Middle School English

The Philosophy

The study of English in the Middle School concerns itself as much with process as with products; teachers help students develop and deepen their skills in language arts. Building on students’ earlier experiences in elementary school, middle school English teachers provide opportunities for students to explore the call of stories, discover ideas, appreciate language, and find their voices. Through collaboration, individual pursuits, and class discussion, students are guided and taught fundamental strategies intended to develop their reading and writing skills.

English 6

Sixth grade English students become active explorers of spoken and written language. Students investigate and analyze the basic components of a story—plot, character, conflict, setting, and theme—through works across genres via responses, reflections, and active reading strategies. Students read The Night Diary, Navigating Early, and The Giver and explore concepts of theme, family, and identity through creative writing assignments, short answer responses and are introduced to the structure of analytical paragraphs. Students explore these ideas further through an independent reading program in which they create and present reading projects. One aspect of the sixth grade writing curriculum is the effective composition of essays and the literary skills necessary to provide textual evidence. In addition, students engage in creative writing activities, which include skits, poetry, and stories. Throughout the year, a variety of activities and lessons reinforce grammar and mechanics skills, vocabulary, and precision in language.

English 7

Seventh grade students learn how to communicate effectively, think creatively, and express themselves with clarity. Through a wide variety of literature that includes, but is not limited to, The Outsiders, Look Both Ways, and One Crazy Summer. Students use active reading strategies to investigate each author’s style of writing, as well as the significance of stories in their lives and how those stories reflect the world in which they were written. Students continue to discover new authors and genres through the independent reading program as well as in the creation and presentation of reading projects. The seventh grade writing curriculum focuses on both analytical and creative writing. Students hone their essay-writing skills while also finding their voices through the writing of reflections, short answer essays/responses, short stories, and poems. The study of language is incorporated into all aspects of seventh-grade English, including instruction on the fundamentals of grammar, vocabulary, and literary devices.

English 8

The thematic focus in eighth grade English centers on the concepts of individual and collective identity. Students look closely at what factors help to shape a person’s identity and hence perspective. Throughout the year, students explore this theme and continue to build upon the skills they learned in sixth and seventh grades through a variety of reading experiences, writing assignments, and short and long term projects. As readers, students review and practice using close reading strategies learned during the past two years and focus on more complex ways to analyze and reflect on books and visual media through the reading of texts that include, but are not limited to, American Born Chinese, brown girl dreaming, The 57 Bus, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students also explore a variety of genres through class texts and work to increase their reading fluency through independent book choices. As writers, students write personal reflections, poetry, analysis, fiction, short answers, and personal responses, incorporating traditional text and multimodal writing styles. While grammar is taught through direct instruction, it is practiced and reinforced through written work and supplemented by an online IXL program, with particular attention given to comma rules affecting complex sentence structure. Additionally, students continue to build their vocabulary bank through the study of vocabulary words drawn from Wordly Wise.