Both English Foundations courses seek to prepare middle school students for high school English by covering writing, grammar, literature, and vocabulary all in one course! English Foundations 1 uses the 6th grade Write Source text and introduces students to writing descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive essays, as well as a short story and speech. Much feedback is given on essays with further opportunities to revise each. In literature, important terms are introduced through reading four novels together, including the classic tale of Robin Hood, as well as several short stories; a special unit covers folk tales and fables, such as Arabian Nights. The final unit on poetry concludes with a poetry contest. Fun class activities include review games, discussions, and “reader’s theater.”
- Review the steps of the writing process and identify the traits of effective writing, applying these skills to their own writing.
- Write “warm-up” paragraphs to increase confidence in writing.
- Write multi-paragraph descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive essays, with teacher review to improve each composition.
- Write a short story (either autobiographical or imaginative) in which the narrator faces a problem or challenge.
- Prepare and present a short demonstration speech.
- Demonstrate an understanding of English grammar including: punctuation, mechanics, spelling, sentence structure, and parts of speech.
- Identify the basic elements of literature including setting, character, plot, point of view, and conflict.
- Identify techniques of literature such as foreshadowing, flashback, and figures of speech including simile, metaphor, hyperbole, and personification.
- Be introduced to various genres of writing and discuss their differences, as well as read short stories and novels in different genres.
- Be introduced to legends and folk tales such as Tales from theArabian Nights and the legend of Robin Hood.
- Be introduced to the sounds and techniques used in poetry, prepare a poetry recitation, and write several of his/her own poems.
- Improve their reading comprehension through thought-provoking questions and discussion of the novels read together.
- Learn new vocabulary words in context in the novels read together.
- Learn new vocabulary words through the Wordly Wise curriculum.
During the first semester, the course features a 3-week writing cycle, followed by a 3-week literature cycle with one week of overlap. Most days include a vocabulary and grammar exercise as well. During the second semester, the cycles are extended to 4-weeks for longer assignments with more overlap between writing and literature. All work is posted on Canvas. The “live” class time on Thursday will include a review of the current week’s assignments and instruction on the new assignments for the following week. Students that cannot attend class may watch the recording, which will be posted shortly after class. A detailed list of required work is posted on Canvas according to a suggested schedule, but students may choose to complete the work on different days.
Who should apply?
This class is open to all sixth and seventh graders.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- headset and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Microsoft Word and Power Point is extremely helpful. If using a different word processing program, the document should be saved or exported as a pdf in order to submit it on Canvas.
Evaluation and Feedback
Grammar and vocabulary exercises are frequently graded automatically by Canvas. Writing and literature assignments receive more feedback and can be accessed easily on Canvas. (I’ll explain how the first week of class.) The first time a student submits an essay, it is graded according to following directions and effort, and much feedback is given. After he or she does further revisions, it is graded according to a rubric with the effective traits of writing.
Once parents register for the course, they will receive a welcome packet from me with additional information about the course, including a syllabus and more detailed list of required books. Parents are free to email me with questions at any time. I do contact parents whenever I have a concern about students not keeping up with the work or frequently submitting late assignments to find out parental expectations.