• 7thGrade English Language Arts

    Norterra Canyon School

    Syllabus 2021-2022

    Teacher: Ms. Stacy Mahoney

    E-mail: Stacy.Mahoney@dvusd.org

    Room:    709                  Voice Mail: 623-445-8271

    Office Hours: by appointment

    Website: https://www.dvusd.org/Domain/9855



    Parent Involvement is all about our working together to make the best educational experience possible for each and every student. Research shows that  your participation in your child’s education will boost his or her achievement in school.  At Norterra Canyon, we are committed to treat parents as partners while keeping lines of communication open and focused on the needs of your student.   Mutual trust and respect between parents and teachers is required to maintain a positive learning experience. We believe that your trust in the staff at Norterra Canyon is required to ensure your child’s success. 


    About the Teacher - Stacy Mahoney 

    I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Arizona State University with an ESL endorsement and a specialization in Mathematics, a Master’s Degree in Education in Reading Instruction and Curriculum from Grand Canyon University and am a Doctoral Candidate at Grand Canyon University in Organizational Leadership and Management in Education. Iam  Highly Qualified in both Middle School Language Arts and Mathematics.

    Prior to coming to Norterra Canyon, I spent 32 years with the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller and a manager at Phoenix Sky Harbor Tower. During my time with the FAA, I also taught 4thgrade ELA and Social Studies in the Madison school district and 7thgrade Mathematics at Desert Sky Middle School.

    I have two daughters. Stephanie is a professional photographer in Tucson and Katie works and lives in Spokane, WA. I have a bunch of dogs and two horses. In her spare time, she rides and shows her horses, Otis and Harper.

    I love riding my horses, kayaking, traveling, reading, cooking, sewing and just about anything crafty.


    Course Description:

    7thGrade ELA is a rigorous course that encompasses reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in preparation for high school.  Students will be expected to reflect and respond to various texts and literature. They will be challenged to think critically and encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions in various ways.  This course is aligned with the Arizona College and Career Readiness standards for English Language Arts. 

    This includes all of the standards under the following four different categories:


    • Reading Standards for Literature
    • Reading Standards for Informational Text
    • Writing Standards
    • Language Standards


     DVUSD English Language Arts Resources for Parents

    In each quarter, we will have several Units that focus on the following as well as supporting units:

    Quarter 1 

    Quarter 2

    Quarter 3 

    Quarter 4 





    Fiction Literature Reading

    The Power of Story/

    Narrative Writing Unit



    Advanced - 

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


    Informative Reading

    Informative Writing

    Speaking and Listening

    Extraordinary Lives Unit/Informational Unit


    Chasing Lincoln’s Killer

    Advanced -

     I Am the Cheese

    Fiction & Non-Fiction/

    Informative Reading

    Argumentative Writing

    Speaking and Listening

    Everything’s an Argument Unit



    Advanced - 

    The Outsiders

    Fiction & Non-Fiction/

    Informative Reading

    Argumentative & Informative Writing


    A Long Walk to Water

    Advanced - 

    A Long Walk to Water

    Course Objectives:

    • Using the IB MYP course format, students will engage in the study of many aspects of the language and literature of communities and their cultures. The student will study a wide range of literary and non-literary text types, writing styles and techniques, allowing the students to comment on the significance of any possible contexts, audiences, purpose and the use of linguistic and literary devices. Students will develop skills in reading informational text and literature, writing, listening and speaking, and language conventions. Students will be able to create strong arguments using textual evidence to support analyses. Students will be able to identify and discuss various elements and genres of literature.  Students will improve vocabulary and comprehension skills, and develop speaking and listening skills through shared inquiry and class presentations.

    Required Text and Resources


    • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Collections Grade 7~


    A class set of books will be available for student use within the classroom.  The books will not be available for use at home.  Instead, the students will be able to access the book online using the following directions.


    • Roundtable, Level 2(Junior Great Books)

    • Novels: As Assigned (See chart above)




    Most Fridays, students will have their full schedule, but shortened classes so teachers are able to participate in PLC work. PLC work is directly related to the planning, instruction and interventions teachers implement in the classrooms to ensure that students master the standards.


    Role of PLC

    A professional learning community is a group of educators that meet regularly and work Collaboratively to improve teaching practices and the achievement of students. The questions that drive the work of PLC’s are:

    •   What do we want all students to know and be able to do?
    •   How will we know if they learn it?
    •   How will we respond if some students do not learn?
    •   How will we extend the learning for students who are already proficient?

    PLC Teams are responsible for collaborating to establish general consistency among the following:

    •   Assignments, presentations, products, observations and assessments used to determine

        a student's level of performance in relation to grade-level standards.

    •   The method and schedule for additional learning opportunities.
    •   Due dates, deadlines, and procedures for reassessment.
    •   Create opportunities for common scoring of assessments.


    •     Research provides strong evidence that, when used appropriately, homework is essential for increasing and reinforcing student learning and achievement for course standards. Homework may be differentiated to meet the needs of our varied learners. The intent of homework is to practice, extend learning, and provide opportunities for students to develop critical, independent study skills and self-discipline for their life-long educational journeys.
    •     Grades are a reporting tool utilized to reflect what a student knows and is able to do in a content area. We measure achievement, not effort or behavior, in our grading system.
    • The primary purpose of assessment and grading is to provide detailed feedback to inform and support student learning.
    • Learning is a process that takes place over time and at different speeds for different students thus our standards based grading reflects growth towards mastery of standards.
    •     PowerSchool is an essential resource for parents and students. It is not only a tool for communication regarding grades, it is a resource for our students and parents to check progress, missing work, and what is being taught/learned regularly. Please ensure that you and your child have access (separate accounts) and even sign up for the app and push notifications or weekly email updates as an option in PowerSchool.


    In 3rd through 8th grades students may earn the academic recognition of Principal's List or Honor Roll:

      Principal’s List


    • All 4’s (including special area and other elective courses)
    • No Incompletes
    • No U’s (unsatisfactory) or N’s (Needs Improvement) for Citizenship grades


    Honor Roll


    • All 3’s and 4’s (including special area and other elective courses)
    • No Incompletes
    • No U’s or N’s for Citizenship grades


    At the end of each quarter, the 8 point IBMYP grade will be converted to the DVUSD 4 point scale.




    •         Progress reports are less mysterious and have more meaning
    •         Parents are aware of exactly what their child knows, is able to do, and next steps for progress
    •         Parents know in what areas their child needs more support
    •         Parents are empowered to increase their child's confidence and help their student set goals


    •     Learning targets are clearly defined and aligned with state standards.
    •     Students are offered multiple opportunities and ways through which to demonstrate  proficiency
    •     Students monitor their own progress toward the achievement of specified targets
    •     Specific feedback on progress helps build self-esteem, pride, and motivation


    •     Teachers know exactly where students stand in their progress toward learning targets and what support needs to be provided
    •     Teachers of the same courses have aligned expectations and standards
    •     Assessment results help teachers determine when students need extra help and when they need more challenging work

    ​​Please remember that during the grading period IB scores will look different than the end of quarter grades. IB grades work on the scales detailed below.


    For Formative Assessments:


    • These are the grades that let students know how well they understand the content as they PRACTICE to prepare for the summative assessment.
    • You will see at least one progress grade entered per content area each week.
    • The progress scores are just practice for students to know how they are developing the skills and knowledge needed for the summative. To hold students accountable, formative assessments truly are preparation for the summative.




    For Summative Assessments:


    • Final grades at the end of a unit
    • Scored 0-8 based on Subject Area Rubrics
    • Across all subjects, the grading interpretation is as follows: 


    Brief Description

    IB Achievement Score













    No Evidence





    Learning is a journey that is often not linear. Some students learn content and skills quickly while others may require more time or feedback in order to learn. The primary objective of grades is to report where a student is in the learning process, regardless of how much time or effort the student needs to get there.


    Retake Policy

    For a student to qualify for a retake the student must complete all work up to the unit assessment. All missing or incomplete work must be completed by the day of the original unit assessment. 

    Late Work Policy 

    There is no grade penalty for late work, and all work within a unit will be accepted up to the unit assessment. However, it is in the student’s best interest to stay on top of their nightly/weekly homework assignments as concepts continually build upon each other and it is difficult to catch up.



    As students grow and become self-directed in learning about themselves as a learner, they have to analyze their own study habits.  They will need to figure out what actually works for them to  retain the new knowledge they are gaining and use those strategies to support their learning. Citizenship grades on the report cards and the PRIDE Card in grades 6-8 reflect student effort and behavior and are completely separate from their academic grades.  




    • Each quarter students are given a PRIDE Card that records positive behaviors like self management or caring on one side. 
    • On the reverse side of the PRIDE Card,  behaviors that hurt student achievement - such as disruptive talking or not being prepared for class - are recorded. 
    • At the end of the quarter students with twice as many positive behaviors will be invited to join in a celebration. In previous years we have gone to the movie theatre and done escape rooms for that PRIDE Card Celebration.  
    • Missing assignments are also recorded on the infraction side of the PRIDE card. Once a student has earned 5 missing assignments, they will be assigned an after school homework recovery session of one hour after school. Parents will be notified if their child earns a homework recovery.
    • Please look at your child’s agenda and PRIDE card nightly/weekly to stay in the loop with your child’s behavior.




    Teacher Communication

    If you or your child needs to communicate with any of the 7th grade teachers, please use our DVUSD email(s) as that is the best way to communicate with us.


    stacy.mahoney@dvusd.org   ELA

    thomas.deming@dvusd.org  Humanities

    christine.hartford@dvusd.org  Math

    chelsea.lane@dvusd.org   Science

    The four core teachers will send regular updates to both parents and students. We will send the update as a grade level in order to minimize the amount of emails you receive.

    Student’s Safety

    If a child’s safety or school-wide safety is a concern, please contact the front office or a staff member immediately.  All Pirate Staff members work together to ensure the safety of all students.  If you have any questions or concerns about my classroom, please contact me by email or by calling the office and leaving a message.  Attached is a link to our campus communication protocol.

    NC Communication Levels


    Academic Honesty Policy

    NC Academic Honesty Policy


    Cell Phones, Computers, and Other Electronic Devices 

    A reminder that cell phones should be off and in the student’s backpack unless they have direct permission to use their cell phone in class to assist with academics. We tell the students “off and away all day.”


    Cell phones will be confiscated and proper procedures followed as outlined in the student handbook. 


    Chromebooks must ONLY be used as directed by the teacher and for academic purposes. Please stress to your students to take good care of their chromebook. If a chromebook is damaged please alert the teacher. Families are responsible for damages incurred by their student(s).


    Misuse of technology will be documented on the PRIDE card as an infraction and could result in the student losing their privilege of using their Chromebook.


    Only water bottles are allowed within the classroom.  Food brings unwelcome guests such as ants and cockroaches.