An Inclusive and Engaging Learning Environment: Ms. Murphy’s 7th Grade English Class

An Inclusive and Engaging Learning Environment: Ms. Murphy’s 7th Grade English Class

Serena and Ayla

Ms. Murphy’s 7th grade classroom is an inclusive learning environment for all students although they might face some challenges with distractions from other students. Ms. Murphy teaches Social Studies and English Language Arts at McKinley Middle School. She teaches four different 7th grade classes and she is kind and welcoming to all of her classes. An example of this being the sign on the door which reads, ”This classroom is an inclusive place for all. Everyone is welcome.”

        Last Friday,  Ms. Murphy ‘s students were creating mosaics of butterflies, an activity based on the book Summer of the Mariposas. The students used pieces of colored paper glued on top of a pencil outline of a butterfly. Most students used a long scrap of paper up the middle, representing the body of the butterfly. Allison, a 7th grade McKinley student who did this project, said that “the butterflies represent the sisters” referring to the main characters in the novel they are studying.

Many of the students have passionate opinions on the characters they are studying in the novel Summer of the Mariposas for character development. One of the students, Allison stated that “My favorite character is Odilia. I think Pita is annoying.” 

Other than this fun mosaic the students are creating in class, students such as Allison also love “the morning circle we do on Wednesdays and Thursdays” where the students are able to discuss and have fun by answering questions like “what’s your favorite candy or movie.” Allison also stated that “the projects and vocab hunts we do” are one of the most interesting parts of Ms. Murphy’s class.  

         Ms. Murphy always makes sure that her students are interested and engaged in their class. For Allison, a 7th grade student in Ms. Murphy’s class one of the reasons why she loves her class is that the students “tend to help each other” which is why if she is ever confused with an assignment she will have someone to help her.


Another favorite part of Ms. Murphy’s English class “is the people” which 7th grade student Luz states passionately. Luz explains that although some students are “loud in class, it’s funny” which contributes to the humorous and fun part of the class which gives an amazing experience to all of the students. One special part of the class is “the community building” where the students are able to “decide what we want to do” and then their teacher “gives us snacks.” This helps make class for the students much more enjoyable and so they can incorporate fun into their learning.

         Ms. Murphy is new to McKinley, but has been teaching for 22 years, five of those at North Star. “I love teaching because I love my students, they’re funny and have a ton of energy! I also love our principal and my coworkers.”  She believes that at first, the students did not have as much focus, so the majority of her class was whole-group instruction. “I think we’re getting to the point where we can do more group work. It is really important to do that, especially after the Covid pandemic.” 


The most important thing Ms. Murphy teaches her students is to “think critically, to have confidence, to know that their voice matters, and to be kind human beings.” She also believes it is important that North Star and McKinley develop a better relationship. “That is something that bugged me when I was at North Star and bugs me to this day. Maybe we could do joint assemblies, joint clubs, and get together as staff. Starting with the staff and going down is the best way.”


Ms. Murphy’s classroom is, according to the sign on the door, “an inclusive place” where “everyone is welcome”. The butterfly mosaic is an example of the projects done in this classroom. Ms. Murphy appreciates her students and her students appreciate her back. Ms. Murphy creates a welcoming environment and kind classroom for all of her students which is why all of the students are able to create special and memorable experiences in her 7th grade English class.