Teacher: Miss Brigid Killelea
Contact Information:  brigid.killelea@bdms.org

The middle school English curriculum is comprised of the study of four areas: vocabulary, literature, grammar and writing. It is the philosophy of the faculty that all four disciplines be integrated throughout the year to develop adept thinking, writing and processing skills.  The goal of the middle school English curriculum is to prepare students for high school level work. In addition to academic preparation, students will gain autonomy and responsibility in regard to their work. Students will graduate from Bishop Dunn with the reading, writing and cognitive skills required for a successful high school experience. We offer a traditional grade-level program as well as an accelerated course of study for all three grades.

The following series are used in the English program:

Literature: Copper, Bronze and Silver, Prentice Hall

Elements of Writing: Introductory Course, First Course and Second Course, Holt, Rhinehart, Winston (grammar text)

Vocabulary Workshop A-C, Sadlier Oxford (grade-level program)

Vocabulary From Classical Roots A-C, EPS (accelerated program)

Students in the grade level program, can access the Vocabulary Workshop website at www.sadlier-oxford.com for extra help and review games.

Another great site for vocabulary review is www.quizlet.com. Both vocabulary series have review activities and practice tests on this site. Just type in the vocabulary book title in the search box and off you go!

Grades 6, 7 and 8

The study of vocabulary is continuous on all three grade levels, with an assessment at the end of each lesson or unit. Children are expected to learn the definitions of words, as well as be able to use the words correctly in their writing. Children in the accelerated program also learn the Latin or Greek roots of words and are expected to know the origins of the words they are studying.

All students in the middle school program are introduced to etymology and learn how to discern the meaning of a word, based on its root word(s).

Grade Six

The children will explore plot, character, setting and theme in the form of short stories from our literature text and the novels The View From Saturday, Holes, Crispin and the Cross of Lead and The Penderwicks. The majority of writing tasks are directly related to the novels/stories we read. The sixth graders also perform a Shakespeare Readers’ Theatre in the spring.

The sixth graders will be concentrating on identifying sentences. They will be able to identify the four kinds of sentences, as well as determine fragments and run on sentences. We will also review basic grammatical concepts such as subject/predicate and identifying the eight parts of speech in sentences.

Grade Seven

The seventh graders read short stories in our literature text, Prentice Hall Literature: Bronze. They study plot structure and character development by reading short stories and plays including ones written by Ernest Hemingway, Gary Soto and Charles Dickens. The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, The Primrose Way, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and The Outsiders are some novels we will be reading.  The students will write a variety of pieces including both informal and formal essays. Members of the accelerated class will be reading the abovementioned novels as well as The Chosen.

The students will also study the poetry of Seamus Heaney, Robert Frost, Tennyson, Langston Hughes, as well as other poets and keep a Poetry Journal throughout the year.

We are reviewing the eight parts of speech and identifying them in sentences.  The students are reviewing kinds of sentences, identifying sentence fragments and run-on sentences as well as subject verb agreement. Students will be introduced to subject complements.

Grade Eight

The eighth graders will read short stories and poems in our literature text, as well as the novels, Stargirl , Hoot, Good Night, Mr. Tom, Criss Cross, The Secret Life of Bees and the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”. We will also view the 1996 BBC version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The eighth grade accelerated students read the classics, The Killer Angels, All Creatures Great and Small and My Name Is Asher Lev. The eighth graders will also study the poetry of Walt Whitman,Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, Billy Collins, Shakespeare and others.

In eighth grade, the students continue to write reader responses to works we read in class, and they also strengthen their formal writing skills as well as develop creative pieces.
The eighth graders will complete a semester-long project on a songwriter of choice.  Each student will present his/her songwriter as a writer and explore the themes and images expressed in the songwriter’s work. (Please look on the Middle School Message Board link for the assignment and outline for this project.)

Topics being reviewed include subject-verb agreement and identifying the eight parts of speech in paragraphs. The honors class is reviewing parts of speech, subject complements, verbals and phrases and clauses.