English Language Arts
We believe that effective reading and writing are at the core of student achievement. Therefore, English Language Arts instruction is emphasized at Phantom Knight. Students must satisfy five components of our Language Arts requirement each year: Empower3000, Reading, Writing, Daily Journaling, and Daily Advisory.
Empower3000 is a web-based program that is at the heart of the Language Arts curriculum. Each day, every student is sent a current events article. Every student in the school gets the same basic article, but the content is customized to match each child's own reading level. The article comes with a variety of activities to improve students’ comprehension, vocabulary and writing skills. As a student’s reading level improves, Empower will increase the level of difficulty so he/she remains challenged and interested.
Empower3000 is optimally aligned to the Common Core Standards, which are designed to enable all students to graduate from high school “college and career ready.” Empower has been shown to deliver double-to-triple Lexile gains after completing 40 sessions. Phantom Knight students are required to complete 75 sessions each year.
We believe that reading is important not only for college and career success, but as a lifelong leisure activity. To that end, reading is a required component of Language Arts. Before beginning a new book, students submit a reading proposal to ensure the book is appropriate to the student’s Lexile level and age. Students are encouraged to form informal book clubs with one another to discuss what they have read. Upon completion of a book, students demonstrate comprehension by completing an “Independent Reading Reflection” and creating a product.
Although writing is required in other areas of the Phantom Knight academic program, such as in project work, students are required to submit five major essays each year that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. These essays may be:
- Cause and effect
- Compare and contrast
- Sequence of events
For each essay, advisors guide students through the process of prewriting, drafting, revising, and publishing. Throughout the writing process, advisors provide students individualized feedback and instruction on their writing fluency and mechanics.
Daily Journal Writing
Each day, 15-30 minutes is set aside for handwritten journal writing. Research has shown that writing in a journal daily has a number of benefits for students, including building confidence in writing and improving grammar.
Every morning each advisor meets with his/her students for a variety of purposes. Some meetings are devoted to academic skill improvement (e.g. working on the Six Traits of Writing, developing speaking skills, employing various time management/goal-setting tools). Other meetings include “check-in,” discussion of personal issues, selection/analysis of a positive “virtue,” sharing of needs, etc. Regardless of the topic, advisory is an opportunity for students to practice speaking and listening. Therefore, active participation in advisory is an important component of the Language Arts credit.