LATER ELEMENTARY 4/5
Our 4/5 team follows State and National Common Core (Math/ELA), Social Studies (NCSS) and Science (NGSS) standards to create integrated, project-based thematic units.
Our team consists of a dedicated and enthusiastic group of master teachers covering the four content areas of: English/Language Arts, Science, Math, and Social Studies. 4/5 teachers meet with each group of students for four to five- one hour lessons in each content area per week. This framework allows us to meet the expectations of our curriculum’s scope and sequence, and to differentiate to students’ needs.
Math groups are created by assessing students early and often in order to close any gaps that exist in students' understanding, and/or help them reach the next level of skills as individuals. These groupings are flexible and may change at any time throughout the year.
In 4/5 we believe that learning potential can only be reached when students feel physically and emotionally safe and respected. This means that, in addition to academic skills, a great deal of emphasis is spent on character development and maintaining a family-like atmosphere. We practice our mastery of our four ‘core values’: Honesty, Caring, Respect and Responsibility, as they are the foundation for our work. We are dedicated to developmentally appropriate teaching/learning practices for our grade level/ age of our students. We know that academic and physical growth accelerates in our later elementary students, and they tend to mature quickly throughout the two years, and so we are also aware that there is still a great need for socialization time, movement and play. Specific lessons are incorporated through team-building and games and free choice time. Furthermore, we focus our lessons on the socio-cultural influences that individuals need. We want them to see the “connection to self” in all of our lessons.
In our academic units, we teach for understanding of content and (again) that ‘connection to self,’ not to simply span/cover material. We practice inquiry- teaching and learning skills by posing essential questions, enabling students to engage in critical inquiry and research while examining concepts across the academic spectrum. We find that as students work on these skills, they are able to apply problem solving strategies skills to many areas of study, resulting in higher achievement and performance on academic tasks and assessments.
We use multiple measures to assess student progress throughout the school year: running records, one-on-one and verbal/conversation assessments for understanding, paper/pencil, homework, rubrics, learning targets, etc. Most importantly, students are asked in each class, each day, to self-assess their understanding and take ownership of their learning.