Middle School Curriculum

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English Literature is a window into new ideas, cultures, and the experience 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 Library Media Center, reading challenges, Literature Circles tailored to themes explored in class, the opportunity to read at school on a daily basis, and our annual book fair. Our visiting author program gives students the chance to meet and hear from authors whose works they have read.
  • English 6

    Sixth-grade English begins with an in-depth study of writing mechanics, preparing students to write confidently and clearly throughout the year. We explore literature through diverse novels, poems, and short stories. Class texts include All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg, Refugee by Alan Gratz, Almost American Girl by Robin Ha, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Giver by Lois Lowry, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Other Words for Home—a novel written by our 2021 visiting author, Jasmine Warga—and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Literature-based vocabulary units enhance reading comprehension and individual voice development in student work. Writing projects complement each text and expose students to various forms of writing: analytical, argumentative, editorial, expository, and poetry. Through regular Student Reading Challenges, students are encouraged to read books of their choice.
  • English 7

    The theme of 7th-grade English is emerging adulthood. Students read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts that explore the formation of identity and agency in the transition from child to adult. Readings include Summerlost by Ally Condie, New Kid by Jerry Craft, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, The Length of a String 21 by Elissa Brent Weissman, along with additional essays, short stories, and poetry. This year, we are also reading High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner, our visiting author for the 2021–2022 school year. Through a combination of narrative and analytical writing, students explore the concept of individual voice, while also refining written and oral expression. They continue to develop vocabulary and grammar skills through regular mini-lessons and writing practice. Through the Independent Reading program, as well as Student Reading Challenges, students are encouraged to read books of their choice.
  • 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: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Animal Farm by George Orwell, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, among others. This year, we are also reading High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner and Internment by Samira Ahmed, since both writers will be our visiting authors during the 2021–2022 school year. English classes will be 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. They continue to hone grammar and punctuation skills through exercises and frequent writing activities.


  • Photo of Jamie Brink
    Jamie Brink
    Middle School, English Teacher
  • Photo of Sarah Paton
    Sarah Paton
    Middle School, English Teacher and Advisor
  • Photo of Anna Rekate
    Anna Rekate
    Grade 8, English Teacher
Ambitious academics.  Engaged students.  Balanced lives.

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