7th Grade English: I will start with an analogy. I'm a good swimmer; I can swim fast, I can swim far, and I know a lot of different strokes. I'm also a good reader; I can read fast, I have read widely, and I know a lot of different words. But the swimming and reading are done on the surface. This year, we want to go deep, and scuba-dive, so to speak. Instead of reading lots of words and staying on the surface, we'll read fewer words, but spend more time analyzing them.

The main thing we will be doing this year is taking a deep dive into the poetry of WWI. We'll be examining meaning, imagery, word connotation, figurative language, theme, structure, symbolism, etc. Then we will be writing essays that explain how the poems were constructed. We will be doing a similar sort of analysis of posters, and writing essays about them. We will also take a very close look at the use of metaphor in the "I Have a Dream" speech.

This is the age where most students transition from concrete to abstract thinking. Examining poetry greatly aids that change.

I do not want parents to edit students writing. Parents can best help students with their writing by reading out loud, to the student, what the student has written, or, by having the student read his or her own writing out loud to the parent. Listening to writing is one of the best ways there is to catch errors, and improve the quality of the writing.