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Humanities Overview

The goals of the literature program are twofold: to encourage students to enjoy reading and to help them become more perceptive, competent, readers, and thinkers. Reading skills and concepts are taught through mentor texts, and students are asked to apply these concepts in their independent reading. In conjunction with independent reading, students discuss literature in small book club groups.

Students continue to develop both expository and creative writing skills, increase their knowledge of grammar and the mechanics of writing, and develop research and reporting skills. A Writer's Workshop approach is used as students brainstorm, draft, revise, and publish their prose. 

The writing curriculum is based on the idea that writing is a process and there is no such thing as perfect. Students learn how to respond to feedback, edit and revise, revise, revise. Periodic goal-setting, reflection, peer editing, and writing conferences play a major role in the students' development as writers.

Public Speaking/Writer’s Workshop
In seventh grade, in addition to English class, students attend a Public Speaking/Writer’s Workshop class once a week as an introduction to public speaking and the speech-writing process. The class is taught by Burke’s High School Counselor and by meeting regularly, the counselor is able to establish relationships with each seventh grader well in advance of the high-school planning they will work on in the following year.

Grade Level Highlights

List of 5 items.

  • Humanities (5/6)

    Students are introduced to various types of literature, literary themes, and techniques, while further developing their vocabularies. The reader’s workshop approach allows students to practice critical reading skills, including inferential thinking, finding themes and motifs within a text, historical fiction, and nonfiction.
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  • English (7)

    Seventh-grade English is designed to develop confident, appreciative, and analytical readers and writers. This growth is supported by work on critical reading and comprehension, the writing process and writing mechanics, vocabulary development, and grammar. Students practice several modes of writing including (1) analytical essays, (2) research projects, (3) letters, (4) speeches, (5) assignments focused on description, (6) poetry, and (7) narrative assignments. 
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  • English (8)

    The goal of the eighth grade English curriculum is to help students become more confident and critical readers, writers, and thinkers. They are elevating and refining skills that have been building since their first year in Upper School. As students prepare to take on the next step in their educational journey, they work to develop as self-directed learners. Group discussions and activities are commonplace – students build the capacity to learn from and teach each other. 
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  • History (7)

    Seventh-grade history focuses on how cultures affect one another and how the spreading of ideas influences the development of culture. Students examine the nature of cause and effect in history and the advantages and challenges associated with increased connectivity within the world. They begin by building a true understanding of their own culture(s) as a way to gather insight and perspective and the course then focuses on four slices of history that illustrate the dynamics of how cultures influence those they come in contact with.
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  • History (8)

    Eighth-grade students take an in-depth look at select topics for our country’s history including the founding of the United States, the U.S. Constitution, the inner workings of the U.S. government, the Bill of Rights, and the country’s expansion. They gain an understanding of the general timeline of U.S. History guided by the concept of viewing our country’s development through the four worlds (political, economic, social, and cultural) and the rights enumerated in our U.S. Constitution, including citizens’ rights, states’ rights, and human rights.
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Humanities Faculty

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of Kelly Hoy

    Kelly Hoy 

    Fifth-Grade Humanities Teacher
    415.751.0187, ext. 333
  • Photo of Jacqueline Beutell

    Jacqueline Beutell 

    6th Grade Humanities, 6th Grade Advisor
    415.751.0187, ext. 367
  • Photo of Juliana Neves

    Juliana Neves 

    English, Grades 7 & 8; Grade 8 Advisor
    415-751-0187, ext. 319
  • Photo of Damian Gates

    Damian Gates 

    Upper School History Teacher; Seventh-Grade Advisor
    415.751.0187, ext. 312
  • Photo of Hannah Gallagher

    Hannah Gallagher 

    Upper School English Teacher
Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.
Burke's admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.