The Language Arts–reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to adhere to the K-12 Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and to develop literate students in the 21st century. Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups, and in whole class settings. Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day. Grades 3-5 are tested annually by NYS ELA Assessments.
Middle School level
The middle school Language Arts program continues the focus on developing language learners as students meet more challenging demands in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing in the Common Core State Learning standards for English Language Arts. Students take the New York State English Language Arts assessments in grade 6, 7 and 8 each year. These skills are used and developed in an integrated manner assuring that students learn to use language to “gain information, discover meaning, understand logical relationships, and make judgments through critical listening, reading, and viewing; speak, write, and solve problems creatively; communicate emotions, ideas, opinions, values, experiences, and information; and discover both the power and the beauty of literature as a mirror of human experience, reflecting human motives, conflicts, values, and traditions.” While using language in meaningful contexts, students are taught and learn those aspects of language usage that will make them effective communicators – attention to audience and purpose, explicit vocabulary, and correct use of spelling, conventions of usage and grammatical concepts.
High School level
The goal of the English department at the high school level is to develop active learners who are effective communicators and questioning, critical, and reflective thinkers in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Four units of English are required for graduation. In all English classes students read and respond to both classic and contemporary literature, write regularly, study vocabulary, and attend to spelling and language issues. Students use word processing to facilitate revision and editing. During each year students will read several full-length works of fiction, drama, and non-fiction plus many shorter pieces – essays, short stories, poems, and excerpts. In grades 9 through 11, students have the option of selecting an integrated English and social studies class.
Students wishing to prepare for the Advanced Placement examinations in English may do so by taking AP11 (English Language and Composition) and/or AP 12 (English Literature and Composition). Seniors may also elect to take Syracuse University Project Advance English and earn 6 units of college credit.
Most senior English students select from a variety of electives to fulfill their fourth year requirement, including Public Speaking, College Writing, and Creative Writing, among others.