Unit: Course Plan
Here you find a work in progress that aims to be an integrated high school Language Arts course appropriate for classrooms that served challenged or challenging students. This course is designed with my specific setting in mind, although I hope it contains a wide range of lessons and materials useful for various grades, units and settings. My particular setting is a residential treatment center for students who qualify for Special Education under the category of Emotional Disturbance. Specifically, this is a small, therapeutic classroom for boys ages 13-18 who require a high level of emotional support and behavioral retraining. Each of these factors impacts the course design, though none defines it. A major feature of this course, however, is its presumption of a preponderance of struggling and reluctant readers in the class. For this reason, all materials are planned to be accessible at the fourth grade reading level. In most cases, the same or similar materials will be made available in more advanced formats for more capable readers. The links here are just to the more accessible, generally modified materials, as they can be harder to find. Another aspect of my class is that students have generally been unsuccessful for numerous years of school, and so the requirement of passing the CAlifornia High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) looms dauntingly before them. Given the context of mixed grades and academic levels, it makes the most sense to gear this course to the standards tested on the CAHSEE. This is the source for those, and they are a helpful and simple guide for teachers. In general, this course seeks to combine exposure to important classic and contemporary literature with basic and moderate comprehension and writing skills, critical thinking, personal expression and public speaking practice. Each unit will contain at least four assessments; a literary elements test, a unit vocabulary test, a CAHSEE-style essay test, and a portfolio writing or speaking project. When useful, these will be differentiated to meet the Zone of Proximal Development material for each student. I hope this will contribute relevant and original lessons and units for teachers of middle and high schools with reluctant readers in their class.
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