Roslyn Middle School English Department


    As members of the Roslyn Middle School English Department, we recognize that students come to us during a critical developmental period. They change dramatically during the three years they walk our halls, and we consider it a privilege to walk alongside and guide them through. 

    Middle school is more than just a bridge between elementary and high school: it is a space in its own right, one in which students begin to develop independent interests, shape their views, and gain the sophistication to see the world as less concrete. Learning how to reconcile complexities is the hallmark of the middle school English experience. We give them the tools to do so at every step of the way.

    Sixth grade English focuses on the first stages of managing this middle territory, introducing students to crafting arguments and then supporting those arguments with clearly explained evidence. We want students to become comfortable with learning to appreciate nuance, embracing the reality that much of what we produce doesn’t have to be definitively labeled “right” or “wrong.”  Within this context, we sharpen our writing and reading skills through direct grammar and vocabulary instruction.

    In seventh grade, we build on this foundation to introduce increasingly complex texts and ideas in reading and writing. Students engage in critical thinking as they grapple with ethical and moral issues in literature and consider reasonable ways of resolving such dilemmas. Wading through such gray areas in the safety of the classroom helps students navigate the conflicts that may exist outside of it. As students write more complex pieces, they can more adeptly manage their claims and naturally increase their sophistication.

    Finally, in eighth grade, we reinforce the skills students have mastered in sixth and seventh grades. Our program of instruction balances concrete literary and communicative skills against the abstract elements of inferential thinking and recognizing the beauty of language as an art form. Most importantly, as we look ahead toward high school, we foster creative and original thinking through carefully selected literature and challenging assignments. Here, students lay the foundation for the next four years and beyond.

    The middle can feel nebulous, a realm that resists clear definition. We welcome such complexity, and we urge students to welcome it too. Our students matter to us, and together, we make these middle spaces matter to them. 

    Ms. Jennifer Sapir
    English Department Chairperson

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