Middle School English Language Arts

English Language Arts

In middle school, students in English Language Arts classes will continue to develop as readers and writers. Guided by the Connecticut Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts, our workshop approach employs high expectations in a supportive community. The reading work will focus on a rich independent reading life for each student, as well as grade-level texts at the instructional level. Students will develop analytical skills through their reading in a variety of genres including fiction, narrative nonfiction, informational texts, speeches, advertisements, short videos, and poetry. In writing classes, students will develop their skills as writers of informational, research, narrative, and argumentative texts. Writers will engage in the writing process from generating ideas to publishing final pieces. Students will also develop their academic vocabulary, as well as their ability to use the conventions of Standard English in order to communicate effectively. 



Courses

Key Concepts Addressed

Grade 6

Reading & Writing: Students will focus on becoming powerful readers and writers through the workshop model. The reading and writing community empowers students to be responsible, self-directed learners. In addition, students will add to their academic vocabulary, as well as improving their abilities to communicate effectively through oral and written language.

Based on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, students in grade 6 reading will:

  • recognize and understand how key ideas and details contribute to a larger idea in a variety of texts;

  • Determine, analyze, and explain how craft and structure works in a text;

  • Compare and contrast the experiences of reading, viewing, and listening to different types of texts

  • Read a range of texts

Based on the Common Core State Standard for English Language Arts, students in grade 6 writing will:

  • Write a variety of text types for different purposes and audiences;

  • Produce and publish writing through a process;

  • Research to build and present knowledge

Grade 7

Reading & Writing: Students will further develop their skills as readers and writers through experiences with more demanding texts. Students will continue to develop skills in speaking & listening, vocabulary, and language.

Based on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, students in grade 7 reading will:

  • recognize and understand how key ideas and details contribute to a larger idea in a variety of texts of increasing complexity

  • Determine, analyze, and explain how craft and structure works in a text to create meaning;

  • Compare and contrast the experiences of reading, viewing, and listening to different types of texts;

  • Read a range of texts of increasing complexity.

Based on the Common Core State Standard for English Language Arts, students in grade 7 writing will:

  • Write a variety of text types for different purposes and audiences;

  • Produce and publish writing through a process;

  • Research to build and present knowledge

Grade 8

Reading & Writing: Students will hone their analytical, interpretive skills in reading and writing in grade 8. They will be preparing for the academic work of high school as the year progresses.

Based on the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, students in grade 8 reading will:

  • recognize and understand how key ideas and details contribute to a larger idea in a variety of texts on the higher end of the range;

  • Determine, analyze, and explain how craft and structure works in a text and how crafting choices can change meaning;

  • Compare and contrast the experiences of reading, viewing, and listening to different types of texts;

  • Read a range of texts on the higher end of the range.

Based on the Common Core State Standard for English Language Arts, students in grade 8 writing will:

  • Write a variety of text types for different purposes and audiences;

  • Produce and publish writing through a process;

  • Research to build and present knowledge


Our workshop model features teacher-led mini lessons or read alouds, independent work time, small group instruction, and conferencing. We also use blended learning in many of our ELA classrooms, which features digital and traditional instructional techniques. Students will be reading and writing every day, and through this practice, they will become stronger readers and writers. Our expectation is that every student will be prepared to read and write at grade level (or above).  In addition, our goal is to promote a love of reading and writing that will serve students throughout their educational and career goals. 


Classroom Materials:   

  • Classroom libraries with a variety of genres & levels

  • Whole class texts (short stories, poems, informational texts, and novels) 

  • Book club books (fiction and nonfiction) 

  • Scholastic magazines 

  • NoRedInk - online grammar program

  • A variety of online platforms to meet student needs and interests in reading, vocabulary, and writing 


What You Can  Do at Home  

The most important and effective way to support reading and writing growth is to provide time and space for your child to read and write independently for an extended period of time. Research shows that an extra ten minutes per day of reading can make a significant difference in a child’s reading success. Encourage reading by making trips to the library together, choosing books that you both read and talk about, and sharing your favorite books with your child. Ask your child what topics, events, or activities he or she likes. Then look for books, magazines, or other materials about those topics to motivate your child to read. Share a journal with your child where you each take turns writing. Ask your son or daughter to set a goal for reading and writing on school breaks and summer vacations. Emphasize the joy of reading and writing; encourage children who may not love reading or writing quite yet. Keep putting books in their hands and they will discover a story that speaks to them. 

  • Make time for conversation at home. Discuss current events, shared interests, and future aspirations for education and career.

  • Visit museums, zoos, theaters, historical sites, aquariums, and other educational places to help increase your child’s exposure to new knowledge and vocabulary.

  • Use technology to help build your child’s interest in reading. Access websites that allow students to read books or articles online.  The computer will help with words the student cannot read independently. Libraries also have computers students can use to access those sites.

  • Involve your child in authentic opportunities to practice conveying a message through writing (e.g. grocery or shopping lists, chore lists, messages to family members, signs, directions, keeping a journal, etc.).

  • Encourage friends and family to give books or magazine subscriptions to your child as gifts.  

  • Involve your child in planning and researching family activities (e.g. reading recipes to plan a meal, planning a family trip, planning a home project, etc.).


Resources  


Websites we use in our classrooms 


  • Schoology Our online learning platform 

  • NoRedInk An interactive grammar site that all CREC students have licenses to use 

  • Newsela Current events with searchable library, questions, and levelling options 

  • Scholastic  Offers content and products for children ages 1-13+ 

  • Common Lit Features fiction and informational texts with interactive features 


Links to additional websites


Apps

  • Storybuilder

  • iThoughts

  • World’s Worst Pet 

  • Goodreads

  • Madlibs

  • Dictionary.com

  • Miss Spell

  • Grammar Up!

  • Painless Grammar Challenge

  • Spell City

  • Vocabology

  • myHomework


Contact Information  Sarah Fitzsimmons, Supervisor for Language Arts, sfitzsimmons@crec.org 

For access to the full version of the CREC Grades 6-8 Curriculum Guide, click here.


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