Middle School English Language Arts
The scope and sequence for English Language Arts (ELA) in the Ann Arbor Public Schools is aligned with the Michigan Academic Standards for English Language Arts. The skills and knowledge captured in the ELA Standards are designed to prepare students for life beyond the classroom. They include critical-thinking skills and the skills to closely and attentively read texts in a way that supports them in understanding and enjoying complex works of literature and informational text. Students learn to use cogent reasoning and evidence collection skills that are essential for success in college, career, and life beyond school. The ELA Standards offer a vision of what it means to be a literate person who is prepared for success in the 21st century. The Michigan K-12 ELA Standards can be found at the following link.
In addition, The Council of Great City Schools provides information on such topics as: 1) the progression of student learning across grade levels; 2) suggestions for helping your child at home; 3) questions to ask your child's teacher for a better understanding of your child's growth; and 4) parents may find ways to enrich a child's work at home by understanding the learning that will happen in the following year.
Reading: Complex Texts and Growing Comprehension
The reading standards place emphasis on both the sophistication of what students read and the skill with
which they read. Standard 10 defines a grade-by-grade “staircase” of increasing text complexity that rises from
beginning reading to the college and career readiness level. With standards for reading literature and informational texts, students must also demonstrate a steadily growing proficiency in learning more from text. This includes making an increasing
number of connections among ideas and between texts, considering a wider range of textual evidence, and
becoming more sensitive to inconsistencies, ambiguities, and reasoning.
Writing: Text Types, Responding to Reading, and Research
The writing standards acknowledge the fact that some writing skills, such as planning, revising, editing,
and publishing, are applicable to many types of writing. Other skills are more properly defined in terms of specific
writing types: argumentation, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives. Standard 9 stresses the importance of
the writing-reading connection by requiring students to draw upon and write about evidence from literary
and informational texts. Research standards are
prominently included in this strand. Additional research skills are infused throughout other standards in the document.
Instruction is divided into units of study in which teachers model clear examples of effective writing. Students learn that writing is a process, which may look different across types of writing. Middle School writing genres include personal narrative, poetry, feature article, report writing, fiction, and persuasive essay. Students complete a literacy capstone project taught collaboratively among English and Social Studies teachers and Media Specialists in order to integrate standards-based instruction across these three domains.
Speaking and Listening: Flexible Communication and Collaboration
The speaking and listening standards require students to develop a range of broadly useful oral communication
and interpersonal skills including but not limited to skills necessary for formal presentations. Students must learn
to work together, to express and listen carefully to ideas, to integrate information from oral, visual, quantitative, and
media sources, to evaluate what they hear, to use media and visual displays strategically to help achieve communicative
purposes, and to adapt speech to context and task.
Language: Conventions, Effective Use, and Vocabulary
The ELA Standards include the essential “rules” of standard written and spoken English. They approach language as a matter of craft and informed choice among alternatives. The vocabulary standards focus
on understanding words and phrases, their relationships, and their nuances, and on acquiring new vocabulary,
particularly general academic and domain-specific words and phrases.
The ELA portion of the Michigan Merit Curriculum is grounded in the State's ELA Standards. Appendix A includes the research that supports the key elements of the standards. Suggestions for complex text can be found in Appendix B. Student writing samples are provided in Appendix C.
District English Department Chair