Welcome to English 7/8!

Miss. Finkelstein

Welcome to the English 7/8 Class Website!
This site has ALL the information you need to be successful in this course!

*Click on the "What's Happening" tab to find class assignments and weekly announcements.


1. Click Here! for College Essay Tips to help you get started

2. Click Here! for sample college essays 


Click Here! for a sample of writing in MLA format

If you have any questions EMAIL me at: efinkelstein@mhacademy.net
English 7 Course Syllabus

Essential Questions:  

                                           How can we define dystopia?

                                           Why are dystopia and utopia such common themes in literature?

                                           How does history create literature?

How does biographical information inform our understanding of an author’s literary choices?

How can we write an effective college application essay?

What are the steps of the peer feedback process?

How can we make connections between Dystopian themes and our own lives?


Class Texts:             Literature
                                            Ray Bradbury – There Will Come Soft Rain

                                            Margaret Atwood- The Handmaid’s Tale


Children Of Men

                                           The Handmaid’s Tale Excerpts


Various articles and research surrounding the topic of dystopia

                                            Biographical material – Margaret Atwood


Course Rationale:

This semester we begin the journey of preparing for college. This will include working on college admissions essays, as well as in depth research and college level essay writing. Towards this goal we will begin the first stages of a senior research project, as well as work on critical reading and writing skills, in accordance with the Common Core Learning Standards and rigorous academic expectations. We begin this journey by starting our yearlong exploration of dystopias and how they are represented in a variety of literary and media genres. We will explore several short stories and poems that investigate dystopias and work our way towards reading, visualzing and analyzing Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale through various critical lenses.


Online Course Information:

Students completing this course online must meet with Ms. Finkelstein weekly to check in and gain support and guidance, as it is needed. Weekly meetings will take place during Miss. Finkelstein’s STARS Tutoring sessions on Wednesdays from 2:20-4:20pm in room 730B. Miss. Finkelstein is also always available via email to answer specific questions as they arise -  efinkelstein@mhacademy.net



Skills that will Be Gained by taking this course!

1)     Evaluation of non-fiction and informational texts

2)     Analysis of literature for advanced literary elements

3)     Speaking and listening in a college environment

4)     Research writing for college

5)     Use of research to write arguments

6)     Understanding of dystopian literature and themes

7)     How to successfully write a personal statement college essay

8)     How to successfully edit your writing and the writing of peers to create a collaborative community in the classroom



Important Standards For this Class

Common Core Reading Standards for Informational Text 11-12

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Common Core Standards for Literature 11-12

Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.


Common Core Writing Standards 11-12

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.       


Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening 11-12

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Course Materials:

  • A pen or pencil must be brought to class everyday. (blue or black only)
  • A binder with a section for English must be brought to class everyday.
  • Loose leaf to be refilled throughout the year. (college rule only)
  • Headphones for use during independent work periods
  • A positive attitude and willingness to learn.


Grading Policy:

This school year we will be using a Mastery Based Grading Scale. I will assess your individual progress on a 4 point rubric based on the different skills and standards we will cover each unit. This means you won’t be getting grades out of 100% anymore, but rather a 4, 3, 2 or 1.  We will discuss this more in individual conferences and in our first few weeks of class J.

4= Exceeding Standards

3=Meeting Standards

2= Approaching Standards

1= Not Yet Approaching Standards


Class Goals:

1.     Prepare to be successful college level readers and writers.

2.     Continue to develop our vocabulary in order to better express our thoughts and opinions when speaking and in writing. This includes class discussions, debates, and presentations.

3.     Improve our analysis of literature by examining historical context and biographical information and use this analysis to write college level essays.

4.     Using college level research to support claims in our arguments, both written and verbal.

5.     Continue to improve our grammar, spelling, and writing mechanics towards developing our own style.

Murray Hill Academy Classroom Procedures

1.      All students must have a binder and a pen/pencil on their desk at all times.

2.      Students must sign the late book.

3.      No eating in class.

4.      Students must ask and sign out the bathroom pass.

5.      All students must communicate appropriately in class: raise your hand, stay in your seat, no cursing, and keep your hands to yourself.    

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at Murray Hill Academy, at (212) 696-0195. You may also contact me through email at

Guidelines for College Essay Writing: 

Introduction Guidelines:

1. Introduction should start with a hook. This can be a question, quote, personal anecdote, etc.

2. It should be very detailed and specific. Ex. Provide specific dates, etc.

3. Introduce your obstacle or significant event and make sure you stay on topic.

4. Limit your use of  personal pronoun "I".

5. Should be about 5- 8 sentences.

6. Make sure you are using proper punctuation after every thought.

Body Paragraph Guidelines:

qA topic sentence that expands your theme and makes a transition from the previous paragraph.
qDevelopment of ideas that support your essay’s theme.  ( Supporting details.) 5-8 sentences at minimum.

qAn ending sentence that wraps up the paragraph and helps transition to the next paragraph.

Body paragraph I: How this significant event changed you in a positive way?

¢Topic sentence
¢Evidence that supports your opinion

Body paragraph II: How has this experience demonstrate your work ethic, determination, personality, or any other specific quality?

¢Topic sentence
¢Evidence that supports your opinion

Conclusion Guidelines:
q1.  Your conclusion should restate your thesis.
q2.  Your conclusion should be concise
q3.  Refer to the main points in your body paragraphs
q4.  End with a “punch” – a strong, concluding sentence.

The Handmaid's Tale Research WebQuest
Click Here for "Why The Handmaid's Tale Feels Real in 2019" article