Mountain View School

Mrs. Phyllis Harmon » Mrs. Phyllis Harmon

Mrs. Phyllis Harmon

A former banker for over 25 years, I returned to college after retirement. (Crazy, huh?) I graduated from St. Joseph's College in Standish with a B.A. in English and a minor in secondary education. Talk about a major change in my life! This is my fourth year teaching English and Reading at Mountain View School, and, so far, so good. I love working with my students and enjoy being part of their journey through middle school before they venture on to their next challenge in life - high school.

I am married to my wonderful husband, Duane. We are the proud parents of four grown sons and grandparents to NINE totally awesome grand-babies ranging from sixteen all the way down to almost three! (four boys and five girls)

In my spare time I enjoy reading, crafts (especially making cards), quilting, gardening, walking, spending time "outa" camp, and all kinds of sports.
 

Recent Posts

Grade 7 and Grade 7/8

I can't believe that May is half over and we are just starting Unit 4 - How We Choose to Act. In this unit, students will discover that writers make choices about their use of language, just like a performer or presenter makes choices about oral and physical delivery. Students will practice reading and analyzing poetry as well as portraying various characters in group and individual performances. We will work towards performing a scene from a Shakespearean comedy. It's a push to the end!

6th Grade

Our 6th graders are well into Unit 3, Changing Perspectives. To change one's perspective is to change their viewpoint, opinion, or position about something. How many times have you tried to change someone else's mind? How often do others try to change your mind? In this unit, students will learn about creating an argument and communicating to particular audiences. They will identify "hot topics" and take a stand on their opinion about one hot topic. Through analyzing informational and argumentative texts, students will see how others write and create argumentative texts. Then they will debate and write their own argumentative texts. This is a very interesting and fun unit and a great one to end the year!

8th Grade Reading Class

Starting on March 16, students in my 8th grade reading class will all begin reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963. This is a story about family and the bonds that connect us so deeply to our family. Taking place in 1963, a pinnacle year during the Civil Rights Movement, the Watsons explore what it means to be a strong, reliable and courageous family, as they overcome obstacles and stand by each other through challenging times. In addition to the book, students will watch two documentaries dealing with the issue of the Civil Rights Movement and discuss and analyze how it affected not only the people of the South, but all of us in the United states. 

Students in this class will begin Unit three this week and will be introduced to the Holocaust. This unit invites students to study the past as a way to act on their future by reading narratives from the Holocaust. Students will grapple with significant challenges from history and then examine and evaluate current national and/or global issues by analyzing and synthesizing a multitude of ideas from literature and informational texts in print and online. Through critical reading, collaborative discussion, expository and argumentative writing, students will research, create, and communicate ideas to positively influence others inside the classroom walls and outside in our small community.
 
The first half of the unit introduces the theme "finding light in the darkness" through a visual prompt, poetry, and novel excerpts. Students will study an allegory and film as a means to move into an in-depth exploration of Holocaust narratives in Literature Circles. 

7th/8th Grade ELA (Period 7)

Our class will be starting Unit 3 this week. This unit explores the idea of choices and consequences through a novel that focuses on one young man's emerging realizations about himself, his family, and the society he lives in. Tangerine takes Paul Fisher, a visually impaired soccer player, on a personal journey of self-discovery. In this unit, students will interpret, analyze, and evaluate a novel in terms of point of view, character, structure, and other key literary elements that create a unique text. Students will analyze the choices made by the characters in the novel and relate to the concept of choices and consequences to their own lives and the lives of prominent leasers whose choices have made positive impacts on society and the world.
 
Just a reminder that students have spelling nearly every week. I hand out new spelling words on Monday. This packet is due on Wednesday for class review. We end the week with a spelling and vocabulary test on Friday. Please check with your student to make sure their work is complete and they are ready to take the test!

7th Grade ELA

Our class will be starting Unit 3 this week. This unit explores the idea of choices and consequences through a novel that focuses on one young man's emerging realizations about himself, his family, and the society he lives in. Tangerine takes Paul Fisher, a visually impaired soccer player, on a personal journey of self-discovery. In this unit, students will interpret, analyze, and evaluate a novel in terms of point of view, character, structure, and other key literary elements that create a unique text. Students will analyze the choices made by the characters in the novel and relate to the concept of choices and consequences to their own lives and the lives of prominent leasers whose choices have made positive impacts on society and the world.
 
Just a reminder that students have spelling nearly every week. I hand out new spelling words on Monday. This packet is due on Wednesday for class review. We end the week with a spelling and vocabulary test on Friday. Please check with your student to make sure their work is complete and they are ready to take the test!

6th Grade ELA

We are now into the second section of Unit Two. In the first half of the unit, we spent a great deal of time discussing and analyzing their class novel, Walk Two Moons. Students were engaged in activities in their Literature Circles. Even though we have finished the novel, we will continue to have Literature Circles every Friday. Students have chosen different books to enjoy and discuss.
In this section, students will write a frame poem, apply their reading strategies to different genres, such as fairy tales and poetry, and practice writing an expository essay that incorporates examples from their own life, from texts, and from society or research to support a thesis on the concept of change. Students will continue to practice their writing as they prepare for the embedded assessment which requires them to write a multi-paragraph expository essay. Just a reminder that spelling words are handed out on Monday. This assignment needs to be completed for a Wednesday class review as we always end the week with a spelling test. Please check to make sure your student has their work done and is ready to take the test!

Unit Two

Here it is, the new year and we are only just beginning Unit Two. We spent more time developing our writing skills than I had hoped for, but, I believe, it was time well spent. Unit Two gives students a deeper understanding of the world. Through their study of utopian societies, students see that life cannot be perfect, no matter how hard we try, but they also see that without hardships, heroes would not exist. Just as a day is a balance of dark and light, so is life. Through their study of argumentation, students realize they have the power to convince others to do what is right, to make a change, or to see things from a new perspective. 
 
Eighth graders will read The Giver by Lois Lowry and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Both are excellent novels - not to be missed! Students will read these novels to explore the concepts of utopia and dystopia, deepen their understanding of the Hero's Journey archetype, analyze literary elements, and form responses to literature by using the compare/contrast structure to organize ideas. They will then apply their understanding by writing an expository essay relating to the concept of dystopia or the Hero's Journey archetype. Students in this class will have reading opportunities during this class and their afternoon reading lab to complete these novels. However, students will need to spend additional time at home reading to make sure they do not fall behind on required reading. Please check with your son/daughter to see how they are progressing on these books. 

Unit Two

My Period 5 and Period 7 classes are well into our Unit Two and will continue to become more aware of advertising and its influence on youth by studying advertising techniques, analyzing print and non-print advertisements, and engaging in collaborative discussions. They will develop expository writing skills by learning how to organize ideas using the cause/effect structure, drafting developed paragraphs, and revising for coherence and clarity. Students will also begin to generate additional research questions in preparation of their next Embedded Assessment.

Unit Two

As we change from one year to the next, my sixth grade students will make the change from Unit One to Unit Two! It has been said that the only constant in life is change. In this unit, sixth graders will consider this idea by looking at change and growth as a regular part of human nature. From studying characters in a novel (Walk Two Moons) and engaging in collaborative discussions (Literature Circles) to examining real-life figures in literary nonfiction and conducting research, students will analyze the power that internal and external forces have on an individual's life, including the relationship between animals and humans. Through these varied activities, students learn to write an explanatory response that conveys their analysis of a novel and write an expository essay on their interpretations of and conclusions on how animals can positively change the life of a human. We will be reading portions of Walk Two Moons in class but students will need to be reading at home in order to keep pace with their literary groups. I highly encourage students to read at least twenty minutes each and every night. Have a book discussion with your student to get "their take" on the novel!

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2015! I can't believe how this school year is flying by! But before I say goodbye to 2014, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Leona Gagnon and Randy Walls for opening up the Maine Coast Cinemas on Tuesday, December 23 for a special showing of The Hobbitt for our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. They absolutely loved the movie and had an awesome time. What a treat for all our teachers and bus drivers, as well. Special thank-you to Kate for coming in very early on her school vacation to help with the concessions. It was a special day for us all!

6th Grade ELA students are nearing the end of Unit 1, Stories of Change. Before we begin our December break, we will have finished our 2nd Embedded Assessment which requires students to write a story using dialogue, vivid verbs, and figurative language that captures a real or imagined experience that includes characters,conflict, and a plot with exposition, climax, and a strong resolution. We have spent a bit more time on this unit than originally scheduled as I wanted to make sure your student received a solid understanding of the process of how to write a good story. 

The 8th grade ELA class is nearing the end of Unit One, The Challenge of Heroism. Starting on Monday, they will begin their second Embedded Assessment which will require them to write a definiton essay. Their assignment requires them to think about peoplewho deserve status of heroies - from the past, from the present, and from literature. What defines a hero? They will be required to write a multi-paragraph essay that develops their definition of heroism using the strategies of definition - function, example or negation -to guide their writing. They have just completed The Outsiders, having read the book and watched the movie. Each student was required to write a essay letter to a "friend" letting them know they had completed both. Their "friend" wanted to knwo what they should do - read the book or watch the movie. Your 8th grader needed to recommend one or the other and support their decision with a little information from both mediums.

Seventh graders have just completed their Unit 1 Embedded Assessment, Creating an Illustrated Myth, and will be moving on to Unit 2 where the content shifts from the art of storytelling to the craft of informing, explaining and convincing. Students will learn to generate ideas through close reading, purposeful research, and productive collaberation. They will learn how to write effective expository essays and create convincing argumentative texts as they focus on the issue of targeted marketing of products to youths. We will also be learning how companies use different advertising techniques that target specific age groups and how they impact our buying habits. 

SITE

Week eight of our SITE classes. Students should have all the research and information they need on their two authors and the information they need on the particular genre of the book they will be reviewing. This week they are working on main characters and setting. Each students has or will receive a poster rubric on how to make and present a poster. If your son or daughter has fallen behind on this work, they are expected to work on their project in study hall, LASER, or at home. If necessary, they can stay after school (homework club) and work on it then. I am so proud of all the hard work my students are putting into their projects and can hardly wait until they present them in week 13/14!