Each grade level uses a variety of literature and informational texts in the language arts program. The early grades are a time that students learn to read. They learn strategies for comprehension and learn to read with expression. When students have master the “how to” of reading, then they read to learn.Learning to write, first in manuscriptand then in cursive is as important for our elementary school children as learning to keyboard. These skills prepare students to become fluent writers, and writing lessons include healthy doses of grammar and spelling to make literacy a cornerstone of the elementary program.
In kindergarten, students learn to read high frequency words, use phonics to decode one-syllable words, learn special sounds such as digraphs and diphthongs, and learn about print structures such as reading left to right in reading. Writing exercises encourage students to express their thoughts in writing and drawing.Students learn to form letters and numbers in manuscript. Math concepts including measurement in non-standard units, telling time to the hour and half hour, and identifying coins and their values begin to develop. Students count objects up to20, recite numbers from 1-100, and learn about less than and greater than. Students study calendar math.Social studies examine the concept of families, and beginning map exercises focus on the cultural aspects of life. Science introduces students to themes that continue to build over the next three years. Students learn about earth science, life sciences, physical science, and other aspects of the natural world.
Materials used published by: Frog Street Press,Handwriting without Tears,Carson Dellosa, Abeka
First graders continue to develop their reading skills incorporating a strong knowledge of phonics. First graders begin to use reading comprehension strategies to learn about a variety of subjects and to read for enjoyment. Small guided-reading groups are key to differentiating reading for first grade students. Writer’s Workshop continues for St. Thomas first graders and students work on developing narratives that include a beginning, middle and end.Mathematics in first grade builds on the students’ knowledge of patterns to explore place value. Students learn beginning addition and subtraction facts, use standard measurements, and begin to count money. They refine their use of an analogue clock to tell time. They learn about fractions, number lines, and begin to solve simple word problems using a variety of strategies. Logic and math investigations supplement math core knowledge.Science explorations encourage students to conduct investigations through asking questions and observing the world around them. Themes of science include life cycles, matter and energy, rock and soil cycles, classifying objects, identifying the parts of a plant, recording weather, and observing the motion of the sun.In Social Studies, students study the role of citizenship in one’s community, state, and nation. The family’s needs are met in communities, and students learn about the interconnections of people in community. Historical figures and the importance of laws are studied. Students begin to learn about patriotic symbols and important community customs.Daily geography exercises begin in first grade and continue through fifth grade.
Materials used published by:Mathematics, Learning A-Z, Carson Dellosa, Prufrock Press, Scholastic, Investigations through Number, Data, and Space (Pearson) Evan Moore, Abeka, Charles A. Dana Center (UT), and many on-line sources
Second grade students fine-tune their reading skills and learn about print structures in fiction and non-fiction texts. Students spend time with mini lessons on reading strategies and by the end of year engage in short novel studies. Their Writer’s Workshop activities include a wider variety of genres from informational text to poetry to persuasive writing. Students in second grade are expected to use the writing process to publish their writing to share with others. An important emphasis for second graders is learning their addition and subtraction facts as well as exploring numeration through place value and ordering numbers. They learn about equivalent numbers, fractions, and decimals. Second graders learn about probability, create and read a variety of graphs and tables. They use measurement to determine perimeter, volume, reading thermometers, telling time, and comparing coins. Math vocabulary is expanded as students explore the world of geometry, learn about plane figures, and discover symmetry. The commutative and associative properties as well as the relationships of fact families are explored and applied during daily problem solving. In science, students use science notebooks to ask questions, plan investigations, and record observations. Some topics of interest in science include matter, energy (heat,light and sound), the night sky including the phases of the moon, how force changes the earth (glaciers, earthquakes), and how living things are impacted by changes in their habitat. Social studies lessons include the production of goods and services in a community, the purposes of government, the election process, and the responsibilities of public servants. Further, they will learn about culture through the arts, learn about cultural heritage, and compare cultural customs and celebrations. Students will learn the importance of using primary sources for researching such as diaries, first person narratives, and photos. Students use various iPad apps to create projects and extend their learning across the curriculum.
Materials used published by: Houghton Mifflin Math, iXL, Learning A-Z, STEM Scopes, Words Their Way, Investigations through Number, Data, and Space (Pearson) Scholastic, Evan Moore, TCI Social Studies Alive, Zaner-Bloser and many on-line sources
Third graders begin to take more responsibility for organizing and monitoring their learning. In reading, emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills such as cause and effect, identifying text elements to assist in comprehension, evaluating texts, reading a variety of genres, and understanding author’s purpose.Third grade is a time in reading that includes thoughtful discussions based on novels. While students continually have opportunities to practice their literacy skills in isolation, through learning about independent and dependent clauses or through lessons on writing strong conclusions, reading for knowledge and enjoyment are the focus of the reading program. Mastering the multiplication and families are an important foundation in the third grade mathematics program. Concepts related to geometry, measurement, fractions, and place value continue to be developed. Students begin to explore the metric system for measurement, learn about using numbers as a tool through exercises such as learning about mean, median, and mode, and learning about equivalent fractions.Science concepts continue to be explored through science note booking and science experimentation and exploration. Students learn about the planets, moon, and sun. Force and motion as well as simple machines are
concepts explored at this time. Cycles in life and the adaptation of species to their environment are studied in third grade. Students make models of the natural world.Social Studies consider the important contributions of individuals to change society through heroism, entrepreneur-ism, and invention. They will learn about how businesses function, about supply and demand, and learn about factors that influence economies. Physical geography lessons teach students to understand how humans adapt to their environment. Third graders learn about maps, scales, map keys, compass rose, and other aspects of using maps. In government, students learn how government is shaped by the needs of the people it serves..
Fourth and Fifth Grades:
The teachers for these two important years specialize in areas of instruction. One teacher focuses on math and science for both grades, and the other focuses on language arts and social studies. Students have many opportunities to integrate their areas of study during the day. Students see that math is an important tool in science, and that reading and writing are critical in their study of social studies. Novel studies encourage students to form opinions and make connections to their own lives while developing their love of reading. In their writing workshop classes, students experience many purposes for writing. Students learn to diagram sentences and become strong writers.Science for the fourth and fifth graders promotes inquiry-based learning. Students have hands-on opportunities to experience science as they learn about systems. They make models of body systems, study the workings of electrical systems, and even have opportunities to dissect animals to see the interconnections of systems.Fourth graders learn about Texas history, and fifth graders delve into American history through a variety of field trips and educational apps and websites. In math, students expand their knowledge of solving algorithms using a variety of operations. They learn about statistics and probability.Ratios, percentages, fractions and decimals are important areas to master at this age. Geometric and algebraic thinking are developed through a variety of problem-solving opportunities. Students learn to think more abstractly about mathematics, develop a sense of logic, and apply mathematics to everyday situations.
Publications used by students 3rd through 5th grade include: Houghton Mifflin Mathematics, Learning A-Z, Investigations through Number, Data, and Space (Pearson), Sadlier Oxford, Carson Dellosa, Prufrock Press, Scholastic, Evan Moore, Abeka, Charles A. Dana Center (UT), and many on-line sources
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