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Foundations in Middle School Language Arts
This course prepares sixth grade and beginning middle school students for an advanced middle school language arts curriculum. The course is divided into four units, and each unit culminates in a final project that integrates the essential skills of language arts: reading, writing, critical thinking, and grammar.
In the first unit, students study classical philosophy to learn about critical thinking and persuasion and present a persuasive speech to the class on a topic of their choosing.
In the second unit, students learn how to apply advanced grammatical concepts to their writing. As they become masters of making language work for them, they practice their skills as creative writers. By the end of the unit, they have a collection of polished creative writing pieces.
In the third unit, students develop strong research skills that will benefit them in any humanities classroom. They learn how to judge the quality of research sources, produce annotated bibliographies, and write feature articles that incorporate their research.
In the final unit, students learn all the skills necessary to fully engage, explore, and enjoy A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. At the end of the unit, students memorize speeches from the play and use their public speaking and literary analysis skills to build strong performances.
What happens in class?
Each unit of Foundations in Middle School Language Arts begins with an exploratory period in which students learn new skills. Students learn and apply these skills across the spectrum of language arts: reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, interpretation, and critical thinking. As the unit develops, students become active agents who use their new tools to engage with the unit project.
Each day of class will include a blend of the following types of activities:
- A review of the skills learned in the previous lesson
- A full-class discussion in which students practice their critical thinking and public speaking skills
- A writing assignment in which students build writing stamina through smaller writing prompts or push their unit project to the next stage
- A reading assignment in which students read a text and develop close reading skills with the teacher’s guidance and support
Students should expect to spend about 60–90 minutes on homework every week. Homework will include: practicing skills learned in class through questions in the Homework Tab, long-term writing assignments connected to the unit project, and assigned reading in one of the four quarterly textbooks.
Students will receive direct, oral feedback from their teacher during class. This in-person feedback is key in helping students revise and improve their writing while they are working on the unit projects. At the end of each writing project, students can expect to receive extensive written feedback from their teacher.