Language Arts in the AURA Middle Years Curriculum

Friday, September 22, 20239:33 AM(View: 2554)
Language Arts in the AURA Middle Years Curriculum

By Brent Davis, Eddie Vargas, and Ryan Papazian

AURA Academy follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework of education. You can learn more about the IB program at The IB framework breaks down education into eight subject groups: language and literature, language acquisition, sciences, mathematics, art, physical and health education, and design. Previously, we examined the mathematics curriculum. Let us look at language and literature now.

The ability of humans to assign symbols to concepts and then to combine these symbols into representations of innovative, complete thoughts is one of the distinguishing characteristics of humans. Through writing we are able to keep a record of the thoughts of our ancestors, creating a body of literature. In the last century, people further developed the ability to record sound and visuals, creating film and recordings of live theatre. In order to prepare our students to create and engage critically with language and literature, the Middle Years Program (MYP) develops the skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and presenting. Along with critical and creative thinking skills, these skills develop strong communicators able to develop, evaluate, and appreciate literature in different genres.

Assignments in the IB framework focus on student inquiries focused on core concepts and a stated context for unit. To complete the assignment successfully, students need to collaborate, develop time management, a work ethic, and attention to detail. These assignments are connected to real world situations and are evaluated according to stated rubrics. Technology and differentiation are used to ensure that each student masters 21st century communication skills and receives a personalized mode of instruction.

Personalized learning is also tied to the IB learner profile which describes the type of graduate AURA is preparing. IB graduates are expected to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. Each student and teacher reflects on how he or she can improve in these areas and tailors activities to cultivate areas that need improvement. Thus, the teachers lead by example, and model the self-directed learner skills that create an AURA life-long learner. AURA graduates are fully prepared for college and the challenges of life.

When considering a high school, academic rigor is a key consideration because, to get into good universities, one needs to demonstrate superior academic qualifications. It would be even better if those qualifications were translated into college-level credits saving students (and families) considerable time and money.
AURA Academy values creative thinking as much as critical thinking. Both are needed to prepare students to effectively solve problems in the changing environment of the 21st century. In a recent interview with our gifted visual arts teacher, Kate Lyons Landry (, she noted that:
Education is a transformative journey, and high school students often find themselves at the crossroads of choosing the right academic path.
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Most parents want to send their children to a great high school. But what makes a high school great? A great high school is characterized by a combination of factors that contribute to a positive and enriching educational experience for students.
What is the connection between your sleep and your health? Compute the correlation coefficient for the data in Table A. Which of these two is of more interest to you? Probably the first question.
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AURA is a Candidate School for the IB Middle Years Program and Diploma Programme. This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. These are schools that share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that AURA believes is important for our students. Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme, or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes, visit