The 6th grade English Language Arts program is literature-based, coordinating reading and writing skills with specific texts. Students read and discuss literature and are expected to respond to material through creative and analytical writing as well as in an oral format. Incorporated into the writing curriculum is a review of paragraph structure.
Students then become familiar with the longer form of a four-paragraph essay to respond to questions about their reading. In addition to literature, there is a comprehensive skills program that focuses on strengthening students’ vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. Students will take the New York State ELA exam in January. Below, find some of the specific program components:
Literary Analysis and Reading Skills
Students read an array of novels in 6th grade, including, Where the Red Fern Grows, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Dogsong, The Egypt Game, Maniac Magee, Heartbeat, Trouble River, and Romeo and Juliet. Students engage in a range of activities in order to explore the pieces read, including literature circles, cooperative learning, and project-based field work. Students also read assorted literature genres throughout the year. The Language of Literature textbooks are utilized for reading short stories, newspaper articles, and poems. The textbooks are also utilized to teach grammar and literary concepts, such as irony, conflict, characterization, and more.
All students keep a “response log” in which they record personal responses to text selections they read. These responses are assigned as homework; one is randomly chosen to receive a grade each week. The “response log” encourages the children to further deepen their personal understanding of the text. Students also engage in a weekly writing assignment—these range from creative to informational writing. Some examples of the weekly writing assignment would be: Personal Narrative, Response to Literature, Interpretive Essay, Character Sketch, Sonnet. Students are held to rigorous writing standards in which their mechanical writing aspects (spelling, grammar, punctuation) as well as content, comprise the overall grade. Students work on multiple drafts of a written piece, utilizing self and peer-editing skills.
Grammar lessons take place weekly. The scope of grammar instruction includes, but is not limited to, homophones, run-on sentences and fragment sentences, editing techniques, diagramming sentences, verb phrases, kinds of sentences, subject, object, and possessive pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections, verbals and verbal phrases, subject-verb agreement, capitalization, punctuation.
Students are introduced to new vocabulary weekly. Utilizing the current novel text, appropriate and comprehensive vocabulary is chosen from a weekly set of chapters. Students utilize the vocabulary in class daily. Students complete weekly vocabulary assignments and take a weekly vocabulary test.
Students complete weekly spelling assignments based on grade level and individual needs. Students complete a weekly spelling test.
The Shakespeare Festival is a culmination of the students’ hard work studying the life and words of Mr. William Shakespeare. The children engage in an exciting and interactive unit on Shakespeare, examining the entirety of his colorful life, learning his techniques, and reading his plays. They then create an amazing performance for fellow pupils, friends, and family at the annual Festival. The 7th grade examines the supernatural in Macbeth, with its war and weird sisters. The Shakespeare Festival itself is a wonderful celebration of song, speech, performance and merriment developed and executed by the students themselves. It is a combination of theatrics, history and original works of writing, presented by a costumed and excited middle school each year.