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Fusion! Language Arts
Instructor: L. Centerbar   
Hello all!

My name is Ms. Centerbar.  Almost all of my students call me Center.  Get ready for a great two years of language arts where we will be reading lots, writing lots, and discussing even more!  We will also be using technology to explore, create, and teach others!  


Discussion Topics
Podcast Short Story Element Raps Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 2:04 PM
Podcast Short Story Element Raps Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 1:37 PM
PodcastShort Story Element RapsPosted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 2:04 PM

PodcastShort Story Element RapsPosted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 1:37 PM
Class Announcements
Theme I - A Wide World of Learners

Focusing Questions– Who am I as a learner? What makes me a unique learner?  How do I learn best? How do fairness and equality affect me as a learner in this classroom? How can collaboration be a powerful learning tool?

Standards Assessed:  3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.10, 3.11, and 3.14

This unit is an opportunity for students to be introduced to and to learn the classroom routines that will lead to a successful seventh and eighth grade year.  We spend time discussing and exploring the diversity of learners within our classrooms and discover ways in which that diversity makes us much stronger working together than individually.  We begin our journey as a team and take advantage of some team-building experiences.  This time is spent gathering critical information about students in order to provide as many opportunities to differentiate instruction as possible for the remainder of this school year as well as the next.  We examine our multiple intelligences, learning styles and preferences, conduct interest inventories as well as reading and writing pre-assessments.  This data helps students to understand themselves better as learners, to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and to maximize their learning potential through this awareness.  We also begin our work to develop a mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect for the power of collaboration and consensus-building as we begin to use multiple and flexible groupings. 



The China Conundrum: When Tradition Clashes with Newness

Focusing Questions:  What are the differences between traditional and modern China?  How does China’s political structure affect its people/families?  What do the types of traditional Chinese occupations reveal about this culture?  How does rural life differ from city life?  How are gender roles defined in Chinese culture?  What character changes develop in this story?  How does the setting of the story affect the overall theme(s)?  How do the different types of conflict represent themselves in this piece of literature?  What is self-worth and self-respect and how do they affect our lives?

Standards Assessed:  1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.7, 1.12, 1.13, 1.15, 3.2, 3.3, 3.10, 3.11, 3.14, 5.8, 5.12, 5.13


This will be an interdisciplinary unit with social studies to examine both China’s traditional customs and more contemporary issues and how they often clash.  In the novel Chu Ju’s House by Gloria Whelan,   poor families in China are allowed only two children, so when Chu Ju’s mother becomes pregnant, the whole family prays that the baby will be a boy. Unfortunately, the baby is a girl, and Chu Ju's disappointed parents and grandmother consider sending the baby to an orphanage. This would then allow them another chance to have a son. After she learns of their plan, Chu Ju runs away in order to spare her sister.  This is the story of a young woman in modern day China who must travel far away to find the self-respect she comes to realize she'll never gain at home.  As a result, Chu Ju’s character undergoes major changes as she comes to understand that her strong will and responsible nature are admirable qualities.


Theme V

A World of Unrest: An Interdisciplinary Study of Pakistan and Afghanistan

Focusing Questions:  How does war affect all people?  As human beings, what are our rights and freedoms as well as responsibilities to ourselves and others? 

Standards Assessed:  1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.13, 2.9, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.10, 3.11, 3.14, 5.11, 5.12, 5.13

This interdisciplinary unit focuses on the continued unrest in these Middle Eastern countries.  We will read two novels that will help to uncover more of the cultural differences that add to the richness and diversity as well as the turbulence of the area.  For instance,

what would it be like for any of us if we came home one day to see our father and brother dragged away, if we lost our mother in an instant, if we had no one to trust?  What would we do if finding our family bordered on the impossible, and ever reclaiming our home again seemed like a dream?  If you were Naimah what would you want for the rest of your life and what would you hope for your future?  Under the Persimmon Tree tells the story of a young Afghan girl named Najmah deals with the loss of her family through death and kidnapping by the Taliban shortly after 9/11.  In her travels to Pakistan to search for her kidnapped father and brother, she meets an American turned Muslim who is a teacher of Afghan children.  These two characters, both of whom are facing challenges in the war, help each other to cope with their personal losses and keep hope alive.

Students will read within their groups and to discuss the novels thus increasing comprehension, vocabulary, character development, and the invaluable ability of discussing literature through meaningful conversations with their peers. Students will also have the opportunity to create a technology project demonstrating their understanding of key concepts.  They will also continue to develop a strong understanding of writing constructed responses, receiving timely feedback and multiple opportunities to improve this extremely important skill.

Theme IV

Theme IV - Wild Alaska!  Survival of the Fittest!

Focusing Questions:  What lessons can Nature teach us?  How does survival impact our behavior?  What is perseverance and why is perseverance so important?

Standards Assessed: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.13, 2.9, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.10, 3.11, 3.14, 5.11, 5.12, 5.13

“It’s unlike any other event in the world. A race over 1,150 miles of the most extreme and beautiful terrain known to man: across mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and windswept coastline.”

Survival is the name of the game in this unit and the two non-fiction novels that we read by talented writer Gary Paulsen, clearly speak to this theme.   Winterdance and Woodsong  both tells of Paulsen’s own experiences running the annual Alaskan sled dog race known as the Iditarod, a grueling, yet spectacular race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.  Students will conduct research projects that pertain to the race.  They will then read one of Paulsen's  stories, focusing on the skills of summarization and vocabulary in context.  They also will be challenged to think more deeply about specific reading strategies and reading comprehension through reflections about what they have read.  Connecting Gary’s experiences to their personal lives make the rich themes of perseverance and determination much more meaningful.  Student discussions allow for immediate and lively interaction with the text as students develop skills for discussing literature.

Theme Two

Theme II - The Power of Words! - Writing a Dynamic Essay

Focusing Questions
- How can my knowledge of writing structures assist me in writing clearly and coherently? How can I successfully convey information in writing?

Standards Assessed - 1.5, 1.6, 3.10, 3.11, 3.14, 5.18

Students examine the structure of a standard five -paragraph essay and its use as a tool to effectively describe, inform, or narrate. Cooperative groups are used to analyze each of the three major components: Introduction (including the thesis), Body (including transitions), and Conclusion. Understanding this basic non-fiction structure will assist students in the many non-fiction pieces they encounter this year as well as in high school.

Class Files
 7th grade syllabus A.doc
Check out the language arts syllabus here! You will have a hard copy to keep in your binder as well.
 Reading log.pdf
Here is the reading log we will use all year. Remember, the first block represents all three days of the weekend.
 Developmental Designs letter to Parents.doc
Developmental Designs Letter to Parents
 6 Language Arts Sections.doc
These are the 6 LA sections for your binder.
 First Trimester goals.pdf
First Trimester Goal Sheet
 Theme II - The Power of Words! - Essay
This folder contains handouts important to this theme.
 Theme III - Mystery and Suspense
This folder contains all you ever wanted to know about our third theme of the year!
 Writing Your Narrative
This folder contains all of the information important to writing your own narrative!
 Grammar Grammar Grammar!
This folder contains the grammar items on which we are currently working.
 Theme IV - Wild Alaska!
This folder contains all of the information pertaining to the theme of survival and Gary Paulsen's experience running the Iditarod.
 Theme VI
The China Conundrum: When Tradition Clashes with Newness
 Chu Ju's House
This folder contains all of the information pertaining to Theme VI.
Class Homework
No "Class Homework" exist(s)

Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School    500 Dorset Street    South Burlington, VT 05403    (802) 652-7100
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