Academic English 7 Syllabus - Spring 2017

Ms. Natalie Priester, M.Ed.

Course Overview

Academic English 7 supports students who are working to improve their reading abilities and/or fluency in the English language.  The district provides HMH Read 180 and System 44 curriculum for all students as well as Rosetta Stone for students who are just beginning to learn English.

Our class begins with a community circle and then we break into station-rotation blended learning. This means that we participate in a whole-group lesson and then break into three stations: small group instruction with the teacher, independent reading, and student application time.  We spend approximately thirty minutes in each station twice a week. On Fridays, we have a class meeting and participate in Step Up to Writing Lessons.

Additionally, we read novels checked out from the library, record Book Talks to post on YouTube, write monthly letters documenting our learning, and take turns posting to our class's social media accounts.

Contact Information

Social Media



Assignment Schedule




Book Talks

Each student will independently read a novel, record a book talk about the novel, and publish the book talk on YouTube.  Students will do this four time during the semester.  The students will read the novels at the beginning of class each day and at home.  Students will have two days in class to create the book talks.  (Directions and rubrics: 

Community Circle

Students will participate in a daily community circle and community meeting each Friday.  During the daily circles, students will take turns sharing responses to questions with the entire class.  During the meetings, students will take turns participating in a group discussion.  The circles part of restorative practices and are also known as proactive restorative circles.  (Directions and rubrics:    

Independent Reading

Students will participate in online reading activities using Read 180, System 44, or Rosetta Stone.  Students with Lexile scores above 600 will read one book in Read 180 then take a comprehension quiz.  Students with Lexile scores below 600 will read two books in System 44 and take a comprehension quiz for each book.  Students who are still beginning to learn English will complete one unit in Rosetta Stone then complete the milestone lesson.  This cycle will repeat approximately every four weeks.  Students will work in class during station-rotations and outside of class.  (Directions and rubrics:


Students will write monthly letters to share their learning with invested adults (parents, guardians, family members, case managers, coaches, etc).  The letters will contain detailed descriptions and accurate facts.  They will be written in class within a given time frame.  Students will proofread their own work. Paper and digital versions of the letters will be delivered to invested adults.  When requested, letters will also be translated into Spanish for Spanish-speaking adults. (Directions and rubrics:

Lexile Growth

Students will take a Reading Inventory in Read 180 to determine their current reading Lexile level.  Students are expected to increase their Lexile levels by seventy points in total throughout the school year.  The levels help to determine which books the students read in class.  The Reading Inventory must be taken in class.  Students may retake each test once after emailing a request to Ms. Priester.  Typical seventh graders should have Lexile levels between 780L to 1090L. (Directions and rubrics:

Phonics Growth

Students will take a Phonics Inventory in Read 180 to determine their current phonics skills.  The levels help to determine the type of support students get in small groups and the lessons they complete in System 44.  The Phonics Inventory must be taken in class.  Students may retake each test once after emailing a request to Ms. Priester. (Directions and rubrics:

Student Application

Students complete online lessons to improve their reading and phonics skills in Read 180 and System 44.  Students with Lexile scores greater than 600 complete lessons in Read 180, and students with Lexile scores lower than 600 complete lessons in System 44.  Approximately every four weeks, students in Read 180 must complete one new segment and students in System 44 must master eight new topics. (Directions and rubrics:  

Social Media Reporter

Students will act as the classroom social media reporter.  This person will update our class's Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts for his/her class period.  During his/her assigned week, each student will share two photos of learning on Instagram, post five tweets about student successes on Twitter, and record one reflection vlog to be posted on YouTube. (Directions and rubrics:

Summary Paragraph

Students will learn to write summary paragraphs of new articles.  On Fridays, students will participate in lessons to learn the Step Up to Writing process.  Students will read articles, complete vocabulary cards using the Frayer Model, and learn to identify the main idea and supporting details of a piece of nonfiction text.  By the end of the semester, students will be able to independently write summary paragraphs using these strategies.  (Directions and rubrics:  

Behavior Plan