Here’s how I organize an entire nine week unit of Expository Reading and Writing for 7th grade middle school English Language Arts
Organizing an entire middle school English / Language Arts expository reading and writing unit can be daunting and overwhelming.
What to teach each day?
How to fit it all in?
And the most stressful of all— Is there a quick, easy way to organize the topics?
I’ve got you covered here!
Let me show you how I organize my 7th grade Middle School ELA Expository Reading & Writing unit. It’s a 9 week long unit aligned to the common core state standards, but I’m updating them as we speak to also include the Texas TEKS (because, ya know, Texas just has to do its own thang…)
So in this blog post I’m going to list out each week along with the actual skills and central topics for each week. If you need help with the specific lessons, Power Points, videos, activities, etc., then just shoot me an email and I can get those things to you so you’re not having to plan them, either!
Let’s get started!
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week One
Introduce the unit and the genre (fun interactive Power Point with little videos here and there that fit in with topics of the week). I provide quick reads of fact vs. opinion vs. commonplace assertions relevant to the expository process, and I also teach & re-teach annotating & close reading skills. Of course, we begin looking at text features & text structures, too!
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Two
Time to look at thesis statements, discover various types of irony, writing different types of objective summaries, and practice simple, compound, and complex sentence structures in order to start advancing our own writing skills. No worksheets, though! I use a variety of graphic organizers and writing activities 🙂
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Three
We read quick excerpts from the Helen Keller “The Miracle Worker” play and then look at some accompanying expository articles about hearing loss. That’s how we’re going to connect expository texts to literature. In addition, you can count on expository writing reflection activities which include both objective and subjective writing.
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Four
It’s time to dive into elements of autobiographies, biographies, memoirs. Along with this, we will practice maintaining parallelism in writing (infinitive & participial phrases) and writing concisely vs. descriptively (with purpose).
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Five
This week, we’ll look closer at the text structures involved with reading and writing compare / contrast texts. More focus is now on using text evidence to support understanding, and we’ll also use some revising and editing skills to hone in on different aspects of writing.
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Six
Let’s really give our students a chance to see how expository texts are used right now in real life!!! We’re going to read and discuss the concept of online privacy and modern technology. We’ll also include expository passage writing responses in which we make connections to real life issues involving online privacy and media usage. Sooo great for engaging your students!
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Seven
Next, we’ve gotta show our students that not everything online is to be trusted! So we’ll discuss credible vs. non-credible sources for reading & research purposes. Students will get to find a topic for research to put those credible / non-credible skills to use. Also, this is a logical time to practice using embedded quotes from good sources to support ideas. It’s like text evidence on steroids! (Students will use the info they casually gather this week for a little research paper next week!) Tip: I don’t even mention the phrase “research paper” until next week 🙂
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Eight
We’re going to continue using embedded quotes and add in detailed activitities on how to write meaningful commentary. We’ll also go deeper with how to write an intro & conclusion for an expository essay. It’s time to pull it all together from last week and move into the rough draft & final draft for the research paper.
Grade 7 Expository Reading & Writing Unit Week Nine
End of the unit: I’ll allow two days for review activities (discussion task cards, written response sheet, etc). I also have two versions of a unit test so that it’s easy to differentiate the tests for various students or classes. One test is multiple choice and the other is more open-ended questions. There’s no reason we couldn’t combine parts of those two tests to make a third option with a little of both. There are also two more days’ worth of follow-up writing activities for engagement & extension after the review/testing days are over!
Ok, so that’s it! This is how I’ve laid out my entire 9-week Expository Reading & Writing Unit for 7th grade English / Language Arts. Inside my private membership area, you can actually click on each week and then all the lesson plans for that week open up.
Each file is kinda large (never larger than 20MB) and so they’ll download in the form of a ZIP file (a compressed file… like taking an overstuffed suitcase and then vacuum packing the contents so it all scrunches down). It doesn’t take but a few moments to download the files and then BOOM! They’re all right there for you!
Let’s say you download grade 7 week one. Then let’s say you open up all the handouts and activities and print them all out. Now, let’s imagine you’re having one of THOSE days and you’re walking back to your classroom and you drop those papers you just printed and they all scatter. Yikes! But don’t worry about what order they all go in. A week’s worth of handouts and printables are so easy to put back in order because at the top of each page in tiny font I have a little something that looks like this: 7.1.1s or 7.1.1t. This stands for grade 7, week one, day one, and “s” is for “student”, like it’s a handout for student use. If there’s a “t” instead of the “s” then that’s just a handout for the teacher, like ideas for the teacher or notes or something like that.
See how it’s easy then to put a week’s worth of printouts back in order? Because each item would be labeled 7.1.1s or 7.1.2s all the way through to 7.1.5s.
Plus I actually add a little one or two word blurb after those numbers just in case there are two or three activities on the same day. So really each page will say, for example, “7.1.3s Partners” just so you know exactly which activity is for which day and it all matches up with the lesson plans.
Speaking of lesson plans… You do get a separate lesson plan page specific for each day of the week. It’s clear, easy to read, organized, and it has the main standards listed there along with the objective, the “I can” statement, etc. Each day’s lesson plan page is totally ready to post in your room or to turn in (or whatever your school requires of you).
So now back to the actual lesson plans…
Each week gives you the bell ringers, the interactive/teachable Power Points, small group activities, independent practice, links to online reading passages & articles, analysis questions for students, and the exit tickets.
It’s bell-to-bell each day, and it’s totally done for you.
Got questions about how this works? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or just go ahead and join the private membership here to get the lessons (and to get your lesson planning time back!!!) ——> https://languageartsteachers.leadpages.co/bonus-offer/
In fact, you can enter LT30 on the checkout page and get 30% off the monthly or yearly price. And let me tell you, it’s not just 30% off one time—it’s 30% off every month or every year as long as you are a member 🙂 Shh… Don’t tell! (Just kidding…. You can share the discount code if you want to).
Oh, and by the way… You get all the lesson plans and activities for grades 6, 7, and 8 with your membership!!! So this isn’t just access to 7th grade stuff— I’ve got you covered for the other grades, too!
Even if you only teach 7th grade, you may want the 6th grade materials so you can scaffold back for struggling kiddos.
Likewise, you might want 8th grade materials so you can provide more extension and differentiation for your more advanced kids.
Ok, one more thing… These are not lesson plans to where it’s the same exact activity and then I just change the CCSS numbered standard. They’re really specific to each grade level, and you do really, truly get different, separate lessons for all three grade levels.
What this means is that if you teach in a tiny school and you have 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, you still won’t be teaching the same thing in the same way. You could also teach the same set of students for all three of those years, and your students wouldn’t see the same activities.