Language Arts Classes Overview
Language Arts classes are vertically aligned using the Common Core standards. Teachers create unit plans following the backwards-planning philosophy of starting with the end result, or final assessments, in mind. At the beginning of each quarter, LA teachers identify 3-5 Academic Outcomes that are rooted in Common Core standards; these outcomes drive instruction and assessment of student learning. These outcomes are cyclical so that students can dig deep throughout the year utilizing a variety of texts, discussions, and writing products. Examples of Academic Outcomes include: Determine themes in plays and demonstrate them through writing (CCSS.LA.6.RL.6.2), Make inferences and use evidence to support those evidence( LA.7.RL.CCR.1), Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to the task, purpose, and audience (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.4). Teachers provide mastery language to improve writing for all students. Each language arts teacher explicitly teaches the A.C.E. response format-Answer the Question, Cite Textual Evidence, Explain the Evidence. Writing products are closely aligned to texts read in class. Teachers read a variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, and texts relevant to the experiences of today’s young women, In addition to reading and writing, students engage in a number of discussion protocols including Socratics seminars, fishbowl discussions, and conferences with peers and teachers to engage with texts and each other.
In 6th Grade, novels include: Stargirl, Three Cups of Tea, Monsters on Maple Street, and SeedFolks as well as a variety of non-fiction texts, short stories, and poems. Recent projects include a playwriting project and an essay about comparing the themes of two short stories.
In 7th Grade, novels include: To Kill a Mockingbird, Warriors Don’t Cry, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and A Long Walk to Water, and a variety of non-fiction, social justice articles. Recent discussions included this question: “People in Poverty Have No One to Blame But Themselves-Do you Agree or Disagree with This Statement?”
In 8th Grade, novels include: Brown Girl Dreaming, Night, and more independent reading time as students gear up for high school. Students participate in a Holocaust unit where they write an essay examining the moral courage of those in history who stood up for others-just like we know our students will do for others some day! Science Classes Overview: Science units are planned by teachers using the Colorado Academic Standards and the Common Core Science Literacy Standards. Science content per grade level is determined by Colorado Department of Education. GALS Denver partners with the Smithsonian Institute and teachers are trained to use their Laser curriculum. Science classes are rich in hands on labs, dissections, and literacy-based activities. GALS Denver will soon be the recipients of a Campos SmartLab, bringing new STEM technologies to our students.