The Common Core State Curriculum Initiative as well as the National Council for Teachers of English identify reading, writing, listening, speaking and media literacy as the basic areas necessary for preparing students for the 21st century.
The Bridge Way School emphasizes each of these areas by teaching a variety of genres in reading and rhetorical models of writing, and by instructing students in the comprehension and construction of languages using multiple forms of media. The language arts curriculum will particularly focus on the student’s ability to derive and make meaning in many contexts– written, visual, spoken and aural.
Students need exposure to various kinds of texts in order to fully understand how to apply the appropriate skills, strategies and concepts. The Bridge Way School focuses on the following strands for reading instruction, objectives and outcomes:
In the area of reading, students will:
Develop an Initial Understanding
- Consider the text as a whole with respect to core literary elements.
- Extend initial impressions to develop thorough understanding of the text and,
- Gain insight to its fuller meaning.
Reflect and Respond
- Connect knowledge from the text with background knowledge and,
- Discern how the text relates to their lives and the world around them.
Demonstrate a Critical Stance
- Consider text objectively by involving a range of tasks, including critical evaluation and, Place text in the context of works of similar themes or styles, and,
- Recognize the impact of features such as irony, humor and organization.
The practice of writing shows learning across content areas and serves as an effective learning tool. Writing at The Bridge Way School includes three broad types:
- Writing to learn,
- Writing to demonstrate learning to the teacher,
- Writing to communicate ideas to authentic audiences for authentic purposes (i.e. for publication).
To communicate effectively, students engage in the various stages of the writing process including focusing, prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing and reflecting. The writing process is recursive and The Bridge Way School recognizes that different writers engage in the process differently and proceed through the stages at different rates.
Students of The Bridge Way School use the writing process and criteria for effective writing in pieces developed over time, as well as in on-demand writing situations, to compile a collection of writing for a variety of authentic purposes and audiences and in a variety of forms, including personal, literary, transactive and reflective pieces.
The core components of writing instruction focus on:
- Students create a focused purpose and controlling idea and develop ideas adequately considering the purpose, audience and form.
- Students apply knowledge of language and genre structures to organize sentences, paragraphs and whole pieces logically and coherently.
- Students apply knowledge of language conventions and have control over standard grammar and usage. Students choose precise language appropriate to the purpose.
- Students engage in the various stages of the writing process including focusing, prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, publishing, and reflecting.
Speaking and Listening
New skills needed for competency in the 21st century require that students gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas, and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through media.
An important focus of the speaking and listening components of the language arts curriculum at The Bridge Way School is academic discussion in one-on-one, small-group, and whole-class settings. Formal presentations are one important way such talk occurs, but so are more informal discussions that take place as students collaborate to answer questions, build understanding, and solve problems.
Media and Technology
Just as media and technology are integrated in all aspects of life in the 21st Century, skills related to media use (both critical analysis and production) are integrated throughout all curricula at The Bridge Way School, with the execution of program objectives overseen by the English department.
The Bridge Way School considers this area of literacy to be one of increasing value as students must learn to interpret, evaluate and respond to the many words, images and messages that impact them each day through modern forms of technology. Equally important to our academic mission is that students learn how to create their own forms of communication using current technology that conveys messages important to them.