The English Language Arts Department at Straus Middle School serves to equip and guide students in developing critical thinking, listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills through student-centered, engaging learning activities.
Through their 6th, 7th, and 8th grade ELA courses, students will craft and analyze texts, participate in discussion and inquiry, and sharpen learning and thinking skills that they’ll apply across contexts, in-and-out of school settings. Our Advanced ELA courses offer students an additional level of academic challenge in literary analysis and text complexity to prepare them for Advanced Placement English courses in high school.
8th grade students will explore their learning preferences and abilities, set goals, and determine healthy ways for managing time, stress, and success through our Methodology for Academic & Personal Success course, and they’ll become more effective communicators through our Communication Applications course. Each course, successfully completed, provides students with ½ high school course credit.
*Students who have elected to take AVID 1 are exempt from these courses
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Northside MS ELA Vision
Every day, in every MS ELA classroom, every learner will experience opportunities to develop lifelong literacy and critical thinking skills in an engaging environment that fosters respect, choice, and collaboration.
Academic ELA Grades 6 - 8
Middle School English Language Arts is aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Strategies for listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts are integrated daily to create a literacy-rich classroom which promotes engaging, student-centered learning. Through the communication of ideas, orally and in writing, students continue to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become independent readers, writers, and thinkers. The primary goals of this course are to cultivate independent learning, encourage in-depth inquiry and exploration of the content, and develop the habits necessary for academic success.
Advanced ELA Grades 6 - 8
These middle school courses are designed to prepare and motivate students for Advanced and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school. This is in addition to the grade-level expectations of the Middle School English Language Arts classroom. Students have multiple opportunities to develop communication and analytical skills in an academically challenging course of study. As a preparation for Advanced Placement English courses in high school, this course adds a focus on literary analysis in reading, writing, and speaking.
There is a Summer Reading requirement for Advanced ELA; however, all students are encouraged to engage in free choice summer reading. With guidance from their MS ELA teachers, students in grades 6-8 explore their interests and self-select books for summer reading.
Middle School ELA District Calendar
The suggested pacing for all grades can be found on the: All-Level MS ELA Pacing Calendar.
This district calendar outlines the suggested pacing for the units in middle school ELA.
Middle School ELA District Grading Policy
The district grading policy for middle school ELA is as follows:
Formative assessments include minor daily quizzes, class work, homework, and other in-class and district-administered assessments. Summative assessments include unit exams, major pieces of writing, and projects.
MS ELA Textbook
Middle school ELA students use the myPerspectives textbook published by Pearson (Savvas).
Students are also able to access an online version of the textbook, which includes options to have the book read aloud to the student. The online platform, known as Pearson Savvas Realize, also has digital lessons and interactive lessons and can be accessed through the student’s NISD portal.
Grades 6 - 8 STAAR
Middle school students prepare all year focusing on the mastery of the TEKS and then participate in a cumulative Reading STAAR test at the end of their 6th, 7th, and 8th grade year. Writing at 7th grade will no longer be administered as of 2021-2022. For more information regarding STAAR, please access this link for general resources: Texas Education Agency - STAAR Resources.
Parents and students can access the Texas Assessment Family Portal at texasassessment.gov to view and print released STAAR tests as well as login to access the online practice tests.