The children learn to read through letter and sound identification and develop strategies to be able to blend the sounds together to identify and read words. The children then move on to read leveled books. Also the concept of reading comprehension and listening comprehension are also developed through group and shared reading and individual needs which are achieved through Learning Centers. Learning Centers are designed to meet the diverse needs of the students. Learning Centers allows the student to apply the concepts learned in the classroom through the use of hands on activities and to learn to work together in small groups. During center time the students meet with the teacher on a one on one bases to meet the individual student's needs.
In writing, The children learn sentence structure and are able to write two to three sentences by the end of Kindergarten. The children keep a writing journal throughout the school year.
Throughout the school year the children will learn many new concepts in Math. The students will be able to identify their numbers and the value of each number. They will be able to sort objects, identify shapes both solid and flat shapes, identify positional words, basic addition and subtraction, identify time to the hour and half hour, identify a pattern, and solve word problems. The children also participate in Learning Centers for Math which allows the children to apply the skills taught by using hands on activities and to learn to work together in small group settings. The children will also meet with the teacher on a one on one bases to meet the student needs.
S.T.E.M. means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The children will do S.T.E.M. projects that correlate with the Unit of study. The children will be given material and they will be ask to create an object based on the unit of study and the material that they are given. The objective is to develop independent thinking.
In 1st Grade, a balanced literacy approach is delivered through McGraw-Hill's, Reading Wonders Program. Balanced literacy includes, reading comprehension, critical thinking, inferencing, fluency, phonics, vocabulary, spelling, shared reading, guided reading, and writing. The overall goal for language arts is to provide each child with the confidence and skills to be effective and successful readers and writers. The curriculum is aligned with the Common Core Standards in literacy and writing where students are:
Building a strong reading foundation
Accessing complex text
Finding and using text evidence
Engaging in collaborative conversations
Writing to sources
The curriculum provides a range of diverse print and digital media created to teach the rigor, intent, and depth of the new Common Core State Standards. Through Reading and Writing Workshop the students will be immersed in Children's Literature where connections can be made across the curriculum.
Writer’s Workshop is an effective way of teaching students to write. This model of teaching writing will allow teachers to differentiate and work with students one on one with the goal of empowering them to be confident writers. Writing mini lessons vary from day to day. They focus on different aspects of different writing genres. This may include writing content, voice/purpose, research, mechanics, sentence structure, and the use of higher level vocabulary in writing.
First Grade Math is presented through Sadlier-Oxford's, Progress in Mathematics, math curriculum. This curriculum is based on Common Core Standards. Our focus is to demonstrate math strategies and functions to students so that they will be confident in their ability to be mathematical thinkers. Common Core Standards for math are based on 4 areas. These include:
Operations and algebraic thinking.
Numbers and operations in base ten.
Measurement and data.
Math skills are also practiced daily through Calendar Math activities. The skills practiced include: time, money, word problems, patterning, place value, and math vocabulary.
In 1st Grade, students engage in interactive, hands-on activities that reinforce a concept or strategy learned during whole group instruction in both Language Arts and Math. Centers are produced to present concepts through the multiple intelligences including, visual and spatial, kinesthetic, verbal, and intra-personal. During this time the teacher is able to work with students, one-on-one or in small groups to assure comprehension of skills.
Science & Social Studies
A Thematic/Project Based Learning approach is utilized for both Science and Social Studies. Rich literature is shared as a springboard to learning where students are able to make connections across the curriculum. All units are aligned with the Common Core Standards and Next Generation standards.
Each student in the 1st Grade has the opportunity to become the “Junior Scientist/Engineer of the Day.” The featured scientist/engineer is invited to present a simple experiment or share an activity that deals with anything within the science/engineering discipline. Junior Scientist/Engineer is a family partnering opportunity to provide hands-on learning experiences to the 1st Grade community.
Second grade reading and language arts is a balanced literacy approach to reading and writing. Students will practice and reinforce skills using the Daily CAFE which focuses on reading comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary. CAFE will be centers based where students must complete various hands on and technological based activities in each essential reading area weekly.
The reading curriculum will be guided using, McGraw-Hill's Reading Wonders Program. The program is common core based and will provide students with various types of rich literature. Each week students are presented with weekly themes that introduce reading based skills and strategies to continue building comprehension, critical thinking, and reading fluency skills. These skills will be reinforced in guided reading groups where students will have a more one-to-one approach to practicing these skills on their reading level. Reading stations and technological components will reinforce weekly skills and strategies.
Writer's Workshop will focus on daily mini lessons to improve different components including voice, organization, and mechanics. Modeling of different texts will show students how real author's build works of writing. Students will work toward building writing skills in writing narrative, opinion, research/informational, and personal narrative pieces. Students will focus on steps of writing using the writing process. In this process they will practice brainstorming, drafting, editing, and publishing. After students finish a piece of writing they will have the opportunity to celebrate and share their work in our class author's chair. Students will also journal on various topics with our morning journal three times a week.
Sadlier-Oxford Progress in Mathematics is used as a guide toward building and solidifying conceptual math based skills in order to prepare students for proficiency in second grade math. This text is aligned to the common core state standards. The students will focus on math vocabulary, number sense, place value, addition and subtraction with multi digit numbers, regrouping, money, time, geometry, measurement, and an introduction to multiplication. Supplemented with the math textbook, students will engage in various technology based activities to reinforce skills, as well as, weekly centers for a hands on approach to mathematical practice.
Science studies will be integrated into our reading program where we will cover topics in accordance with the Next Generation Science Standards. We will use Scott Foresman’s Science Program to supplement certain topics and dig deeper. Students will focus on the Scientific Method and the key components of predicting, experimenting, and observing. Science will be presented using a hands on approach. Students will dive into many experiments and projects to support knowledge of many topics having to do with our earth and universe.
Social Studies will focus on a variety of topics focusing on adventures in time and place. Students will build skills in geography and discover different aspects of citizenship. Key topics students will focus on are Family Ties, The Fifty States, Jobs, Money, Trade, Government, America’s First People, Key Historical American Figures.
Second Grade is a big year for religion. We will receive our First Reconciliation and our First Communion. Students will gain a better understanding of the Catholic Church and the teachings of Jesus. Students will engage in many projects and activities that focus on the bible and its teachings, as well as participate in a series of service projects throughout the year.
In 3rd Grade, we will be working a great deal on comprehension, as well as skills such as making inferences, drawing conclusions, summarizing, and sequence of events. Part of our reading instruction will be done using Reader’s Workshop where the students choose a book on their level and are responsible for completing work independently.
3rd Grade will be focusing on writing using complete paragraphs, using the writing process of pre-writing, rough draft, proofreading, final copy and sharing.
In Math our main focus for the year is multiplication and division. We will be starting off with a review of place value, addition and subtraction.
We will be completing a variety of STEM projects that will require students to follow the Engineering and Design Process, as well as collaborate responsibly with peers.
4th Graders as Learners
4th grade is a year of gain for students. Not only are students gaining academic knowledge, but they are making gains in many areas. 4th graders begin to be aware of others feelings, ideas, suggestions, thoughts, and the value of their classmates. The ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively in groups enables student led learning to become more prevalent in the classroom setting.
At St. Mary’s Prep the 4th graders demonstrate the above as we take apart and put together all of the components of the Wonders Reading/Writing Program. Using the elements learned while reading, helps to strengthen what should be applied in writing. Additionally, student led reading extras are incorporated into the 4th grade. These extras include: Eager Readers with the Transitional Kindergarten class, an active in class library run by the students, and our participation in International Dot Day, and Dr. Seuss day.
Our math program instills the importance of applying what we know to what we want to find out. Discussions, voicing opinions, and arriving at answers is often celebrated by classmates. Learning “how to” instead of “what to” causes thinking and the application of concepts learned.
Social Studies and Science
Social Studies and Science pull from math, reading, and language arts, while at the same time instill the valuable lessons that are inherent to both subjects.
4th grade learns about the geography of the land we call New Jersey and how, and by who our state was developed. Maps, charts, people, places, timelines, forms of travel, landforms, and even cause and effect are studied, discussed, and researched. The enjoyment of doing projects to reinforce the above areas is a wonderful way for those who love creativity in the arts to shine.
Our 4th grade science units are aligned with the Next Generations Standards, which leads us to working collaboratively on S.T.E.M. projects with the assistance of our science teacher.