CRYSTAL BIRCH Staff Photo

Announcements

Q2 Newsletter  

7th Grade Language Arts

Mrs. Birch & Mrs. Howard

Q2 Newsletter



What’s Happening

This quarter we will be digging deeper into texts and learning to write analytically about what we’re reading. We start with Fantasy Book Clubs. Your student will be assigned a book to read in class. They will read along with their peers and have meaningful discussions as a group. Each student is a member of a team, and therefore, will have extra responsibilities. Please help us stress the importance of working together and doing their part. We are really excited about this unit; it’s one of our favorites!

 

Google Classroom

Every student is now signed up for Google Classroom! This is where all of the class notes/presentations will be kept. If a student is absent, they’re able to get the notes and class information from this site. Unfortunately, parents cannot have their own account, but the students have their username and password located on the first page 13 in their agenda.

 

Remind

Don’t forget that we use the Remind website and app to send important information home. We will send homework information, reminders for important events, and due dates for tests and projects. To sign up for the Remind Service, text the following codes to 81010.

Birch’s Class: @birch7207                                                                       Howard’s Class: @howardrla

 

Late Work

Now that we’ve gotten into the routine of 7th grade, we are strictly enforcing the policy for late work. Any work that a student misses or does not complete must be made up in the same progress report period in which it was assigned for partial credit. After the progress report date, the grade will remain a zero. If it is an excused absence, the student will have the 5 days to make it up for full credit even if they overlap progress report dates.




***Please cut here, sign, and return for an easy homework grade.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

___________________________________________________________________________

(Student Name)

 

____________________________________________________________________________

(Parent Signature)

 

____________________________________________________________________________

(Parent Email)

 

Literacy Night and Reading Fair!  

Reading Fair Info


Open House!  

We will have Open House on Tuesday, August 22nd from 6-7:30 PM. I hope to see you there!


Stay Connected!  

I use the Remind service to keep parents (and students) informed about announcements, due dates, projects, tests, and more. Please follow the directions listed below to get signed up. If you have questions, please feel free to email or call. 

Remind Instructions


Welcome!  

7th Grade Reading and Language Arts

Welcome Letter

Mrs. Crystal Birch

Birch_C@hcde.org

(423) 847-4810  ext 41549

 

Welcome to 7th grade Reading and Language Arts! I am very excited to be your child’s teacher this year. This will be a year filled with opportunities to read more deeply, stretch our writing skills, become more purposeful thinkers regarding different texts, and to outgrow ourselves as readers and writers.  

Materials

Students need at least two composition books to use as their Reader’s and Writer’s notebook. These notebooks will not be kept in my room. Students will be responsible for bringing their notebook to class on a daily basis.

Students must bring the following items to class each day:

1. Positive and Willing Attitude    2. Agendamate           3. Pencil or Pen

4. Self-selected Reading Book    5. Composition Notebook      

Attendance, Make-up Work, Late Work, and Extra Credit

I make a promise to my students and parents to be in school delivering the quality instruction students deserve and should expect. I also expect my students to do the same. Students should come prepared with materials and be prepared to learn. Sometimes, this work can be easy and fun; other times it can be more challenging. However, students must give their best effort at all times.

 

If a student is absent, it is the student’s responsibility to gather his/her work.  

  1. The student may go to the school’s website (hixsonmiddle.com), click on “school staff”, select my name, and view what work was completed during their absence.

  2. The student may ask me for this information, and the best time for them to do so is during independent reading time.

I will follow the Hamilton County policy regarding make-up work:

**Make-up work is required for excused absences and will receive full credit when turned in by the due date.

**Make-up work is required for unexcused absences and will receive partial credit.

**It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve the work from the teacher

**Make-up work must be completed and turned in within five school days of the

              absence.

Students may turn in work late for a reduced grade. Late work and make-up work will be accepted during the progress report period in which it was assigned. For example, if an assignment is assigned and due during the first week of school, the student may not turn in the assignment during the last week of the 9 week grading period for a grade.

Extra credit is given to students who are seeking to go above and beyond the traditional learning experience. Extra credit is not a tool to make up work or other assignments that were never turned in to the teacher. Extra credit opportunities will be announced to students and on the website when available.

Summer Reading

Rising 7th grade students were challenged to select 2 books to read over the summer. One book choice is for a book club in which students and teachers from across the school will come together to celebrate the text. The second book choice has a project associated with it. There were two different projects from which to choose. The project is due no later than September 1st.  Summer reading information is available online at the HxMS website.

Student Grades

Hamilton  County Grading Scale

A  93-100 B  85-92         C  75-84 D  70-74 F  69 and below

All grades will be recorded and published in PowerSchool. Grades will be entered approximately once per week. Some assignments, like notebook checks or published essays, may take longer to enter due to the quantity of work involved.

Communication

Communication between parent, teacher, and student provides for an optimal learning experience. Please feel free to email or call me if you have questions or concerns. I will respond to emails or phone calls within two business days of receiving it.  I will utilize the Hixson Middle School’s website to post calendar dates, assignments, announcements, etc. In addition to the website, I use a texting service called Remind. It is a one-way texting and email service specifically designed for teachers to send group messages to students, parents, or guardians.To sign up for my Remind class, text @birch7207 to the number 81010. Also, each quarter, I will send a newsletter home; be sure to ask your student about it!

Agenda Mates

All students will be given agenda mates. The agenda mate houses several pieces of important information and are to be utilized for school purposes: the school rules including dress code and cell phone policy, space for writing daily classroom agendas and homework, hall or other out-of-class passes, and the discipline plan page. Students are expected to have their agenda mate with them at all times. Students may not share or use other students’ agenda mates.

The discipline plan is in the agenda mate and will be enforced throughout the school. Teachers will sign the student’s agenda when an infraction occurs. This will also entail notification of any detentions, office referrals, or loss of privileges.  Please look at this page often. These pages will not fall out nor are they to be torn out in order to avoid discipline.  

Classroom Library

All students have access to my classroom library in addition to the school and public libraries. These books may be utilized in and outside my classroom. All students are allowed to check books out of the class library as needed following the guidelines discussed in class. If a student checks a book out from the classroom library, they are responsible for the book if it is lost, stolen, or damaged beyond normal wear and tear. If a book is damaged, the student should inform me prior to checking it out so they are not held responsible. If a student damages or loses the book, they are responsible for paying a replacement cost. This cost will be calculated based on current Amazon prices.

Language Arts Fee

In order to keep the classroom library relevant, current, and engaging, we are requesting a $5 fee from each student. This fee allows me to order books specifically tailored to our current students. It goes directly into your child’s classroom and inspires a love of reading. If you have any questions regarding this fee, please contact me.

 

Thank you,

Mrs. Birch

 

Summer Reading  

The summer reading information is here! Please click on "Summer Reading" on this page for more information! You can also find the files for download/print in the "File Manager" section of this website. The form is due to me by April 18th. Happy Reading!


ELA Newsletter for the 4th Quarter  

ELA 4Q Newsletter

Q4 Newsletter


Modern Woodmen Speech Contest  

Hixson Middle School is hosting the Modern Woodmen speech contest! The topic is "What does it mean to be a hero?" The interested participants have received a packet with important information. The speeches are due 3/28 for review. The top five received in each grade will be invited to participate in the school level contest on 3/31 at 8:30 am in the school library. 


ELA Progress Reports & Extra Credit!  

On Wednesday, March 8th, the students received their progress report for my class. All missing assignments have been highlighted, and all work needed from me has been sent home with the student. This work is due by March 13th. Due to the end of the quarter approaching, I will be unable to accept any work after that date. 

Any student with a grade lower than a "C" must have their progress report signed by a parent or guardian. 

The extra credit assignment was explained on Wednesday, March 8th as well. The students are able to gain extra credit for the 3rd quarter by answering one of the seven prompts given on March 6th. In order for the extra credit to be accepted, the student must return their signed progress report even if they have a "C" or better in class. This assignment is also due by March 13th. No extra credit will be given for any paper turned in after that date.


Find the articles!  

We are writing an argument essay in class. Students are reading a variety of articles dealing with competitive sports and concussions. Students have had time in class to make notes on these articles; however, if further research is needed, you can find these articles in the "File Manager" section of this website.

  • Click on "File Manager" 
  • Click on "Competitive Sports Articles: Non-Fiction Argument Essay"
  • Click "Download" on the right-hand side

There are more articles in this file than what we are using. The following is a list of the ones we are using in class:

  • "Hard Knocks" by Maggie Mead
  • "Football Concussions: Head Injuries Not Confined to NFL; Youth, High School, College Players at Risk" by Amy Nordrum
  • "Pushing Too Hard Too Young" by Jacqueline Stenson
  • "School Sports: The Pros and Cons" by Raven J Railey
  • "Sports: The Benefits of Competitive Athletic Sports Participation in Today's Sports Climate" by Kirk Mango
  • "Guidelines Issued for High School Sports Safety" by Gary Mihoces

 


Spelling Bee Winners!  

Congratulations to this year's winners:

5th place  Connor Medlin

4th place Connor Jennings

3rd place Raiya Robbins

2nd place Timothy Barron

1st place Gabe Niles

Way to go! We wish them luck for the zone spelling bee! The zone bee is on Tuesday, January 31st at 1:00 p.m. at Clear Creek Church of Christ.


3rd Quarter is Here!  

Monday, January 9th, report cards went home. Please sign and return the white copy.

Tuesday, January 10th, the 7th grade RLA department sent out our 3rd quarter letter. There is also a copy below.

 

3rd Quarter Letter

 

Student Teacher Letter


Progress Reports for ELA went home today!  

Today, December 2nd, students received a progress report for our class. Any missing assignments have been highlighted. If you did not receive one, please contact me. If your student received any grade below a "C", the progress report should be signed and returned on Monday. If your student would like to complete any of the missing assignments, it must be completed and turned in by 12/9. No late work will be accepted after 12/9 for grading and reporting purposes. Thank you!


Parent/Teacher Conferences are Coming Up!  

Parent/Teacher conferences will be held November 10th from 3:00-6:30. Our team has sent home letters (11/2) to the parents/guardians of the students in which we would like to meet. If you would like a conference, and your student did not receive a letter, please contact one of your student's teachers. 


Reading Fair and Literacy Night  

I was so incredibly proud of all of our students! These projects were amazing. Thanks to all who came out to Literacy Night! 

A special congratulations to all of our winners!

7th Grade:

1st Place: Molly Brewer (Esperanza Rising)

2nd Place: Timothy Barron & Riley McCormick (Hunger Games)

3rd Place: Joshua Sutherland & Xander Goddard (Magisterium)

 


Hixson's First Reading Fair Coming to Literacy Night!  

Make sure you talk to your student about the reading fair. They have received a flyer with the project information. This flyer is also available in my "file manager" section on this website. 


Welcome to Reading and Language Arts 2016-2017 (Letter)  

7th Grade Reading and Language Arts

Welcome Letter

Mrs. Crystal Birch

Birch_C@hcde.org

(423) 847-4810  ext 273

Welcome to 7th grade Reading and Language Arts! I am very excited to be your child’s teacher this year. This will be a year filled with opportunities to read more deeply, stretch our writing skills, become more purposeful thinkers regarding different texts, and to outgrow ourselves as readers and writers.  

Course Description

Seventh grade Reading and Language Arts is an exciting and challenging experience for all students. Here at HxMS, we practice the Lucy Calkins’ method of Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop that was designed at the Teacher’s College, Columbia University in New York City.

The workshop is an intensive approach to reading and writing. When students enter the class, learning will be the priority. They will participate in read-alouds, mini-lessons, independent reading or writing time, and maintaining a reading and writing notebook for reflections, information learned, and to express their thinking. Students will have homework regularly to help reinforce and practice the skills they are being taught.

Materials

Students need at least two composition books to use as their Reader’s and Writer’s notebook. These notebooks will not be kept in my room. Students will be responsible for bringing their notebook to class on a daily basis.

Students must bring the following items to class each day:

1. Positive and Willing Attitude    2. Agendamate           3. Pencil or Pen      4. Self-selected Reading Book    5. Composition Notebook      

Attendance, Make-up Work, Late Work, and Extra Credit

I make a promise to my students and parents to be in school delivering the quality instruction students deserve and should expect. I also expect my students to do the same. Students should come prepared with materials and be prepared to learn. Sometimes, this work can be easy and fun; other times it can be more challenging. However, students must give their best effort at all times.

If a student is absent, it is the student’s responsibility to gather his/her work.  

  1. The student may go to the school’s website (hixsonmiddle.com), click on “school staff”, select my name, and view what work was completed during their absence.

  2. The student may ask me for this information, and the best time for them to do so is during independent reading time.

I will follow the Hamilton County policy regarding make-up work:

**Make-up work is required for excused absences and will receive full credit when turned in by the due date.

**Make-up work is required for unexcused absences and will receive partial credit.

**It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve the work from the teacher

**Make-up work must be completed and turned in within five school days of the absence.

Students may turn in work late for a reduced grade. Late work and make-up work will be accepted during the progress report period in which it was assigned. For example, if an assignment is assigned and due during the first week of school, the student may not turn in the assignment during the last week of the 9 week grading period for a grade.

Extra credit is given to students who are seeking to go above and beyond the traditional learning experience. Extra credit is not a tool to make-up work or other assignments that were never turned in to the teacher. Extra credit opportunities will be announced to students and on the website when available.

Summer Reading

Rising 7th grade students were challenged to select 2 books to read over the summer. One book choice is for a book club in which students and teachers from across the school will come together to celebrate the text. The second book choice has a project associated with it. There were two different projects from which to choose. The project is due no later than September 2nd. Summer reading information is available online at the HxMS website.

Student Grades

Hamilton Grading Scale

A  93-100 B  85-92         C  75-84 D  70-74 F  69 and below

All grades will be recorded and published in PowerSchool. Grades will be entered approximately once per week. Some assignments, like notebook checks or published essays, may take longer to enter due to the quantity of work involved.

Communication

Communication between parent, teacher, and student provides for an optimal learning experience. Please feel free to email or call me if you have questions or concerns. I will respond to emails or phone calls within two business days of receiving it.  I will utilize the Hixson Middle School’s website to post calendar dates, assignments, announcements, etc. In addition to the website, I use a texting service called Remind. It is a one-way texting and email service specifically designed for teachers to send group messages to students, parents, or guardians. This year, I will also be using ClassDojo which will allow me to encourage students as well as share real-time information with parents. Information on how to sign up for Remind and ClassDoJo are attached.

Each quarter, I will send a newsletter home; be sure to ask your student about it!

Agenda Mates

All students will be given agenda mates. The agenda mate houses several pieces of important information and are to be utilized for school purposes: the school rules including dress code and cell phone policy, space for writing daily classroom agendas and homework, hall or other out-of-class passes, and the discipline plan page. Students are expected to have their agenda mate with them at all times. Students may not share or use other students’ agenda mates.

The discipline plan is in the agenda mate and will be enforced throughout the school. Teachers will sign the student’s agenda when an infraction occurs. This will also entail notification of any detentions, office referrals, or loss of privileges.  Please look at this page often. These pages will not fall out nor are they to be torn out in order to avoid discipline.  

Classroom Library

All students have access to my classroom library in addition to the school and public libraries. These books may be utilized in and outside my classroom. All students are allowed to check books out of the class library as needed following the guidelines discussed in class. If a student checks a book out from the classroom library, they are responsible for the book if it is lost, stolen, or damaged beyond normal wear and tear. If a book is damaged, the student should inform me prior to checking it out so they are not held responsible. If a student damages or loses the book, they are responsible for paying a replacement cost. This cost will be calculated based on current Amazon prices.

In order to keep the classroom library relevant, current, and engaging, we are requesting a $5 fee from each student. This fee allows me to order books specifically tailored to our current students. It goes directly into your child’s classroom and inspires a love of reading. If you have any questions regarding this fee, please contact me.

 

 

 

2016 Summer Reading Information  

All the information you need for summer reading is below! This includes summaries of the books so you can make the proper choice for your student.

 

 

 

Hixson Middle School Summer Reading 2016

This summer you should read as many books as you can. As a student at Hixson Middle School, you are required to read at least two books from these lists, 1 book from the Book Club List and 1 book from the Book Project List.  You may choose two fiction titles, two nonfiction titles, or one fiction and one nonfiction title. This list is a compilation of some of the best-loved, most popular books. One book you choose should be the book for a book club you will participate in when we return to school in August.  Book clubs will consist of groups of 15 students or less, and a teacher or community member will facilitate a discussion in which students will be assessed on their comprehension and participation. The other book you choose should be the book for your summer reading project that will be due within the first month of school. You will select 1 task (either analytical summary or letter to the author) to complete based on your project book selection. 

Please complete the form, so that we can match teachers and students for book clubs. Happy Reading!

 

BOOK PROJECT LIST                                                      BOOK CLUB LIST

select 1 title from this list                                                                                 select 1 title from this list

Spy School (Book 1) by Stuart Gibbs

6.39

 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

13.59

The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (Book 1) by Rick Riordan

15.99

 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

13.59

The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

28.00

 

El Deafo by CeCe Bell

8.76

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

12.80

 

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle & Edel Rodriguez

14.39

Witness by Karen Hesse

5.59

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander & J.K. Rowling

7.99

Hero by Mike Lupica

6.39

 

Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped End Child Labor by Michael Burgan

7.16

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

15.99

 

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

7.19

Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

7.99

 

Splendors & Glooms by Laura Schlitz

6.39

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

6.39

 

This Star Won’t Go Out by Ester Earl, Lori Earl & Wayne Earl

15.99

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

6.39

 

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

6.39

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown

15.19

 

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Don Fendler & Joseph Egan

4.79

Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer (Book 1) by John Grisham

6.39

 

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, Book 1) by Marissa Meyer

7.99

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

9.56

 

Edward’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan

6.39

Convergence (Book 1) by Stan Lee & Stuart Moore

7.99

 

The Kid Who Ran for President by Dan Gutman

5.59

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

13.59

 

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

6.39

 

The prices above are only available through Hixson Middle School’s purchase offer as a partnership with Barnes and Noble.

Please return this form to your language arts teacher by Friday, April 15!

EVEN if you don’t order books from school, return the form to get the book club of your choice!

 

Hixson Middle School – 2016 Summer Reading Order Form

Student name:___________________________________________________  Grade:_______

Homeroom Teacher:________________________  School: ____________________________

Title of Book for Book Club ___________________________________________________

Please list the books you wish to order for summer reading and the payment method. 

Prices listed reflect a 20% discount as well as a tax exemption!

 

(ALL CHECKS MUST BE MADE PAYABLE TO HIXSON MIDDLE SCHOOL.)

Book Title:____________________________________________________________________

Book Title:____________________________________________________________________

Book Title:____________________________________________________________________

Book Title:____________________________________________________________________

Book Title:____________________________________________________________________

Book Title:____________________________________________________________________

Total: __________________________

Paying by:        ____Cash                ____Check (Please note your child’s name on the check)

 

Money must be turned into your language arts teacher along with this completed form.  Books will be delivered to the Hixson Middle School Library/Media Center after May 10th. Parents & guardians will be notified when books are available for pick up at Hixson Middle School. 

 

Parent Signature                                                                                                                   Date

 

Parent Printed Name                                                                        Parent Phone Number


 

Summer Reading Project Choices

(Only choose 1 task for your second summer reading book title selection.)

 

Analytic Summary

An analytic summary is more than just a summary or a retelling. In an analytic summary you should explain what the author does in the text. Your analytic summary must contain the following:

● In the first sentence, introduce the author and title of the work you are summarizing. 10 pts.

● State the central idea (nonfiction) or theme (fiction) of the work. 20 pts.

● In the subsequent sentences, describe how the message is conveyed. What did the author intentionally do to express the central idea or theme? Consider these elements: theme: characterization, setting, repetition, conflict, inner thinking, dialogue central idea: structure, contrasts and contradictions, extreme and absolute language, numbers and statistics, quoted words 30 pts.

● Be sure to clearly analyze and explain the link between the author’s choices and how they develop her message.   20 pts

● Finish with a concluding sentence, perhaps a condensed version of the author's conclusion, or a restatement of his central idea or theme. 10 pts.

● Writing is free of errors. 10 pts.

 

 

Letter to the Author Rubric

format:   25 points

         ○  typed or written in an easy to read font

content:   25 points

         ○ describes how a work of literature somehow changed you or your view of the world

  • addresses the author (the letter does not read like a literary criticism essay)
  • provides explanations or examples, anecdotes or other details to support your point of view

reader response/originality and expression:  25 points

  • dialogues with the author rather than summarizes or analyzes literary elements
  • relates the book to you rather than asks questions about why the book was written
  • corresponds with the author rather than compliments her/him
  • vocabulary is smooth and natural, not “tongue-tied or showy

organization and grammatical correctness:  25 points

  • ideas are presented in a logical, organized manner
  • no unnecessary repetition
  • an intriguing introduction
  • a finished-feeling closing
  • few to no errors of spelling and punctuation

 

 

Sample Letter to the Author (fiction example)

Dear Sharon Draper,

A lot of books have flashes of insight, but only few of them have those bursts of fireworks that snap open the reader's mind and make them realize something new. Your book,Out of My Mind, filled me with those sparks. Although your book is just another story out of the billion others out there, it meant more than "just another story" to me. I enjoyed getting to know Melody. Despite the fact that she had cerebral palsy, Melody had an amazing character that shone brightly. Out of My Mind helped me learn a life-long lesson.

 

Your book has changed my point of view. I never teased those who had special needs, but I never really felt comfortable around them either. When I started reading your novel, I saw how Melody was a smart and talented girl. At the beginning of the book, I asked myself, "Would I be Melody's friend?" The weird feeling in the pit of my stomach told me the sad truth: no. I carried on with your book from start to finish, and when I closed it, I asked myself the same question, "Would I be Melody's friend?" I realized, with a grin, that the answer was right in front of me. Throughout Out of my Mind, I had become Melody's friend. Her thoughts became my own. When her quiz team left her behind when it was time for them to travel for their competition, I felt angry. How could they? I then remembered that only a few weeks before, I would most likely do the same thing as Melody's teammates. Her teammates showed me what not to do, because when they left Melody, they left me, and I did not like the feeling of being left behind.

As I read and read, Melody's thoughts and feelings melted easily into my brain like an ice cube on a sidewalk on a hot summer's day. I have read other books about people with special needs and how they were treated unfairly, but the setting was always in the past. By putting the story in present day, I saw how people with disabilities are still treated with unkindness and how some people still act as if people with special needs are at the bottom of the feeding chart. I feel guilty about my previous thoughts. Melody is my inspiration. I have no idea how she dealt with her disabilities so well. In public, I am not a talker, but at home, I am a chatterbox. If I couldn't talk, I would blow. Melody had the electronic talker, but it didn't allow her to communicate fully. Even when she could "speak" her mind, it was still hard for others to understand how she truly felt.

Before I read Out of My Mind, I used to wonder how people with special needs thought. It's hard to confess, but I thought that they were less intelligent. Judging on the person's disabilities clouded my mind, and I formed misguided conclusions about them. Last year, there was a boy in my class who had Asperger's syndrome. I didn't really know him; he just seemed different to me. Later on in the year, we happened to get seated in the same group. This was around the time that I read your novel. I got to know him and see what he was really like. Melody showed me how she was just as good as anyone else in her classroom and how the same goes for anyone else with disabilities. The boy in my class amazed me by what he was capable of doing. As the days went by, I started helping him instead of avoiding him.

Melody opened my eyes and cleared the world around me. She showed me how a girl with cerebral palsy is the same as a girl like me. Once I learned from my mistake, I started to fix it, like with the boy in my class. Now it is time for me to thank you for writing this amazing novel. I will never forget your fantastic book. I don't think anyone could. If they did, they would be out of their minds.

Sincerely,

Margaret Lim

 Letters About Literature National Winner 2012

National Winner, Level 1: Margaret Lim, Searcy, AR

Retrieved from http://read.gov/letters/contests/winners/2012/letters/levelone-lim.html

 

 

Sample Analytical Summary (nonfiction text example)

In “Superman and Me,” Sherman Alexie writes about his transition from a poor, Indian boy living on a reservation, to a writer who returns to the reservation to inspire other Native American students to write. This transition is one that he parallels through the life of the fictional superhero Superman. In his essay, Alexie uses an extended metaphor to explain how, much like Superman who is able to save lives and break down doors, he aspires to save the lives of other children on the reservation, and break down doors that prevent them from succeeding.

 

Alexie grew up in a family which valued reading and he wanted to read in order to please his dad. He recounts teaching himself to read through looking at the pictures in a Superman comic book. In the essay, Alexie says he could not read the comic, but he makes up words to go along with the pictures. In one of the comics, there is a picture of Superman breaking down a door. Alexie pretends the words in the comic say, “Superman is breaking down the door.” This evidence starts the extended metaphor. Superman, who is known for saving lives, breaks down the door—leaving the reader to assume he is trying to save someone’s life.

 

Alexie writes about wanting to be a pediatrician, another person who saves children’s lives. “I was going to be a pediatrician.” However, Alexie does not become a pediatrician even though he tries to save lives. This is a metaphor too.

 

 The idea of doors being broken down comes back in the end of the essay. In the last paragraph, Alexie writes about himself as an adult who goes back to the reservation in order to work with the remaining Indian students. He describes the students who need saving. “Then there are the sullen and already defeated Indian kids who sit in the back rows and ignore me with theatrical precision.” After he describes the Native American students who need saving, Alexie writes “ ‘Books,” I say to them. ‘Books,’ I say. I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds….I am trying to save our lives.” The idea of a savior breaking down a door in the last paragraph is parallel to Superman breaking down a door in the beginning of the essay. When Alexie is a child, he imagines Superman breaking down doors just like Alexie imagines himself as an adult trying to save lives to break down doors: This imagination demonstrates how Alexie creates an extended metaphor in which becomes a savior like Superman.

 

In conclusion, Sherman Alexie’s essay uses an extended metaphor in which he assumes the personality of the fictional character Superman and becomes a savior of lives on the Native American reservation for Native American students. This extended metaphor begins in the beginning of the essay with Alexie as a child, and continues through the end when he continues to break down the doors. However, what Alexie is trying to save the students from at the end of his essay is defeat.

 

Grade 8 Hixson Middle Student Sample

 

Hixson Middle Summer Reading 2016 – Book Club Choices

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Josh and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood. He's got mad beats too, beats that tell his family's story in verse. But both brothers must come to grips with growing up, on and off the court, as they realize breaking the rules can come at a terrible price, resulting in a game-changer for their entire family.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell

In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator CeCe Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful and very awkward hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives CeCe the ability to hear (including some things she wasn’t intended to hear), but it also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is.

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle & Edel Rodriguez

Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander & J.K. Rowling

Straight from the library at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a book of magical creatures that no Harry Potter fan should be without!

A copy of FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.

-- Albus Dumbledore

Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped End Child Labor by Michael Burgan

Little boys, some as young as 6, spent their long days, not playing or studying, but sorting coal in dusty, loud, and dangerous conditions. Many of these breaker boys worked 10 hours a day, six days a week all for as little as 45 cents a day. Child labor was common in the United States in the 19th century. It took the compelling, heart breaking photographs of Lewis Hine and others to bring the harsh working conditions to light.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

Abandoned and about to have kittens, a calico cat is befriended by a hound dog who urges her to raise her kittens underneath the porch of his owner's house, where they will be safe from Gar Face — as long as they stay in the Underneath.

This harrowing yet sweet story is a tale about the power of love and hate.

Splendors & Glooms by Laura Schlitz

The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini's act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.

 

This Star Won’t Go Out by Ester Earl, Lori Earl & Wayne Earl

A cheerful, positive, and encouraging daughter, sister, and friend, Esther (which means "star" in Persian) died in 2010, shortly after she turned 16, but not before she inspired thousands through her online presence. This unique memoir collects Esther's journals, fiction, letters, and sketches. The novel The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green was partially inspired by Esther.

 

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

When sixteen people are called together for the reading of wealthy Sam Westing's will, they are surprised to learn that the will is actually a contest in which they are all to participate. Working with partners, the potential heirs take their clues to try to find the elusive answer to the Westing game and thus take their shares of the two-hundred-million-dollar prize.

 

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Don Fendler & Joseph Egan

Based on the true account of a boy's harrowing journey through the vast wilderness of the Katahdin Mountains, Lost on a Mountain in Maine is a gripping survival story for all ages.

Twelve-year-old Donn Fendler steps away from his Boy Scout troop for only a minute, but in the foggy mountains of Maine, a minute is all it takes. After hours of trying to find his way back, a nervous and tired Donn falls down an embankment, making it impossible for him to be found. One sleepless night goes by, followed by a second . . . and before Donn knows it, almost two weeks have passed, leaving him starving, scared, and delirious.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, Book 1) by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction.

Edward’s Eyes by Patricia Maclachlan

Jake is a part of an extraordinary family.

He has a life filled with art, music, and long summer nights on the Cape. He has hours and days and months of baseball. But, more than anything in this world, Jake knows he has Edward. From the moment he was born, Jake knew Edward was destined for something. Edward could make anyone laugh and everyone think. During one special year, he became the only one in the neighborhood who could throw a perfect knuckleball. It was a pitch you could not hit. That same year, Jake learned there are also some things you cannot hold.

 

The Kid Who Ran for President by Dan Gutman

"Hi! My name is Judson Moon. I'm twelve years old and I'm running for President of the YOU-nited States."

That's how I introduced myself to about a zillion people. I must have kissed a zillion babies, said a zillion hellos, shaken a zillion hands . . . Will I get a zillion votes? The answer might surprise you.

Can you picture a kid as President? Imagine what we can accomplish — together — in a country where parents listen. Where teachers give no homework. Where every lawmaker obeys a single kid — me! How am I going to pull this off? Who knows! Read the book to find out.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he's seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

 

 

 

Hixson Middle Summer Reading 2016 – Book Project Choices

 

Spy School (Book 1) by Stuart Gibbs

Can an undercover nerd become a superstar agent? Ben Ripley sure hopes so, and his life may depend on it. He may only be in middle school, but he's already pegged his dream job: C.I.A. or nothing! Unfortunately, Ben is so nerdy and awkward that he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Then he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science that's actually a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Could the C.I.A. really want him?

The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (Book 1) by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he's tracked down by an uncle he barely knows, a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay

How do airplanes fly? What is a solar cell? How does a body scanner work? How are waves transmitted over the radio? Detailed descriptions and explanations of scientific principles such as force, movement, friction, and heat help the reader understand the complex workings of machines. The humorous narrative of a would-be scientist also accompanies the main text.

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

Witness by Karen Hesse

The Ku Klux Klan had its beginning in the South immediately following the Civil War; its original purpose was to prevent freed slaves from gaining full rights of citizenship. Revived in the early years of the 20th century, the Klan expanded its campaign of hate and violence to include newer immigrants, particularly from Eastern Europe, and especially Jews and Catholics. Spreading into all parts of America, the Klan attempted to infiltrate small towns and enlist members by creating fear of those who are "different" and professing to embrace truly "American" values.

Hero by Mike Lupica

Zach Harriman knew that his dad was something of a hero, a man trusted by the president to solve international crises at a moment's notice. Suddenly people are telling him he has powers — people who know much more about his father than Zach ever did. But there are the Bads, who appear out of nowhere and attack him and his best friend. One thing is clear: he can do things ordinary people cannot.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Lost and alone in the forbidden Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives, binding them by an invisible thread of destiny.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

Life isn't like the movies, and 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. But when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle is forced to head off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met. Florida is like nothing Turtle has ever seen: hot, strange, and full of wild, ragtag boy cousins...and even secret treasure.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Four mysterious letters change Miranda’s world forever.

By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it’s safe to go, like the local grocery store, and they know whom to avoid, like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel.

Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

Being only half-vamp in a high school like Carpathia Night makes you a whole loser. But Danny Gray manages to escape the worst of the specists at his school. Thanks to genetic treatments he had as an infant, most people assume Danny's other half is human. Which is a good thing. 

Ever since the development of synthetic blood — SynHeme — vamps have become society's elite, while wulves like his father work menial jobs and live in bad neighborhoods. Wulves are less than second class citizens; once a month they become inmates, forced to undergo their Change in dangerous government compounds. 

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives. The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality.
        Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to Habitat for Humanity New Orleans.

Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer (Book 1) by John Grisham

The master of the legal thriller brings his considerable talents to a younger audience in a brand new middle grade series.

With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, it's up to this amateur attorney to save the day.

 

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Told in a series of vignettes stunning for their eloquence, The House on Mango Street is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired novel of a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Acclaimed by critics, beloved by children, their parents and grandparents, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, it has entered the canon of coming-of-age classics.

Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, The House on Mango Street tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, whose neighborhood is one of harsh realities and harsh beauty. Esperanza doesn't want to belong — not to her rundown neighborhood, and not to the low expectations the world has for her.

Convergence (The Zodiac Legacy Series #1) by Stan Lee & Stuart Moore

When 12 magical superpowers are unleashed on the world, a Chinese American teenager named Steven is thrown into the middle of an epic global chase. He must master strange powers, outrun superpowered mercenaries, and unlock the mysterious powers of the Zodiac.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt's vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion's hidden doors and secret passageways.

 


We're having a contest as well as an opportunity for extra credit!  

Spring Break Reading Contest!

  • Encourage your student to continue reading during spring break. Students should log their reading time and turn it in when they return to class. Their log should include the date, book title, pages, and time read. Parents and/or guardians are asked to verify and sign their log. The student that reads the most in each class will receive a prize!

Extra Credit Essay!

  • Information: http://tnclassroomchronicles.org/im-thankful-teacher-essay-contest-now-open/
  • Prompt: Your essay should discuss one specific teacher who has inspired you in a meaningful way. Be sure to discuss both your teacher’s actions (how he or she inspired you), as well as the result (how you have changed or what you have done as a result of your teacher’s inspiration).  If you have entered this contest in previous years, please note the essay prompt has changed.
  • Students are able to submit the essay online, or it may be mailed in. If the student would like for me to mail it in, I must have it by April 5th to meet the deadline. If a student  submits it, please have the student print the page showing the submission. They may also bring a copy of the essay to class. Please see the web address above for more information.

Test Preparation Classes Available!  

Set your student up for success by having them complete the test preparation classes available. Please see the Hixson Middle School News site here or find the flyer in my "File Manager" section. 


Congratulations to our team's spelling bee participants!  

Good luck! You all will do great!

  • Colin Griffin
  • Malik Ware 
  • Faith Curtis
  • Ian McNeil
  • Carly Horne

Our Reading Response pages available on this website!  

If your student was absent or has lost their copy of the Reading Response pages they are to do for homework, I now have them available on my website! Click "File Manager" then "Reading Response Pages", and then you can find the date you need. Please note, they are listed by the Monday in which it was assigned.


Be on the lookout!  

On November 11, 2015, the Panther team will send a letter home with any student that is at risk for failing. These letters should be signed and returned to their homeroom teacher by Friday, November 13th. If you have any questions regarding your student's status in a particular class, please email the teacher.


Literacy Night!  

Mark your calendar! October 27 is Literacy Night at Hixson Middle School. Doors open at 5:45 pm. Students with a parent or guardian in attendance will earn dress down for Wed. 10/28 - Friday 10/30.


Curious about the new state assessment?   

Visit support.micatime.com to see sample test items!


Team Contact Information  

Birch

My number: 847-4810 ext 273

Email: Birch_C@hcde.org

 

I use the school website for information and assignments. Instructions:

 

Go to hms.hcde.org

Click on the "School Staff" link on the right side of the page

Click on "Crystal Birch" to get to my page

You may navigate through my page using the links at the top.

 

I also use Remind for homework reminders and other announcements. You may text 81010 the following codes according to when your student has me:

Homeroom - @54504c

1st Block - @a80d0bc

2nd Block - @a80d0bc6

3rd Block - @a80d0bc62

4th Block - @a80d0bc62d

If you student has me for homeroom, please make sure you sign up for both Homeroom and the block in which they are in.

Cunningham

Cunningham_arlene@hcde.org

Phone # - 423-847-4810 ex 365

Sign up for Remind.com by texting @ W1K1C1 to 81010

I use the school website for homework and assignments. Follow Mrs. Birch’s directions except click on the teacher whose site you want to visit.

GORDON

  hms.hcde.org  then click on school staff then Emeri Gordon     

 students have registered and have an online book account with their own login and password on site www.connected.mcgraw-hill.com

WILLIFORD

School website and click on my name.


Welcome to Mrs. Birch's Class!  

Reading and Language Arts

Welcome Letter

Mrs. Crystal Birch

Birch_C@hcde.org

847-4810  ext 273

7th Grade Reading and Language Arts

 

Welcome to 7th grade Reading and Language Arts. I am very excited to be your child’s teacher this year! This will be a year filled with opportunities to read more deeply, stretch our writing skills, become more purposeful thinkers regarding different texts, and to outgrow ourselves as readers and writers.

 

Course Description

 

Seventh grade Reading and Language Arts is an exciting and challenging experience for all students. Here at HxMS, we practice the Lucy Calkins’ method of Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop that was designed at the Teacher’s College, Columbia University in New York City.

The workshop is an intensive approach to reading and writing. Each day students enter the class, learning will be the priority. They will participate in read-alouds, minilessons, independent reading or writing time, and maintaining a reading and writing notebook for reflections, information learned, and to express their thinking. Students will have homework daily to help reinforce and practice the skills they are being taught.

 

Materials

 

Students need at least two composition books to use as their Reader’s notebook and Writer’s notebook. These notebooks will not be kept in my room. Students will be responsible for bringing these notebooks to class on a daily basis. All students need to have 2 composition books by Monday, August 17th.

 

Students must bring the following items to class each day:

 

1. Positive and Willing Attitude    2. Agendamate           3. Pencil or Pen

 

4. Self-selected Reading Book    5. Reader’s Notebook    6. Writer’s Notebook      7. Sticky Notes       

8. Highlighters

Attendance, Make-up Work, Late Work, and Extra Credit

 

I have a firm belief that bringing your best to anything is all anyone can really ask. I make a promise to my students and parents to be in school delivering the quality instruction students deserve and should expect. I also expect my students to do the same. Students should come prepared with materials and be prepared to learn. I am not going to ask anything of my students that I wouldn’t do or haven’t done. Sometimes, this work can be easy and fun; other times it can be more challenging.

 

If a student is absent, it is the student’s responsibility to gather his/her work.  The best time to do this during independent reading time.

 

I will follow the Hamilton County policy regarding make-up work:

                **Make-up work is required for excused absences and will receive full credit.

                **Make-up work is required for unexcused absences and will receive partial credit.

                **It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve the work from the teacher and shall be

               arranged at the teacher’s convenience.

                **Make-up work must be completed and turned in within five school days of the

               absence.

 

Students may turn in work late for a reduced grade. Late work and make-up work will be accepted during the progress report period in which it was assigned. For example, if an assignment is assigned and due during the first week of school, the student may not turn in the assignment during the last week of the 9 week grading period for a grade. Instead, the student will have until the end of the progress report period, in which it was assigned, to turn in the late assignment.

 

Extra credit is given to students who are seeking to go above and beyond the traditional learning experience. Extra credit is not a tool to make-up work that was never turned in to the teacher. Extra credit opportunities will be announced to students.

 

Summer Reading

 

Rising 7th grade students were challenged to select 2 books to read over the summer. One book choice is for a book club later in August where students and teachers from across the school will come together to celebrate the text. The second book choice has a project associated with it. There are 4 different projects from which to choose. The project is due no later than August 28th. Summer reading information is available online at the HxMS website.

 

Student Grades

 

Hamilton Grading Scale

 

A  93-100              B  85-92         C  75-84        D  70-74                F  69 and below

 

All grades will be recorded and published in PowerSchool. Grades will be entered approximately once per week. Some assignments, like notebook checks or published essays, may take longer to enter due to the quantity of work involved.

 

Communication

 

Communication between parent, teacher, and student provides for an optimal learning experience. Please feel free to email or call me if you have questions or concerns. I will respond to emails or phone calls within 2 business days of receiving it.  I will also be utilizing the Hixson Middle School’s website to post calendar dates, assignments, announcements, etc. In addition to the website, I use a texting service called Remind. It is a one-way texting and email service specifically designed for teachers to send group messages to students, parents, or guardians. I have attached the sign-up information. Please note that if I have your student for homeroom as well, you should sign-up for both groups to ensure your information is complete and accurate.

 

 

Agenda Mates

 

All students will be given agenda mates. The agenda mate houses several pieces of important information and are to be utilized for school purposes: the school rules including dress code and cell phone policy, space for writing daily classroom agendas and homework, hall or other out-of-class passes, and the discipline plan page. Students are expected to have their agenda mate with them at all times. Students may not share or use other students’ agenda mates.

 

The discipline plan is in the agenda mate and will be enforced throughout the school. Teachers will sign the student’s agenda when an infraction occurs. This will also entail notification of any detentions, office referrals, or loss of privileges.  Please look at this page often. These pages will not fall out nor are they to be torn out in order to avoid discipline. 

 

This is a valuable tool to have and use. Please do not lose or purposefully tear out unwanted pages.

 

 

**Easy Homework Grade**100 Points**

Read, Sign, Detach, and Return This Page to Mrs. Birch

By Monday, August 17th!

 

 

Student Name ________________________________________________________

Please Print

 

 

 

Parent Signature ______________________________________________________