Elementary Curriculum

Kindergarten Curriculum | Grade 1 Curriculum | Grade 2 Curriculum | Grade 3 Curriculum | Grade 4 Curriculum | Grade 5 Curriculum

Kindergarten Curriculum

Art | English Language Arts (ELA) | Health | Math | Music | Science | Social Studies

Art Curriculum

Art assists in the development of the whole child as it supports the child’s emotional and intellectual growth through sensory experiences. The art curriculum is designed to promote creativity, imagination, problem solving, critical thinking and artistic expression. Each learning experience includes both a process and/or a product.

The elementary art curriculum includes a K-5 sequential learning process exposing children to a variety of techniques, concepts, and skills. The visual art curriculum allows the teacher to guide children through hands-on activities that integrate art history in both past and present cultures, are criticism, aesthetics, technology, and careers in art through studio experiences in the two and three-dimensional arts.

Children’s work is displayed throughout the classroom and building on a regular basis. An annual student art show is also held at the town library.

Elementary art teachers work closely with classroom and special area teachers to promote a positive, exciting learning experience. Connections are made across disciplines while simultaneously allowing children to express themselves as unique individuals.

English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

The Language Arts–reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to adhere to the K-12 New York State Next Generation Standards in English Language Arts and to develop literate students in the 21st century.

Students read and write everyday for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups and in whole class settings.

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Students will read and respond to texts from a diverse range of authors, genres, cultures and perspectives.  Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.

Reading

The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement. 

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Kindergarten, reading instruction focuses on the following:

  • Developing enthusiasm and motivation to read
  • Developing phonological and phonemic awareness
  • Identifying upper and lower case letters
  • Associating sounds with corresponding letters
  • Developing concept of letter and word
  • Following directionality of text: left to right and top to bottom
  • Identifying parts of a book: cover, title, front, back, title page, etc.
  • Beginning to understand and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words
  • Retelling familiar stories or sharing key details
  • Actively engaging in group reading activities with purpose and understanding
  • Asking and answering questions in order to seek help, get information or clarify something that is not understood
  • Speaking audibly and expressing thoughts, feelings and ideas clearly
  • Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.

Writing

The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:

  • Students have frequent opportunities to draw and write, and to receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students increase writing stamina

In Kindergarten, writing instruction focuses on:

  • Understanding that writing is a way of expressing ideas
  • Using a combination of pictures, letters and words to represent ideas
  • Writing from left to right and top to bottom
  • Exploring a variety of digital tools with guidance and support

In Kindergarten, students will be immersed in writing such as:

  • The writing process (with emphasis on selecting/staying on topic)
    Informational writing using various text structures
  • Opinion and narrative writing
  • Writing about reading
  • Producing and publishing writing pieces moving towards conventional spelling, spacing between words, capitalization and punctuation
  • Students may be at different stages in their writing development: scribble writing, pictures, random letters, initial consonants, initial and ending consonants, writing a letter for each sound in a word. Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year.  

Progress in writing is assessed through individual conferencing, rubrics, and review of the students’ writing portfolios.

Handwriting

Handwriting activities focus on:

  • consistently using a functional grasp
  • consistently using preferred hand for writing
  • printing all uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet that can be easily read
  • writing first and last name
  • handling writing tools (clay, sand, markers, finger paints, pencils)

Spelling and Word Study

In Kindergarten, students are expected to spell a growing number of words correctly and to use familiar spelling patterns to help them write words. Students are encouraged to use word walls and other resources to support spelling learning and accuracy. Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary.

Health Curriculum

Health is a condition of well-being that is required for the development of each individual and for society as a whole. Health instruction at the elementary level builds a strong foundation to promote the health and well-being of our students. The health education program works in partnership with the home, school, and the community. To support this partnership with the parents, a list of videos that may be used in mailed home at the beginning of the school year, and, prior to instruction, a parent notification letter is sent home with students.

The elementary program provides accurate, age-appropriate information and builds upon prior learning.

The curriculum consists of six strands and is taught by the classroom teacher. The six strands taught in Kindergarten are:

  • Physical activity & nutrition
  • Diseases
  • Tobacco, alcohol & other drugs
  • Family life and maturity
  • Violence prevention
  • Unintentional injury prevention

Math Curriculum

In 2015, New York State (NYS) began a process of review and revision of its current mathematics standards adopted in January of 2011. The New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (2017) reflect revisions, additions, vertical movement, and clarifications to the current mathematics standards. The New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics (updated June 2019)  will be fully implemented in September 2020.  The Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time because of instruction and learning experiences. These mathematics standards, collectively, are focused and cohesive—designed to support student access to the knowledge and understanding of the mathematical concepts that are necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics, while providing educators the opportunity to devise innovative programs to support this endeavor.

To prepare students for the changes in the way we live and work, and to be sure that our education system keeps pace with what it means to be mathematically literate and what it means to collaboratively problem solve, we need a different approach to daily teaching and learning. We need content-rich standards that will serve as a platform for advancing children’s 21st-century mathematical skills —their abstract reasoning, their collaboration skills, their ability to learn from peers and through technology, and their flexibility as a learner in a dynamic learning environment. Students need to be engaged in dialogue and learning experiences that allow complex topics and ideas to be explored from many angles and perspectives. They also need to learn how to think and solve problems for which there is no one solution—and learn mathematical skills along the way.[1]

At the kindergarten level, instructional time is focused on two main areas: developing a sound sense of numbers by representing and comparing numbers, initially using sets of objects; and recognizing and describing shapes and using spatial relations. More learning time in kindergarten is devoted to number sense than any other topic. 

Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space 3 (2017) developed by TERC and published by Pearson Education, Inc. consistently engages students in thinking, reasoning, problem solving, justifying, and communicating about mathematics. The yearlong math curriculum consists of 8 units of study.  Each unit of study is composed of several investigations which focus on a subset of math ideas.  The critical areas and mathematical practices outlined in the Next Generation Standards are integrated into each Investigation unit of study.  Student tools allow children to engage in context-based mathematical situations that build to more abstract problem solving. Students use models, manipulatives, quick pictures and symbols to build deeper mathematical understandings. A written representation is any way of representing a strategy using words, pictures, or numbers.  Instructional methods focus on the use of literature and technology as well as encourage students to talk and write about math.

Mathematical Content

Kindergarten Next Generation Mathematics Standards are organized into the following domains:

  • Counting and Cardinality
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Pervasive throughout the domains are several key mathematical practices. These are:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Fluency in the Next Generation Standards

Students are taught to use strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between addition and subtraction; however, when solving any problem, students can choose any strategy.

Fluency involves a mixture of just knowing some answers, knowing some answers from patterns, and knowing some answers from the use of strategies.

The required fluency for kindergarten: 

ADD and SUBTRACT WITHIN 5.

[1] http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/nys-next-generation-mathematics-p-12-standards.pdf  

Music Curriculum

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learning for children.

In Kindergarten, the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development & exploration.
  • Rhythmic movement in a variety of ways to develop beat readiness and awareness.
  • Imprinting beginning tonal & rhythm patterns, the building blocks of music.
  • Rote songs/chants.
  • Percussion instruments to explore timbre and rhythms.

Science Curriculum

Exploring Forces and Motion

In this unit of study, students discover that the motion of an object is the result of forces—pushes and pulls. They will find that they can make an object move, slow, and stop by exerting forces. Students investigate the effect of applying forces in different directions and of different strengths on the speed and direction of the motion of moving objects. Students will come to understand the part that forces play in their daily lives.

Exploring My Weather

In this unit of study, students discover that different objects have different temperatures. Investigations on precipitation, wind, and clouds introduce students to different types of weather conditions. Students also explore ways of measuring rainfall, wind velocity, and cloud cover by using their senses and measurement tools; such as thermometers, and rain and wind gauges. Students begin predicting weather from observations. Students begin to understand the importance of weather forecasting and planning for weather conditions and severe weather events. 

Trees

In this unit of study, students will expand their awareness of their natural environment through the study of trees throughout the seasons.  Students will observe day-to-day changes in trees over the year, as well as the impact weather has on living things.

Social Studies Curriculum

In kindergarten, students study “Self and Others.” Units of study are informed by the NYS K-8 Social Studies Framework. Each unit helps students study themselves in the context of their immediate surroundings. Students will learn about similarities and differences between children, families, and communities and about holidays, symbols and traditions that unite us as Americans. Students learn about respect for others, and rights and responsibilities of individuals.

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Grade 1 Curriculum

Art | English Language Arts (ELA) | Health | Math | Music | Science | Social Studies

Art Curriculum

Art assists in the development of the whole child as it supports the child’s emotional and intellectual growth through sensory experiences. The art curriculum is designed to promote creativity, imagination, problem solving, critical thinking and artistic expression. Each learning experience includes both a process and/or a product.

The elementary art curriculum includes a K-5 sequential learning process exposing children to a variety of techniques, concepts, and skills. The visual art curriculum allows the teacher to guide children through hands-on activities that integrate art history in both past and present cultures, are criticism, aesthetics, technology, and careers in art through studio experiences in the two and three-dimensional arts.

Children’s work is displayed throughout the classroom and building on a regular basis. An annual student art show is also held at the town library.

Elementary art teachers work closely with classroom and special area teachers to promote a positive, exciting learning experience. Connections are made across disciplines while simultaneously allowing children to express themselves as unique individuals.

English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

The Language Arts-reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to develop literate students in the 21st century. 

Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups, and in whole class settings. 

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Students will read and respond to texts from a diverse range of authors, genres, cultures and perspectives.  Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.

Reading

The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement.

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Grade One, reading instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on the following skills while processing increasingly complex texts:

  • Reading literature and informational texts
  • Building reading stamina
  • Independently selecting appropriate level texts
  • Retelling stories including key details
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Comparing and contrasting different texts and characters
  • Explaining major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information
  • Reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Knowing and applying grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words
  • Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.

Writing

The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who can write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:

  • Students have choice of topic, genre, structure and audience for their writing
  • Students at every level have frequent opportunities to draw and write, and to receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students increase writing stamina

In Grade One, students will be immersed in writing such as:

  • The writing process (with emphasis on selecting and staying on a topic)
  • Informational writing using various text structures
  • Opinion writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Writing about reading
  • Producing and publishing writing pieces moving towards conventional spelling, spacing between words, capitalization and punctuation

Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year. They will complete their work with attention to the qualities of good writing, correct spelling and mechanics.

Progress is assessed through individual conferencing, rubrics and review of the students’ writing portfolios. 

Handwriting

Handwriting activities are focused on students consistently using a functional grasp, and printing all uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet that can be easily read.

Spelling and Word Study

In Grade One, students are expected to read and spell a growing number of words correctly and to use familiar spelling patterns to help them read and write words. Students are encouraged to use word walls and other resources to support spelling learning and accuracy.

Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary.

Health Curriculum

Health is a condition of well-being that is required for the development of each individual and for society as a whole. Health instruction at the elementary level builds a strong foundation to promote the health and well-being of our students. The health education program works in partnership with the home, school, and the community. To support this partnership with the parents, a list of videos that may be used is mailed home at the beginning of the school year, and, prior to instruction of HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse prevention, a parent notification letter is sent home with students.

The elementary programs provide accurate, age-appropriate information and builds upon prior learning. The curriculum consists of six strands and is taught by the classroom teacher. The six strands are:

  • Physical activity & nutrition
  • Diseases
  • Tobacco, alcohol & other drugs
  • Family life and maturity
  • Violence prevention
  • Unintentional injury prevention

Math Curriculum

In 2015, New York State (NYS) began a process of review and revision of its current mathematics standards adopted in January of 2011. The New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (2017) reflect revisions, additions, vertical movement, and clarifications to the current mathematics standards. The New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics (updated June 2019)  will be fully implemented in September 2020.  The Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time because of instruction and learning experiences. These mathematics standards, collectively, are focused and cohesive—designed to support student access to the knowledge and understanding of the mathematical concepts that are necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics, while providing educators the opportunity to devise innovative programs to support this endeavor.

To prepare students for the changes in the way we live and work, and to be sure that our education system keeps pace with what it means to be mathematically literate and what it means to collaboratively problem solve, we need a different approach to daily teaching and learning. We need content-rich standards that will serve as a platform for advancing children’s 21st-century mathematical skills —their abstract reasoning, their collaboration skills, their ability to learn from peers and through technology, and their flexibility as a learner in a dynamic learning environment. Students need to be engaged in dialogue and learning experiences that allow complex topics and ideas to be explored from many angles and perspectives. They also need to learn how to think and solve problems for which there is no one solution—and learn mathematical skills along the way.[2]

In Grade 1, instructional time is focused on three main areas: (1) develop an understanding of addition, subtraction, and strategies for addition and subtraction within 20; (2) develop an understanding of whole number relationships and place value, including grouping in tens and ones; and (3) develop an understanding of linear measurement and measuring lengths as iterating length units.

Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space 3 (2017) developed by TERC and published by Pearson Education, Inc. consistently engages students in thinking, reasoning, problem solving, justifying, and communicating about mathematics. The yearlong math curriculum consists of 8 units of study.  Each unit of study is composed of several investigations which focus on a subset of math ideas.  The critical areas and mathematical practices outlined in the Next Generation Standards are integrated into each Investigation unit of study.  Student tools allow children to engage in context-based mathematical situations that build to more abstract problem solving. Students use models, manipulatives, quick pictures and symbols to build deeper mathematical understandings. A written representation is any way of representing a strategy using words, pictures, or numbers.  Instructional methods focus on the use of literature and technology as well as encourage students to talk and write about math.

Mathematical Content

First grade Next Generation Mathematics Standards are organized into the following domains:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Pervasive throughout the domains are several key mathematical practices. These are:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Required Fluencies in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Students are taught to use strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between addition and subtraction; however, when solving any problem, students can choose any strategy.

Fluency involves a mixture of just knowing some answers, knowing some answers from patterns, and knowing some answers from the use of strategies.

The required fluency for grade one:    

ADD and SUBTRACT WITHIN 10

[2] http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/nys-next-generation-mathematics-p-12-standards.pdf

Music Curriculum

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learning for children.

In first grade, the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development and exploration of range and timbre
  • Rhythmic movement to the beat in a variety of ways, exploring space, flow, weight and time.
  • Tonal & Rhythm patterns (intro.)
  • Rote songs/chants and additional folk song repertoire.
  • Percussion instruments. Students have an opportunity to explore a variety of classroom percussion

Science Curriculum

How Do We Send a Message Using Sound?

In this unit of study, students explore different ways of sending a message and organize them by how the message is sent (light or sound) and by distance. They use a drum to send a simple message using a pattern of sounds. Students collect evidence through hands-on activities and text to build a claim that sound is caused by something vibrating. In the end-of-unit design challenge, students apply what they have learned about sound and engineering to make a simple musical instrument that can send a message a short distance.

Changes

In this unit of study, students learn to describe the properties of solids, liquids, and gases and categorize them by their identifiable properties. This unit strengthens students’ ability to observe and describe the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. It also gives students many opportunities to predict results, plan and perform simple tests, and analyze, interpret, and discuss their results. Students have several opportunities to practice their new skills in lessons in which they devise ways of separating a mystery mixture, and plan and carry out investigations that involve other changes.

Air and Weather

This unit of study provides experiences that heighten students’ awareness, curiosity, and understanding of Earth’s dynamic atmosphere and provides opportunities for young students to engage in scientific and engineering practices. Students explore the natural world by using simple instruments to observe and monitor change.

Social Studies Curriculum

In Grade 1 students examine families and develop an awareness of cultural diversity within the American culture. Responsible citizenship is introduced, as well as the role of authority in making rules and laws. The students will increase their geography skills through the use of maps and directions. Family history provides the basis for examining sources of information and organizing that information. Economic terminology and principles are introduced in the context of family resources, as well as in making economic decisions.

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Grade 2 Curriculum

Art | English Language Arts (ELA) | Health | Math | Music | Science | Social Studies

Art Curriculum

Art assists in the development of the whole child as it supports the child’s emotional and intellectual growth through sensory experiences. The art curriculum is designed to promote creativity, imagination, problem solving, critical thinking and artistic expression. Each learning experience includes both a process and/or a product.

The elementary art curriculum includes a K-5 sequential learning process exposing children to a variety of techniques, concepts, and skills. The visual art curriculum allows the teacher to guide children through hands-on activities that integrate art history in both past and present cultures, are criticism, aesthetics, technology, and careers in art through studio experiences in the two and three-dimensional arts.

Children’s work is displayed throughout the classroom and building on a regular basis. An annual student art show is also held at the town library.

Elementary art teachers work closely with classroom and special area teachers to promote a positive, exciting learning experience. Connections are made across disciplines while simultaneously allowing children to express themselves as unique individuals.

English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

The Language Arts-reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to develop literate students in the 21st century. 

Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups, and in whole class settings. 

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.

Reading

The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement.

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Grade Two, reading instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on:

  • Both literature and informational texts
  • Self-selecting appropriate level texts for independent reading
  • Building reading stamina
  • Recounting stories including central message or lesson
  • Asking and answering questions (who, what, where, when, why)
  • Comparing and contrasting different texts
  • Reading increasingly more complex texts with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Understanding and applying grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words

Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year. 

Writing

The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who can write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:  

  • Students at every level need frequent opportunities to write and to receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students need to realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students need to know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students need to know the qualities of good writing and how to evaluate their own work
  • Students need to increase writing stamina

In Grade Two, writing instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on:

  • The Writing Process (with an emphasis on revision and editing) 
  • Informational writing using various text structures
  • Opinion writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Responding to literature
  • Use digital tools with guidance and support to produce and publish writing

Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year. They will complete their work with attention to the qualities of good writing, correct spelling and mechanics. 

Progress in writing is assessed through individual conferencing and review of the students’ writing folders with attention to specific areas of instruction. 

Handwriting

Students will use uppercase and lowercase letters appropriately and with correct size in a written piece. They will use consistent spacing between words within paper margins.

Using Zaner-Bloser handwriting, teachers will model and review all uppercase and lowercase letters for students. Students improve handwriting through short practice sessions aimed at improving letter formation.

Spelling

In Grade Two, students are expected to spell a growing number of words correctly and to use familiar spelling patterns to help them write words.

Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary.

Health Curriculum

Health is a condition of well-being that is required for the development of each individual and for society as a whole. Health instruction at the elementary level builds a strong foundation to promote the health and well-being of our students. The health education program works in partnership with the home, school, and the community. To support this partnership with the parents, a list of videos that may be used is mailed home at the beginning of the school year, and, prior to instruction of HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse prevention, a parent notification letter is sent home with students.

The elementary program provides accurate, age-appropriate information and builds upon prior learning. The curriculum consists of six strands and is taught by the classroom teacher. The six strands are:

  • Physical activity & nutrition
  • Diseases
  • Tobacco, alcohol & other drugs
  • Family life and maturity
  • Violence prevention
  • Unintentional injury prevention

Math Curriculum

In 2015, New York State (NYS) began a process of review and revision of its current mathematics standards adopted in January of 2011. The New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (2017) reflect revisions, additions, vertical movement, and clarifications to the current mathematics standards. The New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics (updated June 2019)  will be fully implemented in September 2020.  The Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time because of instruction and learning experiences. These mathematics standards, collectively, are focused and cohesive—designed to support student access to the knowledge and understanding of the mathematical concepts that are necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics, while providing educators the opportunity to devise innovative programs to support this endeavor.

To prepare students for the changes in the way we live and work, and to be sure that our education system keeps pace with what it means to be mathematically literate and what it means to collaboratively problem solve, we need a different approach to daily teaching and learning. We need content-rich standards that will serve as a platform for advancing children’s 21st-century mathematical skills —their abstract reasoning, their collaboration skills, their ability to learn from peers and through technology, and their flexibility as a learner in a dynamic learning environment. Students need to be engaged in dialogue and learning experiences that allow complex topics and ideas to be explored from many angles and perspectives. They also need to learn how to think and solve problems for which there is no one solution—and learn mathematical skills along the way.[3]

In Grade 2, instructional time is focused on four areas: (1) extend understanding of base-ten notation; (2) build fluency with addition and subtraction; (3) use standard units of measure; and (4) analyze and classify two dimensional shapes as polygons or non-polygons.

Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space 3 (2017) developed by TERC and published by Pearson Education, Inc. consistently engages students in thinking, reasoning, problem solving, justifying, and communicating about mathematics. The yearlong math curriculum consists of 8 units of study.  Each unit of study is composed of several investigations which focus on a subset of math ideas.  The critical areas and mathematical practices outlined in the Next Generation Standards are integrated into each Investigation unit of study.  Student tools allow children to engage in context-based mathematical situations that build to more abstract problem solving. Students use models, manipulatives, quick pictures and symbols to build deeper mathematical understandings. A written representation is any way of representing a strategy using words, pictures, or numbers.  Instructional methods focus on the use of literature and technology as well as encourage students to talk and write about math.

Mathematical Content

Second grade Next Generation Mathematics Standards Standards are organized into the following domains:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Pervasive throughout the domains are several key mathematical practices. These are:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Required Fluencies in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Students are taught to use strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between addition and subtraction; however, when solving any problem, students can choose any strategy.

Fluency involves a mixture of just knowing some answers, knowing some answers from patterns, and knowing some answers from the use of strategies.

The required fluency for grade two:  

ADD and SUBTRACT WITHIN 20 from memory

ADD and SUBTRACT WITHIN 100 with strategies

[3] http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/nys-next-generation-mathematics-p-12-standards.pdf 

Music Curriculum

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learning for children.

In second grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development – to help each child expand the range and ability of their own singing voice learning a variety of songs and styles.
  • Rhythmic movement to the beat in a variety of ways, exploring space, flow, weight and time.
  • Instruction of folk dancing begins.
  • Tonal & rhythm patterning is extended (to increase music vocabulary) and labeled with rhythmic/tonal syllables.
  • Rote songs/chants and additional folk song repertoire.
  • Transfer of skills to a variety of percussion instruments such as drums, triangles, sticks, xylophone etc.

Science Curriculum

How Do We Stop Soil From Washing Away?

In this unit of study, students will explore and collect evidence on the fast and slow ways water and wind can change the shape of the land. Students will use a stream table as a model to compare multiple solutions designed to prevent water from changing the shape of the land. The final science challenge asks students to apply the evidence gathered in previous lessons to a scenario-based engineering design challenge.

Balance and Weighing

In this unit of study, students explore balance and discover that it is affected by three variables:  

  • the mass of an object
  • the length of the lever arm
  • the position of the fulcrum.

Students practice measuring mass, making comparisons, and recording data throughout this unit. They represent their data visually in a number of different ways; including line plots, data tables, and bar graphs.

Forces and Motion (Information Writing)

For this integrated (Science/Writing) Unit of Study, students will write about a shared science topic. In the opening of this unit, children will conduct an entire forces-and-motion experiment, jotting and sketching as they do so, and then write a four-page lab report—their hypotheses on one page, procedures on another, results on a third, conclusions on a fourth. Students will then reflect on and improve this writing. Teachers will remind students that scientists participate in scientific conversations and that they too need to join the scientific community of their school by communicating clearly all they have learned via their writing. Students will also explore mentor texts so that students can revisit and improve lab reports already in progress. By the end of this unit students will be able to design and conduct an experiment independently, writing lab reports as they progress through the work. They’ll learn to write with domain-specific vocabulary and to elaborate as they write new lab reports and revise previously written ones.

Social Studies Curriculum

Students in grade 2 study their local community and learn about characteristics that define urban, suburban, and rural communities. Democratic principles and participation in government are introduced. Interaction with the environment and changes to the environment and their effects are examined. The concept of change-over-time and examining cause and effect are introduced. Students will examine the availability of resources and the interdependence within and across communities.

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Grade 3 Curriculum

Art | English Language Arts (ELA) | Health | Math | Music | Science | Social Studies

Art Curriculum

Art assists in the development of the whole child as it supports the child’s emotional and intellectual growth through sensory experiences. The art curriculum is designed to promote creativity, imagination, problem solving, critical thinking and artistic expression. Each learning experience includes both a process and/or a product.

The elementary art curriculum includes a K-5 sequential learning process exposing children to a variety of techniques, concepts, and skills. The visual art curriculum allows the teacher to guide children through hands-on activities that integrate art history in both past and present cultures, are criticism, aesthetics, technology, and careers in art through studio experiences in the two and three-dimensional arts.

Children’s work is displayed throughout the classroom and building on a regular basis. An annual student art show is also held at the town library.

Elementary art teachers work closely with classroom and special area teachers to promote a positive, exciting learning experience. Connections are made across disciplines while simultaneously allowing children to express themselves as unique individuals.

English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

The Language Arts–reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to develop literate students in the 21st century. 

Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups and whole class settings. 

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Students will read and respond to texts from a diverse range of authors, genres, cultures and perspectives. Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.

Reading

The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement.

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Grade Three, reading instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on the following skills while processing increasingly complex texts:

  • Reading literature and informational texts 
  • Independently selecting appropriate level texts 
  • Building reading stamina
  • Describing characters and how their actions contribute to events
  • Noticing how characters develop and change throughout a text
  • Asking and answering questions referring explicitly to the text
  • Comparing and contrasting themes, settings and plots
  • Identifying parts of narratives, and identifying and using text features in informational texts, to build comprehension
  • Reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Determining the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text

Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.  In addition, students will take the New York State ELA Assessment. 

Writing 

The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who can write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:  

  • Students have choice of topic, genre, structure and audience for their writing
  • Introduction of writer’s notebooks
  • Students at every level have frequent opportunities to write and to receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students know the qualities of good writing and how to evaluate their own work
  • Students increase writing stamina

In Grade Three, writing instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on:

  • The writing process (with an emphasis on planning, organization, purpose, and audience) 
  • Informational writing using research and various text structures
  • Opinion writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Responding to literature
  • Producing and publishing using technology (including the internet) with some support

Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year. They will complete their work with attention to the qualities of good writing, correct spelling and mechanics. 

Progress in writing is assessed through individual conferencing, writing rubrics and review of the students’ writing portfolios.

Handwriting

Students will master the cursive alphabet in uppercase and lowercase letters, utilize right and left margins as appropriate, and maintain appropriate spacing between words. 

Zaner-Bloser cursive is introduced in third grade.  As each letter is introduced, there is writing time for practice with attention given to functional pencil grasp as well as letter formation. Once formation is mastered, connections between letters are introduced and practiced. 

Spelling and Word Study

In Grade Three, students are expected to read and spell most high-frequency words correctly and use spelling patterns to help them read and write words.  They will use resources such as a dictionary, thesaurus and/or technology.

Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary.

Health Curriculum

Health is a condition of well-being that is required for the development of each individual and for society as a whole. Health instruction at the elementary level builds a strong foundation to promote the health and well-being of our students. The health education program works in partnership with the home, school, and community. To support this partnership with the parents, a list of videos that may be used is mailed home at the beginning of the school year, and, prior to instruction of HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse prevention, a parent notification letter is sent home with students.

The elementary programs provide accurate, age-appropriate information and builds upon prior learning. The curriculum consists of six strands and is taught by the classroom teacher. The six strands are:

  • Physical activity & nutrition
  • Diseases
  • Tobacco, alcohol & other drugs
  • Family life and maturity
  • Violence prevention
  • Unintentional injury prevention

Math Curriculum

In 2015, New York State (NYS) began a process of review and revision of its current mathematics standards adopted in January of 2011. The New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (2017) reflect revisions, additions, vertical movement, and clarifications to the current mathematics standards. The New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics (updated June 2019)  will be fully implemented in September 2020.  The Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time because of instruction and learning experiences. These mathematics standards, collectively, are focused and cohesive—designed to support student access to the knowledge and understanding of the mathematical concepts that are necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics, while providing educators the opportunity to devise innovative programs to support this endeavor.

To prepare students for the changes in the way we live and work, and to be sure that our education system keeps pace with what it means to be mathematically literate and what it means to collaboratively problem solve, we need a different approach to daily teaching and learning. We need content-rich standards that will serve as a platform for advancing children’s 21st-century mathematical skills —their abstract reasoning, their collaboration skills, their ability to learn from peers and through technology, and their flexibility as a learner in a dynamic learning environment. Students need to be engaged in dialogue and learning experiences that allow complex topics and ideas to be explored from many angles and perspectives. They also need to learn how to think and solve problems for which there is no one solution—and learn mathematical skills along the way.[4]

In Grade 3, instructional time is focused on four main areas: (1) develop an understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100; (2) develop an understanding of fractions, especially unit fractions (fractions with numerator 1); (3) develop an understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and area; and (4) describing and analyzing polygons based on the number of sides and vertices.

Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space 3 (2017) developed by TERC and published by Pearson Education, Inc. consistently engages students in thinking, reasoning, problem solving, justifying, and communicating about mathematics. The yearlong math curriculum consists of 8 units of study.  Each unit of study is composed of several investigations which focus on a subset of math ideas.  The critical areas and mathematical practices outlined in the Next Generation Standards are integrated into each Investigation unit of study.  Student tools allow children to engage in context-based mathematical situations that build to more abstract problem solving. Students use models, manipulatives, quick pictures and symbols to build deeper mathematical understandings. A written representation is any way of representing a strategy using words, pictures, or numbers.  Instructional methods focus on the use of literature and technology as well as encourage students to talk and write about math.

Mathematical Content

Third grade Next Generation Mathematics Standards are organized into the following domains:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Number Sense and Operations – Fractions
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Pervasive throughout the domains are several key mathematical practices. These are:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Required Fluencies in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Students are taught to use strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and the relationship between addition and subtraction as well as multiplication and division; however, when solving any problem, students can choose any strategy.

Fluency involves a mixture of just knowing some answers, knowing some answers from patterns, and knowing some answers from the use of strategies.

The required fluency for grade three:  

MULTIPLY AND DIVIDE WITHIN 100

ADD AND SUBTRACT WITHIN 1000

[4] http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/nys-next-generation-mathematics-p-12-standards.pdf 

Music Curriculum

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learning for children.

In third grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Vocal development continues to help students expand their singing abilities so that they can achieve a clear head voice with a warm quality while singing songs of many cultures.
  • Rhythmic movement – folk dancing continues with an added focus on integrated movement (Moving to the primary beat and secondary beat at the same time).
  • Tonal & rhythm patterns. These building blocks are extended to increase students’ vocabulary and labeled with rhythmic/tonal syllables. Students also begin to recognize tonal and rhythmic music patterns in standard notation.
  • In addition to rote songs, third graders begin part singing using rounds and partner songs. Tonal and rhythmic skills are extended to a variety of classroom instruments such as recorders, xylophone, African drums etc.
  • Instrumental music. All third grade students take an aptitude test (IMMA) and have the opportunity to try out many of the instruments during the instrumental recruitment period in the spring. Each third grade students is screened for their interest and physical development. A parent informational night is held in late spring to answer questions regarding the beginning instrumental music program.

Science Curriculum

How Do Weather and Climate Affect Our Lives?

In this unit of study, students learn why and how scientists measure weather using a variety of tools. Students explore climates around the world and compare them to their school’s location. Students identify problems caused by hazardous weather and use evidence to identify the type of weather that caused each problem. Students design and build a roof to protect from one type of hazardous weather. In the final science challenge, students analyze and interpret patterns in climate data to recommend the best time and location for a kids’ soccer tournament.

How Can We Predict Patterns of Motion?

In this unit of study, students explore how objects can exert forces on other objects, and predict an object’s future motion based on observations of patterns of motion. They practice forming scientific questions and carry out investigations to explain what happens in various scenarios. Students identify problems and how criteria and constraints are important factors when designing solutions. In the end of the unit, students face a science challenge while working in groups to ask a scientific question, plan and carry out an investigation, and use their data to predict the pattern of motion of a model swing that interacts with magnets.

Life Cycle of Butterflies

In this unit of study, students are introduced to the concept of life cycles by using the Painted Lady butterfly. The students will learn observational and recording skills and add to their scientific vocabulary. They will relate this information to other living organisms.

Social Studies Curriculum

In “Communities around the World,” students learn about communities around the globe and about global citizenship. Students bring with them knowledge about their communities. In this grade 3 course, students make comparisons across time and space, examining different communities and their cultures. Culture includes social organization, customs and traditions, language, arts and literature, religion, forms of government, and economic systems. Students are introduced to the concepts of prejudice, discrimination and human rights, as well as to social action.

At least three communities are studied for their diversity, culture, traditions, and norms. These communities should represent different regions of the world, types of communities (urban, suburban, and rural), and governmental structures.

The key ideas, conceptual understandings, and content specifications guide the study of communities while exploring the major themes of social studies.

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Grade 4 Curriculum

Art | English Language Arts (ELA) | Health | Math | Music | Science | Social Studies

Art Curriculum

Art assists in the development of the whole child as it supports the child’s emotional and intellectual growth through sensory experiences. The art curriculum is designed to promote creativity, imagination, problem solving, critical thinking and artistic expression. Each learning experience includes both a process and/or a product.

The elementary art curriculum includes a K-5 sequential learning process exposing children to a variety of techniques, concepts, and skills. The visual art curriculum allows the teacher to guide children through hands-on activities that integrate art history in both past and present cultures, are criticism, aesthetics, technology, and careers in art through studio experiences in the two and three-dimensional arts.

Children’s work is displayed throughout the classroom and building on a regular basis. An annual student art show is also held at the town library.

Elementary art teachers work closely with classroom and special area teachers to promote a positive, exciting learning experience. Connections are made across disciplines while simultaneously allowing children to express themselves as unique individuals.

English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

The Language Arts–reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to develop literate students in the 21st century. 

Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups and whole class settings. 

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Students will read and respond to texts from a diverse range of authors, genres, cultures and perspectives. Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.

Reading

The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement.

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Grade Four, reading instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on the following skills while processing increasingly complex texts:

  • Reading literature and informational texts 
  • Building reading stamina
  • Understanding perspectives different from their own, including settings, characters, and issues
  • Determining theme, central message and key ideas using text evidence 
  • Identifying variations in structure within narrative and informational texts
  • Effectively engaging in a range of collaborative discussions (for example, in partnerships, book clubs, whole group) to construct new understandings.
  • Comparing and contrasting points of view from which different stories are narrated
  • Reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Determining the meaning of new words and phrases, adding to their ever expanding vocabularies

Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.  In addition, students will take the New York State ELA Assessment. 

Writing

The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who can write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:  

  • Students have choice of topic, genre, structure and audience for their writing
  • Students efficiently use writer’s notebooks as a tool for gathering ideas for writing
  • Students have frequent opportunities to write and receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students recognize the qualities of good writing and know how to evaluate their own work
  • Students increase writing stamina

In Grade Four, writing instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on:

  • The writing process (with an emphasis on organization, purpose, audience, and craft) 
  • Informational writing using research and various text structures
  • Opinion writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Responding to literature
  • Producing and publishing using technology (including the internet) with some support

Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year. They will complete their work with attention to the qualities of good writing, correct spelling and mechanics. 

Progress in writing is assessed through individual conferencing, writing rubrics and review of the students’ writing portfolios. 

Handwriting

The expectation of all written work is that it should be legible, appropriately spaced, and organized in terms of line and space on the paper.

Spelling and Word Study

In Grade Four, students are expected to read and spell most high-frequency words correctly and use basic word study principles to help them read and spell multisyllabic words.  They will use resources such as a dictionary, thesaurus and/or technology.

Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary.

Health Curriculum

Health is a condition of well-being that is required for the development of each individual and for society as a whole. Health instruction at the elementary level builds a strong foundation to promote the health and well-being of our students. The health education program works in partnership with the home, school, and community. To support this partnership with the parents, a list of videos that may be used is mailed home at the beginning of the school year, and, prior to instruction of HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse prevention, a parent notification letter is sent home with students.

The elementary programs provide accurate, age-appropriate information and builds upon prior learning. The curriculum consists of six strands and is taught by the classroom teacher. The six strands are:

  • Physical activity & nutrition
  • Diseases
  • Tobacco, alcohol & other drugs
  • Family life and maturity
  • Violence prevention
  • Unintentional injury prevention

Math Curriculum

In 2015, New York State (NYS) began a process of review and revision of its current mathematics standards adopted in January of 2011. The New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (2017) reflect revisions, additions, vertical movement, and clarifications to the current mathematics standards. The New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics (updated June 2019)  will be fully implemented in September 2020.  The Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time because of instruction and learning experiences. These mathematics standards, collectively, are focused and cohesive—designed to support student access to the knowledge and understanding of the mathematical concepts that are necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics, while providing educators the opportunity to devise innovative programs to support this endeavor.

To prepare students for the changes in the way we live and work, and to be sure that our education system keeps pace with what it means to be mathematically literate and what it means to collaboratively problem solve, we need a different approach to daily teaching and learning. We need content-rich standards that will serve as a platform for advancing children’s 21st-century mathematical skills —their abstract reasoning, their collaboration skills, their ability to learn from peers and through technology, and their flexibility as a learner in a dynamic learning environment. Students need to be engaged in dialogue and learning experiences that allow complex topics and ideas to be explored from many angles and perspectives. They also need to learn how to think and solve problems for which there is no one solution—and learn mathematical skills along the way.[5]

In Grade 4, instructional time is focused on three areas: (1) develop understanding and fluency with multi-digit multiplication, and develop an understanding of dividing to find quotients involving multi-digit dividends; (2) develop an understanding of fraction equivalence, addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators, and multiplication of fractions by whole numbers; and (3) understanding that geometric figures can be analyzed and classified based on their properties, such as having parallel sides, perpendicular sides, particular angle measures, and symmetry.

Investigations  in Numbers, Data, and Space 3 (2017) developed by TERC and published by Pearson Education, Inc. consistently engages students in thinking, reasoning, problem solving, justifying, and communicating about mathematics. The yearlong math curriculum consists of 8 units of study.  Each unit of study is composed of several investigations which focus on a subset of math ideas.  The critical areas and mathematical practices outlined in the Next Generation Standards are integrated into each Investigation unit of study.  Student tools allow children to engage in context-based mathematical situations that build to more abstract problem solving. Students use models, manipulatives, quick pictures and symbols to build deeper mathematical understandings. A written representation is any way of representing a strategy using words, pictures, or numbers.  Instructional methods focus on the use of literature and technology as well as encourage students to talk and write about math.

Mathematical Content

Fourth grade Next Generation Mathematics Standards are organized into the following domains:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Number Sense and Operations – Fractions
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Pervasive throughout the domains are several key mathematical practices. These are:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Required Fluencies in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

 Students should be taught to use strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and the relationship between multiplication and division; however, when solving any problem, students can choose any strategy. Students should be taught to use equations, rectangular arrays, and area models; however, when illustrating and explaining any calculation, students can choose any strategy.

The required fluency for grade four:  

MULTIPLY AND DIVIDE WITHIN 100

ADD AND SUBTRACT WITHIN 1,000,000 using strategies

[5] http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/nys-next-generation-mathematics-p-12-standards.pdf 

Music Curriculum

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learning for children.

In fourth grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Music Literacy. Students move from recognizing familiar patterns to the beginning stages of decoding to reading musical notation for meaning. Beginning improvisation or the ability to spontaneously create music within the framework of patterns and harmonic function coupled with music literacy are the basis of a budding independent musician.
  • Fourth grade students also have the opportunity to begin instrumental music lessons. Students may choose to take an instrument and have weekly group instruction during the school day. Students who have gained enough skills may join a band or orchestra and have an opportunity to perform in an ensemble at a concert.
  • Fourth grade students also have the opportunity to join chorus which rehearses once a week after school. For students who like to sing, chorus is an enriching experience giving students vocal executive skills combined with cooperative team activities.  Chorus members perform in several evening concerts throughout the year gaining self-confidence through public performances.

Science Curriculum

In grade 4, students review K-3 concepts in preparation for the cumulative NYS performance and written science assessments.

What Is Our Evidence That We Live on a Changing Earth?

In this unit of study, students identify, analyze, and communicate evidence that we live on a changing planet. Students analyze global maps to find patterns in the locations of Earth features and in the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Students investigate additional Earth processes that affect the landscape: weathering and erosion. They use models of mountains to test the effects of rainfall, vegetation, earthquakes, wind, and glaciers on landforms. Students consider what clues can be found in rock layers to serve as evidence of past landscapes. In the final science challenge, students apply what they have learned to create a museum exhibit explaining that a variety of forms of evidence tells us that we live on a changing Earth.

Electric Circuits

In this unit of study, students investigate electricity by wiring a circuit to light a bulb and learn that a circuit must form a complete circle through which electric current can pass in order to light the bulb. They explore other electrical concepts, such as what conductors and insulators are and how they work. Students also learn about the symbolic language of electricity and use it to read and draw diagrams for wiring circuits and constructing a flashlight.

Social Studies Curriculum

Grade 4 Social Studies is focused on New York State and local communities and their change over time, incorporating the study of geography, history, economics, and government. Students will learn about local connections throughout the course. The course is divided into seven Key Ideas that span the State’s history from before the European colonial era to the modern period. The Key Ideas allow teachers to make connections to present-day New York State and the local community.

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Grade 5 Curriculum

Art | English Language Arts (ELA) | Health | Math | Music | Science | Social Studies

Art Curriculum

Art assists in the development of the whole child as it supports the child’s emotional and intellectual growth through sensory experiences. The art curriculum is designed to promote creativity, imagination, problem solving, critical thinking and artistic expression. Each learning experience includes both a process and/or a product.

The elementary art curriculum includes a K-5 sequential learning process exposing children to a variety of techniques, concepts, and skills. The visual art curriculum allows the teacher to guide children through hands-on activities that integrate art history in both past and present cultures, are criticism, aesthetics, technology, and careers in art through studio experiences in the two and three-dimensional arts.

Children’s work is displayed throughout the classroom and building on a regular basis. An annual student art show is also held at the town library.

Elementary art teachers work closely with classroom and special area teachers to promote a positive, exciting learning experience. Connections are made across disciplines while simultaneously allowing children to express themselves as unique individuals.

English Language Arts (ELA) Curriculum

The Language Arts–reading literature and informational texts, writing, speaking, listening and language–are a major part of students’ elementary school program. The goal of Guilderland’s Language Arts program is to develop literate students in the 21st century. 

Students read and write every day for various purposes and receive frequent written and oral feedback from their teachers and peers. Instruction occurs individually, in small groups and whole class settings. 

Students are expected to read and understand more complex material and write and speak with more sophistication as they progress through the grades. Students will read and respond to texts from a diverse range of authors, genres, cultures and perspectives. Attention to Language Arts skills and strategies is integrated into student learning throughout the day.

Reading

The purpose of reading is to make meaning from written material. It is a highly complex act of communication requiring active involvement.

The overall objective of reading instruction is to develop motivated readers who process written language efficiently and derive meaning from what they read. 

In Grade Five, reading instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on the following skills while processing increasingly complex texts:

  • Reading literature and informational texts 
  • Building reading stamina
  • Understanding perspectives different from their own, including settings, characters, and issues
  • Determining theme, central message and key ideas using text evidence
  • Recognize various text structures and explain how they support the author’s purpose.
  • Effectively engaging in a range of collaborative discussions (for example, in partnerships, book clubs, whole group) to construct new understandings
  • Comparing and contrasting points of view from which different stories are narrated
  • Reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • Determining the meaning of new words and phrases, adding to their ever expanding vocabularies

Progress in reading is assessed formally and informally throughout the year.  In addition, students will take the New York State ELA Assessment. 

Writing

The goal of Guilderland’s writing program is to develop students who can write competently and with confidence. Guilderland recognizes that writing is a complex process, and its writing program addresses the following student learning objectives:  

  • Students have choice of topic, genre, structure and audience for their writing
  • Students efficiently use writer’s notebooks as a tool for gathering ideas for writing
  • Students have frequent opportunities to write and receive a great deal of appropriate instruction and feedback
  • Students realize that their lives, ideas and interests are worth writing about
  • Students know that audience and purpose will influence decisions they make about their writing
  • Students recognize the qualities of good writing and know how to evaluate their own work
  • Students increase writing stamina

In Grade Five, writing instruction builds upon previous learning and adds focus on:

  • The writing process (with an emphasis on organization, purpose, audience, and craft) 
  • Informational writing using research and various text structures
  • Opinion writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Responding to literature
  • Producing and publishing using technology (including the internet) with some support

Students are expected to produce a variety of writing pieces throughout the year. They will complete their work with attention to the qualities of good writing, correct spelling and mechanics. 

Progress in writing is assessed through individual conferencing, writing rubrics and review of the students’ writing portfolios. 

Handwriting

The expectation of all written work is that it should be legible, appropriately spaced, and organized in terms of line and space on the paper.

Spelling and Word Study

In Grade Five, students are expected to read and spell most high-frequency words correctly and use basic word study principles to help them read and spell multisyllabic words.  They will use resources such as a dictionary, thesaurus and/or technology.

Students will engage in a word study approach that includes the development of phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary.

Health Curriculum

Health is a condition of well-being that is required for the development of each individual and for society as a whole. Health instruction at the elementary level builds a strong foundation to promote the health and well-being of our students. The health education program works in partnership with the home, school, and community. To support this partnership with the parents, a list of videos that may be used is mailed home at the beginning of the school year, and, prior to instruction of HIV/AIDS and sexual abuse prevention, a parent notification letter is sent home with students.

The elementary programs provide accurate, age-appropriate information and builds upon prior learning. The curriculum consists of six strands and is taught by the classroom teacher. The six strands are:

  • Physical activity and Nutrition
  • Diseases
  • Tobacco, alcohol & other drugs
  • Family life and maturity
  • Violence prevention
  • Unintentional injury prevention

Math Curriculum

In 2015, New York State (NYS) began a process of review and revision of its current mathematics standards adopted in January of 2011. The New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (2017) reflect revisions, additions, vertical movement, and clarifications to the current mathematics standards. The New York State Next Generation Learning Standards for Mathematics (updated June 2019)  will be fully implemented in September 2020.  The Standards are defined as the knowledge, skills and understanding that individuals can and do habitually demonstrate over time because of instruction and learning experiences. These mathematics standards, collectively, are focused and cohesive—designed to support student access to the knowledge and understanding of the mathematical concepts that are necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics, while providing educators the opportunity to devise innovative programs to support this endeavor.

To prepare students for the changes in the way we live and work, and to be sure that our education system keeps pace with what it means to be mathematically literate and what it means to collaboratively problem solve, we need a different approach to daily teaching and learning. We need content-rich standards that will serve as a platform for advancing children’s 21st-century mathematical skills —their abstract reasoning, their collaboration skills, their ability to learn from peers and through technology, and their flexibility as a learner in a dynamic learning environment. Students need to be engaged in dialogue and learning experiences that allow complex topics and ideas to be explored from many angles and perspectives. They also need to learn how to think and solve problems for which there is no one solution—and learn mathematical skills along the way.[6]

In Grade 5, instructional time should focus on three areas: (1) develop fluency with addition and subtraction of fractions, and develop an understanding of the multiplication of fractions and of division of fractions in limited cases (unit fractions divided by whole numbers and whole numbers divided by unit fractions); (2) extending division to 2-digit divisors, integrating decimals into the place value system and develop an understanding of operations with decimals to hundredths, and develop fluency with whole number and decimal operations; and (3) develop an understanding of volume.

Investigations  in Numbers, Data, and Space 3 (2017) developed by TERC and published by Pearson Education, Inc. consistently engages students in thinking, reasoning, problem solving, justifying, and communicating about mathematics. The yearlong math curriculum consists of 8 units of study.  Each unit of study is composed of several investigations which focus on a subset of math ideas.  The critical areas and mathematical practices outlined in the Next Generation Standards are integrated into each Investigation unit of study.  Student tools allow children to engage in context-based mathematical situations that build to more abstract problem solving. Students use models, manipulatives, quick pictures and symbols to build deeper mathematical understandings. A written representation is any way of representing a strategy using words, pictures, or numbers.  Instructional methods focus on the use of literature and technology as well as encourage students to talk and write about math.

Mathematical Content

Fifth grade Next Generation Mathematics Standards are organized into the following domains:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Number Sense and Operations – Fractions
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Pervasive throughout the domains are several key mathematical practices. These are:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • Model with mathematics
  • Use appropriate tools strategically
  • Attend to precision
  • Look for and make use of structure
  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Required Fluencies in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

 Students should be taught to use strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and the relationship between multiplication and division; however, when solving any problem, students can choose any strategy. Students should be taught to use equations, rectangular arrays, and area models; however, when illustrating and explaining any calculation, students can choose any strategy.

The required fluency for grade five:    

MULTIPLY AND DIVIDE WITHIN 100

ADD AND SUBTRACT DECIMALS and FRACTIONS

[6] http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/programs/curriculum-instruction/nys-next-generation-mathematics-p-12-standards.pdf  

Music Curriculum

The elementary general music program is offered to students in grades K-5 twice a week for 30 minutes. The emphasis in music class is on the development of each child’s tonal, rhythmic and movement skills through a sound before sight approach. Similar to the way children acquire language skills, music is taught as an aural art. Students build a solid foundation of aural and performing skills through singing, rhythmic movement, and tonal and rhythm pattern instruction before being introduced to notation and music theory. The voice is a natural instrument for all children and emphasis is placed on the singing of a variety of songs from many cultures. Movement activities support dexterity, rhythm skill development, and beat coordination. Creativity, composition, and improvisation are encouraged at every level of music instruction.

All students have opportunities to perform on classroom instruments including xylophones and rhythm instruments. The curriculum utilizes Dr. Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Children are evaluated for music aptitude in both tonal (melodic) and rhythm skills. The movement portion of the curriculum is based on Phyllis Weikart’s Education through Movement developed as a result of her study of the body as the center of learning for children.

In fifth grade the essential elements of the curriculum focus on:

  • Music Literacy. Students move from recognizing familiar patterns to the beginning stages of decoding to reading musical notation for meaning.
  • Beginning improvisation or the ability to spontaneously create music within the framework of patterns and harmonic function coupled with music literacy are the basis of a budding independent musician.
  • Fifth grade students continue to develop instrumental skills and rehearse with the band or orchestra a minimum of once a week, and perform concerts in the winter and spring.
  • Fifth grade students also have the opportunity to join chorus, which rehearses once a week after school. For students who like to sing, chorus is an enriching experience giving students vocal executive skills combined with cooperative team activities.
  • Chorus members perform in several evening concerts throughout the year gaining self-confidence through public performances.

Advanced opportunities are available to students who excel in music in 5th grade. Students may participate in the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo and Ensemble Festivals, the Guilderland All-District Concert, grade level plays, and other performance opportunities. Students are encouraged to participate fully in the music program and work hard to achieve a high level of skill and enjoyment.

Science Curriculum

How Can We Provide Freshwater to Those in Need?

In this unit of study, students will explore the topic of water scarcity and the various ways humans have attempted to get water to where it is needed. Students will collect evidence and experiences on their water footprints and on how little accessible freshwater actually exists. The culminating activity asks students to create a water scarcity–based public service announcement for a region in distress. Students are asked to solve a water pumping challenge, develop models based on the interaction of Earth’s four spheres, and then design a solution to a water pollution problem.

How Can We Identify Materials Based on Their Properties?

In this unit of study, students learn how they can use the properties of materials to identify them. Students use their senses to compare the properties of six solids, including sugar and cornstarch. They read about how sugar and cornstarch are made by plants and used as food by animals. Students learn that dissolving and evaporation can be explained by particles. They compare how six solids behave when mixed with water. Students learn that melting points can be used to identify solids. They look at the effect of heat on six solids. In the culminating activity, students apply what they have learned about properties to identify four unknown solids.

How Can We Predict Changes in Ecosystems?

In this unit of study, students will explore how plants and animals get the matter and energy they need to live and grow, how they interact in food webs, how change in one part of an ecosystem can have various effects, and how newly introduced species can sometimes become invasive.

Social Studies Curriculum

Grade 5 Social Studies is based on the history and geography of the Western Hemisphere, including the development of cultures, civilizations, and empires; interaction between societies; and the comparison of the government and economic systems of modern nations. It also incorporates elements of archaeology. The course is divided into seven Key Ideas that cover a time span from prehistory into modern times. Students will learn about local connections throughout the course, especially in the examination of citizenship related to modern political and economic issues.

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