Language Arts

The St. Mary's Language Arts Program is designed to promote the use of, and appreciation for the varied aspects of the English language. We seek to guide students toward a clear understanding and fluent expression of ideas through the cultivation of precise thinking, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. These skills encourage the personal development of students, the acquisition of knowledge, and the understanding of cultural and religious differences.

We believe students construct meaning in Language Arts best when they:

  • are encouraged to read for comprehension and for an appreciation of the wealth and subtleties of prose and poetry.
  • are exposed to a multicultural language arts program that helps students gain broadened and perspectives of literature and human thought.
  • are encouraged to express their thoughts with a firm support basis and a cultivated correctness of spoken and written English.
  • have a firm understanding of the different uses of the English language as it relates, describes, evokes, persuades and expresses the mind and imagination of the individual.

Language Arts teachers agree to:

  • provide many and varied learning opportunities using the writing process and grammar instruction.
  • expose students to a variety of literary genres.
  • provide opportunities for students to use different methods to communicate in Language Arts: oral, written, visual, and technological media.
  • provide opportunities for students to recognize and interpret literary devices.
  • evaluate student work using a variety of assessment methods.
  • provide models of the various aspects of Language Arts.

English

Year Course; Grade 7

Process writing with supplemental work in all areas of grammatical structure is stressed in the course. Emphasis is given to vocabulary building, spelling, communication skills, library and study skills, and a vigorous reading program. Standard usage and mechanics are taught throughout the year. Literature genres include non-fiction, short stories, poetry, drama and the novel. Writers are encouraged to contribute to the school literary magazine and to the middle school newspaper.

English

Year Course; Grade 8

Improving skills in the area of grammar, vocabulary, literature, and writing is the design of this course. There is particular emphasis on writing as a process, as well as exposure to a variety of authors and genre in literature. Students are introduced to new vocabulary words and apply them in practice, on analogies, and in their writing. Application of the rules of grammar is stressed in the students' writing. Library research, note taking, and study skills are incorporated into the class. Oral presentations will be given by the students. The school literary magazine, The Mind's Eye, gives the students an opportunity to have their poetry selected for publication.

Speech (Elective)

Semester Course; Grades 7 and 8

Emphasis will be placed on developing good speaking techniques and fun, competitive, festive-type presentations. The focus will be on both formal and informal presentations. Storytelling, oral interpretation of literature, demonstration techniques, persuasive speaking, original oratory and debate will be touched on throughout the course. Organization will be stressed and a three tier outline technique taught.