7th Grade English
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What are the major themes in the course?
In seventh grade English, students grapple with themes of race and identity in attaining the American Dream. Over the course of the year, students read about a variety of perspectives from immigrant and minority groups in order to explore questions of whiteness, class and legality that challenge the idealized notion that anybody who works hard can prosper in the United States.
What is the major focus for reading instruction?
One marked difference between the sixth and seventh grade curricula is a shift in emphasis from literal to figurative and symbolic meanings. Students also examine how authors use tone and point of view to develop their messages about the American Dream. In addition, students continue to hone their independent reading habits; they work to increase their stamina on complex texts, their annotation skills and their breadth of advanced vocabulary.
Why we chose these texts?
Seventh graders begin the year studying the modern day Native American experience in The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Then, they jump into the graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang about a teenager struggling to balance his Chinese American heritage. Next, scholars read the memoir When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir by Esmeralda Santiago, a story about the experience of a young girl who emigrates to the U.S. from Puerto Rico. In the fourth and fifth units of the year, students examine the disillusionment of the American Dream through two famous dramas, Death of Salesman by Arthur Miller and A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. In the sixth unit, students will zoom in on a two-week unit studying poetry about the American experience with a special focus on the Harlem Renaissance. Finally, students end the year with a short stories unit including texts from Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies about the Indian-American perspective, J.D. Vance’s The Hillbilly Elegy about the Scots-Irish challenges with poverty, and the NY Times: American Dreamers about the undocumented immigrant experience. Through in-depth analysis of these texts, seventh graders explore a variety of racial and cultural perspectives as they wrestle with the authenticity of the American Dream.
It is important to note that this course exists in conjunction with a seventh grade Composition class in which students write about the texts they read in English class.
How to Use This Course
English Language Arts at Match
At Match Education we have ambitious goals for our ELA program. Through our teaching, we strive to transform our scholars into critical readers, writers, and thinkers, and we seek to widen our students’ perspectives and deepen their character so that they can better understand themselves and the world around them.
Our ELA curriculum is designed around several core beliefs about how students learn best. These beliefs drive the decisions we make about what to teach and how to teach it.
Text First vs. Skills First: We believe in the power of rich and nuanced texts to spark students’ thinking.
Content Selection: We believe selected texts must both affirm our scholars’ cultures and expose them to great literature.
Writing Instruction: We believe writing instruction should teach scholars to construct and convey persuasive arguments, and express their own voices.
Discussion: We believe discussion is a powerful tool for testing ideas out and strengthening thinking.
Word Knowledge: We believe in the importance of building word knowledge through both explicit instruction and exposure to content knowledge.
Lifelong Learning: We believe that teachers should cultivate voracious, inquisitive readers, writers, and thinkers.
For more information, view our full English Language Arts Program Overview.