The vision of the elementary English language arts (ELA) program at ADNOC schools is to provide our primary school students with the foundational skills and understandings needed to achieve college and career readiness and to be a “literate person of the 21st century.” According to the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy (2011), the source of ADNOC schools’ curriculum standards, the achievement of this vision is predicated upon academically rigorous ELA classrooms. To that end, students in the elementary ELA classrooms at ADNOC schools regularly undertake close and critical reading of both informational and literary grade-level texts. They are als​o encouraged to actively engage with these texts in a number of ways that not only foster and demonstrate their understandings of the texts but also develop the “skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language.” Consequently, the expectations placed on students in the elementary ELA classrooms are high, but these high expectations are grounded in the firm belief that students achieve their true potential only if they are truly challenged.

To maintain this challenging learning environment, instruction in the elementary ELA classrooms is standards-based. As was mentioned above, these standards are derived from the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy. Massachusetts is one of the leading states in American education, regularly performing at the top of all educational metrics in the U.S. The Massachusetts Framework is a combination of Massachusetts standards and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). All of the textbooks, supplementary resources, lesson plans, and assessments used in the elementary ELA classrooms are aligned to these standards. In fact, because of this alignment, an ADNOC student in the third grade, for example, could be placed in a Massachusetts third-grade ELA classroom on any given day and be completely prepared to succeed academically.

Along with utilizing a standards-based approach to learning, the elementary ELA teachers endeavor every day to use a variety of instructional methods that maintains active engagement, cooperative learning, and student-centeredness. These methods not only ensure that expectations remain high for all students but also that learning is appropriate and enjoyable for each child. Indeed, through these instructional methods, teachers are able to differentiate their instruction to the particular needs of each child. A few examples of these instructional methods are reading circles, classroom-learning centers, and learning clusters. Little classroom time is spent on lecturing content to the students. Instead, students devote the majority of their time to engaging in activities related to English language arts. These activities allow students to apply the skills they have learned and demonstrate the knowledge they have gained.

The content of the elementary ELA classes consists of reading, writing, speaking and listening. These four categories, however, are not taught separately but rather as complementary components of the daily ELA lessons. Foundational content, such as phonics, spelling, and grade-level vocabulary, are also incorporated into these lessons. In addition, because literacy is an emphasis of the Massachusetts Framework in all subjects, elementary school teachers are afforded opportunities for cross curricular activities in which reading content from other subjects, such as social studies, science, and IT, are used in ELA classes.