English - Language Arts
An intensive writing program and a variety of oral activities develop clear writing and oral communication skills through a sequential program from grades K-12.
The Lower School Language Arts curriculum helps students become effective communicators and lifelong learners. The literature-rich program, with its key components of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, is tailored to meet student needs and interests. Students enjoy a wide range of culturally diverse literature. Class activities enhance their understanding of literature, develop their basic skills, and challenge their creativity and critical thinking. At each grade level language arts and other subject areas are integrated into interdisciplinary units. Active learning environments promote eager participation and a positive attitude toward learning. Lessons connect students’ classroom experiences to the real world, helping to prepare them for their future as knowledgeable, responsible, and compassionate citizens.
Students take English throughout the Upper School years. In grade 7, students read a variety of texts, write in different genres, and learn basic principles of grammar, usage and punctuation. Teachers introduce the shared inquiry discussion method to practice close reading of texts. English 8 students study more complex texts, learn to write analytical essays, and take part in a community service project that arises from their reading. English 9 reinforces reading and writing skills but concentrates on oral communication. Students make presentations using speech models ranging from demonstration to persuasion. English 10 introduces students to the analysis of literature in major genres, ranging from the Odyssey and Shakespeare to modern fiction and poetry. English 10 courses are offered for different levels of ability, but the courses cover most of the same material. Juniors and seniors choose from many one-semester English electives, one of which must be British or American Literature. Seniors may enroll in a full-year course in Advanced Placement Literature. The electives system prepares both juniors and seniors for the AP Language and Composition exam.
The Harold Keables Chair, which honors the memory of a legendary ‘Iolani English teacher, brings outstanding writers and educators to work directly with students every year. The Upper School English Department has developed its own writing manual, the Keables Guide to English. Available online and in a print edition, it promotes consistent standards and individualizes communication between teacher and student. Lower and Upper School students publish their writing and art in different outlets, including the grades 7-8 literary magazine Scribes and Scribbles, the grades 9-12 literary magazine Mane O Ke Ola, the yearbook Ka Mo‘olelo O ‘Iolani, and the newspaper Imua ‘Iolani, which has print and online versions. ‘Iolani Writes is the Upper School’s annual writing contest. The Writing Board displays outstanding student writing from the Lower and Upper Schools. Students practice speaking in the Speech and Debate Team and Improv Team. Student actors perform in the ‘Iolani Dramatic Players and Shakepeare Competition. The annual Film Festival presents original student videos.