The goal of the English Language Arts Program is to provide literature-based education founded on intensive reading, writing, speaking and listening skill mastery. Over the four-year course of studies, the students will be presented with curriculum that will scaffold skills necessary for post-secondary goals of continued education and placement in the work force. The program provides students with a solid body of knowledge derived from the following: reading high quality works of literature; discerning characteristics of and approaches to fiction, nonfiction, prose, verse, drama, and informational texts, incorporating multi-faceted technologies; and gaining experience in confronting global issues and conflicts. Benefiting from a curriculum aligned to the Massachusetts State Frameworks, students at Old Colony RVTHS will develop the skills necessary to become critical readers and effective writers of narratives, research, formal argument, and expository essays. In addition, students receive a strong background in mastering extended texts, while synthesizing and analyzing a variety of sources.
The first year in the four-year sequence of the integrated Language Arts Program is designed to provide students with a foundation for studies in literature and writing. Using a thematic approach, students study multiple genres including: fiction and nonfiction extended texts, short stories, drama, and poetry. Students read, analyze, discuss and write open responses to demonstrate knowledge of the provided reading passage and the expectations of the writing prompt by being able to state a claim and then provide textual evidence to support the claim. Writing assignments focus on the process of writing (prewriting, drafting, revising and editing). Principles of grammar are infused into the process as needed. In the Old Colony RVTHS Honors section, additional work is required, such as increased levels of homework, in-depth analysis of major topics and themes, and independent study research projects. Students are expected to take their writing to the next level so that their pieces are thought-provoking as well as functional. All students, in grade 9, will prepare for the MCAS exam.
The second year in the four-year sequence of the English Language Arts Program will emphasize the in-depth analysis and interpretation of fiction, non-fiction (memoir, essay and autobiography), poetry and drama. A continuation of the writing process, begun in the previous year, will focus on composition. Emphasis is placed on responding to a prompt, developing a topic, connecting it to a piece of literature, while incorporating sentence complexity and rich language. In addition, students will be assigned extended text reading that will be presented in a flipped classroom environment, where nonfiction and fiction reading passages are analyzed and connected to themes that are common across the genres. Students in the Honors course will have additional required work as noted in the course guide, such as increased levels of homework, in- depth analysis of major topics and themes, and independent study research projects. All students, in grade 10, will continue preparation for the MCAS exam.
The third year of the English Language Arts Program reflects the belief that students learn when they can demonstrate an understanding of the following essential questions: 1.) What is the relationship between literature and place?; 2.) How does literature shape or reflect society?; 3.) What makes American Literature American? Language, literature and informational texts, and composition and media are addressed in the classroom to meet the Massachusetts State Frameworks. A diverse selection of literary study includes Native American folklore, Puritan writings, Transcendentalism, American Gothic, the Harlem Renaissance, as well as, historical and contemporary extended texts. The students will complete a resume as part of the portfolio graduation requirement. All junior English Language Arts teachers must teach the elements of the Research Paper. In the Old Colony RVTHS Honors section, additional work is required, such as increased levels of homework, in-depth analysis of major topics and themes, and independent study research projects.
The fourth year of the English Language Arts Program reflects the belief that students learn when they can demonstrate an understanding of the following essential questions: 1.) How are audience and purpose essential in mastering all communication skills?, 2.)What is the difference between responding to authority versus one’s own moral compass?, 3.) How does literature help us to overcome, persevere, and meet our goals when faced with adversity or something that takes us out of our comfort zone?, 4.) Why is it important to be an individual? Language, literature and informational texts, and composition and media are addressed in the classroom to meet the Massachusetts State Frameworks. A diverse selection of literary study includes British Literature (Frankenstein), Existentialist writings (“Metamorphosis”, The Stranger), (Dystopian Literature (1984) extended texts. In the Old Colony RVTHS Honors section, additional work is required, such as more frequent in-depth assignments requiring analysis of major topics and themes, and independent study research projects.
An option for the fourth year of the English Language Arts Program is AP English Literature and Composition. This course develops close reading skills of prose, with a focus on extended texts, short stories and poetry, while also cultivating students’ writing skills. The required reading is typically dense texts written for a variety of purposes with a focus on analysis of writer’s purpose, audience expectations, genre conventions and figurative language. This course is on a college level and the expectations are demanding. Students in this course also prepare exclusively for the AP English Literature and Composition exam and often use materials created and recommended by the College Board.