The Hingham Public Schools offers a comprehensive and challenging course of study in the English/Language Arts to students in grades K-12. Students gain competence and confidence as they progress through a vertically articulated program of skills in the areas of reading, writing, speaking/listening, and language. Aligned with the 2017 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy, our program will emphasize the following: formal structural principles of writing as they relate to the expository, persuasive, narrative, and descriptive essay; guided instruction for reading that emphasizes critical analysis and critical thinking skills; ongoing, integrated practice with standards related to speaking/listening and language. The department is committed to instructional practices that promote active learning through student-centered, differentiated lessons designed to appropriately challenge students and support their success. The many reading, writing, and speaking/listening opportunities provided to students each year are intended to help develop an understanding of themselves, an appreciation of the world around them, a dedication to lifelong learning, and confidence in their own voice and communication skills.
All students in grades 9-12 at Hingham High School are required to take a full year of English. Successful completion of grade-level required courses (20 credits) are required for graduation. Course requirements for reading, writing, research, and language study are outlined in the Program of Studies, curriculum guides, and the English Department Handbook. Course requirements are structured as follows:
Humanities – English level 2 (Honors) Humanities – English level 3 (College Prep) Humanities – English level 4 (Support)
6 classes per 7-day cycle
World Literature level 2 (Honors) World Literature level 3 (College Prep) World Literature level 4 (Support)
6 classes per 7-day cycle
AP Language and Composition – English level 1 (AP) American Studies – English level 2 (Honors) American Studies – English level 3 (College Prep) American Studies – English level 4 (Support)
6 classes per 7-day cycle
AP Literature – English level 1 (AP) Senior Seminars – English 12 levels 2, 3, 4 (Semester-long seminars in Film Studies, Modern Dilemmas, Global Issues in Literature, Detectives in Literature, Reading to Write, and Satire, Irony, and Humor)
6 classes per 7-day cycle
Elective courses are offered at Hingham High School in the areas of creative writing, drama, and reading. These elective courses may be taken in addition to but not in place of required courses, and credit for elective courses does not count toward the 20 credits of English required for graduation. Activities for students interested in English include the Harborlight newspaper, the Outer Limits literary magazine, the Debate Club, and the many performances offered by the Drama Club throughout the year.
HINGHAM MIDDLE SCHOOL
All students in grades 6-8 are required to take a full year of English. In grade 6, students receive an additional period of STEM/Literacy Lab twice each four-day cycle. Course requirements for reading, writing, research, and language study are outlined in the Program of Studies, curriculum guides, and the English Department Handbook. Course requirements are structured as follows:
Grade 6 ELA (heterogeneous groups)
2 classes per 4-day cycle
Grade 7 English level 2 (Advanced) Grade 7 English level 3 (Upper Standard) Grade 7 English level 4 (Standard)
Grade 8 English level 2 (Advanced) Grade 8 English level 3 (Upper Standard) Grade 8 English level 4 (Standard)
Students in grades 6, 7 and 8 may sign up for elective courses in reading. Students in grades 7 and 8 may also sign up for an elective course in drama
Activities for students interested in English include the PAW, (Poets, Artists, and Writers literary magazine, and the fall musical production.
Grade K-5 teachers in the Hingham Public Schools are expected to provide a minimum of 90 minutes of instruction per day in the English/Language Arts (ELA). This instruction includes reading, writing, spelling, and language study and is intended to establish the foundation for the entire K-12 ELA program. In addition, all students in grades K-3 participate in instructional groups based on a model of tiered instruction. Tiered instruction is a process by which educators utilize data from a variety of assessments to evaluate learners’ needs and provide all students with targeted instruction at their appropriate reading levels. Teachers adjust instruction as needed and monitor student progress so that groupings are fluid. Similar practices have been integrated into literacy instruction in grades 4 and 5 as well.
Reading Journeys – HMH’s Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s (HMH) core reading program – is a comprehensive, research-based reading program which offers a variety of quality literature to engage learners. Explicit instruction and numerous opportunities for practice ensure students’ growth in reading proficiency. Each week’s lesson integrates phonics, grammar, writing, and spelling for a total language arts approach. Instruction for skill development in the five components of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension) is structured to meet individual needs. The skill sets build upon one another as students progress through the grades. Lessons are aligned with the Common Core standards and are thus compatible with the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for ELA and Literacy.
The HMH program provides all elementary classrooms with comprehensive student and teacher resource materials. Students are provided with an anthology and practice books. Teachers receive resource packages that include teacher guides and a variety of materials (including Reader’s Notebooks, Close Readers, Leveled Readers, and trade books) designed to ensure that all students at all levels receive a substantive and challenging program of study in the language arts.
Additional Resources: In addition to the core reading program, teachers in grades 3-5 provide instruction in district- wide reading selections. Teachers in each of the four elementary schools share common materials based on the following three titles: Grade 3 – Stone Fox; Grade 4 – Shiloh; and Grade 5 – The Diving Bell. Teachers also utilize multilevel children’s books that integrate reading with content areas such as science, math, and social studies. At each school, book closets and classroom libraries provide students with trade books used to supplement reading instruction and encourage independent reading.
The Telian Lively Letters approach is used in kindergarten to teach letter and sound recognition. The program utilizes imagery and mnemonics (creative memory tricks) to teach letter-sound associations and sight word acquisition.
Grades K-1: Basic writing skills in content, structure, and mechanics are taught across curriculum areas. Steps and stages of the writing process are introduced as are the use of graphic organizers as a writing tool. Shared writing, journal writing, and letter writing are also used as forms of writing practice. Teachers introduce concepts through research-based methodology such as using published examples, modeling, giving guided practice and allowing for application of writing skills.
Grades K-2: In grades 2-5 writing is taught through The Empowering Writers program in order to meet the 2017 Massachusetts ELA Framework, as well as expectations established by the Hingham Public Schools for expository, opinion, and narrative writing. Students receive explicit instruction in structure, development, voice, and style as these elements relate to the different modes of written expression. Teachers use graphic organizers such as the Expository Pillar and the Narrative Diamond to help students understand the reading/writing connection and to craft essays and stories in response to text, personal experience, or their own powers of imagination. Teachers introduce concepts through research-based methodology such as using published examples, modeling, giving guided practice and allowing for application of writing skills. Students apply their writing practice across all areas of the curriculum with a concentration on research-based projects in the upper grades.
K-5 classroom teachers use a wide variety of best practices in their delivery of the ELA program. Some of these practices include the tiered instruction model, differentiated instruction, flexible grouping, learning centers, and cross-curriculum project-based learning.
Each school has a team of reading specialists, special education teachers, reading tutors, and para-educators working to ensure that each child’s needs are being met in terms of literacy instruction.