Students will grow in their abilities to read and think critically. They will deepen their abilities to make inferences and draw conclusions,  cite evidence from texts to support conclusions, and increase understanding of grade-level vocabulary. Students will read a variety of texts,  including literary fiction, informational text, and argumentative text. It will be important to compare and contrast a variety of authors’ perspectives and evaluate these perspectives in light of the students’ own viewpoints. The ability to communicate clearly through writing and speaking will also be a significant portion of our work. Students will write and speak to a variety of purposes (narrative, informative, and argumentative) and audiences. Revising and editing their writing to be focused, organized, developed, and clear (e.g. correct grammar and mechanics) will be important. Students will work to achieve their personal maximum growth and level of excellence. We will strive to gain more than a year’s growth in reading and writing.


    We are a GOOGLE CLASSROOM. Students' assignments and learning resources are available in our GOOGLE CLASSROOM. They can access the classroom from home using their student Google accounts. I have asked them to record this information in their student planners.

    I will keep due dates for major assignments, quizzes, tests, and projects on this website's calendar.

    • Every day students will participate in “Read to Grow,” “Write to Sow,” and “Words to Know” activities. These activites will be submitted often through the Google classroom, but some may be turned in the "old-fashioned" method of paper!
    • Students are expected to read books of their choice every day (15 to 20 minutes is recommended by research). Time will be given in class each week, but reading outside of school hours will be necessary and it is considered our daily homework.   I will expect a minimum of 2 books completed for a C, 3 to 4 books for a B, and 5 to 6 books for an A each quarter. A “book” is up to 150 pages (e.g. I Survived: Titanic counts as one book with 96 pages while The Hunger Games counts as two --373 pages).This grade is part of the 40% Learning Activities category. Any novels we read as an entire class will be counted toward this total. Students can choose from a wide range of tasks to demonstrate that they read their books. Documents related to this independent reading are located on the GOOGLE CLASSROOM "ABOUT" page.
    • Students are expected to write often: reflections, essays, poems, summaries, articles, etc. They will keep a portfolio of their work in their Google drive.
    • Each week students will participate in BRAIN SELF CHECKS. These are reflections, exit tickets, self-graded quizzes, etc.  The students will confer with me to improve their work using these checks. The students independent progress in grammar and mechanics through NO RED INK (an online platform) will also be recorded in this grading category.
    • Students will create an INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOK each week that serves as a resource for the major skills. Think of it as notes you can manipulate. It is also where students keep examples of HOW to apply each skill. It is graded once a term. There is a model notebook provided in class.
    • There will be quizzes and tests throughout each quarter.
    • There will be special projects and essays assigned each quarter.

    I have a posted PLANNER board in class that outlines the activities for the week. Students should track assignments in the planner provided by the school. There is also a REMIND app for families to use that will notify of an upcoming test or major project. Also, most assignments will be posted before the due date in Skyward. Activities such as the Reading Challenge and the Brain Skill Checks show a “running” total and do not count in the posted average until week eight of the quarter. Keep an eye on these columns and ensure that the totals in each are increasing! If not, this indicates that the student is not participating in classwork.


    Learning is a process that requires open lines of communication among students, their parents, and the teachers. Feel free to leave a message for me with the office at 949-4149. You can email me at ssmith@sequatchie.k12.tn.us.

    To join REMIND text @ssmithel to 81010.

    You may also request a Google Classroom weekly summary to be automatically sent to you. A request form was attached to the course syllabus sent home. You may just call, email, or send a note indicating your request as well.


    We will practice and strengthen the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Braves to build a growth mindset, or “the grit” to persevere and succeed.

    • I am in charge of myself
    • My dreams focus my choices
    • I work first;then, I play
    • I think win--win
    • I listen before I speak
    • I believe working together is better
    • I strive for balance each day