The English Language Arts Program of the schools of the Diocese of Ogdensburg is based on the National Common Core Standard. As with all of our educational programs, all instruction is centered in our Catholic Faith foundation.
In the context of all ELA instruction, students are expected to use the following practices which include:
- read and work with a balance of informational and literary texts
- apply reading writing skills in science and social studies
- develop skills to read, analyze, evaluate texts that are increasingly complex
- support and make inferences based on text-based information
- writing that emphasizes the use of evidence from sources to inform or make an argument
- build transferrable vocabulary to access grade level texts across disciplines
The content of Grade Seven ELA is clearly outlined on the Diocesan Report Card. In addition to the content and skills, writing is highly emphasized not only in ELA but in all subject areas. The Common Core requires 4 types of writing – argument, informative/explanatory and narrative. Below you will find a strong writing sample for this grade level that is the expected performance on an argumentative writing task.
Video Cameras in Classrooms You are seated in class as your teacher explains and points things out on the whiteboard. You twitch your hand, accidentally nudging your pencil, which rolls off your desk and clatters to the floor. As you lean over to pick up your pencil, your cell phone falls out of your coat pocket! Luckily you catch it without your teacher seeing, but it is in plain view of the video camera’s shiny lens that points straight at you. The classroom phone rings, and after a brief conversation, your teacher walks over to your desk and kneels down beside you. “About that cell phone of yours . . .” How did that get you in trouble? How could it possibly be a good idea to put cameras in classrooms? When students are in their classrooms, teachers are in the classroom too, usually. But when a teacher goes out of the classroom, what usually happens is either everything goes on as usual, or the students get a little more talkative. Cameras aren’t there because people talk a lot. It is the teacher’s job to keep people quiet. If something horrible happened, somebody in class would usually report it, or it would just be obvious to the teacher when he came back that something had happened. If we already have cameras in the halls, why spend the money to get thirty more cameras for all the different classrooms? Our school district already has a low budget, so we would be spending money on something completely unnecessary. There hasn’t been camera-worthy trouble in classrooms. Cameraworthy trouble would be bad behavior every time a teacher left the room. There is no reason to install cameras that might just cause trouble, both for the students and for the budget. Different students react differently when there is a camera in the room. Some students get nervous and flustered, trying hard to stay focused on their work with a camera focused on them. 90% of students claim that they do better work when they are calmer, and cameras are not going to help. Other students look at cameras as a source of entertainment. These students will do things such as wave at the camera, make faces, or say hi to the people watching through the camera. This could be a big distraction for others who are trying to learn and participate in class. Still other students will try to trick the camera. They will find a way to block the lens or do something that the camera will not be likely to catch. All of these different students will be distracted by the cameras in their classrooms. Instead of solving problems, cameras would cause the problems. That is why I disagree with the idea to put cameras in classrooms. This plan should not be put to action.
Criteria used to evaluate this piece as a strong writing sample include:
- introduces a claim (stated late in the essay)
- acknowledges alternate or opposing claims
- supports the claim with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, demonstrating an understanding of the topic
- uses words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among the claim, reasons, and evidence
- establishes and maintains a formal style
- provides a concluding statement that follows from and supports the argument presented
- demonstrates good command of the conventions of standard written English (with occasional errors that do not interfere materially with the underlying message)