The two-year literature driven program seeks to develop orderly, concise expository writing and close reading skills; to promote personal, intellectual and spiritual development; and to build effective study skill practices . The curriculum balances contemporary with traditional reading selections and introduces students to each of the principal literary genres.
As writers, students move from a SVO pattern to compound, complex and compound-complex sentence structures. In 7th Grade, students apply and reinforce their sentence writing skills on composition assignments that incorporate three of the five styles of writing: summary, narrative and descriptive. In 8th Grade, students add two more styles of writing: expository and persuasive. To help develop clear, cogent and engaging prose, the 7th and 8th Grade 12 curriculum addresses order within a paragraph focusing on chronological order, spatial order, and order of importance and logical order. To this aim, students utilize such pre-writing strategies as the Venn Diagram, Graphic Organizers, Brainstorming and Idea Webs.
The Grammar Program is a two year program, where new material is introduced in 7th Grade, then reinforced and built upon in 8th Grade. The curriculum addresses the following grammar concepts: Subject-Verb Agreement; Verb Forms and Tenses: Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement; Pronoun Reference and Case; Degree of Modifiers; Positioning of Modifiers; Spelling; Punctuation; and Commonly Confused Words. As readers, students learn close reading skills through guided reading activities, reading-response assignments and Socratic seminars. Students also learn the skills necessary for the acquisition of a larger, active vocabulary; efficient use of a dictionary, recognition of context clues, familiarity with common Latin and Greek roots and affixes, and the methodical study of new words drawn from both vocabulary resources and course texts.
As active classroom participants, students learn to interpret the readings and articulate their ideas effectively. Through classroom discussion, presentation, dramatizations and debates, students strengthen their speaking skills. Group work builds reciprocal and respectful relationships and teaches students the importance of coming together for a common goal. Students also discover their emerging voices, learn to appreciate and respect the voices of others; and help to strengthen the Sacred Heart community.
Grades 7 and 8 offer two levels of study, Honors and College Prep. Sacred Heart requires two years of study or its equivalent before students advance to the Upper School.
Grade 7 Texts Include: A Break with Charity (Rinaldi, A), Farewell to Manzanar (Wakatsuki Houston, J), The Giver (Lowry, Lois), Witness (Hesse, Karen), and Looking Like the Enemy (Matsuda Gruenewald, Mary) .
Grade 8 Texts Include (but are not limited to): Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury, Ray), Lord of the Flies (Golding, William), Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck, J.), A Separate Peace (Knowles, J.), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare).