Mr. Finch-Southland I.S.D. JH Language Arts

Welcome to our classroom website!  Go Eagles!

"If we are recognizing athletic achievement, we should also be recognizing academic achievement and science achievement.  If we invite the team that wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some Science Fair winners to the White House as well." ~President Barack Obama


The main goal in every one of the courses I teach is to create an environment that fosters independence and cooperative learning. It is important to me that students have a place where they feel comfortable and safe. A place where everyone can share his or her opinion. A place where respect is prevalent: respect for self, each other and the classroom. A place where students gain the knowledge and learn the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Ultimately, a place where students yearn to become lifelong readers and skilled writers.

Course Description

The objectives are to strengthen reading and writing skills in such a manner that the student can transfer such learning to other subject areas as well as to real-world situations.  Students will practice and improve reading skills by completing reading comprehension exercises, practicing and using a variety of reading strategies that will help students be better prepared for high school, college, and a career.  Students will be encouraged to use prior knowledge and critical thinking skills to analyze and interpret what has been read.  

The textbook along with the outside reading sources we are using will provide students with many genres of literature and many opportunities to improve their critical thinking, reasoning skills, and honing writing skills.  We will write every day with a great emphasis on composing expositiory essays.  We are also going to be learning, practicing, and implementing various reading strategies that will prepare the students for the next grade.  We will also spend a considerable amount of time on class discussions that will deepen their literacy comprehension and improve writng.  My focus is to have the students improve their reading and literacy comprehension skills so that they may pass the STAAR Assessments as well as to become skilled and fluent readers and proficient writers.  The use of technology is also incorporated throughout the year. 

Course Goals

To work collaboratively and respectfully with other class members to enhance appreciation, conections within the text, and comprehension of quality of literature. 

To improve and develop skills in reading, comprehension, and writing through insightful analysis of various literature genres.

To gain personal and educational growth through the reading of quality literature. 

To improve skills in reading, grammar, usage, composition, vocabulary, spelling, listening, and speaking.  

To analyze and improve individual writing and reading by keeping a journal of various literature assignments. 

To prepare students for assessment of State standards in the areas of both reading and writing. 

Required Supplies  

Blue or Black Pens, Red Pen, Pencils       
Highlighters (assorted colors)
1 Package of Loose Leaf Notebook Paper (college rule)
1 Three-Subject Composition Book (8.5x11 micro-perforated pages)
1 Three-Ring Binder (no trappers)
1 Package of Dividers with Tabs
1 Package of 3x5 Notecards (preferably assorted colors)

Student Expectations

All students will be held to high standards and set independent learning goals that will be monitored, adjusted and met during the course of the school year. Each student will keep track of his/her learning and progress with an individual learning portfolio.

All students will meet or exceed the reading and writing requirements of this course with guidance and support from the teacher, family and friends. Developing good reading habits, study skills and self-discipline is an essential part of a student’s future academic success and is a staple of this course.

All students will participate in classroom learning circles, discussions and activities.

All students will ask questions, as well as clarify and verify information. It is important that students ask questions and reach out to classmates and the teacher when they are struggling or are unsure.

All students will use their strengths, knowledge and understanding to help create a cooperative learning environment that is built around trust and respect.

All students will be able to engage in academic discourse to help their learning partners elaborate, clarify and interpret.

The 5 P's of OUR Classroom

The choices YOU make will result in negative or positive consequences. 

PROMPTNESS:  Be on time, enter the room quietly, turn in homework, check the board for instruction, and immediately go to your assigned seat.  

PREPAREDNESS:  Bring ALL material and necessary work every day.

PRODUCTIVE:  Maximize learning time by staying on task, following directions, and remaining seated unless you have been given permission to get up.  


Be nice or neutral to everyone.  Swearing, teasing, talking back, and bullying will not be tolerated.

Respect yourself, your classmates, your teacher, and your classroom.  No name calling and cracking jokes!

Keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself.

If you don't own it, don't touch, don't write, draw or carve on it.   

PATIENCE:  Wait respectfully and calmly for your turn, do not plop or complain.  Listen, stay seated and track the speaker when someone is talking.  

Students' Rights

Every student has the right to a quality education.

Every student has the right to be informed of behavioral expectations.

Every student has the right to be informed of the academic requirements of his/her courses, to be advised of his/her progress, and have the opportunity for assistance.  

Students are permitted to express themselves as long as the expression does not disrupt the operation/procedures of the school, is not vulgar, obsence, or profane.

Links/Newsworthy Articles

Webster's Dictionary

Online Thesaurus

Middle School Reading Apps & Websites

Grades 7-12 Interactives

Language Arts Games & Videos for Middle School Students

Language Arts Interactive Sites