and Reading Seminar - Liberty Jr. High
Language Arts Class Overview
Language arts class is a combination of reading, writing, grammar, and spelling. Because so much material is covered in one class, language arts meets every day for a full 63 minutes. This class combines traditional language arts studies with reading and writing workshops. The workshop approach allows students to choose their own reading materials and writing topics, giving them major decision-making responsibilities in the learning process. Empowering students with reading and writing workshop often leads to greater interest and motivation.
In the reading portion of the class, for approximately one half of the trimester, I will select reading material designed to teach reading strategies and literary concepts. Together as a class, students will read and discuss one novel and explore one or two other genres (short stories, poetry, drama, or non-fiction). For the remainder of the trimester, students will choose their own books to read. These books must be of an appropriate grade/reading level and are subject to teacher approval. Parents must approve books not selected from the Liberty library. Students will create contracts to read between one and three independent books per trimester. They will demonstrate their ability to comprehend, analyze, and recognize literary devices in their novels by completing papers, conferences, and projects.
In the grammar/writing portion of the class, students will complete exercises designed to review capitalization, punctuation, parts of speech, correct usage, and sentence structure. They will keep a writing portfolio that will include persuasive/argumentative, expository/explanatory, and narrative writing. At the end of the school year, they will complete an autobiographical project based on "The Hero's Journey." Students will also be exposed to logical-thinking and reasoning activities which will improve their ability to write clearly and concisely.
Form and Function
By 8th grade, students are expected to recognize and understand the basic parts of speech which include prepositions, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, interjections, conjunctions, and verbs. We do spend time reviewing these parts of speech in the form of anticipatory activities called D.O.L.s or daily oral language exercises.
My ultimate goal for the year is to teach students how to better understand the function of the parts of speech in order to become better writers. Once students understand how intricately the parts of speech all work together in a sentence, they can begin to craft and manipulate language in a way which is both clever and authentic.
All words have both a form and a function:
"Form" simply means "part of speech." "Function" refers to the job a form does in any particular sentence. Sometimes forms of words only have one job or function. Other forms, such as nouns, can perform several different functions in a sentence. The chart below is my grammar textbook! Students will use this chart for their D.O.L.s all year. The Form/Function chart is truly the the key to understanding grammar.
Most writing topics students will choose themselves. Writing assignments will correspond to the reading units. The following types of writing will be completed this school year:
The following is a list of novels and plays that may be read in class this year.
Of Mice and Men
The Hunger Games
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Hound of the Baskervilles
The Diary of Anne Frank
Various literature circle books