Middle School Curriculum

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English Literature is a window into new ideas, cultures, and the experiences of others, as well as an opportunity to see our own experiences reflected on the printed page. Students read literary works from an array of authors and genres, including nonfiction. We teach reading as an active process that includes annotations, written responses, and class discussions. Writing is employed as a thinking tool as well as a means of self-expression. Students continually revise their writing to improve their content, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and mechanics, with the support of one-on-one student-teacher writing conferences, written feedback from the teacher, and peer reaction. Outside of class, students participate in an independent reading program that includes visits to our Middle School Library, literature circles, book talks, and journaling. Our visiting author program gives students the chance to meet and hear from authors whose works they have read.
  • English 6

    Sixth-grade English focuses on empowering student voices and developing independent and confident readers, writers, and public speakers. Throughout the year, 6th-grade English explores the theme of “diverse perspectives.” Assignments ask students to read and analyze a diverse collection of novels, plays, memoirs, short stories, and poems. Through class discussions, written responses, and presentations to the class, students consider the ways that literature can act as a window into the perspectives of others, and as a mirror to better explore our own identities. Class texts include poetry by Nikki Giovanni, N. Scott Momaday, Langston Hughes, Mekeel Mcbride, and Warsan Shire; The Crossover by Kwame Alexander; The Friends Series, a graphic memoir series written by our 2022 visiting authors, Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham; Refugee by Alan Gratz; selections from We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai; The Giver by Lois Lowry; Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson; Almost American Girl, a graphic memoir by our 2023 visiting author Robin Ha; The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.

    To foster a community of readers, students are also asked to complete independent reading throughout the year and periodically present booktalks to recommend books to their classmates. Writing projects complement each text and require students to practice various forms of writing: analytical, expository, editorial, persuasive, autobiographical, narrative, and poetic. Vocabulary lessons and grammar mini-units enhance reading comprehension and writing skills.
  • English 7

    The theme of 7th-grade English is emerging adulthood. Students read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts that explore what it means to become a “grown-up,” and how adolescence is marked by a growing understanding of one’s own identity, agency, and values. Class texts include Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender, Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, and Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, along with additional essays, short stories, and poetry. The ultimate goal for 7th grade English is that students become more critical, confident, and sophisticated readers and writers. In the domain of writing, students will study and compose in multiple genres, including narratives and literary analysis, with a workshop approach that equally values self-reflection, peer feedback, and coaching from the teacher. In the domain of reading, students will engage in mature text discussions of class novels and develop strong literary thinking skills — how to make literal, inferential, and critical observations about the text and how to recognize authorial craft in fiction — that they’ll apply in their personal reading lives. Throughout the year, students should also be reading books of their own choosing, with regular independent reading cycles taking place in class. The goal is to become confident, independent readers who seek and find new books/authors/genres, reread old ones, abandon boring ones, and read equally for learning, pleasure, and the experience of being enrapt by a book.
  • English 8

    In 8th grade, students explore a timeless question: Are human beings fundamentally good or evil? Through a study of canonical and contemporary texts, students will consider how access to power influences human behavior, and how people respond in the face of unjust leadership and oppression. A common theme of revolution runs through all of the texts. Students will examine these patterns in history and in literature and contemplate their power to make change for a better world. English texts include: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Night by Elie Wiesel, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, and Internment by Samira Ahmed, among others. English classes are a mix of discussion and debates, group activities, writing activities, and mini-lessons. Writing assignments demand abstract thinking, inferential reasoning, and the incorporation of textual evidence. Vocabulary work derives from the study of Greek and Latin roots. Students continue to hone grammar and punctuation skills through exercises and frequent writing activities.


  • Photo of Tiffany Amin Javaheri
    Tiffany Amin Javaheri
    Middle School English Teacher and Advisor
  • Photo of Sarah Paton
    Sarah Paton
    Middle School English Teacher and Advisor, 6th Grade Dean
  • Photo of Anna Rekate
    Anna Rekate
    Middle School English Teacher and Advisor