Academics

English Curriculum

Seventh Grade Courses

English, Grade Seven Enriched College Preparatory  (EP)

English in grade seven is a correlated study of language, literature, vocabulary, and composition. The course emphasizes the study of basic grammatical usage and the application of those concepts studied to the writing of short paraphrased summaries of reading assignments and simple expository paragraphs based on the discussion of assigned literature selections. The course includes a thorough review of all grammatical concepts emphasized on the fifth and sixth grade levels. By recognizing formal instruction in grammar as primarily a tool to improve the written expression of ideas, the teacher seeks to augment initial language interest in an effort to ensure the student’s continued growth in the ability to write correctly and creatively. The cumulative study of vocabulary forms an integral part of the course and is an outgrowth of assigned reading selections and literature study, supplemented by a separate vocabulary text.

The student entering the seventh grade should be able to demonstrate, through the ability to write effective simple and compound sentences, the following grammatical concepts: recognition and correct use of the eight parts of speech; a thorough knowledge of the principal parts of regular and irregular verbs; recognition and correct use of the simple tense forms; recognition and correct use of subject-verb agreement; and a thorough knowledge of rules governing capitalization and basic punctuation. The student should also be able to demonstrate the ability to recognize and correct fragments and run-on sentences.

Apart from a selected review of grammatical concepts studied earlier, the course includes the following additional grammar study: the recognition and use of pronoun/antecedent agreement; the recognition and grammatical uses of prepositional phrases; the recognition of verbal phrases; the recognition and use of adjective and adverb clauses; the recognition and use of complex and compound-complex sentences; the recognition and use of consistent verb tenses in composition; the use of dependent clauses and phrases to improve sentence structure and style; the correct punctuation of clauses and phrases; the recognition and use of the parts of sentences; the remediation of run-on and fragment sentence problems; and the practical application of the grammar studied.

Students refine verbal skills through the integrated study of vocabulary, grammar, composition, and literature. Vocabulary instruction focuses on the Greek and Latin roots of the English language, preparing students to discern the meaning of unfamiliar words. Grammar lessons emphasize a knowledge of grammatical structures as a means of improving writing proficiency, composition portion of the curriculum guides students through the construction of expository, narrative, descriptive and persuasive paragraphs. Students write compositions based upon experience and literary examples honed from a study of a variety of literature genres. This writing begins with the students' experience with required summer reading books. The study of literature continues during the year and includes such genres as realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy. These genres are studied in the form of short stories, poetry, fables, novels, and drama.

English, Grade Seven College Preparatory (CP)

The Seventh Grade Academic English class focuses on building the skills and study habits using the basic curriculum as the college prep English class only at a slower and more concentrated pace. Classes range from 10-15 students enabling more class participation and individual attention. Tests and essays are more concrete in nature; however, abstract thinking is given attention during the year, especially in the area of writing. Specifically, grammar instruction follows the college prep instruction but with more emphasis on proficiency in areas of review as well as more drill on the basics of grammar. Likewise, vocabulary instruction is consistent with the college prep level but at a slower, concentrated pace. Literature diverges slightly from the college prep course to accommodate the needs of these students. Academic students generally take a seventh grade reading course. Literature instruction dovetails with reading to give these students added support and experience with literature. Similar college prep genres and types of literature are covered.

English, Grade Seven Honors College Preparatory (HP)

Seventh grade Honors English is a course designed for those students who have demonstrated superior English skills and keen interest in English. The student entering this honors class should be able to demonstrate mastery of those formal grammatical concepts studied earlier; skills in writing effective sentences of various types; ability to develop unified, coherent paragraphs about the literature studied; and the capacity to maintain consistently high scores on standardized tests measuring reading comprehension and verbal skills.

Generally speaking, this class has the same basic curriculum and objectives as the seventh grade college prep course; however, because the honors student should be able to gain knowledge at a faster pace than the regular student, more time is available for enrichment through wider reading and literature study, additional writing assignments, and selected projects. Grammar and vocabulary instruction will encompass the same material as college prep but attention is given to application of new grammar and vocabulary situations in the students' writings The distinguishing factors are an emphasis on abstract and analytical thinking skills. The study of literature is centered around the genre of fantasy but also involves realistic fiction, science fiction as well as historical fiction. A study of composition models helps the student to produce more sophisticated and interesting types of writing and leads eventually to the development of the three-paragraph essay and the four-paragraph biographical essay. At least three times during the year, honors students compile comprehensive notebooks of quotations, proverbs, and literary materials with emphasis on expressing personal opinion paragraphs relating this material to the students' own experiences.

English, Grade Seven Transition College Preparatory (TP)

Seventh grade Transition English is a course designed for students who have above-average intelligence but who also have specific learning disabilities. Since these students will mainstream into other tracks as they are able (but no later than grade eleven), group instruction, which contributes to their growing independence, is the primary mode of instruction. The teacher helps each student develop the specific controlling and compensating strategies, including organizational techniques, that he needs to function successfully in a college preparatory school. Grammar and composition skills are taught based on a building block philosophy, and, at the end of the two Middle School years, students have received the same grammar and composition curriculum as all other Middle School students. Although the literature used in seventh grade Transition is different from the other Middle School English classes, students learn the same concepts needed to understand and appreciate literature, e.g., figurative language, characterization, setting, conflict, and resolution. Vocabulary is taught in the context of the literature. Extensive vocabulary instruction is part of the seventh grade Transition reading program.

Eighth Grade Courses

English, Grade Eight Enriched College Preparatory (EP)

English in grade eight is a correlated study of language, literature, vocabulary, and composition. The course stresses the continued study of formal grammar as a tool for effective speaking and writing. The student entering the eighth grade should be able to demonstrate, through his ability to write effective sentences of various types, his recognition/understanding of those grammatical concepts studied earlier: the parts of speech; the parts of the sentence; the principal parts of selected verbs; verb tenses; subject/verb and pronoun/antecedent agreement; the mechanics of capitalization and punctuation; phrases and their functions; and adjective and adverb clauses. He should be able to write well-developed, unified, coherent paragraphs and recognize and use basic types of figurative language building on the seventh grade foundation.

Following a diagnostic examination and review of grammar, the student begins a study based on the effective use of phrases, clauses, compound and complex sentences, correct grammar usage, as well as modifiers. Special emphasis is placed on the application of these concepts to the writing of the well-organized composition (moving from one paragraph to five-paragraph essay) based on life experiences and the literature studied. The course emphasizes the importance of selecting different sentence types and patterns in the effective development of a clear, varied, and creative expression of ideas through a process of editing and revising.

Emphasis in literature focuses on various genres, which include mystery, fantasy, folklore, comedy, and tragedy. Summer reading selections of novels, plays and short stories are also integrated into the curriculum throughout the year. Ideally, students increase their vocabulary through reading and the study of literature. A supplementary text provides additional practice in the area of vocabulary development.

English, Grade Eight College Preparatory (CP)

Eighth Grade Academic English focuses on building the skills and study habits using the basic curriculum as the college prep English class only at a slower and more concentrated pace. Classes range from 10-15 students enabling more class participation and individual attention. Tests and essays are more concrete in nature; however, students progress toward more abstract thinking skills, especially in the area of writing.

Grammar instruction follows the college prep instruction but with more emphasis on proficiency in areas of review as well as more drill on the basics of grammar. Likewise, vocabulary instruction is emphasized, yet with a different supplementary text that concentrates on Greek and Latin roots, a study begun in the seventh grade. In addition, literature diverges slightly from the college prep course to accommodate the needs of these students. Similar college prep genres and types of literature are covered.

English, Grade Eight Grade Honors College Preparatory (HP)

Eighth grade Honors English is a course designed for those students who have demonstrated superior English skills and keen interest in English. The student entering this honors class should be able to demonstrate mastery of all formal grammatical concepts studied earlier; skill in writing effective sentences of various types; ability to develop unified, coherent paragraphs about the literature studied; and the capacity to maintain consistently high scores on standardized tests measuring reading comprehension and verbal skills.

The honors student differs from the prep student in several ways; therefore, the course that best meets the honors student’s needs must also differ. The eighth grade honors student should possess much more self-motivation and demonstrate this motivation by his ability to perform perfunctory assignments with ease. More importantly, the honors student should exhibit a high maturity level of thought and association. He/she is developing the ability to assemble his knowledge and apply it to a new situation. In addition, he is beginning to convey this application in a carefully constructed written form which shows original thought. Undoubtedly the major difference between the prep and the honors course concerns the quality of thought expected of the honors student. Because the honors course moves either at a faster pace or covers the given material in more depth, it is critical that the Honors student be able to assimilate and synthesize thought at a quicker pace than the prep student. The honors course might require more outside-of-class work; however, the high reading comprehension skills of the honors student should allow that student to complete such assignments without undue difficulty. Eighth Grade Honors English, generally speaking, moves at a faster pace than the College prep course, allowing time for enrichment through wider reading and literature study, additional writing assignments, and selected projects. Students study more advanced writing models to aid them in writing more mature compositions, including a short research paper. In addition to vocabulary growth based on reading and literature, students use the vocabulary text, not simply to memorize the meanings of large numbers of new words, but to understand how words work to make thinking and expression more explicit and listening and reading more profitable.

English, Grade Eight Transition College Preparatory (TP)

Eighth grade Transition English is a course designed for students who have above-average intelligence but who also have specific learning disabilities. Since these students will mainstream into other tracks as they are able (but no later than grade eleven), group instruction, which contributes to their growing independence, is the primary mode of teaching. The teacher helps each student develop the specific controlling and compensating strategies, including organizational techniques, that he needs to function successfully in a college preparatory school. Grammar and composition skills are taught based on a building block philosophy and at the end of the two Middle School years students have received the same grammar and composition curriculum as all other Middle School students. Some of the literature studied is different in some instances from the other eighth grade English classes, students learn the same concepts needed to understand and appreciate literature, e.g., figurative language, characterization, setting, conflict, and resolution. Vocabulary is taught in the context of the literature. Extensive vocabulary instruction is part of the eighth grade transition reading program.