English Language Arts


Our Philosophy

The goal of the secondary English Language Arts program is to create literate, thoughtful communicators, capable of controlling language effectively as they negotiate an increasingly complex and information-rich world. Students will refine specific skills and strategies in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing and will use these skills and strategies widely as tools for learning and reflection. Exploring a variety of texts, students will understand and appreciate language and literature as catalysts for deep thought and emotion. 

Our Argument

 When teachers collaborate using Core Learning Practices, they develop differentiated and culturally responsive instruction to inspire all students and to ensure that achievement cannot be predicted by factors such as race or socioeconomic status. 

Enduring Understandings

 The secondary English Language Arts program is founded on the following beliefs: 

 ·         Language is a powerful tool for expressing ideas, beliefs, and feelings. 

 ·         Knowledge of language facilitates thought. 

 ·         Readers, listeners, and viewers continually develop and apply strategies to construct meaning from increasingly complex and challenging texts. 

 ·         Writers and speakers strategically use language to communicate for a variety of purposes. 

 ·         Individuals need advanced literacy skills to participate actively and successfully in today’s demanding, information-based society. 

 ·         Literature reveals the complexities of the world and human experience 


Core Learning Practices for English Language Arts

In order to meet the demands of the Common Core Standards, students should frequently be engaged in the following learning tasks:

Close Reading

 ·         Engaging with complex text 

 ·         Questioning and making meaning from text 

 ·         Reading a variety of short fiction and nonfiction texts 

 ·         Thinking critically about diverse points of view 

Reading Choices

 ·         Participating in literature circles 

 ·         Selecting from a range of diverse texts 

 ·         Understanding and appreciating multiple perspectives 

 ·         Reading beyond what is assigned 

Analysis and Use of Language

 ·         Evaluating the effects of an author’s word choices 

 ·         Exploring how and why an author varies sentence structure and style 

 ·         Determining and clarifying meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words from context 

 ·         Choosing precise language to convey ideas effectively 

 ·         Varying sentence structure for meaning, interest, and style (e.g., sentence combining and imitating) 

Writing for Various Purposes

 ·         Taking risks to develop ideas and voice 

 ·         Writing frequently to explore thinking and to build fluency and stamina 

 ·         Composing narratives, arguments, and explanatory texts 

 ·         Synthesizing evidence from multiple sources in support of claims 

 ·         Engaging in reflection and using feedback to develop and strengthen writing 

Student Discourse

 ·         Propelling conversations and building on ideas 

 ·         Participating in a range of collaborative discussions (e.g., Shared Inquiry, Socratic seminar) 

 ·         Providing meaningful and constructive feedback 

 ·         Using effective presentation skills 

 ·         Citing evidence to support claims 

Inductive Reasoning

 ·         Thinking critically and independently about texts and ideas 

 ·         Recognizing faulty logic and sound reasoning 

 ·         Using resources to formulate independent conclusions 

 ·         Engaging in inquiry and incorporating new knowledge to refine thinking 

 ·         Developing conceptual understanding by analyzing examples 



 Additional Resources: