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W. H. Council Traditional School Language Policy
Posted On: 10/3/2016

W. H. Council Traditional School Language Policy

                                                                                                  Established: September  2006

Revised: February 2016 

February 2011




Language is a tool that enables us to acquire knowledge and communicate in many modes, for many purposes, and to many different audiences. Although conventions are important, the construction of meaning and the emphasis of creative expression are of equal importance. Language learning is central in all areas of the curriculum.


Because each strand of language (listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, nonverbal, and presenting) requires different cognitive processes – some simple, some complex - we recognize and honor our students’ developmental levels and learning styles, adjusting our instructional strategies accordingly. A constructivist approach allows teachers to meet students where they are and build upon prior knowledge to make learning more meaningful, authentic, and streamlined.


Ultimately, we strive to produce students who effectively communicate their needs, feelings, ideas, and experiences with creativity and confidence.


Language Practices

English is the language of instruction at W. H. Council Traditional Magnet School. Students are taught conventions of English through classroom instruction in all seven strands of language. The strands of language are interrelated, and mastery of one strand fosters heightened development of the others. Incorporating the seven strands of language into all disciplines is vital to the success of our students’ language development.


Listening: Listening is not a passive skill. Our students must apply active listening skills to gain information and analyze it properly. In addition, students must demonstrate appropriate listening etiquette.

            Specific activities that support listening include:

            Cultural Arts assemblies

            Guest speakers

            Morning announcements


            Read alouds

            Teacher questioning strategies

            After school clubs and organizations

            Middlebury Interactive Program (Spanish)



Speaking: Students use oral language skills to ask questions and to share ideas, opinions, information, and feelings. They must develop proper pronunciation, inflections, intonation, and fluency to become confident and skillful speakers.

            Specific activities that support speaking include:

            Classroom presentations and projects

            Book shares

            Morning announcements

            Oratorical Contest


            CTS Ambassadors

            After school clubs and organizations

            Middlebury Interactive Program (Spanish)


Reading: Guided by the English Language Literacy for College and Career Readiness, Council students receive systematic, explicit, instruction in language, speaking and listening, reading literature, reading informational text, reading foundations, and writing. Students then apply those skills across the curriculum. We hope to instill a love of reading by exposing students to a wide range of genre and author styles and by allowing self-selection of independent reading titles.

            Specific activities that support reading include:

            Adopted reading/phonics program (Sonday System)

            Big Universe (e-books)

            Alabama Virtual Library

            Sadlier Vocabulary

            Time for Kids

            Literacy centers

            Accelerated Reader

            Interactive Internet sites (Padlet, Kahoot!, Destiny)

            School and classroom libraries

            Middlebury Interactive Program (Spanish)

            Morning announcements


Writing: Writing is a complex, developmental process by which students communicate information, ideas, opinions, and feelings. To address the demands of high-stakes tests, many writing and mechanic skills are taught through systematic, explicit instruction. We recognize, too, that the message should not be lost in the mechanics. Writing occurs daily. Teachers model for students, write with students, and allow students the opportunity to write independently. Student writing portfolios allow teachers to measure progress and customize instruction to meet the needs of each child.

            Specific activities that support writing include:

            Adopted Writing Curriculum (Six Traits)


            Reflections on Units of Inquiry


            Graphic organizers

            Middlebury Interactive Program (Spanish)


Viewing: Through the use of integrated technology and multimedia resources, student gain exposure to a wide array of visual experiences. The students learn to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs, making informed choices about personal viewing experiences.

            Specific activities that support viewing include:

            SMART Board

            Student laptops and student tablets

            Computer lab

            Educational videos

            Art class

            Internet research

            Video conferencing

            Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

            After school clubs and organizations

            Middlebury Interactive Program (Spanish)


Nonverbal: Students recognize and react to nonverbal signals and learn to use and interpret symbols as a means to provide information.

            Specific activities that support nonverbal communication include:

            Posters created for various projects (class projects, Student Council elections, promotion of

             student body activities, etc.)

            Art projects


Presenting: As a magnet school of communication, Council provides students many opportunities to apply and synthesize their learning through a variety of projects and presentations. Through presenting original work, students must apply skillful strategies of all the aforementioned language strands.

            Specific activities that support presenting include:



            Geography Week/Global Tour

            Reader’s Theater

            Production of visual aids

             Reading Night

            Spanish Night


            Oratorical Contest

            Science Fair Projects (5th grade)

            School programs (Honor Program, NEHS Induction Ceremony)

            After school clubs and organizations


Language and the PYP


Our commitment to nurturing language development supports students in demonstrating the PYP learner profile. Council students, through language, are:


Balanced: Students express themselves in each strand of language using different mediums, and for varied purposes and audiences.

Caring: Students demonstrate empathy, compassion, and respect to others through each strand of language.

Communicators: Students communicate confidently and creatively in both written and oral forms for pleasure and for practice.

Inquirers: Students exhibit natural curiosity about language and use that innate curiosity to make sense of the world around them.

Knowledgeable: Students acquire in-depth knowledge of language structure (in all strands) in both English and Spanish.

Open-minded: Students appreciate and accept differences in communication styles and use language as a tool to share their own cultures and personal histories.

Principled: Using the various strands of language, students exhibit integrity, honesty, and respect.

Thinkers: Students express their thoughts and ideas coherently, creatively, and confidently.


The School’s Additional Language


The additional language at W. H. Council Traditional Magnet School is Spanish. Students are offered support through biweekly instruction. The classes emphasize oral communication and include journeys into the Spanish culture and its relationship to the host nation culture. Printed materials are provided in Spanish in both the classroom and the library for vocabulary and reading practice. Middlebury interactive software language program provides third and fourth-grade students exposure to the Spanish language and culture. It is currently used in the computer lab weekly and is available online for students to use off campus for enrichment and practice.


Mother-Tongue Support


An ESL (English as a Second Language) tutor is provided by the school system to address the language needs of students.