Language Arts

sf ms 2013I

n sixth through eighth grades, students expand upon their abilities to read and respond to a wide range of literature.  Students are encouraged to make connections between their lives and the lives of characters in the books they read.  Typical themes include self-awareness and integrity.  These large issues are tackled by closely examining characters in novels.

Students study different writing genres, including short stories, poetry, and the essay.  They develop an understanding of how authors use conflict, setting, character, and tone to convey meaning.  They use the texts they read as models for their own writing.

Writing fundamentals are a focus in middle school.  Students study Greek and Latin roots, dictionary skills, and words taken from literary texts. The study of grammar includes sentence structure, oral language skills, and the understanding of the foundation of language.

MS Language Arts News

  • I-Search Share Faire Showcases Sixth Grade Research Projects

    Posted May 14, 2015

    Each year sixth graders undertake an ambitious language arts project called the "I-Search." Students choose a subject they're curious about, find experts to interview, and spend weeks on investigation. They then produce detailed research papers and visual or digital models, which they present before an audience of peers, parents, faculty, and younger classes. This year the presentations took place at a "Share Faire," where guests roamed the exhibits and the student researchers expatiated on their chosen topics.

    The research topics range from geopolitical, historical, and environmental concerns (How does the California drought impact our daily lives? —Can the electric car companies revolutionize the industry enough to get rid of gas-powered cars? —How does ocean pollution in the Bay Area impact our daily lives? —How is industrially farmed meat processed and distributed? —What factors ignited the American Revolution?); business and technology (What is the infrastructure required to create an MMO like Woozworld?How do you program and fly a quadcopter?); social and psychological issues (How does listening to music as a baby affect a baby’s brain development? —Is standardized testing useful? If so, how is it useful? If not, why do schools do it?); to detailed studies related to avocational interests (What makes a popular video game into a cultural icon? —What are the costs and resources required to run a successful MLB team? —How do you make good fried chicken? Why is it so delicious?). MORE PHOTOS

  • Eighth Grade Families Share Laughter and Tears at Kinship Project Evening

    Posted April 9, 2014

    The fifth annual Kinship Project, an iconic 8th grade research and writing project, ends in an evening of sharing and story telling for the entire family. All students, parents, grandparents, and alumni are invited to get up and tell a three-minute story from their lives. The eighth graders have spent six weeks interviewing their parents and other relatives, gleaning details of family history and recording stories, and then producing a final paper that includes the interviews and a family album.

    The stories shared at this annual event range emotionally from hilarious or anecdotal to tragic, and April 3 was no exception. Language arts teachers Jennifer Baumer and David Jefferies each shared a story of their own. Said Ms. Baumer, “Students apply all the skills they've learned through the years to their own narrative. This project is in many ways the culmination of the BHDS writing curriculum.”


  • The I-Search Project: Iconic Sixth Grade Research Delivers Answers

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Each year, our sixth graders choose a subject they're curious about, find experts to interview, spend weeks on investigation, and then produce detailed research papers and visual or digital models. The questions and topics posed are invariably fascinating: this year's include How did Peter Jackson create the on-screen world of the Fellowship of the Ring trilogy?, The Origin and Cultural Prevalence of the Meatball, The History of Amusement Parks, and What is a Linear Particle Accelerator and How Does it Work?...

    Read More