Our challenging standards-based curriculum emphasizes the development of essential skills, the understanding of important concepts, and the ability to apply learning to real-world problems.
Our curriculum includes courses of study for all students in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, music, visual arts, physical education, and health. In addition, students take grade-specific trimester courses in technology, research, and study skills which are designed to support their integrated learning experience.
English Language Arts
The English Language Arts curriculum is anchored by the New York State English Language Arts Learning Standards, revised in 2017. Our vertically aligned program builds on skill development from sixth through eighth grade, focusing on reading, writing, listening, and speaking for literary response and expression, information, and critical analysis. Each year, students produce a variety of written pieces, including narrative, persuasive, and informative pieces. Teachers provide lessons in grammar and mechanics and guide students through the writing process, emphasizing planning, drafting, and actively participating in collaborative groups to revise and edit their work. Teachers evaluate student writing using the 6 + 1 Writing Traits. The ELA curriculum also provides students with a rich literary experience with opportunities to choose books that are both challenging and interesting to them. Each year, students read from a variety of genres, complete novel studies, and read a number of books working toward their personal reading goals. As they read independently, in pairs and small groups, and with the entire class, they learn and apply a variety of reading strategies to develop their ability to comprehend, synthesize, analyze, and enjoy the texts they read. In addition, students participate in a word study program that offers continued exposure to new vocabulary. As a result of the comprehensive ASMS three-year program, students will develop an appreciation for the language arts and confidence in their ability to read, write, and communicate as they continue on their journeys as life-long learners.
Eighth-grade ELA will take a thematic approach to literature. Our study will include different genres with all the literature connected through the ‘coming of age’ theme. In addition to their individual reading choices, we will study Private Peaceful, The House on Mango Street, To Kill a Mockingbird, and several novel selections for independent and small group study. Through class discussions, collaboration, journals, and reflection, students will gain a deeper appreciation for the literature we study as well as simultaneously enhance their writing and critical thinking skills.
Students will gain an understanding of a range of literary devices. They will be able to recognize how various literary techniques such as setting, parallel plots, dynamic characters, symbolism, motifs, imagery, and irony impact the work’s theme and, ultimately, the reader. Speaking and listening skills will be practiced in small group and whole class discussions. Students will be expected to collaborate, share their connections, and learn from each other.
In writing, students will further develop their ability to effectively paraphrase and use quotes from the text. Emphasis will also be placed on learning how to extensively plan ideas to build an argument. Students will write a persuasive research paper that is reflective of their own, original thesis; they will synthesize the connections between various articles and sources. Writing mechanics and vocabulary will be addressed through mini-lessons, self-editing, and conferencing.