> The Things You Can Read: Problem Based Unit Plan: "I" Witness to History/Mrs. White's Student Page 2016-2017

The Things You Can Read welcomes you and thanks you for your readership. We, here at The Things You Can Read, ask your help, if you visit our site regularly, please follow us either via email or Google Friend Connect.  Launched on June 7, 2012, our site has already attracted a great deal of attention.  One of the goals of the site is to feature reviews of Children's Picture Books, Young Adult novels and Adult Literary Fiction/Nonfiction.  A second goal for the blog is to be a resource for teachers of English and writing--with examples of student created writing, writing tips, resource links, and the opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned English teacher.  To spice things up...every now and then, we'll also include random quotes and thoughts on education and life in general, but our ultimate goal is to reach out into the blogosphere and be a "Book Whisperer" and "Writing Whisperer" to children and adults of all ages.   Thank you for your readership.  Here is to a lifetime filled with reading and writing.

Problem Based Unit Plan: "I" Witness to History/Mrs. White's Student Page 2016-2017

PBL or Problem-Based Learning Unit Plan

REMEMBER: PBL is done at school with the teacher as the facilitator

Museum Artifact Display:

Big Idea
Quick Glance
Depth-Present information in layers to make exhibits interesting

Gallery Walk Art Exhibit

A growth mindset comes from revision...


The Challenge


What changes result from man-made catastrophes?

What history lies beneath the sea?

What do you need to know in order to solve this challenge?





BlendSpace Resources:  CLICK HERE or See Below


Titanic Historical Perspective: 
     BrainPop:  CLICK HERE
     Assessment:  CLICK HERE

Secondary Versus Primary Sources:
     BrainPop:  CLICK HERE
     Assessment:  CLICK HERE

     BrainPop:  CLICK HERE
     Assessment:  CLICK HERE

Titanic Historical Perspective:
     BrainPop:  CLICK HERE
     Assessment:  CLICK HERE

Gordan Korman’s Titanic Series:
  1. Titanic Book One:  Unsinkable
  2. Titanic Book Two:  Collision Course
  3. Titanic Book Three:  S.O.S
Robert D. Ballard Excerpt from Exploring the Titanic: CLICK HERE


Titanic Futility (Titanic Predicted):  CLICK HERE
       Assessment:  CLICK HERE

Writing Lessons:  Click Here

Check out Stunning Images of the Titanic: HERE

StoryCorps Refection:  CLICK HERE
      Making "Titanic" Connections

Sample Journal Entries:
  1. Memories of a Titanic Survivor 1953
  2. Fictional Titanic Journal Entry
  3. Fictional Titanic Journal Entry 2
  4. Fictional Titanic Journal Entry 3
  5. Fictional Titanic Writing

Artifacts related to "I" Witness to History


Class Objectives

KWL Charts

Building Background

Responses to Guiding Question:  In our technology-enhanced world, can a disaster of “Titanic” proportions occur today?

Computer Lab Research

Library Research

Titanic Series By Gordon Korman

Found Poetry


Rough Draft Entry

Instructions on Creating Journals

Final Projects




Standards of Learning English 7

English Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools - January 2010
Grade Seven

The seventh-grade student will continue to develop oral communication skills and will become more knowledgeable of the effects of verbal and nonverbal behaviors in oral communication. The student will continue to read a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry while becoming more independent and analytical. The student will continue to refine written composition skills, with special attention to word choice, organization, style, and grammar. Written explanations will utilize informational writing skills. The student will continue vocabulary development through a study of figurative language and continuing study of roots, affixes, and cognates. Knowledge of the informative/persuasive techniques of media messages will be studied. The student will apply research techniques to gather, organize, and communicate information, properly citing sources. The student will also demonstrate correct use of language, spelling, and mechanics by applying grammatical conventions in writing and speaking.

Communication: Speaking, Listening, Media Literacy

7.1 The student will participate in and contribute to conversations, group discussions, and oral presentations.

a) Communicate ideas and information orally in an organized and succinct manner.
b) Ask probing questions to seek elaboration and clarification of ideas.
c) Make statements to communicate agreement or tactful disagreement with others’ ideas.
d) Use language and style appropriate to audience, topic, and purpose.
e) Use a variety of strategies to listen actively.

7.2 The student will identify and demonstrate the relationship between a speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages.

a) Use verbal communication skills, such as word choice, pitch, feeling, tone, and voice appropriate for the intended audience.
b) Use nonverbal communication skills, such as eye contact, posture, and gestures to enhance verbal communication skills.
c) Compare/contrast a speaker’s verbal and nonverbal messages.

7.3 The student will understand the elements of media literacy.

a) Identify persuasive/informative techniques used in nonprint media including television, radio, video, and Internet.
b) Distinguish between fact and opinion, and between evidence and inference.
c) Describe how word choice and visual images convey a viewpoint.
d) Compare and contrast the techniques in auditory, visual, and written media messages.
e) Craft and publish audience-specific media messages. 1
English Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools - January 2010

7.4 The student will read to determine the meanings and pronunciations of unfamiliar words and phrases within authentic texts.

a) Identify word origins and derivations.
b) Use roots, cognates, affixes, synonyms, and antonyms to expand vocabulary.
c) Identify and analyze figurative language.
d) Identify connotations.
e) Use context and sentence structure to determine meanings and differentiate among multiple meanings of words.
f) Extend general and specialized vocabulary through speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

7.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of fictional texts, narrative nonfiction, and poetry.

a) Describe the elements of narrative structure including setting, character development, plot structure, theme, and conflict.
b) Compare and contrast various forms and genres of fictional text.
c) Identify conventional elements and characteristics of a variety of genres.
d) Describe the impact of word choice, imagery, and literary devices including figurative language.
e) Make, confirm, and revise predictions.
f) Use prior and background knowledge as a context for new learning.
g) Make inferences and draw conclusions based on the text.
h) Identify the main idea.
i) Summarize text relating supporting details.
j) Identify the author’s organizational pattern.
k) Identify cause and effect relationships.
l) Use reading strategies to monitor comprehension throughout the reading process.
7.6 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of nonfiction texts.
a) Use prior and background knowledge as a context for new learning.
b) Use text structures to aid comprehension.
c) Identify an author’s organizational pattern using textual clues, such as transitional words and phrases.
d) Draw conclusions and make inferences on explicit and implied information.
e) Differentiate between fact and opinion.
f) Identify the source, viewpoint, and purpose of texts.
g) Describe how word choice and language structure convey an author’s viewpoint.
h) Identify the main idea.
i) Summarize text identifying supporting details.
j) Identify cause and effect relationships.
k) Organize and synthesize information for use in written formats.
l) Use reading strategies to monitor comprehension throughout the reading process.

English Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools - January 2010

7.7 The student will write in a variety of forms with an emphasis on exposition, narration, and persuasion.

a) Identify intended audience.
b) Use a variety of prewriting strategies including graphic organizers to generate and organize ideas.
c) Organize writing structure to fit mode or topic.
d) Establish a central idea and organization.
e) Compose a topic sentence or thesis statement.
f) Write multiparagraph compositions with unity elaborating the central idea.
g) Select vocabulary and information to enhance the central idea, tone, and voice.
h) Expand and embed ideas by using modifiers, standard coordination, and subordination in complete sentences.
i) Use clauses and phrases for sentence variety.
j) Revise sentences for clarity of content including specific vocabulary and information.
k) Use computer technology to plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish writing.

7.8 The student will edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and paragraphing.

a) Use a variety of graphic organizers, including sentence diagrams, to analyze and improve sentence formation and paragraph structure.
b) Choose appropriate adjectives and adverbs to enhance writing.
c) Use pronoun-antecedent agreement to include indefinite pronouns.
d) Use subject-verb agreement with intervening phrases and clauses.
e) Edit for verb tense consistency and point of view.
f) Demonstrate understanding of sentence formation by identifying the eight parts of speech and their functions in sentences.
g) Use quotation marks with dialogue.
h) Use correct spelling for commonly used words.


7.9 The student will apply knowledge of appropriate reference materials to produce a research product.
a) Collect and organize information from multiple sources including online, print and media.
b) Evaluate the validity and authenticity of sources.
c) Use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information.
d) Cite primary and secondary sources.
e) Define the meaning and consequences of plagiarism and follow ethical and legal guidelines for gathering and using information.

Resource Links:


J.E.J. Moore Middle School
7th Grade English Syllabus
Hurricane Team
Mrs. White

“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”  Roald Dahl

Overview:  In 7th grade, English students will develop and strengthen their writing/research skills and their understanding and appreciation of literature.  We will also further develop oral communication skills and vocabulary.  Throughout the year, technology integration will occur at all levels.

General Information

Grading:    Students will be graded on a standard percentage basis.  The following is the distribution of categories:

·         Homework                            10%
·         Classwork                             20%
·         Quizzes                                 30%
·         Test                                       40%

  • Black and white marble composition notebook
  • Pencil and Pen (blue or black ink)
  • Colored pencils and/or markers
  • Index cards/4 Packs
  • Highlighter
  • Red pen for correcting papers in class
  • Jump Drive (optional)

Note:  Index cards will be collected by the teacher at the beginning of the year to be handed out for various assignments during the school year.

Classroom Procedures

Entering the Classroom:  Students are to immediately sit down in their assigned seat, and begin their DO NOW. 

Sharpening your Pencils:  Sharpen pencils during morning homeroom and/or when you get to class (prior to the tardy bell).

Taking a Test or Quiz:  Student will refrain from talking during tests and quizzes; even if the student has completed the assignment.  Students will remain silent, respecting the learning environment of those who have not finished. 
If you are talking during a test or quiz, a student’s grade on that assignment will be reduced by ten points.  If the student continues to talk, they will receive a zero on that test or quiz and parents will be notified.  Always have an AR book that you can read if you finish early.

Be Prepared:  Come to English class prepared with the necessary supplies.

Agenda:    Students MUST bring their agenda to class every day.  Assignments will be written down on a daily basis.  It will also be used as their hall pass. 

Ending Class:  The bell does not end class wait to be dismissed by the teacher.  Student dismissal will be given when the class is quiet, seated in their assigned seat, and the room is deemed to be in good order.

Make-up Work PolicyMake-up Work Policy: Students are responsible for their missed work. The morning a student returns from an absence it is their responsibility to see their English teacher for the material that they missed. If a student is absent for two or more class days, a parent should call guidance to request missed assignments.  

Students need to come during Homeroom between 7:20 and 7:40 AM or during extension at 12:00 PM to collect their assignments. 

Per school policy students have 5 school days, upon their return, to turn the work in to their teacher.  Please remember at the middle school level, students are responsible for their missed work. 

Weblog:  Mrs. White’s weblog is updated on a regular basis.  It has tons of information about what is happening in English class please check it daily.

“Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”  E.B. White

Writing:  7th grade English will focus extensively on expanding the student’s writing skills.  To this end, students will write descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and expository essays.  Students will continue to strengthen their prewriting skills so as to organize and develop their ideas for essays.  Revision and careful editing of drafts will also be emphasized.  Writing instruction will cover literature analysis, and students will respond to literature in focused paragraphs and multi-paragraph essays.  Students will be introduced to the proper techniques to compose responses for essay questions, as well as, write longer analytical essays on literary selections.
Students will review grammar and punctuation through Directed Oral Language Sentences (DOLS), which are used to start class, and focused grammar lessons.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”― Francis Scott Fitzgerald

Literature:  Students will study all literary genres and focus on their elements.  Elements of Fiction will be stressed all year long. With all reading assignments, the students will concentrate on strategies to improve both comprehension and other critical reading skills, i.e. Main Idea, Context Clues, Inferences, etc. 

Novels of Study:  Students will study at least one or more novels as a class.  Class novels used in the past include:  The Outsiders, The Giver, Tiger Rising.   Another possible choice for the 2013-2014 is The Hunger Games.

“Writers fish for the right words like fishermen fish for, um, whatever those aquatic creatures with fins and gills are called.   Jarod Kintz

Vocabulary:  Vocabulary study will focus on challenging words intended to enhance the student’s personal word power in speech and in writing. 

“Before I forget, here's your homework. Where do you want me to put it?" ― Becca FitzpatrickHush, Hush

Homework:  Manageable homework will be given each class in English.  If, by chance, no homework is given, students will use the opportunity to read in their AR books for an extra 20 minutes.  Student projects will be assigned with ample time to complete them.  It is the student’s responsibility to manage their time in order to meet the due date.

Note:  If a student has lost their homework, second copies of homework can be purchased with five hurricane cards.

Please sign your name below stating you have read the 7th Grade Hurricane English Syllabus and understand the expectations of the Hurricane English teacher.

Student Signature:____________________________  Date:_______________

Parent Signature:_____________________________ Date:_______________

Parent Email:__________________________________

Have a Great 2013-2014 School Year!

Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

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