TIMELESS TEACHINGS IN A CHANGING WORLD
The Beginning with Children Charter School 2 educational program aims to nourish intellectual curiosity and to inspire our students to become self-directed, independent learners. Teachers integrate themes from the core subjects of reading, math, science and social studies into all aspects of the curriculum and it includes technology, the arts, physical fitness, music and other enrichment.
We use an inquiry-based workshop model of instruction for delivery in all major subjects. The model consists of key elements that provide for instructional coherence across the school. The workshop includes a mini-lesson or direct instruction, guided practice, independent application, assessment, and review/sharing. During the mini-lesson skills and strategies are taught directly and modeled for students. It is followed by guided practice with all students. The guided practice reinforces the skills taught in the mini-lesson and provides the teacher the opportunity to assess student acquisition. If students demonstrate basic understanding of the new skill they are sent off to work independently or in small groups to apply the new skill. The teacher observes and assesses student application of the skill and conducts a final summary and review of the day’s learning. Journals, response logs and notebooks are essential tools of this instructional model across subject areas and grades.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
The core ELA curriculum is the Journeys Common Core literacy program. Journeys embeds Common Core-based instruction into every unit and lesson. It is a comprehensive program that provides the resources needed to plan and assess effectively, as well as teach and engage students. The Journeys student text uses the Common Core to engage students and build comprehension skills with materials leveled to ensure all readers receive the proper support and challenge. All Journeys Common Core leveled readers are leveled by consulting author Irene Fountas, these texts apply comprehension skills and strategies from the core lessons and support students at their instructional level. The writing portion of the Journeys Common Core program is a combination of direct writing instruction through common core mini-lessons and student practice utilizing the Common Core Writing Handbook.
We use Math in Focus, (Singapore Math), as our core mathematics program for grades K-5. Math in Focus is especially strong in developing conceptual understanding. It differs from the original Singapore series in that it is also aligned with the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards as well as with the Common Core Standards. However, unlike most programs aligned with the NCTM standards, it does not try to teach every concept every year. Instead, it focuses on fewer topics but teaches them thoroughly so they need not be retaught continually. The scope and sequence is advanced as with the original series. A major focus is upon preparing students for success in algebra. Consequently, algebraic thinking and expressions are introduced early and used frequently throughout the series. This program will be delivered through a workshop model, similar to the language arts delivery system which includes mini lessons, guided practice, independent practice and assessment.
We implement a tailored science program based on the Core Knowledge Sequence and aligned with state science standards. The program is a rigorous, content-rich curriculum which covers physical, chemical, earth and life sciences.
The Social studies program, based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, includes history, economics, geography and civics, citizenship and government. The social studies program provides students with rich subject matter and content knowledge. Students learn about the community, workforce, connections to family, and diversity within and among cultural groups that span across time and geographical locations. Students will learn to critically analyze primary and secondary resources, create classroom presentations, be exposed to non-fiction writing and texts, and learn to make connections with the past in order to understand current events. They will take grade appropriate field trips to help reinforce real world connections with content themes.
Students develop key skills essential to art literacy. Students will experience art and music and have a myriad of opportunities to participate in the creation of art and music instructed by a full-time specialist and artists in residency for special projects. Students will apply their artistic skills and have the opportunity to display their talents through galleries and performances. Classes will also take appropriate trips to museums and performances to enhance their understanding and exposure to the arts.
Students will be taught to apply concepts, rules, and strategies while performing specialized movements in multiple developmentally appropriate physical activities. They will analyze information about the relationship between fitness components and principles that govern their personal fitness development. They will engage in physical activities that meet requirements for improving their health and assessments based on the New York State Learning Standards.