MIDDLE SCHOOL LANGUAGE ARTS
The Middle School Language Arts program will assist the student in developing competency in the use of the English language. The curriculum is anchored in four overarching strands: Reading Literature and Informational Texts, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and Language Foundations. Each of these strands is developed throughout the Middle School Language Arts curriculum. The Reading strand emphasizes the development, selection and application of strategies to enhance comprehension and critical thinking as well as developing skils for analysis and intrepretation of Fiction and Non Fiction texts. Utilizing the Writer’s Workshop model, the Writing strand focuses on the development and refinement of ideas and strategies that enable writers to vary form and style in order to write for diverse purposes, audiences, and contexts. The Listening and Speaking strand addresses the listening skills students need in order to receive and construct meaning from verbal messages, as well as the speaking skills of word choice, tone, style and organization that best suit audience and purpose. The ability to thrive in each of the three strands is dependent upon a firm grasp of the foundations of the English Language. These foundations include vocabulary development, proper form in sentence and paragraph construction, grammar and fluency.
LANGUAGE ARTS 6
Language Arts 6 utilizes a variety of methods to promote reading and writing in order to develop the students’ abilities in receptive and expressive communication. The focus is on the four learning strands – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and Language Foundations.
Reading and Writing Reading and written work are based on the Readers and Writers Workshop model. Students read a number of short stories and novels during the year, individually, in groups, or as a class. Students will be expected and encouraged to read a number of different genres as they read independently. All students will read at least two full-length novels in class in addition to short stories, non-fiction articles, and poetry. Novels will focus on a social issue, historical fiction that will serve as a springboard for learning about Theme and writing a Historical Fiction story. Research of a Historical event is part of this process. Other writing that is explored in depth in sixth grade is narrative-memoir writing and the literary essay. The workshop model allows for whole class instruction as a topic is introduced, supported by a number of mini-lessons, as well as small group instruction and individual conferencing.
Listening and Speaking Students will give at least one presentation each semester. These may be book talks, genre talks, or related to their readers and writers workshop activities. Students are expected to pay attention to both the presentation skills themselves, as well as including interesting, high quality content. As a listener they are expected to engage actively and be able to ask questions, and make critical suggestions to the presenter in a positive and tactful manner.
Language Foundations Language foundations underpin every aspect of the curriculum. These include language structure, usage and conventions, figurative language, media techniques, and genre. This understanding should help students to create, critique and discuss both print and non-print texts.
LANGUAGE ARTS 7
Language Arts 7 is a comprehensive program incorporating reading, writing, listening and speaking, and language foundation skills. Students are introduced to critical thinking and analysis of a variety of genres and these skills are developed throughout the year.
Reading & Writing
Students must be able to navigate a variety of genres in order to become competent contributors to society. They must be well versed in reading, writing, and discussing narrative, persuasive, informational, and analytical texts. The 7th grade Language Arts curriculum will explore these genres using an inquiry-based approach. Students will discover the attributes of specific genres by reading mentor texts. Following the writer's’ workshop model, students will apply their understandings of various genres as they write their own pieces. The genre focus of Language Arts 7 will include the following: Realistic Fiction, Short Story, Argumentative Essays, Literary Analysis, and Poetry.
Listening & Speaking
Oral communication skills are practiced through various presentations, Harkness discussions, and book talks, which serve as formative practice building to formal presentations throughout the year. Formal presentations provide students with the opportunity to practice the use of multimedia tools that enhance the communication of their ideas. An emphasis is placed on the oral presentation skills of clear and expressive speech, appropriate body language and eye contact.
Language foundations and grammar development are emphasized in the context of the instruction in expository, persuasive, narrative and other forms of writing. In this way, writing and grammar instruction take place in an authentic setting that can be applied directly to student work. Vocabulary study emerges from class literature and genre studies. Research methodologies and citation of sources are included throughout the year.
LANGUAGE ARTS 8
Language Arts 8 focuses on the four strands of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and Language Foundation skills. Significant demands are placed on students’ critical thinking skills and the ability to support this thinking with evidence.
Reading & Writing
Students must be able to navigate a variety of genres in order to become competent contributors to society. They must be well versed in reading, writing, and discussing narrative, persuasive, informational, and analytical texts. As such, the 8th grade Language Arts curriculum strives to strike a balance among these genres. Through an inquiry based approach, students uncover the attributes of specific genres by reading mentor texts. Following the reading and writing workshop model, students apply their understanding as they write their own pieces in the genre. Language Arts 8 genres include Dystopian Fiction Book Clubs, Essential Research Skills, Short Stories, and Literary Analysis (both independent reading and class novel).
Listening & Speaking
Oral communication skills are practiced through Harkness discussions, which serve as formative practice building to formal presentations and anylastic discussions throughout the year. Additionally, formal presentations provide students the opportunity to practice the use of multimedia tools that enhance the communication of their ideas. An emphasis is placed on the oral presentation skills of clear and expressive speech, appropriate body language and eye contact. Students in Grade 8 develop the ability to select specific media that most effectively supports the communication of their ideas.
Grammar development is emphasized in conjunction with instruction in expository, persuasive, narrative and literary analysis forms of writing. Writing instruction centers on the Writers’ Workshop model with a focus on those traits deemed fundamental to the genre being studied at that time. In this way writing and grammar instruction take place in an authentic setting that allows them to be directly applied to student work. Vocabulary study is selected from class literature and other texts used in the classroom. Research methodologies, evaluation and citation of sources are included throughout the year.