Sharpening communication skills is a core competency and essential for overall success. Persuasive audience-aware articulation, critical thinking and thinking on one’s feet are nuanced skills and key objectives of our language arts program. In other words, our goal is to help students develop and sharpen the critical skills necessary to analyze, evaluate, classify and prioritize the information that they continuously receive. This clearly begins even from preschool. Toward this end, our language arts lesson plans help develop reading, writing, listening and speaking components such as elocution and debate. This requires that we also focus on students’ ability to recognize and reconcile differing perspectives (i.e. emotional intelligence), arguments and the underlying human conditions and connections.
Each student will start at his or her competency level and progress independently along the continuum, applying knowledge to deepen understanding of concepts and themes. Students will be learning through a variety of formats, including fun games for reading, writing and speaking, other hands on projects as well as exploratory learning. Our curriculum builds foundational skills, while tying projects into our thematic areas. We use a variety of strategies to help students understand and creatively apply the use of ideas, voice, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation.
In addition, the Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Program is leading the Sankalpa Academy students in a year-long workshop that meets weekly. Led by teaching artist and poet Jena Kirkpatrick (Ms. Jena), this workshop guides students toward discovering their own voice as writers. Students explore different elements of creative writing, literacy skills, and figurative language. All of the students have exhibited great imagination and creativity in the pieces they've written thus far. Their work will be published in a chapter book this spring, culminating with a final reading event. As an instructor with Badgerdog Literary Publishing Jena Kirkpatrick works in schools teaching creative writing to be submitted for publication in the anthology Rise. She is also a creative writing instructor for The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Texas, editor and publisher of the poetry anthology Writing for Positive Change.