6th Grade English
The Middle School 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 and essay structure. In addition to literature, there is a comprehensive skills program that focuses on strengthening student’s grammar, vocabulary, and spelling in their writing.
LITERARY ANALYSIS AND READING SKILLS
Students read an array of novels in the Middle School, including, but not limited to, The Egypt Game, A Single Shard, Where the Red Fern Grows, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Dogsong, The Giver, The Outsiders, Romeo and Juliet, Hatchet, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, A Wrinkle in Time, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Long Walk to Water, Macbeth, The Chosen, Lord of the Flies, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Inside Out & Back Again, The Contender, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Old Man and the Sea, Hamlet, The Call of the Wild, A Separate Peace, The Pearl, Oedipus, The Grapes of Wrath, Black Ships before Troy: The Story of the Iliad, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Othello. Students engage in a range of activities in order to explore the pieces read, including novel-based units and cooperative learning. Students also read assorted literature genres throughout the year. The Holt McDougal 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.
Students write response logs where they focus on answering questions that correlate with the current novel or story we are reading and encourage students to further deepen their personal understanding of the text. Students also engage in Writer’s Workshop assignments; focusing on: Argument, Informational/Explanatory Writing, and Narrative Writing. The goal of the writing program is to guide students to construct sound arguments on substantive topics and use support to back up their statements. Students also engage in additional writing assignments—these range from creative to informational writing. Some examples of the weekly writing assignment would be: Personal Narrative, Response to Literature, Interpretive Essay, and Poetry. 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 teacher conferencing, and 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, subject-verb agreement, capitalization, and punctuation.
Students are introduced to new vocabulary weekly. Utilizing the current novel text, appropriate and comprehensive vocabulary is chosen and evaluated using context clues and the dictionary to determine meaning. 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 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.