The English Language Arts curriculum is designed for understanding as students continue to grow as readers, writers, researchers, speakers, and critical thinkers. In grades K-8, students read and interpret complex literature and informational texts. They will engage with literary and informational texts in a variety of settings. Students in all grades work to develop proficiency and independence with a wide range of reading skills and strategies. The focus is on developing independent readers who can understand complex material. In writing, students learn to write as “authors” and grow their skills in narrative, informational, and opinion/argument pieces as they move through the grade levels. Teachers conduct whole-class mini-lessons and then work with children individually or in small groups as students develop their ideas. Among other aspects of writing, lessons focus on choosing a meaningful topic, word choice, organization, writing fluency, and using conventions.
Through the Readers’ and Writers’ Workshop models, all students learn the Common Core Standards appropriate for their grade level and/or abilities. Student growth is monitored using a variety of assessments so that students develop as independent readers and writers at their own pace. As students work to strengthen their reading and writing skills, they will participate in performance tasks that will provide the students with an authentic application of the skills gained in the units. It is through ongoing monitoring that students’ achievement towards and mastery of standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language will be assessed.
The Branford ELA curriculum is informed by the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and reflects the district priorities at each grade level, as well as the Global Learning Competencies. Using these as driving factors, the district developed K-12 Transfer Goals that appear in all curricular units and are revisited throughout a student’s academic career.