Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Essay Skills: Answering the Prompt

          An essay is a formal piece of writing that shows a student's thoughts on a particular subject.  Often, an essay answers a question or command that is called a prompt.  The prompt is usually given to the student in order to guide the focus of their writing.  A common mistake in essay writing is that the student simply answers the question, as if they are having a conversation with the teacher.  The key to writing a successful essay is to restate the prompt within the first few sentences in the introduction paragraph.


"What is the best gift you have ever given or received?"

(incorrect)       A coffee cup with a red bow on the handle.  Jenny brought it to me on the first day of school.  

(correct)   The best gift that I have ever received was a coffee cup that a new student brought for me on the first day of school.   

Practice with these prompts:

"What are you grateful for?"

"Explain how you tested your hypothesis for your science project."

"Which character would you have chosen to become friends with in the story, and why?"

"What is the difference between a state and a province?"


Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10th

Reading Response logs are a way for students to write what they are thinking about as they read a choice book.

How can parents or guardians help students become successful readers?
   Ask questions!
         + What book are you reading?
         +Tell me about the characters in the book.
         + What happened so far in the story?
         + What do you think will happen at the end of the story?
         + If you could write a new ending, what would you change?
         + Do you like the characters? Why or why not?

If your student does not have a book, please let me know if I can help! We have a classroom library, school library, and many resources available for students to be successful.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Newsela is a current event digital critical reading site.  Every student in 7th and 8th grade has access by signing in through their @apps4pps.net account.

Our goal is to have students read 3-5 articles each week.
    +  To receive credit, students must take the reading comprehension quiz.

Newsela articles can be used for reading log credit.
     +  To receive credit, students must click the "write" button and respond with a full paragraph to the prompt.  The response will be sent to me to grade.

Newsela works on any device as long as the student signs into their google apps account.  
   There is also an iphone/ipad app!!

Please email me with any login problems or questions.  Happy reading!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The 2016-17 School Year Begins

Welcome to Language Arts!

As we begin the 2016-17 school year, students can expect to work together to create a strong literate community of learners where every voice matters. 

This year, we will use writer's workshops to create literacy notebooks, study Greek and Latin root words, and practice reading informational texts through technology. Students will have the opportunity to create polished writing pieces to add to their portfolio. We will continue to use reading logs throughout the week. Students are encouraged to visit the library on a regular basis. 

In other news, PPS has subscribed to a program called Newsela.  Students will be able to access on school computers as well as at home on a family computer or tablet, or at the local library through public technology. Please stay tuned for more information.

Classroom updates will be posted this blog throughout the year. It is important to know what is going on in the classroom, so I invite you to subscribe today! 

Please feel free to email me at lcoffman@pps.net with any questions.