We use a combination of Literacy resources to best meet the needs of our students, which includes:
Teachers College Units of Study in Reading
Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Systems
In Kindergarten and Grade 1 we use both of these research-based curriculums ReadyGEN and the TC Units of Study in Reading to provide students with the foundational skills they will need to be successful in the upper grades.
ReadyGEN™ is a comprehensive English language arts curriculum that will help our students meet the expectations set by the Common Core State Standards. ReadyGEN uses topically organized text sets and highly engaging routines to build students’ knowledge and promote sustained critical thinking. With ReadyGEN, we are preparing our students for everything!
Designed to meet ambitious 21st century global standards, the TC Units of Study in Reading offers grade-by-grade curricula rooted in the Teachers' College best practices and newest thinking. It includes state-of-the-art tools and methods for teaching reading skills and strategies, grounded in the Project’s learning progressions for narrative and informational reading.
In addition to both of these programs, teachers use guided reading groups to provided direct targeted instruction at every child's individual instructional level. Students are assessed formally four times a year to determine their instructional reading level. Their progress is monitored throughout the year through the us of guided reading groups. Students are homogeneously grouped in groups of nor more than six. Their teacher, who has devised questions to elicit information about the students' reading comprehension, tracks their progress and continues to target their areas of need until students demonstrate they have overcome that need and move them to the next reading level.
Starting in Grade 2, students engage in Literature Circles to allow students in groups of 5 to read texts of their interest more in-depth. Students rotate roles so that they have the opportunity to practice different skills. This is also the time that students have to chance to read such classics as Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary and Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell.
As with Reading, we use a combination of resources to best meet the needs of our students:
Teachers College Units of Study in Writing
Handwriting Without Tears
We use the TC Units of Study in Writing to provide our teachers the teaching points, minilessons, conferences, and small group work needed to teach a comprehensive workshop curriculum in opinion/argument, information, and narrative writing.
The early grades use Handwriting Without Tears to develop their penmanship in order to communicate their thoughts clearly and effectively and teachers are also trained in the use of Fundations to provide students phonemic awareness.
For vocabulary development, students in the Second Grade use Wordly Wise to expand their vocabulary and enhance their writing.
For Mathematics instruction, we use GO Math! K–8™ which offers an engaging and interactive approach to covering the Common Core State Standards. Its seamless digital path and Write-in Student Edition ensure that students can access content at appropriate levels of depth and rigor. The use of its technology component ThinkCentral helps the math come alive for our students and offers an interactive component.
Number talks were developed for classroom teachers to engage students in “mental math” through grappling with interesting mathematics problems. Our teachers use number talks three days a week as introductions to the day’s mathematical practice, as “warm ups” for other lessons, or as stand-alone extended engagements with mathematical concepts.
Math Journal Tasks
While students learn how to "do" math, they must also learn how to articulate what they are learning. It is important to provide many opportunities for students to organize and record their work without the structure of a worksheet. Math journals support students' learning because, in order to get their ideas on paper, children must organize, clarify, and reflect on their thinking. Journals also serve as invaluable assessment resources that can inform classroom instruction. Reviewing a student’s math journal provides a useful insight into what a child understands, how s/he approaches ideas and what misconceptions s/he has.