LANGUAGE ARTS LITERACY PROGRAM
6th to 8th grade
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The language arts program at the middle school is designed to develop, reinforce, and refine essential skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and in alignment with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. The standards suggest that students who are college and career ready should demonstrate independence; build strong content knowledge; respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose and discipline; comprehend as well as critique; value evidence; use technology and digital media strategically and capably; and come to understand other perspectives and cultures. To address these expectations in an authentic and meaningful way, the two middle school courses (Language Arts and Writing Workshop) are connected using six essential concepts: awareness, change, ethics, identity, perspective, and power. These concepts are integrated into the program through exposure to a variety of fictional and information texts and writing genres.
The Language Arts course aims to develop critical readers, writers, and thinkers. Students are exposed to a variety of genres: drama, poetry, and contemporary and traditional texts in fiction and nonfiction. Classroom instruction emphasizes literature discussion, meaningful written response to literature, vocabulary development, and application of reading strategies. As part of Language Arts students participate in independent reading in order to foster a love of reading and encourage life-long learning.
The Writing Workshop course aims to develop both technical and creative writers. Students will explore argumentative, informational, and narrative genres in a workshop format. By definition, a writing workshop is a student-centered model of instruction, designed to meet the needs of each individual writer through brief mini-lessons, peer and teacher conferencing, and use of portfolios in a developmentally appropriate manner. Classroom instruction emphasizes the writing process; reflection; and grammar, usage, and mechanics application in writing.
Media Center instruction is another integral part of the Language Arts and Writing Workshop. curriculum. Students employ their technology skills as they discover the vast array of information available to them in a variety of mediums. Lessons may be planned cooperatively by the media specialist and the classroom teacher and are generally developed in conjunction with classroom activities.
Presently there are two levels of instructional grouping in the grade eight language arts program. Level one (Honors) is designed for those students whose reading and writing skills exceed the expectations of a traditional eighth grade language arts program. Level one moves at an accelerated pace, provides less in class support, and expects students to have more complex analytical skills.