WEST WARWICK PUBLIC
English Language Arts Curriculum
The West Warwick Public Schools are presently engaged in significant educational reform. Preparing students for the complexities which have become inherent in an era of rapid technological and informational advancement has created the need to revise old curricular practices. New "best practices", many of which were developed in response to the publication of "A Nation at Risk" (1983) by the federal government, have now replaced those that were less effective.
The development of new, standards-based curriculum documents is based upon the defining beliefs of teachers and administrators from the West Warwick Public Schools who now use these "best practices". This collection of work is the result of countless hours devoted to the research and development of curriculum ideologies. With this in place we must now provide support throughout the district in the use of various instructional strategies and assessment tasks that will lead our students to meet local, state and national standards.
The following curriculum is intended to be used as a “living document”. It goes far beyond the old conceived notion that curricula were merely reproductions of the scope and sequence of a particular text. These curricula will require periodic visits to review the validity of the content and performance standards. Student work benchmarks will also be re-evaluated. Educators will also constantly examine what constitutes good student work.
The standards embedded in this curriculum are global, challenging, flexible and attainable for all students. Many school design adjustments, however, will be needed for all students to succeed. Different instructional strategies must be introduced and new supportive programs must be developed. The ideas of time (the 180 day school year) and student age (grade level) as constants, also must be re-examined. Students may also meet standards in non-traditional sequences. These adjustments will ensure all of our students an equitable education.
The new curriculum document reflects content standards, that is, specifically what students should know and be able to do respective to the discipline. It also reflects performance standards, namely, what are students able to do to show what they know and understand specifying "how good is good enough" (NCEE).
The WWPS is a Rhode Island
Skills Commission district. They have joined a cadre of other school districts
focused on improving instruction and student learning. These districts are presently laying the groundwork developing programs to allow students to achieve a Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), an endorsement to be earned in addition to a high school diploma. This endorsement will offer evidence through performance-based assessments, portfolio assessment and a long-term capstone project that supports a set of academic and applied learning standards. This document will not replace but will go beyond the traditional diploma thus signifying a stamp of validation of a child's demonstration of knowledge that he/she acquired during his/her educational experience from our school system.
Teachers will also need to develop a curriculum mindset that "what a child has learned" is paramount and must replace a curriculum where "what a child is taught" was enough. This will require continuous assessment of students and teacher reflection upon a variety of strategies necessary to help students meet the standards set forth. The assessments at grades 4, 8, and 10 therefore, must be reviewed as cumulative measures of what students have learned during the intervening years.
The WWPS identifies with such people as Compte, Dewey, Eisner, Siggins, Resnick, and
. The ideas of Compte (Rational Humanism) are the cornerstone of a belief that one obligation of the school community is for children to cultivate their ability to make rational and defensible judgements about the world in which they live. To do so, we seek a common core curriculum for all, regardless of ability and the promulgation of high-level thinking.
As Dewey stated “intelligence itself is not fixed, rather it grows as a process, which requires the resources of culture.” The WWSD must create a culture to incorporate a variety of social skills and tools. Dewey's constructivist approach connects students' prior knowledge and experience to the learning process. These ideologies have long existed and are the foundations of a standards-based education.
What grows through this process of increasing competency is the child’s intelligence (Eisner). We need to develop learning goals that reflect the belief that ability is a continuously expandable repertoire of skills, and that through a person’s efforts, intelligence grows incrementally. The paradox is that children become smart by being treated as if they are smart. (NCEE, Resnick, 1998).
The WWSD curriculum design is child-centered. Educators must develop an understanding of where a child is in terms of the intellectual potential of this curriculum. It is important to relate problematic experiences to a child’s experiences. Today’s society requires that the school community design a culture that views education as a matter of developing unique "intelligences" (Gardner) as students meet standards. Given the fact that there are various levels of ability in one classroom the ideology of cognitive pluralism stresses the importance of equity. The primary responsibility for designing educational programs resides with the teacher. Events within the classroom are often unpredictable and the need to exploit the teachable moment is always present. With this in mind, a wide array of tasks must be provided to afford opportunities for all students. It is important that these opportunities receive the same educational merit that values the intelligence of all students.
Self-directed learning behaviors therefore, must become habit. Student effort must be encouraged in the most positive way. Our classrooms must be places that are
student-centered, experimental, holistic, authentic, expressive, reflective, social, collaborative, democratic, cognitive, developmental, constructivist, and challenging
(Zemelman, Daniels and Hyde, 1998). The following curriculum document reflects these beliefs.
Eisner, E. (1994), The Educational Imagination On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs.
: Prentice Hall
on Education and the Economy and the
University of Pittsburgh
(1998). New Standards. Harcourt Brace.
RIDE. (1999) Educational Expectations in a Democratic Society.
Standards-Driven Curriculum: Course I. (1999),
on Education and the Economy.
Zemelman, S., Daniels, H., Hyde, A. (1998) Best Practice New Standards for Teaching and Learning in American Schools.
WEST WARWICK PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The mission of the West Warwick Public Schools, as a diverse learning community, is to provide every student with a positive, stimulating, and personalized learning experience, where intellectual curiosity is encouraged in a safe and orderly environment. Students will become life-long learners and responsible citizens in a democratic society.
We believe that…
All students can learn.
Education is the responsibility of administrators, teachers, families, community, and students in partnership.
We hold high expectations for all members of our education partnership.
Learning is a continuous, life-long process.
Schools must prepare students to be creative thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators.
A strong sense of community is a necessity, and schools should serve as centers for that community.
Schools must be safe, orderly, and caring environments.
We recognize and respect the uniqueness and diversity of all people.
Everyone must be treated with respect and demonstrate respect for others.
Schools prepare students to be responsible community contributors and productive citizens of a democratic society.
Today’s society is advancing technologically and students need to be prepared for these demands.
Students learn best when they are challenged and expected to succeed.
Each student’s education must be personalized.
We are a diverse learning community that strives towards a partnership between our staff, our students, our families and our town. We encourage all students and staff to achieve their highest potential. We teach students to become creative thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators while fostering a life-long love of learning.
With our mission as a guide, we will provide a personalized education plan for every student within the context of a continually improving curriculum. We will have an environment that accepts and encourages diversity and growth in an atmosphere of respect and responsibility.
West Warwick School Department
English Language Arts Curriculum
The West Warwick School Department develops curricula based on the principle that all students can become independent learners. It embraces the principle that English Language Arts acquisition is a developmental process that occurs naturally in real situations. This implies that children places in a child-centered literate environment, which requires developmentally appropriate listening, speaking, reading, writing and viewing instruction will learn to functions as literate citizens. The West Warwick School Department believes that a partnership between parents and schools is imperative. This partnership must occur to support early development of literacy in children. Continuing home-school partnerships strengthen students' literacy skills throughout their school career. The West Warwick School Department embraces wholeheartedly and is aligned with the Rhode Island Common Core of Learning, the Rhode Island English Language Arts Framework, The New standards performance Standards and the Rhode Island Reading Policy Frameworks (1999). Our goals and expectations for student development are based on these documents.
Curriculum Committee Members
Celia A. Stabile
The Student will engage in the literacy process using age/grade level appropriate materials.
The student will use appropriate strategies and skills to construct meaning from a variety of literacy forms for a variety of audience and purposes.
The student will be encouraged to engage in literacy activities for both learning and enjoyment.
The student will be aware of his own metacognitive process.
Maintains a reading log or journal listing author, theme or genre
Participate in formal and informal book talks
Apply word attack skills
Connecting reading to the real world
Produce a literacy response
Retells or summarizes information
Establishes prior knowledge
Knowledge of story elements
Reads aloud to peers or younger students
(Narrative, Expository, Persuasive, Poetry, Letter)
Selects a topic
Plans a piece (brainstorming, mapping), determining an audience
Produce an informative report
Produce a response to literature
Engages a reader
Provides for closure to a written piece
Produces a narrative (fictional/autobiographical)
Viewing, Listening and Speaking
Gathering and sharing information
Communicates ideas in various settings (small/large audiences, one to one conferences, meetings)
Prepares and delivers presentation
Demonstrates ability to make informed opinions about media (television, radio, film and newspaper)
Demonstrates active listening skills
Conventions, Grammar, and Usage of the English Language
Demonstrates basic understanding of the rules of the English language in oral and written work
Revises work for effective communication
Makes inferences and draws conclusions
Understands point of view
Evaluates literacy merit
Considers differences among genres
Participates in formal and informal book talks
Compare and contrast literary work to real world situation
Makes inferences/conclusions about contexts, events, characters, and settings
Produces work in one literary genre that follows the conventions of that genre