The focus of English classes at The International School is to develop and extend students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. First through fifth graders attend English classes for one hour daily. Our program is designed with the recognition that each child has his or her own time frame for successfully transferring literacy skills from one language to another. Due to a wide-range of young readers, the first and second grade students from all language tracks are leveled from early readers, to transitional readers, to independent readers. The third through fifth grade classes are mixed with students from each language track at varying reading and writing levels.
The International School has six full-time English teachers. Classes are held in homeroom classrooms with a maximum of 17 students.
English teachers send home weekly communication sharing classroom activities. Teachers are accessible by email or personal meetings. Formal parent conferences are held twice a year. In addition, parents often volunteer in the English classrooms.
Standards and Learning Objectives
The English curriculum is aligned with the Common Core Standards and designed to support the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) framework. The Common Core Standards are a series of benchmarks detailing what students should know and be able to do by the end of each academic year.
In the younger grades, students engage in a variety of activities that build foundational reading skills. Lessons focus on supporting a love for literature through read alouds, independent reading, and explicit instruction in phonics and fluency to support comprehension. In the upper grades, students expand on their foundational skills through independent, guided and shared reading, genre studies, and literature discussions.
Students use the 6 + 1 Traits in Writing framework to draft, revise, and publish informative/explanatory texts, opinion texts, and narratives. English teachers provide authentic purposes for writing and guide students through each relevant step. Spelling, vocabulary, and grammar are explicitly taught using Sitton Spelling and Word Skills. Sitton is designed to support hands-on inquiry through letter pattern and sound recognition and provides cyclical repetition of concepts throughout the grade levels. Additionally, Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) is used to teach print and cursive. HWT is recommended by occupational therapists as it engages kids in multisensory lessons to build fine motor skills.