Language Arts

Mrs. O'Connor's Website has Moved to Google Classroom 

Click here to get to Google Classroom. Students: Remember, you must sign in with your RMAE email. This is where you'll turn in your extended writing assignments. 


This year I have chosen to utilize the school's resource of Google Classroom for Educators. It is my strong belief that this move will help students, parents, and myself keep up with classwork, homework, and announcements. I was able to take a professional development course through Jeffco that taught us how to use Google Classroom and various tools that coincide with it. Some of the best reasons to use Google Classroom include:

1. It's easy to use (for me AND for students). It doesn't take much time to figure out how everything works, and it will make giving specific, targeted, and quality feedback to all students on their writing. We will spend time at the beginning of the school year going over how classroom works, how to turn in assignments, and how to access it at home.

2. It makes communication efficient and effective. Each student will enter the classroom automatically at the beginning of the year and only once. When they are in the classroom, I have the ability to send emails, create discussion groups, and a Google Calendar is automatically created. Perhaps more importantly, though, it is effective communication. All of the assignments are "cloud based" through Google Drive, so there is no more losing or forgetting assignments. If a student is absent, I'm able to send them the work we did in class directly. Additionally, there is a new feature where parents can be informed each week about what is going on in the "classroom" and what assignments are upcoming.

3. It's cost-effective and good for the environment. All assignments and their requirements will be available for students to see at any point in time. Ben Sondgeroth, a Google for Education Certified trainer, explains that the process for handling documents becomes immeasurably easier, and that "the teacher simply creates the worksheet in Google Docs, shares it with her class, and then each student get their own, unique, editable copy with a big blue turn-in button at the top" (EdTechTeacher). This means that there is no printing, no photocopying, no lost work, and I can get notifications on my devices that let me know a student has submitted work. This means that I will be able to spend less time with copying and printing, and more time actually teaching. Which is a wonderful thing for all involved.

4. Google Classroom is how students will be learning in the future. In both high school and (potentially) college, students will encounter Google Classroom or some other type of online learning platform. It's important that, as a teacher in this new digital age, I help students learn how to be a responsible digital citizen and how to use their resources to the maximum potential. "Flipped Classrooms" are becoming more and more common, where students learn material online at home, then come to school with questions and thoughts ready to discuss. While I am not going to fully flip the classroom, students will undoubtedly run into this in their future education.

5. It helps students that struggle with organization. Gone are the days where students know they're assigned something but can't find the assignment sheet or their past papers. All of the assignments are uploaded to the classroom and students have access to it at all times. Their assignments are turned in through the classroom, and I'm able to give access to the SPED department so they can help students in tutorial.

6. It allows me to give feedback in real time. The only way students get better at writing is through quality, in-depth feedback that is quickly returned. Google Classroom allows me to not only grade an assignment once it's turned in, but also check on where students are with their progress. I can access their assignment at any time, see where they are, give feedback (while they are working on it at home, possibly!), and monitor their learning. Additionally, there is no chance that I can lose a student's paper or forget to bring home grading when it is all turned in online.

7. It's always getting better. In August 2018, Google Classroom launched a new version that includes a lockout of other tabs while taking a test, better organization on the platform, and more resources for parents. Not to mention, outside of Google Classroom, other developers are creating technology that works WITH Google Classroom to make learning better, immersive, and just plain fun. The "insiders" I have been taught by also hinted at more updates and applications coming soon.

Overall, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. A quick search will bring up the endless lists and research supporting the use of this platform in all classrooms. There are also many, many other reasons I'm choosing to use this resource. Even if the student doesn't have internet at home, we can work to find resources and time for them to get all their work done. I am planning on mainly using Google Classroom for writing assignments and quizzes on readings, vocab words, and checks for understanding.

If you have any questions about this switch, please contact me directly. I'd love to show you my end of the platform and explain more in depth how all of this will work.


7th Grade Curriculum Overview

Aug/Sep.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

April

May

Short Stories of Suspense and Surprise

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Trek Across Europe, Descriptive Writing

Trek Across Europe

Latin Roots and Phrases,

Personal Narrative

Call of the Wild

Poetry and

Cyrano de Bergerac

Anne Frank, Holocaust Readings

Selected Holocaust Readings, The Flower Man

Appositives and verb tense, Short Answer Responses.

Close Note Annotation, In- Class Timed Writing, Grammar Intensive

Formatted Writing; Research Strategies

Business letters; Worked Cited, Articles, etc.

Vocabulary Intensive, Root Word and Origin,

Narrative Writing

Expository Writing, character development

Poetry (figurative language, etc.)

Persuasive Writing

Expository Writing

Descriptive Writing, Creative Writing






8th Grade Curriculum Overview

Aug/Sep.

Oct

Nov

Dec.

Jan

Feb.

Mar.

April

May

Classic Short Stories- Meaning of Life

The Outsiders

Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451

I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings

Persuasive Essay

Children’s book with Kindergarden

Greek/ Latin Roots & Of Mice and Men

Poetry Unit

Shakespeare & 12th Night

Ethical/moral questions, class discussion, In Class Timed Writing

Sentence structures, Close Note Annotation Review; Thesis Statement; character development

Punctuation work, Expository vs. Persuasive Writing, short responses,

Biographical and Autobiographical Writing

Persuasive Essays, writing formula, research, speeches

Writing with purpose, extended project, story and plot structure, modifiers

Essay Organization, Vocabulary Intensive, study skills, questioning skills

Figurative language, extended project, creative writing

Sayings and Phrases; Screen Play Writing,Poetry