English Fundamentals-Middle School (LAF1)
2 (yearlong course)
Language Arts 5 (LA5)
This course for middle grade students will help them build a strong foundation of skills in English grammar, reading comprehension, and academic writing. Students practice these skills throughout the course to become stronger readers and writers who are equipped for the challenges of further English courses. Students will read several works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; they will also write a formal academic essay, a personal memoir, and a persuasive letter, as well as other pieces of varying lengths. The course includes a strong emphasis on sentence structure and paragraph formation, vocabulary (specifically of root words), and reading comprehension.
LAF1- Middle School Fundamentals of English includes high interest literature and texts for students in grades 6-8 rather than focusing on one grade level, yet includes literature that is readable for students at the 6th grade reading proficiency. The standards in this course support the 6th grade progressions and also include specific aspects of the 7th and 8th grade standard progressions to prepare students for high school as they mature. The intent of offering the MS Fundamentals of English course alongside the traditional LA6, LA7 and LA8 courses is to give students choice as they navigate through 6th, 7th and 8th grade and to prepare students fully for 9th grade expectations and benchmarks. This course is not designed specifically for English Language Learners, but does include additional reading and writing scaffolds to support all learners. After completing LAF1 the student would take the appropriate English course that corresponds with their age/grade level.
Not every middle school student loves reading and writing, but I think everyone can find something to love in English Fundamentals! Throughout the year, we’ll be studying a wide variety of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, and I just know you’re going to find yourself being fascinated by these stories. A shipwreck, an ancient Egyptian, a boy who has to stay hidden from almost everyone in the world . . . these are just a few of the things you’ll encounter in this course!
We begin the year with an in-depth study of the Titanic, which provides a lot of opportunities for us to discuss what is really worth pursuing in this world. After that, we read a fun novel as we learn about ancient Egypt and study the use of suspense in fiction. Students will discover the methods that authors use to create suspense in order to keep readers turning the pages. To finish the first semester, we will study a dystopian novel and explore where a person’s value comes from. This novel brings up some important questions, which we address by investigating what the Bible has to say about those issues.
In the second semester, we have more new things to learn! First, we’ll find out how one woman’s refusal to give up her seat on the bus led to a civil rights battle–and eventual victory. There were so many people who contributed to that cause, and as we evaluate their roles, we also consider how we can be change-makers in the world. Following that, students will have an opportunity to tell stories from their own lives. We’ll study various memoirs and learn what goes into the writing of a memoir. Because of the personal nature of this unit, students will be able to share their experiences and learn from each other authentically. Finally, the year will finish out with a novel that forces us to consider disaster, fear, friendship, prejudice, and–ultimately–loving cooperation.
Stories are fun to read, but the really valuable work comes when students think about issues in terms of their own lives. What is courage? What is worth fighting for? Where do you find your self-worth? These are just a few of the questions that we wrestle with together in English Fundamentals.
If you’re looking for a good foundation in middle school English, you’ve come to the right place! The literature we study provides the perfect opportunity to learn and practice the language skills that middle schoolers need. Features you’ll find in this course include practical writing instruction, a skills-based approach to reading, and grammar and spelling instruction that is applicable to real-life needs. Come and join us for an exciting adventure, as we learn about ourselves and others by studying great stories!
If there are books and materials for this course, they can be purchased from our Online Bookstore.
[My son] has really enjoyed being in your class and I can tell it has greatly helped his writing. I wanted to thank you personally for providing such a great class that he really looked forward to…Your class has helped to boost his confidence and helped him realize that doesn’t have to limit his language arts. He loves to read and your class structure of mixing the literature with the writing assignments was exactly what he needed. Thank you again for being a great teacher for him!
This course has been thoroughly enjoying for me! My favorite part was the writing. My writing skills have significantly improved over the course of this school year. We had many writing assignments, and I loved all of them. I learned different rules about writing, helpful hints, and so much more. Thank you NorthStar, for giving me a course that helped me become a better writer!
Again, Thanks so much for your wonderful attention to this semester! She enjoyed the course tremendously!!