English and Writing
English Literature: Age-appropriate novels, short stories, plays and poems are used to help students develop and enrich their higher-level comprehension skills. By combining technology with pre, during, and post-reading questioning techniques designed to deepen their understanding of the assigned readings, our students learn how to interact successfully and independently with high-level text. The use of assistive technology allows access to books, such as Esperanza Rising, Hatchet, Wonder, Fever, To Kill a Mockingbird, Soldier’s Heart, Out of the Dust, and The Giver as well as endless independent choices. All of our students receive rigorous literacy instruction with a specific focus on morphology, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, metacognition, decoding and encoding. As with all aspects of our program, our interdisciplinary approach deepens their reading comprehension, develops their writing skills and intertwines the arts and technology on a daily basis. For example, one 8th grade student demonstrated the subtleties of the book, The Giver, by designing a movie trailer, a perfect example of our cross curriculum approach. English Language Arts classes occur daily at 90 minutes per class, with an emphasis on engaging students with expository reading and writing through current events, newspaper articles, magazines and other online resources such as NewsELA.
Writing: Writing is built into our 90-minute ELA block as well as other core content areas. Utilizing current research-based practices, students become fully immersed in the writing process. Expository instruction emphasizes the organizational, structural and grammatical aspects of written expression while our narrative, persuasive and creative writing instruction emphasizes the importance of sentence variety, use of vivid language and the development of each student’s voice. Students have many opportunities for publishing.