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Denise Dunnigan Staff Photo


Week og October 16-20, 2017  


MONDAY: Students will continue to read "The Story of Keesh" and will continue to track the character traits of the protagonist, Keesh. (Students will use this very tracking sheet to compose a timed essay later this week). 


TUESDAY: Students will answer open-ended and multiple choice questions measuring students' understanding of the text as a whole, as well as tone, context clues, etc.  

HOMEWORK: Figurative Language Review/Practice 


WEDNESDAY: Quiz on Copper Sun (pages 1-35). Continuation of answering open ended and multiple choice questions pertaining to "The Story of Keesh".  

HOMEWORK: Theme Review/Practice 


THURSDAY: Point of View Notes and Practice

Timed Essay (See details for MONDAY

HOMEWORK: Theme Review/Practice


FRIDAY: Continuation of Point of View Practice 


Week of October 2-6, 2017  

This week, students will be continuing identifying and determining the meaning of figurative language as it is used in specific sentences, poems, and longer passages. 

In addition to this, students will continue practicing identifying central idea, and theme.


Tuesday begins Nine Weeks Testing for all students! Below are important dates to keep in mind:


Tuesday: Math Nine Weeks Exams Will be Given

Wednesday: ELA Nine Weeks Exams Will be Given

Thursday: Case 21 (Science) Will be Given

Friday: "This is Where I've Been and This is Where I'm Going" Collages are due! Please note that students were given a rubric for this project Tuesday, September 26, 2017. Collages will have to be presented to the class to receive credit.


With testing upon us, please ensure that your child or children arrive to school on time and ready to do their best each and every day! 

Week of August 28, 2017  

Is the weekend over already? Indeed it is!


Because time waits for no one, we will be continuing analyzing three essays in Unit 1 of Code X.

After doing so, students will compose a four-five paragraph argumentative essay based on their analysis of the three characters.  The topic of the essay is as follows:  "Which college applicant (Mendoza, Gregory, or Gallagher) would be the best candidate to take open online courses? Be sure to include the traits of this applicant that make him or her well-suited for the online learning environment.

In preparation for this essay, students will work independently and in groups to brainstorm ideas.  Additionally, students will also have the opportunity to debate! 

This will be an amazing week! I hope your child is ready!!!

Week of August 14, 2017  

So, what will your child learn this week in Mrs. Dunnigan's Language Arts Class?


I am hoping that ALL students have their materials this week, as we will begin note-taking Monday, August 14, 2017. Keeping their bell work activities, vocabulary, classwork, and notes enables students to practice organization! This is why their plastic folder and compostition notebook are so important for my class. 

This week, students will read various texts ranging in length and complexity. After reading these texts, students will be able to determine the central idea and supporting details.


Additionally, this week students will learn how to effectively summarize a text.

Finally, we will begin using our Code X texts. We will begin analyzing the Essential Question: "What does it take to achieve success in today's world of higher education?"


This will be a week full of  closely reading texts and analyzing them. 


I hope that your child is ready! I sure am!

Week of August 7, 2017  

We are already off to a wonderful start of the week!!!


This week, students will be able to practice self-reflection as they think about their experiences as 7th graders. They will use their self-reflections to compose letters to their future selves.


Additionally, students will complete a number of community building activities.


Friday, August 11, 2017, all students will complete a Language Arts Pretest!


Welcome Back 2017-2018  

Welcome Back Students! 

I hope that each of you enjoyed your summer break and are returning to school refreshed and eager to learn. 

I am ready to see students and make a positive impact in lives!

Here's What You Can Expect This Week

 I look forward to meeting my students and learning about the uniqueness of each! In addition to learning about students, they will have the opportunity to learn my expectations for this year's Language Arts class!

Structure is an integral piece of my success, so it is important for students to be at school the first day. They will also learn my rules and procedures. 

Parents, please be aware that students will bring home forms that will need to be returned as soon as possible.  Some forms will count as your child's first homework grade!


This is going to be an awesome year!


May 8-12, 2017   

We are off to a great start! Please be advised that 8th grade testing is still in progress. Monday, students will be completing their math state test.

Tuesday, all 8th graders will be taking their writing assessment in which they will be responsible for reading two separate stories and responding to two prompts based on each story. Students will have 90 minutes to complete these tasks. These will be the final days of testing for our 8th graders.

If your child or children need to make up a test, the makeup testing day is Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

On days in which students were not testing, they should have been working on their 4th Nine Weeks projects for Language Arts. Please note that this project is due Friday, May 12, 2017.

This week will be awesome! 

April 3- April 7  

This will be a good week! I claim it already!

As we approach testing, please be aware that students will be practicing on the timed writing assessment. We started this two weeks ago. This week, we will be practicing for the third time! We have been practicing on the multiple choice questions all year, but your child may be complaining (or celebrating) that he or she had to read a passage and write a four - five paragraph essay in 45 minutes.  Please note that in order for students to be able to do this, they must practice reading, planning, and writing very quickly. This takes practice to master.


Encourage your child or children to continue to read at home as well.


The year is almost over! I can't believe it!

February 6. 2017  

Below, you will find a link to the end of year assessment that your child will take to measure his or her mastery of 8th Grade Common Core Standards.

Please take a moment to navigate through the test with your child or children. 

The site works best with Google Chrome.

February 6-10, 2017  

As we begin a new week of learning, please make note of the following dates:

Thursday, February 9, 2017- Progress Reports Will Be Issued to ALL Students

Tuesday, February 14, 2017- Typed Literary Analysis Due to Mrs. Dunnigan


If I am your child's Language Arts teacher, he or she began writing a literary analysis of two short stories entitled, "LIfe of Pi" and "Story of Keesh".  Students began writing this essay Thursday, February 2, 2017. On that day, we spent time collecting relevant evidence from our second text, "Life of Pi". Additionally, with my guidance, students wrote the introduction of this essay.

Friday, February 3, 2017, with my guidance, students completed paragraph 2 of this essay.

Monday, February 6, 2017 with my guidance, students completed paragraph 3 of this essay. If he or she did not complete paragraph 3, it was assigned for homework.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017, with my guidance, students will complete the conclusion.


Students will have one full week to type essays.  We have taken our time writing the essays in class.  One week is more than enough time to type four paragraphs.  This typed essay is worth two test grades.   

To kickoff our celebration of Black History Month, each week, we will focus on a literary work of one African American author. We will start with celebrated author, Alice Walker!

January 17-20, 2017  

This week, students will continue to analyze the short story, "The Story of Keesh".


Additionally, students will practice using figurative language, making connections within the text, and text structure.


Please note that the field trip originally planned for January 13 has been moved to Friday, January 20.

All students should return permission slips and pay their $9 to attend. 

Students who have been in ALC or RAMP, those who have a behavior plan, and those otherwise deemed disrespectful will not be permitted to attend the field trip. As I hope to represent Southaven Middle School while on campus, I hope to do the same when off campus.



January 9-January 13  

We are back in session after a three day weekend due to the snow!!!


This week, students will continue to read Copper Sun and will complete assessments on assigned readings. 


Additionally, we will continue our review of our most troublesome Case 21 passages and questions. 


Towards the end of the week, we will begin reading "Zebra", an entertaining short story about a young boy who regains his self-confidence because of his newfound interest in art!


Upon approval, we will also be going to view A Monster Calls at the Southaven Malco Friday, January 13. The cost is $9.  Students who have been in ALC, RAMP, and those who currently have a behavior plan are not permitted to attend.  



January 3-January 6, 2017  


As we usher in a new year, I sincerely hope that students will return to school with a renewed mindset of working hard to succeed!


This week, we will continue to practice identifying and analyzing text structure. 

Additionally, we will also review test taking strategies as we review passages and questions from our latest Case 21 Assessment that was taken in December.

Please be advised that report cards will be sent home Thursday, January 5, 2017! Don't let your child tell you otherwise!

Nov. 14-18  

This week, students will continue to analyze point of view and perspective.

They will complete a number of readings and will work to analyze how perspective effects the reading.


Students will come home with homework as well, so please ensure that they complete it. It will be short and quick, so there is NO earthly excuse to not have it done!!!

Nov. 7-11  

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!!!

There will be no school for students Tuesday, November 8.


Additionally, ALL Progress Reports will be sent home Thursday, November 10. Please remember to ask your child or children to see their progress reports, so that you'll know in what areas they are struggling. 


Now, let's get to the good stuff! In my class, your sweet child will continue to practice identifying text structures.  They will also practice PoV and perspective. 

Wednesday, I will show a short video clip that I think will help students realize how perspectives differ from person to person.

After this is complete, students will write their own perspective piece, based on a picture of their choosing. They will tell the story from the perspective of one character, but will tell the same story in four different ways. First from the first person PoV, then 3rd Person Limited, 3rd Person Omniscient, and finally 3rd Person Objective.

I look forward to educating your students this week.  I am prepared to teach. Please ensure that they are prepared to learn!!!

Oct. 31-Nov. 4  

This week, students will continue practicing identifying text structures in their reading. 


Additionally, students will be introduced to point of view and perspective and will be able to differentiate between the two.


This week marks the start of the Book Fair at SMS, so please send your kiddos equipped so they can purchase awesome books and other supplies. 


It will be a great week!

October 24-28  

We usher in a new week of  positivity and productivity here at SMS.


This week, students will continue to practice writing summaries of chapters from the book entitled, A Monster Calls.


Additionally, students will be introduced to the five text structures, description, sequential order, cause and effect, problem and solution, as well as compare and contrast. 


This week, we also celebrate Red Ribbon Week here at Southaven Middle. 

October 17-21, 2016  



Yet another eventful week has come around! This week, the buzzword is SUMMARY as this we will be our standard focus this week.  I hope your children are ready!!!


This week, students will continue to practice writing summaries of the text A Monster Calls.


Additionally, students will learn to closely analyze multiple choice summary questions to perfect their skills of determining and classifying the different types of errors they will encounter. This will require much attention to DETAILS.


Friday, a multiple choice test will be given to test your child's mastery of the skill.

September 26-30, 2016  

It's Homecoming Week at Southaven Middle!!!


Each day students are allowed to dress in a fashion that fits the theme for that day. Please ensure that your child is dressed according to the guidelines!


In class this week, we will continue to practice analyzing central idea and theme, as well as tone and mood. Students will complete a test that was started Friday.


For the remainder of the week, we will read A Monster Calls and will perform a series of activities that coincide with the book. 

Additionally, students will continue to delve into Code X, Unit 3 and will explore the essential question, "How does art influence your everyday life?"

Sept. 19-23, 2016  

This weekly, students will review a test they took Friday.The teacher measured student mastery of tone, figurative language, central idea, and theme.

In an effort to correct common mistakes that impact student performance, the teacher will teach test- taking strategies. 

Additionally, students will begin reading Unit 3 of Code X.  Yes, we have skipped Unit 2, but will return to it immediately after completion of Unit 3. After all, a good teacher tweaks lessons and does not follow the book from the beginning to end!!!

There will be another assessment this week which will measure students' ability to select the most relevant evidence


Study Skills Classes are in full motion.  Your child should be reporting to his or her study skills teacher. The purpose of this class is to help your child achieve success in classes that he or she is struggling/failing.  This class is not optional. Your child MUST attend.

It's going to be a great week!

Sept. 12-16  

This week, students will continue to demonstrate their mastery of Central idea and theme.  They will read a series of short stories varying in length to demonstrate their mastery of the standard. 


Additionally, students will begin Code X, Unit 3. They will explore the essential question, "How does art impact our daily lives?"

Homework will be given Monday and Wednesday of this week.

August 29-September 2, 2016  

Yet another week is upon us!!!


This week, students will continue to discover the central idea of several texts. 


In addition, students will be introduced to theme and will work both collaboratively and independently to determine the theme of short passages and children's books.  They will be expected to be able to provide evidence from the text to support their answers.

A Very Important Announcement:

Typed final drafts of essays are due this week, Thursday, September 1 to be exact!!! Please ensure that your child has an avenue to type their essay, as this is a test grade!

Progress reports will be released Thursday. 

Finally, your child or children will demonstrate mastery of central idea and theme when they complete a test Friday!!!

August 22-26, 2016  

This week, students will continue to compose argumentative essays.


Once completed, they will have to type them and return them next week for a text grade.  Please ensure that your child has their essay complete and typed!!!


In addition to writing this week, students will also analyze a series of text and will determine the central idea of each!!!


It will be a great week!

August 15-19, 2016  

As we usher in a new week of learning, I would like to say that I truly enjoyed meeting my students' parents last week!!! It was a pleasure!!!


This week, students will continue to explore the essential question for Unit 1 of Code X, "What does it take to achieve success in today's world of higher education?". 


Students will read an admissions essay that is a parody entitled "Essay 3A" by Hugh Gallagher.  They will track his traits based on his words, thoughts, and actions. They will also answer a series of questions measuring their understanding of the parody. 

Additionally, after reading an informational text comparing online college to the traditional college, students will begin planning to write their first argumentative essay where they will have to argue which candidate of the three readings would better fit an online college.  Students will use evidence from the text to support their claim! 

Please note that we will spend a week composing our essay and another week typing it! Yes, I require them to be typed. After all, I am preparing them for college, right? Essays will be counted as TEST GRADES!!! LATE SUBMISSIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED!!! 

It's going to be a busy week, but it's going to be a good one!!!

August 8-12, 2016  

As we start our first week here at SMS, let me be the first to say that I am pleased with what I am seeing thus far!!!

This week, we will be practicing using context clues to define unfamiliar words. 

Students will read a number of passages and will participate in a friendly competition to demonstrate their skills. 


In addition, we will delve into identifying the tone and mood of texts ranging in complexity.  We will also analyze how diction, or word choice, helps to solidify the tone and mood. 


We will do a number of activities to practice these skills throughout the week, completing a number of readings, classwork, and homework assignments to help us master these standards. 

Additionally, your child will have a homework assignment Tuesday and Thursday of this week.  Please help him or her start the year successfully by ensuring that homework assignments are completed at home. I sincerely need your assistance with this matter, as homework can truly negatively impact your child's grade!!!


IMPORTANT: If your child has not already done so, he or she will need to bring a plastic folder and composition notebook to class by Wednesday of this week!

Additionally, your child will have a homework assignment Tuesday amd Thursday of this week. Please ensure that they are starting the year off successfully by monitoring that they are completing homework assignments! I need your help with this matter!!!

Open house for 7th and 8th grade is Tuesday, August 9, 2016! I look forward to seeing you here!!!

August 3-5, 2016  


We're Ready for an Awesome Year!


As we begin this new year, I cannot explain how excited I am to teach your child!

This year, I will be implementing Code X! I truly believe the module will foster great success and growth in your child's reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills. 


It is vital that your child comes to class EVERYDAY prepared to learn! This means that he or she must have the proper materials in order to be successful. 


Each day, students are expected to bring the following:

Loose Leaf Paper (Wide ruled or college)

Pen (Black or Blue only) and Pencils

4 plastic folders w/ brads and pockets

Reader's Notebook ( black and white composition notebook)


This week, your child will bring home their first homework assignment, which is a letter detailing the rules and procedures for my class.  This letter should be returned by Friday, August 5, 2o16 for your child's first homework grade.



Want to keep up with your child's assignments/homework?  Keep up using Remind 101!!!


text: @mrsdsen to 81010