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Arlington Public Schools

Teaching & Learning: Curriculum - English Language Arts


Introduction - Grades 6-8

Dear Parent,

Writing is a very demanding and exciting task. The English faculty in grades 6-12 has made a commitment to using writing folders in our classes as a basis for ongoing discussions about student writing and to monitor student growth over time.

Portfolios allow teachers and students the opportunity to collect specific examples of writing. In each grade level this year there are Common Assessments, which are specialized writing experiences students, encounter in their grade. Grade level teams look at samples of these assessments to inform their instruction. These assessments expose students to the important forms of writing and serve as a prelude to the high stakes assessments that students encounter such as the SAT in the sophomore and junior years, or the MCAS in grades 6,7,8, and 10. One of our primary goals is to help developing writers learn how to reflect on their growth in the craft. Reflections are also stored in the writer's portfolio along with writing samples. We foster student reflection by providing in-class time and modeling the thinking about thinking - or metacognition.

In the English department we value important writing genres. They include: expository writing, literary analysis, persuasion, and creative/expressive writing. Your child experiences opportunities to write "on demand" as well. A writing folder will be released to your child in June.

If you would like to see your child's ongoing writing progress, schedule an appointment with your child's English teacher to view and discuss significant, representative pieces stored in the classroom portfolio.

We hope you will celebrate your child's writing progress and accomplishments this year. You can help your child by asking him/her to read their writing aloud to you and asking them strategic and sensitive questions. Students often catch writing flaws or foggy thinking if they have an opportunity to discuss writing in a meaningful way.

If I can answer any of your questions about our writing program or portfolio use in the English classroom, do not hesitate to call me.


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Last Update: 09/16/21   Site Design by C. Bertoli