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English Language Arts

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ELA

The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts are crafted around guiding principles that underlie the standards and resources used in Hopkinton. The same basic principles, which are designed to prepare students for college, careers, and lives as productive citizens, form the basis of instruction at all grade levels in Hopkinton, right through our students’ high school experience. While some of the principles (listed below) may be more thoroughly addressed at the elementary or secondary level, the essential tenets of developing literate students are embedded in these principles, on which our English Language Arts Frameworks have been developed.

High School

Over the course of four years of English instruction, Hopkinton High School students acquire integrated language skills and cultural knowledge through a close reading of literature, develop clear thinking through clear writing, and articulate their own ideas while developing a respect for alternative perspectives. Teachers will provide an intellectually challenging learning environment, encouraging the students to attain language mastery through persistent effort and intellectual rigor. Teachers also foster the growth of the individual student and instill the idea that control of language is power.

Middle School

English Language Arts

The Hopkinton Middle School English Language Arts curriculum, with its variety of activities to enhance differentiated learning, is rich with interests and challenges for all students. Our goal is to instill in our students a  love of literature and writing, as well as critical thinking skills. The "arts" in the title "language arts" refers to four areas: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will further develop their skills in each of these arts as follows:

Reading: Students explore increasingly sophisticated literary genres including short stories, novels, plays, and poetry, both classic and contemporary. Additionally, students read non-fiction texts and articles that enrich their understanding of unit concepts. Active reading strategies are taught so that students can bring their full attention to an author's words.

Writing: As students continually sharpen their writing skills, they progress through directed writing exercises and self-chosen creative writing topics, as well as activities related to the literature.  Students continue writing and reading activities emphasizing how to locate and cite supporting textual evidence. Vocabulary is taught through the context of reading selections, with emphasis on using context clues, common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

Speaking and Listening: Continued practice of reading aloud and conducting Socratic seminars fosters students' understanding and appreciation of good literature and strengthens their discussion and listening skills. Students exercise public speaking skills through presentations incorporating technology, collaboration, and synthesis of information. 

Elementary

Elementary English Language Arts

The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts are crafted around guiding principles that underlie the standards and resources used in Hopkinton’s classrooms grades K-5. Units of study at each grade level in Hopkinton’s elementary schools are built on these eleven basic principles.

Guiding Principles for English Language Arts and Literacy Programs

Guiding Principle 1: Students should receive explicit instruction in skills, including phonics and decoding. Explicit skill instruction is especially important in narrowing opportunity gaps.

Guiding Principle 2:  To become successful readers, students need to develop a rich academic vocabulary and broad background knowledge.

Guiding Principle 3:  Educators should help students develop a love of reading by:

• Selecting high-quality works of literature and nonfiction.

• Reading aloud in class.

• Providing students with ample opportunity and encouragement for sustained   independent reading, both for school and on their own.

Guiding Principle 4: Students should be exposed to complex and challenging texts at their grade level and above, with extra support and scaffolding as needed, reflecting high expectations for all students.

Guiding Principle 5:  Students should read a diverse set of authentic texts balanced across genres, cultures, and time periods. Authentic texts are intact and unadapted texts in their original complexity; they are texts composed for purposes other than being studied in school.

Guiding Principle 6:  Students should have frequent opportunities for discussing and writing about their readings in order to develop critical thinking skills and to demonstrate understanding.

Guiding Principle 7:  Reading well-crafted texts is an essential foundation for developing effective writing skills.

Guiding Principle 8:  Developing the ability to write well demands regular practice across multiple forms and genres of writing and opportunities to write for a variety of audiences, including expository, analytical, persuasive, narrative, and creative writing, as well as explicit instruction in vocabulary and standard English conventions.

Guiding Principle 9:  Educators and families should view each other as resources who are both invested in supporting students’ skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Guiding Principle 10: Social and emotional learning can increase academic achievement, improve attitudes and behaviors, and reduce emotional distress. Students should practice recognizing aspects of themselves in texts (self-awareness), struggling productively with challenging texts (self-management), tailoring language to audience and purpose (social awareness), grappling vicariously with choices faced by others (responsible decision making), and collaborating respectfully with diverse peers (relationship skills).

Guiding Principle 11:  Educators should select works of fiction and nonfiction that instill in students a deep appreciation for art, beauty, and truth, while broadening their understanding of the human condition from differing points of view. Reading, discussing, and writing about high-quality prose and poetry should also help students develop empathy for one another and a sense of their shared values and literary heritage, while learning about who they are as individuals and developing the capacity for independent, rigorous thinking.

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