English Language Arts

March 2020

Grade 7

This month, grade 7 wraps up its month-long exploration of dystopian literature. After uncovering the secrets of release and Elsewhere in Lois Lowry's novel The Giver, readers charted their own journeys into other titles in the genre. It's safer to explore these dangerous, unfamiliar worlds with a group, so students worked in book clubs, selecting their own books and setting their own reading goals. They unlocked the secrets of The Maze Runner, tested their wills and wits in The Hunger Games, and delved the depths of the dark, crumbling world of The City of Ember, along with almost a dozen other titles. We examined ways in which these worlds have gone wrong and learned about how rules affect characters in dystopian societies, as well as how rebels challenge and break these often unjust rules. We’re thrilled with students’ enthusiastic response to this opportunity to have choice and voice in their own learning.

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Grade 7 in action!

Grade 8

Students are diving into the classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Over the course of this unit, students will explore the question: What does it mean to have strong character? Examining the actions of the characters and the conflicts they face, students learn about the challenges and rewards of acting with integrity, the importance of treating others with respect and how having empathy for others can lead to a kinder world. Prior to reading this novel, students spent time learning about our nation's history of segregation in the face of Jim Crow. At the conclusion of the novel, students will build upon their literary analysis and formal writing skills and write a second five-paragraph essay.

Media Literacy

In Media Literacy, Term 2 students are finishing up their final projects. Our 7th graders are completing a short Newscast. Students are using their Chromebooks to videotape a Newscast (think HMS Today), incorporating everything they have learned about news topics and avoiding bias in their segments.

The 8th graders are also working in small groups as Agents of Change - creating a podcast, vlog or TED Talk about a social issue they feel passionately about.

On March 17th, a new batch of 7th and 8th graders will begin learning about the Core Concepts of Media Literacy. They will start to understand media and move from Visual Literacy to Aural Literacy - looking at how images and songs are used to convey messages. This will lead them on the path to becoming active consumers of media.