Castillo, Ms. Melina » Home


My name is Melina Castillo.  I'm very excited about teaching 7th grade English/Language Arts for the Film and Media Magnet on my 24th year in the education industry.  My wide experience in the field makes me appreciate the T.S. King MS community even more.  TSK has parents who are involved in their children's lives.  The teachers here are dedicated to give their best to the students and their families.  I am in a very special place!
Below are documents and assignments that my students and their parents should check often and a reminder of my expectations. These are designed to help every student do well in my classes.
This page is also designed to provide parents and students information about major assignments/projects and upcoming events.  Additionally, forms that students will use many times will be available for download here.
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 3:30 - 4:00 p.m. for students and parents (drop-ins)
One-on-one private conference or conferences with the teacher team are by appointment only on Wednesday and Thursday from 2:15 - 3:00 p.m.
Facts About Me
Education Background
1. Bachelor's Degree:  Loyola Marymount University
2. Teaching Credential:  Mount Saint Mary's College
3.  CLAD Credential (allows me to teach students who are English Language Learners):  Stanford University
4.  Master's Degree:  Pepperdine University
Professional Experience
1. 14 years teaching (so far)
2. 3 years as an Assistant Principal in middle and high school
3. 2 years as a Principal for a 6-12 SPAN school
4. Curriculum Developer
5. Teacher Coach and Mentor Teacher (Master Teacher)
6. Teacher Professional Development Developer and Trainer
7.  Administrator Trainer
Fun Facts
1. I love animals, dogs in particular :-)
2. I enjoy eating milk chocolate (Swiss and U.K. made are the best!)... yum!
3. Reading is fun!  Really!
4. I can watch CNN for hours!
5. Good coffee and good tea --- it's not a good morning without a cup.
6. Travel --- the best way to learn about and appreciate others!  I travel every chance I get.
7. I'm proud of being a multi-racial person.
8. The sound of ocean waves is relaxing.
9. Learning is fun! Truly!
10. I'm a proud nerd :-))

Recent Posts

Working on Achieve 3000

Welcome to Achieve 3000!  This year, we will be utilizing this program to help students raise their reading lexiles for informational text. Students were given the Level Set test last week, so they now know their lexiles (and grade level equivalent) reading levels.  
Every week, students will be assigned 2 lessons to complete (the number recommended by the company to maximize students' lexile gains).  Students are expected to complete these lessons by 3:30 p.m. every Friday.  Completed lessons mean that the student has done all the five steps required of each lesson.  Different parts of the lesson will be graded, so you must do your best in all of them.
Students are encouraged to annotate the texts at home, but all "activities" and "though questions" should be done in class, during lunch, or after school in Ms. Castillo's presence.
Thank you for your cooperation.

EXTRA CREDIT: L.A. Greek Festival

As you saw in the Schoology announcement, this is an extra credit opportunity for any student who needs to earn some extra points to make-up for a bad quiz grade or for assignments missed.  
This extra credit is worth 20 points, if you earn all the points.  
Please use the attached model/format to create your Google slides presentation. You may have more slides, but this sample is the minimum that you should have.
Remember to go on to learn more about the logistics like hours and parking.  If you have questions about the festival, email:
The L.A. Greek Festival will be held on October 5,6, and 7 on the grounds of the iconic Saint Sophia Cathedral located at 1324 S. Normandie Ave. (corner of Normandie and Pico) Los Angeles.
Enjoy being Greek for a day!  I might see you there! :-)

Attendance is a Key Component to Success

There is a direct correlation between a child's academic standing and attendance.  The more a child is absent, the lower the grades.  
When a child is absent, the child misses out on important class discussions that help students better understand concepts being learned.  Class discussions, small group discussions, and paired conversations help a child make meaning of new concepts and practice the application of these concepts.  When a child is absent, there is no way to duplicate those conversations.
Absent students also have the burden of having to arrange for make-up tests and quizzes, get all assigned classwork and homework, and complete the make-up work, while keeping up with the current lessons.  It is very easy for a child to fall behind when he/she is absent often.
Unless a child is really sick, a child should be in class EVERYDAY.  Aim to be absent no more than 3 times for the entire school year.  This means that appointments and travel should be made during days off or during vacation, not during the school day.
It is the child's responsibility to make up all the work missed when he/she was absent.

A note about cursive handwriting

Students are required to learn how to read and write in cursive by the 2nd semester which begins on January 2019.  Here is a recent article from The Washington Post about the rise of cursive once again.
Students were given a copy of the cursive alphabet and are encouraged to practice on their own daily.  They may show the practice pages to me for feedback.
In the 1st semester, work turned in written in good cursive will receive extra credit points. 

Develop a Growth Mindset for Success

Failure is an opportunity to learn.  Do not allow one or two fails get you down.  Learn how to have a growth mindset.  Too often, students get frustrated when subjects become more challenging.  They turn off and give up too easily. School will be more fulfilling, and you will be more motivated to succeed when you develop "grit" or a "growth mindset".

About LATE work...

1.  Late work is not accepted.  If a student is absent, work is due on the day that the student arrives unless other arrangements have been discussed with Ms. Castillo.
2.  If a student is absent, it is the child's responsibility to make arrangements about make-up work, quiz, test, or projects with Ms. Castillo on the day that the child gets back.
3.  Missing work = zero

WELCOME to a new school year!

Welcome to 7th grade, students, parents and guardians!  Please see all the posts that pertains to the 6th --> 7th transition.
Also, please read through the documents in the upcoming posts that will help you understand how the students will be graded and what will be expected of them.
You can best reach me by email:
If you email before 6 p.m. on Monday - Friday, I should be able to respond to you within the same day.
I look forward to a productive year of collaboration for the children's success!

Summer Reading Club 2018

Please click on the picture of the paper clip to see information about the Summer Reading Club. Improve your reading, compete with other students across the nation, and earn yourself a pizza party or ice cream sundae making party AND Uniform Free Day.  Top scorers will also get a book of their choice.  It's a fun way to increase your reading levels.  Come on and join!

Achieve 3000 Information

All of you have taken the Level Test for Achieve 3000 and know your Lexile levels by this time.  We have talked about what these lexiles mean.  If you would like to improve your lexiles, go to:
Then, work on at least 2 lessons a week.  Your goal is to:
1. complete the lessons
2. get 75% or more on each activity on your 1st try
After 5 of these, your lexile will start moving upward a little bit at a time.  Remember that your brain is being trained how to think a certain way, so be patient and keep it up.  Have a growth mindset, and you will grow!