. Students will have a variety of texts to choose from such as classic poems by Edgar Allen Poe, to short stories by authors like H.G. Wells, to plays, to more modern texts such as song lyrics, short films, and music videos. Again, we will focus a lot on theme and supporting theme with text evidence. Students will also be challenged to address and refute counterargument in their literary essays. Additionally, there is a heavy focus on structuring and paragraphing essays as well as correctly citing sources in APA format.


Unit 3: Nonfiction Reading / Research & Position Papers

The third reading and writing units are closely tied together, like Analytical Reading and Literary Essay. The nonfiction reading and research will focus around two main topics - role-playing games with simulated violence and child soldiers. The reading unit will focus on choosing reliable sources when researching and comprehending nonfiction texts. When writing position papers, the focus will be on strong thesis statements, the evaluation of nonfiction author’s craft and source bias when analyzing evidence, more work with counterargument, framing evidence, and correctly citing evidence with APA format. Students will be in partnerships for this unit.


Unit 4: Analyzing Poetry & Writing Poetry

After all that essay writing, students will get a bit of a break with our poetry units. When reading poetry, students, in partnerships,  will build on the analyzation skills from the analytical reading unit to analyze classical poets such as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Emily Bronte, and William Wordsworth using digital annotating techniques.  


With writing, students will choose a topic and then write a number of different types of poems about that topic throughout the unit, resulting in a multimedia presentation which we all have a really fun time watching as a celebratory end to this fast-paced unit. Some of the poetic forms students will learn are the English Sonnet, the Terza Rima, the Ode, and - our favorite - the lyrical poem.



Unit 5: Approaching the Classics  & Multimodal Informational Writing

Our final units of the year are not only designed to maintain a high level of rigor right up until our 8th graders graduate, but to get them ready for the different format of the high school English class. This is the only unit where we read a whole class novel. For this unit, that novel will be the classic American text, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Students will also study short stories by Louisa May Alcott and Washington Irving as they practice strategies to approach complex texts which may be above their reading level.


The final writing unit will be the informational writing unit. Students will research and report on a topic using a multimodal presentation - which basically means a presentation that includes visuals, sounds, and videos in order to inform the audience. We focus on avoiding plagiarism, weighing and evaluating information, and hooking the audience. Students will be in partnerships for this unit.