The Units of Study in Reading and Writing
At the heart of our literacy curriculum is the deep-rooted belief that learners are unique, and in turn, our approach to the teaching and learning of reading and writing should live in a workshop environment that embraces individuality and independence. Our adoption of the Units of Study in Reading and Writing and our partnership with Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project supports our core beliefs. Units in reading and writing, as well as phonics, complement one another throughout the school year. As students are studying characters in their fiction books during Reader’s Workshop, for example, they are simultaneously engaging in a study to develop some of those same ideas as they craft their own narrative stories in Writer’s Workshop. We develop as stronger writers when we read and stronger readers as we write!
At Davis, we ensure our core values and beliefs in literacy learning are alive every day in our workshop environments.
- Students read and write - every day - with a goal of building and monitoring volume and stamina.
- We seek to nurture lifelong confident readers and writers, cultivating and celebrating independence, choice and growth.
- Our workshop is designed to support individualized learning - we know our kids really well and use data to plan instruction to children’s strengths and needs with responsive teaching practices.
- Conferring and small group learning structures best support personalized learning opportunities for high-quality feedback.
- We value collaboration and partnership work within our classroom communities - students support each other in meeting their individual and collective goals.
- Students have and know their goals as growing readers and writers, with ample opportunities for self-assessment and reflection.
- Our routines are simple and predictable - maximizing efficiency and time for engagement.
Mathematics - TERC Investigations 3
Our elementary mathematics curriculum is guided by the structure in TERC Investigations 3, which brings rigor and coherence to our K-5 program. Adopted districtwide in September 2016 based on a year-long review by our district mathematics committee, Investigations aligns strongly to our deep-rooted beliefs about the teaching and learning of mathematics. We believe that our students need to build strong number sense at this critical stage in their lives, setting them up for deep understanding of mathematics at the secondary level. We aim to nurture flexible mathematicians who approach numbers and problems in a variety of ways and represent their thinking creatively in oral and written form. Investigations 3 provides our students daily opportunities to not only engage with standards-based mathematical content, but also the Mathematical Practice Standards, of which put the “how” we learn mathematics on equal footing with the “what” we are learning. Students have opportunities to encounter challenging problems and persevere, construct mathematical arguments and engage in discourse, as well as experiment with a variety of tools and models for representing their thinking.
Through these open-ended explorations, along with active discourse and opportunities for reflection, knowledge and understanding are nurtured and emerge. Investigations 3 is fully aligned to both the content and practice standards of the Common Core, with great emphasis on building student understanding of concepts. As Investigations states, “Making sense of mathematics is the heart of the work, for students and teachers.”
Mathematics - Contexts for Learning
Specially designed units and investigations created by the Math in the City team enhance our core mathematics curriculum, as we adopt select units in the Contexts for Learning Mathematics (CFLM) Series. Each grade’s yearly curriculum builds in opportunities to engage with these rigorous and super engaging supplemental units that allow our mathematics workshop environments to come alive! As described by the CFLM team, “Rich, authentic contexts provide a backdrop for fostering the use of mathematical models as thinking tools, tenacious problem solving, and the reading and writing of mathematical arguments and justifications to ensure the development of a positive growth mindset.” These open investigations “allow children to engage in mathematizing in a variety of ways,” recognizing that mathematical growth is achieved progressively and comes to each learner uniquely.
When you walk into a mathematics classroom engaged in one of these multi-day journeys, whether a 2nd grade class measuring for an upcoming art show or a 4th grade class exploring fractions through sub sandwiches shared on a field trip, students are doing a lot of the following - talking, listening writing, drawing, and revising their thinking as our contexts evolve. The Mathematical Practice Standards, again, are nurtured strongly in these supplemental adventures.
Phonics and Word Study - Fundations (K-2)
Our K-2 literacy block is supplemented by Fundations, a multi-sensory structured language program building foundational skills in phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and more. Aligned to state literacy standards, Fundations provides our K-2 students an integrated support, alongside our Units of Study. The systematic approach provides a balanced opportunity to meet the needs of different readers in our classrooms through an active and multi-sensory approach.
What is C.A.M.P.E.L.?
Everyone keeps saying this word - CAMPEL? What does that mean? Well, C.A.M.P.E.L. stands for Computers, Art, Music, Physical Education, and Library. Every day, our students engage in special programming with our CAMPEL staff members. At Davis, we run on a six-day rotational schedule - our A-F schedule. When your child says, "It's B-Day today. I need to wear sneakers because we have gym!", you'll know what s/he is talking about. Within one cycle, students will have a daily "special", with each discipline once per cycle, except for Physical Education (twice per cycle). Students also have additional CAMPEL time once per cycle when teachers meet for their collaborative planning time. So, that's a bonus 50 minutes rotating between our CAMPEL programs.
Each CAMPEL teacher maintains a scope & sequence that is developmentally appropriate and standards-based to guide their yearly program at each grade level. Check out our CAMPEL schedules on the Davis homepage!