Curriculum Coordinator

ON61123Rose O’Neill Verney

673-5221  ext. 1530

Eye On Curriculum

There are many exciting things happening in English &  Language Arts classes this year:

6th Grade Language Arts:

6th Grade Language Arts students are reading a variety of novels this year including:  A Long Walk to Water,  Listening for Lions,  The Cay,  Colibri, Homeless Bird and Chinese Cinderella.    A major theme discussed in all of our books is how the main characters deal with diversity in the different cultures that we are studying throughout our Social Studies curriculum.    We are excited to be including the use of Chromebooks with Google Classroom to enable students to use technology for further research and projects.

During the month of December, Team Newton’s Language Arts classes have been participating in the Wordly Wise Program, as well as learning  various skills related to their recent reading of The Cay.  Students are learning about the elements of fiction, such as plot structure.  Their work with this book culminates in The Cay final exam, which will include a multi-paragraph final essay.

In January, students will begin reading Colibri and will participate in their first 6th-grade literature circles.  Literature circles offer students a deeper knowledge of topics related to the story while collaborating independently of the teacher.  They look forward to launching their first literature circle activities!

7th Grade English:

Explorer students are busy building the language of literature, grammar, and writing.  Each aspect is a piece of the Language Arts puzzle.  The pieces connect together to reveal the application, analysis, and eventual synthesis of the students’ learning as they grow in skills.  Creative thinking and problem solving are inherent in all they do.  Recently, they combined literary analysis, grammar, creative application, and oral/written reflections.

Soon students will closely read Touching Spirit Bear, which is rich in meaning on many levels and will lend itself well to the application of literary analysis, grammar, and writing skills.  It offers a forum for the students to share their connections and opinions with each other and opens exploration on a number of important topics.  Students will have choices for guided research to enrich and enhance their reflections regarding the novel.  They bring profound thinking to discussions.  They are teachers as well.

In January of 2017, Team Navigators will have just completed their study of literary elements using short stories and will begin transitioning into the study of three novels. The Outsiders will be the first novel, followed by Touching Spirit Bear, before ending the year with The Giver we will advance our studies of these books by focusing on close reading strategies and author’s craft.

In 8th grade English:

Team Freedom English classes have been making good use of the new Chromebooks for drafting their essays and other short writing assignments.  They just finished writing their letters about literature which will be entered in the Letters About Literature writing contest, which requires students to write a letter to an author, living or dead, that explains how the text affected them personally.  Students should hear by April if there are any NH state finalists from the team.  Currently they are practicing critical reading and writing skills using John Steinbeck’s classic novel, The Pearl.

Team Liberty students have been busy in English this year! In September, students composed an engaging personal narrative about a valuable lesson learned in life. In October, students were challenged & reflected on mood in The Raven by the infamously spooky Edgar Allan Poe. Lastly, this month, student wrote a letter to an author whose book changed their thinking in some way to enter the Letters about Literature contest. Finalized drafts of the letters will be submitted in early January.  I am proud of how far students have come with writing and I can’t wait to see what the second half of the year will bring.

Rose O’Neill-Verney

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