Course Outlines / Descriptions

Course Descriptions


Elementary School Language Arts - Course Descriptions

The goal of the elementary classroom is to provide an English Language Arts instructional program based on an integrated model of literacy aimed at developing the skills students will need to be successful in college and career. In order to do this, students will engage in instructional activities that will require them to:

  • Read more informational text that provide facts and background knowledge in areas including science and social studies in order to build knowledge.
  • Ground reading, writing, and speaking in textual evidence.
  • Engage in regular practice with complex text and academic vocabulary.
Kindergarten

In Kindergarten, students will learn the alphabet and the basic features of letters and words. They will break down spoken and written words into syllables and letters and identify the sounds each letter makes. These important skills will enable students to learn new words and to read and understand simple books and stories. With prompting and support, students will interact with literature and informational text by asking and answering questions and identifying details and main events. Students will discuss, draw, and write about what they read and learn. Students will also learn to write and share information in a variety of ways, including drawing, writing letters, and words, listening to others, and speaking aloud.

First Grade

In grade one, students will build important reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Students will continue to learn the letters and sounds that make up words. They will read and listen to stories, articles, and other sources of information. They will practice asking and answering questions about what is read. Students will participate in class discussions by listening and responding to what others are saying. They will think, talk, and write about what they learn. They will write to describe an event, provide information on a topic, or share an opinion. In their writing, students will work on putting together clear sentences on a range of topics using a growing vocabulary.

Second Grade

In grade two, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Students will build on foundational reading skills, strengthening their ability to read fluently and decode more complex text. They will think, talk, and write about what they read in a variety of texts, such as stories, books, articles, and other sources of information including the Internet. In collaborative discussions, students will learn how to build on what others are saying. They will write to describe an event, provide information on a topic, or share an opinion. In their writing, students will learn how to develop a topic and strengthen their skills by editing and revising.

Third Grade

In grade three, students will build important reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. They will think, talk, and write about what they read in a variety of articles, books, and other texts including history, social studies, and science. In collaborative discussions, students will build on the ideas of others by listening, asking questions, and sharing ideas. Students will gather information from books, articles, and online sources to build understanding of a topic. They will begin to write research or opinion papers over extended periods of time. In their writing, students will pay more attention to organizing information, developing ideas, and supporting these ideas with facts, details, and reasons.

Fourth Grade

In grade four, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. They will read more challenging literature, articles, and other sources of information and continue to grow their vocabulary. They will also be expected to clearly explain in detail what they have read during collaborative discussions by referring to details or information from the text. They will learn how to take notes and organize information from books, articles, and online sources to learn more about a topic. In writing, students will organize their ideas and develop topics with reasons, facts, details, and other information. They will also write research or opinion papers over extended periods of time.

Fifth Grade

In grade five, students will continue to build important reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. They will read more challenging literature, articles, and other sources of information and continue to grow their vocabulary. Students will also be expected to understand and clearly summarize what they have learned from readings and collaborative discussions, referring to specific evidence and details from the text. Students will write regularly and continue to develop their ability to gather, organize, interpret, and present information. They will also write research or opinion papers over extended periods of time.


Middle School Language Arts - Course Descriptions

Language Arts 6-8

The English/Language Arts program is balanced and comprehensive. The language arts processes of reading, writing, listening, and speaking are taught in an integrated and inter-related manner. Course components include the study of rich and varied literary and informational text; writing in the genres of argumentative, informative/explanatory, narrative, and summaries of reading materials; and direct instruction in language arts skills and strategies. Students will work independently, as well as collaboratively, to learn how to understand what they read and evaluate an author’s assumptions and claims. Students will conduct research that will require the analysis of resources and accurate interpretation of literary and informational text. They will use technology and digital media strategically and capably to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening and language use.


Middle School Language Arts - Electives

Creative Writing Grades 6-8

Students will implement the writing process to explore and create effective writing. Writing is viewed as a means of expression, a means of communication, and a highly intellectual activity. Students will analyze the various writing genres through reading, writing, and critiquing techniques tied to writing. Students will strengthen their knowledge and application of various writing strategies to enable them to display more sophistication and polish in their final compositions. Emphasis will also be placed on the conventions of writing, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, and organization.

  • Course Outline

Debate

Debate is a language arts elective course designed to improve skills in the four language arts areas (reading, writing, listening, and speaking). Students will also practice to mastery their research skills, reasoning ability, and critical thinking competency. They will apply these skills by sharing orally and in writing their developed opinions and research findings on a variety of timely issues in a variety of debate formats including Lincoln/Douglas, Four Debater, and Socratic Seminar. Students will also participate in Mock Trial as a long-range learning project.

  • Course Outline

Journalism 6-8

This course includes a study of modern newspapers, the history of journalism in the United States, newspaper organization, analysis of news, the effects of propaganda, and newsgathering and writing. Students will focus upon a study of the physical makeup of a newspaper and the production of a minimum of four newspapers.

  • Course Outline

Yearbook

This course is designed to teach students how to create and produce a school yearbook. Students will focus on the elements of the purpose of a yearbook, developing a theme, creating layouts and designs, photography, writing, and editing. Students will also participate in the marketing and sales of the yearbook.

  • Course Outline 


Middle School Intervention / Afterschool / Summer Courses

Fast Track

Fast Track is a before/after school reading intervention program offered to students in Grades 6-8 four days a week for a quarter. This comprehensive, research-based reading intervention program is designed to supplement and accelerate students attainment of grade level reading proficiency through systematic instruction and practice of the 5 key components of reading: phonological awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. Lessons take a scaffolded approach and use six steps to reinforce each skill: introduce, demonstrate, coach, apply, assess, and reteach. The course uses high interest-age appropriate topics that are presented in a thematic, magazine format. This course is recommended for students in Langauge Arts 6,7,8 Core classes (double period classes) who need additional instruction in reading to be successful with grade level standards.

  • Course Outline


High School Language Arts - Course Descriptions

English 1-2

Students pursue a balanced literacy program with an emphasis on writing. Writing activities will be based on literature and non-fiction to provide a highly motivated curriculum. Students will receive instruction in the conventions of standard edited English and research techniques. Students will demonstrate the writing process, applying the process to composing texts in various genres including narrative/autobiographical, literary analysis, expository, and persuasive.

  • SDC Course Outline

English 3-4

Students pursue a balanced, integrated literacy program of literature and language study. In literature, students develop strategies to construct meaning and interact thoughtfully with all genres of literature and nonfiction texts. Writing activities are extensions of experiences developed through reading literary and nonfiction works. Students will engage in a variety of expository and creative writing tasks which connect literature and their life experiences. Students will use writing process activities in a variety of genres including persuasive, expository, narrative, and literary analysis of texts. Students also receive instruction in the conventions of written language, effective oral communication, and research techniques.

  • SDC Course Outline

English 5-6

Students will engage in a variety of academic and creative writing tasks which connect both literature and nonfiction to their life experiences. Students will use writing process activities in a variety of genres; persuasive, expository, narrative, reflective and literary analysis of texts. Students also receive instruction in the conventions of written language and effective oral communication. Students explore themes found in American literature and the American experience through a balanced, integrated program of literature and language study. Students read and respond to historically and/or culturally significant works of American and non-fiction texts tracing the development of American writing from the colonial period forward. In addition, students write a(n) historical investigation report. (Junior Thesis)

  • Course Outline Honors 
  • SDC Course Outline

Early Assessment Program (EAP): Rhetoric and Composition

This one-year rhetoric and composition course is for college bound seniors to enable them to read and write academic prose effectively and strategically and to increase their mastery of academic language. This rigorous course is built around in-depth studies of various expository, analytic, or argumentative writings on non-literacy topics and the rhetorical analysis of lengthier non-fiction and fiction genres, such as autobiography, biography, novel, and drama. Pivotal to the curriculum is the deepening of student1Zù4s critical reading, writing and thinking skills about both expository and literary prose with the emphasis on fostering their ability to argue and extend their understanding of complex material in writing. Students will be expected to engage in depth with diverse and challenging material in writing. In addition, they will be expected to increase their awareness and application of the techniques employed by authors. They will read closely to examine relationships between an author1Zù4s argument or theme and his or her audience and purpose, to analyze the impact of structural and rhetorical strategies, and to examine the social, political, and philosophical assumptions that underlie the text. Assessment will be both oral and

  • Course Outline

CSU Expository Reading and Writing Course

The goal of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) is to prepare college-bound seniors for the literacy demands of higher education. Through a sequence of fourteen rigorous instructional modules, students in this yearlong, rhetoric-based course develop advanced proficiency in expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing. The cornerstone of the course—the assignment template—presents a process for helping students read, comprehend, and respond to nonfiction and literary texts. Modules also provide instruction in research methods and documentation conventions. Students will be expected to increase their awareness of the rhetorical strategies employed by authors and to apply those strategies in their own writing. They will read closely to examine the relationship between an author’s argument or theme and his or her audience and purpose; to analyze the impact of structural and rhetorical strategies; and to examine the social, political, and philosophical assumptions that underlie the text. By the end of the course, students will be expected to use this process independently when reading unfamiliar texts and writing in response to them. Course texts include contemporary essays, newspaper and magazine articles, editorials, reports, biographies, memos, assorted public documents, and other nonfiction texts. The course materials also include modules on two full-length works (one novel and one work of nonfiction). Written assessments and holistic scoring guides conclude each unit. Students who take this course by CSU ERWC Certified Teacher and who receive a grade of “C” or better in the course will be deemed ready for college level coursework in English by the CSU. Meets the CSU English proficiency exam requirement.

  • Course Outline

English 7-8

This course is designed for the student who has not yet passed the CAHSEE. Students will review the content standards taught in previous grades. To that end, students pursue a concentrated study of the writing process, essay genres, close reading of fiction and non-fiction, research skills and correctness to demonstrate achievement on the skills required to pass the CAHSEE and for college. Reading and writing activities are based on contemporary themes in literature and non-fiction selections to provide for an ever changing and highly motivational curriculum. Where available, students learn to use technology to support production of text, correctness, and research reading and writing

  • Course Outline
  • SDC Course Outline

British Literature 1-2

British Literature presents an integrated, literature-based program which generally follows an historical sequence from the Anglo-Saxon period to contemporary works. This course is designed for the collegebound student seeking more academic challenge than the regular college preparatory class, where reading is more demanding, writing is more frequent, and assessment is more rigorous. Students contrast the literary forms, stylistic techniques, and characteristics of the major literary periods. They not only analyze such devices as figurative language, imagery, speaker, and tone, they also relate the literature to the geographical, philosophical, political, religious, cultural, and social influences of those periods. A student who successfully completes British Literature is able to respond to works of great complexity and depth in an articulate and sophisticated manner.

  • Course OutlineCourse Outline can be accessed via intranet.

Creative Writing

This one-year creative writing course is for college bound seniors to enable them to read and write effectively and creatively and to increase their mastery of various literary genres. Writing is viewed as a means of expression, a means of communication, and a highly intellectual activity. Each participant is a writer and an artist in a community of writers which serves as a sounding board, editor, audience, etc. This rigorous course is built around in-depth studies of various non-fiction and fiction genres, such as memoir, essay, poetry, short story, screenplays, novel, and drama. Pivotal to the curriculum is the deepening of student’s critical reading, writing and thinking skills and their ability to extend their understanding of complex material in reading and writing. In addition, they will be expected to increase their awareness and application of the techniques employed by authors. They will read closely to examine relationships between an author’s purpose or theme and his or her audience and purpose, to analyze the impact of structural and literacy strategies, and to examine and practice techniques of revision and editing. Assessment will be both oral and written and each student must submit a portfolio and work for publication.

  • Course Outline

Film Analysis

This course is designed to help college preparatory students understand the basic language of film, develop analytic skills, and explore the historical development of visual media. Students actively apply analytical skills used with literature to analyze films, viewing films actively, rather than as passive bystanders. The course explores the relationship of film to specific works of literature and the effectiveness of films as literature. Students will demonstrate proficiency in analysis of film through oral and written formats by writing and presenting comparisons of novels and stories to film adaptations, writing expository essays and responses to various essays about film, and writing reviews of films. Good writing skills and regular homework are required.

  • Course Outline can be accessed via intranet.

Multicultural Literature

This course is designed to be an academic preparation for college. Multicultural Literature provides students with an opportunity to come to some basic understanding of their own culture and the culture of others in order to promote more understanding of our multicultural society. Students will read and respond to diverse writers and genres reflecting contemporary society. They will compare and contrast attitudes, values, customs, and traditions expressed in these literary works, exploring what is universal for all cultures as well as the unique experiences of individual cultures. Students will analyze and discuss such themes as tolerance, prejudice, racism, etc. in a historical, contemporary, and political context. As well, students will engage in close reading of nonfiction and texts as a catalyst to engage in intensive practice of the writing process. They will compose autobiographical/biographical narratives, persuasive essays, responses to literature, reflective essays as well as job and college applications and an academic rÈsumÈ.

  • Course Outline can be accessed via intranet.


High School Intervention Courses

LANGUAGE! II AB

Intermediate LANGUAGE II AB is a language arts course designed for high school students who have difficulties in phonemic awareness, decoding, spelling, writing and literal comprehension, which usually reflect insufficient phonological processing.  During this course, students master consonant blends and begin working with syllabication and morphological principals as well as interpretive comprehension strategies.  This course uses LANGUAGE!, a sequential, balanced literacy program emphasizing developmental reading instruction.  Its emphasis is on building the foundations of phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, comprehension, text reading, word recognition, and writing while reading texts with readability levels of 2.6 to 4.5. This course offers the flexibility of placement into an alternate course at the semester, based upon individual achievement of the student.  Students who qualify in units 13 – 24 will begin the course of study at Level 1, Book C, Unit 13.

  • Course Outline 

LANGUAGE! II CD

LANGUAGE II CD is a language arts course designed for high school students who have the foundations of reading in place and are decoding and spelling multi-syllabic words, expanding and building upon literal and interpretive comprehension strategies and using various writing strategies to develop cohesive compositions. This course uses Language!, a sequential, balanced literacy program emphasizing developmental reading instruction. Its emphasis is upon expanding vocabulary development, spelling, comprehension, fluent text reading, word recognition, and writing, while reading texts with readability levels of 4.6 - 6.0.  This course offers the flexibility of placement into an alternate course at the semester, based upon individual achievement of the student.  Students who qualify in units 25-36 of LANGUAGE II CD  will begin the course of study at Level II, Book E, Unit 25.

  • Course Outline

Literacy Workshop 1-2

Literacy Workshop, a balanced literacy program emphasizing developmental reading instruction, is designed specifically for students without serious learning disabilities who are reading two or more grades below their current grade level. Students enrolled in this course are typically reading between a mid 5th and end of 6th grade reading level of fiction and ction text and score at the Below Basic level on the CST. Emphasis is upon increasing students1 reading comprehension strategies, application of flexible decoding strategies, reading vocabulary, and metacognitive strategies for reading both narrative and informational text with comprehension and fluency. Areas of focus are those critical to adolescent reading improvement: ” Motivation ” Guided and independent reading” Acquisition and practice of essential reading comprehension strategies  

  • Course Outline

Literacy Workshop 3-4

Literacy Workshop, a balanced literacy program emphasizing developmental reading instruction, is designed specifically for students without serious learning disabilities who are reading two or more grades below their current grade level. Students enrolled in this course are typically reading between a mid 6th and end of 7th grade reading level of fiction and nonfiction text and score at the Below Basic level on the CST. Emphasis is upon increasing students1 reading comprehension strategies, application of flexible decoding strategies, reading vocabulary, and metacognitive strategies for reading both narrative and informational text with comprehension and fluency. Areas of focus are those critical to adolescent reading improvement: ” Motivation ” Guided and independent reading ” Acquisition and practice of essential reading comprehension strategies.

  • Course Outline


  •  Department of Students_PS, Image Image_10.jpg

Department Address
1299 E. 32nd St.
Signal Hill, CA 90755

Department Phone
(562) 997-8000 x.2903