Mr. Justin Carretta
7th Grade ELA Teacher
Education: B.A. in Writing from Ithaca College; Masters of Secondary Education in English from Kutztown University.
When did you join Greenwich Catholic?
This is my 3rd year teaching at GCS. I spent the first part of my career as a magazine journalist, and then decided to pursue my Masters Degree in Secondary Education.
What’s your overall approach to ELA?
I have found that students have a broad range of interest in literature throughout the Upper School years, and it’s an important time for encouraging a love of reading. Although we read the same book together in class, I make sure that my students have choices about the type of independent books they read. I want my class to like reading more as the year progresses, and to learn how to think. At this age, they know the vocabulary, but they are eager to learn how to “read deeper” by exploring characters, plot development and how they relate to certain works of fiction.
What writing genres do you explore in 7th Grade?
Throughout the year, we study historical fiction, realistic fiction, science fiction, poetry, and touch upon other genres as well. We recently read a work of historical fiction that aligned with the 7th Grade Social Studies unit on the founding of America. The story was about the witch trials, and I encouraged my students to compare the fictional representation to what they were learning about American history.
What are some ways you help your 7th Graders prepare for high school?
Writing skills are critical to success in high school, and in 7th Grade they continue to build on the skills that are taught throughout their years at GCS. I work closely with them on different types of writing, including creative writing, expository and persuasive essays and book reports. We also work on research projects so that they learn how to investigate topics from reliable online sources, cite sources properly and avoid plagiarizing, while delivering facts and drawing conclusions.
Can you tell us about the Literary Magazine?
Last year was the inaugural year of our GCS Literary Magazine, “The Word on North Street,” which was created as a way to showcase all of the amazing writers, poets and artists we have at GCS. We accepted submissions for Grades K through 8, and I worked closely with our team of 6th and 7th Graders on the selections, layout and editing. I was impressed with their dedication and commitment to creating the magazine, and I’m looking forward to this year’s publication.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Baseball and music are both passions of mine. I love to head to both major and minor league baseball games when I can, and I enjoy live concerts - my taste in music is pretty eclectic, so I usually find good concert options close to home.