Curriculum

 

Mathematics

Singapore Math

Singapore Math focuses on the mastery of a limited number of concepts each school year.  They teach the how and why of foundational math through the use of manipulatives.  Students start with the concrete (disks, markers, balloons, etc.) to learn the concept.  Then they move to the pictorial stage, where the picture is presented to them or they draw the picture to help represent the problem.  Finally, students move to the abstract phase, understanding the problem without the use of manipulatives.  The country of Singapore, where Singapore Math comes from, has been ranked among the best mathematically since 1995.  Students who were taught Singapore Math in the US have an equivalent of one month’s gain over other students.  

 

Reading

English Language Arts (K-3) - Spalding

Aligned to Arizona State Standards and therefore appropriate for Kaleidoscope, Spalding instruction is explicit, interactive, diagnostic, and multi-sensory. Teachers model, coach, and provide support as needed; students articulate, reflect, and explore new concepts. Careful daily observation of student progress enables teachers to differentiate instruction to meet student needs. Students see, hear, say, and write using all channels to the brain to enhance retention. All elements of the language are integrated in spelling, writing, and reading lessons. The kindergarten through to third-grade curricula is structured, sequential, and cumulative.

 

Phonemic awareness, systemic phonics, high-frequency vocabulary are taught in spelling. In the writing lesson, the same high-frequency words are used to teach word meanings, usage, word parts, grammar, and composition. In the reading lesson, students learn the attributes of fine literature, the structure of narrative and expository text, fluency, listening and reading comprehension. They learn to monitor their comprehension while reading, to make connections with prior knowledge and the text, to predict word meanings, type of writing, outcomes and so forth. They learn to reorganize (reformat) the information in text and use it to mentally summarize to enhance comprehension.  

English Language Arts 4-8:

From 4th to 8th grade, Kaleidoscope will be using Excellence in Writing for the Writing program, Easy Grammar for Grammar, Wordly Wise for Spelling, and Core Knowledge for the Reading suggestions.  To supplement the curriculum, teachers are encouraged to incorporate additional instructional materials.  Novel studies are an excellent way to integrate different core subjects.  Teachers will encourage outside reading through the use of book reports. 

 

Excellence in Writing is a structured, sequential methodology, which builds on the principles of learning by imitation. Listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cognitive thinking are integrated into each lesson.  Easy Grammar uses the prepositional approach combined with effective strategies. This helps students to understand grammar, a tool for speaking and writing properly.  Wordly Wise builds vocabulary for students to prepare them for content learning.  This is done through exploration of the word, where it came from (Latin and Greek based), its multiple meanings and uses.  Starting in 4th grade, students will use the recommended reading material from Core Knowledge for their reading program.  This program incorporates fiction and non-fiction, classical and modern stories, short stories and novels. 

 

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum are generated from Core Knowledge, which uses a spiral method of teaching, where the content is taught in one grade at that level and then revisited again three years later, with more details and age-appropriate content.  Core Knowledge has the advantage that the curriculum is there, but the lessons are not.  Teachers are allowed creativity in creating their own lessons based on the curriculum.

Social Studies will incorporate hands-on activities to enrich the students’ academic learning, by ensuring real-life relevance and retention.  Through role-play, simulations, guest speakers, field trips, etc., Kaleidoscope will bring history to life.  The teachers and students will dress up and role play history.  

 

Science

The Science curriculum are generated from Core Knowledge, which uses a spiral method of teaching, where the content is taught in one grade at that level and then revisited again three years later, with more details and age-appropriate content.  Core Knowledge has the advantage that the curriculum is there, but the lessons are not.  Teachers are allowed creativity in creating their own lessons based on the curriculum.

In Science, students will perform experiments and participate in activities to learn about the science units. From kindergarten through 8th grade, students learn about the scientific method and inquiry process through an annual science fair where all students participate.  Field trips and community involvement is core to our Science curriculum and is one of our fundamental elements to the program of instruction.

 

Structured Play

Kaleidoscope School will incorporate at least one lesson for every thematic unit with a structured play-based curriculum.  Play provides opportunities for growth in cognitive, social, emotional, and physical domains.  Students learn cognitive skills, problem solving skills, creativity, compromising, and self-regulation. 

 

As students’ progress at Kaleidoscope, structured play will take on different forms.  For example, in Kindergarten and 1st grade, teachers will utilize dolls and trucks to reinforce skills being taught. The dolls will not only be used to reinforce social emotional skills, they will also be used to count fingers, to recreate a historical scene, and to bring a story to life.  Trucks will be used to help solve science experiments and do math by counting the tires. 

 

By 2nd and 3rd grade, the structured play will transition to looking more like a scavenger hunt, finding clues.  The students will walk into class, ready to learn a thematic unit about Rome.  Students will be given clues that they must solve in order to get to the next major event that happened during that time.  4th and 5th graders will have their classroom transformed to represent a historical period in which students have opportunities to explore books about that event, touch artifacts, write letters, draw pictures of the event. 

 

Finally, in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, structured play will incorporate technology; taking the current popular video game and incorporating math and science into that game, following up with some hands-on activity to end the unit.  The goal of the structured play is to utilize developmentally appropriate play at each grade so that students higher order thinking skills as well as incorporate social skills.

 

Exploratorium

In each grade’s weekly schedule, there will be time dedicated to Exploratorium.  Social Studies and Science need extra time, especially when doing a play or performing an experiment.  The Exploratorium time will be dedicated to this type of enrichment. As the units are integrated, this time may also be considered extra English Language Arts or Math time as well.  

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