The Grade 7 English curriculum is designed to help students become more accurate and thoughtful readers and writers. Throughout the year, students practice and deepen their close reading and analytic skills through studying and considering thematic ideas in short stories, novels, and poems. Among the readings offered are A Raisin in the Sun, The Outsiders, Of Mice and Men, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and The House on Mango Street. Students write with increasing accuracy and depth as they expand the structure and range of their own sentences and ultimately write several longer pieces, including analytical paragraphs and stories.
Students develop the skills of effective time management, notebook organization, underlining and margin noting, vocabulary-building, and grammatical analysis. Short-term assignments, frequent reading quizzes, and an emphasis on class participation help students practice careful and prompt preparation. Imaginative and analytic long-term writing assignments along with more open-ended projects allow students to explore their creativity while they learn to plan and execute their ideas responsibly.
Grade 8 English students consider ideas in literature in increasingly abstract terms and make exciting leaps in understanding relationships within and between readings. Through discussion, writings, and activities, students find parallels within literature and between these works and their own lives. Texts studied during the year include To Kill a Mockingbird, selections from Leaving Home, an anthology of readings about journeys, A Separate Peace, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our approach to the play is tied to the study of poetry and gives students an opportunity to explore Shakespeare from multiple perspectives, including language analysis, characterization, and performance. Writing assignments grow out of the ideas and strategies identified in the reading and include a ten page story, descriptive and personal paragraphs, analytic essays, and poetry. The Grade 8 curriculum reinforces study skills introduced in Grade 7. Class time is devoted to discussion, group work, peer editing, acting, short writing exercises, grammatical analysis, and other activities that help students hone their reading and writing skills.