• English

    The Scarsdale Middle School English program is a comprehensive experience for students that promotes the skills of reading, writing, critical thinking, public speaking, visual literacy, and thoughtful discourse. The three-year curriculum is scaffolded so that students hone their skills through iteration at each level.
    The objective of the literature program is to instill and foster a love of reading while also encouraging students to think deeply about the texts they encounter. Through a combination of whole-class novels, book clubs, and independent reading, students learn the necessary skills for making meaning of fiction and nonfiction. They learn to recognize character development and motivation, determine the reliability of the narrator, identify themes, consider theme messages, and analyze the author's craft. Scarsdale is committed to exploring a wide variety of voices that have traditionally been marginalized so that students are exposed to various perspectives on race, culture, gender, sexual identity, refugee/migrant status, and ability. This commitment is evident in the ever-expanding breadth of Young Adult (YA) titles that teachers select for their classroom libraries and well as for their whole-class reads. These new voices complement several canonical texts that students also experience.

    The writing program offers students an array of opportunities to show their thinking on the page. Writing experiences range from personal essays to poetry to blogs to analytical essays. The conventions of each form of writing are explicitly taught and practiced. Instruction on word usage, sentence structure, and punctuation happens during the writing process. Through the giving and receiving of peer feedback, students practice editing and revision. English teachers often work with their science and social studies colleagues to support research and writing that is assigned in those areas of the curriculum.
    The goal of the public speaking unit is to provide students with the experience of speaking in front of an audience. Each spring, all seventh- and eighth-grade students participate in a department-wide speech unit. There are six categories for students to choose among: Original Oratory, Poetic Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Personal Experience, Declamation, and Humorous Interpretation. Students must research and then write all or parts of their speech (depending upon the category), rehearse, and deliver their speeches in their English classes. As a culminating activity, students have the option to participate in the school-wide speech contest. This long-standing tradition is held in the evening and draws upon members of the community who volunteer as judges. A winner and three runners-up are named in each category and receive school-wide recognition.