All seventh graders are enrolled in either Level or Honors English. Students in Honors English read additional literature, complete more writing assignments, and work at a faster pace than students in Level English classes. In addition to their core English class, seventh graders may take Reading & Writing Seminar in lieu of Spanish.
Seventh graders are maturing as writers, readers, and thinkers. Your child will be introduced to literary analysis through both core novels and literature of his own choosing. Studies of Greek mythology and Arthurian legends delve into the theme and structure of the “hero’s journey,” with cross-curricular assignments connected to units in Western Civilization. The Outsiders offers a timely study of peer dynamics such as cliques and bullies, with the role of social media lending a modern twist. Your child will be gripped by Ninth Ward, a contemporary novel about Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on New Orleans, and Warriors Don’t Cry, a searing memoir of the battle to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School. Students will develop writing skills through a combination of personal experiential writing such as journaling or blogging and formal critical writing with a focus on the multi-paragraph thesis essays. For example, your child may write a thesis on why people read fantasy books or fairy tales and then support her argument with evidence and analysis.
Reading & Writing Seminar further supports students’ growth in creative writing and critical thinking in a small, collaborative environment. Students read current young adult classics as well as traditional novels, with authentic and enjoyable learning assessments such as creating a board game, a movie trailer, or a website. At times, the class will study the same book; at other times, students will read novels of their own choosing. Students learn to enhance their writing through strong word choice and a variety of sentence types. Regular journaling gives students an informal way to practice writing skills. Even students who start the year with little interest in writing eventually raise their hands often to share their journal entries. They are finding and developing their own voice.
In 2020, 55% of our seventh graders are taking Level English, and 45% are taking Honors English. About 10% also take English Seminar as a second language arts class.