Elementary School Curriculum

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Language Arts:

Our language arts program is created by the teachers to address the specific needs of each individual student. The teachers draw from many different methods, including Davis Dyslexia, Real Spellers, Structured Word Inquiry, and Visualizing and Verbalizing. In the elementary school program, we focus on helping the students gain an understanding of the basic foundations of language - from letter formation and orientation, to building up recognition and comprehension of high frequency words. We focus on helping the students build solid comprehension skills when reading through daily reading practice, guided lessons on story structure, summarizing and predicting, and investigations of new or frequently missed words and concepts. The teachers also guide the students through the writing process beginning with basic sentence structure and building up to full stories and research essays. The language arts classes are often structured with centers that allow the teachers to work 1:1 or 2:1 with students on their specific areas of need.

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Mathematics:

Our math program is created by the teachers to address the Common Core Standards for any given grade level, while building a deep conceptual understanding.  The teachers draw on many established approaches, including YouCubed, Woodin Math, Marilyn Burns, Singapore Math, and Making Math Real.  Manipulatives, diagrams, and other visual supports are integrated into the math lessons in order to utilize our students’ strengths. The math program is created to give students a conceptual understanding of maths and an understanding of how the topics and concepts they are studying can be applied to the ‘real world.’ The math classes are structured to allow for investigations into mathematical thinking, direct instruction on a given topic, and project time. This structure allows the teachers to work with small groups on specific areas of need. The curriculum spirals from year to year so that students continue to revisit foundational math principles at a deeper level each year.

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Integrated Science/Social Studies:

Our integrated science and social studies program is created on a rotating three year cycle that addresses major themes in these disciplines. For the current year, the curriculum is designed around the ideas of structures and American History.  The teachers have created enduring questions with these themes in mind and the students will be completing activities and projects throughout the year that will help them have a deeper understanding of things such as “What is the value of having a voting structure?”  This project-based approach allows the students to investigate applicable aspects of their world while building lifelong skills, such as evaluating information sources, asking good questions, planning and carrying out a project, and self-advocacy.

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Social Emotional Learning (SEL):

Through implicit and explicit instruction, every learner in our elementary school is given tools for developing a robust social and emotional foundation. SEL is affectionately referred to as “Changemakers” at Athena as we believe that each of us has inherited our own unique mandate to be the change we wish to see in the world. During weekly Changemaker lessons, students engage in games, activities and discussions around topics related to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. 

SEL is woven into the fabric of all instruction on campus. From morning meetings to daily check ins and throughout all content areas, students are encouraged to engage authentically and to advocate for what they need to help create their best learning environment. 

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Art, Music, and Drama:

Each student gets instruction each week in all three of these art disciplines.  Each of the programs is designed to give the students a basic, foundational understanding of the  principles for the subject.  In art they work on self-expression, while understanding color, perspective, space, and composition.  Music classes help the students build their rhythm skills, increase their understanding of music notation, work together as an ensemble, and develop their singing muscles.  Stage presence, facial expressions, theater vocabulary, and set creation are all a part of the drama foundations.  All three of these classes help the students find different ways to express themselves and provide creative outlets for our out of the box thinkers and creators.

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Technology:

The effective and appropriate use of technology is an integral part of the lives of our students.  In the elementary school, all students have a technology class once a week.  This class focuses on giving students a new and deeper understanding of the fundamental building blocks of today’s technology, as well as its proper place in our lives and society, with a focus on how things work, exemplified by code development on iOS and MacOS, 3D Printing, micro controllers and robotics.