Phonics- I use Don Potter phonics to track their progress and what skills to teach. You can access this on-line: http://www.donpotter.net/pdf_files/reading_made_easy_with_blen.pdf
Along with this program, I use a variety of hands-on activities such as sound tubs where the children have objects to sound out that match each letter sound. I use many independent activities to go along with letter work so that the children have many opportunities to practice skills in an engaging way.
Reading: I use great literature with authors such as Eric Carle, Don Freedman, Cynthia Rylant, Dr. Seuss, Tomie de Paolo, and much more. In addition to that, I use 3 phonics reading series: Bob books, Phonics Ready Readers, and some other readers I downloaded and printed years ago similar to ABC Teach: http://abcteach.com/
Writing: I use Lucy Calkins: Units of Study for Primary Writing:
The children write almost daily, creating a story and also writing in a journal. We have group lessons that talk about what good writers do and then we practice those skills. The stories are date stamped so that we can monitor progress.
Math: I use several math curriculums along with various didactic tools to make math concrete for young children.
Math Their Way
Bag and Box it Mathematics
Marilyn Burn’s, Math through Literature
Didactic tools included are: base ten blocks, Cuisenaire rods, games and graphing activities, Montessori tools such as bead chains, shape work, matching and sorting work.
Our calendar time that we do for the first 100 days of school is an important time for learning math concepts such as: counting skills, number recognition, place value, patterns, weather, adding, subtracting, and of course the date.
Science/Geography/Social Studies: We cover a lot of these topics during in-session but we also incorporate these subjects as center activities in the classroom. I usually have a theme each month such as insects, gingerbread men, fairy tales, and dinosaurs, where we study an author and do various activities to learn science and other curricular concepts.
Emotional and Social Curriculum:
We use the following curriculum in all the classrooms:
Tribes: Tribes is a step-by-step process to achieve specific learning goals. Four agreements are honored:
- attentive listening
- appreciation/no put downs
- mutual respect, and
- the right to pass
Students learn a set of collaborative skills so they can work well together in long-term groups (tribes). The focus is on how to:
- help each other work on tasks
- set goals and solve problems
- monitor and assess progress
- celebrate achievements.
The learning of academic material and self-responsible behavior is assured because teachers utilize methods based upon brain-compatible learning, multiple intelligences, cooperative learning and social development research. The teachers and administrators in a Tribes school or district also work together in supportive groups. They too enjoy the participatory democratic process and creative collegiality.
Life Skills: These are a set of skills that are taught throughout the year: such as caring, cooperation, friendship, flexibility, integrity, responsibility, etc. Included with the 19 life skills are the Lifelong Guidelines of:
Trustworthiness: To act in a manner that makes one worthy of trust and confidence
TRUTHFULNESS – To be honest about things and feelings with oneself and others
ACTIVE LISTENING – To listen with the intention of understanding what the speaker intends to communicate
NO PUT-DOWNS – To never use words, actions and/or body language that degrade, humiliate, or dishonor others
PERSONAL BEST – To do one’s best given the circumstances and available resources
Here is a link for the Life Skills:
MindUP consists of fifteen engaging lessons presented in three developmentally appropriate levels: Pre-K through second grade; third through fifth grade; and, sixth through eighth grade. The program is organized into four units:
- Let’s Get Focused! (1. Learning How Our Brains Work; 2. Understanding Mindful Attention; 3. Focusing Our Awareness: The Core Practice)
- Paying Attention to Our Senses (4. Mindful Listening; 5. Mindful Seeing; 6. Mindful Smelling; 7. Mindful Tasting; 8. Mindful Movement I; 9. Mindful Movement II)
- It’s All About Attitude (10. Perspective Taking; 11. Choosing Optimism; 12. Savoring Happy Experiences)
- Taking Action Mindfully (13. Acting with Gratitude; 14. Performing Acts of Kindness; 15. Taking Mindful Action in Our Community)
I use Responsive Classroom which is very similar to Tribes. Here is a fact sheet link:
Responsive Classroom website: http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/
For conflict resolution we use I-to-I which engages children to use I messages while talking out disputes. They take turns talking and must restate the other person’s view to show that they understand both sides. After sharing, the children come up with a resolution. The school has a video of the technique that anyone can borrow.
Here is a link for the Friends School of Minnesota (I-to-I):