Browse Curriculum

Language Arts

  • Language Arts

    Our 4-5s’ language arts program is designed to develop the foundation children need to become successful and independent readers and writers. We support children’s confidence in their growing ability to read by increasing their exposure to and enjoyment of literature. The 4-5s are encouraged to choose books and explore them on their own, with a friend or with a teacher. The children participate in a variety of activities that help them to differentiate letter names, sounds and words as they expand upon their knowledge of print and their understanding of stories.

    Oral language continues to be a primary means of communication for the 4-5s. As the children learn to converse effectively with classmates and teachers during meetings, they are developing important skills such as: listening, comprehending, formulating opinions, responding appropriately and appreciating other perspectives. During times such as morning meetings, work time discussions or interviews, the 4-5s are developing necessary strategies for participating in meaningful conversation.  

    Our writing program draws on the children’s excitement about the power of expressing their thoughts on paper. Children’s ideas may be written phonetically or dictated, often with accompanying illustrations, to help solidify the meaning of their writing. The written word becomes very important for children at this age as they recognize the importance of their own names as a means of identification or write phrases for block buildings that are of special importance. We will help children to construct printed letters as they continue to strengthen their fine motor skills. We will also create individual and class books throughout the year as we share our experiences and thoughts in written and pictorial form.

    The 4-5s’ program emphasizes language as a powerful way to communicate and the basis for emerging literacy. Our classroom will be a place for discussion, problem solving, reasoning and creativity.
  • Language Arts 4-5s

    Our 4-5s’ language arts program is designed to develop the foundation children need to become successful and independent readers and writers. We support children’s confidence in their growing ability to read by increasing their exposure to and enjoyment of literature. The 4-5s are encouraged to choose books and explore them on their own, with a friend or with a teacher. The children participate in a variety of activities that help them to differentiate letter names, sounds and words as they expand upon their knowledge of print and their understanding of stories.Oral language continues to be a primary means of communication for the 4-5s. As the children learn to converse effectively with classmates and teachers during meetings, they are developing important skills such as: listening, comprehending, formulating opinions, responding appropriately and appreciating other perspectives. During times such as morning meetings, work time discussions or interviews, the 4-5s are developing necessary strategies for participating in meaningful conversation. Our writing program draws on the children’s excitement about the power of expressing their thoughts on paper. Children’s ideas may be written phonetically or dictated, often with accompanying illustrations, to help solidify the meaning of their writing. The written word becomes very important for children at this age as they recognize the importance of their own names as a means of identification or write phrases for block buildings that are of special importance. We will help children to construct printed letters as they continue to strengthen their fine motor skills. We will also create individual and class books throughout the year as we share our experiences and thoughts in written and pictorial form.The 4-5s’ program emphasizes language as a powerful way to communicate and the basis for emerging literacy. Our classroom will be a place for discussion, problem solving, reasoning and creativity.
  • Language Arts 5-6s

    The 5-6s experience the joy of reading and writing in ways that are enjoyable, personally meaningful, and conducive to everyday communication. Because children learn to read and write in a variety of ways, our language arts program focuses on building upon children's particular strengths. During established Language Arts times and ongoing activities throughout the day, the 5-6s work in individual, small and large group settings to develop and practice the skills and strategies associated with figuring out words: using context and picture clues, analyzing phonics, and identifying sight words. The children develop a vocabulary of high-frequency sight words from our morning message, schedule, and classroom environment, and will begin to choose words that are important to them to keep in a special place. The 5-6s' communication skills are also fostered through our numerous daily class conversations, as children practice taking turns speaking, listening carefully and responding thoughtfully to one another. These discussion times also help children express their own ideas, share their experiences and concerns, and learn from one another. In addition, the children will hear, tell and act out stories, create settings for stories through art and block building, recite poetry, and engage in many language arts games.
  • Language Arts 6-7s

    Children learn to read and write in many ways. In the 6-7s, the children write their own words and stories and read them to others, are exposed to interesting literature, use written language for daily tasks, and directly learn the skills and strategies for reading and writing. They use many different strategies for figuring out words: context and picture clues, phonetic analysis and sight vocabulary. In the 6-7s we concentrate on building upon children's individual strengths and abilities as readers and writers.The 6-7s work on reading and writing during specific language arts periods and throughout the other activities of the day. The 6-7s develop and use their reading and writing skills in meaningful ways and work individually, in small and large groups during writing, quiet reading and shared reading times. The 6-7s learn the enjoyment of writing and reading as well as its significance as a communication tool for everyday life. They are taught skills and strategies for writing and reading in the context of interesting, enjoyable and meaningful literature and everyday communication. They practice these skills by reading and writing in the classroom and at home, as well as through more specific work on phonics, spelling, handwriting and vocabulary.Group discussions are a central part of every day and are an important way for students to develop listening and speaking skills. Children have the opportunity to share their experiences, ideas and concerns with their classmates. They learn to express their own views and listen to the views of others. Topics during our meeting times are brought up by teachers and students alike and cover a vast array of subjects including: social studies and science topics, questions or concerns about the classroom, and students’ particular experiences. These discussions often raise new topics and questions for us to explore.
  • Language Arts 7-8s

    The language arts program is designed to help the 7-8s become more effective communicators. To facilitate this, a language-rich environment is established and opportunities are created for students to make connections between language and experience. The essential skills of reading and writing are developed and fine-tuned over the course of the year.While reading and writing skills are continually integrated across curricular areas, there are several weekly class periods that focus specifically on literacy. Quiet reading times are designed to enable children to solidify and implement independent decoding and comprehension strategies. As the year progresses, the children use these reading times to broaden their book choices, to become acquainted with authors and illustrators, and to read for pleasure. Through a series of discussions and activities, students deepen their understanding of the various components of a story such as character, setting, and plot. Once these concepts are galvanized, students are asked to utilize them to create their own stories.The writing program is aimed at helping students express themselves more fluently and creatively. Children are encouraged to reflect upon their writing through their own experience. Written expression is developed through directed, thematic writing projects and through less formal writing activities. As the year progresses, the 7-8s are introduced to different genres of writing such as journal writing, creative writing, and non-fiction research reporting. Focus is also placed upon writing skills such as grammar, spelling patterns, and handwriting, with the introduction of script writing in the springtime.Library time each Tuesday gives the children an opportunity to make independent forays into the world of books, moving the 7-8s toward a greater appreciation of reading. The library is also an indispensable source for research projects. Jay Fung, the librarian, helps children to select books to take home. The 7-8s listen to picture books and chapter books read aloud every day and participate in the discussion about the story and characters.
  • Reading 7-8s

    Students are expected to have a “just right” book of their choice for independent reading. Reading their “just right” book for homework, as well as in school for independent reading will help 8-9s to practice responsibility for materials as well as stamina as they work their way through increasingly lengthy chapter books. Reading conferences with individual students and small group work allow teachers to help children enhance reading skills at their own level. During reading times, the 8-9s will work to enhance their comprehension skills and develop a deeper understanding of the texts they read.
  • Reading 8-9s

    Students are expected to have a “just right” book of their choice for independent reading. Reading their “just right” book for homework, as well as in school for independent reading will help 8-9s to practice responsibility for materials as well as stamina as they work their way through increasingly lengthy chapter books. Reading conferences with individual students and small group work allow teachers to help children enhance reading skills at their own level. During reading times, the 8-9s will work to enhance their comprehension skills and develop a deeper understanding of the texts they read.
  • Reading 9-10s

    The 9-10s will study a variety of novels, short stories and poetry this year, both as a class and in small groups. Some of the books we’ve read in past years include Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and me, Elizabeth, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, both by E.L. Konigsburg, and Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. The emphasis of literature discussions and assignments will be on reading critically, comprehension, interpretation and inference, and appreciation of literature. Later in the year, the 9-10s will participate in book clubs. Small groups of students will meet together to enjoy and analyze a book they will read and discuss on their own. Through modeling, they will learn to reflect and respond to one another in a peer group setting. There will be various jobs including: Discussion Leader, Passage Picker, Illustrator, and Word Finder. Each week during the book groups, students will rotate jobs so that each child will be responsible for all the roles over the course of the selected book.Independent reading allows children to explore the world of literature on their own. The class will record their reactions to their books in a reading response journal. This will be an opportunity to have a dialogue back and forth with teachers about what they are reading at home. Students will also complete projects in response to their independent reading books that will be shared and displayed in the classroom. Appreciation of literature will be expanded further through read-aloud books connected to our social studies curriculum or as examples of particular authors’ crafts for our Writing Workshop. Read-aloud selections are also chosen for their ability to generate discussions on social topics such as friendship, families, social justice, etc.Another reading tool will be the 9-10s’ work with the 6-7s as Reading Buddies. Each 9-10 will be partnered with a 6-7 student on a regular basis. They will be assisting the 6-7s as they learn to read. Through discussions with teachers, including Laura Swindler and Reese Mason, the 6-7s’ teachers, and Jay Fung, the librarian, the 9-10s will be learning about the reading process and how they can help the 6-7s enjoy their newly developing skills.
  • Writing 8-9s

    During writing, children develop stories from their own experiences and imagination. Writing this year will be integrated throughout all areas of our curriculum. Our goal this year is for the students to write so that their ideas are effectively communicated. They will be strengthening their sentences by working on parts of speech, punctuation rules, and spelling. Students will write in a variety of genres such as stories, informational research, poems, journal entries, and responses. Stories will also be shared and celebrated with the group.For each writing unit, the 8-9s will go through the writing process: brainstorming, writing a rough draft, revising, editing, and publishing a final copy. By participating in the revising and editing process, they learn to strengthen their skills as they discover and appreciate the uniqueness of their own writing.
  • Writing 9-10s

    The 9-10s’ writing program will feature Writing Workshop twice a week. During these times children will be presented with a specific writing genre, tool, or craft to explore. Their writing journals will be a gathering place for their ideas and rough drafts. Over the course of the year, some of the units may include memoir, persuasive writing, and poetry. Writing Workshop includes teacher and peer conferencing, as well as sharing times in which students can read both work in progress and finished pieces. During individual conferences with teachers the 9-10s will set goals for what they want to work on in their writing. Class discussions on fiction will include story writing from beginnings to endings. These discussions will examine story structure, developing characters, writing descriptions, and developing plots. Writing mechanics (sentence and paragraph structure, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and dictionary skills) will be presented throughout the program as necessary tools for written expression. Spelling words will be based on phonetic rules and often drawn from the students’ writing. In addition, vocabulary-building exercises will support the 9-10s’ writing and reading skills. Spelling and vocabulary lessons will alternate weekly. Writing will be emphasized in additional ways in the 9-10s’ year and integrated with other curriculum areas when possible. Interviews, individual research papers, creative writing assignments, and reading response journals will be other means through which the 9-10s will work on their writing skills.
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