Policy Document. Language Arts

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1 Policy Document Language Arts 2016 / 2017

2 Language Arts Policy Language is our key to communicating and understanding the world around us. We use language to make sense of our thoughts, feelings and ideas, and to express these to others. It is through language that we gain and share knowledge, and it is therefore an essential tool for learning. Our Aims: As stated in our school mission statement, we aim for children to: Enjoy using language in different contexts, and to have the skills, knowledge and understanding to do so Be confident, articulate speakers and active, considerate listeners Be enthusiastic readers, who take pleasure in reading and learning from a variety of texts Be independent and eager writers, equipped with the skills and understanding to create and shape their own texts for a variety of purposes How do children learn Language Arts at ISK? Children learn and use language in every class and in every subject at ISK, as well as at home. The skills, knowledge and understanding that children learn in Language Arts lessons are reinforced and practiced across the school curriculum and are transferrable to their home languages. As children progress through the school, their Language Arts needs will vary, and so too will the ways in which they acquire their language skills. Below is an outline of how Language Arts is taught in each section of the school. Early Years In the Early Years (comprising the Foundation and Reception classes ages 3 5), learning experiences are based on structured play, with language development being an essential component of all activities. Planning is based on the learning strands as set out in the IPC Early Years Programme. Learning goals are grouped by developmental strand, rather than being subject specific. So although there is not a section dedicated solely to Language Arts, exploring language is an essential part of all learning experiences at this stage, and is fully integrated in all activities. Language Arts in the Early Years involves activities such as: Listening to stories Retelling stories

3 Creating and sharing their own stories Role play, imaginative play Songs, chants, nursery rhymes Alphabet recognition Early phonics activities based on letter sound awareness and recognition Enjoying looking at books being readers picture books, big books, electronic books Pre and early writing activities tracing over a model, making letters with playdough, air writing Milepost 1 3 The Language Arts learning goals from the International Primary Curriculum forms the basis of planning in Mileposts 1 3 (Year 1 6). Every class studies Language Arts daily. This may be in stand alone Language Arts lessons, or may be linked with the class IPC theme. Language Arts in Mileposts 1 3 involves: Speaking and Listening Children are given many opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in all curriculum areas. Oral communication is an essential precursor to reading and writing, and we therefore ensure that children are given the chance to talk and share ideas before, during and after reading and writing. Here are some examples of where Speaking and Listening occurs in our classrooms: Storytelling Songs, rhymes, chants Drama, hot seating Role play Group and paired activities Presentations Circle times Audio books, electronic books Making and watching video presentations Reading Reading is learned as a discrete skill, as well as practiced during other subjects and in IPC lessons. All classes from reception upwards have regular sessions focused specifically on the instruction of reading. Children are organised in small ability based groups, and receive direct support from the teacher to address their specific reading needs. Reading should also be practiced regularly at home, and children from Reception to Year 6 choose reading books from a levelled selection to take home regularly.

4 The main focus in Milepost 1 (Year 1 2) is learning the decoding skills required to read independently. Phonics and basic sight words are learnt, and there is also a strong emphasis on gaining meaning from texts. From Milepost 2 onwards the focus switches from learning to read, to reading to learn. As children become more fluent readers, they are able to use books for many different purposes. These include: research, vocabulary enrichment, gaining transferable writing skills, developing creativity, gaining social values, and of course for pleasure. Reading is encouraged and promoted throughout the school, and all teachers read to their classes regularly. Classrooms have reading areas, with high quality, engaging books on display. Each class visits the library once a week, where they develop library skills and select books to enjoy at home, assisted by their class teacher. As we value the importance of developing mother tongue languages alongside English, we are developing a selection of books in the main home languages represented at our school. Writing Children are taught writing skills in daily Language Arts lessons, and given many occasions to practice these skills for meaningful purposes within their IPC topics. They learn composition skills for a variety of fiction and non fiction genres, including: narratives, poetry, reports, explanations, letters, recounts and instructions. Writing instruction will usually begin with exploring and discussing a wide range of examples of the genre to be studied, and identifying key features. This will then be followed by teacher modelling and shared or group composition. Children talk about their ideas before writing and may be given scaffolding, word banks, or other support for first attempts. The writing process may then continue through drafting, rereading and editing, and finally producing a published piece to be shared and celebrated. Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are taught during the writing composition process and may also be focused on discretely as needed. Spelling is taught from Year 1 to Year 6, and children often take lists of words home to learn, according to their individual needs. Middle Years Years 7, 8 and 9 follow the Language Arts goals as set out in the International Middle Years Curriculum. Language Arts at this stage integrates speaking, listening, reading and writing within lessons rather than focusing on each of these aspects discretely. Now that students have

5 a firm grasp of these basic skills, they apply them within all subject areas in addition to within specific Language Arts lessons. Students read and write for a variety of purposes as they carry out tasks incorporating skills across all of their curriculum subjects. Reading at this level involves tasks such as: summarising texts; analysing linguistic and literary features; comparing and contrasting information and ideas; relating texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts. Students read a wide variety of text types poetry, drama, novels, short stories and non fiction. Students develop their writing skills by composing a variety of texts types. These include narratives, letters, factual reports, essays, poetry, recounts, instructions, procedures, and playscripts. Compositions are created on both paper and screen, for different purposes and audiences. The skills of drafting, rereading, editing, and publishing continue to be a focus at this level, as students become more independent and experienced writers. They learn to use and adapt many different writing features and techniques to create a range of effects and impacts. How is Language Arts assessed? We use a variety of tools to assess children s progress on a regular basis. Teachers in all classes continuously assess students informally through observation, questioning and discussion. Self and peer assessment is also used frequently, allowing children to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning, where appropriate. Reading and writing skills may also be assessed more formally through: Running Records (teacher listens to student reading from a levelled text, monitoring their accuracy, the type of mistakes made, and assessing their comprehension) Suffolk Reading Scale Standardised reading test SATs reading and writing tests Big Write Assessment Program Big Read Assessment Program GL Standardised Assessment ISA Standardised Assessment Roles and Responsibilities Class teachers will: Be responsible for the teaching of Language Arts as set out in the policy The Language Arts Coordinator will:

6 Be responsible for the development and implementation of the Language Arts policy throughout the school Collaborate with staff on planning, assessment, and assist with professional development Monitor student progress and standards of achievement throughout the school Audit resources regularly The Principal will: Assist with the development and implementation of the policy throughout the school Monitor teaching and learning through observations and discussion with the Language Arts Coordinator and teachers Facilitate professional development where required Policy revised by Michelle Fletcher, Language Arts Coordinator in August Policy to be monitored and amended on a yearly basis and fully reviewed in August 2017.

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