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 2 uses the 8th grade Write Source text as students improve 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, the elements of literature are studied, including a major creative project. Classics such as the Iliad and Odyssey, Beowulf, and King Arthur are studied, as well as three contemporary novels. The final unit on poetry concludes with a poetry contest. Fun class activities include review games, discussions, and “reader’s theater.”
- Apply the steps of the writing process and effective traits of writing to their own compositions, as well as understanding the purpose and audience of each writing assignment.
- Write “warm-up” paragraphs to increase confidence in writing.
- Write multi-paragraph essays covering the four types of writing: descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive using teacher review to improve each composition.
- Write a “coming-of-age” short story (either autobiographical or imaginative).
- Prepare and present an informative or persuasive speech.
- Demonstrate an understanding of English grammar including: punctuation, mechanics, spelling, sentence structure, and parts of speech.
- Review the basic elements of literature (setting, character, plot, point of view, conflict, and theme), preparing a creative project with definitions and examples for each term.
- Identify techniques of literature such as irony, symbolism, and figures of speech including allusion, idioms, synecdoche, and understatement.
- Review different genres of writing and discuss their differences, as well as read short stories and novels in various genres.
- Improve their reading comprehension through thought-provoking questions and discussion of the novels read together.
- Be introduced to ancient writings including the Iliad and the Odyssey, Beowulf, and the legend of King Arthur and his knights.
- Identify the sounds and techniques used in poetry, prepare a poetry presentation, and write several of his/her own poems.
- 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. During the second semester, the cycles are extended to 4-weeks for longer assignments with more overlap between writing and literature. Most days include a vocabulary and grammar exercise as well. Once a week, students should find time to work on the Elements of Fiction creative project. 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?
All 8th graders are invited to join this class. Parents of 7th graders may need to decide if their student is ready for this advanced class, or would be better suited to English Foundations 1.
- 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.