middle school english language arts at St. Peter's

The Program

Middle school language arts enhances academic and professional communication skills in students, helping them to develop their academic vocabulary, writing, and public-speaking abilities. Students are taught how to present in front of their classmates in seminar-style discussions, slideshow presentations, debates, plays, creative writing recitals and speech presentations.

Students read both informational text and high-interest fiction that speaks to their life experiences, and we use project-based and collaborative assignments to engage in the material. The overall goal in language arts is for students to connect with texts, even challenging ones, and effectively express their ideas.



Mrs. Ria fresnoza

8B Homeroom Teacher; 6th and 7th Grade Language Arts; 8th Grade Religion

Mrs. Fresnoza has been teaching at St. Peter's since 2014 and taught at a public middle school in the East Bay for eight years prior. She received her bachelor of arts in English at UC Davis and holds a single-subject credential in English language arts. She currently serves as one of the eighth-grade homeroom teachers and teaches eighth-grade religion, sixth- and seventh-grade language arts, and the art elective. Mrs. Fresnoza serves as the ELA Common Core coach for the Archdiocese's Mission-area schools. She has a passion for giving young people an outlet to express themselves through their writing and art. When she's not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their young son hiking and exploring the Bay Area and beyond.


Ms. nina martinez

8A Homeroom Teacher; 6th and 8th Grade Language Arts

Ms. Martinez has been teaching at St. Peter’s since 2014 and has a rich knowledge of the neighborhood and secondary education. She serves as the eighth grade homeroom and middle school language arts teacher. Aside from teaching the literary classics, she also piques students' interest in writing through her comic book and film-script writing electives. Ms. Martinez earned her bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts with a concentration in English from Saint Mary’s College of California. She continued on to graduate school, earning her single subject teaching credential from California State University, East Bay. After completing school, she entered into the Lasallian Volunteer Program where she served in Yakima, Washington as a high school English teacher. Ms. Martinez moved back to the Bay Area shortly after, where she continued teaching in the east bay, serving both in elementary and high school classrooms prior her time at St. Peter's.


Middle School Language Arts Courses

SIXTH Grade 

Sixth-grade language arts helps students transition to become more independent readers of challenging texts. Novels are read in both whole-class, readers' theaters and in literature circles, where students take on different roles that help them build comprehension skills. Novels such as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Hatchet help students connect social, historical, and emotional themes to the text. Students also practice several different writing formats, including short stories, poetry, persuasive essays, and Google Slide research presentations.


SEVENth Grade 

In seventh grade, we look to build students' academic vocabulary, with more focus on non-fiction text and rhetorical techniques and culminating with competitive-style debates of current-event issues. We also read the classic drama, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and students create their own productions of the play. Several of the novels we read include Freak the Mighty, Walk Two Moons, and The Outsiders, which are analyzed through a social justice lens, looking at themes of equality, solidarity, and empathy.


EIGHth Grade

In order to prepare the students for the rigors of college-preparatory high schools, the goal of eighth grade is making real-life connections and learning from the lessons and themes of a story. During the students' reading of Night by Elie Wiesel, they are introduced to the history of the Holocaust and World War II, while also putting a face to this experience with a Holocaust guest speaker at the end of the unit. In the spring, they read the drama Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez, highlighting the rich 1940s Pachuco culture with a culminating dress-up and swing dance performance to embody the meaning of a "zoot suiter."