English Language Arts
Welcome to the English-Language Arts Department
The ELA teachers work collaboratively to ensure your child receives an outstanding education. We continually participate in professional development in order to stay current with the latest research and “best practices” in order for learning to come alive for your children. Our teachers attend a number of workshops that inspire and motivate us to continually improve our teaching. Thank you to the PFC, our principal, and LVUSD for making the workshops, conferences, and webcasts possible.
Research has shown that every day a child does not read is a day that child falls behind his classmates. We cannot stress enough the importance of outside reading. Therefore, it is a school rule that all students read outside of school for at least 30 minutes a day and complete the AR requirement each quarter. Please make sure your child is reading daily and talk with him about his books and choices! Reading is the number one predictor of a bright future for your child.
As a department, our goal is to help students become critical thinkers and independent learners. One of the most effective methods for achieving this goal is to incorporate a reading and writing workshop model in the classroom. This “best practice” fosters a love for reading and writing while enabling the teacher to adapt and individualize instruction to meet the varying needs of all, including English learners and special education students.
During workshop, the teacher often uses brief lessons based on the standards and on her observations of the students' needs to teach reading and writing strategies. By focusing on strategies that can be used in a variety of contexts, we try to enable transference of skills learned in the ELA classroom to social studies, science and other content-area classes. Teachers guide students toward increasingly more complex texts and rigorous thinking over the course of the year.
Common Elements of a Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop
- Time: Students are given time to read and write independently.
- Choice: Research has shown that children will read more when they have the opportunity to choose the books they want to read. As children increase reading and writing volume, they become more successful.
- Response: Students respond to the literature they are reading through discussions, book talks, letter essays, reflections, or response journals/notebooks. Additionally, students receive feedback from both teachers and peers.
- Community: Students are part of a classroom community. Each student is both a learner and a teacher.
- Structure: Workshop routines are simple so that students can count on protected reading and writing time. Teachers introduce mentor texts and models of excellent writing to teach and inspire, confer with students about their own work and understanding, and foster small group discussions to practice listening, speaking and comprehension skills.