Middle School ELA Courses


In the sixth grade students develop their language skills for present and future learning. The language arts program includes spoken and written language. Students learn to express ideas, attitudes and feelings effectively in verbal and non-verbal ways through oral discussions, oral reports, debates, visual presentations and story telling.

Reading instruction focuses on the development of vocabulary and comprehension skills. The special techniques needed to gather information, make inferences and draw conclusions from readings in the various content areas are emphasized.

Students are introduced to our rich literary heritage in prose and poetry and are encouraged to read for pleasure. They engage in research projects and are also taught specific study skills.

Students continue to improve their composition skills through the process approach. Brainstorming, drafting, revision, editing and the mechanics of grammar continue to be emphasized through this process.

Grades 7 & 8: English Language Arts

Mission Statement

The mission of the English Department is to instill in students the love and practice of clear, concise, and creative communication of experience.

In accordance with the four English Language Arts Standards, students will read a minimum of 25 books or the equivalent per year across all content areas and write at least 1000 words per month across all content areas.

Seventh Grade

English 7 is structured to review and reinforce the programs of basic studies in English begun in the lower grades and to expand and enrich these studies with more sophisticated experiences and materials in language, reading, and writing. Literature includes the novel, short works of fiction, and various types of nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Historical novels, such as My Brother Sam Is Dead and The Witch of Blackbird Pond, are also read. Students learn to read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding, literary response and expression, critical analysis and evaluation, and social interaction. Grammar, which is taught within the context of writing, includes sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, paragraphing, and vocabulary. Research projects are assigned and research skills, such as note taking and documentation, are taught.

Eighth Grade

English 8 continues to stress the study of language, literature, composition, and vocabulary. Students are encouraged to explore their language in order to appreciate its heritage and to use it more effectively. Literary devices, introduced in English 7, are reviewed and reinforced through students' creative writing and essay writing. Persuasive writing is stressed culminating in a joint English Language Arts – Social Studies research project. Several novels, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, are studied along with works of non-fiction, short stories, plays, and poetry. Grammar is taught within the context of writing. Students practice the four strands of English Language Arts in accordance with New York State standards. They learn to read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding, literary response and expression, critical analysis and evaluation, and social interaction. The Grade 8 English Language Arts assessment is given to every eighth grader during the academic year.

Introduction to Drama: (One Semester 8th Grade Elective Course) ½ credit

Drama is an eighth grade elective class which focuses on introducing students to a study of the theatre arts. The class will cover the techniques and knowledge necessary for students to exhibit self confidence, ensemble and good public speaking skills as well as beginning to understand acting as an art form. Students will read, analyze and perform dramatic literature within the classroom. At the end of this class students will be prepared to participate in the high school theater electives and shows.

Journalism: (One Semester 8th Grade Elective Course) ½ credit

Journalism introduces eighth-grade students to print journalism. Students will focus on writing. They will learn the style of print journalism and will also write creatively and in essay form. The course is computer-intensive with students utilizing and learning a variety of software, including Quark. Students will work on the internet in a supervised format. The class will have strong ties to the club, Smoke Signals, the middle school's newspaper. The course will culminate with student involvement in the layout of that publication. Many students will gain a love of journalism and continue to be involved in the high-school journalism program.