The Beaver English Department empowers students by teaching them active reading, writing, reflection, analysis and synthesis. Our teachers encourage students to access their imaginations and intellects. We help students develop the means of confidently and skillfully expressing, in writing and speech, their knowledge, observations and feelings. We foster students’ passion for literature as a means of enhancing cultural awareness, understanding multiple perspectives, exploring human nature, and appreciating the power and beauty of language.
Why are there stories? What makes a story? How are stories told? What is our story? These essential questions guide our reading, writing, and discussion in seventh grade English. Considering the essential elements of a story leads to an exploration of the many different ways stories are told: from spoken word through literature, poetry, drama, art and song, into more modern modes like newspapers, movies, and animation. In concert with the history curriculum, we investigate the struggle to insure rights for all citizens by largely focusing on fictional accounts highlighting the time period between 1850 and 1940. We study the tactics of great readers, learning to be aware of our thought processes while we read, developing strategies to better understand a given text. We focus on the iterative writing process and supporting our ideas with adequate details while extending the depth and quality of our work. Creative problem solving, empathy, effort and collaboration are our cornerstones and are always honored.
Possible texts: To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee, Witness by Karen Hesse, Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Eighth grade English picks up where seventh grade English left off, concentrating on many of the same strands of language arts: literature, writing, vocabulary, grammar, and discussion. The curriculum focuses on identity, with narratives involving adolescent characters in the process of maturing. Literary selections include West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, as well as various short stories, poems, and independent reading selections. Students respond to readings in a variety of manners: collaborative projects, personal reflections, expository essays, and creative compositions. During or after each reading, students undertake creative writing projects and a structured essay. The creative writing assignments allows individual freedom, stimulates imagination, and inspires risk-taking. The structured, expository pieces prompt students to reflect on and respond to their readings and will typically adhere to the five-paragraph format with the iterative process involving brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and revising. In general, emphasis is placed on development of creative problem-solving, collaboration, and study skills.
Possible texts: Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare; Persepolis by Satrapi; The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger; The Outsiders by Hinton; short stories, poems, and independent reading choices are also part of the course.