Our Middle School program fosters the imagination of young writers while exposing them to traditional literary elements. Students practice the fundamentals of composition through prewriting, drafting, revising, and publishing. The English department encourages students to develop both self- awareness and style through the writing process.
Required, sixth grade
First semester + third or fourth quarter
In this course, we build on the basic foundations of reading, writing, and language within a highly collaborative environment. Units are anchored in the exploration of a rich variety of texts including novels, graphic novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. We strengthen both our vocabulary and grammatical skills from the readings encountered throughout the year. We conclude each unit with a project-based assessment such as creating an original graphic novel, generating a public service announcement, and crafting a collection of poems, in order for the students to demonstrate their learning beyond traditional tests and quizzes. Additionally, writing remains a focus throughout the year. Together we learn to recognize and compose effective sentences and build effective narrative, expository, and persuasive paragraphs.
Required, seventh grade
English 7 exposes students to literature and cultures at home and abroad. The course trains students in the fundamental skills of writing a formal, thesis-based essay. Students are taught to think critically about the works they read and to note similarities between themselves and the characters within those works. In this way, the course encourages students to learn empathy and gain understanding of the characters and their experiences. Formal grammar study is also a part of the curriculum, and is centered on the study of verbs and all their various forms. Vocabulary study is developed from the texts used and the genres encountered in the course. Assessment comes in the form of group and long-term projects, as well as through more traditional essays and creative writing assignments. The book list may include (but is not limited to) The Giver, A River Lost, Of Mice and Men, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Feed, and The Alchemist.
Required, eighth grade
English 8 incorporates vocabulary and grammar study, creative and expository writing, and the reading of classical and contemporary literature. Students study vocabulary taken from the texts used and the genres encountered in the course, learn about the voice and tense of verbs, and examine sentence structure via their study of phrases and clauses. In addition to practicing different modes of expository writing, students write poetry and short stories. The reading list may include (but is not limited to) titles such as Lord of the Flies, Akhenaten, Speak, Oedipus Rex, Persepolis and An Iliad. Numerous essays, poems, articles, and speeches supplement these longer readings.
Elective, seventh and eighth grades
The purpose of this class is to experience various types of creative writing from a wide range of established literary figures, understand structures and techniques used within the different forms of writing, and talk about and personally practice the craft. Students produce their own original short story, personal essay and collection of poetry.
Required, sixth grade
This course is a partnership between sixth grade English and Science to explore astronomy, the solar system, and methods of inquiry in a creative, artistic, and hands-on fashion. Through a variety of trips and projects, students explore outward from the Moon, to the Solar System, and then to some of the anomalies and the history of the universe itself. Students read, analyze, and write Science Fiction using their own learning and projects for inspiration. Field trips include the University of Washington Planetarium, the Challenger Learning Center at the Museum of Flight, and the Museum of Pop Culture.
Seventh - eighth grades
This course focuses on the conception, design, and production of a visual narrative piece. Students read examples of comics and graphic novels that bring together writing and visuals to tell their stories. Using these pieces as inspiration, students then develop their own characters and storylines, write and draw the piece, and produce an anthology series distributed at UPrep.