English Language Arts
As educators in Joliet Public Schools District 86 implement the new Illinois Learning Standards, incorporating the Common Core, students are actively learning English Language Arts (ELA) through a Balanced Literacy Workshop Model Approach. This approach defines pillars of instruction within a comprehensive Balanced Language and Literacy Framework for Literature and the Content Areas. This allows students to take ownership of their learning because it reflects a gradual release of control shifting from teacher to student. The framework emphasizes the importance of having a solid foundation in Language & Word Study Development which includes phonemic awareness, phonics, word study, and word origins. It follows a Reading and Writing Workshop Model where students productively struggle with a variety of fiction and nonfiction mentor text as teacher and students interactively read aloud and share the reading experience. The teacher then strategically works with small groups of students guiding them through a text at a pre-determined instructional level and individualized students to provide targeted instruction at an independent reading level. Students are also developing into young writers as they participate in interactive writing experiences, share writing with others, receive guided reading support and polish their craft of writing as they independently create written masterpieces. This Balanced Literacy Approach allows teachers and students to become partners through the learning process as they both develop into life-long learners.