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 7th 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 podcasts, movies, and animation. We investigate the struggle to ensure rights for all citizens by largely focusing on fictional accounts highlighting the time period between 1920 and the present. 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 Harper Lee; Witness by Karen Hesse; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Fresh Ink: An Anthology.
The 8th grade English course focuses on identity, with narratives involving adolescent characters reflecting on their interactions and experiences, responding to injustice, and questioning the status quo. Students respond to readings in a variety of modes: collaborative projects, personal reflections, expository essays, and creative compositions. The creative assignments allow individual freedom, stimulate imagination, and inspire risk-taking. Expository pieces prompt students to reflect on and respond to their readings and typically adhere to the five-paragraph format with the iterative process involving brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and revising. Students are encouraged to explore original modes of expression such as song, video, and visual arts. In general, emphasis is placed on development of creative problem-solving, collaboration, and study skills.
Possible texts: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros; In the Heights by Quiara Alegria Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda; The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger; I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson; Every Day by David Levithan; The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton; short stories, poems, and independent reading choices are also part of the course.