K-5 Department Updates - Language Arts
The Elementary English Language Arts Department maintains a curriculum aligned to the NJSLS that is grounded in a Balanced Literacy approach. Balanced Literacy is a model for teaching children in a student-centered classroom, based on the research of Marie Clay, Irene Fountas, and Gay Su Pinnell. Balanced Literacy incorporates all reading approaches realizing that students need to use many avenues in order to become proficient readers and writers. It provides opportunities to build strategies and skills to foster proficiency in reading literature and informational text, writing, reading foundational skills, language, speaking and listening for all students.
There are five components of balanced literacy: read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, independent reading, and word study. A Balanced Literacy approach not only balances the reading philosophies, it also balances reading and writing instruction. In a balanced literacy approach, students read in order to write and write in order to read. Instructional practices are guided by the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop model developed through the research of literacy guru Lucy Calkins and supported by current best practices research conducted by Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University.
January/February Reading Spotlight
Mrs. Fiorillo examines students’ reading scores and reading behaviors, assisting them with creating obtainable goals that will help them become better readers. The best part comes when students reach their goals and celebrate! Students prefer positive recognition, such as induction into the “Goal Setters Club” or a positive phone call home over tangible rewards from a prize box. Mrs. Fiorillo is doing a great job of intrinsically motivating her students!
If you enter Mrs. Ragusa’s classroom during the reading block, you will likely find her sitting at the round table conducting guided reading groups. Mrs. Ragusa crafted a schedule to help her stay on track. She uses a template to write out her guided reading lessons and documents her students’ strengths and new learning with conference notes. She is impressed that students have already jumped up a few levels since the beginning of January!
December is bringing in some Literacy JOY!
Mrs. Beekman's First Grade Class shared narrative stories they have written during the literacy unit on small moments. Parents and staff celebrate the students success and even leave notes of encouragement for the student authors, as the are about to begin their next books on writing nonfiction "How to" text.