Thrive : Fourth & Fifth Grade

 

The goal for our Literacy Lab is to encourage students to become voracious and competent readers.  In the Thrive classroom, we hope to facilitate a love of reading and a genuine excitement for books and other forms of literature by modeling our own lives as readers, encouraging choice in book selection, and giving students ample time to connect with literature. Using the CAFÉ strategies and a variety of literacy experiences students will work to master the common core standards in literacy.

 

Literacy Components:

Students in Thrive will have varied literacy experiences this year that include:

  •  Read Aloud
  •  Minilessons
  •  Read to Self
  •  Partner Read
  •  Lit Circles
  •  Reader’s Theater

 

Throughout the year students will also be asked to show evidence of their growth as readers through:

  •  Literacy Logs
  • Reading Response Journals
  • Book Talks
  • Book Reports
  • Projects

 

 

Assessment:

Assessment is one of the most integral components of instruction.  In Thrive, students will be regularly assessed through independent conferences, discussions, reading response journals, and literacy based projects and assignments.  Furthermore, each trimester, students’ reading levels will be formally assessed using the Fountis and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System.

Ongoing and formal assessments will be used to inform individual, group, and whole class instruction.  

 

Through homework choices, students have opportunities to develop new strengths in a way that appeals to their individual learning style.  Through self grading, peer grading, and homework reflections, students develop autonomy and accountability.  Students are also responsible for completing one project monthly.  Monthly projects give students opportunities to develop time management strategies, authentic research and problem solving skills, and to involve family members in the learning process.

 

In Writer’s Workshop, students develop writing strategies for narrative, informative, persuasive, and creative writing through prewriting, drafting, editing, and revision.  Students work through the writing process multiple times by conferencing with peers and teachers to enhance content and make editing revisions.  Students are primarily assessed through structured writing assignments, but there are many opportunities for students to incorporate choice and individual interests during writer’s workshop.  

 

Our Math Lab typically includes two days of whole group lessons and three days of small group instruction.  Whole group lessons are dedicated to conceptual and procedural understanding of The Common Core State Standards. Such learning is supported through rigorous real-world problem solving and continual practice of skills. In small groups, students continue to build their foundational understanding of mathematical standards through problem solving tasks, direct instruction – in small cooperative learning groups, and centers. Centers and tasks promote continual mathematical growth, as students deepen their curiosities, apply skills and look for relationships. At the end of the week, we have two shorter sessions, intervention and basic fact practice. These sessions help students deepen their learning while increasing automaticity. Students participate in myriad assessment strategies to demonstrate their learning. These involve daily observations, independent and group tasks, cumulative tests, and the Brigance, our bi-annual standardized assessment. Together, students and teachers use feedback from assessments to make goals for continual learning. 

 

Our Subject Studies merge wonder, creativity and grade level objectives. Our subject studies are rooted in science and social studies, but include cross curricular connections and field experiences. When approaching new studies, student interests are connected to projects through experiential approaches. Studies include a culminating project with supporting inquiry based learning opportunities that facilitate natural curiosities and student driven projects. In a recent study of government, students explored Missouri geography which brought them to our state’s capital – Jefferson City. What is a state capital and why is Jefferson City important to Missouri’s government? Such natural curiosities provided the invitation for our annual field study – Visit the State Capital! As students prepared to visit the capital, they continued to construct knowledge and develop further questions. The preparation for Jefferson City also carried cross curricular connections. In science, students turned their culminating chemistry project, Green Clean, into a fundraiser for Jefferson City, in which students created and sold all natural cleaners. In math, students mapped routes and compared prices for car, train and bus travel while considering factors such as the number of students per car, gas mileage and gas prices. In literacy, students applied their nonfiction skills for research and the creation of state official trading cards. 

 

Community partnerships and field experiences are integral parts of our curriculum. Such experiences provide landscape and purpose for learning while connecting students to their own community. Partnerships and field experiences help students learn how their community works while providing real opportunities for students to learn from and impact their local environment. Preparation for these rich experiences evoke natural curiosities, inquiry-based learning and active research, all of which deepen learning. This year, our studies have included a two-day camping trip to Babler State Park for mapping, orienteering and ecosystem studies; macroinvertebrate and pH water quality testing in Forest Park - through our own stream team – The Soulard Streamers, native plant and animal studies with our partner, Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, musical awareness and appreciation with the St. Louis Symphony, and the annual Eagle Days celebration with our partner, The Missouri Department of Conservation. Later this year, students will participate in the annual St. Louis story telling festival, the Missouri History Museum, and take the train to Jefferson City.