Oral Language, Reading, Writing
The Middle School English department has developed a program with high expectations in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, media and literacy. Middle School teachers provide instruction in which students demonstrate the correct use of language, spelling, and mechanics by applying grammatical conventions in writing and speaking. We support an appreciation and understanding of literacy by promoting independent reading of a wide variety of genres that include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Students plan, draft, revise and edit narratives, descriptive essays, and expository works. Writing instruction includes editing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure and paragraphing. Students are also required to apply reading and writing skills across the curriculum and to respond critically to literature. Vocabulary development is continuously reinforced with attention to connotations and figurative language. Students demonstrate the ability to identify and describe literary elements such as setting, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, and characters. Active participation is expected in conversations, group discussions, and oral presentations. The use of media is encouraged to demonstrate proficiency through the use of print and electronic information resources.
The middle school department reinforces the previously mentioned strands throughout the year, with each Grade level focusing on specific skills.
During the course of the year, the Sixth Grade student reads a variety of fiction and nonfiction for appreciation and comprehension. They also select materials for independent reading during visits to the library. Students continue to familiarize themselves with library and dictionary skills, as well as analytical skills such as cause and effect and fact and opinion. Because they are active participants in classroom discussions, they are able to present their personal opinions (orally and through writing). The student is able to use all stages of the writing process: prewriting, rough draft, editing, revising, and final draft with attention to composition and style as well as sentence formation, usage, and mechanics. Writing styles include narrative (fictional story), descriptive (reading responses and journal entries) and expository (compare and contrast).
The Seventh Grade curriculum continues the use of fiction by reading novels, Greek mythology, poetry, and drama. Exploration of literary elements in novels, such as The Outsiders and The Giver, focuses on character development, types of conflict, and quotation analysis. Through poetry, literary elements such as symbolism, metaphors, rhyme, rhythm, and hyperbole are explored. The life and works of William Shakespeare are introduced when reading the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Students also improve and practice their oral language and expression skills. The writing program includes narrative, expository (compare and contrast), and persuasive writing. Students are introduced to correct usage of the MLA format.
Eight Grade students continue to explore literary elements with particular focus on theme (implied and explicit), characterization, and point of view. Various works of fiction, such as novels, science fiction, and short stories, are used to analyze the elements. Students research the author’s viewpoint and background to determine their impact on works of literature. Evidence from text is used to support the students’ opinions. In the area of writing, students continue to write narratives as well as persuasive (editorials), expository (compare and contrast), and informational essays. Particular focus is paid to the use of transitional phrases. Students continue to develop their research and citation skills through the use of electronic resources.