Language Arts classes integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Literature and writing are intertwined. The writing will reflect the variety of genres to which students are exposed. At the middle school level, writing is a developmental process beginning with the writer’s experience, imagination and the arts. Students will focus on the process of writing as well as the product; therefore, they will participate in brainstorming sessions preceding writing, peer and teacher conferences, revision of drafts, and publication of final pieces. Mechanical and grammatical skills will be taught in context. Word cells vocabulary, not in context, is taught to help the students build an understanding of the relationship between word parts and new vocabulary. Other vocabulary is taken from the context of the reading done in class.
The seventh grade English language arts program is an integrated approach with the primary emphasis on the acquisition and refinement of reading, writing, speaking, viewing, and listening skills. The course offers instruction through traditional and contemporary literary selections, writing instruction and activities, and developmentally appropriate study aids to teach language skills. Reading selections, organized by genre, are taken from the student textbook, selected trade books, and other developmentally appropriate materials to encourage a comprehensive study of the types of literature; including drama, short story, essay, novel, and poetry. Conventions and vocabulary are taught in connection with the various reading selections and supported with outside or independent reading, spelling, and word cells study. Writing is emphasized as an essential way to develop, clarify, and communicate ideas in persuasive, expository, narrative, and expressive discourse. The steps of the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing) are followed for both analytical and creative writing assignments, allowing students to focus on the fundamental traits of good writing.
The eighth-grade integrated English language arts program connects literature, communication, and vocabulary with themes: identity, choices, justice, and diversity. Through essential questions that revolve around the four themes, students examine the identity, decisions, and motivations of literary characters and real people – including themselves. Most importantly, they learn to make thoughtful connections to their own lives and the world. Students develop their understanding of writing and literary concepts and apply them to increasingly difficult and diverse material. Students are encouraged to ask questions, be reflective, make choices, and take risks on their way to becoming increasingly independent learners. Students’ learning styles and multiple intelligences are honored through differentiated instruction.