The ELA program at Ardsley Middle School is a combination of a Balanced Literacy Model and core book instruction. Students will both read and then write about their reading in reading class, and write and read their own, other students’ and professional exemplars of that genre or style in their writing class.
The Balanced Literacy Model is one where the teacher moves through whole class instruction, small group instruction and one-one conferences all based on individual needs of the students and/or the needs of the specific cohort/class of students. Your child will be asked to find an independent reading book (one he/she both easily read and comprehend) in which to practice the skills, strategies and content being modeled and instructed in class.
Core text instruction is a full class reading experience where students all read the same book. This instruction is heavily guided by the teacher who will use the text like a text book-- exposing students to vocabulary, literary devices and grade and Common Core Standard instruction.
Students will write a lot about their reading experiences (both what they read independently and what is assigned to them in class). Your child will form claims (inferences they make about the character, theme, setting, etc) and support them with specific details/quotes from the text. Among other assignments, students will write literary letters, blog posts, and essays, all with the aim of having students prove what they think, substantiate what they know, and use text to support their understandings.
Over the course of their years here at AMS, your child will write to inform, instruct, argue and narrate many times and in many ways. While some of this writing will occur during the Reading period, others will occur in the Writing* period. All writing, be it an analytical paragraph, personal narrative, realistic fiction story or a research paper, is evaluated according to the 6-Traits of Good Writing. These 6 traits are Ideas ( clear, well chosen and focused ) Organization (chosen structure matches the content and purpose) Voice (personal, unique, individual), Word Choice (specific, well chosen words), Sentence Fluency (flow of sentences with transitions, variety of how sentences begin and their length) and Conventions (mechanics, punctuation, grammar and spelling).
Your child will be exposed to many resources in his/her ELA class periods. While much will be handed out directly (and stored in folders, binders or notebooks), students will also have access to the handouts, information and materials that the teacher will share with Google Docs in Google Classrooms and via email.
We encourage you to ask your child for his/her Google passwords, so you too can see the material shared and make use of the resources available.
*Please note in 8th grade students only have one period of ELA, so both reading and writing are taught in that one class period.
Betsy Henley, Curriculum Leader
Doreen Bakalor, Wilson Reading
Donna Drake, ENL
Allison Grabe, ENL