Language Arts and English

The goal of Middle School language arts and English is to produce competent lifelong readers, writers, and thinkers. Within a curriculum that encourages openness to new ideas and cultural perspectives, students begin to generate their own opinions based on their readings, discussions and written responses.

Sixth graders learn to experiment with voice and take risks throughout the writing process, which includes prewriting, drafting, editing, and revision. Language enrichment occurs through contextual vocabulary study and practice in various grammatical and mechanical skills. As they investigate diverse backgrounds and perspectives of literary characters, students gain greater understanding of themselves. They also gain an appreciation of different genres of writing, including historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. They end the year by performing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Seventh graders practice creative, formal, poetic, and personal prose –– enriched through intensive vocabulary study –– and expand their knowledge of literary terms and devices, skills in analytical reading, and ability to discuss and apply themes. Their study of cities leads them to a culturally diverse reading list and enriches their study of geography for the year.

Eighth graders take their interactive reading abilities and the scope, depth, and variety of their writing to a new level, dramatically increasing their skills in formal and informal writing by the time they transition into Upper School. They create movie trailers based on their outside reading choices, produce their first term paper in conjunction with the social studies department, and end the year by writing and sharing their own personal memoirs.

Interdisciplinary Experiences

Tilapia Farm

Seventh grade students learn biology, ecology, environmental science and mathematics in a hands-on fish farming project in their classroom. Students use an aquaponics system, which includes hydroponic garden beds, to grow tilapia as well as lettuces and herbs. The young scientists quickly discover the keys to plant and fish life cycles, respiration, photosynthesis and how each tie together. They calculate necessary daily food volumes, test the tank’s water quality and work in groups to design their own farm. What students learn takes them far beyond any science textbook — their small farm system reflects global efforts to improve nutrition in poor communities and establish more sustainable fish farming. Read more.

Sports Physics

Eighth grade science students research the physics of a favorite sport, then create a video demonstrating how gravity, friction, momentum and Newton’s three laws work in their chosen activity. Equipped with a video camera, each team finds a campus location (such as a gym, a field or even the pool) to film their scenes, then uses digital video software to edit, narrate and add a soundtrack. To date, swimming, football, wrestling, soccer, tchoukball, lacrosse, field hockey, basketball, dodge ball, skateboarding, skiing and softball have made it to the “big screen.”

Capstone Night

An evening event for sixth grade families where students enact a scene from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and tour their families through classrooms, exhibiting what they have learned through the school year in all subjects. See more from the night in the Flickr Album.

Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
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