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Elementary School English & Language Arts Courses

Kindergarten Language Arts

(Full Year Course) Kindergarten Language Arts introduces students to a variety of literary and informational texts. Students will learn about basic story elements and plot sequences through classic pieces of children’s literature. First, students will explore nursery rhymes, such as “Hickory Dickory Dock.” Then, students will move on to fables, fairy tales, and folk tales, such as “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Three Little Pigs.” This course will also teach students how to use informational texts for learning. Students will learn the parts of a book and how to use text features to gain understanding. In each Unit, students will complete fun activities that bring texts to life. Students will demonstrate their ability to describe stories, make connections, and use standard English conventions in a variety of ways, including speaking and drawing.

Kindergarten Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship

(Full Year Course) Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship teaches students how to read and write letters and words, focusing on the mechanics side of language. This course explicitly and systematically teaches students the letter sounds in the English language. Students will acquire automaticity of 68 different phonograms by continually reviewing the letter sounds through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The immediate recall of sounds and letters is necessary for students to become better readers, spellers, and writers. This course prepares a student to read by explicitly and systematically teaching how to spell and read individual words. Once students can effortlessly read individual words, they are then ready to comprehend sentences. For penmanship, students learn and practice proper sitting posture, correct pencil grip, directions for paper slant, and the steps for writing manuscript. When students can form letters with automaticity and ease, they can focus on what they want to say. Writing by hand creates kinesthetic memories of letters, which also helps students learn how to read.

First Grade Reading and Composition

(Full Year Course) In 1st Grade Reading and Composition, students will explore the patterns of literary and informational texts. The course begins by providing explicit instructions for academic vocabulary and comprehension skills. Then, each Unit guides students through the process of close reading. Students will read a variety of literature, including fun and classic pieces such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Students will practice using reading strategies to understand the literal meaning and purpose of a text. Students will also learn how to use evidence to make predictions and inferences about texts. At the end of each Unit, students will apply their learning of texts by composing their own texts.

First Grade Grammar and Penmanship Course

(Full Year Course) 1st Grade Grammar and Penmanship teaches students to communicate clearly in writing. Through penmanship instruction, students will learn how to form all lowercase and uppercase manuscript letters. Each penmanship Lesson reinforces the letters, phonograms, and words that are introduced in the corresponding Phonics and Spelling Lesson. Through grammar instruction, students will learn the purpose of words, sentences, and punctuation. Students begin by learning about parts of speech and parts of sentences and build up to whole sentences and punctuation rules. Throughout the course, students will construct their own writing handbook. The handbook will include examples of manuscript letters as well as grammar terms and rules. The course culminates in students writing correspondences to authentically practice grammar and penmanship.

First Grade Phonics and Spelling Course

(Full Year Course) Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship teaches students how to read and write letters and words, focusing on the mechanics side of language. This course explicitly and systematically teaches students the letter sounds in the English language. Students will acquire automaticity of 72 different phonograms by continually reviewing the letter sounds through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The immediate recall of sounds and letters is necessary for students to become better readers, spellers, and writers. Students will use spelling rules learned in kindergarten as well as learn additional rules to help them spell and read a variety of words. Once students can effortlessly read individual words, they are then ready to comprehend and write sentences.

Second Grade Reading and Composition Course

(Full Year Course) In 2nd Grade Reading and Composition, students will strengthen their understanding of patterns in texts. Each Unit provides a combination of literary and informational texts. Students will learn how a poem, a story, and an informational text can convey different messages about the same topic. The course provides a variety of literature, including fun and classic pieces such as “The Lion and the Mouse” and “Cinderella.” It also provides contemporary informational texts such as a news article from 2020 about Baby Yoda. Students will build effective reading habits by practicing reading strategies before, during, and after reading. Before reading, students will learn vocabulary words that appear in the text and reflect on their background knowledge of the text’s genre. During reading, students will confirm predictions and answer questions. After reading, students will discuss the author’s purpose and make connections. At the end of each Unit, students will apply their learning to their own lives by investigating a topic or composing a text.

Second Grade Grammar and Penmanship Course

(Full Year Course) In 2nd Grade Grammar and Penmanship, students will focus on their writing skills. The penmanship instruction reinforces the letters, phonograms, and words that are introduced in Phonics and Spelling. Students will review and practice the steps to form all lowercase and uppercase manuscript letters. Students will also learn the steps to form all lowercase and uppercase cursive letters. The grammar instruction strengthens the skills necessary for reading and composition. Students will learn the functions of words, phrases, and clauses in sentences so that they can comprehend and compose sentences. Students begin by learning about parts of speech and parts of sentences and build up to whole sentences and punctuation rules. Throughout the course, students will construct their own writing handbook. The handbook will include examples of manuscript and cursive letters as well as grammar terms and rules. The course culminates in students writing correspondences in cursive to authentically practice grammar and penmanship.

Second Grade Phonics and Spelling Course

(Full Year Course) Phonics, Spelling, and Penmanship teaches students how to read and write letters and words. It focuses on the mechanics side of language. This course explicitly and systematically teaches students the letter sounds in the English language. Students will acquire automaticity of 72 different phonograms by continually reviewing the letter sounds through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The immediate recall of sounds and letters is necessary for students to become better readers, spellers, and writers. This course prepares a student to read by explicitly and systematically teaching how to spell and read individual words. Students will use spelling rules learned in 1st grade as well as learn additional rules to help them spell and read a variety of words with increasing complexity. Once students can effortlessly read individual words, they are then ready to comprehend and write sentences.

Third Grade English Language Arts and Reading Course

(Full Year Course) This course provides students instruction and practice in reading, comprehending, and analyzing various genres. Students will also learn skills to become stronger writers while creating texts for various purposes. Students will complete basic research tasks. In addition, students will learn spelling, grammar, and conventions to strengthen their writing. They will also learn and practice skills and strategies to build their vocabulary. Students will further their communication skills by listening, speaking, and working with peers. Students will also learn and utilize cursive writing.

Third Grade English Language Arts and Reading STAAR® Study Guide (Texas Standards)

(Full Year Course) In the 3rd Grade English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) STAAR Study Guide, students review tested ELAR TEKS. Students will begin each Lesson by reviewing important terminology and skills. Then, students are given tips and guidance for successfully answering questions that assess those terms and skills. Students will end each lesson by independently reading a text and answering questions, similar to STAAR. The Study Guide also includes three STAAR-like practice tests. The tests are the same length as previous STAAR tests with similar style texts and questions. Each question corresponds to specific 3rd Grade ELAR TEKS and a Study Guide Lesson. Students and teachers can determine if there are any lessons students should study more closely and redo.

Fourth Grade English Language Arts and Reading Course

(Full Year Course) Covering 4th Grade ELAR objectives, this course builds upon third-grade skills and vocabulary development. The focus is reading comprehension of main ideas, details, and themes. Students also keep a reading journal and compare different genre elements. Students write narratives and various essays, including a persuasive essay and an informative research paper. They also evaluate graphic elements, media, and speeches. In the area of cooperative learning, students practice good listening and discussion skills. Additionally, they use technology to make a presentation and self-evaluate their performance.

Fifth Grade English Language Arts and Reading Course

(Full Year Course) All standard conventions of English grammar are thoroughly covered. Vocabulary and spelling are spiraled throughout and include word roots, affixes, use of the dictionary, and using context. Students will read and analyze all major genres and be asked to imitate each in their own writing. Students analyze the novel Number the Stars. The students compose all forms of writing required by the state standards and are given detailed instructions in formal research and essays. A section on media literacy is included. Many lessons require peer collaboration. Fluency in reading aloud is taught overtly.

Middle School English & Language Arts Courses

Sixth Grade English & Language Arts Course

(Full Year Course) This course provides an overview in reading/comprehension of various genres including fiction and non-fiction. Students read the novel Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and analyze the main character’s development. Various activities emphasize informative and fiction writing, including planning, research, use of organizers, drafting, revision, and editing. Instruction also includes grammar basics and mechanics such as combining sentences and using correct punctuation. Analytical exercises consist of comparing genres, evaluating media, and identifying and using persuasion. Additionally, students practice necessary life skills such as communication and presentation, reflecting on the importance of collaboration in teamwork.

Seventh Grade English & Language Arts Course

(Full Year Course) In this course, students will learn and apply new skills in reading, writing, and oral communication. Students will consider the importance of establishing a purpose in reading and identifying themes. Reading assignments include short stories, myths, legends, true stories, and expository texts. Students will read and critique the historical novel Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. Students will plan, draft, revise, proofread, edit, and publish a fictional narrative and an expository essay. Students will research reliable sources in order to create a research essay and accompanying multimedia presentation. Exploring the poetic devices of sensory and figurative language, students will create a poem of their own. Students will develop oral communication skills by preparing and presenting persuasive and instructional speeches. The course finishes with an investigation of communication in teamwork and collaboration.

Eighth Grade English & Language Arts Course

(Full Year Course) This course will expand students’ reading horizons and communication skills. Investigating narrative, epic, lyric, and free verse poetry, students will develop an appreciation for the sound, structure, and language of poetry. Students will better understand the elements of literature after reading O. Henry’s “A Retrieved Reformation,” Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and William Gibson’s The Miracle Worker. Writing projects include creating a personal narrative, a procedural text, and a multimedia research presentation. Students will examine various forms of media and learn to distinguish bias when evaluating a persuasive text. Presenting a persuasive speech, participating in a debate, and practicing formal and informal speaking and listening will enhance students’ communication skills.

High School English & Language Arts Courses

High School English I Course

(Full Year Course) English I launches a four-year journey during which students will confidently master grammar, develop advanced communication skills, and learn to analyze and appreciate challenging literature. The course begins with grammar fundamentals including sentence structure, parts of speech, and phrases and clauses. Students’ vocabulary will expand through a study of technology, literary terms, and words with multiple meanings. Culturally diverse texts will emphasize literary elements and techniques while an overview of short and long prose will delve into excerpts from The Odyssey. Reading Animal Farm and Romeo and Juliet will expand the students’ literary world. Writing skills will advance as students learn and apply the steps for creating a research paper. The course includes coverage of effective speaking and listening.

High School English II Course

(Full Year Course) English II begins with a major focus on grammar to help students become stronger writers. Students then analyze literary genre elements in various excerpts of classical stories. A major focus is the Greek drama, Antigone, by Sophocles. The novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is required with this course to study for analysis, as well. Students compare informational texts and have various writing projects. For example, they write an analytical essay on a short story and a persuasive essay that they also present as a speech. Their research paper is about a topic they choose on the Civil Rights Movement in which they construct a multi-media presentation to accompany it. Additionally, this course includes work-related documents with students constructing their own resumés and letters.

High School English III Course

(Full Year Course) In English III, students focus on the development of American Literature and compare it with ideas and forms of literature around the world. Students review the basics of the language arts, then scaffold with practices of increasing complexity to meet the required grade-level objectives of analytical thinking. Engaging in a step-by-step process, students learn to write complex analyses and argumentative papers. Students also learn principles in research, teamwork, discussion, and presentation skills. The text that should accompany the course is the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, by Joseph Stein. This play highlights literary devices as well as the ideas of immigration and cultural assimilation with supporting literature. Additionally, students explore college and career planning as well as tips for dealing with information in technology today.

High School English IV Course

(Full Year Course) English IV emphasizes the interpretation of various types of literature from different time periods. The genres covered include fiction, drama, and poetry. The dramatic play Cyrano de Bergerac is read and studied for its use of language to convey dilemmas and themes. Poetry studies include a survey of British poetry as well as ancient and modern poetry from various cultures and in various periods. Students are also given a wide range of writing assignments. For example, students produce a fiction story and a script. They also write essays evaluating literary elements. The course also includes research and writing arguments with logic. These various writing assignments help prepare students for end-of-course and SAT essay writing. Coverage is also given to analyzing and evaluating media and speeches, as well as using presentation and discussion skills.

High School Literary Genres Course

(Full Year Course) Literary Genres is a senior-level course in which students will explore and analyze a variety of literature. A grammar review precedes a study of rhetorical and literary devices, as well as a brief survey of the major literary forms. Students will read a variety of fictional selections and stories including The Canterbury Tales, various mythologies, Beowulf, Hansel and Gretel, Dracula, and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” Students will better understand drama after reading excerpts from William Shakespeare’s plays and will contemplate timeless poems by Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Lord Byron, and other poets. Comparing and contrasting speeches by Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan will assist students in analyzing persuasive texts. The course concludes with a look at perspective in nonfiction texts, such as diaries and autobiographies.

High School Speech Course

(Half Year Course) Speech Communication seeks to improve the interpersonal and public communication skills of students. Surveying the communication process, students will learn the components and functions of communication, differentiate between oral and nonverbal communication, and comprehend the listening process. Developing familiarity with self and personal strengths and weaknesses, students will boost self-confidence as public speakers in situations such as speeches or interviews. The course will culminate with students applying their acquired communication skills in researching, preparing, and giving a speech.

High School Creative Writing Course (Print Only)

(Full Year Course) Creative Writing encourages students to write, reason, and relate to the world creatively. By engaging in a wide variety of exercises, students will learn how to express themselves creatively. Students will be writing creatively and reading in a range of domains including reflection, interpretation, evaluation, synthesis, persuasion, controversial issues, and experimentation. Students will demonstrate skills in these forms: fictional writing, short stories, poetry, and drama.

High School English Diagnostic (Digital Only) 

(Full Year Course) The English Diagnostic is designed for students who are entering the 9th Grade. The purpose of the Diagnostic is to assess if the student is ready for high school material as well as to provide remediation for areas as needed. The Diagnostic consists of several English language categories. In each category, there is a pretest, remediation, and posttest. If students pass the pretest, they will immediately go on to the next category pretest. If students do not pass the pretest, they will complete remediation, and then complete a posttest. If the posttest is passed, they will go on to the next category of pretest.

High School English I STAAR® Study Guide (Texas Standards)

(Full Year Course) In the English I STAAR® Study Guide, students review English I TEKS in the STAAR®-tested reporting categories. The Study Guide also includes a STAAR®-like practice test. The practice test consists of a reading and writing section. In the reading section, students read passages and answer multiple-choice questions about the passages. There are also two short-answer questions about the passages. In the writing section, students answer multiple-choice questions that require students to revise and edit selections. Students also write an expository essay. When scoring the tests, each question is associated with a category and a standard. Students and teachers can determine if they are struggling or excelling in certain categories and redo the questions in the Study Guide for a particular category.

High School English II STAAR® Study Guide (Texas Standards)

(Full Year Course) In the English II STAAR® Study Guide, students review English II TEKS in the STAAR®-tested reporting categories. The Study Guide also includes a STAAR®-like practice test. The practice test consists of a reading and writing section. In the reading section, students read passages and answer multiple-choice questions about the passages. There are also two short-answer questions about the passages. In the writing section, students answer multiple- choice questions that require students to revise and edit selections. Students also write a persuasive essay. When scoring the tests, each question is associated with a category and a standard. Students and teachers can determine if they are struggling or excelling in certain categories and redo the questions in the Study Guide for a particular category.

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