This literature-based history class integrates the study of American history with English for middle school students: a “two-for-one” approach that fulfills requirements for both English and social studies in one class. Rather than relying on a traditional history text, students will read numerous biographies, historical fiction, and nonfiction works, along with an engaging reference work from National Geographic. Lessons will begin with Columbus and other early explorers and continue through the 20th century to World War II. English grammar will be covered so that this is a complete English course; some vocabulary will also be covered and parents have the option of purchasing a Wordly Wise vocabulary workbook for additional lessons.
- Learn the people and events important in American history from Columbus to World War II.
- Write four essays: descriptive (eyewitness report), narrative (recalling a historic moment), expository (compare/contrast), and persuasive (defending a position).
- Complete four major projects: a visual project (such as a power point presentation or display board); a creative short story; a research report; and an informative speech.
- Read fourteen books (biographies, historical fiction, or nonfiction) covering various people and events in United States history, including three novels all students will read.
- Identify the elements and techniques of literature through novels read.
- Appreciate poems and song lyrics about American historical events, analyzing the elements of poetry; also write one historical poem.
- Take regular tests covering historical content, as well as English concepts.
- Improve skills in English grammar including the parts of speech, the functions of nouns, sentence structure, punctuation, and “using the right word” (homonyms and word usage).
- Learn historical vocabulary and vocabulary words in context from our three novels read together.
- Optional: learn additional vocabulary words through the Wordly Wise vocabulary curriculum.
Who Should Apply: No course prerequisites are required, but students that previously have taken Middle School Tools A or B are ready for this course. Guidelines for new students include being able to read a 200-300 page novel in 2-3 weeks, able to write a strong paragraph with an opening and closing sentence, and a basic understanding of English grammar (especially parts of speech and some punctuation and capitalization). Students should expect to spend more time completing assignments each week than in Mrs. Graybill’s English classes since we are covering two subjects in one class, but certainly less time than what would be spent on two separate subjects.
Instructor’s Qualifications: Beverly holds a B.S. in Special Education, a M.S. in Elementary Education, and a Reading Certificate from Millersville University. She has taught in public/private schools for 6 years, has 10 years of experience teaching middle school English and social studies at a weekly homeschool co-op in Pennsylvania, and 20 years of experience home schooling her own four children, three of which have graduated. Passions of hers include using “real” books to teach history and integrating English into other subjects.