Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

The English Language Arts  Program  of the schools of the Diocese of Ogdensburg is based on the National Common  Core Standard.  As with all of our  educational programs, all instruction is centered in our Catholic Faith  foundation.

In the context of all ELA instruction, students are expected to use the  following practices which include:

  • read and work with a balance of informational and literary texts
  • apply reading writing skills in science and social studies
  • develop skills to read, analyze, evaluate texts that are increasingly  complex
  • support and make inferences based on text-based information
  • writing that emphasizes the use of evidence from sources to inform or  make an argument
  • build transferrable vocabulary to access grade level texts across  disciplines

The content of Grade Seven ELA is clearly  outlined on the Diocesan Report Card.  In  addition to the content and skills, writing is highly emphasized  not only in ELA but in all subject areas.   The Common Core requires 4 types of writing – argument,  informative/explanatory and narrative.   Below you will find a strong writing sample for this grade level that is the expected  performance on an argumentative writing task.

Video Cameras in Classrooms       You are seated in  class as your teacher explains and points things out on the whiteboard. You twitch  your hand, accidentally nudging your pencil, which rolls off your desk and  clatters to the floor. As you lean over to pick up your pencil, your cell phone  falls out of your coat pocket! Luckily you catch it without your teacher  seeing, but it is in plain view of the video camera’s shiny lens that points  straight at you. The classroom phone rings, and after a brief conversation,  your teacher walks over to your desk and kneels down beside you. “About that  cell phone of yours . . .” How did that get you in trouble? How could  it possibly be a good idea to put cameras in  classrooms? When students are in their classrooms, teachers are in the  classroom too, usually. But when a teacher goes out of the classroom, what  usually happens is either everything goes on as usual, or the students get a  little more talkative. Cameras aren’t there because people talk a lot. It is  the teacher’s job to keep people quiet. If something horrible happened,  somebody in class would usually report it, or it would just be obvious to the  teacher when he came back that something had happened. If we already have cameras in the halls, why spend the money  to get thirty more cameras for all the different classrooms? Our school  district already has a low budget, so we would be spending money on something  completely unnecessary. There hasn’t been camera-worthy trouble in classrooms.  Cameraworthy trouble would be bad behavior every time a teacher left the room.  There is no reason to install cameras that might just cause trouble, both for  the students and for the budget. Different students react differently when there is a camera  in the room. Some students get nervous and flustered, trying hard to stay  focused on their work with a camera focused on them. 90% of students claim that  they do better work when they are calmer, and cameras are not going to help.  Other students look at cameras as a source of entertainment. These students  will do things such as wave at the camera, make faces, or say hi to the people  watching through the camera. This could be a big distraction for others who are  trying to learn and participate in class. Still other students will try to  trick the camera. They will find a way to block the lens or do something that  the camera will not be likely to catch. All of these different students will be  distracted by the cameras in their classrooms. Instead of solving problems, cameras would cause the  problems. That is why I disagree with the idea to put cameras in classrooms.  This plan should not be put to action.           

Criteria used to evaluate this piece as  a strong writing sample include:

  • introduces  a claim (stated late in the essay)
  • acknowledges  alternate or opposing claims
  • supports the  claim with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, demonstrating an understanding  of the topic
  • uses words,  phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among the  claim, reasons, and evidence
  • establishes  and maintains a formal style
  • provides  a concluding statement that follows from and supports the argument presented
  • demonstrates  good command of the conventions of standard written English (with occasional errors  that do not interfere materially with the underlying message)