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Curriculum

Reading at San Domenico Lower SchoolLanguage Arts

Reading is thinking. These three simple words are the foundation of the literacy program at San Domenico. Here, students learn to think—whether they are reading, writing, or speaking. Lessons teach strategies that encourage and empower the student to be actively involved in developing and applying expressive skills. The writing curriculum supports a process approach in which students are encouraged to use their own distinct voices.

Read more about Literacy at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Literacy

Our kindergarten literacy program is a “balanced literacy” program with a focus on these core concepts:

  • READING
  • WRITING
  • WORD STUDY
  • LISTENING & SPEAKING

All four areas are guided by ASSESSMENT both summative and formative. This allows for best teaching and learning practices.

The Core Instructional Programs used to teach Literacy in kindergarten are:

  • Houghton Mifflin Reading, A Legacy of Literacy
  • Fundations, Wilson Language Basics
  • Lucy Calkins Writing
  • Handwriting Without Tears

Supplemental Instructional programs used are:

  • Fountas & Pinnell
  • Soundabet
  • Primary Phonics Decodable Readers
  • SRA, Basic Reading Series, A Pig Can Jig
  • Explode The Code
  • Flyleaf Publishing Authentic Decodable Literature Series
  • Kid Writing

Our Literacy Classroom

The kindergarten literacy classroom also known as the “ABC Room” is set-up and designed to be an interactive learning environment. On a daily basis students are engaged in hands-on and multi-sensory activities. Students are surrounded by a print rich environment which include books at varied reading levels and genres. Students are taught to work collaboratively in small groups as partners and individually.

Literacy Centers

After the group “mini lesson” is taught at morning circle, the students extend their learning by rotating through four literacy centers on a weekly basis. The centers vary from teacher guided to independent.

The activities change weekly to support the target lessons taught each week.

Literacy Centers are designed for learning to be:

  • Fun
  • Differentiated
  • Multi-sensory
  • Reinforcement and extension of new concepts taught
  • Independent, partner or collaborative with peers
  • Hands-on

READING IN KINDERGARTEN

The five essential components of reading begins in kindergarten and continues throughout the primary grades. It is important to understand that “learning to read” is a continuum of stages that are acquired developmentally, not by age or grade level.

The Five Essential Components of Reading

  • Phonemic Awareness: The knowledge and manipulation of sounds(phonemes) in spoken words.
  • Phonics: The relationship between written and spoken letters and sounds
  • Fluency: The ability to read with accuracy, appropriate rate, expression and fluency
  • Vocabulary: The knowledge of words, their definitions, and context.
  • Comprehension: The understanding of the meaning in text.

Reading is taught in kindergarten by:

  • Reading “to” students
  • Reading “with” students
  • Reading “by” students

Reading “to” students using the “READ ALOUD” model of reading is the most important reading activity in kindergarten. This style of reading is integrated throughout the daily curriculum to include Math, Science, Social Studies and Art curriculum.

READ ALOUD teaches and models many literacy concepts to include:

  • Fluency of a proficient reader
  • Story structure (beginning/middle/end)
  • Vocabulary concepts
  • Prediction skills
  • Comprehension strategies
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Genres: fiction and non-fiction

Reading “with” students models and teaches “THINK ALOUD” and “SHARED READING”.

This style of reading teaches and models many literacy skills to include:

  • Directionality (Left to Right/Top to Bottom)
  • Voice to print match using a “reading finger”
  • Comprehension skills (visualize/infer)
  • Plot/story elements (setting, main characters, conflict/resolution)
  • Print concepts
  • Reading high frequency/sight words
  • Phonics/word study skills integrated

Reading “by” students models and teaches “GUIDED READING” and “INDEPENDENT READING.” This style of reading teaches and models many literacy skills to include:

  • Independent/guided fluency
  • Correct phrasing and expression
  • Reading strategies
  • Print concepts
  • Sentence structure
  • Reading for meaning

WORD STUDY IN KINDERGARTEN

Building a foundation for reading (decoding) and writing (encoding) is key to success for our Primary School students. All students in kindergarten, first and second grades will be instructed using a program called, Fundations.

Fundations is as integrated, explicit and systematic program that teaches word study and spelling at all grade levels. The kindergarten level focuses on:

  • Letter formation
  • Print knowledge
  • Alphabetic awareness
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonological awareness
  • Spelling
  • Grammar

Word Study concepts and skills taught in kindergarten include:

  • Recognizing and producing rhyming words
  • Sequence letters of the alphabet
  • Naming all the letters of the alphabet
  • Recognize and produce beginning, middle and ending sounds
  • Fluently produce constant and vowel sounds
  • Produce sounds of basic digraphs (wh,sh,ch,th,ck)
  • Read and spell CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words
  • Identify the difference between a letter/ word/ sentence
  • Segmenting words into syllables
  • Fluently reading (no sounding out) 25-30 high frequency words

WRITING IN KINDERGARTEN

Writer’s Workshop: We are all Writers!

The kindergarten writing program develops confidence in writing, supports reading development, integrates handwriting instruction and provides practice in different types of writing styles as taught by Lucy Calkins, Unit of Study:

  • Narrative Writing
  • Opinion Writing
  • Information Writing

The teaching model in writing is similar to reading:

  • Writing “for” students is Modeled Writing
  • Writing “with” students is Shared & Interactive Writing
  • Writing “by” students is Independent Writing

Writing concepts modeled and taught in kindergarten include:

  • Illustration, labeling and dictation to teacher
  • Print concepts
  • Directionality (Left to Right/Top to Bottom)
  • Developing correct sentence structure
  • Capitalization: person, places, proper nouns, & the first letter of a sentence.
  • Punctuation: Using a period, question mark or exclamation point at the end of a sentence.
  • “Best Guess” spelling
  • Spelling high frequency (sight) words taught to date correctly
  • Story structure: Character, setting, main events
  • Develop details using “juicy” words or illustration
  • Comprehension development: Who, what, when, where, why, how
  • Genres: Fiction and non-fiction

1st Grade

First Grade Literacy

Reading

San Domenico spearheaded a literacy initiative several years ago that is based on validated comprehension studies and practical teachings. These practices were communicated to the faculty through professional development opportunities headed by such esteemed literacy experts as Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, and Ellin Keene.

Researchers have spent years investigating what proficient readers do to comprehend text, what less successful readers fail to do, and how to best move novices toward expertise. Their findings identified comprehension strategies that successful readers of all ages use routinely to construct meaning when they read. The research showed that active, thoughtful, proficient readers construct meaning by using the following strategies:

  • Activating relevant, prior knowledge (schema) before, during, and after reading
  • Creating visual and other sensory images from text during and after reading
  • Drawing inferences from text to form conclusions, make critical judgments, and create unique interpretations
  • Asking questions of themselves, the authors, and the texts they read
  • Determining the most important ideas and themes in a text
  • Synthesizing what they read
  • Our classroom instruction of these strategies is comprised of immersing our students with fine literature, sharing our own thinking and insights as readers, and making certain that “just right” books are placed in their hands.

Teaching and learning of these strategies take place in the following predictable structure:

  • Modeling, thinking aloud, and demonstration by the teacher
  • Guided and independent practice by the student through their reading of trade book publications
  • Reflection and sharing of reading experience as a class

Our classroom libraries are stocked with an assortment of popular and classic age appropriate books that are readily available to them throughout the day. The books are sorted by genre (fantasy, fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, informational) enabling them to make selections based on preference.

Phonics

We use the Wilson Fundations Program that incorporates the 5 areas of reading:

  1. Phonemic Awareness
  2. Phonics
  3. Fluency
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Comprehension Strategies

The Principles of Instruction are:

  1. Explicit learning through modeling
  2. Systematic and sequential instruction
  3. Active participation though multisensory instruction
  4. Repetition and practice
  5. Feedback from teachers

Writing

We use the Lucy Calkin’s Writer’s Workshop Model. Students meet for workshop 4 times a week.

We model writing strategies during the daily mini-lesson. We use mentor texts for each unit of study to guide students in the specific genre. Students work throughout the year to build their independence as writers.

Our units include:

  1. Small Moment Stories
  2. Non-Fiction Chapter Books
  3. Opinion Writing
  4. Realistic Fiction Series Books.

2nd Grade

Second Grade Literacy

Reading

San Domenico spearheaded a literacy initiative several years ago that is based on validated comprehension studies and practical teachings. These practices were communicated to the faculty through professional development opportunities headed by such esteemed literacy experts as Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, and Ellin Keene.

Researchers have spent years investigating what proficient readers do to comprehend text, what less successful readers fail to do, and how to best move novices toward expertise. Their findings identified comprehension strategies that successful readers of all ages use routinely to construct meaning when they read. The research showed that active, thoughtful, proficient readers construct meaning by using the following strategies:

  • Activating relevant, prior knowledge (schema) before, during, and after reading
  • Creating visual and other sensory images from text during and after reading
  • Drawing inferences from text to form conclusions, make critical judgments, and create unique interpretations
  • Asking questions of themselves, the authors, and the texts they read
  • Determining the most important ideas and themes in a text
  • Synthesizing what they read

Our classroom instruction of these strategies is comprised of immersing our students with fine literature, sharing our own thinking and insights as readers, and making certain that “just right” books are placed in their hands.

Teaching and learning of these strategies take place in the following predictable structure:

  • Modeling, thinking aloud, and demonstration by the teacher
  • Guided and independent practice by the student through their reading of trade book publications
  • Reflection and sharing of reading experience as a class

Our classroom libraries are stocked with an assortment of popular and classic age appropriate books that are readily available to them throughout the day. The books are sorted by genre (fantasy, fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, informational) enabling them to make selections based on preference.

The children go to the library as a class once a week where library skills are reinforced. Of course, children are also encouraged to ask to use the library to check out or return books at opportune times throughout the day.

Second grade continues to build on the foundations decoding. This important component of our reading curriculum is taught through our Words Their Way spelling program (see below). It is through the children’s word study of patterns and sounds that phonics instruction is reinforced. Other materials used to supplement our reading curriculum include:

  • Flyleaf Publishing’s Authentic Decodable Literature Series
    • A collection of phonetically decodable books that offer rich and successful reading experiences that bridge the gap between phonetic decoding and fluent independent reading.
  • Fundations
    • A systematic and explicit approach to reading and spelling with phonics.
  • Explode the Code, Educators Publishing Service, Inc.
    • Used to reinforce decoding word patterns in words

Written and Oral English Language Conventions

Students learn to write and speak with a command of standard English conventions appropriate for second graders.

  • Sentence Structure
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization

Writing

Our writing curriculum supports the writing philosophy endorsed by Lucy Calkins, founding director of Teachers’ College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University in New York City.

We teach our young writers that words matter and encourage them to relive and share small moments using their own voice. Instruction is led through the workshop approach:

  • Mini-lesson
    • Conventions, craft, process, and habits of a writer are learned through the study of rich literature
  • Work Time
    • Children express their distinct voice in their writing as they are lead through the process a writer takes to prepare a published piece
      • Begin with a plan
      • Create a rough draft
      • Revise and edit accordingly
      • Celebration of published piece
  • Share
    • Lessons end with a brief regroup allowing writers to proudly read how they “looked at the world through a writer’s eyes.”

Word Study

Building a foundation for reading and writing is key to success for our students. To that end, we have added Fundations to our kindergarten, first and second grade programs. Fundations is an integrated, systematic word study and spelling program that provides:

  • Specific, measurable student learning objectives which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • Fluency practice, vocabulary development, and the applications of strategies for better understanding of text.
  • The foundation for writing with the direct teaching of handwriting, the study of English orthography for spelling, as well as the basic skills for capitalization and punctuation
  • Systematic and comprehensive instruction in phonemic awareness and word study skills

Choosing “Just Right” Books

The Five Finger Rule

  • Find
    • Look at the cover
    • Look at...
      • Pictures
      • Print
      • Space
      • Number of pages
  • Read
    • Read the first three pages
    • Use the “Five Finger Rule”
      • Make a fist with one hand
      • Count the words I don’t know:
        • IF MORE THAN 5, find another book and start again
        • IF FEWER THAN 5, Read on
  • Ask?
    • Do I understand the story?
    • Is this book interesting?
    • Is my reading smooth?
  • Choose
    • If “YES”, read it
    • If “NO” find another book and start over

3rd Grade

Third Grade Literacy

Reading

Reading is thinking... three simple words that are the foundation of our literacy program in third grade. We want our students to think every time they are engaged with print, whether they are reading, writing or speaking. To us, literacy is the love of words...the love of language...the command of language. A literate person is able to connect to the text by continuously monitoring their inner thoughts and forming a complete understanding of the story – text to text; text to self; text to world.

As San Domenico’s literacy landscape is revised and refined Pre-K through 12, we all make changes to our individual programs. In third grade, we have added the DRA, (Developmental Reading Assessment) to determine the comprehension level of each reader. We believe that for success in literacy, it is essential that children have the correct leveled text to read. Matching the correct book to the reader places the child in the position of achieving fluent, phrased reading. A steady diet of hard text will produce more reading problems. It is a mistake to give a child a text that is too difficult...they will never achieve fluency, true comprehension or a passion for reading (Reading the tax code for many of us...we can decode it, but we cannot become fluent or enjoy it!)

Writing

In third grade, we write everyday. We all have a story to tell and believe that our lives are worth writing about. During the writer's workshop, we Collect entries, Choose Seed Ideas, Gather Around Seed Ideas,Draft, Revise,Edit, and finally Publish. We marinate the children in good literature and model writing strategies during the daily mini-lesson. We act as mentors and coaches for students who are learning to be powerful and independent writers.

Some of the third grade Units of Study are

Unit 1: Narrative: Crafting True Stories

Unit 2: Information: The Art of Information Writing

Unit 3: Opinion: Changing the World

Unit 4: Narrative: Once Upon a Time

Word Study

Building a foundation for reading and writing is key to success for our students. To that end, we have added Fundations to our kindergarten, first, second, and third grade programs. Fundations is an integrated, systematic word study and spelling program that provides:

  • Specific, measurable student learning objectives which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • Fluency practice, vocabulary development, and the applications of strategies for better understanding of text.
  • The foundation for writing with the direct teaching of handwriting, the study of English orthography for spelling, as well as the basic skills for capitalization and punctuation
  • Systematic and comprehensive instruction in phonemic awareness and word study skills

Choosing “Just Right” Books

How do you choose a book that's best for you? Look the book over and ask
yourself these questions:

Too Easy Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Too Easy" book for you.

  • Have you read it lots of times before?
  • Do you understand the story very well?
  • Do you know every word?
  • Can you read it quickly and smoothly?

Just Right Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Just Right" book for you.

  • Is this book new to you?
  • Do you understand some of the book?
  • Are there just one or two words per page that you don't know?
  • When you read are some places smooth and some choppy?
  • Can someone help you easily with this book? Who?

Too Hard Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Too Hard" book for you.

  • Are there more than one or two words on a page that you don't know?
  • Are you confused about what is happening in some of this book?
  • When you read, does it sound pretty choppy?
  • Is everyone else busy and unable to help you?
  • Most of the time you should read "Just right" books.

That's how you become a great reader!

For help in finding Just Right Books, use the links below:

Resources

Scholastic Bookwizard

4th Grade

Fourth Grade Literacy

The fourth grade reading program is consistent with the other grades in the primary school in that we continue to use Lucy Calkins Reading Workshop.

Fourth graders will read books selected by their teacher, as well as books they select themselves. Research has proven that the best way to increase reading comprehension is to read a lot, at the right level. Therefore, our goal in reading is to read as many books as possible at the “just right” level. This lead to students feeling comfortable choosing “just right” books at their individualized level.“Just right” levels vary among students and can change throughout the year.

Students will be responding to literature in their Reader’s Notebook throughout the year. Reader’s Notebook entries include strategy work to help support and progress comprehension. This strategy work will include:

  • Making Connections: Linking background knowledge to new information by responding orally and in writing.
  • Questioning: Writing questions down to be engaged while reading to further comprehension.
  • Envisioning: Making visualizations in Reader’s Notebooks helps to create mental images based on what students read. This enhances understanding.
  • Infer: Making inferences involves drawing a conclusion from information that is not explicitly stated in the text.
  • Synthesize: Thoughtful readers deeply analyze what they are reading to make connections across texts in a variety of genres.

Literature such as Kate DiCamillo’s, The Tiger Rising and Lois Lowry’s, Number the Stars are two examples of books we read throughout the year.

Evaluation is determined through teacher guided reading assessments, assignments, and reviewing entries of Reader’s Notebooks. The students set goals throughout the year with the guidance of one-on-one teacher conferring and small group conferences.

Picking “Just Right” Books

How do you choose a book that's best for you? Look the book over and ask yourself these questions:

Too Easy Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Too Easy" book for you.

  • Have you read it lots of times before?
  • Do you understand the story very well?
  • Do you know every word?
  • Can you read it quickly and smoothly?

Too Hard Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Too Hard" book for you.

  • Are there more than three words on a page that you don't know?
  • Are you confused about what is happening in some of this book?
  • When you read, does it sound pretty choppy?
  • Are you spending too much time looking up the vocabulary?

Just Right Books - If you answer YES, this book is probably a “Just Right” book for you.

  • Is this book new to you?
  • Do you understand some of the book?
  • Are there just one word or two words on each page that you do not know?
  • Are there some parts of the story easy to read, and some parts more difficult?

For help in finding “Just Right” Books, use the link below:

Writing

Lucy Calkins, Writer’s Workshop

  • Personal Narrative
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Informational Reports
  • Poetry

*Units of study are subject to change.

The 4th grade writing program is set up to prepare students for what is to come in 5th grade and middle school. Students begin to write less about themselves, and start to learn more about the structure and organization of paragraphs and essays. Students are graded on the following components of writing: structure, development, and language conventions. The topics in our reading and writing programs are closely integrated throughout the year and build upon the previous year’s foundation.

Grammar & Vocabulary

Building a foundation for reading and writing is key to success for our students. We use Wordly Wise workbooks for vocabulary development of multiple meaning words and their uses.In grammar, we teach the foundational elements of the English language such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Our grammar and vocabulary program builds upon the “Fundations” program in grades K-3.

5th Grade

Fifth Grade Literacy

Reading

The fifth grade reading program is consistent with the other grades in the primary school, using Stephanie Harvey’s comprehension strategies and DRA’s (Developmental Reading Assessments), plus other mini fluency and comprehension assessments.

Research has proven that the best way to increase reading comprehension is to read a lot, at the right level. We believe that for success in literacy, it is essential that children have the correct leveled text to read. Matching the correct book to the reader places the child in the position of achieving fluent, phrased reading. Our goal is to have students read as many books at the “just right” level. Giving a child a text that is too difficult will cause frustration, and they will never achieve fluency, true comprehension or a passion for reading.

Students will be responding to literature in their Reader’s Notebook throughout the year, as well as completing book projects. Reader’s Notebook entries include strategy work to help with comprehension. This strategy work will include:

  • Making Connections: Linking background knowledge to new information by reacting, responding and questioning.
  • Questioning: Making meaning through asking and writing down questions while we read.
  • Visualize: Making visualizations in our Reader’s Notebook help us create images in our mind based on what we’ve read. This helps enhance understanding.
  • Infer: Making inferences involves drawing a conclusion from information that is not explicitly stated in the text.
  • Synthesize: Thoughtful readers integrate new information with their existing knowledge to come to a more complete understanding.

Students will be held accountable for keeping their reading logs up to date, and achieve their goal of 13-15 novels per trimester of “just right” books.

Picking “Just Right” Books

How do you choose a book that's best for you? Look the book over and ask
yourself these questions:

Too Easy Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Too Easy" book for you.

  • Have you read it lots of times before?
  • Do you understand the story very well?
  • Do you know every word?
  • Can you read it quickly and smoothly?

Too Hard Books - If you are answering YES, this book is probably a "Too Hard" book for you.

  • Are there more than three words on a page that you don't know?
  • Are you confused about what is happening in some of this book?
  • When you read, does it sound pretty choppy?
  • Are you spending too much time looking up the vocabulary?

Just Right Books - If you answer YES, this book is probably a “Just Right” book for you.

  • Is this book new to you?
  • Do you understand some of the book?
  • Are there just one word or two words on each page that you do not know?
  • Are there some parts of the story easy to read, and some parts more difficult?

That's how you become a great reader!

For help in finding Just Right Books, use the links below:

Writing

Units of Study

  • Personal Narrative
  • Research Reports
  • Research-Based Argument Essay
  • Memoir

Writing is taught four times a week, in homeroom group instruction. We use the Lucy Calkins (Writer’s Workshop) writing program. The program is set up to prepare students for what is to come in middle school. Students learn more about the structure and organization of paragraphs and essays plus research strategies. Students are graded on the following components of writing: structure, development, and language conventions. We are collaboratively working as a team to blend writing and reading across the subjects.


Mathematics

At each level, the mathematics program at the San Domenico lower school carefully balances fundamental skills, problem solving, and critical thinking. The curriculum emphasizes the process as much as the answer. This approach is supported by research, which indicates that successful mathematics students must develop both procedural proficiency and conceptual understanding. The program inspires inquiry and challenges students to recognize how mathematics can apply to real situations that are relevant in their daily lives.

Read more about Mathematics at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Mathematics

Our Kindergarten Math Curriculum is based on Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish. This curriculum is an activity based, child centered, manipulative math program in which the children learn through the five senses. Children follow a sequence of developmental activities, varying between small group and independent work.

The Kindergarten classroom is one in which the children are encouraged to think, explore, discover and experience. Our goal is to develop an understanding and insight into the patterns of Math through use of concrete materials.

A wide variety of manipulatives are used:

  • Pattern blocks
  • Unifix cubes
  • Number tiles
  • Number lines
  • Base ten blocks
  • Dominoes and dice
  • Ten frames and a variety of common objects

Numbers and Operations

  • Sets and numbers
  • Number Representation
  • Counting
  • Compare and order
  • Compose and Decompose numbers
  • Place value
  • Money
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Count by 2s and 5s to 20

Algebra

  • Patterns
  • Number Sentences and Equations
  • Equality and Inequality

Geometry

  • Size and Position
  • Two dimensional shapes
  • Three dimensional shapes

Measurement

  • Length and Distance
  • Weight and Mass
  • Capacity and Volume
  • Time and Calendar

Data Analysis

  • Classifying and Sorting
  • Collect, Organize, Represent and Analyze Data

Problem Solving

  • Build Skills Through Encountering and Discussing Problems
  • Apply, Explain, and Solve Real-World Problems
    • Approaches the child’s levels of understanding in a meaningful sequence, beginning at the conceptual level and passing through the connecting level to the symbolic level. (From concrete to pictorial to abstract).
    • Surrounds the child with the math concept in many different ways.
    • Establishes an environment that enhances self concept and social interaction.

Methodology

  • Approaches the child’s levels of understanding in a meaningful sequence, beginning at the conceptual level and passing through the connecting level to the symbolic level. (From concrete to pictorial to abstract).
  • Surrounds the child with the math concept in many different ways.
  • Establishes an environment that enhances self concept and social interaction.

Articles

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause... (NY Times)

What's Singapore Math? (PBS)

1st Grade

First Grade Mathematics

In first grade, students interact with manipulatives to construct meaning of various math concepts. Students build meaning through the use of games, interactive experiences, and collaboration with peers.

Using the Singapore Math Approach, concepts are taught in a concrete, to pictorial, to abstract progression with an emphasis on number sense and place value. Children are introduced to addition and subtraction strategies (example: +1, doubles, bonding to 10)

Communicating their math thinking is an integral part of the daily math instruction.

Math in First Grade

  1. The year begins with an in depth study of numbers sense and number relations.
  2. Introduction to number bonds and addition/subtraction strategies
  3. Shapes and Patterns
  4. Measurement
  5. Place value and addition and subtraction strategies with ones and tens.
  6. Picture Graphs/Bar Graphs and Data Analysis

Daily math routines include the following concepts

  1. Calendar and time
  2. Money

Articles

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause... (NY Times)

What's Singapore Math? (PBS)

2nd Grade

Second Grade Mathematics

Our second grade math curriculum reviews and builds on the concepts and strategies learned in first grade. Our classrooms are transformed into investigative laboratories in which the children are encouraged to construct meaning in their own way rather than passively receive its meaning. Students experience learning in a non-threatening, exciting, and fun way through games, manipulatives, and problem-solving situations to build critical thinking. Through modeling/crafting, practice, and reflection the logic behind math is explored.

This year we are excited to incorporate the Singapore Math methodology to our teaching, a curriculum aimed to help students develop math concepts and process skills for everyday life and to provide students with the ability to formulate, apply, and solve problems. Singapore Math is known to build a solid foundation in mathematics by focusing on visual understanding, the importance of making connections, the study of patterns and relationships, and the mastery of concepts that each year builds on the prior year’s foundation and extends student understanding. Concepts are taught in a concrete, pictorial, abstract progression with a big emphasis on number sense and place value. Students work towards fluency by learning and using mental math strategies. As a result, mental math skills show flexibility of thinking.
The students are taught the following procedures from which they will build a strong mathematical foundation:

  • Counting
    • Building one-to-one correspondence and number sense
  • Number relations
    • Decomposing and recomposing quantities to see relationships among numbers
  • Place value
    • Creating sets of ten with objects and beginning to understand base ten positional notion
  • The meaning of the operations
    • Creating mental maps of different situations and realizing that there are more than one way to arrive at an answer for an operation
  • Mental computation strategies
    • Strategies for specific combinations of numbers for addition and subtraction based on their understanding of part/whole relationship

Our math curriculum covers concepts that include probability, geometry, graphing, measuring, multiplication, division, estimation, fractions, money and time.

Math instructional materials and textbooks:

  • Marcy Cook Tile Math
  • Marilyn Burns center-based activities
  • Making Math Real (David Berg)
  • Manipulatives – Unifex cubes, pattern blocks, dominoes, dice, cards, spinners...
  • Second Grade Math (Nancy Litton)
  • Math in Focus: A Singapore Math Approach, Houghton-Mifflin
  • Kim Sutton – Kim is a fabulous presenter with Creative Mathematics who has taught teachers the joy and excitement of “hands-on” math. Through songs, dance, and overall original and imaginative activities math becomes a fun and long lasting experience.
  • Mental Math in the Primary Grades (Hope, Leutzinger, Reys, et al)
  • Math and Literature (Marilyn Burns, Stephanie Sheffield)
  • Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics: Grades K-3, Van de Walle

Articles

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause... (NY Times)

What's Singapore Math? (PBS)

3rd Grade

Third Grade Mathematics

Third grade is a big transition year in math. The third grade math curriculum focuses on hands on exploration to build a deep understanding of number sense and place value. Our curriculum reviews and builds on the strategies and concepts taught during the earlier years. The students use a variety of manipulatives, games, and problem solving skills to investigate and explore numbers. The children develop their own understanding of numbers therefore understanding the “why” before “how”.

Math is taught using small group and center based instruction, which allows for individualized support. Prior to each new unit, a pre-test is assigned to allow students to recall prior knowledge on the concept. The concepts are taught using the Singapore Math methodology of “concrete, pictorial, abstract” The students explore the new concepts using concrete materials to help build a solid understanding. The students then move to exploring the concept using the pictorial stage. In the pictorial stage, students continue to use concrete materials as well as drawing their own meaning that may include drawing pictures; using circles, dots and tallies. The students then move to the abstract stage. The abstract stage allows the students to solve and understand the concept using abstract symbols to model and solve problems.

At home please support your child's learning by using concrete measures to model the reasoning behind the computations whenever possible. Beans, buttons, popcorn kernels, cards, dice and other basic household items make perfect tactile manipulative tools to help your child visualize problems and make connections between concrete and abstract thinking.

Texts Used

Math in Focus: Singapore Math Curriculum, Houghton Mifflin, 2009Reteach Masters, Math in Focus, 2010 Extra Practice, Math in Focus, 2010 Challenge Masters, Math in Focus, 2010Daily Word Problems, Evan-Moor, 2001

Units of Study

Unit 1. Numbers to 10,000:
(count and compare numbers up to 10,000)

Unit 2. Addition up to 10,000:
(Add 4-digit to 4-digit numbers to 10,000)

Unit 3. Subtraction up to 10,000:
(Subtract 4-digit numbers to 10,000)

Unit 4. Multiplication:
(Multiply and divide with tables of 1-9 using models and known multiplication facts)

Unit 5. Multiplication Continued:
(Multiply and divide 2-digit and 3-digit numbers with and without regrouping)

Unit 6. Division:
(Multiply and divide 2-digit and 3-digit numbers with and without regrouping)

Unit 7. Fractions:
(Understand and use fractions to represent parts of a whole, points or distance on a number line, and parts of a set)

Unit 8. Time and Temperature:
(Tell time to the nearest minute, convert time to hours and minutes, add and subtract time in hours and minutes, and find elapsed time. Measure and read temperature, and then apply knowledge to real-world problems)

Unit 9. Bar Graphs and Line Plots:
(Make bar graphs with scales. Read and interpret bar graphs to solve real-world problems. Use line plots to show how data is grouped, compared, and spread)

Unit 10. Measurement:
(Solve two-step real-world problems involving the four operations. Solve real-world problems involving metric units of measurement)

Unit 11. Area and Perimeter:
(Find the area and perimeter of figures in metric and customary units. Use concepts of area and perimeter to solve real-world problems)

Unit 12. Angles and Lines:
(Recognize angles, perpendicular, and parallel lines)

Unit 13. Two-Dimensional Shapes:
(Learn about lines and angles that leads to the identification of angles and classification of polygons. Determine congruency or symmetry of figures based on certain properties) aids

Methodology

  • 225 minutes per week of mathematics instruction
  • Classes held daily
  • Centers based instruction
  • Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract pedagogy manipulatives, board work, partner work,iPads, and audio-visual

Evaluation

  • Teacher observation
  • Correction of homework and class work
  • Pre-Assessments before each new unit
  • Formal and Informal teacher assessments
  • End of unit assessments

Supplemental Texts and Materials

  • A Month by Month Guide: 3, Suzy Ronfeldt, 2003
  • Teaching Student-Centured Mathmatics, Pearson, 2006
  • The Marilyn Burns Classroom Math Library, Marilyn Burns, 2005
  • Writing in Math Class, Marilyn Burns, 1995
  • Why Before How, Jana Hazekamp, 2011
  • Math Exchanges, Kassia Omohundro Wedekind, 2011

Articles

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause... (NY Times)

What's Singapore Math? (PBS)

4th Grade

Fourth Grade Mathematics

Math is taught through both small group and instruction and individual support. Throughout the year students practice, review, and reinforce problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Homework is assigned primarily from the Math in Focus workbook and worksheets for extra practice. Each class begins with a mental math warm-up and correcting the previous night’s homework. After the lesson is taught, students are usually assigned work in either their textbook, specific worksheets, or online assignments. The iPads will be used for both in-class assignments, as well as enrichment for students who have completed work or show mastery of the skill we’re working on.

Prior to a test, pre-tests are assigned for homework and corrected in class so that students are able to ask questions and receive help with areas of difficulty. Study skills are a very important aspect of fourth grade and students are encouraged to study for tests in advance. The key materials they are encouraged to use for study purposes are their math journal notes, chapter wrap-up, and pre-test.

Some of the key concepts for the year are:

  • addition and subtraction with three digits
  • mastering multiplication facts -double and triple digit multiplication
  • long division
  • fractions
  • decimals
  • perimeter and area
  • probability
  • math reasoning/word problems

*This year we will be focusing on word problems using the Singapore Math “Model Drawing” strategies. This will help students better understand the various steps in solving multi- step word problems and showing understanding of what a question asks.

Resources

Educreations.com

Chapter Wrap Ups (PDFs)

Graph Paper (PDFs)

Place Value Worksheet (PDF)

Articles

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause... (NY Times)

What's Singapore Math? (PBS)

5th Grade

Fifth Grade Mathematics

Our math class begins with mental math activities. Students work in small groups to figure out the answers. This gives everyone a chance to work together to resolve a problem. It also helps us become more accepting of a different way to reach the same answer.

We start each new unit of study with exploring activities to discover and understand the new concept. Students transfer their conclusions onto paper by creating a model or a picture. They are introduced to the abstract form of the concept only after they go through the process of both concrete and pictorial. The concepts are then solidified through workbook and textbook assignments, projects, games, and use of technology. Word problems are consistently incorporated into each unit in order to challenge students’ critical thinking skills and help them apply the new concepts. We practice “model-drawing” strategies to create a picture of known facts of the word problem before solving it.

Homework is assigned both daily and as family projects. Daily homework should not take more than 20-30 minutes. Students are encouraged to come back to me for help in case they have any problem with the concept. Parents may help with homework only if the student needs a little prompting with the algorithm.

We prepare for our tests by doing a pre-tests and correcting them in class. Students have numerous chances to ask questions and go over the areas of difficulty both during the class and math lab. The key materials they are encouraged to use prior to the tests are their pre-tests, math journal, math vocabulary, and chapter wrap-ups.

Key Concepts

Whole Numbers:

  • Write numbers up to 10 million in standard, word, expanded
  • Compare & order numbers, estimate sums, differences, product, quotients (one-digit divisor)
  • Explain patterns in the number of zeros of the product when multiplying a number by powers of 10
  • Explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10
  • Use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10
  • Conversion within metric units
  • Use whole-number exponents to denote powers of 10
  • Explore positive and negative integers on number line
  • Determine the prime factors of all numbers through 50
  • Solve word problems

Whole Number Multiplication and Division:

  • Fluently multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm
  • Find whole-number quotients of whole numbers with up to four-digit dividends and two-digit divisors using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.
  • Estimate products and quotients (up to 2-digit divisors)
  • Solve word problems

Order of operations:

  • Simplify/evaluate a numeric expression with all four operations
  • Solve word problems

Fractions and Mixed Numbers:

  • Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators (including mixed numbers)
  • Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions, including cases of unlike denominators

Multiplying and Dividing Fractions and Mixed Numbers:

  • Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator
  • Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading to answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers
  • Multiply a whole number or fraction by a fraction, explain why the product is larger or smaller than the factors
  • Find the area of a rectangle with fractional side lengths

Multiplying and Dividing Decimals:

  • Explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is multiplied or divided by a power of 10,
  • Multiply and divide decimals by one-digit whole number
  • Round products and quotients to the nearest tenth or hundredth
  • Solve word problems

Algebra and Functions:

  • Use information taken from a graph or equation to answer questions
  • Identify and graph ordered pairs of the coordinate plane graph an equation to represent the functional relationship between two quantities
  • Use a letter to represent an unknown number
  • Write and evaluate simple algebraic expressions in one variable by substitution,
  • Solve word problems

Measurement and Geometry:

  • Identify sum of angles in any triangle and quadrilateral
  • Identify perpendicular and parallel lines
  • Properties of triangles and quadrilaterals
  • Hierarchy of quadrilaterals
  • Measuring and drawing four-sided shapes
  • Differentiate between and use appropriate units of measurement for two and three-dimensional objects

Volume:

  • Understand and measure volume of cubes and rectangular prisms using cubic units
  • Use a formula to find the volume
  • Find volume of liquid in a rectangular container
  • compare volume,
  • Solve word problems

Decimals:

  • Read, write, and compare decimals to thousandths,
  • Use place value understanding to round decimals to any place,

Resources: Math in Focus curriculum, Eureka curriculum, Merylin Burns, Brainpop, iPad Math apps, Khan Academy

Resources

Educreations.com

Chapter Wrap Ups (PDFs)

Graph Paper (PDFs)

Math In Focus Textbook/workbook

Click the link above and enter the following information:

  • State - California
  • District - Private School
  • School - San Domenico Primary School, San Anselmo 94960
  • Username - pfive
  • Password - mathinfocus

Upon login, select "my library"

Articles

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause... (NY Times)

What's Singapore Math? (PBS)


Music at San Domenico Lower School

Music

The Lower School Music program is designed to develop an appreciation and understanding of music through active participation.Students experience songs from American traditions as well as songs and genres from around the world.Music classes include movement, the playing of percussion and Orff instruments, as well as a weekly focus on singing.

Read more about Music at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Music

Kindergartners begin to express music by learning the skills of musicianship. We hear, sing and play music exploring different tempos, expand our range of melody, and experience loud and soft dynamics. Students are exposed to many genres and given the opportunity to use movement to feel differences in beats and rhythms. We also begin singing melodies and ostinatos (repeating phrase or rhythm) together as an ensemble.

1st Grade

1st Grade

In 1st grade we continue to build our use of expressive elements (more complex rhythms, tempos, and dynamics) to further enjoy participating in music. We will identify rhythms and begin playing them in simple ensembles on percussion and Orff instruments. Many songs we sing will utilize: ostinatos, rounds, echoes, call and response singing, in order to help grow musicianship. 1st Graders will begin to understand and write basic music notation. We will also begin listening and identifying different instruments and use our ears to tell us when to respond to the music.

2nd Grade

2nd Grade

2nd Graders expand their musicianship by: incorporating rests for more complex rhythms, singing, moving and playing new meter, and beginning to understand syncopation. We play and listen more actively and add more sections to our class ensemble. We begin to learn about improvisation and start to improvise melodies. Our voices will encounter songs with larger interval leaps, more parts and more challenges. Music reading skills will grow as we read and write rhythms and pitches.

3rd Grade

3rd Grade

In 3rd Grade we will begin to understand and recognize song forms and use this understanding to explore the musical differences in genres and cultures. We will start to sing canons and two part harmony. Our class ensemble will expand to include accompanying harmony parts on the bass xylophone, or ukulele, to support a solo instrument like voice, or a soprano xylophone. We will continue to work on reading notation and understanding its connection to the notes we are singing, or playing. We will also participate in song-writing activities to create original music.


Physical Education at San Domenico Lower SchoolPhysical Education

Students engage in activities such as muscular strength, flexibility, and agility, while learning how their bodies work and how to keep healthy. Our whole child program encourages individual growth in skills and abilities. Physical education provides a venue for students to interact socially in a venue outside the classroom. With an emphasis on cooperation, community, and respect, students learn life-long social and emotional skills that will help them as they become effective citizens in the greater community. Students also enjoy myriad integrated opportunities with creative movement and dance.

Science at San Domenico Lower SchoolScience

Our program is designed to promote scientific knowledge of the earth, life, and physical sciences, with a special emphasis on developing critical thinking skills. Students are provided opportunities to use the scientific method in the classroom, laboratory, and field environment the campus provides. As students design and conduct experiments, they practice the processes of observation, data collection, questioning, hypothesizing, and forming conclusions. The program fosters scientific literacy and creative problem solvers, as evident in our Science Fair and Invention Convention. Field trips are a key part of the program.

Read more about Science at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Science

September

  • The Sun and the Earth
  • The Moon and the Stars

October

  • The Sense of Taste and Smell
  • The Sense of Sight and Sound
  • The Sense of Touch

November

  • Living and Nonliving
  • California Native Wildlife-Nocturnal vs. Diurnal

December

  • Redwood Forest

January

  • Classifying Animals

February

  • Our Bodies - The Skeletal System and the Muscles, the Heart, Lungs, and the Digestive System
  • Taking Care of Our Bodies-Nutrition, Exercise and Res
  • Garden Program Starts Tuesday afternoon through May

March

  • The Water Cycle
  • Parts of a Plant, Identify Plants on Campus

April

  • Earthworms, Kindergarten Worm Lab.
  • Insects and Spiders

May

  • Butterflies-Painted Lady Lifecycle
  • The Ocean, Tide pools

1st Grade

First Grade Science

  • To foster understanding, excitement, and appreciation of the world in which we live.
  • To "do" science, i.e. questioning and discovering, not just covering material.
  • Effective hands-on inquiry involves a series of steps that builds students' investigative skills.

Topics

  • Human Anatomy
  • Nutrition
  • Animal Classification
  • Weather and Water Cycle
  • Astronomy
  • Native Marin Trees/ Geology

2nd Grade

Second Grade Science

  • To foster understanding, excitement, and appreciation of the world in which we live.
  • To "do" science, i.e. questioning and discovering, not just covering material.
  • Effective hands-on inquiry involves a series of steps that builds students' investigative skills.

Topics

  • Nutrition
  • Germs
  • Habitats
  • Matter
  • Dinosaurs
  • Insects

3rd Grade

Third Grade Science

  • To foster understanding, excitement, and appreciation of the world in which we live.
  • To "do" science, i.e. questioning and discovering, not just covering material.
  • Effective hands-on inquiry involves a series of steps that builds students' investigative skills.

Topics

  • Plant Cycle
  • Animal Cycle
  • Weather and Water Cycle
  • Embryology
  • Senses (cow eye dissection)

4th Grade

Fourth Grade Science

  • To foster understanding, excitement, and appreciation of the world in which we live.
  • To "do" science, i.e. questioning and discovering, not just covering material.
  • Effective hands-on inquiry involves a series of steps that builds students' investigative skills.

Topics

  • Sustainability
  • Magnets/ Electricity
  • SF Bay and Creeks Study
  • Earthquakes
  • Astronomy

5th Grade

Fifth Grade Science

  • To foster understanding, excitement, and appreciation of the world in which we live.
  • To "do" science, i.e. questioning and discovering, not just covering material.
  • Effective hands-on inquiry involves a series of steps that builds students' investigative skills.

Topics

  • Nervous System (brain dissection)
  • Skeletal System
  • Body Systems (frog dissection)
    • Special Project: Invention Convention
  • Healthy Living (food issues and nutrition)

Social Studies at San Domenico Lower School

Social Studies

Our curriculum is designed to promote knowledge in civics, geography, and the history of the local community, state, and nation. Students examine diverse societies and times to develop an understanding of the factors that divide nations, and common qualities that connect them. Our social studies program incorporates music, art, dance, and literature to better understand the story of human events. It is is a relevant way to practice literacy, math, technology, and library skills, capitalizing on experiential learning using field trips to historical sites and observation of government in action.

Read more about Social Studies at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Social Studies

Social studies is interwoven with art in the art room as well as presented 2 times a week in the afternoon. We start the year off with the themes of family, community, teamwork, our state Thanksgiving, Native Americans, and the Festival of Light’s book (Advent, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Los Posadas). The second half of the year we focus on cultures/ethnography and Holidays from all over the world (Chinese New Year, St. Patricks Day, Cinco de Mayo, and others).

1st Grade

First Grade Social Studies

Students will explore various social studies activities through hands-on projects and inquiry based learning.

Community

  • Our classroom community - learning about each other
  • San Domenico community - interviews with school employees, mapping school, historical facts about the school
  • What makes a city - students create an imaginary city

Important U.S. Landmarks and Documents

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Statue of Liberty
  • American Flag
  • The White House
  • Important Washington Monuments

Rainforest

  • Rainforest Characteristics
  • Animals and People of the Rainforest
  • Rainforests Around the World.
  • Problems Facing Rainforests
Students work with a partner to create an ibook about the rainforest using the book creator app.

People Who Make A Difference

  • Biographical Read-Alouds- unsung hero’s of today’s world.
  • 3-D projects of each child’s favorite unsung hero.

2nd Grade

Second Grade Social Studies

Our students will participate in a variety of interactive projects and activities that enable them to explore topics that include:

  • Learning about the lives of actual people who make a difference in their everyday lives and the stories of extraordinary people from history whose achievements have touched them, directly or indirectly
  • The study of contemporary people who supply goods and services providing an understanding of the complex interdependence in our free-market system
  • Demonstrating map skills by describing the absolute and relative locations of people, places, and environments
  • This being an election year, we will follow the process and tap into the children’s understanding of our democratic system
  • Learning genealogy through family trees
  • An introduction to immigration and its roots within the formation of our country
    • We will visit Angel Island’s Immigration Station
    • “International Day” in recognition of the cultural diversity within our own second grade

Family Share

“Family Share” is a curriculum enriching program in which families are invited to come to class and share a tradition, story, travel, or experience that lends itself to our study of cultures, family values, traditions, geography, and world issues.

Here are some presentation ideas:

  • Family trips of geographical and historical value
  • Family lineage
  • Valued family traditions, heirlooms, and customs
  • Music, songs, foods that have been passed on over the years
  • A parent or grandparent’s job or passion

3rd Grade

Third Grade Social Studies

Geography

Extensive Study of Marin County

  • Recognition of the cardinal and intermediate directions
  • Recognition of own city, state, and country on a map or globe
  • Locate continents, major countries, and major bodies of water on a map or globe
  • Develop an understanding of map terms such as equator, poles, and hemisphere
  • Review symbols used in a map legend

History

  • Review history of our community
  • Develop an understanding that many different groups of people helped build our country
  • Develop an understanding of a timeline

Anthropology and Sociology, with direct focus on the Coastal Miwok Indians

  • Develop an understanding that the ways in which people in various communities meet their needs reflects their environment and their culture
  • Review the fact that cultures differ in traditions, values, and institutions

Citizenship and Government, with focus on Marin

County government

  • Increase an awareness that citizens have rights and responsibilities to their community and their country
  • Introduce an awareness that governments have different branches and official leaders through which they make laws, protect the rights of citizens, and provide services
  • Introduce an awareness that public, private, and volunteer services help people in communities
  • Increase an awareness that people have a responsibility to observe and protect their environment

Methodology

  • Project based learning (PBL) using small and large group instruction

Evaluation

  • Teacher observation
  • Correction of class work and homework
  • Marin Share research paper and project
  • Class projects: mapping project, Miwok project, etc.

4th Grade

Fourth Grade Social Studies

Students will spend the year studying the history of our state using the text, Our California by Scott Forseman. Each lesson is previewed with a video clip of new vocabulary words and a short explanation of the lesson, which connects the learning to their lives in California.

The unit begins with the geography of the state and moves into the early Californians, explorers, missions, ranchos, gold rush and statehood. There are various projects and hands- on learning experiences outside the text that relate to the curriculum.

Projects & Events include:

  • Mission Reports & Field Trip
  • Multi-Media California Geography Projects
  • Gold Rush Simulation Game
  • Gold Rush Overnight Field Trip

5th Grade

Fifth Grade Social Studies

In Social Studies, the fifth graders will participate in studying and creating projects based on geography and the history of the United States. There will be various fun projects and hands-on learning experiences to engage the students.

Units of Study

  • United States geography and state capitals
  • United States History:
    • Exploration of the New World
    • Early English Settlements and the Colonies
    • The Revolutionary War
    • Slavery in the New World
    • The Civil War
    • Settling the West
    • The Industrial Revolution

Spanish is offered at San Domenico Lower SchoolSpanish

At San Domenico, our Spanish program seeks to foster a desire of learning another language, and gives students the tools necessary to continue building their skills and proficiency in this lifelong pursuit. Students in the younger grades build a base of thematic vocabulary and acquire a basic understanding of the structure of language in an engaging and interactive way through project based learning and games. Students are prepared to use their knowledge towards conversational Spanish as reading, writing, and speaking.

Read more about Spanish at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Spanish

From Kindergarten to Third grade the students learn Spanish mostly orally. At this age, the children’s capacity for imitation is still very strong, and they are immersed in the language through gesture and mime, songs, verses, poems, rhymes, stories, drama and games. Students learn basic Spanish vocabulary words about colors, parts of the body, nature, animals, clothes, food, numbers, parts of the house, time, family, weather, seasons, days of the week and months of the year.

Thematic units

Kindergarten and First Grade

  • Greetings and salutations
  • Parts of the body
  • Colors
  • Numbers up to 50
  • Items in the classroom
  • Immediate family members
  • Emotions and moods
  • Following basic commands
  • Weather and seasons
  • Listening to stories in Spanish and enacting them
  • Games

1st Grade

First Grade Spanish

From Kindergarten to Third grade the students learn Spanish mostly orally. At this age, the children’s capacity for imitation is still very strong, and they are immersed in the language through gesture and mime, songs, verses, poems, rhymes, stories, drama and games. Students learn basic Spanish vocabulary words about colors, parts of the body, nature, animals, clothes, food, numbers, parts of the house, time, family, weather, seasons, days of the week and months of the year.

Thematic units

Kindergarten and First Grade

  • Greetings and salutations
  • Parts of the body
  • Colors
  • Numbers up to 50
  • Items in the classroom
  • Immediate family members
  • Emotions and moods
  • Following basic commands
  • Weather and seasons
  • Listening to stories in Spanish and enacting them
  • Games

2nd Grade

Second Grade Spanish

From Kindergarten to Third grade the students learn Spanish mostly orally. At this age, the children’s capacity for imitation is still very strong, and they are immersed in the language through gesture and mime, songs, verses, poems, rhymes, stories, drama and games. Students learn basic Spanish vocabulary words about colors, parts of the body, nature, animals, clothes, food, numbers, parts of the house, time, family, weather, seasons, days of the week and months of the year.

Thematic units

Second Grade

  • In addition to what was learned in K and 1st
  • Numbers up to 100
  • Days of the week
  • Weather and seasons
  • Animals
  • Basic conversations
  • Extended family members
  • Nature
  • Classroom vocabulary
  • Answering and forming basic questions/requests
  • Listening to stories in Spanish and enacting them

3rd Grade

Third Grade Spanish

From Kindergarten to Third grade the students learn Spanish mostly orally. At this age, the children’s capacity for imitation is still very strong, and they are immersed in the language through gesture and mime, songs, verses, poems, rhymes, stories, drama and games. Students learn basic Spanish vocabulary words about colors, parts of the body, nature, animals, clothes, food, numbers, parts of the house, time, family, weather, seasons, days of the week and months of the year.

Thematic units

Third Grade

  • In addition to what was learned in previous years,
  • Tongue twisters
  • Numbers up to 500
  • Days, months, seasons
  • Telling time
  • Community awareness: occupations, work-places.
  • House and furniture
  • Means of transportation
  • The city and the countryside
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Alphabet
  • Beginning Grammar: awareness of gender in nouns, action words
  • Spatial orientation

4th Grade

Fourth Grade Spanish

In Fourth Grade, reading and writing is introduced, and students begin to apply the Spanish knowledge that they gained in previous years into the written form. This gives the students a sense of accomplishment and success, because they understand what they are learning to write. After this first step, students begin to write and read new materials and produce their own work, following examples given by the teacher. Grammar is introduced with the conjugation of regular verbs and parts of speech, and students continue learning through songs, verses, poems and stories.

In Fourth and Fifth grade, the students create a digital portfolio of their work, using a variety of iPad apps, such as Book Creator. Each student makes visible his or her learning process in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: writing, speaking, recording videos, and drawing.

Thematic units

Fourth Grade

  • Alphabet and more numbers
  • Introduction of reading and writing
  • Time, weather, seasons
  • Colors, clothes, parts of the body: descriptions
  • Family, house, furniture, food: celebrations
  • Classroom and school: orientation and vocabulary
  • Beginning Grammar: regular verbs, nouns, articles, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, possessive adjectives

5th Grade

Fifth Grade Spanish

In Fifth Grade, students continue the study of Grammar, with the introduction of basic irregular and reflexive verbs. Through the introduction of a reader, the students continue to develop writing skills with a focus on sentence formation and creating their own “stories”. Students continue building upon what they have learned in previous years, adding more detail and expanding their skills, skills which students are also developing in their 5th grade writing class.

In Fourth and Fifth grade, the students create a digital portfolio of their work, using a variety of iPad apps, such as Book Creator. Each student makes visible his or her learning process in a variety of ways, including but not limited to: writing, speaking, recording videos, and drawing.

Thematic units

Fifth Grade

  • Continue reading and writing
  • Introduction of a reader
  • Continue with Grammar: more regular verbs, basic irregular verbs, interrogatives
  • Daily activities: reflexive verbs
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Body: health and feelings
  • Family and friends
  • School activities
  • Nature

Ethics, Philosophy, and World Religions at San Domenico Lower SchoolEthics, Philosophy, and World Religions

Rooted in Dominican tradition, and reflecting the school's mission to teach students of all faiths, San Domenico encourages even our youngest students to become moral thinkers as well as academic achievers. We provide a moral framework for making ethical decisions which guide personal choices and interpersonal relationships. Students apply the values they have learned within the school community and through participation in service learning projects.

Read more about Ethics, Philosophy, and World Religions at San Domenico Lower School

Ethics, Philosophy, and World Religions

Our Ethics, Philosophy, and World Religions classes are centered around the four Dominican pillars of Study, Reflection, Community, and Service. Students explore their own family beliefs and the religious beliefs of others within the Dominican spirit of inquiry, inclusivity, and interconnectedness. In turn, students strengthen and deepen their own beliefs, ideals, and conviction of self. Additionally, students develop character and integrity through reflection, social emotional learning, and community building, and they regularly engage in service and sustainable practices, responding to the needs and challenges of our time.


Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning or “SEL” is the process of teaching the skills to:

  • recognize and manage emotions,
  • develop caring and concern for others,
  • establish positive relationships,
  • make responsible decisions,
  • handle challenging situations effectively.

Read more about Social and Emotional Learning at San Domenico Lower School

Social and Emotional Learning

Research shows that providing students with formal SEL raises student test scores, reduces the effects of peer pressure and bullying, and promotes feelings of well-being and resiliency.

A hallmark of San Domenico is our purposeful focus on students' character development, both inside and outside of the classroom, through programs, approaches and activities that support social and emotional learning (SEL) at every grade level. From the very first days of school, and throughout the school year, our students actively participate in many social-emotional learning opportunities. All of these programs and approaches complement each other, reinforcing fundamental and foundational skills our students need as they get older. Importantly, they support our School’s Social Vision Statement: “We are a community of belonging where students, staff and families are dedicated to the inclusion and respect for all.”

Lower School Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Approaches and Programs:

Responsive Classroom

The Lower School incorporates the Responsive Classroom approach into everything that we do. Responsive Classroom is a research and evidenced-based approach to elementary education that began in 1981, which leads to greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate. Responsive Classroom consists of a set of practices that build academic and social-emotional competencies, and that can be used along with many other programs. These practices help educators develop and enhance competencies in three key domains - each of which enables and enriches the others:

  • Engaging Academics (Teachers create learning tasks that are active, interactive, appropriately challenging, purposeful, and connected to students' interests);
  • Positive Community (Teachers nurture a sense of belonging, significances, and emotional safety so that students feel comfortable taking risks and working with a variety of peers);
  • Effective Management (Teachers create a calm, orderly environment that promotes autonomy and allows students to focus on learning.

Responsive Classroom beautifully complements our four Dominican pillars, and dovetails perfectly with our existing programs. Responsive Classroom allows for consistency and quality at every grade level. All of our classrooms have a “Morning Meeting,” a “Closing Meeting,” teachers all use the language of “Reinforcing, Reminding and Redirecting,” as well as a chime that gently brings students to attention, and they incorporate in-class supports such as “Take-a-Break.” For more information, visit the Responsive Classroom website: www.responsiveclassroom.org.

5th Grade Common Developmental Characteristics (pdf)

Second Step

The Second Step curriculum ranks among the most highly respected and effective SEL programs used in schools today. Students receive Second Step instruction throughout the year in the Lower School, grades K-5. (In Middle School, formal Second Step instruction continues in Sixth and Seventh grades; in Eighth grade, students participate in “Guidance” class, facilitated by the counselors and designed to discuss many of the same topics in developmentally relevant ways).

Each grade level of Second Step is divided into units to teach skills for:

  • Learning
  • Empathy
  • Emotional management
  • Problem solving

Research shows that students who learn to self-regulate are better able to participate and learn in class; students who learn to feel empathy for others are better prepared to manage their own strong emotions and solve interpersonal problems; and students who learn proactive strategies to self-regulate and problem solve are less likely to engage in impulsive behavior. They are also more likely to have good relationships with peers, as well as to make good, resourceful choices.

Families at all grade levels receive a welcome letter from their respective grade level Second Step teacher, including the registration code you will need to go online and make use of the wonderful resources available at www.secondstep.org. This program is most successful with parent participation and follow up at home!

Mindfulness

Our Lower School staff incorporate mindfulness lessons each day into the classroom and during weekly assemblies, including the use of "mindful moments" and listening to a "singing bowl" to learn to focus our awareness and attention. Our LS Counselor provides 8 weeks of formal instruction in mindfulness to each grade level during the year, using the Mindful Schools curriculum: the lessons teach students about what Mindfulness is, how to put on a "mindful body," take "mindful breaths," and many other simple and powerful strategies for greater focus and awareness. We annually host a LS Mindfulness Parent Coffee for families.

Recent research and findings show that teaching young people about mindfulness, and incorporating it into their school day, can bring many benefits, including:

  • Increased Attention Span (creating more focus and higher academic achievement);
  • Improved Impulse Control (helping children self regulate, making classroom management easier, increasing teacher time);
  • Reduced Stress (leading to happier and healthier children and teachers);
  • Build Empathy & Community (leading to a happier and more inclusive school community).

Mindfulness taught in the younger grades provides students with tools of well-being that they can take with them to middle school and beyond. For more information about this topic and the curriculum we use, join us for the Parent Coffee and visit the Mindful Schools’ website: mindfulschools.org.

No Bully

Since 2012, San Domenico has partnered with No Bully to bring additional tools for supporting students in developing healthy relationships, and for intervening when challenges arise.

The No Bully System is a radically effective solution to bullying. Click here to learn more.


Visual Arts at San Domenico Lower SchoolVisual Arts

The visual arts curriculum is cyclical: concepts are introduced, developed, expanded, and revisited. Each child is challenged to create in new directions and acquire more advanced skills—engaging in the process of art and fostering an appreciation of the arts of different periods and cultures. While mastering techniques, students discover and develop their creative talents and cognitive processes. Art is also integrated into other curricular disciplines, giving students the opportunity to connect it with academic subjects.

Read more about Visual Arts at San Domenico Lower School

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Art

Our goal in the lower school art studio is to guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. We hope to instill independence, respect, and courage while they respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation.

Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with different media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression. Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.

In Kindergarten, we will paint like Kandinsky while listening to Stravinsky, use Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night for inspiration, draw with a scissors like Matisse, make pinch-pot and slab ceramics. Some of the media we will experiment with are crayon, tempera paint, printmaking, oil pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

1st Grade

First Grade Art

Our goal in the lower school art studio is to guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. We hope to instill independence, respect, and courage while they respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation.

Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with different media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression. Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.

In First Grade, we will explore Earth Art and Andy Goldsworthy, look at Gustav Klimt and his patterns, use George Seurat’s pointillism for inspiration, make pinch-pot and slab ceramics. Some of the media we will experiment with are crayon, tempera paint, printmaking, oil pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

2nd Grade

Second Grade Art

Our goal in the lower school art studio is to guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. We hope to instill independence, respect, and courage while they respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation.

Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with different media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression. Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.

In Second Grade, we will paint landscapes looking at our beautiful campus, use memory writing from the homeroom for visual inspiration, study the artist and architect Hundertwasser, paint upside-down like Michelangelo, make pinch-pot and slab ceramics. Some of the media we will experiment with are crayon, tempera paint, printmaking, oil and chalk pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

3rd Grade

Third Grade Art

Our goal in the lower school art studio is to guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. We hope to instill independence, respect, and courage while they respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation.

Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with different media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression. Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.

In Third Grade, we will draw flowers on campus like Georgia O’Keeffe, use Modigliani for self-portrait inspiration, use maps for collage, make pinch-pot, coil, and slab ceramics. Some of the media we will experiment with are colored pencil, tempera paint, printmaking, oil pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

4th Grade

Fourth Grade Art

Our goal in the lower school art studio is to guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. We hope to instill independence, respect, and courage while they respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation.

Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with different media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression. Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.

In Fourth Grade, we will explore color theory making monochromatic paintings and warm and cool paintings, try Japanese Sumi-e ink painting, study Egyptian art and hieroglyphics, create a Mission painting, make coil and slab ceramics. Some of the media we will experiment with are ink, tempera paint, printmaking, oil pastel, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and use their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.

5th Grade

Fifth Grade Art

Our goal in the lower school art studio is to guide each child’s creative development and encourage individual growth throughout the year. We hope to instill independence, respect, and courage while they respond to challenges and prompts that foster critical thinking skills and unique idea formation.

Every child is an artist and this special time in a child’s development is one in which we honor and protect their individual creativity. We center our work around various artists, time periods, experimenting with different media, and developing a desire and love to use art as another means of expression. Skills, such as observational drawing and ceramic hand-building techniques, spiral and sequence from Kindergarten all the way through to grade twelve within the visual art department.

In Fifth Grade, we will draw still-life from observation, make European explorer maps, create abstract paintings and sculptures, use digital photography combined with drawing, make additive-subtractive and slab ceramics. Some of the media we will experiment with are acrylic and tempera paint, printmaking, chalk and oil pastel, colored pencil, and watercolors.

Integrating art with other areas of the curriculum is an important part of the art department as we strive to give students another entry point in understanding the world.

Another purposeful part of the art program is the time, place, and community provided to the students for ‘play’ with art materials. This important opportunity allows kids to freely experiment and take their truly unique and individual ideas to stretch their minds.


Sustainability at San Domenico Lower School

Sustainability

At SD, ecoliteracy is interwoven into all of our classes and curriculum. We believe that as educators we have a responsibility to teach students about interconnectedness, patterns, relationships, and the web of life, so that they have the tools needed to create a sustainable world. San Domenico addresses these critical issues in concrete ways throughout our curricula, policies, and campus practices. Learn more about Sustainability at San Domenico.


Technology at San Domenico Lower School

Technology

The goal of technology at San Domenico is to equip students with skills that support and encourage lifelong learning in a global information society. The curriculum provides students with the skills necessary to present information, creative projects, and ideas to others. The objective is for students to use and integrate their knowledge into problem solving and understand that technology is a tool applicable to many settings. Learn more about technology at San Domenico.


Digital Citizenship

In the Lower School, we use the Digital Citizenship program developed and maintained by Common Sense Media. They designed an effective program to, "empower students to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in our digital world." Please visit their website to access a wealth of information for parents of children of all ages. Click here for the full Digital Citizenship scope and sequence and here to visit the home page of Common Sense Media.

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