Middle School Language Arts

In our Language Arts program, student readers study a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to comprehend, appreciate, analyze, and evaluate text.

Student writers learn organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation through the process of prewriting, drafting and revising. Students learn how to conduct research using primary sources, how to write narratives that are reflective and theme-based, and how to write argument essays that use counterargument to clarify a position.

Fifth Grade

The fifth grade program uses the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Units of Study. These workshops give students the opportunity to choose the literature and writing form that engage them in relevant learning. Studying a wide variety of literature facilitates and inspires observation and original thought expressed through discussions and reflective writing.

Fifth grade students also use a spelling program uniquely designed for The Branch School and written by a Neuhaus trained educator. With this curriculum, students engage in lessons which address the Five Essential Components of Reading: Phonology, Phonemic Awareness, Reading Fluency and Oral Reading Skills, Vocabulary Development, and Reading Comprehension.

Sixth Grade

The sixth grade program teaches students to navigate expository, narrative, and hybrid nonfiction to understand structural features of nonfiction text, and share understanding and knowledge of nonfiction with peers. Students also compare and contrast nonfiction texts, analyze claims and arguments, recognize the author’s point of view and in small groups conduct independent analysis of research topics. Sixth grade students practice selection of reading materials across genres through reading workshop where they analyze and evaluate characterization, theme, and use of literary devices in texts across multiple genres. Sixth grade students also learn research-based writing with the conventions of the prewriting, drafting, and revising process.

Seventh Grade

The seventh grade program teaches students to develop a passion for reading through the analysis and evaluation of characters in various series. Reading and writing workshops give students the opportunity of creating and developing meaningful stories and characters and then drafting, revising, and editing with the audience in mind. Seventh grade students analyze texts for theme, use of literary devices, and the personal impact of text. Students use aspects of various genres to develop learning tools that support the examination of issues pertinent to them. The literature facilitates cross-curricular connections which inspire observation and original thought expressed through discussions and reflective writing. Seventh grade writers continue to work on organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation through the writing process of prewriting, drafting and revising.

Eighth Grade

The eighth grade program inspires students to be independent readers and engage intellectually with text by using the reading skills of envisioning, predicting, and theory development. Reading and writing workshops give students the opportunity to choose literature and writing that engages them in relevant learning. Reading and writing workshop gives students the opportunity to choose the literature and writing form that engages them in relevant learning. Teacher-provided literature facilitates cross-curricular connections which inspire observation and original thought expressed through discussions and reflective writing.

Eighth grade students continue to develop reading interest within the realm of nonfiction as well as fiction. Eighth grade students also develop an analytical lens for informational reading through working in small groups, comparing and contrasting, analyzing claims and arguments, and critiquing and inventing authors’ point of view. Eighth graders continue to write using organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation through the writing process of prewriting, drafting and revising as they work, writing the literary essay, and research for an argument/position paper.

Eighth grade students also complete a capstone project and presentation. The Capstone Project requires students to choose a topic to research and create a driving question to guide their research. Capstone Projects must include a writing component, technology component, and creative component. They culminate their project by presenting what they learned in a 2-5 minute presentation to the school community.