Listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting are at the center of Language A, English, which primarily focuses on language and literature. All students are heterogeneously combined for all Language A classes, which brings together students from every language track. We enjoy the rich diversity of our students who co-create a dynamic and interactive classroom environment in which we can explore this subject through a multitude of perspectives.
The sixth grade program develops a solid foundation of skills that is reinforced throughout seventh grade and then strengthened and expanded in eighth grade as students engage with texts from different times, places, cultures, geographical regions, historical periods and perspectives. With a strong emphasis on world literature, the curriculum is balanced across an exploration of diverse genres ranging from poetry and drama to non-fiction and short stories. Each year of the program, multiple genres are addressed so that students have the opportunity to fully develop their genre-specific skills over time.
All English courses at FAIS are developed around the three principles:
Communication: In listening, speaking, reading and writing, students are encouraged to be open and effective communicators, a skill essential to understanding ourselves as well as the world around us.
Global Awareness: Intercultural awareness is promoted through a variety of experiences in text, genres and examinations of what it means to be part of a culture, time and place.
Holistic Education: Our curriculum is inquiry-based and student centered in order to bring a wide range of learning experiences and opportunities to reach each student as we seek to differentiate for the needs and interests of all in a way that promotes the transfer of ideas concepts across all subject areas.
English Language Arts Students at the Gilkey International Middle School
- Display an open-minded point of view: In reading a range of literature from an array of cultures, as well as in participating in discussions and debates, we open our eyes to new perspectives and learn about other points of view.
- Are inquirers: Literature opens the door to new worlds of interest, in which we immerse ourselves. Language is a tool we use to dig deeper into our exploration of these worlds through a process of inquiry.
- Are thinkers: In order to appreciate literature in its many facets, we must use critical thinking skills to deconstruct the text, as well as create thinking skills to create text in turn.
Aims and Objectives
In order for students to:
- Use language as a vehicle for thought, creativity, reflection, learning, self-expression and social interaction
- Develop the skills involved in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting in a variety of contexts
- Develop critical, creative and personal approaches to studying and analyzing literary and non-literary works
- Engage in literature from a variety of cultures and representing different historical periods
- Explore and analyze aspects of personal, host and other cultures through literary and non-literary works
- Explore language through a variety of media and modes
- Develop a lifelong interest in reading widely
- Apply language skills and knowledge in a variety of real-life contexts
- Continue to develop and strengthen their oral skills. Oral communication encompasses all aspects of listening and speaking which are essential skills not only for language development, but also for learning and for relating to others. Oral communication enables students to construct meaning through the process of articulating thoughts in a variety of ways. Debates, role plays, discussions, Socratic seminars, oral essays, lectures, speeches, interviews, simulations, poetry recitals, and dramatic as well as oral interpretations of literature are all examples of tasks students may engage with to develop their oral communication skills both as speakers and listeners.
- Continue to develop receptive and productive written communication skills (reading and writing).Reading is constructing meaning from text by making inferences and interpretations. The process of reading is interactive and involves the reader’s purpose for reading, the reader’s prior knowledge and experience, as well as the author’s techniques and effects. Students are asked to understand and analyze the language, content, structure, meaning and significance of both familiar and previously unseen oral, written and visual texts; understand and apply terminology in context; analyze the effects of the author’s choices on an audience. Writing allows us to develop, organize and communicate thoughts, ideas and information. Fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres, for example, novels, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, diaries, letters, pastiches, parodies, cartoons, graphic novels, poetry, song lyrics, drama, screenplays, advertisements, blogs, emails, websites, appeals, brochures, leaflets, editorials, interviews, magazine articles, manifestos, reports, instructions and guidelines, are all examples of text types students may engage with in order to develop their written communication skills both as readers and writers. Students are asked to compose pieces that apply appropriate literary and/or non-literary features to serve the context and intention; compare and contrast works, and connect themes across and within genres; express an informed and independent response to literary and non-literary texts.
- Work on style and language mechanics. Use language to narrate, describe, analyze, explain, argue, persuade, inform, entertain and express feelings, use language accurately; use appropriate and varied register, vocabulary and idiom; use correct grammar and syntax; use appropriate and varied sentence structure; use correct spelling
- Strengthen the organization of their written or oral productions by creating work that employs organizational structures and language-specific conventions throughout a variety of text types; organize ideas and arguments in a sustained, coherent and logical manner; employ appropriate critical apparatus such as quotes, footnotes, and references.
- Be engaged in visual communication. Visual communication encompasses all aspects of viewing and presenting. Viewing and presenting means interpreting or constructing visuals and multimedia in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences. They allow students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs. Visual texts present information: learning to interpret this information and to understand and use different media are invaluable skills.
At the Gilkey International Middle School teachers commit to a variety of summative assessments tasks clearly tied to learning objectives, skills and criteria. Before an assessment or along with it, teachers will hand out clearly described tasks and criteria for assessment. All units of work include formative assessments leading to the summative piece.
Scope and Sequence of Units
The content is approached through inquiry-based, student-centered units, as students learn and refine essential writing skills. In addition, oral and dramatic presentations, as well as collaborative and cooperative learning, are experiences that provide students with a comprehensive preparation for high school and beyond. Through studying Language A, students will show an increasing awareness of the power of language, both in their own and others’ language use. Students will be able to use and interpret language suitably for a variety of intentions and contexts.
Our students engage in literature from a variety of cultures and different historical periods as they explore and analyze diverse aspects of culture. Students are encouraged to develop critical, creative and personal approaches to studying and analyzing literary and non-literary works using student-centered, inquiry-based learning strategies.