Lower School students at Green Acres become active listeners, confident speakers, able readers, and skillful writers. The love of books and the ability to communicate clearly are goals integrated into all areas of the curriculum. In all the grades, Language Arts classes focus directly on these goals as children work with partners, in small and large groups, and individually with teachers. Teachers assess the growth of each student’s language competency to ensure that work is appropriately challenging, and that the student makes steady progress while working on meaningful tasks.
Oral Expression and Listening
Students develop strong speaking skills while they learn to express themselves clearly in the youngest grades, ask questions, participate in discussions and debates, solve problems in groups, and share in class or at assemblies. In developing oral presentations, they concentrate on enunciation, eye contact, pace, volume, and expression. Listeners learn to pay attention for specific information, tone, and entertainment. Students at Green Acres appreciate the active give-and-take of ideas.
Reading and Literature Study
Reading and writing are strongly intertwined as children read and analyze literature to appreciate the writer’s craft while developing as capable, strategic readers. Students learn to decode, comprehend, interpret, analyze, and compare and contrast as they read fiction and non-fiction materials relating to topics in: science, social studies, mathematics, and the arts. They read from a variety of authors and genres and develop increasingly sophisticated vocabulary and comprehension skills as they move through the grades. Teachers assess students’ reading levels formally in the fall through the DRA II, in the spring through the Gates MacGinite assessment, and informally throughout the year to ensure that each student is appropriately challenged to reach his or her potential. The curriculum in each grade incorporates a rich mixture of novels, textbooks, technology, storybooks, poetry, the children’s own writings, and exercises created by our teachers.
Reading well-written, grade-appropriate literature also helps students to become able writers. Our goal is to help children “see” themselves as authors. They write about topics that are meaningful to them and learn to appreciate the beauty of language. They grow to understand the various purposes of writing and learn to write using different forms: such as factual reports, memoirs, poetry, editorials, creative fiction, and letters. They learn to express their ideas in an organized way, to reflect on their work, and to expand their thoughts with supporting details. Students in all grades brainstorm ideas, organize information, revise, and proofread. Individually, with partners, and in small groups, students practice grammar, punctuation, spelling, and handwriting skills. They are taught to use books and technology as tools for research, composing, and editing.