“If students learn to read, write, speak, listen, and view critically, strategically, and creatively, and to work individually and in groups they will have the literacy skills they need to discover personal and shared meaning throughout their lives.”
Common Core State Standards Framework
The goal of the Pope John Middle School English/language arts curriculum is to prepare all students to become literate and active learners within a rapidly changing world. The curriculum provides language experiences through which all children are challenged to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, and creatively to their maximum potential. This curriculum emphasizes receptive and expressive language skills, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar.
With literacy as the cornerstone of the curriculum, students study themes all generated around the basic study of anchor texts. Themes that promote global awareness, cultural understandings, social skills and moral development are integrated within teaching and learning. While acquiring knowledge, students will develop the skills of making logical connections as they analyze, synthesize, and extend information and relate in to personal experience.
Furthermore, this curriculum embraces recent research on brain-based learning, multi-intelligence theory, cooperative learning and differentiated instruction. We follow the Common Core State Standards, and the Diocese of Paterson Curriculum that aligns with the standards set by the Alliance for Catholic Education. Coursework is designed not only to develop a mastery of specific skills, but also to inspire and challenge. A lifelong appreciation of reading and the ability to convey ideas clearly is the goal. The program focuses on the development of critical, creative, and logical thinking skills.
In the English/Language Arts (ELA) double block period, all aspects of language arts are integrated. Reading comprehension strategies include predicting, questioning, visualizing, connecting, inferring, monitoring, summarizing, synthesizing and evaluating. A literature anthology is used and supplemented by trade books.
The curriculum addresses a broad range of genres including, but not limited to, narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive. The requirement to keep lab notebooks, write lab reports, or perform research in the other disciplines teaches students to become better readers, thinkers, and writers while demonstrating the importance of the language arts outside of the ELA classroom. In all cases, writing is taught as a process: prewriting, organizing, writing, revising, and rewriting.
Rubrics, conferences, and portfolios enable students to reflect upon their own learning while teachers can provide feedback and personalized instruction. Diagnostic assessment and evaluation occur in the beginning of the school year while formative assessment is continuous. Student achievement is measured through teacher observation, checklists, rubrics, and formal testing.
Additional differentiation and support is provided for students with special needs as described in their Individual Service Plans. For those found eligible, an in-class support model of instruction is used.