English / Language Arts Department Overview
The Clifton Public School District engages in high-quality, research based practices in literacy to develop strong foundational reading, writing, and communication skills for all students.
In Grades K-5, students follow a balanced literacy framework for instruction. This instructional framework is comprised of shared reading/writing, guided reading/writing, independent reading/writing through readers and writers workshop as well as word study through Fundations/Orton Gillingham methods (K-3), spelling, vocabulary, language conventions, handwriting and listening and speaking. Instructional pacing units in K-5 are thematic and targeted to include the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). Instruction is further supported with the use of technology applications to differentiate learner’s diverse needs and to provide at-home reinforcement. These applications include; Raz Kids, Accelerated Reader 360, MyOn Reader and the G Suite for Education.
In Grades 6-8, students work in novel and thematic units around the anchor New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS); Narrative, Explanatory/Expository, Literary and Argumentative, and Opinion. Vocabulary acquisition through the teaching of context clues, greek and latin roots and figurative language is embedded in the units along with cross-curricular connections to Visual and Performing Arts, Reading History/Science and College and Career Readiness. Student learning experiences are varied using technology; G Suite for Education, Accelerated Reader 360 and MyOn Reader. Instruction is also supported with the use of choice boards, stations and collaborative projects.
English I will provide students with an in-depth reading and writing experience placing special emphasis on reading comprehension and writing skills. Students will read between 6-10 significant pieces of literature (mostly novels), and a collection of plays, poems, short stories and essays. Students will create at least two major writing tasks per marking period using the MLA format, and the writing-as-a-process protocols, and develop their speaking, listening, viewing and vocabulary skills.
English II picks up where English I left off: providing students with a continued emphasis on advancing their reading, writing, speaking, viewing and listening skills. There will be a primary emphasis on the reading 6 novels per year with a secondary attention to plays, poetry, and short stories. Students will write two major writing tasks per marking period in the MLA format, fully utilizing the writing-as-a-process protocols, and focus on vocabulary.
This full year course for English III examines in depth the American literary scene from the Colonial period to the present. Attention is focused on the reading between 6-10 novels per year, and a collection of essays, articles, short stories, plays, and poems. In addition to giving the students a knowledge of their American literary heritage, emphasis is placed upon improving the students’ writing, speaking, listening and viewing skills, and immersing them in a vocabulary program
English IV places emphasis on human values. Fundamental questions and qualities of society will be explored. Reading short stories, novels, plays, poetry, magazine articles and excerpts from British and World literature will give the students the opportunity to view social problems and to develop personal conclusions. Emphasis will be placed on the study of vocabulary and the development of reading, writing, speaking, viewing, and listening skills.
All of these courses are also offered at the Honors level as well. English III – AP is offered with a focus on composition and non-fiction. In English IV AP, the focus is on Literature. The English Department also offers courses in Journalism, Creative Writing and Communications. Career readiness and awareness is an emphasis in all English courses.
From Kindergarten to twelfth grade, the Clifton Media Centers address a variety of skills. First and foremost, each Media Center is full of a variety of texts to serve every reader and every reading level. The shelves contain non-fiction and fiction titles designed to be high interest levels for all types of readers. The Media Centers also address STEM topics with centers set up for students to work on different projects to improve their skills in those areas. The Media Centers are also up to date with technology and have computer centers where students can visit to do independent research, writing or take time with assignments.