Grade seven: at a glance english language arts skill map

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UNIT ONE: Students will examine how authors develop characters as protagonists, antagonists, and minor characters encountering the challenges and situations faced by teenagers.

UNIT TWO: Students will examine patterns of organization, sequence, word/phrase choice, and determine author’s purpose.

UNIT THREE: Students will make inferences, draw logical conclusions, justify formed opinions, and develop arguments.

UNIT FOUR: In this unit, students will write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. By distinguishing fact from opinion, citing textual evidence and drawing inferences from texts they will produce clear and coherent writing focusing on the audience.

Genre/Reading Focus:


*War of the Wall by Toni Cade Bambara pp. 110-116

*Thank You Ma’am by Langston Hughes pp. 30-33

*Seventh Grade by Gary Soto pp. 21-25

*Names/Nombres by Julia Alvarez pp. 38-42


*Barrio Boy by Ernesto Galarza pp. 694-698

*Dirk the Protector by Gary Paulsen pp. 143-149

*Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman pp. 224-228

*Eleanor Roosevelt by William Jay Jacobs pp.

*Homeless by Anna Quindlen pp. 102-104

Something to Declare by Julia Alvarez


From Song of Myself by Walt Whitman p. 117

The Rider by Naomi Shihah Nye p. 61

Good Hot Dogs/Buenos hot dogs by Sandra Cisneros p. 234

Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney p. 236

Analyzing Story Elements

Moral Dilemma

Author’s Perspective

Theme/Central Idea


Character Analysis

  • Determine Character Motives

  • Justify Character Actions

Point of View

Genre/Reading Focus:


Hiroshima by Laurence Yep (World War II) 660L

Waiting for the Rain by Sheila Gordon (South Africa apartheid) 940L

Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini


*from Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson

Mandela, pp. 732-736

*From Exploring The Titantic by Robert D. Ballard, pp. 659-671

Free the Children by Craig Kielburger

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Henna Jansen (Rwanda’s Civil Unrest) 790L

Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories by Ellen Levine


Patterns of Organization

Sequence of Events

Determine Author’s Purpose


Cause and Effect

  • Extrapolate relevant facts

Nonfiction features & structures

Analyze author’s purpose

Genre/Reading Focus:


*The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street by Rod Serling pp. 416-428

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov 820L

The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov 790L

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King 840L

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle 740L

*Prometheus retold by Bernard Evslin pp. 800-803

*Thesus and the Minotaur retold by Olivia Coolidge pp. 805-809

*Waters of Gold retold by Laurence Yep pp. 812-817


Cyber Bullying by Jason Koebler &

Newark Teen’s Online Identity Stolen and Used to Destroy Her Reputation by James Queally


Internal & External Conflicts


Figurative language

Genre/Reading Focus:


The Giver by Lois Lowry 760L

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 1360L

The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov

*Key Item by Isaac Asimov pp. 432-436

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult 840L


*Bionic Breakthrough by Seth Augenstein/Star Ledger

PR Newswire http//

West Deptford Man…by Bob Shryock/South Jersey Times


Primary/Secondary sources



Argument Analysis


Writing Focus:




Organization/Sequencing of Events

Moral Dilemma

Narrative Techniques


Crafting logical organization

Establishing Relevant Conflicts/Solutions

Develop voice

Utilize descriptive details

Writing Focus:




Patterns of Organization

Nonfiction Structures

Topic Development


Use appropriate transitions



Develop topic with relevant facts

Supportive evidence

Writing Focus:



Thesis Statement/Claim


Persuasive Techniques

Evaluating Sources


Establish a thesis statement/claim

Acknowledging counterclaims

Use of Logical reasoning/relevant evidence

Using Primary & Secondary Sources

Writing Focus:



Primary & secondary sources



Pathos, Logos, Ethos

Claims & Counterclaims

Language :

Adjective phrases

  • Participle phrases & prepositional phrases


Punctuating Compound & Complex Sentences (sentence combining)




Sentence Variety

Verbal Phrases



Word phrases & clauses

Dependent clauses

Focus CCSS

RL.7.1, RL.7.2, RL.7.3, RL.7.5, RL.7.6; W7.1, W7.3; SL.7.1a-d, SL.7.3, SL.7.4, SL.7.6; L.7.1, L.7.6

Focus CCSS

RL.7.3, RL.7.4, RL.7.6 , RL.7.7; RI.7.1, RI.7.3, RI.7.6, RI.7.7, RI.7.9; W7.2a-e; SL7.1a-d; L.7.1, L7.2a-b, L7.3a, L.7.6

Focus CCSS

RL.7.1, RL.7.2, RL.7.3, RL.7.4, RL.7.9, RL.7.10; RI.7.8, RI.7.9, RI.7.10; W7.3a-e, W7.4, W7.5; SL7.1a-d; L.7.1, L7.2, L7.3a, L7.5, L.7.6

Focus: CCSS

RI.7.1, RI.7.7, RI.7.8, RI.7.9, RI.7.10;

W7.1, W.7.2, W7.4, W.7.5, W7.6, W.7.7, W.7.8, W.7.9, W.7.10; L.7.1, L.7.6

Teachers’ Notes:

An Ode is a poem in praise of a person, place or an object that is usually identified in the title. It describes a scene, focuses on a problem or a situation and arrives at a conclusion that returns to the original scene or statement.

Student Instructions to Write an Ode

1. List attributes for this topic.

2. Consider how your ode can be used as a metaphor to illustrate a typical problem or situation. Set up the ode so that it points the reader to the conclusion you will assert.

3. Fit the ideas from your planning process into phrases and stanzas.

4. Read your draft aloud to see if it flows easily and makes sense.

5. Shift words and phrases around to make it sound better. Eliminate words that make the poem sound clumsy.

6. Read your ode aloud and allow others to critique your ode.

Enduring Understanding: As we begin to discover self, we realize we are integral partners in a larger community.

Teachers’ Notes:

It is suggested to incorporate available multimedia versions/movie clips of any of the themes above (e.g. Hotel Rwanda, Hiroshima, Titanic, etc.). Teachers can provide students with a cause and effect graphic organizer to record notes. Teachers should review student selected challenge topics to ensure validity and relevance.

Enduring Understanding: Regardless of societal, cultural and environmental challenges, mankind triumphs and endures.

Teachers’ Notes:

In small groups, students can brainstorm possible topics. These topics must derive from the texts viewed in this unit. Teachers should review student selected topics to ensure validity and relevance.

Some possible topics might include: Human beings are their own worst enemies,

Ordinary people may experience extraordinary things; Kindness comes with no price
Enduring Understanding: Exploring different perspectives and controversial issues allow readers and writers to discover possible solutions to real problems in the present or in the future.

Teachers’ Notes:

Students should use the Big Six Skills and MLA citation. Teachers should review student selected topics to ensure validity and relevance. It will be helpful to set up a timeline for submission of various parts of the research project.

Enduring Understanding: As technology progresses it presents moral dilemmas.


Sign Post Task: (to be completed midway through the unit)

RL.7.1, RL.7.2, RL.7.5; W.7.3, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.6; SL.7.1, W.7.6; L.7.1, L.7.3, L.7.6

Using the poem, “Dare To Be,” trace the attributes that the speaker is daring the reader to be. Select two characters from the readings you have done with this unit. Trace the attributes of each character. Write a short essay identifying the similarities between the character you’ve selected and the speaker’s character in “Dare To Be.”
Culminating Task:

W.7.3, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.6; SL.7.1, W.7.6; L.7.1, L.7.3, L.7.6

Narrative Writing
Read the poem “Ode to the Forgotten.”

Write an “Ode” to an outsider you have studied in this unit. In your poem, illustrate how the outsider became or can become an integral part of the larger society. Read your Ode to the class.


Sign Task: (to be completed midway through the unit)

RL7.1, RL.7.3, RI.7.1, RI.7.3; W.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.6; SL.7.1, SL.7.3, SL.7; L.7.1, L.7.2, L.7.6

Select a text you have read in this unit and focus on the specific challenge it addresses. Using a graphic organizer, cite textual evidence of the cause and effect relationships within the selected text/sequence of events. Pinpoint the series of causes and effects that led to a major turning point in the selection. Write a short essay explaining how the turning point impacts the resolution of the conflict. Be prepared to defend your position.
Culminating Task:

W.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.6; SL.7.1, SL.7.3, SL.7; L.7.1, L.7.2, L.7.6

Informational Writing
Select one of the following challenges: societal, cultural or environmental challenge from at least two texts you have read. Research the actual real life cause and effect of the challenge. Write an informational essay, comparing the actual account to the fictional account.


Sign Task: (to be completed midway through the unit)

RL.7.1, RL.7.6; RI.7.1, RI.7.6; W.7.1a, W.7.4, W.7.5,W.7.6; SL.7.1, SL.7.3, SL.7.4, SL.7.6; L.7.1, L.7.2, L.7.3, L.7.6

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices-to be found only in the minds of men...”

Rod Serling

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

In small groups, read the quote above and explore the pros and cons of this statement using a pro/con graphic organizer. Take a side. Write a claim using a text that you have read to support your position. Be prepared to defend your claim publicly.

Culminating Task:

RL.7.1, RL.7.6; RI.7.1, RI.7.6; SL.7.1; W.7.2, W.7.4, W. 7.5, W.7.6; SL.7.3, SL.7.4, SL.7.6; L.7.1, L.7.2, L.7.3, L.7.6

Analytical Writing

  • Using parallel texts: literary/informational, select a topic derived from selections you have read in this unit. The selected topic should explore different perspectives and/or controversial issues in both texts.

  • Write an analytical essay showing how the two authors present the same topic.

  • Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in both texts.

  • Assess whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims presented. Cite evidence from the parallel texts to support your analytical essay.


Sign Task: (to be completed midway through the unit)

RL.7.1, RL.7.6; RI.7.1, RI.7.6, RI.7.8, RI.7.9; W.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.6; SL.7. 1, SL.7.5, SL.7.6; L.7.1

Choose one of the readings to research an aspect of advancement in technology. Using persuasive techniques create an advertisement convincing your audience of your position on this technological advancement. Be prepared to defend your claim after your presentation.

Culminating Task:

RL.7.1, RL.7.10; RI.7.1; RI.7.8, RI.7.10; RLST.6-8.8, RLST.6-8.9; W.7.2, W.7.4, W.7.5, W.7.6; SL.7.1, SL.7.3, SL.7.5, SL.7.6; L.7.1, L.7.2, L.7.3, L.7.6

Explanatory Research Writing

  • Read the following quote:

Quote: The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.

B.F. Skinner

  • Select a futuristic/technological idea or concept you’ve read about in this unit.

  • Research this concept/idea.

  • Examine its moral implications and its relationship to the quote above.

  • Cite evidence from multiple texts using primary and secondary sources to support your position.


1Sequencing and titles are suggestions only. Teachers may utilize additional titles that support the unit focus.

2RL.7.8 does not appear in the unit because it is not applicable at this grade level according to the Common Core State Standards.

3Standards SL.7.2; SL.7.5; L.7.4 are not directly addressed with the units. Teachers are encouraged to creatively incorporate these standards via additional tasks.

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