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    Our Curriculum

     
    nLanguage Arts
     
     
    Reading Workshop
     
    Reading Workshop is an environment that cultivates and nurtures a love of reading. It provides a structure to the teaching of reading that is especially designed to ensure that children are given the essentials they need to flourish into lifelong, proficient readers. We are implementing Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study for Teaching Reading from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in our Reading Workshop. Reading Workshop students learn to think and communicate, both written and orally about their reading and to live rich, literate lives. 
     
    Reading Workshop is one component of a balanced reading program. It is comprised of a minilesson, student reading time, a mid-workshop teaching point, and a teaching share time.
     
    Each Reading Workshop session begins with a minilesson in which a teaching point is clearly stated and students are involved in the thinking process as a powerful reading skill or strategy is explicitly modeled or demonstrated. Then the students have the opportunity to practice the targeted skill or strategy on their own or with a partner during the active engagement part of the lesson.
     
    After the minilesson, the students are engaged in independent reading time. Research has found that student achievement in reading is directly related to the amount of time students spend reading. Therefore, Reading Workshop prepares students to be powerful, independent readers. Students read self-selected texts at their independent levels and practice the skill or strategy taught during the minilesson. This text may be a club book, a partner book, or an independent book. Students often write responses to the text in journals or on post-its in order to capture their thinking. This is done in preparation of a partnership or book club conversation that follows independent reading time. During this time, I hold individual reading conferences or meet with small groups of students for guided reading, strategy lessons, or book clubs
     
    During the mid-workshop teaching, I convene students' attention to give a quick pointer to move the readers' work forward. It often extends the minilesson, or it may be a reminder of ongoing reading habits. 
     
    The workshop ends with a teaching share time in which the readers work collaboratively with partners or book clubs. This is also a time to celebrate what the readers have done to apply the skill or strategy from that day's minilesson, as well as new insights or discoveries they have about themselves as readers. Also, students may self-assess their own work as readers. 
     
    Another component of a balanced literacy program is an interactive read-aloud. I read aloud to the students each day to model and demonstrate the orchestration of strategies that characterize proficient reading. The students are asked higher-level questions which lead to deeper thinking about the text. The read-aloud is also a time when students receive instruction that helps them talk effectively about books. In addition to modeling the work of a proficient, fluent, and engaged reader, I also teach students how to have accountable conversations about books. Students discuss their thoughts and ideas about books as a group or in partnerships. In addition, read aloud time provides exposure  to vocabulary, concepts, and text structures. Our read-alouds are also integral to many of our minilessons within our units of study.  
     
    In order to reinforce the importance of independent reading and the use of the targeted skill or strategy from each minilesson, your child may have a specific assignment to complete while independently reading at home each night. A detailed description of the assignment will be sent home on these days. Your child will keep track of his/her independent reading in school and at home on his/her reading log. A reading log is a very valuable tool that provides evidence of growth across time and allows your child to create his/her personal reading goals. Please have your child read each night and record the book title, the level, the date, the reading place (home or school), the page at which reading began and ended, and the minutes spent reading. Your child’s reading log will travel in his/her “My Reading Life” folder back to school the following day. 
     
    Running records are being conducted in order to assess the students for their independent reading levels. The children will select books at their assessed levels as these are "just right" books for them. For leveled book title suggestions for your child, please visit the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project website at http://readingandwritingproject.org/ or the Scholastic Book Wizard at http://www.scholastic.com/bookwizard/.
      
     

    Writing Workshop
     
    Writing Workshop creates an environment that nurtures writers and cultivates their creativity. It fosters students' independence and builds their writing stamina. During Writing Workshop this year, the students will gain the skills and motivation to become lifelong writers.
     
    nnnWe are implementing Lucy Calkin's Units of Study in our Writing Workshop. Units of Study aligns with the new Common Core Standards as it provides children with opportunities to write within the narrative, persuasive, informational, and poetry genres. The children will also write literary essays and review genres of writing in order to prepare for the NJ ASK. Throughout each of our units, I will act as a mentor author, modeling writing strategies and conferring with the students as they move through the writing process. The writing process is the main focus of Writing Workshop. The components of the writing process include rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing, publishing, and celebrating.
     
    Writer's Workshop is a designated time of 60 minutes each day where students become "authors." Writing Workshop begins with a minilesson, or direct instruction focusing on a specific skill or strategy that good writers use in their writing. After each minilesson, the students have independent writing time where they choose their own topic for their writing and have the opportunity to practice the skill or strategy taught in the minilesson as well as those they learned previously. When students have choices in their topics, their writing becomes authentic, engaging, and meaningful. During independent writing time, I meet with individuals or small groups to conference and encourage their growth as authors.
     
    Occasionally during independent writing time we will pause for a "mid-workshop share." This will be a time to refocus the group or highlight the extraordinary efforts of the writers. At the end of Writing Workshop, the students will have the opportunity to share their writing with the class or a writing partner.
     

    Student will also learn to confer in pairs about their writing at different stages of the writing process. They will learn that the purpose of a conference is that partners give each other helpful feedback that will help to improve their writing. Through conferring, the students practice listening respectfully and carefully, as well as taking an interest in other people's thinking and writing. The children will also begin to self-assess their pieces and use checklist as a tool to ensure that they are implementing the qualities of good writing. These practices help to build their independence as writers.

     
    At the end of each writing unit, we will showcase students' writing during our "Writing Celebration." The children will share their pieces with others and celebrate their accomplishments as writers.
     
     
    Students will also learn to confer in pairs about their writing at different stages of the writing process. They will learn that the purpose of a conference is that partners give each other helpful feedback that will help to improve their writing. Through conferring, the students practice listening respectfully and carefully, as well as taking an interest in other people's thinking and writing.


    Word Study
     
    nThe children will gain word study skills through a variety of strategies in order to decode and recognize patterns within words. Students will study new words each week by sorting them according to their patterns, searching for words that follow similar patterns, and participating in various activities and games that will help them to learn how to spell their words. The children will also be introduced to and work with three high frequency words each week. Once students are secure with all of their high frequency words, they will practice spelling misspelled words from their writing. These words are recorded on their "Words I Need to Learn to Spell" list in their writer's folder.
     
    nMath
     
     
    Our curriculum is aligned with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for mathematics. It is designed to develop students' abilities and motivate them to become lifelong critical thinkers and problem solvers.  Our curriculum is organized around skills in five content clusters: Operations & Algebraic Thinking, Number in Base Ten, Fractions, Geometry, and Measurement & Data.

    Math in Focus: Singapore Math is a tool that will be used to teach these content clusters using a problem solving approach while embedding the mathematical process skills (problem solving, communication, connections, reasoning, and representation) into the daily teaching and learning. This tool focuses on building problem solving skills and an in-depth understanding of essential math skills. Topics will be taught in depth to mastery, so they will build from year to year across grade levels. Math in Focus is highly visual, following a pictorial approach. Students will use physical objects to demonstrate how to solve equations. They will draw diagrams of concepts and utilize model drawing strategies to solve and better understand both routine and non-routine problems. The pictorial approach allows students to have a tactile experience as opposed to having to imagine the problem in their heads. When the students diagram the elements of a word problem, they develop a strong understanding of why a solution works. Students will practice and maintain skills through engaging, hands-on activities that are open-ended and allow for differentiation. The students have the opportunity to work on motivating math-challenge activities in order to nurture their high-level thinking skills. They will also work on their fluency and accuracy of basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts this year.   

     
    Science
     
    nAn inquiry-based approach is used to teach science. The students acquire scientific knowledge using the scientific method during "hands-on" investigations. Students explore their own questions, and hypotheses, make and record observations, analyze their data, and draw evidence-based conclusions. Our Interactive Science Notebooks help students to reflect on concepts they are learning. We will focus on the content areas of Magnetism/Electricity and Plant Growth and Development in third grade.
     
     
    Social Studies
     
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    * Map Skills Unit: The children will gain a deeper understanding of their location in the town, state, country, continent, and world. They will learn to interpret and utilize different types of maps, which is an important life skill. The children will also learn about the geography of the United States.

    *Montgomery Township Unit: The children will learn about the history of Montgomery Township and how it changed over time.

     *New Jersey Unit: The students will learn about the land and resources of each of New Jersey's regions
    and how it affects the way of life for the people who live there.

     

    * Lenape Unit: The children will gain an understanding of the Lenni-Lenape culture and how they learned to adapt to their environment.

     

    * This knowledge is vital to being a contributing citizen of a global society.