ENG5: The Hero's Journey
In the course texts, the fifth grade investigates different forms of literary heroes–from figures in classical Greek mythology to everyday, ordinary folks. Using Joseph Campbell’s concept of the monomyth as a guide, students begin to
identify recurring narrative patterns and plot structures. We practice paragraph construction by using evidence to support claims about specific character traits and compose numerous short fiction stories to explore how imagery and figurative language can enhance writing. In grammar, students learn to identify parts of speech. Individualized vocabulary instruction is provided by Membean. Selected texts include El Deafo; Wonder; Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes; Bud, Not Buddy; and The Westing Game.
ENG6: The Individual in Society
In the course texts, the sixth grade investigates the complex relationship between individuals and the societies they inhabit. Through a selection of literature focusing on cultural outsiders, students address the following the questions: What happens when an individual does not fit in? How do individuals respond when the rules in society are oppressive? How can we work together to make better societies? Building on previous paragraph writing, we begin to craft short analytical essays and compose numerous short fiction stories to further practice various literary techniques. In conjunction with the history curriculum, students adapt selected Medieval literature for a performance at the annual Medieval Banquet. Students also submit entries to the Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Competition. In grammar, students learn about different types of phrases and clauses to improve sentence variation. Individualized vocabulary instruction is provided by Membean. Selected texts include Bread and Roses, Too; The Giver; Freak the Mighty, The Inquisitor’s Tale; and Number the Stars.
ENG7: Global Storytelling
In the course texts, the seventh grade embarks on a global celebration of storytelling, exploring multiple storytelling forms with the goal of understanding and articulating the importance of stories across cultural boundaries. We continue to develop our own storytelling powers, composing parables, fables, lipograms, personal narratives, as well as submitting entries to the Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Competition. Building on previous paragraph writing, students craft longer analytical essays, paying close attention to how authors use specific literary techniques to create thematic significance. Students also participate in a unit on media literacy and learn to deconstruct advertising. In grammar, students practice mechanics using Daily Grams. Individualized vocabulary instruction is provided by Membean. Selected texts include One Thousand and One Arabian Nights; Haroun and the Sea of Stories; The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm; American Born Chinese; When the Emperor Was Divine; and various short story, poetry, and nonfiction selections.
ENG8: The American Narrative
In the course texts, the eighth grade explores the American experience through stories–from the founding mythologies that chronicle our democratic spirit and rugged individualism to the historical realities of living and growing up in a country which does not always reflect its ideal vision of itself. We deeply examine four novels, each of which approaches American society from a different perspective, and we compose several lengthy research and analytical essays with a goal of preparing for a inquisitive educational life beyond Maple Street. The class also completes a yearlong study of a Shakespeare play of their choosing–reading, adapting, staging, and, eventually, performing their dramatic version for the school community. In grammar, students practice mechanics using Daily Grams. Individualized vocabulary instruction is provided by Membean. Selected texts include Brown Girl Dreaming; The Crossover; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; Grapes of Wrath; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; and various short story, poetry, and nonfiction selections.