Learning to Read/Reading to Learn
Creating independent readers and instilling a love of reading and literature are primary goals at first and second grades. Our reading program is literature-based, using leveled texts. Small group instruction focuses on developing sight words, phonics and decoding, comprehension, and reading strategies. First graders participate in a book bag program, selecting a book each day to take home and read aloud to a family member. Second graders discuss literary elements such as plot, setting, character, and problem and resolution. They select books to read on their own, sharing their responses with the teachers or the class. By the end of second grade, students progress from learning to read to reading to learn.
Students begin to see themselves as authors who can write confidently, clearly, interestingly, and creatively. Writing workshops begin with mini-lessons on grammar, mechanics, or style. Students learn how to plan and draft a story, how to have a writing conference with a teacher or a classmate, how to edit and revise, and how to produce a final piece of writing to be published by our in-house publishing company.
Becoming Mathematical Thinkers
The goal of our math strand is to create mathematical thinkers who can employ a variety of strategies to solve a problem and who can articulate their thought processes, methods, and strategies. Using the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards, we weave pattern, estimation, probability, number, data gathering and analysis, measurement, place value, operations, and number facts into the curriculum in a developmentally appropriate manner. Students move from the concrete to the abstract using manipulatives such as coins, rods, Digi-Blocks, pattern blocks, and Dienes blocks.
Proficiency in both reading and math develops in the context of science and social studies curricula. First graders measure, draw, and log their observations about growth and change in the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly. They construct bridges and tunnels, learn about inventors and their inventions, and become inventors themselves.
Second graders learn research skills and write reports on endangered species. They take a yearlong imaginary journey around the world, making stops in each of the continents. Along the way, they learn map and globe skills and compare and contrast the geography, culture, and customs in the various countries they visit.