The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Middle School

Notes and Lesson Plans

Middle School Language Arts
updated April 2, 2017


Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf ideas. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum experiences and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.



Middle School Language Arts Booklist
for Class 6, 7, 8

Mission Statement



I haven't found a good all-in-one book on Waldorf language arts for the middle school years...

If you find one, please let me know!



Jamie York recommends math homework every night, two math main lesson blocks during the course of the school year, and an afternoon math class several times a week for further reinforcement and practice. I think this is a reasonable suggestion for language arts as well.

Here are some homework options. If your child has problems with spelling, punctuation, grammar, and so on, I recommend nightly editing practice. Practice Makes Progress! Simply provide a sentence or two with the types of errors your child is making in his/her own work and ask for your child to find all of the mistakes and rewrite the sentences correctly. Telling your child the number of mistakes in the passage is optional.

I like these FREE Homework Scorecards which ask students to self-assess their work. (Mon - Thu)


I also strongly believe that language arts should be woven into real life, and homeschooling provides you with so many opportunities to do that! Writing, actually writing letters to family members, like grandparents -- who often miss this type of old-fashioned correspondence -- is one practical way to practice penmanship. One middle school teacher I know has a simple homework requirement for her students. It is the same every night throughout the school year.

    30 minutes of reading

    30 minutes of writing

    30 minutes of research

She determines the time requirement for R/W/R based on the child. One child may have to do only 15 minutes of each, one child may do 20 minutes, another child the full 30. It is easy to individualize this type of assignment. You can read whatever you want, be it fiction, non fiction, etc. You can write in whatever way you like, such as pen pal letters, writing in your diary, writing a creative story, etc. You can research on whatever topic you are curious about, and this can be a hands-on science experiment, reading, going to a museum... and if you are reading you can count it as reading, and if you are taking notes you can count it as writing. I like that reading can be absorbed into research and writing can be absorbed into research but you MUST do research every night... it is unavoidable. I think this helps support mental curiosity at an age when school can seem rote and dull, and it allows for students to have some variety in their day every day.

Now a Waldorf family may not be 100% sure about this, right? Because what if your children want to research something that they aren't supposed to be learning about yet developmentally, in subjects such as Physics or Chemistry or World History?

So this is an individual family's decision. But I have found it to be wonderful for reinforcing DAILY how to use a dictionary and encyclopedia, and the museum visits and other family field trips and science experiments we have done to help fulfill the research requirement have been really fun.


An Overview of Main Lesson Topics:

    Grammar - grade 6

    Creative Writing - grade 7

    Persuasive Writing - grade 8

    Short Story - grade 8

    Shakespearean Drama - grade 8

    Famous Speeches - grade 8


Here are a few Waldorf (and traditional) language resources which I suggest for this age group:


Reading

San Francisco Waldorf School Summer Reading Lists blog post

Waldorf Teacher Resources
grade 7 - see "Gems" for lesson plans and "Gallery" for student work samples


Grammar & Composition

Excerpts and Sample Lessons from The Sentence Sounds a Melody: Grammar for the Upper Grades, Live Education! curriculum

Teaching English
by Roy Wilkinson (grades 1-8)


An English Manual

by Dorothy Harrer (grades 2-8)


The Art and Science of Teaching Composition
by Dorit Winter (this book is AVAILABLE FREE as a download from the Online Waldorf Library)


Sentence Combining: A Composing Book

by William Strong


"Wonder, Wish & Surprise" / Creative Writing

Waldorf Teacher Resources
grade 7 - see "Gems" for lesson plans and "Gallery" for student work samples


Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School

by Georgia Heard


Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly

by Gail Carson Levine


Persuasive Writing


Why We Must Run With Scissors: Voice Lesson in Persuasive Writing

by Barry Lane and Gretchen Bernabei


Short Story

Waldorf Teacher Resources
grade 8 - see "Gems" for lesson plans and "Gallery" for student work samples

Plot Development from The Art of the Short Story with Charcoal Drawing, Live Education! curriculum

Literary Criticism / Short Stories main lesson block notes


Shakespearean Drama


The Riverside Shakespeare

Two Gentleman of Verona - 80 Minute Cut for Grade VIII
by Promethean Press

A Midsummer Night's Dream - 80 Minute Cut for Grade VIII
by Promethean Press

Shakespeare main lesson block notes


Famous Speeches

Famous Speeches blog post


Typing

If you decide to start keyboarding (which I think is necessary before high school), I like Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor best. In our house it is affectionately known as "Typing Viking."

They offer a free typing test plus a free trial week if you're not sure, and with your purchase you can also donate one free license to a school of your choosing.


Essay Writing & Research Papers

Again, you may decide to start this now or wait until high school. That's your choice.


Reviving The Essay: How To Teach Structure Without Formula

by Gretchen Bernabei

Reviving the Essay: Truisms blog post

The Perils of Assessment blog post


The Elements of Style


"They Say / I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing

by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

Research Papers and the Homework Question blog post


Other free language arts downloads (from Teachers Pay Teachers) which we've used and liked:



Affiliate links through Amazon cover domain registration, web hosting, and website backup fees. This allows me to offer
my materials for free. Any extra revenue is used as our homeschool budget for the month. Thank you for your support!

Waldorf Curriculum Copyright ©2006-2017