The GDRHS English Language Arts Department requires students to complete a summer language exploration for their upcoming school year. Because we know that many students are ardent viewers, creative writers, journalists, movie makers, actors, vocabulary vultures, conversationalists, storytellers, and more, we want them to tap into their passions, as long as they play with language. This approach follows the philosophy of Universal Design for Learning.
It is important for students to continue to engage with language during the summer to prevent losing some of the gains they made in their skill level during a school year. (Typically, students who stop reading, writing, and other language activities will regress a bit.) This assignment is a way to keep students’ language skills at or above their grade level.
All ELA students have an element of choice in selecting their assignment. Students in CP2, CP1, and Honors courses should choose one activity below—something they will enjoy that allows them to tap into their interests, expand their knowledge, and express themselves.
Because of GD’s homework policy, the follow-up to this self-selected language exploration will occur at the beginning of students’ third week in ELA, in September or January. (This will allow students to take advantage of summer’s looser time constraints and many opportunities or to wait to complete their exploration when the school year begins.) Teachers will give them one to two class blocks to reflect on their self-selected summer language exploration and make any last minute preparations to demonstrate what they learned. They will be graded holistically for creativity, critical thinking, and effort.
Honors and AP students have additional required reading(s). These selections promote 21st Century Learning and World Citizenship by increasing students’ capabilities to understand other cultures, timeless themes, human behavior, and historical events. Honors students are expected to buy a copy of their required book, as a print or an eBook, and to bring it to class. They should write some notes in the book to prepare for its use in class. Students who have chosen the Pre-AP/AP route must prepare their reading for the first day of class. Honors-only students should prepare their reading for the third week of class.
Those Honors or AP students whose families are experiencing hardship and cannot afford to buy the summer reading books should contact ELA Chair Kelly Cook (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make special arrangements. If that is impossible, the local public libraries carry the titles we have assigned and students should keep relevant notes in a notebook.