There are many facets of language: writing, reading, speaking and listening. Our curriculum covers each of these facets and attends to the needs of all learners: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Through the teaching of mechanics, spelling, word study, word function and sentence analysis, children learn to create proper sentences. The story process is learned, which is the beginning of communicating ideas through writing. Drama and poetry sections teach the importance of spoken language as an expression of the imagination. It is through these that the children enhance their speaking and listening skills.
Integration from the other areas make the curriculum complete. The children may put sentences together in Biology, read word problems in Math, learn the History of writing and etymologies, or parse information from Geography on any day, therefore, integrating other areas into the language curriculum.
The language curriculum also teaches concepts from the concrete to the abstract and in logical order. The prereader first learns sounds and objects to match the sounds, then continues to group words to form sentences. When all of the above are learned and throughout that process, children learn to write words, sentences and stories.
In the Upper Elementary program, the Language Arts lessons in grammar are designed to aid students to begin transferring their accrued knowledge of grammar and word study into their reading and writing. More sophisticated grammar topics are explored. A sample of these includes proofreading and editing, sentence structure studies, and mechanics rules. Parsing literature, quotes, poetry and factual information help the students to build a base of not only the parts of speech, but of experience with varying writing genres.
An hour everyday is devoted to the joy of reading. Comprehension, fluency, sequencing, inference, main idea, and predicting outcomes are worked through various leveled readers and skill cards. Emergent readers are read to in small groups, learn the parts of the story, and enjoy craft making. Each independent reader choose,s from different genres, a book to read each trimester from which a book report is expected. One day a week the students share in a literacy circle to further vary the means by which they acquire these skills. Lastly the whole group sits to share in a story read aloud and engages in meaningful discussion that crosses all age ranges.
All students are taught Spanish, including a variety of topics from counting to conversation. Our lead teacher, Mr. D, spent two years teaching in Nicaragua, and he makes learning Spanish fun! Kids often play games, such as charades and Simon Says, in Spanish. Recently, the class finished a unit on conversational Spanish that might occur at a restaurant. The kids practiced by setting up a mock restaurant and took turns pretending to be servers and patrons. To complete the unit, the entire class took a trip to a local Mexican restaurant to practice their skills. Another recent project is learning how to say the different family members (aunt, uncle, grandparents, cousins, etc.) in Spanish by making a Arbol de Familia (Family Tree).