Language Arts Classes Overview
Language Arts classes are vertically aligned using the Common Core standards. Teachers create unit plans following the backwards-planning philosophy of starting with the end result, or final assessments, in mind. At the beginning of each quarter, LA teachers identify 3-5 Academic Outcomes that are rooted in Common Core standards; these outcomes drive instruction and assessment of student learning. These outcomes are cyclical so that students can dig deep throughout the year utilizing a variety of texts, discussions, and writing products. Examples of Academic Outcomes include: Determine themes in plays and demonstrate them through writing, Make inferences and use evidence to support those inferences, Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience. Teachers provide mastery language to improve writing for all students. Each language arts teacher explicitly teaches the A.C.E. response format-Answer the Question, Cite Textual Evidence, Explain the Evidence. Writing products are closely aligned to texts read in class. Teachers read a variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, and texts relevant to the experiences of today’s young women, In addition to reading and writing, students engage in a number of discussion protocols including Socratic seminars, fishbowl discussions, and conferences with peers and teachers to engage with texts and each other.
In 6th Grade, students develop their voices through the practices of reading, writing, discussing, and revising. Students engage with units that include narratives such as “The Breadwinner” and informational and historical texts about the Black Lives Matter movement. They critically examine and analyze identity and social issues by creating their own “Where I’m From” poems, argumentative and informational essays, etc.
In 7th Grade, students will explore the question “Why do we tell stories?” by reading novels, short stories and other forms of literature. They will learn how to express themselves in personal narratives, craft creative stories, and develop deep and reflective thinking, speaking and writing skills. While the concrete fundamentals of language arts curriculum are honed, students will form strong opinions and process real world topics through reading and writing.
In 8th Grade, students are developing intro stronger readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators. This learning is facilitated through exploring what makes a good reader, an effective writer, and an engaging story. Students will read choice reading novels, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Night by Elie Wiesel, and various essays. They will critically examine an author’s craft and form well-organized literary responses as well as persuasive and compelling essays.