2018-19 Davis Community School
Academic Approach: We strive to teach to the joy of learning that is abundant in virtually every child. Teachers plan curriculum to ensure children are given a strong academic foundation in all subject areas. When academics are delivered through a context that is hands-on, meaningful and fun, children learn without being coerced. We believe in the power of tapping into children’s innate curiosity and their sense of pride in being in initiating their own learning. Children desire to explore and discover. Through inquiry and project-based learning, students follow their own curiosity by beginning with questions they answer through investigation, research, collaboration and creative expression.
Literacy Overview: The ability to communicate clearly and effectively forms the foundation of modern life. In order to become well-rounded communicators, students should excel in each of the four language skills; the receptive skills of (1) reading and (2) listening, and the productive skills of (3) speaking and (4) writing. Reading and listening skills empower students to seek out information, gain a deeper understanding of others and of the world around us. Speaking and writing are equally important skills, in that they allow for self-expression and transmission of thoughts and ideas. The strong development of these skills can open many doors to students’ futures. A focus on effective use of all four skills creates a classroom climate that empowers personal voice, as well as a respect for, and understanding of others.
Reading: Students in our classroom are surrounded with a carefully selected library of outstanding children’s literature at a wide variety of reading levels. We do not rely on reading textbooks, but rather, we emphasize fostering an emotional connection with great books as we read independently and aloud together. Students are also given opportunities for selecting reading material of their own choice daily. Numerous fiction and non-fiction choices are available. Beginning readers are supported by developing phonemic awareness (letter sounds), decoding, and word- family patterns, with the goal of helping them become confident, independent readers who find joy in the written word. As students increase in reading ability they will receive continued instructional guidance on how to read critically for deep understanding.
Listening: In everyday life, the situation, the speaker, and visual clues all help us to decode oral messages. Listening skills contribute to improved vocabulary, grammar and comprehension abilities. The goal is for each child to become an active and attentive listener, paying attention to not only the words being spoken, but noticing also, the tone and body language of the speaker. Acquiring listening skills through games and partner work activities are an encouraging method of strengthening effective listening in children. In student-to-student interactions, children learn to listen in order to collaborate and build their understandings.
Speaking: The capability to express our ideas, wants and needs is essential for personal contentment, academic achievement and professional career success. Being a clear communicator can enhance relationships with peers, parents and teachers. We actively work on building these skills through both informal and formal speaking opportunities in the classroom. We establish a comfortable and supportive atmosphere that encourages students to express themselves to individuals as well as to a larger group. We model and discuss appropriate speech rate and volume, along with non-verbal behaviors such as eye contact, posture, and spatial behavior. Students are encouraged to organize their thoughts and to adjust their spoken communication to various situations through noticing listeners responses in order to better understand or “read” their audience.
Writing: Being able to communicate using the written word is exceptionally empowering for children. We create an atmosphere that encourages students to write daily as an important part of the way they express their thoughts and ideas. We value what students have to say, and respond positively, creating a cycle of interest in writing. We encourage children to write their own stories and make their own books. Often, students first learn to organize their thoughts through the spoken word. Activities such as storytelling and readers’ theater naturally lead to writing on paper. Our program builds upon meaningful writing done by children. Students learn that legible handwriting, spelling, punctuation, and grammar are essential to effectively communicating what they wish to convey. As students’ writing skills increase they are taught the process of pre-writing, writing, revision, editing and publishing.
Mathematics: Students are given numerous opportunities to playfully engage with math in meaningful ways that are confidence-building and rewarding. Lessons are designed to build a solid foundation that focuses on mathematical understanding that is deep, broad and integrated. We use physical manipulatives, games and movement activities to re-enforce basic concepts. Students will get a strong sense of numbers, patterns, classification and graphing. They’ll become confident with the basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Additionally, students use real world scenarios to reinforce their understanding of money, time, measurement and geometry.
Science: Children naturally like to explore, experiment and discover things around them. We tap into these qualities with a science curriculum that encourages students to observe, and understand how our world works. They’ll participate in hands-on projects to make their learning visible. They will be intrigued by the rocks they collect (geology), the sun, moon and planets (astronomy), rain and snow (meteorology), how plants (biology) and animals (zoology) can impact their environments. We’ll work collaboratively to discuss our observations and conclusions in order to lay the foundations for a lifelong habit of scientific inquiry.
Social Studies: Throughout history much of our learning has occurred through storytelling. Learning about the history of our communities and the exploration of other cultures comes alive through fascinating stories which engage students and help them develop as thoughtful, literate citizens. We’ll learn about ourselves and others as important members of our community. Students will write and tell stories, create maps and design art projects to further build on their learning experiences.
French: Through playing, singing and repetition, students will learn everyday phrases for meeting, greeting, eating and playing, along with numbers, colors and parts of the body. They’ll also learn the months of the year; seasons and how to describe various kinds of weather. Students will become comfortable introducing themselves, including discussing their names, ages, hometowns, number of siblings, and pets. We’ll learn songs like “Alouette,” “Au Clair de la Lune,” and “Sur le Pont d’Avignon,” (with movements). Skills will build upon previous lessons each of which is designed to keep the students active and engaged.
Spanish: In Spanish, students begin to explore vocabulary and phrases through familiar contexts and routines. They begin to produce words in the target language naturally within different thematic conversations by recognizing the patterns. Our class expands on the theme vocabulary by singing songs, performing skits, creating activities, playing games and perhaps even some Latin dancing! Activities are done at individual and small group settings so that students can build upon previous learning for both sight word fluency and phonetic pattern recognition. Students will also explore the diverse aspects of Spanish culture around the world.
Art: The arts are an important vehicle for a child’s self-expression. The arts also help students gain a deeper understanding of others and the world around them. Our art program integrates art history and exposure to methods and materials with engaging, creative and imaginative activities. Additionally, we integrate art into our other subject areas for extended and meaningful learning. Students will be involved in drawing, painting, ceramics, sewing, woodworking, mixed media sculpture, and working with fused glass. At Davis Community School we are surrounded by rotating art exhibits in the gallery. Additionally, we will frequently interact with the many working artists and teaching artists at Davis Studio. This provides abundant opportunities for making the arts a memorable centerpiece of students’ education. Students will be encouraged to observe and discuss various aspects of images they see such as color, space, line, and form along with how these images make them feel. This rich aesthetic education will inform and inspire their own artwork.
Drama: Students will have the opportunity to incorporate informal performance experiences into their learning experiences in the classroom through short skits, puppet shows, and readers’ theater. They will also work together for a spring production to be performed in front of parents and guests. The skills and benefits that come with theater are impactful. Participating in a performance builds confidence, supports organizational skills, and builds a strong sense of community.
Music: Music at the Davis Community School looks at the art form in both experiential and academic ways. Students will be able to have access to ukuleles, percussion and keyboard instruments and be able to learn hands on games, exercises and written notation for the instruments. Vocal music is a key component in music classes as well and students strengthen their knowledge of rhythms using verbal associations and body percussion. The different units in music will focus on developing a knowledge of how to produce musical sounds, understanding the physics of where sounds come from and how they are represented in written form. Above all, creativity and fun are imbedded in the lessons to strengthen students’ love of music.
Physical Education: The Athletic Leadership Council students from CVU will come to Davis Community School regularly to engage with children in several different activities including soccer, baseball, sledding, and hiking. Students will have opportunities to strengthen skills and abilities such as balance, coordination and flexibility. We will play many traditional tag, ball, and cooperative games emphasizing teamwork and sportsmanship. The goal is to expose students to a variety of physical activities, to get them moving, and most importantly to have fun!