Mrs. Harris' World of English

Course Description

The seventh-grade student will continue to develop oral communication skills and will become more knowledgeable of the effects of verbal and nonverbal behaviors in oral communication. The student will continue to read a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry while becoming more independent and analytical. The student will continue to refine written composition skills, with special attention to word choice, organization, style, and grammar.Written explanations will utilize informational writing skills. The student will continue vocabulary development through a study of figurative language and continuing study of roots, affixes, and cognates. Knowledge of the informative/persuasive techniques of media messages will be studied. The student will apply research techniques to gather, organize, and communicate information, properly citing sources. The student will also demonstrate correct use of language, spelling, and mechanics by applying grammatical conventions in writing and speaking. -from Virginia Standards of Learning


Instructional Materials and Resources

• The Elements of Literature Holt, Rinehart, Winston 2007

• Elements of Language Holt, Rinehart, Winston 2007

• Various literary works that will be provided to students throughout the year


Plans for Assessing, Evaluating, and Recording Students’ Progress and Achievement

A.   A snapshot will be given to the class everyday upon their arrival in class.  This will include a literary element of the week practice, journal writing or reading comprehension practice, and grammar review. The snapshot should be recorded in the student’s Snapshot notebook (spiral notebook) daily.

B.  Homework is an essential part of the learning process.  It affords the student an opportunity to practice and review newly learned skills as well as reinforce accumulated material to date. Homework will usually be given nightly.  All homework is checked for completion and accuracy. No late assignments will be accepted unless there is an excused absence and/or note from parent. (Students who fail to complete their homework will complete a student responsibility card where they acknowledge their missing assignment and provide a reason why the assignment was not completed). Parents will be contacted when 3 assignments have been missed.

C.    Test/Quizzes will usually be given every 1- 2 weeks and will cover a reading assignment or notes that were given in class.  Most quizzes will be announced, but occasionally pop quizzes are given. 

In regards to test, students will be informed well in advance of these tests, since they are generally comprehensive. Upcoming test dates will always be posted on the homework board as a reminder.  Students should use their interactive notebooks to study for tests and quizzes.  We will always review for the test one day prior to giving the test.   

D.   Unit based projects will usually be given once or twice during a quarter.  Specific directions will be given for the projects, but students are encouraged to be creative. Students will sometimes have time allotted in school to work on their projects, but some work will be required at home. 

Interim and Final grades are based on a weighted scale

           Tests                           35%                 Homework/Daily Assessments  10%

           Quizzes                      25%                 Participation & Independent Reading 10%                    

           Writing                      20%


Student Records 

Grades are recorded in my digital grade book and will be available for review for parents on Aspen. A username and password are required to access the grades. Parents are welcome to request a paper copy of their child’s grades at any time. 


Missed Work/Make-up Policy

A.   Students are responsible for all work missed assignment(s). Students are given a maximum of 2 days to complete missed assignment(s), provided that the absence is excused. It is the student’s responsibility to ask the teacher for the missing assignment(s).

B.   I will be happy to work with any student before or after school to make up any missed instruction.  


Attendance and Tardy Policies 
A.   Students are expected to be present at all classes unless he/she has an excused absence.  Students are also expected to be on time. Tardy students will sign the tardy book and state why they are tardy.

A student who is not in the classroom when I close the classroom door is considered either late or tardy. A student is tardy if he/she enters without a pass or note from another teacher. A student is late if he/she arrives with a pass/teacher note after I close the door. There is no penalty for arriving late with a pass or note from another teacher.


Tardy Procedures
1.  Late students must place their pass or note in the tardy slip basket on my desk.

2. Tardy students must sign the tardy book and record a reason for their tardiness.
3. Both late and tardy students must enter quietly and begin work the assignment the other students are currently working on.

Consequences for Tardiness

1st incident: Student/teacher conference

2nd incident: Lunch detention

3rd incident: Parent contacted and/ or after school detention

4th incident: Conference with the principal and parent


Rules for Student Behavior

A.  Students are expected to know and follow my expectations.  They are as follows:     

  1. Always arrive on time.
  2. Have a positive attitude. – Be respectful of the teacher and classmates (no laughing at, bullying or harassing your classmates).
  3. Pay attention.- Raise your hand to speak.
  4. Be prepared – Stay in your sit and on task. Have  your interactive notebook, snapshot notebook, pencil/pen, colored pencils, glue, scissors with you.
  5. Complete your work on time.
  6. Give all work your best effort. – Do not disrupt, talk excessively, chew gum, be inappropriate.


B.    Consequences for violating the class rules are as follows:  

I will keep a discipline book to record any violations of the class’ expectations.  I will give 3 strikes per quarter. 

C.  If YOU CHOOSE to Break a Rule
Punishments will always fit the crime. Of course there are behaviors that will warrant a Vice Principal’s Referral immediately. Examples of this include gross insubordination or violent behavior. Behaviors that are less severe, but in violation of the basic rules of the class will be dealt with in the manner described below. This format is in no way all-inclusive and is subject to change:

1st Incident — Teacher/Student Conference

2nd Incident — Teacher/Student Conference and Parent Notification by phone or email

3rd Incident — Teacher/Student Conference, Parent Notification by phone or email, review behavior grade per grading policy

4th Incident — Referral to Administration


Procedures of Non-Instructional Routines

  1. Daily Routine:
  1. Walk into the classroom quietly and sit in the assigned seat.
  2. Begin working on the snapshot and recording responses in your spiral notebook.
  3. Students must bring five/six things to class: Interactive Notebook (if taken home), Snapshot notebook (spiraled notebook), agenda/planner, homework, pen or pencil, and loose leaf paper)
  4.  Sharpen pencils before class starts.

 B.  Use of the Restroom and Drinking Fountain

No restroom passes will be honored during the first and last 10 minutes of class or during direct instruction.  Students may leave the classroom ONLY if they have their agenda signed by the teacher. Emergencies will be taken care of as needed. Students who abuse the restroom will not be able to go during English class.

C.  Homework Assignments

All homework assignments will be posted on the homework board at the front of the classroom. Students will write their homework assignments into their agenda, and are expected to complete and turn in all assignments. The teacher will sign the agenda stating that the student has written down and is aware of the assignment. A Student Responsibility Sheet must be completed by students who do not have their homework.

D.  Getting the Class' Attention - “Give Me Five”

Students will become very familiar with this method of getting the class’s attention.

  • All eyes on the speaker.
  • All mouths are closed.
  • All ears are listening.
  • All hands and feet are still
  • We’re ready to learn.

Communicating with Parents 

Communication with students’ parents is a vital part of the school and home connection.  Here are some of the ways that I plan to stay in contact with the parents of the students that I teach:

 Students will be given a progress report halfway through each quarter.  The progress report will be complete with grades and comments.  Students are required to return the report with a parent’s signature.  Phone calls home to discuss academic progress or behavior problems will be made as needed.

Parents are encouraged to set up conferences as needed.  Parents may contact us through e-mail (, by calling the school at (804)319-3013, or by visiting our class website at