Friday, December 5, 2008

Curriculum Overview for Language Arts Grades 1st – 12th

The following is a draft of the Language Arts Curriculum Overview narrative. The purpose of this document is to supply a brief but comprehensive statement of an articulated K-12 (vertical) Language Arts education narrative for all interested stakeholders. A final version of this narrative will be due in the early part of 2009.

The overarching intent of language arts instruction throughout this curriculum is for students to value, appreciate, and demonstrate literacy through expressive and receptive language skills, and to understand and investigate the self, others, the culture, and the environment. We use language and logic when we listen, make observations, and remember experiences. We use language and logic when we think critically and creatively and when we convey our ideas and feelings to others. All discourse is dependent on thought and language working together. Language Arts includes reading, writing, speaking, listening, and the study of literature.

Reading instruction follows a natural progression from primary through high school. The primary curriculum emphasizes the student’s awareness of thought and language as our essential tools for learning and communicating. The curriculum units guide the students through the developmental stages which lead to the creation of proficient and fluent readers. The middle year’s curriculum not only emphasizes reading as a process, by which people gain information and ideas from within literature, newspapers, manuals, letters, contracts, advertisements and a host of other materials; but also fosters a sense of personal identity and global awareness. The high school curriculum builds on this understanding through an intensive study of ideas, societies, and eras, while examining the nature of man and the human condition. Exploring the techniques authors use to convey messages, students connect literature to their own lives and daily experiences. Enjoying literature provides a student with a lifetime of enrichment.

The ability to write clearly is essential to effective communication and is an important component of this curriculum, as is the student’s ability to create. Throughout the learning units, students will progress through the developmental stages of written communication and cultivate their creativity. Students will be able to produce documents that demonstrate planning, organization and effectively convey their intended message. Moreover, students will develop writing skills which are critical to employment and will assist them in their education beyond the high school years.

Listening and speaking skills are those most often used on a daily basis, and have been given careful consideration in the development of this curriculum. Students must be able to listen carefully, and use specific techniques to clarify what they have heard. Students then must have the skills to communicate and make their messages understood. Speaking properly and using correct grammar, sentence structure, tone, expression and emphasis must be part of the students’ repertoires. To be successful in school and in the world of work, students must be able to use written, visual and electronic resources. Units utilizing these resources are deliberately and progressively interspersed throughout the curriculum.
The language arts curriculum seeks to provide all students with the communication skills needed to function independently and inter-dependently in the global environment. Students complete studies that provide opportunities to develop the skills necessary to become lifelong readers and effective communicators in both oral and written language. The sequentially developed program offers engaging activities, tools and strategies to enhance the success of students not only as individuals, but also as members of a family, community and the human race.

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