Palmer - 7/8 Language Arts

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Writing Expectations and Standards

FAQ-Common Core State Standards

By (Adapted from: Winston-Salem/Forsyth Count School, North Carolina. Aug 29, 2014)
Common Core State Standards
What are the Common Core State Standards?They are standards for what students should learn in English/Language Arts and Math from kindergarten through 12th grade. Each year’s standards build on the previous year’s so that students graduate from high school ready for a career or college. The goals of the standards are to provide more rigorous instruction and a deeper understanding of content
Didn’t we have standards before?Washington State has had standards for many years, but these are standards adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Having similar standards across the country helps students be competitive nationally when they graduate from high school.
Who created the Common Core State Standards?The standards grew out of conversations between state superintendents and governors across the country. These state leaders felt that they should work together on standards in these two subjects that are taught everywhere. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers worked with education experts and experts in English/Language Arts to create the standards. The U.S. Department of Education endorsed the standards after the states developed them.So this is a national curriculum?No. The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum at all – they’re standards. They say what students should know at the end of each grade, not how teachers should teach. Teachers and schools still have the freedom and flexibility to be creative and teach the way they think is most effective for their students.How are the new standards different?They are aligned with current college and work expectations, and they are benchmarked against international standards. They focus on higher-order skills such as critical thinking and problem solving so that students understand how they got to an answer, rather than rote memorization.The standards are also more rigorous than what Washington State has used in the past. Students are required to know more. For that reason, you may see test scores drop when they are first implemented. It doesn’t mean that students are learning less. It means that we’re expecting more from students. Think of an Olympic athlete. A gold-medal winning sprinter’s time from 1960 would be far slower than last year’s winner. The standard for elite performance has increased in athletics, and it has in schools, too.Why the need for a tougher standard? Why do younger students need to think critically about something like math? Math facts seem the same as when I was in school.Yes, math facts like “2+2=4” or “3x3=9” will always be true, and they remain part of the curriculum. But the world is changing, and we need to prepare students for the future and not the past. Students have to be ready to enter a world that we can’t predict, and higher-order skills are a necessity. Explaining how you get to an answer enhances those skills. And because the Common Core State Standards are like a staircase, building one year on top of the next, it’s important to teach even our youngest students how to think critically.I’m still not sure what to think. What should I do?Two suggestions. First, read the standards and see what exactly is expected of students. You can find them at Second, talk to your child’s teacher or principal. They can also answer your questions.These resources may also be helpful: National PTA website: Department of Education: Balanced Assessment Consortium -- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers

Common Core Standards

By Adapted from "The Common Core Standards Initiative" at
The Learning Objectives for language arts are outlined in the Common Core State Standards. There are five basic categories in which students are expected to provide evidence of understanding:
To build a foundation for college and career readiness in language, students must gain control over many conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and mechanics as well as learn other ways to use language to convey meaning effectively. They must also be able to determine or clarify the meaning of grade-appropriate words encountered through listening, reading, and media use; come to appreciate that words have nonliteral meanings, shadings of meaning, and relationships to other words; and expand their vocabulary in the course of studying content. The inclusion of Language standards in their own strand should not be taken as an indication that skills related to conventions, effective language use, and vocabulary are unimportant to reading, writing, speaking, and listening; indeed, they are inseparable from such contexts.
Reading Literature and Information
To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must read widely and deeply from among a broad range of high-quality, increasingly challenging literary and informational texts. Through extensive reading of stories, dramas, poems, and myths from diverse cultures and different time periods, students gain literary and cultural knowledge as well as familiarity with various text structures and elements. By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas.
To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events. They learn to appreciate that a key purpose of writing is to communicate clearly to an external, sometimes unfamiliar audience, and they begin to adapt the form and content of their writing to accomplish a particular task and purpose. They develop the capacity to build knowledge on a subject through research projects and to respond analytically to literary and informational sources. To meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.
Speaking and Listening
To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations—as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner. Being productive members of these conversations requires that students contribute accurate, relevant information; respond to and develop what others have said; make comparisons and contrasts; and analyze and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains.
Common Core Standards List.pdf 358.15 KB (Last Modified on August 31, 2013)

Helpful Resources

Welcome to the Language Arts Resource Page.
Return here for Study Resources.
Please let me know if you find helpful websites with language arts study activities.
Punctuation and Mechanics Practice. Punctuation Paintball game
Maggie's Earth Adventures - Edit Dan's Copy
The Student's Guide to Punctuation - This has a nice summary article with links to further explanation for each topic.
Grammar Topics of all types.
The Tongue United-Lessons and interactive grammar lessons of all types.
Maggie's Earth Adventures - Cleanup your Grammar
SUPER GRAMMAR CHALLENGE-See how many points you can get.
Master list of challenge games-This is a list of challenge games on topics of all kinds: Subjects & predicates, parts of speech, punctuation, and more!
Sentence Structure
Phrases and Clauses
Prepositional Phrase Quiz - Find prepositional phrases in randomly generated sentences.
Prepositional Phrase Practice - Links to videos and games to practice prepositional games
Preposition - Grammar blast - See how high a score you can get by answering questions about prepositional phrases.
Prepositional Phrases - Recommended by students as an effective study aid.
Independent Clauses II - Online Quiz to identify the independent clause....If you are up to the challenge, this one is TOUGH!
Independent-Dependent Clauses - Identification practice.
Subjects and Predicates
Subjects & Predicate Games and activities. -Lessons and interactive grammar lessons of all types.
Rags to Riches Game - Who wants to be a Millionaire Style game....Can you get to $1,000,000?
Verbals and Verbs Jeopardy Jeopardy Style game where you have to distinguish between verbals and verbs.
Parts of Speech
All parts of speech:
Noun-Verb-Adjective game - correctly highlight the different parts of speech.
Flashcards - Noun forming flash cards
Flashcards - Verbe forming flash cards
Flashcards - Adjective forming flash cards
Adjective Detective - Be a sleuth answering questions to solve the mystery.
Flashcards - Adverbs forming flash cards
Prepositions - eThemes - Links to lessons, quizzes, games, etc.
Fling the Teacher - Answer 15 questions correctly and you can "Fling the Teacher" across the page.
Figurative Language
Phrase finder - Definitions and origins of idioms and other common expressions
Paint by Idiom - Define the idioms correctly and paint a picture. Can you paint the whole picture?
Latin and Greek Roots
Prefixes and Suffixes:
Word builder - combine prefixes and suffixes to make new words.