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Mrs. Terista's 7th Grade Language Arts

 (609) 407-4008





 May 2019



Happy Cinco De Mayo! Happy Teacher's Appreciation Week! Happy Mother's Day! As we near the end of our school year together, we have so much to celebrate and even more to be thankful for. Many thanks to our NCS PTO for the upcoming teacher appreciation lunch! (An amazing treat every year and appreciated by all teachers very much.)  Happy Mother's Day to all the loving, hard-working moms out there (proud to include myself on this list & big hugs to my children who are the absolute light of my life...)! Reminder for 7th grade to turn in Utopian Community final exam projects for The Giver on Monday, May 6th. And lastly, don't forget to honor a veteran this Memorial Day Weekend--with a card, a hand-drawn picture--a little of your time goes a long, long way.  Enjoy the warm, sunny days ahead! 



April 2019


Some general reminders for April!


**NJSLA testing ELA April 15th and 16th

**Spring break: Single session April 18th; school out of session April 19th-26th

**NJSLA testing Mathematics April 30th, May 1st, May 2nd.

**Utopia projects due Monday May 6th (pushed out due to NJSLA testing)







March 2019




Hello again, and welcome to the approaching spring season!  This month 7th grade continues to read The Giver. The novel is about main character Jonas, a twelve-year-old boy living in a futuristic society that has eliminated all pain, fear, war, and hatred. There is no prejudice, since everyone looks and acts basically the same, and there is very little competition. Their pursuit is for a perfect, Utopian society, but as we read, we find that the community is very flawed in pursuit of the perfect life. Paired with literature circle role, discussion director, this week we have finished reading chapters 1-3, discussed literary devices such as foreshadowing, mood, and tone, and have learned about the term "Utopia"and how it was derived from the Greek ou topos which means "no place." (Utopian community projects will be assigned the week of March 8th.)


 In addition, argumentative essays are almost published and will be hanging on our bulletin board in 7th grade. Ask your son/daughter about their claim regarding the Revolutionary War and the struggle between the Loyalists and Patriots. Great work 7th grade!




February 2019


This month 7th grade connects argumentative writing unit to real-world applications. Argumentative writing is the ability to write logical arguments based on substantive claims, sound reasoning, and relevant evidence. Talk to your kids about the pro vs. con side ('pro' for the Patriots/ 'con' against the Patriots) of the Revolutionary War. The final essay will count for one final exam grade for the novel My Brother Sam is Dead.


In addition, homework packets will now come home every 3rd week. Please be on the lookout for the next packet Thursday, February 14th. Reminder that Presidents' Day weekend is 2/14/19-2/18/19. 


January 2019



Happy 2019 to all! Wishing everyone health, happiness, and all the best life has to offer!! 


To kick off the new year 7th grade is reading My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier. We are currently reading chapters 1-3 of this fictional tale of Patriot vs. Loyalist set during the Revolutionary War.  Already in chapter 1, we have discovered strong characters with strong arguments for each side of the war, thus setting us on our journey up the plot mountain. We have created beautiful character maps using Google drawings, detailing character traits, beliefs, non-beliefs, and what they are known for. As is tradition, reading and literature circle roles are accompanied with all of our reading/activities and are due next Thursday, January 10th.


In addition, while most students have wrapped up their nonfiction books from December, naturally, as a self-selected book, some students are further than others. Therefore, students were given a big window to write and complete a book review and blog. The project is 2 parts: first, students will write a book review on the template sent home in the classwork/homework review packet Friday, January 4th. The due date is January 28th. Second, students will blog about their book, extracting the information from the provided template turned in Jan. 28th. Students will be responsible for writing the blog as well as reading and reviewing 10 blogs written by 7th grade peers. A second set of guidelines will come home for blogging entries and peer to peer activities. The blogging will take place on a safe forum for sharing (NCS google sites) and is due date is later in February, TBA.


In writing, we are finishing the literary analysis by completing body paragraphs and conclusion. We have compared and contrasted themes developed by authors throughout the course of the text and studied effective strategies for creating a well-crafted, coherent essay. Great work 7th grade!






November/December 2018



This month 7th grade completed the novel, Hatchet, and completed a narrative from main character Brian Robeson’s perspective, 1st person point of view. We have investigated mentor texts for personal narrative writing, so that we can apply good examples of author’s craft as we continue drafting our own personal narratives. In grammar, we are working on sentence variety as well as strong noun and verb combinations to enrich our writing.


In addition, final exam project guidelines for Hatchet are posted in google classroom (there is no test), as a backup resource to the hard copy students received 2 weeks ago. The topic your son/daughter chose is listed on the homework/classwork review packet sent home Friday, November 2nd. The project is due Monday, November 12th.


Now, as the holiday season approaches, 7th grade will honor seasonally themed stories and seminal works of literature created by famous authors across the globe.This week we previewed "A Christmas Carol," by Charles Dickens.  Published December 19, 1843, the classic tale is a fun take on the themes of the holiday season. During the months of November and December, we'll look over the shoulder of Charles Dickens, his 66 page manuscript (published in 2009 by the New York Times) and the countless edits he made before completing his final, polished piece.


The message? Even the Greats labor over editing before perfecting their final masterpiece. You're not alone 7th grade, keep up the good work with your personal narratives, and most importantly, keep writing! 


We'll also take Dickens's famous play center stage, complete with top hats, canes, spectacles, a virtual fireplace, and best of all, our 7th grade students delivering the famous lines of Scrooge, and the redeeming cast of characters that surround him. Stay tuned and looking forward to a fun-filled holiday season together!


Happy Holidays to you and yours,


Mrs. Terista



 October 2018


Reminder that homework/classwork review packets will come home every other Friday. Return the cover sheet with parent signature (leave work at home) and student receives a 100 homework grade. **Note: does not count against student if not turned in.** 



September 2018


Dear students and parents,


Welcome to a new school year!


My name is Mrs. Terista, and I will be your child’s seventh grade ELA teacher this year.  Joining our classroom this year are many wonderful, hard-working educational professionals, and we are all looking forward to an exciting, productive year working with you and your child.


Attached to this letter is our classroom guidelines. Please read this carefully.  It explains expectations for students in this class as well as information on classroom procedures.  Our goal is to make sure your child’s transition into 7th grade is informed and comfortable, as we make significant strides in reaching their academic potential.


If you have any questions regarding this letter, I can be contacted at school,, or (609) 407-4008. Please know that your communication is always welcome, at anytime during the school year and all inquiries will be answered in a timely manner. We will also make every effort to keep in touch with you on a regular basis. In addition, be sure to mark your calendars for Back to School night, September 26th at 5:30.


Together as a team, we’ll make sure your child receives the best education possible!




 Mrs. Terista


7th Grade ELA Teacher, Northfield Community School



Classroom expectations/general information



1) The summer reading assignment will be collected the first week of school and count towards one participation grade.


2) Classroom rules for behavior will be discussed with students the first day of school. We’re keeping it simple with the three R’s (Ready – Respectful – Responsible). 


3) Homework: A large portion of homework is devoted to inquiry-based learning through novel studies. Inquiry based learning simply means that students will learn through their own agency and investigation, instead of being presented with pre-made questions, vocabulary lists, etc.  Literature circle work is a research-based method for IBL that not only develops full academic potential in reading, but encourages life-long reading. Every Monday students will be assigned to read 3 chapters of a novel and given a literature circle role to complete by Thursday. If your child is not prepared each Thursday, this greatly affects their ability to participate and will also affect their overall grade.  Google hangouts is also a part of our literature circle experience, so they are expected to be prepared for classrooms inside and outside the walls of NCS. (More on literature circles below.) Most writing assignments will take place in class, however, if an instance necessitates extra time at home, there will be exceptions.  


4) Schedule. 80 minute ELA blocks; 40 minute Encore periods.


5) What to expect in reading and writing:


Written expression: A few years ago I had the opportunity to participate in NCS’s writing committee. After reviewing many spectacular writing programs with a great group of teachers and administrators, the Scholastic Traits Writing program was chosen for all of NCS. The program (Unit 1) begins with a 5 week introduction to the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing), then moves on to the following categories of written expression:


Unit 2 Informative/Explanatory

Unit 3 Narrative

Unit 4 Argument

Unit 5 Informative/Explanatory

Unity 6 Narrative

Unit 7 Argument

Unit 8 Informative/Explanatory


The program is a systematic way to implement writing that reflects Common Core State Standards as well as teach students to write well no matter where life ultimately takes them. We’re excited to begin this writing journey with you!


Reading: All genres of literature will utilize literature circles as a means of inquiry and investigation. Literature circle roles are comprised of discussion directors, word wizards, story summarizers, and story connectors (test to text; text to world; text to self connections). The first week of school is dedicated to the discussion director role and Bloom’s taxonomy and how the two work together to create thought-provoking questions that will allow students to get the most from their reading and group work. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, students take part in rigorous centers that connect to their reading and writing studies, and offer enrichment with other Common Core activities (such as Wordly Wise vocabulary). Students also take part in a Do-Now, which is a daily grammar warm-up activity.


6) Assessments: Assessments are a comprehensive view of your child’s progress each marking period. Sometimes an assessment will be teacher-planned (i.e. quiz), other times your child will have the opportunity to choose how they would like to demonstrate understanding of a concept learned (i.e. written report, PP presentation, movie trailer, video game, etc.). Again, each marking period will include an assortment so that no one child is locked into any one measure of their progress. Homework, participation, quizzes, projects, and tests are all weighed in the overall grade.  


7) A homework review packet containing all graded papers will go home every other Friday and returned with a parent signature the following Monday. It will also provide classroom news for the week. Parents, be on the lookout every other Friday beginning September 21st!


Thank you! If you should have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out. Looking forward to a wonderful year together!


Mrs. Terista






JUNE 2018


Happy last days of school NCS family! What a pleasure it was to be your child's teacher this year! 


Important dates:

  • Field Day, June 11th..
  • Academic awards, June 18th.
  • Powder puff tournament, June 19th. (During the school day)
  • June 21st single session day, last day of school.


Have a safe, happy, and healthy summer....!