Language and Literature in English
Listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and presenting is at the center of the program, which primarily focuses on language and literature from a variety of cultures and different historical periods as we explore and analyze diverse aspects of culture. For each year of the program, all students are heterogeneously integrated. Units are conceptually centered on a text from a variety of forms, such as novels and short stories to poetry and plays, as well as a variety of genres ranging from realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy, from classic to modern works from a diverse selection of authors. In addition to the study of these texts, vocabulary and grammar studies run concurrently throughout the year. The middle school years are an ideal setting to explore genres to develop a lifelong love of reading and delve into creative writing to develop an appreciation for the art of the author’s craft. This appreciation of language and literature as an art form coexists with the targeted development of students’ academic reading and writing skills, from reading comprehension to literary analysis essays.
The sixth-grade program develops a solid foundation of skills that is reinforced throughout seventh grade and then strengthened and expanded in eighth grade as students engage with texts from different times, places, cultures, geographical regions, historical periods, and perspectives. During each year of the program, students address multiple skills so they have the opportunity to fully develop subject-specific skills over time to provide students with comprehensive preparation for high school and beyond.
The content is approached through inquiry-based, student-centered units that allow for the development of foundational skills through formative practice that builds into summative assessments, as students learn and refine essential writing skills while engaging in the larger concepts in each unit. Students are encouraged to develop critical, creative, and personal approaches to studying and analyzing literary and non-literary works using student-centered, inquiry-based learning strategies. We enjoy the rich diversity of our students who co-create a dynamic and interactive classroom environment in which we can explore this subject through a multitude of perspectives. Each unit is developed with a specific focus that students are encouraged to explore through conceptual and debatable questions.
Aims and Objectives:
- Use language as a vehicle for thought, creativity, reflection, learning, self-expression, and social interaction.
- Develop the skills involved in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and presenting in a variety of contexts.
- Develop critical, creative, and personal approaches to studying and analyzing literary and non-literary works.
- Engage in literature from a variety of cultures and represent different historical periods.
- Explore and analyze aspects of personal, host, and other cultures through literary and non-literary works.
- Explore language through a variety of media and modes.
- Develop a lifelong interest in reading widely.
- Apply language skills and knowledge in a variety of real-life contexts.
- Develop and strengthen their oral skills as they construct meaning through the process of articulating thoughts in a variety of tasks that ask students to engage with oral communication skills both as speakers and listeners.
- Develop receptive and productive written communication skills as they seek to understand and analyze the language, content, structure, meaning, and significance of both familiar and previously unseen oral, written, and visual texts, as well as to understand and apply terminology in context and to analyze the effects of the author’s choices on an audience.
- Develop, organize, and communicate thoughts, ideas, and information in a variety of genres, to develop their written communication skills both as readers and writers.
- Compose pieces that apply appropriate literary and/or non-literary features to serve the context and intention; compare and contrast works, and connect themes across and within genres; express an informed and independent response to literary and non-literary texts.
- Use language to narrate, describe, analyze, explain, argue, persuade, inform, entertain, and express feelings, use language accurately; use an appropriate and varied register, vocabulary, and idiom; use correct grammar and syntax; and use appropriate and varied sentence structure; use correct spelling.
- Strengthen the organization of their written or oral productions by creating work that employs organizational structures and language-specific conventions throughout a variety of text types; organize ideas and arguments in a sustained, coherent and logical manner; employ appropriate critical apparatus such as quotes, footnotes, and references.
- Beyond Expectations: Language allows us to communicate who we are (identity, character) and how we interact (point of view, relationships) with the world around us.
- Family Stories: Stylistic choices allow readers to connect with characters to find commonality and diversity in families.
- Empathy: Understanding the perspectives of different characters in literature helps readers practice empathy and consider the author's purpose.
- Dystopian Worlds: Audiences and authors make connections as they consider a variety of possible consequences of scientific and technical advances in Dystopian worlds.
- Equality and Justice: Authors structure texts to share perspectives on inequality.
- International Fantasy Journeys: Writers use elements of genre in creative ways to express a theme.
- Identities and Relationships: Connections between individuals and groups influence psychological and social development.
- Crafting Suspense: Authors intentionally and artistically create a mystery through carefully crafted literary devices.
- Perfect Worlds: Multi-level systems, as established in the setting of a science fiction novel, shape the reality and perspective of the protagonist.
- Risky Writing: Writers use a creative process to craft, explore and express their ideas through various genres that guide the development of settings, characters, and themes
- Juries and Justice: Government judicial systems exist to educate on and promote citizen rights and responsibilities.
- Revolution!: Because authors have a purpose for their writing, they consider audience and context to effectively communicate and influence the reader’s point of view as they explore the intersections of power and privilege.
- Moral Growth and Memoirs: Although a character's identity is affected by the point of view and context, perspective may change through the development of moral reasoning and ethical judgment.
- Love and Madness: Through the context of characters and themes in poetry and plays, writers creatively explore social constructions of reality.
- Biography and Memory: The exchange and interaction of ideas, through physical as well as literary journeys, come in many forms, structures, and genres that connect us through space and time.