Mrs. Rietz’s LA Classes

Welcome to 7th and 8th Grade Language Arts!

Information regarding our current units of study and upcoming due dates may be found below.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns.  – emily rietz

Recurring Assignments: 7th Grade Reading Log Checks each Wednesday; 8th Grade Reading Log Checks each Tuesday; we have grammar quizzes most weeks – check out your student’s agenda for those details!


8th Grade: In class literary essay due by end of class 4/17/12. (can work on it at home if you so choose)  Outline and paper count for two, separate quiz grades.

7th Grade: Independent Response to Book Clubs due beginning of class Wednesday, 4/25/12.  Counts for a test grade.


8th Grade Current Unit of Study:  Social Issues Book Clubs

Upcoming Grammar: continued four-level analysis and grammar Loops (spiraling review); punctuation as a function of grammar

Where we are headed: The focus of this unit is unabashedly aimed at teaching social justice and pairs nicely with the social action work of life skills and the 8th grade trip.  Throughout the unit, students will begin moving from reading for plot and making simple inferences to reading with a lens for social issues and hopefully taking action around that social issue.  In addition to “the big” social issues facing our culture, we will focus on those issues unique to teens including belonging, bullying, and discrimination.  In addition to sharing a novel, clubs will also read poetry and nonfiction text connected to these social issues.  Novels for the unit include some old and new classics: Night by Wiesel, The Outsiders by Hinton,  Monster by Walter Dean Myers, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Whirligig by Paul Fleishman, and Witness by Karen Hesse. 

Essential Questions:

How does the size/wealth/cultural power of some groups oppress other groups and keep them from living healthy and happy lives?

Am I an oppressor?  Am I oppressed?

How does reading for and about social issues impact my daily actions?


  • reading for plot
  • reading with a lens for ideas
  • groups
  • social issues
  • intertexuality
  • theme


  • empathizing
  • reading with a lens
  • annotating thematically
  • critiquing a text
  • questioning (text, peers, world)
  • interpretation
  • synthesizing information

7th Grade Current Unit of Study: Historical Fiction Book Clubs

Upcoming Grammar: level four of grammar analysis (clauses!); comma rules in clauses; spiraled review of levels one through three.

Where we are headed: The focus of this unit is three-fold: deep comprehension and synthesis skills of complex text, interpretation (with special attention on point of view and perspective), and cross-textual analysis.  Students will read historical fiction novels in small groups, develop a plan for completion, and meet regularly as a book club. Novels being read in clubs: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, My Brother Sam is Dead by Collier and Collier, Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.

Essential Questions: 

How can a story about the past help me understand my world and myself today?

How does reading in a club grow me as a reader and a person?


  • social skills in a book club
  • think-aloud strategies to emphasize meta-cognition
  • interpretation with complex texts
  • peer-led discussion skills to create deeper comprehension
  • qualities of historical fiction
  • theme
  • written conversation


  • envisioning  unfamiliar settings
  • develop schema for a time period
  • compare and contrast fiction and nonfiction text
  • following multiple plot lines
  • uncovering theme


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