In each subject area writing is the universal communicator of students’ thoughts. Writing activities in portfolio assignments, journal reflections, in-depth analysis research papers and essays, and career development projects all enable students to practice the art of writing and communicating personal thoughts and beliefs. Many writing projects in the intermediate level are shared with students in the primary level to encourage a mentoring process in writing. Conceptual thinking and problem solving are found in every aspect of the pre-writing, writing, editing, and publishing processes. Each step is a check-and-balance procedure to allow for the smooth transference of information.
In the writing process the accumulation, selection, utilization and publishing of information are the foremost goals of the content area writing assignments.
Writing expectations are tailored to meet, challenge, and promote student growth. Expectations are clearly stated prior to the writing activity. Assessment and feedback are ongoing through instructor and peer conferencing. Students are encouraged to reflect and utilize their strengths and are given suggestions for further growth.
In grades One through Eighth, students participate in cross-curricular activities. Students are challenged and encouraged to write daily through personal journals, essays, creative writing, informative reporting, book reviews, and research papers. Students are taught to organize ideas by teacher modeling, story mapping, webbing, and use of outlines. The writing process encompasses the first and second drafts, peer editing, conferencing with the teacher, and publication of the final copy. This process involves instruction, creativity, discussion, evaluation and assessment, and promotes progress in student writing.
Academic growth is one of the primary goals at Star of the Sea. To assist us in meeting this goal the school recently adopted the Scott Foresman 2000 reading program with a strong connection to the reading/writing process. In the primary grades the students’ reading/writing curriculum is adjusted to levels based on the needs of the learners. In addition to enhancing the curriculum we envision writing for computer grants, workshops and in-services led by specialists focusing on the writing components of the language arts program.
The language and writing curriculum involves not only students in grades one through eight but also utilizes writing skills that are found in science, social studies, and the enrichment classes of music, computer, and art. Technology is an integral part of the writing curriculum and often completes the total efforts from the classroom to the published product created by the students. The 6 + 1 writing traits curriculum of the school enables the students to focus on writing components in all phases of the learning environment.