Laying the ELA Foundation: Essential Skills for Middle School Students

In this post, we will discuss how to lay the groundwork for essential skills during the first nine weeks of school. Our aim is to empower students with lifelong tools that extend beyond the academic year.

In the initial nine weeks, we focus on fundamental skills such as basic grammar concepts, distinguishing summaries from analysis, and brainstorming strategies for literary analysis prompts.

Building a Strong Foundation: Grammar and Analysis

We use daily bell ringers like Core Chomp and Daily Grammar Minutes to ensure students grasp grammar concepts thoroughly. Repetitiveness is key, just like in math, where early concepts support later learning.

Empowering Students with Analytical Skills

We guide students to analyze literature and uncover deeper meanings. We teach them our UAQ strategy—Underline, Analysis, and Questions—to dissect literary analysis prompts effectively.

Crafting Objective Summaries

Objective summaries are crucial for academic success. We teach students a formula to create concise and unbiased summaries, a skill they’ll use across subjects.

The Power of Word Choice

We emphasize word choice through narrative writing, improving vocabulary, and selecting appropriate words to convey ideas effectively.

Gist Statements for Close Reading

Throughout the first nine weeks, we train students to extract main ideas and key details using gist statements, boosting their reading comprehension abilities.

Understanding Themes in Stories

We explore how themes develop in narratives, helping students appreciate storytelling complexities and the messages conveyed by authors.

Versatile Skills for Diverse Genres

While fiction takes center stage during these weeks, the skills we teach, such as the UAQ strategy and objective summaries, apply to nonfiction texts too.

A Cohesive Learning Experience

By strategically incorporating these elements, we create an enriching learning experience for students that lasts a lifetime.

Access Our Detailed Pacing Guides

We provide a free pacing guide for the first two nine weeks, detailing daily activities and texts. It’s perfect for new middle school ELA teachers or anyone interested in our approach.

In conclusion, laying the ELA foundation in the first nine weeks equips students with vital skills for their academic journey. These versatile tools empower them to succeed not only during the school year but throughout their lives.

To access our pacing guide and learn more about our strategies, check the links in our show notes.