Our teachers who teach Kindergarten through Grade 5 use Teachers College Reading and Writing Workshop. Our goal is to help our students become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. We use the workshop model to allow our teachers to demonstrate the level of proficiency the students should reach for.
Quarterly Reading Assessements
Also, to target student's individual strengths and needs, our teachers assess their reading levels quarterly using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System. The students are tested for fluency, errors, self-corrections as well as reading comprehension. A calculation of these results will determine whether the level a student is tested at will be considered his/her Independent Level of Instructional Level. Guided reading groups are devised by placing children with similart/same Instructional levels.
Those results are used to create homogenous groups where students participate in Guided Reading Groups where they are assisgned to small groups in which a teacher supports each reader's development of systems of strategic actions for processing new texts at increasingly challenging levels of difficulty. The groups are fluid and change as each of the students' ability level changes thereby allowing students to progress at their own pace.
As with reading, we use a combination of resources to best meet the needs of our students. We use the Teachers College Units of Writing with all grades. Fundations is used in the early grades to develop spelling and penmanship. For vocabulary development, Wordly Wise is used in grades 2-5. It expands students’ background knowledge and academic vocabulary, while emphasizing 21st century learning practices such as argumentation, analytic reasoning, reading to find evidence, oral discussion, and writing. Units are each organized around a central question and offer a variety of texts, word-learning activities, writing tasks, and discussion/debate opportunities.
The Singapore math method is focused on mastery, which is achieved through intentional sequencing of concepts. Some of the key features of the approach include the CPA (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract) progression, number bonds, bar modeling, and mental math. Students must think through concepts and apply them in new ways from the very start. Since they can’t rely on simple replication, students are pushed to greater engagement and broader thinking.
To supplement the standard math curriculum, teachers use Number Talks on designated days to increase computational fluency and engage students in productive struggle. Number talks are brief discussions (5–15 minutes) that focus on student solutions for a single, carefully chosen mental math computation problem. Students share their different mental math processes aloud while the teacher records their thinking visually on a chart or board.