At the beginning of each school year, students are tested using Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS), Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) systems to determine the course of curriculum for each individual child for the upcoming year. Using the results from testing, we focus on creating differentiated curriculum and custom learning programs for each child. Testing is done again in the middle and end of the year to assess if we are meeting the needs of each student.
Along with the concept of meeting the student’s individual needs, our curriculum pulls resources from many places depending on the student’s needs. Here is an overview of materials and resources we use during the year:
Math: Our math curriculum is taught using Holt McDougal’s Mathematics Course 1 and supplements with Saxon, Moby Max, XtraMath and Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Math to meet the student’s individual needs. In fifth grade, there is also an optional math placement test for accelerated opportunities. Examples of the standards topics covered include mastery of operations with large numbers, fractions, decimals, probability, integers measurement and proportions.
Language Arts: Our language arts curriculum is taught using the Houghton Mifflin Journeys program, the Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop and pre-selected books for non0fiction and literature studies. Examples of the standards topics covered include skill development in comprehension, vocabulary and plot summaries, focus on the six traits of writing (ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions) and their application to several types of writing including narrative, persuasive, descriptive and expository.
Religion: Our religion curriculum is taught using Call to Faith by Harcourt Religion Publishers. In 5th grade there is an emphasis and review of the Seven Sacraments: Holy Orders, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Communion, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick and Baptism. We dive into the richness of each sacrament throughout the year to help students better understand their faith. 5th grade also serves the school as the choir at mass. In addition, 5th grade performs the St. John Bosco play in late January.
Social Studies: Our social studies curriculum uses the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill series titled Our Nation. Examples of the standards topics covered include colonization, the fight for independence, the young United States, slavery and emancipation, the changing West, and the Modern Era.
Science: Our science curriculum uses Pearson’s Interactive Science. Examples of the standards topics covered include cells, body systems and environment, stars and constellations, elements and the Periodic Table, compounds, and mixtures.
Technology: Our classrooms are equipped with SmartBoards and a minimum of six student computers. The application of technology begins to take hold in 5th grade with research projects and papers in all subjects, and with instruction in spreadsheet, presentation, database and word-processing software, including Google Applications. iPads are used daily in math and two to three times per week in all other areas of curriculum.
In addition to the curriculum taught in the first grade classrooms, students attend at least one of the various specials classes each day: