Secondary English/ Language Arts
“No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy."
~ Los Angeles Times, “A Child Literacy Initiative”
Through study of the language arts, Alachua County students learn to read, write and think effectively with the goal of becoming positive contributors to society as a whole. Effective language arts educators provide varied and rich learning experiences, enabling the district’s students to consistently perform at the highest level.
The current Alachua County secondary language arts curriculum is based upon Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS). Within these standards, reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, language and literature competencies are integrated throughout students’ learning experiences. LAFS benchmarks are repeated as needed in course sequences. As students progress from one course to the next, increases should occur in the complexity of materials and tasks, as well as in the application of skills and strategies. Additionally,
* learning tasks and materials are differentiated based upon individual student needs
* students are taught reading strategies to assist them in constructing meaning from a variety of texts;
* and students acquire an extensive vocabulary through reading, discussion, listening, and word study.
We will be transitioning to Florida's B.E.S.T. standards for the 2022-23 school year. Teacher training for these new standards will begin in the summer of 2021.
Deadline: Monday, October 11, 5 PM
Governor Ron DeSantis’ and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest is open to all students attending any Florida school in grades 4-12. Three winners will be selected: one elementary school student (grades 4-5), one middle school student (grades 6-8), and one high school student (grades 9-12).
Download the official rules and guidelines here.
This year’s theme is “Celebrating Hispanic-American Community Leaders and Champions"
Students in grades 4-12 may use this online form to submit the documents required for the essay contest.
Deadline: November 17, 2021
Write a short, powerful story about a meaningful experience from your life — in 600 words or fewer. Rules and guidelines coming soon.
Tell us a short, powerful, true story.
• Remember: This is not an invitation to give us your opinion on a topic you’re passionate about — we have a contest for that later in the year. Instead, your challenge is to tell a meaningful and interesting story — something with a beginning, middle and end. Because you’re telling a story rather than, say, simply reflecting on your feelings about a topic, there should be a conflict of some kind — an obstacle, problem or tension — that is resolved in some way.
Write it in your own real voice, with vivid descriptive language.
• This is an invitation to open up and write in a way that feels natural. We want your personality to come across.
Deadline: December 15, 2021
Do you like sharing your opinion with others? Do you have strong critiques and reactions to books, movies, restaurants or fashion? Are you a foodie or a gamer? A music buff or a theater aficionado?
If so, this contest is for you. We invite you to play critic and write an original review for our Seventh Annual Student Review Contest.
What can you choose to review? Anything that fits into a category of creative expression that The New York Times covers — from architecture to music. One reason we created this contest is to give you space to stretch your cultural imagination. So, we ask that you review something that is new to you.
Deadline: March 9, 2022
We invite students to choose an issue or question in science, technology, engineering, math or health that interests them, then write a 500-word explanation that will engage and enlighten readers.
Deadline: May 18, 2022
In thier Fifth Annual Podcast Contest, The Learning Network invites teenagers to submit original podcasts of five minutes or less. Your creation can be about anything that interests you, in any form that you like. Favorites will be featured on The Learning Network.
News You Can Use
FLDOE Commissioner’s Summer Reading List
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has shared an updated summer reading list for students and families to utilize as we prepare for students to go back to school in the fall. The list is comprised of top-of-the-line literary works, with world-renowned titles that make it the best reading list in the nation. Highlighting rich historical nonfiction, classical, popular, and thought-provoking Florida-based works of literature, the list has been carefully curated to encourage all Florida students to dive into reading and get excited for the upcoming school year.
Adoption and Implementation of the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking
On February 12, 2020, the State Board of Education amended Rule 6A-1.09401, Florida Administrative Code, Student Performance Standards, to adopt the B.E.S.T. Standards for English language arts (ELA) and Mathematics for grades K-12. These new standards are posted along with summary documents at www.fldoe.org/standardsreview.
A three-year implementation timeline was also presented at the State Board meeting. It has been updated for additional clarification.
Student access to textbook resources is available through myPortal.
- Middle School Reading: Perfection Learning
- Middle School Language Arts: Savvas myPerspectives
- High School English: Savvas myPerspectives
Other Online Resources
- Daily Grammar Workout
- Detailed definitions of common grammar terms.
- Fun, interactive exercises.
- Handouts, presentations, videos!!!
- How to Use This Site
- Every school day since 1998, they have offered fresh classroom resources — from lesson plans and writing prompts to news quizzes, student contests and more — all based on the articles, essays, images, videos and graphics published on NYTimes.com.
- High-quality, free instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 5-12.
- You can have your students use the site to explore new vocabulary on their own, or you can offer some structured vocab practice to support what you're teaching.
- One of the best ways to use the site is to integrate its vocab practice with texts your students are reading.
- Thousands of provided lists already on the site
- You can paste up to 100 pages of text into the site's List Builder, and it will give you a list of words. This is great when you want to create a list ahead of an assigned reading.
- This is an online tool used for teaching grammar, usage, mechanics and style to students in 4th through 12th grade.
- This resource also has Informative and Argumentative Writing lessons that teach claim, evidence, and reasoning, etc.
- Teachers can assign a variety of diagnostic and instructional materials to their students through NoRedInk.
- Students may also choose to work through the hundreds of activities in NoRedInk’s online independently.
- The majority of NoRedInk’s offerings are free to users, however the company does offer access to upgraded features through a paid subscription to NoRedInk Premium.
- Each Newsela text is offered at multiple tiers, for every student, no matter their level.
- Students can study the same content and learn at their own pace.
- Paired textsBuilt-in assessments.
- Aligned to Common Core standards
- thousands of classroom-ready, curriculum-targeted digital resources aligned to Common Core and national and state standards.
- You can browse by standards, grade level, subject area, and special collections. You can also favorite and share resources with your class and colleagues.
- Find Spanish and Alternate Language Content
- Best of all, PBS LearningMedia is free for PreK-12 educators and students.
ReadWriteThink by National Council of Teachers of English
A library of curated nonfiction and literary articles in the country, along with reading comprehension and vocabulary lessons, formative assessments, and teacher guidance.
- Here at ReadWriteThink, our mission is to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.
Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance)
- free resources to educators—teachers, administrators, counselors and other practitioners—who work with children from kindergarten through high school. Educators use our materials to supplement the curriculum, to inform their practices, and to create civil and inclusive school communities where children are respected, valued and welcome participants.
Online Resources Available through myPortal.
BrainPop is a group of educational websites with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12 (ages 6 to 17), together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, mathematics, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music.
CommonLit delivers high-quality, free instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 3-12. Our resources are flexible, research-based, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, and are created by teachers, for teachers.
FSA Practice Tests are for students to become familiar with the Computer Based Testing system, functionality, and item types.
Gale Ed is a research site with thousands of articles on many areas of interest.
Khan Academy is a set of short lessons in the form of YouTube videos that help educate students.
PBS Learning Media offers phonemic awareness skills games and bilingual games.
Teaching Books.net is an easy-to-use website that adds a multimedia dimension to the reading experiences of children's and young adult books. Our online database is developed and maintained to include thousands of resources about fiction and nonfiction books used in the K–12 environment, with every resource selected to encourage the integration of multimedia author and book materials into reading and library activities.
The Learning Network offers rich and imaginative materials for teaching and learning using New York Times content.They offer new educational resources based on the articles, photographs, videos, illustrations, podcasts and graphics published in The New York Times – all for free.
TumbleBook Cloud is an online collection of eBooks and read-along chapter books, non-fiction books, graphic novels, educational videos, and audio books! This database is a great option for adventurTumblous readers.
World Book is a full encyclopedia resource.