The Hathaway Brown Middle School English program is built on a classical foundation that employs both traditional and non-traditional teaching methods. The curriculum is designed to develop critical thinking, as well as strong reading, writing and speaking skills. In addition, the program's mission is to instill a lifelong love of literature and the ability to express ideas clearly and effectively.
Fifth Grade English
This literature-based curriculum supports an interdisciplinary approach to learning. The themes of survival, prejudice and self-reliance are woven throughout the core curriculum of English and history, encouraging the students to make broad connections. The reading program exposes students to award-winning literature and encourages them to see relevancy to their own lives and the world around them. Through the writing program, students learn that writing, as a form of communication, necessitates clear, logical and organized thinking. Recognizing the importance of written communication, students are encouraged to express themselves in a variety of ways by crafting and polishing a personal narrative, an informative essay, and an argumentative letter. Vocabulary, spelling and grammar are also important components of the English curriculum, and such skills are reinforced throughout the writing process. Opportunities for public speaking occur throughout the curriculum in the form of plays, improvisations and reports.
Sixth Grade English
The sixth grade English curriculum focuses on exploring the themes of friendship, family and community through literature selections and writing assignments. While the literature selections are thematically connected and genre-specific, they also are chosen with sixth-graders in mind. Mini-lessons throughout the year will be provided to help students develop their critical reading skills. Attention will also be paid to the literary elements, how they are implemented in the text and how the students can use them in their own writing.Sixth graders write in many different genres and styles to help them find their voices. The structured writing program helps them apply the grammar, spelling and vocabulary skills they learn. They have the opportunity to express themselves through creative and analytical writing assignments often connected to the literature they are studying. From their “I Am From” poems to their six-word memoirs, careful attention is paid to the writer's craft throughout the year, and there are many opportunities for them to share their writings with a larger audience.
Seventh Grade English
The literature in seventh grade is chosen to enhance reading skills, provide a common background of both classical and contemporary texts. Students develop various literary forms, including drama, short fiction, novels and memoirs. The thematic focus of the literature is social justice, which targets the emerging moral sensibilities of early adolescence. As students develop critical thinking skills, they will focus on conflicts and complexities arising from situations of inequality and injustice that are worldwide issues.
The writing program guides students through narrative, expository, persuasive and analytical writing. Writing workshops will focus on character analysis, application of universal themes and rhetorical structure. Each unit of study integrates vocabulary, grammar and writing mechanics.
Eighth Grade English
The literary focus of the eighth-grade year employs both classic and contemporary works of fiction and non-fiction to help students explore how individuals discover their identities and values and decide how to align their own sense of self as well as their own moral codes with that of the larger society in which they exist. As we study each work, we return over and over again to four central themes: bystanding, choosing not to know, small steps and choosing to participate. We look for connections between books and, more importantly, connections between the choices we read about and the choices we make in our own lives.
Throughout the year, girls continue to hone their individual voices and styles as writers as they craft analytical and personal essays. For the final writing piece of the year, each girl composes and records a statement of belief addressing a core principle that guides her own actions.
In addition to the regular English class, each eighth grader completes an in-depth study of the parts of the sentence. This component of the class is self-paced to ensure that every student has the time and practice to master the subject matter thoroughly.