Language Arts teachers, Janis Jones, Julie Scarpelli, Mari Weiss, and Marianne McBride continue to build on the writing, reading, grammar, and spelling foundation begun in the Lower School. Students begin the year working on the complexities of a five-paragraph expository essay. The essay is taught as an interdisciplinary activity along with comprehensive note-taking and the outlining of information. Writing progresses from expository and creative in sixth and seventh grades to an emphasis on analytical and expository in eighth grade, culminating in a major research paper. All writing is taught as a process involving the steps of brainstorming, outlining, revision, and editing. Students write several five-paragraph essays throughout their three years of Middle School.
Reading skills focus on increasing vocabulary, critical thinking, and comprehension with a reading list that complements the History curriculum. All three grades require outside reading in addition to the assigned in-class literature, which in sixth grade includes The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton and The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, in seventh grade A Midsummer Night’s Dream and To Kill a Mockingbird, and in eighth grade Macbeth and Lord of the Flies.
Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling continue to be critical components of the Middle School Language Arts curriculum. The grammar program looks at word and sentence analysis, including sentence diagramming, and examines the writing styles of literature read in class. All Middle School students are enrolled in an online individualized vocabulary program that tracks their progress over time.
It is our intention to instill a lasting appreciation for literature and to help develop a fluent and strong writing voice in all of our students.