STUDENTS IN GRADES 4 - 6
In the Upper Elementary program students study four main subject areas: language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science. Students have a separate teacher for language arts, another for social studies, and a third teacher for science and math. There is collaboration among teachers to facilitate the integration of subject areas. For example, in language arts, students may be reading a novel that examines life in a time or place being studied in social studies.
As students transition from Lower Elementary to Upper Elementary, they are introduced to a new structure in which they have multiple teachers in multiple locations. They are expected to take on a greater level of individual responsibility for keeping materials organized, being prepared for class, completing homework, and taking on a greater leadership role within the student body. Students learn to work collaboratively in partnerships and groups and are encouraged to be supportive, constructive, and supportive of one another. They have opportunities to plan and lead group activities such as Upper Elementary morning meeting greetings.
Social Studies: In the Upper Elementary social studies program, students explore the historical, political, cultural, geographic, and economic developments of humankind through an in-depth study of historical time periods, beginning with prehistory. Over the course of the three-year program, students will become knowledgeable about the ancient civilizations of the world, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome, the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe and beyond, and the Age of Exploration that began during the Renaissance and continued to spread worldwide for the next several centuries. They will gain an overall understanding of the flow of history, the interconnectedness of the people of the past, present, and future, and the commonalities people from all over the globe and throughout history share with one another.
Mathematics: The goals of the Upper Elementary mathematics program are for students to develop a strong number sense including computational fluency, connect real world numerical ideas with abstract representations of them, develop confidence in their mathematical ability, learn to reason mathematically, develop mathematical problem solving skills, and learn to communicate mathematical ideas. The curriculum is chosen to help students maintain an interest in and develop a positive attitude towards the mathematics and presents high-interest and engaging tasks and problems for students to work on. The math program is largely individualized. Students will spend time in whole group activities, small group activities, and individual learning. Students may progress at their own speed, moving ahead when their ability has been demonstrated and taking more time to fully master material as needed.
Science: The Upper Elementary science program is designed to encourage and develop students’ interest and excitement about science, and it presents a framework for inquiry and discovery to help students answer their questions about the world. The program develops skills and knowledge in both scientific process and content. In addition, students learn critical thinking during discussions about explanations for scientific phenomena and as they confront the question of how we know what we think we know. The program goals include developing students’ curiosity about the world, introducing them to how scientific investigation is conducted, and building knowledge of key scientific concepts in Space, Earth, Life, and Physical sciences. Students will use a variety of resources for learning, including laboratory investigations.
Language Arts: In the Upper Elementary language arts program, students’ reading, writing, and other language skills are developed through an integration of reading writing, and grammar. The many aspects of language arts are interwoven and interdependent, providing students with a wide variety of literacy experiences that model a rich and diverse array of different types of literature and text and allow students to practice and apply the skills they need to be proficient readers, writers, researchers, and oral communicators. It is important for students to be able to choose literature that is the appropriate reading level and inspires a genuine appreciation of reading for pleasure. Students must also be able to read for information, knowledge, and understanding. It is vital that students be able to express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and knowledge clearly and effectively in writing or aloud.