The Middle School English curriculum at Bishop Noland Episcopal Day School begins in the seventh grade and builds so that by the end of the eighth grade the student has been exposed to a multitude of linguistic and literary experiences. The curriculum takes a very traditional approach to the study of grammar and composition focusing on effective usage and diagramming sentences. The usage strand emphasizes the eleven basic writing errors including errors in agreement, tenses, sentence fragmentation and splicing, parallelism, pronoun and modifier usage.
A strong composition program naturally emerges from these grammar and usage studies and springs from the whole language approach to the study of literature. The aim is to address the basic rules of effective written communication - punctuation, spelling, mechanics, syntax, sentence structure and effective paragraph building at each grade level. Compositions are assigned regularly, evaluated, and then discussed with the student writers. At the middle school level, the goal is to move from full paragraph compositions and short essays at the sixth grade level to five or more paragraph thesis-controlled papers by the completion of eighth grade.
Focus is on related skills such as dictionary and thesaurus skills, research skills, Greek and Latin roots and affixes and advanced vocabulary. Students will also learn how to do research and how to complete a bibliography page correctly using MLA format. This is reinforced in seventh and eighth grades. Our eighth graders gain the skills necessary to be successful research paper writers in high school. Pre-advance placement strategies are implemented in all middle school classes with the heaviest emphasis in eighth grade to prepare them for advancement placement classes in high school.