All Levey students take English Language Arts classes each year. Each class is organized according to the teaching style of each particular teacher, but the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade curriculum is centered on the state of Michigan’s Content Standards and Benchmarks and the Spring Board program, a middle school advanced placement curriculum designed by College Board.
At each grade level, instruction focuses on improving the reading, writing, speaking, and thinking skills of each student. Students read and write daily and are encouraged to share their ideas and written creations with their classmates. Through regular mini-lessons on writing craft and writing mechanics (that follow the Six Traits of Good Writing model), students will learn to write, revise, and edit their work independently as they prepare to present their compositions to a school audience or for publication. They will learn about many different types of literature, such as short stories, novels, drama, poetry, fables, myths, legends, biographies, and memoirs; but there will be an emphasis placed on informational texts – which will especially help to prepare them for higher education. Explicit instruction in English grammar and vocabulary is included in the curriculum at each grade level.
Spring Board Grade Level Themes
6th grade: “Units focus on the concept of change. How do students, as individuals, change and grow over the year intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally? The unit also examines how change impacts individuals, families, and society. Students connect these experiences with the literature they read. This focus also points to the recursive nature of the units of instruction.”
7th grade: “The units focus on the concept of choice. How and why are choices made and how do they affect the lives of students? Students are introduced to the concept of choice with a pair of essential questions about choice posed at the beginning of each unit. These questions serve as a frame of reference for their study of texts and life.”
8th grade: “The units focus on the concept of challenge. What kinds of challenges do students face in school and in their lives? What kinds of challenges have other people faced, and what were the consequences? Students are asked to think about the different connotations of the idea of the word challenge. Challenge can mean both limitation and opportunities in their personal, academic, athletic, social, and physical lives.”
“Students learn, practice, and master a set of skills and attitudes that are embedded in and continuous throughout the units and that are central to success in the English Language Arts classroom. At these levels, students are on their way to becoming independent readers, writers, and learners.”
--Spring Board p.xxiii
“Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.” --Confucius