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 Foundations
The fifth grade Foundations course was created to enhance and support our English program. The purpose of the class is to continue to build upon the knowledge and skills the girls bring with them to Middle School with the goal to make them stronger readers, writers, and speakers.
The students enrich their vocabulary through a systematic approach to teaching vocabulary, which engages and encourages them to build strategies that will be applied across the curriculum. They explore words through word analysis, fluency, systematic vocabulary development, and personal word journals. To be skilled at reading and writing, students need to understand how sentences are composed. Students will develop their understanding of the parts of speech and sentence structure through a multi-sensory approach.
The exploration of vocabulary and grammar comes together during a variety of writing opportunities, allowing the fifth graders to tap into their creative side while incorporating the skills they have learned along the way.
Fifth Grade Humanities
The fifth grade humanities curriculum is designed to show students the deep, natural connection between American history, reading, and writing through an interdisciplinary approach. They learn and practice inquiry by posing questions and applying skills associated with locating, analyzing, evaluating, and using sources as evidence to develop an informed argument or interpretation. By closely examining a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, students develop their analytical reading and note-taking skills. Through planned presentations and extemporaneous speaking, the students have ample opportunities to grow as thinkers and communicators. They write for a variety of purposes, including argumentative, narrative, informational, and creative. Field trips, re-enactments, and productions are incorporated into each unit of study to provide a fully immersive experience.
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 express themselves. The structured writing program helps them apply the grammar, spelling and vocabulary skills they learn. 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 classic and contemporary literature selections in seventh grade English engage students in reflection on issues of social justice, which targets the emerging moral sensibilities of early adolescence. As students develop critical thinking skills, they focus particularly on the similarities and differences among us that generate the conflicts and complexities in our world. Similarly, the writing program prompts students to think critically about these issues and to find their own voices as they explore narrative, expository, persuasive, and analytical writing. 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 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.