Academic Program

The academic program at the Junior School encompasses a world of knowledge in various subjects, including language arts, math, social studies, Spanish, science and music. Through engaging coursework and activities, and with the help of caring teachers, the program instills in children a love of learning.

Curriculum by Subject

Art

The goal of the art department is to help students develop skills and discipline in the arts. We provide exhibit and display opportunities for the appreciation of the visual arts and encourage students to seek new areas of investigation with a variety of mediums. We strive to promote an appreciation for self-expression and an understanding of the arts and the art-making process as an integral part of the human experience.

Grade PK Art

Art in PK is a joyful exploration of media and a consolidated expression of learning in many areas. Children have daily access to art materials. Additionally, students have an art workshop period and an art lesson with the art teacher each week. We offer rich experiences in drawing, painting, printing, sculpting, ceramics and textiles.

Skill-building activities:

  • Gaining exposure to a variety of materials and mediums
  • Learning basic art concepts: color, line, shape, texture
  • Learning about famous artists and their work

Grades K-2 Art

Young students are introduced to a variety of materials and media to explore during their early years in the art studio, where they build their vocabulary and skills regarding the arts. Students are also introduced to famous artists and the importance and influence of their work. The course enables young children to develop their self-expression, confidence and appreciation of the visual arts.

Skill-building activities:

  • Experimentation through the daily use of sketchbooks
  • Learning brush techniques for tempera and watercolor paints
  • Developing clay fundamentals using hands, coils, tools and slab methods
  • Exploring materials such as oil and chalk pastels
  • Learning about tints, shades and the color wheel
  • Developing cutting, tearing and gluing skills
  • Practicing observational drawing skills
  • Learning safety and clean up procedures in the art studio

Grades 3-5 Art

Students explore the elements of art including form, line, shape, color, texture, space and value. They develop and understand the principles of emphasis, balance, variety, movement, proportion and unity. A wide variety of techniques are explored: drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, multimedia and sculpture. Students become familiar with different artists and different cultural artistic traditions, while cross-curricular lessons bring together science, Spanish, social studies and language arts. Students display their work in the school, and their art is used at school assemblies.

Skill-building activities:

  • Experimentation is encouraged through the daily use of sketchbooks, where students are able to work freely without fitting into the constraints of a particular assignment
  • Practicing printmaking: nature prints, mono prints and multiple prints
  • Drawing with pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, markers and chalk
  • Practicing skills in ceramics, such as slipping, scoring, and making coil pots and pinch pots
  • Building painting skills in watercolor, tempera and wax resist
  • Exploring multimedia projects by creating found-object sculptures and three-dimensional work that incorporates ceramics and metal findings
  • Understanding and using vocabulary including value, tint, shade, tondo, symmetrical
  • Learning how to care for art materials; knowing their varied types and uses

Learn more about the Middle School and Senior School art curriculum.

Computer

The computer curriculum helps students to become competent technology users by integrating projects with other coursework. Students use a variety of software, multimedia resources and peripherals to support personal productivity, as well as individual and collaborative writing and publishing activities. Students use technology to gather information, communicate and become part of a global community. Technology-related ethical and safety issues are emphasized, and students learn the importance of ergonomic issues such as correct posture and proper keyboarding skills.

The program promotes future-ready learning with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students and encourages students to be:

  • empowered learners
  • digital citizens
  • knowledge constructors
  • innovative designers
  • computational thinkers
  • creative communitcators
  • global collabortators

    Grade PK Computer

    Young children need concrete, multi-sensory experiences, rather than virtual ones. Because of that need, the role of technology is a small but carefully considered and important one: Media and technology are tools for communication and learning. Children explore curriculum-related interactive games and websites using a computer and projector. iPads are also used frequently.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learning basic procedures: mouse skills, click and drag skills, printing
    • Using games and websites to learn about several subjects and topics:
      • Science: spiders, dinosaurs, reptiles
      • Health: hand-washing, fire safety, dental care
      • Math: geometric shapes, sorting and classification, problem solving, patterns
      • Language Arts: pre-reading

    Grades K-2 Computer

    K-2 students learn basic procedures and skills that help them become proficient technology users. A variety of software programs, as well as in-depth projects, enhance learning across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves to their fullest potential. These experiences lay a foundation for future, more advanced ventures.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Recognizing and using keyboards, mice and other input devices
    • Demonstrating basic operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Handling equipment and materials responsibly
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Writing, illustrating and communicating ideas and stories using digital tools and media-rich resources
    • Safely navigating developmentally appropriate websites
    • Connect globally with learners through email, blogging and other electronic means
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature

    Grades 3-5 Computer

    The computer program in the intermediate grades is integrated with classroom and specialty content areas throughout the curriculum. Lessons and projects enable students to build on experiences and skills that were introduced in the primary grades. The program seeks to provide opportunities for students to become 21st century, lifelong learners as they gain and apply real-world skills.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Applying safe and ethical strategies when using technology to be a responsible digital citizen
    • Learning and applying ergonomic strategies to prevent injury
    • Learning proper finger placement for effective keyboarding skills
    • Mastering operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Using advanced drawing features and techniques to create computer-generated illustrations
    • Connecting globally and strengthening geographical skills through Mystery Skyping and other communication projects
    • Producing word processing documents and multimedia presentations
    • Using secure social media appropriately to effectively communicate
    • Evaluating websites and comparing search engines
    • Creating student-produced websites
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature
    • Digital cameras

    Learn more about the Middle School and Senior School computer science curriculum.

    Language Arts

    Balanced Literacy

    Balanced Literacy is a comprehensive program of language arts acquisition. It contains all of the components necessary for students to master written and oral communication. Areas of focus include communication, grammar, handwriting, spelling, writing and reading. Purposeful, frequent assessments ensure teachers are constantly aware of students' individual needs and progress.

    Balanced Literacy begins with creating a genuine appreciation for good literature. It includes teaching phonics, grammar skills, reading and comprehension strategies, and writing forms and skills. Direct and indirect reading instruction, shared reading and independent reading experiences are provided. As students progress through the grades, literal comprehension skills are solidified, and the focus expands to making inferences, drawing conclusions, analyzing, evaluating and summarizing. Students read literature from many cultures and gain insight into their own experiences as well as the lives of others.

    Writing Workshop

    All Junior School students are published writers as they cycle through the Writing Workshop program. Students work on collecting ideas in a writer’s notebook, drafting stories, revising those stories, editing drafts and finally publishing a piece. With an hour of writing time every day, our young authors learn to write in three genres – narrative, informational and opinion – throughout the year. Many of our teachers at the Junior School trained at the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University’s Teachers College with acclaimed educator Lucy Calkins.

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    Grade PK Language Arts

    The literacy goals in PK focus on fostering the love of language and the development of excellent communication skills. Books are an integral part of the classroom. Each day, teachers read aloud from a wide variety of quality literature relating to curricular topics. Children are given frequent opportunities for writing and drawing as expressions of concepts or experiences. Proper pencil grip, hand strengthening and handwriting at a very basic level are also emphasized.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Conversing in a group setting
    • Gaining phonemic awareness through Wilson Fundations and children’s literature
    • Learning to recognize letters and sounds and begin handwriting using Handwriting Without Tears
    • Listening to a variety of literary genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction
    • Participating in story dramatizations
    • Expressing through drawing, story dictation, emergent writing
    • Gaining comprehension skills in retelling, comparing and contrasting, and sequencing
    • Learning about conventions of print

    Grade K Language Arts

    The language arts program in kindergarten strives to meet individual needs through whole group, small group and individual instruction. We use the Fundations Phonics program, which emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, fluency, handwriting and spelling. Through a Writing Workshop approach, children learn the basics of the writing process. Students are introduced to a variety of genres to enhance the writing experience. They use both pictures and words to express their thoughts and ideas in written form. Throughout the year, they work on building their stamina, volume and independence when writing. Students also edit, revise, publish and celebrate their writing with their peers.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Read alouds
    • Guided reading
    • Developing phonemic awareness and developmental spelling through phonics instruction
    • Learning basic sight word vocabulary
    • Using picture and context clues when reading
    • Building comprehension skills
    • Experiencing public speaking and listening
    • Practicing handwriting skills
    • Expressing ideas through drawing, writing and verbal expression

    Resources include:

    • Fundations
    • Lucy Calkin's Units of Study
    • Leveled books
    • Teacher-created materials

    Grade 1 Language Arts

    The language arts program in first grade has a variety of components to meet the wide range of abilities at this level. Reading, handwriting, speaking, listening, spelling, writing and grammar are ongoing skills emphasized daily. Children and literature are the core of this program. Writers’ Workshop is a continuation of the writing program taught at all grade levels where the process of drafting, editing and revising is the focus.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Practicing home-reading, reading aloud by both student and teacher, and small group instruction
    • Learning the basics of grammar (alphabetical order, punctuation, parts of speech, capitalization)
    • Developing reading comprehension (predictions, sequencing, recall, characterization, compare/contrast, and story elements)
    • Continuing vocabulary development
    • Creating oral and written presentations
    • Locating, organizing, and recording information
    • Teachers College Reading & Writing Project
    • Spelling workshop
    • Phonemic awareness
    • Rhyme/word play
    • Guided reading
    • Developing decoding strategies
    • Improving fluency

    Resources include:

    • Fundations
    • Teachers College Reading & Writing Project
    • Leveled books
    • Teacher created materials
    • Technology tools

    Grade 2 Language Arts

    The second grade curriculum strives to develop and strengthen students’ reading, writing and spelling skills. Students work in small groups, reading appropriately leveled texts while developing their decoding and comprehension skills. Teachers model the meta-cognitive process of reading during read aloud, allowing students to observe and put to practice effective reading strategies. Second graders write daily during the Writing Workshop and confer with teachers and peers throughout the writing process. Spelling and handwriting are taught through direct and systematic instruction to encourage students to move toward conventional spelling and cursive writing.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Reading, comprehending and interpreting literature
    • Acquiring a reading vocabulary
    • Reading aloud accurately and fluently
    • Using electronic media for research
    • Writing narrative pieces consisting of a series of related sentences with a central idea
    • Including a beginning, middle and end when writing narratives
    • Writing organized non-fiction pieces using a variety of non-fiction text features
    • Conferencing with others to improve student writing
    • Prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing
    • Using initial and proper noun capitalization
    • Using punctuation appropriately

    Grade 3 Language Arts

    The third grade language arts program includes Reading and Writing Workshop, Words Their Way, Grammar Workshop.

    The Workshop model follows a predictable pattern, which includes a well-focused and condensed mini-lesson, a larger span of time devoted to independent writing and reading, conferencing with the teacher and students gathering to share. In Writing Workshop, students generate ideas and determine topics that interest them for narrative, informational, opinion and fairy tale pieces. Along the way, they receive guidance from the teacher, work through the process with one another and proudly share their published work. During Reading Workshop, they work on skills such as inferring about characters and other story elements, envisioning and predicting, retelling, summarizing and analyzing author’s craft.

    Words Their Way teaches students to study word patterns through weekly word sorts. Students learn to compare and contrast word features in each category, which helps to increase both spelling and vocabulary.

    Grammar Workshop offers explicit grammar instruction, which helps students make appropriate choices about grammar, usage and mechanics.

    Skill Building Activities:

    • Inferring about characters and other story elements
    • Envisioning and predicting
    • Retelling, summarizing the text
    • Analyzing author’s craft
    • Works sorts and word work
    • Word work
    • Writing in each unit with attention to organization, leads, endings, transitions, elaboration and craft

    Resources include:

    • Reading Units of Study: Building a Reading Life, Character Studies, and Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures by Lucy Calkins
    • Writing Units of Study: Narrative, Opinion, Informational, and Fairy Tale Adaptations by Lucy Calkins

    • A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop Intermediate Grades by Lucy Calkins
    • A Guide to the Common Core Reading Workshop Intermediate Grades by Lucy Calkins
    • A Guide to the Reading Workshop Grades 3–5 by Lucy Calkins
    • The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo
    • The Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo
    • Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary and Spelling Instruction by Donald R. Bear, Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, Francine Johnston
    • Sadlier Grammar Workshop Level Green by Beverly Ann Chin, Ph.D.

    Grade 4 Language Arts

    In Reading Workshop, students are explicitly taught the skills and strategies of proficient reading and to also think, talk and write about reading on a more substantially complex level. Reading strategies are modeled through mini-lessons which students can practice applying to the book they are reading or to a mentor text. Students focus on interpreting characters and character traits while following a story arc progression that includes the setting, problem, rising action, climax and solution. There is also a focus on reading nonfiction text, where students learn how to find main ideas and interpret the use of various text features included by the author. We also read stories from Egyptian and Greek mythology, and discuss the texts together as a class. Reading strategies are revisited and discussed during one-to-one conferences. In reader’s notebooks, students respond to open-ended questions related to their independent reading/mentor text, which gives them an opportunity to write about their thinking. Additionally, emphasis is placed on students learning to choose books they can read with comprehension and fluency, and to take responsibility for keeping track of the reading they do every day.

    In Writing Workshop, students participate in teacher led mini-lessons focusing on specific writing strategies followed by student independent writing and partner/group sharing. Writers think about, draft, revise, edit, publish and celebrate their writing. Students also study mentor texts for examples of great writing. Writing units taught during the year include personal narrative stories, personal persuasive essays, realistic fiction stories and informational writing. Writing Workshop is a continuation of the writing program taught at all grade levels. Grammar, spelling, writing mechanics and vocabulary are included daily.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Reading, comprehending, evaluating and discussing chapter books from a wide variety of genres
    • Partner reading
    • Reading aloud fluently and with good expression
    • Spelling with a high degree of accuracy
    • Drafting, rewriting, and publishing their own writing using complete sentences and strong imagery
    • Using capital letters, periods, commas, question marks, apostrophes, and quotation marks appropriately

    Resources include:

    • Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
    • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynold Naylor
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Sadlier & Oxford Grammar Workshop Grade 4 Level Orange
    • Words Their Way

    Grade 5 Language Arts

    Reading and Writing Workshops are the backbone of the fifth grade language arts curriculum, where students are explicitly taught strategies and skills for proficient reading and writing. Reading and Writing Workshops are structured in similar, predictable ways. After daily, teacher-led, mini-lessons that focus on one or more specific reading and writing skills or strategies, students independently read and write. In reading, students read a variety of genres including: realistic fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, informational, biography and poetry. During Reading Workshop, they work on skills like visualization, prediction and inference with fictional texts, and they learn how to determine importance, interpret and synthesize expository texts. In Writing Workshop, the students focus first on narrative writing, before moving on to information writing, argument writing and literary essays. Students spend their writing classes generating topics, drafting, revising, editing, publishing and celebrating their work. Grammar, spelling and vocabulary lessons are at times introduced explicitly but more often, embedded into workshop sessions.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Reading and writing with stamina
    • Reading with fluency
    • Monitoring for sense
    • Activating prior knowledge
    • Predicting
    • Inferring
    • Growing theories about characters
    • Connecting with text
    • Recognizing text structures
    • Synthesizing information
    • Summarizing
    • Interpreting
    • Reading and writing critically
    • Writing narrative, opinion and informational pieces with attention to organization, leads, endings, transitions, elaboration and craft

    Resources include:

    • Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing by Lucy Calkins
    • Units of Study for Teaching Reading – A Workshop Curriculum by Lucy Calkins
    • Reading Nonfiction Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kyleen Beers and Robert Probst
    • Notice and Note Signposts for Fiction by Kyleen Beers and Robert Probst
    • Sadlier Grammar Workshop Level Blue
    • Words Their Way Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction

    Learn about the Middle School and Senior School English curriculum.

    Library

    The library is the heart of the Junior School, where a love of learning is promoted and reinforced through regularly scheduled library classes and special literary events. It is also a hub of learning as children develop the skills necessary to identify, locate, evaluate and use information. The library provides opportunities for individual pursuit of knowledge and literature, as well as time for learning and literary partnerships and collaborative work.

    Grade PK Library

    Library time for our youngest students supports the early literacy skills necessary for finding and using books for pleasure. The PK year provides an orientation to library expectations and enjoyment. Library visits alternate between story times with the librarian and book borrowing times facilitated by fourth grade buddies. Story times are used to model fluency, show pre-reading strategies for enjoying picture books and orient children to the library areas. Borrowed books circulate into the classroom for read-aloud stories and rest-time reading.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Becoming oriented to the library and borrowing procedures
    • Using pre-reading strategies with picture books and illustrated non-fiction
    • Increasing listening skills and literature appreciation through exposure to folk tales, picture books, library-related songs, finger plays and games
    • Learning to use and care for books
    • Participate appropriately through turn taking, talking about books and choral reading

    Grades K-2 Library

    The library reaffirms the importance of books and reading in the lives of K-2 students. The library nourishes the emergent reader through an extensive collection of picture books, early readers, developmentally appropriate non-fiction, and beginning chapter and series fiction. Weekly story time and activities enrich students’ knowledge of literature and libraries through genre and author studies. Literacy skills are supported through instruction and modeling of book selection and reading strategies. The annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit provide additional exciting literary experiences.

    By learning the library layout and book organization and correlating call numbers to book location, students become more independent in finding books that match their interest and ability. Students are introduced to literacy elements and author craft through lessons on fiction. Non-fiction lessons help students develop a groundwork for beginning research skills.

    Kindergarten students become adept users of the library through enriching, mentoring partnerships with their third grade buddies. First and second grade students become more independent in their use of the library and its resources.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Following library rules, routines and procedures
    • Listening to others and contributing in a meaningful manner to share knowledge
    • Appreciating literature and other creative expression through reader's theatre, reading aloud, book talks and multimedia formats
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests during library borrowing time while becoming more independent in the identification and location of library materials
    • Beginning to identify and locate books and information by type, topic and author
    • Using the organizational features of books and other resources, and beginning to use the automated catalog and elementary databases to access information efficiently
    • Using emerging technologies within literature or research-based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: picture books, easy readers, chapter fiction, award books, folk and fairy tales, and easy Dewey Decimal non-fiction
    • Databases: Encyclopedia Britannica Elementary and PebbleGo
    • Multimedia: book extension websites and teacher-created online games
    • Library-related: games, puzzles, activities and pre-selected websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grades 3-5 Library

    The library program’s priority is to instill a love of literature through its curriculum and special events. Library classes strive to support the language arts program through corresponding lessons on literary elements, author's craft, genre study, reading strategies and non-fiction use. An important part of this support are the collaborative classes with the classroom teacher for individualized conferencing with student readers. Lessons include reading aloud, book talks to promote new titles, and the modeling and practice of strategies for new book selection, fiction reading and non-fiction research. Borrowing time provides a balance of independent library use and one-on-one reader advising. Special events include the annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit, as well as opportunities for extracurricular involvement in our student book club.

    Designed to equip students with 21st century information-seeking skills, the library curriculum helps students to access, evaluate, synthesize and use information to generate knowledge. Knowledge gained is shared through class discussion, the writing process, visual and media arts, and other emerging technologies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Appreciating a wide range of literature presented through library programming
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests
    • Use of weekly reading logs for reflections on reading habits
    • Identify and utilize important literary signposts to increase comprehension and enable a deeper appreciation for the author's craft
    • Approaching non-fiction reading through the use of a questioning stance, awareness of non-fiction features and the ability to re-phrase acquired knowledge
    • Participating as a positive member of our learning community through respectful discussions and collaborations
    • Gaining greater independence in using the library's organization and using this knowledge to locate and access materials
    • Navigating the library catalog, databases, appropriate search engines and assigned websites
    • Locating, gathering and interpreting information from various sources; demonstrating understanding through research processes or presentations
    • Using appropriate social media for promotion of books and authors
    • Using emerging technology for literature and research based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: more than 12,000 volumes
    • Library resource webpage: online catalog, subscription databases including Grolier Online, access to Carnegie Library system and its databases
    • Multimedia: Biblionasium, pre-selected websites, teacher-created online games, audio books, library related websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Learn about SSA's libraries.

    Math

    The Junior School uses the Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach curriculum published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Based on teaching and learning strategies used in Singapore, the Math in Focus series emphasizes depth within mathematical thinking. Each year’s scope and sequence focuses upon mastery of concepts as well as problem solving and critical thinking. Teachers use concrete to visual to abstract development process leading students to a solid conceptual understanding. Using number bonds and mental math strategies, students understand the relationship of numerical values. Using math stories and model drawing, students associate visuals with numbers and problem resolution.

    Through extensive practice, hands-on work in pairs and small groups, communication and reflection and challenging problems, the series builds real-world problem solvers. The students attain the appropriate background to understand how effective math strategies work and to realize what makes sense in math. Learn more about Singapore Math.

    Grade PK Math

    The PK mathematics curriculum seeks to provide children with a strong base of concrete, hands-on, real-life experiences to build an understanding of a wide range of abstract concepts. Children have daily access to instructional materials including math games, puzzles, measurement tools and collections of materials for sorting and counting.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Gaining number sense, one-to-one correspondence and number stories
    • Learning about non-standard units for weight and length
    • Practicing sorting and classification
    • Learning about basic graphing, patterning, problem solving and sequencing
    • Reviewing geometry and spatial relations in shapes and puzzles

    Grade K Math

    Math in Focus offers a strategic, articulated sequence of topics that are developed in depth to allow true mastery. Children are given opportunities to investigate, discover, explore and apply their own solutions to mathematical problems. Students work to develop number sense skills moving from the concrete to the pictoral to the abstract. In kindergarten, Math in Focus will:

    • Introduce children to think mathematically about problems and their solutions
    • Encourage students to persevere in solving mathematical problems
    • Address fewer topics in greater depth
    • Develop the foundation for numbers and operation
    • Develop concepts and skills in tandem
    • Use clear and engaging visuals that present concepts and model drawings
    • Use concrete and pictorial representations
    • Emphasize multi-step and non-routine problem solving

    Grade 1 Math

    The first grade mathematics program follows the Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach, which presents fewer topics at each grade level, but they are taught to mastery with deep understanding. The program is extremely visual and hands-on. Lessons flow from a model of concrete examples, to pictorial and then abstract. A strong emphasis is placed on a unified math vocabulary as well as critical thinking skills. Children are encouraged to use their math skills to deconstruct complex problems. First graders focus on:

    • Building problem solving skills and strategies
    • Counting, comparing and writing numbers to 50
    • Adding and subtracting one and two-digit numbers using several strategies
    • Classifying and sorting shapes and patterns
    • Using calendars, time and money
    • Understanding place value to 100s
    • Number relationships
    • Identifying and manipulating number bonds
    • Technology tools

    Grade 2 Math

    The second grade mathematics program uses Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach. Students learn through a variety of games and hands-on activities. A strong emphasis is placed on the concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract progress to solve and master problems.

    Second graders focus on:

    • Representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
    • Adding and subtracting three-digit numbers with and without regrouping
    • Working with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication and division
    • Understanding place value and properties of operations for addition and subtraction
    • Interpreting and solving real world problems using bar models
    • Telling time to five minutes and elapsed time in hour hour and hour intervals

    Grade 3 Math

    In third grade, Math in Focus emphasizes concept and skill development through hands-on, manipulative-based instruction and practice. Additionally, there is a focus on problem solving, skill consolidation and early preparation for algebra.

    • Place value to 10,000
    • Addition and subtraction facts
    • Multiplication and division facts from 0-12
    • Mental math
    • Geometry concepts
    • Introduction to fractions
    • Introduction to decimals
    • Model drawing
    • Time and elapsed time
    • Real world problems
    • Bar model drawing with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

    Grade 4 Math

    The primary goal of the Math in Focus curriculum is to enable students to become strategic mathematical problem solvers, to persevere in solving math problems, and to develop a deep understanding of math concepts to allow for mastery. The program uses a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract sequence to present concepts and model solutions. First, students learn concepts and skills through the use of manipulatives and teacher-directed lessons. Next, they are able to consolidate concepts and skills through the use of model drawings and frequent practice, activities and written responses to math problems. Finally, students apply concepts and skills with extensive problem-solving practice and challenges. The program uses bar model drawings to help students solve routine and non-routine problems.

    The Fourth Grade Financial Literacy Program helps students to learn financial responsibility and teaches real-life money lessons. They are “paid” a salary every week, with which they must pay for expenses such as taxes, equipment rental, health insurance and visits to the school nurse. Students also can earn or be charged additional monies based on their behavior choices. Twice a year, students participate in a Marketplace event, where they design and make a product to sell.

    Fourth graders will focus on:

    • Place value of whole numbers
    • Estimation and number theory
    • Whole number multiplication and division
    • Using tables, graphs and analyzing data
    • Fractions and mixed numbers
    • Decimals
    • Adding and subtracting with fractions and decimals
    • Understanding relationships between fractions and decimals
    • Studying angles and line segments through the use of real world problems using basic operations
    • Squares and rectangles
    • Area and perimeter
    • Building problem-solving skills and strategies

    Grade 5 Math

    The fifth grade Math in Focus program centers upon the continued building of a solid mathematical foundation. Students learn concepts through visual lessons, practice skills through instruction and activities, and apply knowledge through extensive problem solving opportunities. The course focuses on:

    • Comparing and ordering, and rounding whole numbers into the millions
    • Simplifying number expressions through patterns, estimation and order of operations
    • Rewriting fractions to enable addition and subtraction
    • Applying multiplication and division to whole numbers, fractions and mixed numbers
    • Evaluating relationships among fractions and decimals
    • Using concepts related to whole numbers to solve problems with decimals
    • Exploring the use of letters as variables in expressions and inequalities
    • Solving real world problems using all simple operations as well as algebraic expressions

    Resources include:

    • Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish

    Learn about the Middle School and Senior School math curriculum.

    Music

    In the music program, children learn to understand, participate in and enjoy the art of music as a lifelong activity. They develop skills in memory, discovery, self-expression, observation, concentration and risk-taking. Students experience appropriate musical opportunities that correspond with the various stages of their musical growth. All PK-5 students have general music classes, while grades 2-5 also have instrumental music classes.

    Grade PK Music

    Music is a daily feature in PK. Children learn a large repertoire of songs during the year related to topics of study. Music classes provide opportunities to explore the voice, steady beat, rhythm instruments, movement and cultural traditions.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing daily for a variety of purposes
    • Recognizing four voices: talking, singing, whispering and calling
    • Learning beat and rhythm through chants, rhymes and body percussion
    • Playing a variety of classroom instruments
    • Using creative movement, both locomotor and non-locomotor
    • Learning about classroom and orchestra instruments
    • Reinforcing the letter of the week through songs, poems and stories

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades K-1 Music

    The earliest musical experiences at the Junior School begin with "ears before eyes." Through speech patterns, chants, tone matching, singing games, age-appropriate repertoire and movement, students learn beat competency, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, pitch and how to read basic musical notation.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing a varied repertoire using accurate pitch and rhythm with good tone quality
    • Distinguishing beat and rhythm; singing while keeping a beat on pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, by using body percussion or by walking, marching or skipping while singing
    • Learning a variety of musical movement exercises, dances and creative movement to learn about form, beat, rhythm and cultures
    • Reading iconic notation, simple notation and learning to use appropriate musical terms
    • Creating and notating unique compositions
    • Gaining listening skills through recordings that have clear changes in tempo, dynamics, pitch, mood and similar/dissimilar sections
    • Listening to, reacting to, moving to and playing along with music to learn about well-known composers in musical history
    • Beginning to accompany simple songs, poems and chants on the Off instruments

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades 2-3 Music

    The second and third grade music programs present a large repertoire of folk songs, singing games and composed songs with an increase in vocal range for students. Continued emphasis is placed on singing with good tone quality and rhythmic accuracy when singing solos or in a choral ensemble. Students learn to read notation with rhythmic and melodic patterns. Two-, three- and four-part canons are introduced in third grade.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Sight-singing with notation for simple melodies and simple rhythms
    • Learning beat competency through movement and dance
    • Learning to play ostinato patterns and continuing to expand upon their mallet technique on our Orff instruments while singing
    • Continuing to build visual and aural recognition of notes and rests
    • Recognizing musical forms such as A-B-A and rondo in recordings, songs, dances and Orff arrangements
    • Gaining musical terminology for tempo and dynamics

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grade 2 Instrumental Music

    Second grade students visit the instrumental music room once per seven-day cycle. They study the four families of musical instruments and focus on the instruments of the symphony orchestra. Students learn that how the sound is produced determines which family and instrument is from, not the material the instrument is made of. Students listen to music and describe how it makes them feel through dance, movement and drawing. They begin learning the lines and spaces of the treble clef. The highlight of the school year is attending a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Schooltime Concert at Heinz Hall.

    Grade 3 Instrumental Music

    In this introductory course with the soprano recorder, students learn to play a wind instrument. Correct embouchure, fingerings and technique are stressed. Students learn to read music notation, rhythms, music terminology and symbols. This class meets twice in a seven day cycle, and students play the recorder at many of our school performances.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learn and develop skills in music notation
    • Learn to play with proper technique and posture
    • Learn fingerings and begin to expand their playing range
    • Play in an ensemble setting
    • Learn to follow the gestures of a conductor
    • Prepare special pieces to perform

    Resources include:

    • Recorder Karate, Plank Road Publishing
    • Yamaha Recorder Method, Alfred Publishing
    • Various seasonal and popluar selections

    Grades 4-5 Music

    In grades four and five, the music program continues to use the Orff-Schulwerk approach: movement, rhythm, speech and improvisation are sewn into the fabric of the students' experiences. Students meet twice each cycle to learn more challenging techniques and ostinatos on the barred percussion instruments. Good vocal production and learning to sing in parts are also stressed. This course emphasizes hands-on participation and includes a wide variety of musical experiences.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing with good vocal production in a classroom or choir setting using a varied repertoire
    • Playing classroom instruments with proper technique with an emphasis on rhythms and steady tempo
    • Reading standard music notation and developing an understanding of music symbols and terminology
    • Listening with an emphasis on form, music terminology and composers
    • Learning what is involved in preparing pieces for public performance, both sung and played
    • Moving to music by learning organized folk dances, sword dances, creative movement pieces and creative dances

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades 4-5 Instrumental Music

    Instrumental music is an integral part of the Junior School experience and builds on music-making skills introduced in grades PK-3. Students choose a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument to study in fourth and fifth grade and begin the learning process with private lessons. Young musicians are grouped into small ensembles for instruction and later, they will also have large group rehearsals with their entire homeroom. Visiting professional musicians give demonstrations and performances for the students. Both fourth and fifth grade ensembles perform several times during the school year. Fifth graders perform their community service by playing seasonal music for senior citizens during the winter holiday season.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Technique (proper embouchure formation, correct hand position and fingering, posture, breath control)
    • Making music with others
    • Following the conductor (stick or hand gestures)
    • Learning rehearsal and performance ettiquette
    • Providing proper care, handling and maintenance to a new musical instrument
    • Fluently reading music notation, rhythms, music markings (dynamics, tempo, articulation)
    • Learning to play in three different key signatures and three time signatures
    • Learning various musical styles

    Resources include:

    • Yamaha Band Student Volume I
    • Yamaha Band Ensembles Volume I & II
    • Yamaha Advantage Volume I
    • Accent on Ensembles, Alfred Publishing
    • Standard of Excellence Festival Ensembles, Kjos Music Publishing
    • Arranged music for young band - various publishers (Alfred, Queenwood, Musicians Publications, C.L. Barnhouse, Belwin, Hal Leonard, Carl Fischer, FJH Music Co.)

    Learn more about the Middle School and Senior School music curriculum.

    Physical Education

    At the Junior School, we believe that physical education contributes to academic goals by enhancing self-direction, self-esteem and cooperative behavior. The physical education program fosters the development of cognitive and motor skill development within the framework of human movement. It is designed to allow students to gain a liking for physical activity while working to improve skills. All students are encouraged to work to the best of their ability. The PE program regularly makes use of the trails in Frick Park, which is adjacent to campus.

    The physical education program helps students to:

    • Develop skills in cooperative behavior, sportsmanship and leadership
    • Develop or improve motor and sports skills
    • Improve fitness levels while developing an understanding of the importance of fitness in daily, healthy living

    Grade PK Physical Education

    The physical education program in PK introduces students to a variety of activities geared towards developing and/or improving gross motor skills through practice and games. Class includes a warm-up, skill practice or game and free play time.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Practice proper warm-up and stretching
    • Develop spatial awareness
    • Practice activities to develop and/or improve hand/eye coordination
    • Play tag games, relay races and other games which teach fair play and sportsmanship
    • Practice various types of movements such as running, skipping and hopping
    • Practice basic sports skills such as rolling and kicking a ball, throwing and catching beanbags
    • Introduction to basic tumbling, balance and yoga skills
    • Hikes in Frick Park

    Grades K-2 Physical Education

    The physical education program grades K-2 strengthens children’s physical fitness and well-being while teaching a variety of motor skills. We emphasize fitness, sportsmanship, cooperation and leadership, and promote an understanding of physical education as a lifelong process that should be an enjoyable and satisfying experience for each child. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Proper warm-up and conditioning
    • Building spatial awareness
    • Playing cooperative games
    • Exploring social dances
    • Practicing gymnastics, balancing, tumbling, body awareness and yoga positions
    • Fun games and fitness activities to develop a love for physical activity
    • Hikes and trail running in Frick Park

    Grades 3-5 Physical Education

    The physical education curriculum in grades 3-5 engages students in a program that consists of developing fitness, sports skills and social development. Both team and lifetime sports are taught through drills and lead-up games. The PE program enables students to play a variety of sports and games where they put into play the skills they have practiced with an emphasis on developing sportsmanship, leadership and team-building. Understanding the importance of fitness for healthy living is a key component of the PE program. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Develop cardiovascular fitness through daily warm-up, trail running and hikes in Frick Park
    • Develop muscular strength and muscle mobility through fitness activities
    • Gymnastic skills and yoga
    • Explore social dances
    • Develop a variety of sports skills through practice and developmental games
    • Play a variety of games to practice cooperation, have fun and develop sportsmanship
    • Body and spatial awareness exercises

    Learn more about the Middle School PE curriculum.

    Science

    Children are naturally curious. The Junior School science program encourages experimentation in a safe and nurturing environment. Through a variety of lab activities, outdoor experiences, field trips and visits from professionals, children are exposed to science in an active and engaging manner. Our goal is to, not only give students a strong science background, but impart a love of science.

    Junior School students learn in a newly renovated suite of science labs, including early and upper elementary labs, an ecosystem lab, a science idea lab, and a robotics and maker space.

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    Grade PK Science

    Science topics, with emphasis on direct, multi-sensory experiences and observations, provide many of our PK class themes throughout the year. Children are naturally curious about the world around them, and our science program seeks to build upon that innate wonder. Learning occurs spontaneously during play and intentionally during lessons in our science center, in our learning gardens, on regular field trips and even in lessons from our class pets.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Observing, describing and classifying
    • Learning respect for life: animals, plants, people
    • Understanding seasonal changes, including those in gardening and in animals’ life cycles

    Grades K-2 Science

    Science in the primary grades is full of exploration utilizing a hands-on approach. Experiments, lab work, group work, research and field trips give students the opportunity to appreciate, enjoy and engage in meaningful science.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Make and record observations
    • Observe and classify
    • Recording information
    • Gaining essential research skills
    • Analyze and problem-solve
    • Work collabortively

    Resources include:

    • Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, S. Libow Martinez and G. Stager
    • The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science, R. Jaffe and G. Appel

    Grades 3-5 Science

    Common themes in grades 3-5 focus on developing an understanding and application of basic science concepts. The International Standard of Measurement is used in all instances of data acquisition and presentation. Through prediction, observation and experimentation, students develop the ability to draw conclusions and make inferences from data sets.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learning to use the metric system and convert between units
    • Making scientific observations in journal entries and scientific drawings
    • Designing a set of procedures to test a hypothesis
    • Communicating in a team to ensure the attainment of a common goal
    • Making inferences based on data collected during an experiment
    • Analyzing data for inconsistencies
    • Apply various coding languages to writing programs for robotics and 3-D printing

    Learn more about the Middle School and Senior School science curriculum.

    Social Studies

    We live in a global society, and the Junior School social studies program develops children’s understanding and discovery of the world around them. From PK-5, the curriculum explores a variety of communities, beginning with the study of the immediate family and continuing with the exploration of a variety of rural and urban communities, as well as modern and ancient civilizations.

    Through thematic units that include history, geography, cultural awareness, government, economics and current events, students investigate the richness and variety of the diverse cultures of our world. All seven continents are introduced between PK and grade 5. Both literature and non-fiction materials, play an integral part in each unit, helping to bring history to life for our students.

    Grade PK Social Studies

    Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children, students begin an interdisciplinary exploration of self, families and the direct experiences of their own lives. From this familiar realm, children can reach out and explore each other’s feelings, families and experiences. They begin to use these explorations, documentation and hands-on experiences to discover the community beyond their small circle.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Discussing the individual child, family and membership in a school community
    • Learning about basic feelings and emotions
    • Exploring and learning about various cultures, holidays and traditions to foster an appreciation of diversity, both in the school community and beyond.
    • Exploring the world around us through units such as creepy crawlers, outer space, under the sea, life cycles, etc.

    Grade K Social Studies

    The kindergarten social studies program is a study of community, which focuses on self, family, classroom, school and the world around us. A multicultural approach aides children in becoming empathetic and accepting towards all members of society.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Community study: understanding self, family, classroom and school community
    • Examine the role we share in living The Shady Side Way, learning to be responsible, honest, respectful, kind and safe
    • Begin to develop an appreciation of one's self, family and culture
    • Begin to develop an appreciation of classmates and their cultures and diversity
    • Learn about and participate in community service projects
    • Study of farms and where we derive our food
    • Introduction to famous inventors and inventions
    • Problem solve to create our own invention
    • Introduction to famous artists and their techniques
    • Study of camping, nature and the outdoors
    • Examine the role we all share in protecting our natural environment

    Resources include:

    • A variety of books, videos, classroom visitors and online resources
    • Second Step character education
    • Field Trips to the farm, the zoo and Phipps Conservatory
    • Art show celebration
    • Nature hikes

    Grade 1 Social Studies

    In first grade social studies, students learn the importance of community, friendship and patriotism. Through an intense look at the continent of North America, students are introduced to geography and beginning map skills. Famous people in American history, as well as American symbols, are also explored. By following Shady Side Academy’s Guiding Principles and practicing daily, children learn the habits of good citizens. Current events are discussed when appropriate.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Growing awareness of multicultural diversity and the customs of various cultures in North America, with a focus on Mexico and Canada
    • Learning about various North American animal habitats
    • Learning the symbols of America and famous Americans
    • Locating, organizing, and recording information, and learning basic cardinal directions and map symbols
    • Learning and researching amazing American women
    • Organizing and implementing a school-wide fundraiser to help support a school in Haiti

    Resources include:

    • Classroom library
    • Bio Bottle research project
    • Technology tools
    • PebbleGo
    • Teacher-created materials

    Grade 2 Social Studies

    The second grade social studies program develops students’ understanding and discovery of the world around them. We investigate elements of history, geography and cultural awareness.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Locating continents, oceans, the equator, poles and selected countries
    • Exploring concepts related to exploration, American Indians and Pilgrims, Pennsylvania history, and Pittsburgh
    • Role playing and exploring historical life and culture
    • Gathering factual information, writing reports, organizing data and sharing information
    • Exploring, discussing, comparing and contrasting cultures

    Resources include:

    • Social Studies Alive! America’s Past
    • Pittsburgh Historical Landmarks Foundation

    Grade 3 Social Studies

    Rich literature, primary sources, and numerous research materials are the foundation for the third grade social studies curriculum. Students use authentic maps to engage in study exercises, while research and project work create knowledge of the individual United States. In addition, a focus on the lives of colonists develops a comparison structure for colonial times, and a study of multiple literature sources helps students appreciate the determination of the pioneers. Technology is integrated through the use of multiple websites.

    Students also complete an in-depth state research project, which culminates in the annual Third Grade State Fair.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Developing map-reading skills
    • Using sources to gain information through a multi-step research process
    • Creating a report with a multi-step procedure
    • Gaining knowledge of colonial and pioneer life styles

    Resources include:

    • Hello USA series by E.S. Powell, published by Lerner Publications Company

    Grade 4 Social Studies

    Fourth grade students learn about the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome. We examine the cultures of each by focusing on the geography, history, government, monuments, education and religion. The curriculum is extended through field trips that use many of the resources of the city, including the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

    Students also complete an interdisciplinary project integrating their study of ancient Greece, the annual Fourth Grade Greek Museum.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Understanding the geography, arts and sciences, home life and foreign affairs of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome
    • Identifying and applying basic map and atlas skills

    Grade 5 Social Studies

    The focus of the fifth grade social studies curriculum is the post-classical period. Students explore the period of history that spans 500 CE to 1500 CE, focusing specifically on the Middle Ages in Western Europe and the Golden Age of Baghdad in the Middle East, comparing and contrasting these two significant historical periods. Using an interactive online curriculum and themed text sets, students survey European and Middle Eastern civilizations during this time period.

    Skill-building activities include:

    • Building historical thinking skills such as locating, researching, analyzing and interpreting primary and secondary sources so that students can begin to understand the relationships between events and draw conclusions.
    • Investigate European events of the Middle Ages and summarize their importance
    • Take a Viking Quest
    • Explore and recreate life on a medieval manor
    • Study the five pillars of Islam and highlight one in a project format
    • Research Islamic innovations and inventions

    Resources include:

    • TCI History Alive! – The Medieval World
    • Story of the World Volume Two by Susan Wise Bauer
    • Medieval Society by Eastwood Kay
    • The Middle Ages by Jane Shuter

    Learn about the Middle School social studies and Senior School history curriculum.

    Spanish

    In a supportive, language-rich environment, Junior School students develop reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension skills. They experience celebrations from various Latin American and Spanish cultures, along with art, food, music, games and dances. As instructional content is integrated with other subject areas, students participate in interdisciplinary projects that affirm Spanish language and culture while enhancing cultural sensitivity and global awareness.

    Grades PK-K Spanish

    The goal of Spanish in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten is to familiarize students with the language and culture. Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures. In these formative years, the focus is primarily on listening skills and developing oral proficiency. Children are free to develop pronunciation in a natural way, practicing their new form of communication by mimicking the sounds they hear in class.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary
    • Demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to identify objects according to color, size, number and shape
    • Using new words to describe things: people, food, body parts, animals, etc.
    • Using new words to relay personal information, i.e. family descriptions, favorites

    Resources include:

    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Basho and Friends Videos

    Grades 1-5 Spanish

    The goals of the Spanish courses in grades 1-5 are to help students transition from using the language in primarily an oral sense to becoming proficient in reading and writing in a second language, and to allow students to work with, explore and understand the language more independently. We use the Symtalk program, an elementary Spanish curriculum based on a series of picture cards that students and teacher manipulate and rearrange on the SMARTBoard to make sentences. From the first lesson, students are able to say complete sentences in Spanish.The program includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students’ understanding of spoken Spanish grows each year as they become accustomed to longer periods of instruction in the target language and respond to classroom instructions given in Spanish.

    Starting in third grade, students learn to conjugate verbs in first, second and third person, and gradually become comfortable forming more complex sentences. Fourth and fifth graders also use the Duolingo and Sr. Wooly programs, which give them a chance to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at their own pace.

    Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures through each unit in the course. Geography and historical information from different cultures and celebrations become a prominent focus. Many holidays and celebrations are studied, such as Día de Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month, Carnival and a number of other holidays from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary and demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to describe to hobbies, clothing, animals, places, school and household objects, foods, drinks, emotions, weather, numbers up to 1000, family and relatives and Hispanic and American celebrations, etc.
    • Initiating and responding naturally to a number of dialogues and conversations both in and outside the classroom
    • Demonstrating a mastery of the Spanish alphabet including the ability to recall the name of each letter and also relate letters to their pronunciation
    • Developing proficiency in reading and writing words in the second language
    • Acquiring and synthesizing information about different cultures/cultural celebrations to find commonalities and connections to our own cultures here in the U.S.

    Resources include:

    • Symtalk materials from EMC Publishing
    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Sr. Wooly website
    • Duolingo

    Learn about the Middle School and Senior School world languages curriculum.

    Wellness

    The Junior School wellness class supports students through the development of character education, social-emotional learning and mindfulness practices. The class is instructed and supported by the school counselor.

    Students explore social-emotional learning (SEL) through the Second Step program, which features developmentally appropriate ways to teach core SEL skills at all grade levels. This program has a home link component to support families and reinforce the topics the child is learning.

    A Child Protection Unit includes lessons on Ways to Stay Safe, The Always Ask First Rule, Safe and Unsafe Touches, The Touching Rule, and then Practicing Ways to Stay Safe. Themes are presented in developmentally appropriate ways for each grade level.

    Students in grades PK-5 are introduced to mindfulness practices. Mindfulness is about attention and the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment. Students are exposed to different activities that cultivate presence of mind, presence of heart and awareness of themselves.

    Grade PK Wellness

    Students in pre-kindergarten explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship, problem-solving, self-regulation, executive functioning and transitioning to kindergarten.

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

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    Curriculum by Grade

    Pre-Kindergarten

    The PK curriculum operates on a two-year cycle and presents topics in an age-appropriate, interdisciplinary fashion. Each subject area is a thread running throughout the whole tapestry of a child’s daily experiences.

    Grade PK Art

    Art in PK is a joyful exploration of media and a consolidated expression of learning in many areas. Children have daily access to art materials. Additionally, students have an art workshop period and an art lesson with the art teacher each week. We offer rich experiences in drawing, painting, printing, sculpting, ceramics and textiles.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Gaining exposure to a variety of materials and mediums
    • Learning basic art concepts: color, line, shape, texture
    • Learning about famous artists and their work

    Grade PK Computer

    Young children need concrete, multi-sensory experiences, rather than virtual ones. Because of that need, the role of technology is a small but carefully considered and important one: Media and technology are tools for communication and learning. Children explore curriculum-related interactive games and websites using a computer and projector. iPads are also used frequently.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learning basic procedures: mouse skills, click and drag skills, printing
    • Using games and websites to learn about several subjects and topics:
      • Science: spiders, dinosaurs, reptiles
      • Health: hand-washing, fire safety, dental care
      • Math: geometric shapes, sorting and classification, problem solving, patterns
      • Language Arts: pre-reading

    Grade PK Language Arts

    The literacy goals in PK focus on fostering the love of language and the development of excellent communication skills. Books are an integral part of the classroom. Each day, teachers read aloud from a wide variety of quality literature relating to curricular topics. Children are given frequent opportunities for writing and drawing as expressions of concepts or experiences. Proper pencil grip, hand strengthening and handwriting at a very basic level are also emphasized.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Conversing in a group setting
    • Gaining phonemic awareness through Wilson Fundations and children’s literature
    • Learning to recognize letters and sounds and begin handwriting using Handwriting Without Tears
    • Listening to a variety of literary genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction
    • Participating in story dramatizations
    • Expressing through drawing, story dictation, emergent writing
    • Gaining comprehension skills in retelling, comparing and contrasting, and sequencing
    • Learning about conventions of print

    Grade PK Library

    Library time for our youngest students supports the early literacy skills necessary for finding and using books for pleasure. The PK year provides an orientation to library expectations and enjoyment. Library visits alternate between story times with the librarian and book borrowing times facilitated by fourth grade buddies. Story times are used to model fluency, show pre-reading strategies for enjoying picture books and orient children to the library areas. Borrowed books circulate into the classroom for read-aloud stories and rest-time reading.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Becoming oriented to the library and borrowing procedures
    • Using pre-reading strategies with picture books and illustrated non-fiction
    • Increasing listening skills and literature appreciation through exposure to folk tales, picture books, library-related songs, finger plays and games
    • Learning to use and care for books
    • Participate appropriately through turn taking, talking about books and choral reading

    Grade PK Math

    The PK mathematics curriculum seeks to provide children with a strong base of concrete, hands-on, real-life experiences to build an understanding of a wide range of abstract concepts. Children have daily access to instructional materials including math games, puzzles, measurement tools and collections of materials for sorting and counting.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Gaining number sense, one-to-one correspondence and number stories
    • Learning about non-standard units for weight and length
    • Practicing sorting and classification
    • Learning about basic graphing, patterning, problem solving and sequencing
    • Reviewing geometry and spatial relations in shapes and puzzles

    Grade PK Music

    Music is a daily feature in PK. Children learn a large repertoire of songs during the year related to topics of study. Music classes provide opportunities to explore the voice, steady beat, rhythm instruments, movement and cultural traditions.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing daily for a variety of purposes
    • Recognizing four voices: talking, singing, whispering and calling
    • Learning beat and rhythm through chants, rhymes and body percussion
    • Playing a variety of classroom instruments
    • Using creative movement, both locomotor and non-locomotor
    • Learning about classroom and orchestra instruments
    • Reinforcing the letter of the week through songs, poems and stories

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grade PK Physical Education

    The physical education program in PK introduces students to a variety of activities geared towards developing and/or improving gross motor skills through practice and games. Class includes a warm-up, skill practice or game and free play time.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Practice proper warm-up and stretching
    • Develop spatial awareness
    • Practice activities to develop and/or improve hand/eye coordination
    • Play tag games, relay races and other games which teach fair play and sportsmanship
    • Practice various types of movements such as running, skipping and hopping
    • Practice basic sports skills such as rolling and kicking a ball, throwing and catching beanbags
    • Introduction to basic tumbling, balance and yoga skills
    • Hikes in Frick Park

    Grade PK Science

    Science topics, with emphasis on direct, multi-sensory experiences and observations, provide many of our PK class themes throughout the year. Children are naturally curious about the world around them, and our science program seeks to build upon that innate wonder. Learning occurs spontaneously during play and intentionally during lessons in our science center, in our learning gardens, on regular field trips and even in lessons from our class pets.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Observing, describing and classifying
    • Learning respect for life: animals, plants, people
    • Understanding seasonal changes, including those in gardening and in animals’ life cycles

    Grade PK Social Studies

    Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children, students begin an interdisciplinary exploration of self, families and the direct experiences of their own lives. From this familiar realm, children can reach out and explore each other’s feelings, families and experiences. They begin to use these explorations, documentation and hands-on experiences to discover the community beyond their small circle.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Discussing the individual child, family and membership in a school community
    • Learning about basic feelings and emotions
    • Exploring and learning about various cultures, holidays and traditions to foster an appreciation of diversity, both in the school community and beyond.
    • Exploring the world around us through units such as creepy crawlers, outer space, under the sea, life cycles, etc.

    Grades PK-K Spanish

    The goal of Spanish in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten is to familiarize students with the language and culture. Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures. In these formative years, the focus is primarily on listening skills and developing oral proficiency. Children are free to develop pronunciation in a natural way, practicing their new form of communication by mimicking the sounds they hear in class.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary
    • Demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to identify objects according to color, size, number and shape
    • Using new words to describe things: people, food, body parts, animals, etc.
    • Using new words to relay personal information, i.e. family descriptions, favorites

    Resources include:

    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Basho and Friends Videos

    Grade PK Wellness

    Students in pre-kindergarten explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship, problem-solving, self-regulation, executive functioning and transitioning to kindergarten.

    Kindergarten

    The kindergarten curriculum builds upon children's learning in pre-kindergarten and broadens their experiences in a number of new activities.

    Grades K-2 Art

    Young students are introduced to a variety of materials and media to explore during their early years in the art studio, where they build their vocabulary and skills regarding the arts. Students are also introduced to famous artists and the importance and influence of their work. The course enables young children to develop their self-expression, confidence and appreciation of the visual arts.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Experimentation through the daily use of sketchbooks
    • Learning brush techniques for tempera and watercolor paints
    • Developing clay fundamentals using hands, coils, tools and slab methods
    • Exploring materials such as oil and chalk pastels
    • Learning about tints, shades and the color wheel
    • Developing cutting, tearing and gluing skills
    • Practicing observational drawing skills
    • Learning safety and clean up procedures in the art studio

    Grades K-2 Computer

    K-2 students learn basic procedures and skills that help them become proficient technology users. A variety of software programs, as well as in-depth projects, enhance learning across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves to their fullest potential. These experiences lay a foundation for future, more advanced ventures.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Recognizing and using keyboards, mice and other input devices
    • Demonstrating basic operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Handling equipment and materials responsibly
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Writing, illustrating and communicating ideas and stories using digital tools and media-rich resources
    • Safely navigating developmentally appropriate websites
    • Connect globally with learners through email, blogging and other electronic means
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature

    Grade K Language Arts

    The language arts program in kindergarten strives to meet individual needs through whole group, small group and individual instruction. We use the Fundations Phonics program, which emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, fluency, handwriting and spelling. Through a Writing Workshop approach, children learn the basics of the writing process. Students are introduced to a variety of genres to enhance the writing experience. They use both pictures and words to express their thoughts and ideas in written form. Throughout the year, they work on building their stamina, volume and independence when writing. Students also edit, revise, publish and celebrate their writing with their peers.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Read alouds
    • Guided reading
    • Developing phonemic awareness and developmental spelling through phonics instruction
    • Learning basic sight word vocabulary
    • Using picture and context clues when reading
    • Building comprehension skills
    • Experiencing public speaking and listening
    • Practicing handwriting skills
    • Expressing ideas through drawing, writing and verbal expression

    Resources include:

    • Fundations
    • Lucy Calkin's Units of Study
    • Leveled books
    • Teacher-created materials

    Grades K-2 Library

    The library reaffirms the importance of books and reading in the lives of K-2 students. The library nourishes the emergent reader through an extensive collection of picture books, early readers, developmentally appropriate non-fiction, and beginning chapter and series fiction. Weekly story time and activities enrich students’ knowledge of literature and libraries through genre and author studies. Literacy skills are supported through instruction and modeling of book selection and reading strategies. The annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit provide additional exciting literary experiences.

    By learning the library layout and book organization and correlating call numbers to book location, students become more independent in finding books that match their interest and ability. Students are introduced to literacy elements and author craft through lessons on fiction. Non-fiction lessons help students develop a groundwork for beginning research skills.

    Kindergarten students become adept users of the library through enriching, mentoring partnerships with their third grade buddies. First and second grade students become more independent in their use of the library and its resources.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Following library rules, routines and procedures
    • Listening to others and contributing in a meaningful manner to share knowledge
    • Appreciating literature and other creative expression through reader's theatre, reading aloud, book talks and multimedia formats
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests during library borrowing time while becoming more independent in the identification and location of library materials
    • Beginning to identify and locate books and information by type, topic and author
    • Using the organizational features of books and other resources, and beginning to use the automated catalog and elementary databases to access information efficiently
    • Using emerging technologies within literature or research-based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: picture books, easy readers, chapter fiction, award books, folk and fairy tales, and easy Dewey Decimal non-fiction
    • Databases: Encyclopedia Britannica Elementary and PebbleGo
    • Multimedia: book extension websites and teacher-created online games
    • Library-related: games, puzzles, activities and pre-selected websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grade K Math

    Math in Focus offers a strategic, articulated sequence of topics that are developed in depth to allow true mastery. Children are given opportunities to investigate, discover, explore and apply their own solutions to mathematical problems. Students work to develop number sense skills moving from the concrete to the pictoral to the abstract. In kindergarten, Math in Focus will:

    • Introduce children to think mathematically about problems and their solutions
    • Encourage students to persevere in solving mathematical problems
    • Address fewer topics in greater depth
    • Develop the foundation for numbers and operation
    • Develop concepts and skills in tandem
    • Use clear and engaging visuals that present concepts and model drawings
    • Use concrete and pictorial representations
    • Emphasize multi-step and non-routine problem solving

    Grades K-1 Music

    The earliest musical experiences at the Junior School begin with "ears before eyes." Through speech patterns, chants, tone matching, singing games, age-appropriate repertoire and movement, students learn beat competency, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, pitch and how to read basic musical notation.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing a varied repertoire using accurate pitch and rhythm with good tone quality
    • Distinguishing beat and rhythm; singing while keeping a beat on pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, by using body percussion or by walking, marching or skipping while singing
    • Learning a variety of musical movement exercises, dances and creative movement to learn about form, beat, rhythm and cultures
    • Reading iconic notation, simple notation and learning to use appropriate musical terms
    • Creating and notating unique compositions
    • Gaining listening skills through recordings that have clear changes in tempo, dynamics, pitch, mood and similar/dissimilar sections
    • Listening to, reacting to, moving to and playing along with music to learn about well-known composers in musical history
    • Beginning to accompany simple songs, poems and chants on the Off instruments

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades K-2 Physical Education

    The physical education program grades K-2 strengthens children’s physical fitness and well-being while teaching a variety of motor skills. We emphasize fitness, sportsmanship, cooperation and leadership, and promote an understanding of physical education as a lifelong process that should be an enjoyable and satisfying experience for each child. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Proper warm-up and conditioning
    • Building spatial awareness
    • Playing cooperative games
    • Exploring social dances
    • Practicing gymnastics, balancing, tumbling, body awareness and yoga positions
    • Fun games and fitness activities to develop a love for physical activity
    • Hikes and trail running in Frick Park

    Grades K-2 Science

    Science in the primary grades is full of exploration utilizing a hands-on approach. Experiments, lab work, group work, research and field trips give students the opportunity to appreciate, enjoy and engage in meaningful science.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Make and record observations
    • Observe and classify
    • Recording information
    • Gaining essential research skills
    • Analyze and problem-solve
    • Work collabortively

    Resources include:

    • Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, S. Libow Martinez and G. Stager
    • The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science, R. Jaffe and G. Appel

    Grade K Social Studies

    The kindergarten social studies program is a study of community, which focuses on self, family, classroom, school and the world around us. A multicultural approach aides children in becoming empathetic and accepting towards all members of society.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Community study: understanding self, family, classroom and school community
    • Examine the role we share in living The Shady Side Way, learning to be responsible, honest, respectful, kind and safe
    • Begin to develop an appreciation of one's self, family and culture
    • Begin to develop an appreciation of classmates and their cultures and diversity
    • Learn about and participate in community service projects
    • Study of farms and where we derive our food
    • Introduction to famous inventors and inventions
    • Problem solve to create our own invention
    • Introduction to famous artists and their techniques
    • Study of camping, nature and the outdoors
    • Examine the role we all share in protecting our natural environment

    Resources include:

    • A variety of books, videos, classroom visitors and online resources
    • Second Step character education
    • Field Trips to the farm, the zoo and Phipps Conservatory
    • Art show celebration
    • Nature hikes

    Grades PK-K Spanish

    The goal of Spanish in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten is to familiarize students with the language and culture. Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures. In these formative years, the focus is primarily on listening skills and developing oral proficiency. Children are free to develop pronunciation in a natural way, practicing their new form of communication by mimicking the sounds they hear in class.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary
    • Demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to identify objects according to color, size, number and shape
    • Using new words to describe things: people, food, body parts, animals, etc.
    • Using new words to relay personal information, i.e. family descriptions, favorites

    Resources include:

    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Basho and Friends Videos

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

    First Grade

    In first grade, children continue to build on experiences in PK and kindergarten, while being challenged through new assignments and topics of study.

    Grades K-2 Art

    Young students are introduced to a variety of materials and media to explore during their early years in the art studio, where they build their vocabulary and skills regarding the arts. Students are also introduced to famous artists and the importance and influence of their work. The course enables young children to develop their self-expression, confidence and appreciation of the visual arts.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Experimentation through the daily use of sketchbooks
    • Learning brush techniques for tempera and watercolor paints
    • Developing clay fundamentals using hands, coils, tools and slab methods
    • Exploring materials such as oil and chalk pastels
    • Learning about tints, shades and the color wheel
    • Developing cutting, tearing and gluing skills
    • Practicing observational drawing skills
    • Learning safety and clean up procedures in the art studio

    Grades K-2 Computer

    K-2 students learn basic procedures and skills that help them become proficient technology users. A variety of software programs, as well as in-depth projects, enhance learning across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves to their fullest potential. These experiences lay a foundation for future, more advanced ventures.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Recognizing and using keyboards, mice and other input devices
    • Demonstrating basic operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Handling equipment and materials responsibly
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Writing, illustrating and communicating ideas and stories using digital tools and media-rich resources
    • Safely navigating developmentally appropriate websites
    • Connect globally with learners through email, blogging and other electronic means
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature

    Grade 1 Language Arts

    The language arts program in first grade has a variety of components to meet the wide range of abilities at this level. Reading, handwriting, speaking, listening, spelling, writing and grammar are ongoing skills emphasized daily. Children and literature are the core of this program. Writers’ Workshop is a continuation of the writing program taught at all grade levels where the process of drafting, editing and revising is the focus.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Practicing home-reading, reading aloud by both student and teacher, and small group instruction
    • Learning the basics of grammar (alphabetical order, punctuation, parts of speech, capitalization)
    • Developing reading comprehension (predictions, sequencing, recall, characterization, compare/contrast, and story elements)
    • Continuing vocabulary development
    • Creating oral and written presentations
    • Locating, organizing, and recording information
    • Teachers College Reading & Writing Project
    • Spelling workshop
    • Phonemic awareness
    • Rhyme/word play
    • Guided reading
    • Developing decoding strategies
    • Improving fluency

    Resources include:

    • Fundations
    • Teachers College Reading & Writing Project
    • Leveled books
    • Teacher created materials
    • Technology tools

    Grades K-2 Library

    The library reaffirms the importance of books and reading in the lives of K-2 students. The library nourishes the emergent reader through an extensive collection of picture books, early readers, developmentally appropriate non-fiction, and beginning chapter and series fiction. Weekly story time and activities enrich students’ knowledge of literature and libraries through genre and author studies. Literacy skills are supported through instruction and modeling of book selection and reading strategies. The annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit provide additional exciting literary experiences.

    By learning the library layout and book organization and correlating call numbers to book location, students become more independent in finding books that match their interest and ability. Students are introduced to literacy elements and author craft through lessons on fiction. Non-fiction lessons help students develop a groundwork for beginning research skills.

    Kindergarten students become adept users of the library through enriching, mentoring partnerships with their third grade buddies. First and second grade students become more independent in their use of the library and its resources.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Following library rules, routines and procedures
    • Listening to others and contributing in a meaningful manner to share knowledge
    • Appreciating literature and other creative expression through reader's theatre, reading aloud, book talks and multimedia formats
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests during library borrowing time while becoming more independent in the identification and location of library materials
    • Beginning to identify and locate books and information by type, topic and author
    • Using the organizational features of books and other resources, and beginning to use the automated catalog and elementary databases to access information efficiently
    • Using emerging technologies within literature or research-based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: picture books, easy readers, chapter fiction, award books, folk and fairy tales, and easy Dewey Decimal non-fiction
    • Databases: Encyclopedia Britannica Elementary and PebbleGo
    • Multimedia: book extension websites and teacher-created online games
    • Library-related: games, puzzles, activities and pre-selected websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grade 1 Math

    The first grade mathematics program follows the Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach, which presents fewer topics at each grade level, but they are taught to mastery with deep understanding. The program is extremely visual and hands-on. Lessons flow from a model of concrete examples, to pictorial and then abstract. A strong emphasis is placed on a unified math vocabulary as well as critical thinking skills. Children are encouraged to use their math skills to deconstruct complex problems. First graders focus on:

    • Building problem solving skills and strategies
    • Counting, comparing and writing numbers to 50
    • Adding and subtracting one and two-digit numbers using several strategies
    • Classifying and sorting shapes and patterns
    • Using calendars, time and money
    • Understanding place value to 100s
    • Number relationships
    • Identifying and manipulating number bonds
    • Technology tools

    Grades K-1 Music

    The earliest musical experiences at the Junior School begin with "ears before eyes." Through speech patterns, chants, tone matching, singing games, age-appropriate repertoire and movement, students learn beat competency, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, pitch and how to read basic musical notation.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing a varied repertoire using accurate pitch and rhythm with good tone quality
    • Distinguishing beat and rhythm; singing while keeping a beat on pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments, by using body percussion or by walking, marching or skipping while singing
    • Learning a variety of musical movement exercises, dances and creative movement to learn about form, beat, rhythm and cultures
    • Reading iconic notation, simple notation and learning to use appropriate musical terms
    • Creating and notating unique compositions
    • Gaining listening skills through recordings that have clear changes in tempo, dynamics, pitch, mood and similar/dissimilar sections
    • Listening to, reacting to, moving to and playing along with music to learn about well-known composers in musical history
    • Beginning to accompany simple songs, poems and chants on the Off instruments

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades K-2 Physical Education

    The physical education program grades K-2 strengthens children’s physical fitness and well-being while teaching a variety of motor skills. We emphasize fitness, sportsmanship, cooperation and leadership, and promote an understanding of physical education as a lifelong process that should be an enjoyable and satisfying experience for each child. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Proper warm-up and conditioning
    • Building spatial awareness
    • Playing cooperative games
    • Exploring social dances
    • Practicing gymnastics, balancing, tumbling, body awareness and yoga positions
    • Fun games and fitness activities to develop a love for physical activity
    • Hikes and trail running in Frick Park

    Grades K-2 Science

    Science in the primary grades is full of exploration utilizing a hands-on approach. Experiments, lab work, group work, research and field trips give students the opportunity to appreciate, enjoy and engage in meaningful science.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Make and record observations
    • Observe and classify
    • Recording information
    • Gaining essential research skills
    • Analyze and problem-solve
    • Work collabortively

    Resources include:

    • Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, S. Libow Martinez and G. Stager
    • The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science, R. Jaffe and G. Appel

    Grade 1 Social Studies

    In first grade social studies, students learn the importance of community, friendship and patriotism. Through an intense look at the continent of North America, students are introduced to geography and beginning map skills. Famous people in American history, as well as American symbols, are also explored. By following Shady Side Academy’s Guiding Principles and practicing daily, children learn the habits of good citizens. Current events are discussed when appropriate.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Growing awareness of multicultural diversity and the customs of various cultures in North America, with a focus on Mexico and Canada
    • Learning about various North American animal habitats
    • Learning the symbols of America and famous Americans
    • Locating, organizing, and recording information, and learning basic cardinal directions and map symbols
    • Learning and researching amazing American women
    • Organizing and implementing a school-wide fundraiser to help support a school in Haiti

    Resources include:

    • Classroom library
    • Bio Bottle research project
    • Technology tools
    • PebbleGo
    • Teacher-created materials

    Grades 1-5 Spanish

    The goals of the Spanish courses in grades 1-5 are to help students transition from using the language in primarily an oral sense to becoming proficient in reading and writing in a second language, and to allow students to work with, explore and understand the language more independently. We use the Symtalk program, an elementary Spanish curriculum based on a series of picture cards that students and teacher manipulate and rearrange on the SMARTBoard to make sentences. From the first lesson, students are able to say complete sentences in Spanish.The program includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students’ understanding of spoken Spanish grows each year as they become accustomed to longer periods of instruction in the target language and respond to classroom instructions given in Spanish.

    Starting in third grade, students learn to conjugate verbs in first, second and third person, and gradually become comfortable forming more complex sentences. Fourth and fifth graders also use the Duolingo and Sr. Wooly programs, which give them a chance to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at their own pace.

    Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures through each unit in the course. Geography and historical information from different cultures and celebrations become a prominent focus. Many holidays and celebrations are studied, such as Día de Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month, Carnival and a number of other holidays from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary and demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to describe to hobbies, clothing, animals, places, school and household objects, foods, drinks, emotions, weather, numbers up to 1000, family and relatives and Hispanic and American celebrations, etc.
    • Initiating and responding naturally to a number of dialogues and conversations both in and outside the classroom
    • Demonstrating a mastery of the Spanish alphabet including the ability to recall the name of each letter and also relate letters to their pronunciation
    • Developing proficiency in reading and writing words in the second language
    • Acquiring and synthesizing information about different cultures/cultural celebrations to find commonalities and connections to our own cultures here in the U.S.

    Resources include:

    • Symtalk materials from EMC Publishing
    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Sr. Wooly website
    • Duolingo

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

    Second Grade

    In second grade, children advance into new themes of study and learning activities.

    Grades K-2 Art

    Young students are introduced to a variety of materials and media to explore during their early years in the art studio, where they build their vocabulary and skills regarding the arts. Students are also introduced to famous artists and the importance and influence of their work. The course enables young children to develop their self-expression, confidence and appreciation of the visual arts.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Experimentation through the daily use of sketchbooks
    • Learning brush techniques for tempera and watercolor paints
    • Developing clay fundamentals using hands, coils, tools and slab methods
    • Exploring materials such as oil and chalk pastels
    • Learning about tints, shades and the color wheel
    • Developing cutting, tearing and gluing skills
    • Practicing observational drawing skills
    • Learning safety and clean up procedures in the art studio

    Grades K-2 Computer

    K-2 students learn basic procedures and skills that help them become proficient technology users. A variety of software programs, as well as in-depth projects, enhance learning across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to challenge themselves to their fullest potential. These experiences lay a foundation for future, more advanced ventures.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Recognizing and using keyboards, mice and other input devices
    • Demonstrating basic operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Handling equipment and materials responsibly
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Writing, illustrating and communicating ideas and stories using digital tools and media-rich resources
    • Safely navigating developmentally appropriate websites
    • Connect globally with learners through email, blogging and other electronic means
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature

    Grade 2 Language Arts

    The second grade curriculum strives to develop and strengthen students’ reading, writing and spelling skills. Students work in small groups, reading appropriately leveled texts while developing their decoding and comprehension skills. Teachers model the meta-cognitive process of reading during read aloud, allowing students to observe and put to practice effective reading strategies. Second graders write daily during the Writing Workshop and confer with teachers and peers throughout the writing process. Spelling and handwriting are taught through direct and systematic instruction to encourage students to move toward conventional spelling and cursive writing.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Reading, comprehending and interpreting literature
    • Acquiring a reading vocabulary
    • Reading aloud accurately and fluently
    • Using electronic media for research
    • Writing narrative pieces consisting of a series of related sentences with a central idea
    • Including a beginning, middle and end when writing narratives
    • Writing organized non-fiction pieces using a variety of non-fiction text features
    • Conferencing with others to improve student writing
    • Prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing
    • Using initial and proper noun capitalization
    • Using punctuation appropriately

    Grades K-2 Library

    The library reaffirms the importance of books and reading in the lives of K-2 students. The library nourishes the emergent reader through an extensive collection of picture books, early readers, developmentally appropriate non-fiction, and beginning chapter and series fiction. Weekly story time and activities enrich students’ knowledge of literature and libraries through genre and author studies. Literacy skills are supported through instruction and modeling of book selection and reading strategies. The annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit provide additional exciting literary experiences.

    By learning the library layout and book organization and correlating call numbers to book location, students become more independent in finding books that match their interest and ability. Students are introduced to literacy elements and author craft through lessons on fiction. Non-fiction lessons help students develop a groundwork for beginning research skills.

    Kindergarten students become adept users of the library through enriching, mentoring partnerships with their third grade buddies. First and second grade students become more independent in their use of the library and its resources.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Following library rules, routines and procedures
    • Listening to others and contributing in a meaningful manner to share knowledge
    • Appreciating literature and other creative expression through reader's theatre, reading aloud, book talks and multimedia formats
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests during library borrowing time while becoming more independent in the identification and location of library materials
    • Beginning to identify and locate books and information by type, topic and author
    • Using the organizational features of books and other resources, and beginning to use the automated catalog and elementary databases to access information efficiently
    • Using emerging technologies within literature or research-based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: picture books, easy readers, chapter fiction, award books, folk and fairy tales, and easy Dewey Decimal non-fiction
    • Databases: Encyclopedia Britannica Elementary and PebbleGo
    • Multimedia: book extension websites and teacher-created online games
    • Library-related: games, puzzles, activities and pre-selected websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grade 2 Math

    The second grade mathematics program uses Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach. Students learn through a variety of games and hands-on activities. A strong emphasis is placed on the concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract progress to solve and master problems.

    Second graders focus on:

    • Representing and solving problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
    • Adding and subtracting three-digit numbers with and without regrouping
    • Working with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication and division
    • Understanding place value and properties of operations for addition and subtraction
    • Interpreting and solving real world problems using bar models
    • Telling time to five minutes and elapsed time in hour hour and hour intervals

    Grades 2-3 Music

    The second and third grade music programs present a large repertoire of folk songs, singing games and composed songs with an increase in vocal range for students. Continued emphasis is placed on singing with good tone quality and rhythmic accuracy when singing solos or in a choral ensemble. Students learn to read notation with rhythmic and melodic patterns. Two-, three- and four-part canons are introduced in third grade.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Sight-singing with notation for simple melodies and simple rhythms
    • Learning beat competency through movement and dance
    • Learning to play ostinato patterns and continuing to expand upon their mallet technique on our Orff instruments while singing
    • Continuing to build visual and aural recognition of notes and rests
    • Recognizing musical forms such as A-B-A and rondo in recordings, songs, dances and Orff arrangements
    • Gaining musical terminology for tempo and dynamics

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grade 2 Instrumental Music

    Second grade students visit the instrumental music room once per seven-day cycle. They study the four families of musical instruments and focus on the instruments of the symphony orchestra. Students learn that how the sound is produced determines which family and instrument is from, not the material the instrument is made of. Students listen to music and describe how it makes them feel through dance, movement and drawing. They begin learning the lines and spaces of the treble clef. The highlight of the school year is attending a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Schooltime Concert at Heinz Hall.

    Grades K-2 Physical Education

    The physical education program grades K-2 strengthens children’s physical fitness and well-being while teaching a variety of motor skills. We emphasize fitness, sportsmanship, cooperation and leadership, and promote an understanding of physical education as a lifelong process that should be an enjoyable and satisfying experience for each child. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Proper warm-up and conditioning
    • Building spatial awareness
    • Playing cooperative games
    • Exploring social dances
    • Practicing gymnastics, balancing, tumbling, body awareness and yoga positions
    • Fun games and fitness activities to develop a love for physical activity
    • Hikes and trail running in Frick Park

    Grades K-2 Science

    Science in the primary grades is full of exploration utilizing a hands-on approach. Experiments, lab work, group work, research and field trips give students the opportunity to appreciate, enjoy and engage in meaningful science.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Make and record observations
    • Observe and classify
    • Recording information
    • Gaining essential research skills
    • Analyze and problem-solve
    • Work collabortively

    Resources include:

    • Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, S. Libow Martinez and G. Stager
    • The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science, R. Jaffe and G. Appel

    Grade 2 Social Studies

    The second grade social studies program develops students’ understanding and discovery of the world around them. We investigate elements of history, geography and cultural awareness.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Locating continents, oceans, the equator, poles and selected countries
    • Exploring concepts related to exploration, American Indians and Pilgrims, Pennsylvania history, and Pittsburgh
    • Role playing and exploring historical life and culture
    • Gathering factual information, writing reports, organizing data and sharing information
    • Exploring, discussing, comparing and contrasting cultures

    Resources include:

    • Social Studies Alive! America’s Past
    • Pittsburgh Historical Landmarks Foundation

    Grades 1-5 Spanish

    The goals of the Spanish courses in grades 1-5 are to help students transition from using the language in primarily an oral sense to becoming proficient in reading and writing in a second language, and to allow students to work with, explore and understand the language more independently. We use the Symtalk program, an elementary Spanish curriculum based on a series of picture cards that students and teacher manipulate and rearrange on the SMARTBoard to make sentences. From the first lesson, students are able to say complete sentences in Spanish.The program includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students’ understanding of spoken Spanish grows each year as they become accustomed to longer periods of instruction in the target language and respond to classroom instructions given in Spanish.

    Starting in third grade, students learn to conjugate verbs in first, second and third person, and gradually become comfortable forming more complex sentences. Fourth and fifth graders also use the Duolingo and Sr. Wooly programs, which give them a chance to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at their own pace.

    Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures through each unit in the course. Geography and historical information from different cultures and celebrations become a prominent focus. Many holidays and celebrations are studied, such as Día de Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month, Carnival and a number of other holidays from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary and demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to describe to hobbies, clothing, animals, places, school and household objects, foods, drinks, emotions, weather, numbers up to 1000, family and relatives and Hispanic and American celebrations, etc.
    • Initiating and responding naturally to a number of dialogues and conversations both in and outside the classroom
    • Demonstrating a mastery of the Spanish alphabet including the ability to recall the name of each letter and also relate letters to their pronunciation
    • Developing proficiency in reading and writing words in the second language
    • Acquiring and synthesizing information about different cultures/cultural celebrations to find commonalities and connections to our own cultures here in the U.S.

    Resources include:

    • Symtalk materials from EMC Publishing
    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Sr. Wooly website
    • Duolingo

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

    Third Grade

    In third grade, the academic program challenges children to discover new ways of learning, through additional homework assignments and classroom activities.

    Grades 3-5 Art

    Students explore the elements of art including form, line, shape, color, texture, space and value. They develop and understand the principles of emphasis, balance, variety, movement, proportion and unity. A wide variety of techniques are explored: drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, multimedia and sculpture. Students become familiar with different artists and different cultural artistic traditions, while cross-curricular lessons bring together science, Spanish, social studies and language arts. Students display their work in the school, and their art is used at school assemblies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Experimentation is encouraged through the daily use of sketchbooks, where students are able to work freely without fitting into the constraints of a particular assignment
    • Practicing printmaking: nature prints, mono prints and multiple prints
    • Drawing with pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, markers and chalk
    • Practicing skills in ceramics, such as slipping, scoring, and making coil pots and pinch pots
    • Building painting skills in watercolor, tempera and wax resist
    • Exploring multimedia projects by creating found-object sculptures and three-dimensional work that incorporates ceramics and metal findings
    • Understanding and using vocabulary including value, tint, shade, tondo, symmetrical
    • Learning how to care for art materials; knowing their varied types and uses

    Grades 3-5 Computer

    The computer program in the intermediate grades is integrated with classroom and specialty content areas throughout the curriculum. Lessons and projects enable students to build on experiences and skills that were introduced in the primary grades. The program seeks to provide opportunities for students to become 21st century, lifelong learners as they gain and apply real-world skills.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Applying safe and ethical strategies when using technology to be a responsible digital citizen
    • Learning and applying ergonomic strategies to prevent injury
    • Learning proper finger placement for effective keyboarding skills
    • Mastering operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Using advanced drawing features and techniques to create computer-generated illustrations
    • Connecting globally and strengthening geographical skills through Mystery Skyping and other communication projects
    • Producing word processing documents and multimedia presentations
    • Using secure social media appropriately to effectively communicate
    • Evaluating websites and comparing search engines
    • Creating student-produced websites
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature
    • Digital cameras

    Grade 3 Language Arts

    The third grade language arts program includes Reading and Writing Workshop, Words Their Way, Grammar Workshop.

    The Workshop model follows a predictable pattern, which includes a well-focused and condensed mini-lesson, a larger span of time devoted to independent writing and reading, conferencing with the teacher and students gathering to share. In Writing Workshop, students generate ideas and determine topics that interest them for narrative, informational, opinion and fairy tale pieces. Along the way, they receive guidance from the teacher, work through the process with one another and proudly share their published work. During Reading Workshop, they work on skills such as inferring about characters and other story elements, envisioning and predicting, retelling, summarizing and analyzing author’s craft.

    Words Their Way teaches students to study word patterns through weekly word sorts. Students learn to compare and contrast word features in each category, which helps to increase both spelling and vocabulary.

    Grammar Workshop offers explicit grammar instruction, which helps students make appropriate choices about grammar, usage and mechanics.

    Skill Building Activities:

    • Inferring about characters and other story elements
    • Envisioning and predicting
    • Retelling, summarizing the text
    • Analyzing author’s craft
    • Works sorts and word work
    • Word work
    • Writing in each unit with attention to organization, leads, endings, transitions, elaboration and craft

    Resources include:

    • Reading Units of Study: Building a Reading Life, Character Studies, and Reading to Learn: Grasping Main Ideas and Text Structures by Lucy Calkins
    • Writing Units of Study: Narrative, Opinion, Informational, and Fairy Tale Adaptations by Lucy Calkins

    • A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop Intermediate Grades by Lucy Calkins
    • A Guide to the Common Core Reading Workshop Intermediate Grades by Lucy Calkins
    • A Guide to the Reading Workshop Grades 3–5 by Lucy Calkins
    • The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo
    • The Writing Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo
    • Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary and Spelling Instruction by Donald R. Bear, Marcia Invernizzi, Shane Templeton, Francine Johnston
    • Sadlier Grammar Workshop Level Green by Beverly Ann Chin, Ph.D.

    Grades 3-5 Library

    The library program’s priority is to instill a love of literature through its curriculum and special events. Library classes strive to support the language arts program through corresponding lessons on literary elements, author's craft, genre study, reading strategies and non-fiction use. An important part of this support are the collaborative classes with the classroom teacher for individualized conferencing with student readers. Lessons include reading aloud, book talks to promote new titles, and the modeling and practice of strategies for new book selection, fiction reading and non-fiction research. Borrowing time provides a balance of independent library use and one-on-one reader advising. Special events include the annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit, as well as opportunities for extracurricular involvement in our student book club.

    Designed to equip students with 21st century information-seeking skills, the library curriculum helps students to access, evaluate, synthesize and use information to generate knowledge. Knowledge gained is shared through class discussion, the writing process, visual and media arts, and other emerging technologies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Appreciating a wide range of literature presented through library programming
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests
    • Use of weekly reading logs for reflections on reading habits
    • Identify and utilize important literary signposts to increase comprehension and enable a deeper appreciation for the author's craft
    • Approaching non-fiction reading through the use of a questioning stance, awareness of non-fiction features and the ability to re-phrase acquired knowledge
    • Participating as a positive member of our learning community through respectful discussions and collaborations
    • Gaining greater independence in using the library's organization and using this knowledge to locate and access materials
    • Navigating the library catalog, databases, appropriate search engines and assigned websites
    • Locating, gathering and interpreting information from various sources; demonstrating understanding through research processes or presentations
    • Using appropriate social media for promotion of books and authors
    • Using emerging technology for literature and research based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: more than 12,000 volumes
    • Library resource webpage: online catalog, subscription databases including Grolier Online, access to Carnegie Library system and its databases
    • Multimedia: Biblionasium, pre-selected websites, teacher-created online games, audio books, library related websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grade 3 Math

    In third grade, Math in Focus emphasizes concept and skill development through hands-on, manipulative-based instruction and practice. Additionally, there is a focus on problem solving, skill consolidation and early preparation for algebra.

    • Place value to 10,000
    • Addition and subtraction facts
    • Multiplication and division facts from 0-12
    • Mental math
    • Geometry concepts
    • Introduction to fractions
    • Introduction to decimals
    • Model drawing
    • Time and elapsed time
    • Real world problems
    • Bar model drawing with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

    Grades 2-3 Music

    The second and third grade music programs present a large repertoire of folk songs, singing games and composed songs with an increase in vocal range for students. Continued emphasis is placed on singing with good tone quality and rhythmic accuracy when singing solos or in a choral ensemble. Students learn to read notation with rhythmic and melodic patterns. Two-, three- and four-part canons are introduced in third grade.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Sight-singing with notation for simple melodies and simple rhythms
    • Learning beat competency through movement and dance
    • Learning to play ostinato patterns and continuing to expand upon their mallet technique on our Orff instruments while singing
    • Continuing to build visual and aural recognition of notes and rests
    • Recognizing musical forms such as A-B-A and rondo in recordings, songs, dances and Orff arrangements
    • Gaining musical terminology for tempo and dynamics

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grade 3 Instrumental Music

    In this introductory course with the soprano recorder, students learn to play a wind instrument. Correct embouchure, fingerings and technique are stressed. Students learn to read music notation, rhythms, music terminology and symbols. This class meets twice in a seven day cycle, and students play the recorder at many of our school performances.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learn and develop skills in music notation
    • Learn to play with proper technique and posture
    • Learn fingerings and begin to expand their playing range
    • Play in an ensemble setting
    • Learn to follow the gestures of a conductor
    • Prepare special pieces to perform

    Resources include:

    • Recorder Karate, Plank Road Publishing
    • Yamaha Recorder Method, Alfred Publishing
    • Various seasonal and popluar selections

    Grades 3-5 Physical Education

    The physical education curriculum in grades 3-5 engages students in a program that consists of developing fitness, sports skills and social development. Both team and lifetime sports are taught through drills and lead-up games. The PE program enables students to play a variety of sports and games where they put into play the skills they have practiced with an emphasis on developing sportsmanship, leadership and team-building. Understanding the importance of fitness for healthy living is a key component of the PE program. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Develop cardiovascular fitness through daily warm-up, trail running and hikes in Frick Park
    • Develop muscular strength and muscle mobility through fitness activities
    • Gymnastic skills and yoga
    • Explore social dances
    • Develop a variety of sports skills through practice and developmental games
    • Play a variety of games to practice cooperation, have fun and develop sportsmanship
    • Body and spatial awareness exercises

    Grades 3-5 Science

    Common themes in grades 3-5 focus on developing an understanding and application of basic science concepts. The International Standard of Measurement is used in all instances of data acquisition and presentation. Through prediction, observation and experimentation, students develop the ability to draw conclusions and make inferences from data sets.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learning to use the metric system and convert between units
    • Making scientific observations in journal entries and scientific drawings
    • Designing a set of procedures to test a hypothesis
    • Communicating in a team to ensure the attainment of a common goal
    • Making inferences based on data collected during an experiment
    • Analyzing data for inconsistencies
    • Apply various coding languages to writing programs for robotics and 3-D printing

    Grade 3 Social Studies

    Rich literature, primary sources, and numerous research materials are the foundation for the third grade social studies curriculum. Students use authentic maps to engage in study exercises, while research and project work create knowledge of the individual United States. In addition, a focus on the lives of colonists develops a comparison structure for colonial times, and a study of multiple literature sources helps students appreciate the determination of the pioneers. Technology is integrated through the use of multiple websites.

    Students also complete an in-depth state research project, which culminates in the annual Third Grade State Fair.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Developing map-reading skills
    • Using sources to gain information through a multi-step research process
    • Creating a report with a multi-step procedure
    • Gaining knowledge of colonial and pioneer life styles

    Resources include:

    • Hello USA series by E.S. Powell, published by Lerner Publications Company

    Grades 1-5 Spanish

    The goals of the Spanish courses in grades 1-5 are to help students transition from using the language in primarily an oral sense to becoming proficient in reading and writing in a second language, and to allow students to work with, explore and understand the language more independently. We use the Symtalk program, an elementary Spanish curriculum based on a series of picture cards that students and teacher manipulate and rearrange on the SMARTBoard to make sentences. From the first lesson, students are able to say complete sentences in Spanish.The program includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students’ understanding of spoken Spanish grows each year as they become accustomed to longer periods of instruction in the target language and respond to classroom instructions given in Spanish.

    Starting in third grade, students learn to conjugate verbs in first, second and third person, and gradually become comfortable forming more complex sentences. Fourth and fifth graders also use the Duolingo and Sr. Wooly programs, which give them a chance to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at their own pace.

    Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures through each unit in the course. Geography and historical information from different cultures and celebrations become a prominent focus. Many holidays and celebrations are studied, such as Día de Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month, Carnival and a number of other holidays from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary and demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to describe to hobbies, clothing, animals, places, school and household objects, foods, drinks, emotions, weather, numbers up to 1000, family and relatives and Hispanic and American celebrations, etc.
    • Initiating and responding naturally to a number of dialogues and conversations both in and outside the classroom
    • Demonstrating a mastery of the Spanish alphabet including the ability to recall the name of each letter and also relate letters to their pronunciation
    • Developing proficiency in reading and writing words in the second language
    • Acquiring and synthesizing information about different cultures/cultural celebrations to find commonalities and connections to our own cultures here in the U.S.

    Resources include:

    • Symtalk materials from EMC Publishing
    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Sr. Wooly website
    • Duolingo

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

    Fourth Grade

    Students are nearing the end of their time at the Junior School and, through their studies, are building skills for successful learning in future years.

    Grades 3-5 Art

    Students explore the elements of art including form, line, shape, color, texture, space and value. They develop and understand the principles of emphasis, balance, variety, movement, proportion and unity. A wide variety of techniques are explored: drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, multimedia and sculpture. Students become familiar with different artists and different cultural artistic traditions, while cross-curricular lessons bring together science, Spanish, social studies and language arts. Students display their work in the school, and their art is used at school assemblies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Experimentation is encouraged through the daily use of sketchbooks, where students are able to work freely without fitting into the constraints of a particular assignment
    • Practicing printmaking: nature prints, mono prints and multiple prints
    • Drawing with pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, markers and chalk
    • Practicing skills in ceramics, such as slipping, scoring, and making coil pots and pinch pots
    • Building painting skills in watercolor, tempera and wax resist
    • Exploring multimedia projects by creating found-object sculptures and three-dimensional work that incorporates ceramics and metal findings
    • Understanding and using vocabulary including value, tint, shade, tondo, symmetrical
    • Learning how to care for art materials; knowing their varied types and uses

    Grades 3-5 Computer

    The computer program in the intermediate grades is integrated with classroom and specialty content areas throughout the curriculum. Lessons and projects enable students to build on experiences and skills that were introduced in the primary grades. The program seeks to provide opportunities for students to become 21st century, lifelong learners as they gain and apply real-world skills.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Applying safe and ethical strategies when using technology to be a responsible digital citizen
    • Learning and applying ergonomic strategies to prevent injury
    • Learning proper finger placement for effective keyboarding skills
    • Mastering operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Using advanced drawing features and techniques to create computer-generated illustrations
    • Connecting globally and strengthening geographical skills through Mystery Skyping and other communication projects
    • Producing word processing documents and multimedia presentations
    • Using secure social media appropriately to effectively communicate
    • Evaluating websites and comparing search engines
    • Creating student-produced websites
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature
    • Digital cameras

    Grade 4 Language Arts

    In Reading Workshop, students are explicitly taught the skills and strategies of proficient reading and to also think, talk and write about reading on a more substantially complex level. Reading strategies are modeled through mini-lessons which students can practice applying to the book they are reading or to a mentor text. Students focus on interpreting characters and character traits while following a story arc progression that includes the setting, problem, rising action, climax and solution. There is also a focus on reading nonfiction text, where students learn how to find main ideas and interpret the use of various text features included by the author. We also read stories from Egyptian and Greek mythology, and discuss the texts together as a class. Reading strategies are revisited and discussed during one-to-one conferences. In reader’s notebooks, students respond to open-ended questions related to their independent reading/mentor text, which gives them an opportunity to write about their thinking. Additionally, emphasis is placed on students learning to choose books they can read with comprehension and fluency, and to take responsibility for keeping track of the reading they do every day.

    In Writing Workshop, students participate in teacher led mini-lessons focusing on specific writing strategies followed by student independent writing and partner/group sharing. Writers think about, draft, revise, edit, publish and celebrate their writing. Students also study mentor texts for examples of great writing. Writing units taught during the year include personal narrative stories, personal persuasive essays, realistic fiction stories and informational writing. Writing Workshop is a continuation of the writing program taught at all grade levels. Grammar, spelling, writing mechanics and vocabulary are included daily.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Reading, comprehending, evaluating and discussing chapter books from a wide variety of genres
    • Partner reading
    • Reading aloud fluently and with good expression
    • Spelling with a high degree of accuracy
    • Drafting, rewriting, and publishing their own writing using complete sentences and strong imagery
    • Using capital letters, periods, commas, question marks, apostrophes, and quotation marks appropriately

    Resources include:

    • Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
    • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynold Naylor
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Sadlier & Oxford Grammar Workshop Grade 4 Level Orange
    • Words Their Way

    Grades 3-5 Library

    The library program’s priority is to instill a love of literature through its curriculum and special events. Library classes strive to support the language arts program through corresponding lessons on literary elements, author's craft, genre study, reading strategies and non-fiction use. An important part of this support are the collaborative classes with the classroom teacher for individualized conferencing with student readers. Lessons include reading aloud, book talks to promote new titles, and the modeling and practice of strategies for new book selection, fiction reading and non-fiction research. Borrowing time provides a balance of independent library use and one-on-one reader advising. Special events include the annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit, as well as opportunities for extracurricular involvement in our student book club.

    Designed to equip students with 21st century information-seeking skills, the library curriculum helps students to access, evaluate, synthesize and use information to generate knowledge. Knowledge gained is shared through class discussion, the writing process, visual and media arts, and other emerging technologies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Appreciating a wide range of literature presented through library programming
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests
    • Use of weekly reading logs for reflections on reading habits
    • Identify and utilize important literary signposts to increase comprehension and enable a deeper appreciation for the author's craft
    • Approaching non-fiction reading through the use of a questioning stance, awareness of non-fiction features and the ability to re-phrase acquired knowledge
    • Participating as a positive member of our learning community through respectful discussions and collaborations
    • Gaining greater independence in using the library's organization and using this knowledge to locate and access materials
    • Navigating the library catalog, databases, appropriate search engines and assigned websites
    • Locating, gathering and interpreting information from various sources; demonstrating understanding through research processes or presentations
    • Using appropriate social media for promotion of books and authors
    • Using emerging technology for literature and research based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: more than 12,000 volumes
    • Library resource webpage: online catalog, subscription databases including Grolier Online, access to Carnegie Library system and its databases
    • Multimedia: Biblionasium, pre-selected websites, teacher-created online games, audio books, library related websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grade 4 Math

    The primary goal of the Math in Focus curriculum is to enable students to become strategic mathematical problem solvers, to persevere in solving math problems, and to develop a deep understanding of math concepts to allow for mastery. The program uses a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract sequence to present concepts and model solutions. First, students learn concepts and skills through the use of manipulatives and teacher-directed lessons. Next, they are able to consolidate concepts and skills through the use of model drawings and frequent practice, activities and written responses to math problems. Finally, students apply concepts and skills with extensive problem-solving practice and challenges. The program uses bar model drawings to help students solve routine and non-routine problems.

    The Fourth Grade Financial Literacy Program helps students to learn financial responsibility and teaches real-life money lessons. They are “paid” a salary every week, with which they must pay for expenses such as taxes, equipment rental, health insurance and visits to the school nurse. Students also can earn or be charged additional monies based on their behavior choices. Twice a year, students participate in a Marketplace event, where they design and make a product to sell.

    Fourth graders will focus on:

    • Place value of whole numbers
    • Estimation and number theory
    • Whole number multiplication and division
    • Using tables, graphs and analyzing data
    • Fractions and mixed numbers
    • Decimals
    • Adding and subtracting with fractions and decimals
    • Understanding relationships between fractions and decimals
    • Studying angles and line segments through the use of real world problems using basic operations
    • Squares and rectangles
    • Area and perimeter
    • Building problem-solving skills and strategies

    Grades 4-5 Music

    In grades four and five, the music program continues to use the Orff-Schulwerk approach: movement, rhythm, speech and improvisation are sewn into the fabric of the students' experiences. Students meet twice each cycle to learn more challenging techniques and ostinatos on the barred percussion instruments. Good vocal production and learning to sing in parts are also stressed. This course emphasizes hands-on participation and includes a wide variety of musical experiences.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing with good vocal production in a classroom or choir setting using a varied repertoire
    • Playing classroom instruments with proper technique with an emphasis on rhythms and steady tempo
    • Reading standard music notation and developing an understanding of music symbols and terminology
    • Listening with an emphasis on form, music terminology and composers
    • Learning what is involved in preparing pieces for public performance, both sung and played
    • Moving to music by learning organized folk dances, sword dances, creative movement pieces and creative dances

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades 4-5 Instrumental Music

    Instrumental music is an integral part of the Junior School experience and builds on music-making skills introduced in grades PK-3. Students choose a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument to study in fourth and fifth grade and begin the learning process with private lessons. Young musicians are grouped into small ensembles for instruction and later, they will also have large group rehearsals with their entire homeroom. Visiting professional musicians give demonstrations and performances for the students. Both fourth and fifth grade ensembles perform several times during the school year. Fifth graders perform their community service by playing seasonal music for senior citizens during the winter holiday season.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Technique (proper embouchure formation, correct hand position and fingering, posture, breath control)
    • Making music with others
    • Following the conductor (stick or hand gestures)
    • Learning rehearsal and performance ettiquette
    • Providing proper care, handling and maintenance to a new musical instrument
    • Fluently reading music notation, rhythms, music markings (dynamics, tempo, articulation)
    • Learning to play in three different key signatures and three time signatures
    • Learning various musical styles

    Resources include:

    • Yamaha Band Student Volume I
    • Yamaha Band Ensembles Volume I & II
    • Yamaha Advantage Volume I
    • Accent on Ensembles, Alfred Publishing
    • Standard of Excellence Festival Ensembles, Kjos Music Publishing
    • Arranged music for young band - various publishers (Alfred, Queenwood, Musicians Publications, C.L. Barnhouse, Belwin, Hal Leonard, Carl Fischer, FJH Music Co.)

    Grades 3-5 Physical Education

    The physical education curriculum in grades 3-5 engages students in a program that consists of developing fitness, sports skills and social development. Both team and lifetime sports are taught through drills and lead-up games. The PE program enables students to play a variety of sports and games where they put into play the skills they have practiced with an emphasis on developing sportsmanship, leadership and team-building. Understanding the importance of fitness for healthy living is a key component of the PE program. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Develop cardiovascular fitness through daily warm-up, trail running and hikes in Frick Park
    • Develop muscular strength and muscle mobility through fitness activities
    • Gymnastic skills and yoga
    • Explore social dances
    • Develop a variety of sports skills through practice and developmental games
    • Play a variety of games to practice cooperation, have fun and develop sportsmanship
    • Body and spatial awareness exercises

    Grades 3-5 Science

    Common themes in grades 3-5 focus on developing an understanding and application of basic science concepts. The International Standard of Measurement is used in all instances of data acquisition and presentation. Through prediction, observation and experimentation, students develop the ability to draw conclusions and make inferences from data sets.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learning to use the metric system and convert between units
    • Making scientific observations in journal entries and scientific drawings
    • Designing a set of procedures to test a hypothesis
    • Communicating in a team to ensure the attainment of a common goal
    • Making inferences based on data collected during an experiment
    • Analyzing data for inconsistencies
    • Apply various coding languages to writing programs for robotics and 3-D printing

    Grade 4 Social Studies

    Fourth grade students learn about the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome. We examine the cultures of each by focusing on the geography, history, government, monuments, education and religion. The curriculum is extended through field trips that use many of the resources of the city, including the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

    Students also complete an interdisciplinary project integrating their study of ancient Greece, the annual Fourth Grade Greek Museum.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Understanding the geography, arts and sciences, home life and foreign affairs of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome
    • Identifying and applying basic map and atlas skills

    Grades 1-5 Spanish

    The goals of the Spanish courses in grades 1-5 are to help students transition from using the language in primarily an oral sense to becoming proficient in reading and writing in a second language, and to allow students to work with, explore and understand the language more independently. We use the Symtalk program, an elementary Spanish curriculum based on a series of picture cards that students and teacher manipulate and rearrange on the SMARTBoard to make sentences. From the first lesson, students are able to say complete sentences in Spanish.The program includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students’ understanding of spoken Spanish grows each year as they become accustomed to longer periods of instruction in the target language and respond to classroom instructions given in Spanish.

    Starting in third grade, students learn to conjugate verbs in first, second and third person, and gradually become comfortable forming more complex sentences. Fourth and fifth graders also use the Duolingo and Sr. Wooly programs, which give them a chance to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at their own pace.

    Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures through each unit in the course. Geography and historical information from different cultures and celebrations become a prominent focus. Many holidays and celebrations are studied, such as Día de Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month, Carnival and a number of other holidays from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary and demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to describe to hobbies, clothing, animals, places, school and household objects, foods, drinks, emotions, weather, numbers up to 1000, family and relatives and Hispanic and American celebrations, etc.
    • Initiating and responding naturally to a number of dialogues and conversations both in and outside the classroom
    • Demonstrating a mastery of the Spanish alphabet including the ability to recall the name of each letter and also relate letters to their pronunciation
    • Developing proficiency in reading and writing words in the second language
    • Acquiring and synthesizing information about different cultures/cultural celebrations to find commonalities and connections to our own cultures here in the U.S.

    Resources include:

    • Symtalk materials from EMC Publishing
    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Sr. Wooly website
    • Duolingo

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

    Fifth Grade

    In fifth grade, students gain the knowledge and skill to become advanced learners in the Middle School.

    Grades 3-5 Art

    Students explore the elements of art including form, line, shape, color, texture, space and value. They develop and understand the principles of emphasis, balance, variety, movement, proportion and unity. A wide variety of techniques are explored: drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, multimedia and sculpture. Students become familiar with different artists and different cultural artistic traditions, while cross-curricular lessons bring together science, Spanish, social studies and language arts. Students display their work in the school, and their art is used at school assemblies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Experimentation is encouraged through the daily use of sketchbooks, where students are able to work freely without fitting into the constraints of a particular assignment
    • Practicing printmaking: nature prints, mono prints and multiple prints
    • Drawing with pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, markers and chalk
    • Practicing skills in ceramics, such as slipping, scoring, and making coil pots and pinch pots
    • Building painting skills in watercolor, tempera and wax resist
    • Exploring multimedia projects by creating found-object sculptures and three-dimensional work that incorporates ceramics and metal findings
    • Understanding and using vocabulary including value, tint, shade, tondo, symmetrical
    • Learning how to care for art materials; knowing their varied types and uses

    Grades 3-5 Computer

    The computer program in the intermediate grades is integrated with classroom and specialty content areas throughout the curriculum. Lessons and projects enable students to build on experiences and skills that were introduced in the primary grades. The program seeks to provide opportunities for students to become 21st century, lifelong learners as they gain and apply real-world skills.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Applying safe and ethical strategies when using technology to be a responsible digital citizen
    • Learning and applying ergonomic strategies to prevent injury
    • Learning proper finger placement for effective keyboarding skills
    • Mastering operational procedures such as accessing, saving, printing and quitting
    • Using a variety of software to support subject areas across the curriculum
    • Using advanced drawing features and techniques to create computer-generated illustrations
    • Connecting globally and strengthening geographical skills through Mystery Skyping and other communication projects
    • Producing word processing documents and multimedia presentations
    • Using secure social media appropriately to effectively communicate
    • Evaluating websites and comparing search engines
    • Creating student-produced websites
    • Thinking logically to complete computer programming activities

    Resources include:

    • A variety of iPad apps and software applications
    • Online resources
    • Children's literature
    • Digital cameras

    Grade 5 Language Arts

    Reading and Writing Workshops are the backbone of the fifth grade language arts curriculum, where students are explicitly taught strategies and skills for proficient reading and writing. Reading and Writing Workshops are structured in similar, predictable ways. After daily, teacher-led, mini-lessons that focus on one or more specific reading and writing skills or strategies, students independently read and write. In reading, students read a variety of genres including: realistic fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, informational, biography and poetry. During Reading Workshop, they work on skills like visualization, prediction and inference with fictional texts, and they learn how to determine importance, interpret and synthesize expository texts. In Writing Workshop, the students focus first on narrative writing, before moving on to information writing, argument writing and literary essays. Students spend their writing classes generating topics, drafting, revising, editing, publishing and celebrating their work. Grammar, spelling and vocabulary lessons are at times introduced explicitly but more often, embedded into workshop sessions.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Reading and writing with stamina
    • Reading with fluency
    • Monitoring for sense
    • Activating prior knowledge
    • Predicting
    • Inferring
    • Growing theories about characters
    • Connecting with text
    • Recognizing text structures
    • Synthesizing information
    • Summarizing
    • Interpreting
    • Reading and writing critically
    • Writing narrative, opinion and informational pieces with attention to organization, leads, endings, transitions, elaboration and craft

    Resources include:

    • Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing by Lucy Calkins
    • Units of Study for Teaching Reading – A Workshop Curriculum by Lucy Calkins
    • Reading Nonfiction Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kyleen Beers and Robert Probst
    • Notice and Note Signposts for Fiction by Kyleen Beers and Robert Probst
    • Sadlier Grammar Workshop Level Blue
    • Words Their Way Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction

    Grades 3-5 Library

    The library program’s priority is to instill a love of literature through its curriculum and special events. Library classes strive to support the language arts program through corresponding lessons on literary elements, author's craft, genre study, reading strategies and non-fiction use. An important part of this support are the collaborative classes with the classroom teacher for individualized conferencing with student readers. Lessons include reading aloud, book talks to promote new titles, and the modeling and practice of strategies for new book selection, fiction reading and non-fiction research. Borrowing time provides a balance of independent library use and one-on-one reader advising. Special events include the annual Book Fair and author/illustrator visit, as well as opportunities for extracurricular involvement in our student book club.

    Designed to equip students with 21st century information-seeking skills, the library curriculum helps students to access, evaluate, synthesize and use information to generate knowledge. Knowledge gained is shared through class discussion, the writing process, visual and media arts, and other emerging technologies.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Appreciating a wide range of literature presented through library programming
    • Pursuing books and information related to personal interests
    • Use of weekly reading logs for reflections on reading habits
    • Identify and utilize important literary signposts to increase comprehension and enable a deeper appreciation for the author's craft
    • Approaching non-fiction reading through the use of a questioning stance, awareness of non-fiction features and the ability to re-phrase acquired knowledge
    • Participating as a positive member of our learning community through respectful discussions and collaborations
    • Gaining greater independence in using the library's organization and using this knowledge to locate and access materials
    • Navigating the library catalog, databases, appropriate search engines and assigned websites
    • Locating, gathering and interpreting information from various sources; demonstrating understanding through research processes or presentations
    • Using appropriate social media for promotion of books and authors
    • Using emerging technology for literature and research based activities

    Resources include:

    • Library collection: more than 12,000 volumes
    • Library resource webpage: online catalog, subscription databases including Grolier Online, access to Carnegie Library system and its databases
    • Multimedia: Biblionasium, pre-selected websites, teacher-created online games, audio books, library related websites
    • Technology: library desktop computers, library laptop cart, access to iPad cart and use of Idea Lab

    Grade 5 Math

    The fifth grade Math in Focus program centers upon the continued building of a solid mathematical foundation. Students learn concepts through visual lessons, practice skills through instruction and activities, and apply knowledge through extensive problem solving opportunities. The course focuses on:

    • Comparing and ordering, and rounding whole numbers into the millions
    • Simplifying number expressions through patterns, estimation and order of operations
    • Rewriting fractions to enable addition and subtraction
    • Applying multiplication and division to whole numbers, fractions and mixed numbers
    • Evaluating relationships among fractions and decimals
    • Using concepts related to whole numbers to solve problems with decimals
    • Exploring the use of letters as variables in expressions and inequalities
    • Solving real world problems using all simple operations as well as algebraic expressions

    Resources include:

    • Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish

    Grades 4-5 Music

    In grades four and five, the music program continues to use the Orff-Schulwerk approach: movement, rhythm, speech and improvisation are sewn into the fabric of the students' experiences. Students meet twice each cycle to learn more challenging techniques and ostinatos on the barred percussion instruments. Good vocal production and learning to sing in parts are also stressed. This course emphasizes hands-on participation and includes a wide variety of musical experiences.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Singing with good vocal production in a classroom or choir setting using a varied repertoire
    • Playing classroom instruments with proper technique with an emphasis on rhythms and steady tempo
    • Reading standard music notation and developing an understanding of music symbols and terminology
    • Listening with an emphasis on form, music terminology and composers
    • Learning what is involved in preparing pieces for public performance, both sung and played
    • Moving to music by learning organized folk dances, sword dances, creative movement pieces and creative dances

    Resources include:

    • Various children’s books, audio recordings, and age-appropriate activities from Orff workshops and other sources

    Grades 4-5 Instrumental Music

    Instrumental music is an integral part of the Junior School experience and builds on music-making skills introduced in grades PK-3. Students choose a woodwind, brass or percussion instrument to study in fourth and fifth grade and begin the learning process with private lessons. Young musicians are grouped into small ensembles for instruction and later, they will also have large group rehearsals with their entire homeroom. Visiting professional musicians give demonstrations and performances for the students. Both fourth and fifth grade ensembles perform several times during the school year. Fifth graders perform their community service by playing seasonal music for senior citizens during the winter holiday season.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Technique (proper embouchure formation, correct hand position and fingering, posture, breath control)
    • Making music with others
    • Following the conductor (stick or hand gestures)
    • Learning rehearsal and performance ettiquette
    • Providing proper care, handling and maintenance to a new musical instrument
    • Fluently reading music notation, rhythms, music markings (dynamics, tempo, articulation)
    • Learning to play in three different key signatures and three time signatures
    • Learning various musical styles

    Resources include:

    • Yamaha Band Student Volume I
    • Yamaha Band Ensembles Volume I & II
    • Yamaha Advantage Volume I
    • Accent on Ensembles, Alfred Publishing
    • Standard of Excellence Festival Ensembles, Kjos Music Publishing
    • Arranged music for young band - various publishers (Alfred, Queenwood, Musicians Publications, C.L. Barnhouse, Belwin, Hal Leonard, Carl Fischer, FJH Music Co.)

    Grades 3-5 Physical Education

    The physical education curriculum in grades 3-5 engages students in a program that consists of developing fitness, sports skills and social development. Both team and lifetime sports are taught through drills and lead-up games. The PE program enables students to play a variety of sports and games where they put into play the skills they have practiced with an emphasis on developing sportsmanship, leadership and team-building. Understanding the importance of fitness for healthy living is a key component of the PE program. Additionally, students have 20 minutes of recess daily and go outside to play year-round.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Develop cardiovascular fitness through daily warm-up, trail running and hikes in Frick Park
    • Develop muscular strength and muscle mobility through fitness activities
    • Gymnastic skills and yoga
    • Explore social dances
    • Develop a variety of sports skills through practice and developmental games
    • Play a variety of games to practice cooperation, have fun and develop sportsmanship
    • Body and spatial awareness exercises

    Grades 3-5 Science

    Common themes in grades 3-5 focus on developing an understanding and application of basic science concepts. The International Standard of Measurement is used in all instances of data acquisition and presentation. Through prediction, observation and experimentation, students develop the ability to draw conclusions and make inferences from data sets.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Learning to use the metric system and convert between units
    • Making scientific observations in journal entries and scientific drawings
    • Designing a set of procedures to test a hypothesis
    • Communicating in a team to ensure the attainment of a common goal
    • Making inferences based on data collected during an experiment
    • Analyzing data for inconsistencies
    • Apply various coding languages to writing programs for robotics and 3-D printing

    Grade 5 Social Studies

    The focus of the fifth grade social studies curriculum is the post-classical period. Students explore the period of history that spans 500 CE to 1500 CE, focusing specifically on the Middle Ages in Western Europe and the Golden Age of Baghdad in the Middle East, comparing and contrasting these two significant historical periods. Using an interactive online curriculum and themed text sets, students survey European and Middle Eastern civilizations during this time period.

    Skill-building activities include:

    • Building historical thinking skills such as locating, researching, analyzing and interpreting primary and secondary sources so that students can begin to understand the relationships between events and draw conclusions.
    • Investigate European events of the Middle Ages and summarize their importance
    • Take a Viking Quest
    • Explore and recreate life on a medieval manor
    • Study the five pillars of Islam and highlight one in a project format
    • Research Islamic innovations and inventions

    Resources include:

    • TCI History Alive! – The Medieval World
    • Story of the World Volume Two by Susan Wise Bauer
    • Medieval Society by Eastwood Kay
    • The Middle Ages by Jane Shuter

    Grades 1-5 Spanish

    The goals of the Spanish courses in grades 1-5 are to help students transition from using the language in primarily an oral sense to becoming proficient in reading and writing in a second language, and to allow students to work with, explore and understand the language more independently. We use the Symtalk program, an elementary Spanish curriculum based on a series of picture cards that students and teacher manipulate and rearrange on the SMARTBoard to make sentences. From the first lesson, students are able to say complete sentences in Spanish.The program includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students’ understanding of spoken Spanish grows each year as they become accustomed to longer periods of instruction in the target language and respond to classroom instructions given in Spanish.

    Starting in third grade, students learn to conjugate verbs in first, second and third person, and gradually become comfortable forming more complex sentences. Fourth and fifth graders also use the Duolingo and Sr. Wooly programs, which give them a chance to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at their own pace.

    Students acquire new vocabulary and explore aspects of different Hispanic cultures through each unit in the course. Geography and historical information from different cultures and celebrations become a prominent focus. Many holidays and celebrations are studied, such as Día de Los Muertos, Hispanic Heritage Month, Carnival and a number of other holidays from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America.

    Skill-building activities:

    • Relating and recalling vocabulary and demonstrating understanding of word meaning
    • Using new words to describe to hobbies, clothing, animals, places, school and household objects, foods, drinks, emotions, weather, numbers up to 1000, family and relatives and Hispanic and American celebrations, etc.
    • Initiating and responding naturally to a number of dialogues and conversations both in and outside the classroom
    • Demonstrating a mastery of the Spanish alphabet including the ability to recall the name of each letter and also relate letters to their pronunciation
    • Developing proficiency in reading and writing words in the second language
    • Acquiring and synthesizing information about different cultures/cultural celebrations to find commonalities and connections to our own cultures here in the U.S.

    Resources include:

    • Symtalk materials from EMC Publishing
    • Teacher created materials
    • Various CDs by José-Luis Orozco
    • Sr. Wooly website
    • Duolingo

    Grades K-5 Wellness

    Students in kindergarten - grade 5 explore unit themes that focus on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Each grade experiences developmentally appropriate lessons that teach skills along with brain-builders, songs and the use of puppets to help reinforce the lesson along the way.

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