Curriculum and Pedagogy
The 2/3 team believes in educating the whole child. There is a strong emphasis on assisting our students’ emotional and social development along with academics. Students are engaged in hands-on activities and projects based on the year’s theme. The team uses the State of Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations as well as the State of Michigan Common Core State Standards to drive planning. We begin the year-long curriculum plan by looking at the science and social studies requirements and then integrating the reading, writing, and math lessons to fit in with those subjects.
With academic rigor in mind, the 2/3 students will learn the mathematics and language arts that will be necessary to help them meet the requirements of the thematic projects that they will create. Within these projects, students also are asked to work cooperatively and improve their collaborative team skills. Student academic goals are set with the zone of proximal development in mind. Teachers know where each student is in reading, writing and math; and they know the next logical step for the student’s academic progress.
Reading and writing are taught through a workshop approach. Children read books at their level daily and build their stamina over the year. We use the writing process to teach writing, and students spend much of the writing time choosing their own topics and genre. However, there are times when we study specific genre and use this to drive our writing assignments.
Math is taught to our students using a combination of whole group, small group, and individualized lessons. We practice many of the skills necessary for good mathematicians, including the four major operations, through math games.
Multiple measures are used to assess our students. We use observations, projects, written tasks, and running records as some of our assessments. Students are assessed at the beginning of the year; and teachers use these assessments to individualize reading, writing, and math activities for each student. In the education world this is called mastery teaching.