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Seventh Grade Lesson Plans

Gary Soto’s “Seventh Grade” is a wonderful text to begin the school year. A simple account of a boy’s first day in seventh grade, the story contains a realism that resonates with young readers. Students connect with Victor’s emotional highs and lows making this a wonderful story for teaching literary character development.

Student Activities for Seventh Grade

Essential Questions for “Seventh Grade”

  1. How does Soto use direct and indirect forms of characterization?
  2. In what way do small events affect a person’s outlook and attitude?
  3. What makes “Seventh Grade” an example of realistic fiction?
  4. How is Victor’s school experience similar to or different from your own?

A Note about "Seventh Grade"

As a Mexican American who grew up in California, author Gary Soto bases many of his stories on his own life experiences. While “Seventh Grade” is not strictly biographical, it draws from Soto’s memories and surroundings. Like most of Soto’s writing, it includes details that reflect his heritage. For this reason, “Seventh Grade” is considered realistic fiction. For more information on Gary Soto, check out

How to Encourage Students to Write Their Own Dialogue-Driven Scenes or Monologues Inspired by "Seventh Grade."


Introduce the Concept of Dialogue and Monologues

Explain to students the concept of dialogue and monologues in literature. Discuss how these forms of writing can effectively convey character personalities, emotions, and relationships. Provide examples from "Seventh Grade" to illustrate the use of dialogue-driven scenes and monologues.


Discuss Key Scenes or Moments

Engage students in a discussion about key scenes or moments in "Seventh Grade" that they find interesting, relatable, or impactful. Encourage them to choose a specific scene or moment they would like to explore further through their own writing.


Analyze Dialogue and Character Voices

Guide students in analyzing the dialogue and character voices in the chosen scene or moment. Encourage them to pay attention to the language, tone, and word choice used by the characters. Discuss how the dialogue reveals personality traits, conflicts, and emotions.


Brainstorm and Outline

Encourage students to brainstorm ideas for their own dialogue-driven scene or monologue inspired by "Seventh Grade." Prompt them to consider the emotions, conflicts, or themes they want to explore. Have them create an outline that includes the main characters, their objectives, and the key points they want to convey through the dialogue or monologue.


Write and Revise

Guide students in writing their dialogue-driven scene or monologue based on their outlines. Encourage them to focus on capturing the distinct voices and personalities of the characters. Remind them to revise and refine their writing for clarity and impact.


Share and Reflect

Provide an opportunity for students to share their written scenes or monologues with the class or in small groups. Encourage constructive feedback and discussion on how effectively the dialogue or monologue conveys the intended emotions, conflicts, and character traits. Prompt students to reflect on their writing process and the insights gained from exploring their chosen scenes or moments.

Frequently Asked Questions about Seventh Grade by Gary Soto

What genre is "Seventh Grade" by Gary Soto?

"Seventh Grade" by Gary Soto falls under the genre of realistic fiction. The story draws from Soto's own life experiences growing up as a Mexican American in California, providing a realistic account of a boy's first day in seventh grade.

Why is "Seventh Grade" a good choice for a lesson plan?

"Seventh Grade" is a great choice for a lesson plan because of its relatability and realism. Students can easily connect with Victor's experiences and emotions, making it a powerful tool for teaching character development. Furthermore, the story introduces students to realistic fiction, a genre that portrays characters and situations that could exist in real life.

What themes does "Seventh Grade" explore?

"Seventh Grade" explores themes of growing up, navigating adolescence, and personal identity. It's a relatable story for young readers who may be experiencing similar emotional highs and lows in their lives.

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