OUR WORKSHOP APPROACH
Our educational philosophy is grounded in a workshop based approach which enables students to become self-directed and lifelong learners. The design of this workshop approach makes teaching amenable to differentiated instruction and to meeting individual students learning needs throughout the day.
The workshop format provides a structured place where teachers are viewed as mentors and models. Workshop enables students to learn and practice new strategies, develop understanding and explore questions using prior and personal experience as scaffolds to creatively integrate new knowledge. Teachers confer, stimulate, and question as they work with whole groups, small groups, and individual students to personalize their instruction. Since workshops are times when all students are working at their independent level, the instruction they receive is inherently responsive to students’ needs.
In Reader’s Workshop, teachers provide direct and explicit-strategy instruction, balanced with small group work and independent reading time. The structure and strategies used in the workshop model remain consistent throughout grade levels, allowing for adaptation based on students’ academic growth and development. Our faculty work to provide a balanced literacy program which incorporates multiple instructional methods to ensure students are proficient in the area of reading. Reader’s Workshop is grounded in Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and Pam Allyn’s Core Ready Series curriculum.
Our Writer’s Workshop model engages students in learning the craft of writing through its sequential approach through the multiple stages of the writing process from prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and culminating in publishing. In the workshop, the teacher is a mentor who regularly models what is asked of the student-writers. The human need to socialize and converse is valued as students and teachers interact to exchange ideas, goals, and advice. Thus, a spirit of collaboration becomes an essential part of the workshop environment.
Writer’s Workshop is grounded in Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and Pam Allyn’s Core Ready Series curriculum.
Math workshop supports students’ ability to know mathematical processes, understand why those mathematical processes work, and fosters a culture of discourse. At every grade level, students are inquiring, investigating, and constructing mathematical knowledge. Math workshop classroom environments target students’ individual learning needs by providing whole group instruction, small group instruction, and ample opportunities for students to work independently. Throughout these forms of differentiated instructional strategies, teachers are able to engage our diverse types of learners with multiple ways to solve mathematical problems from the concrete to the abstract. Our math workshop is grounded in the Eureka Math curriculum.
History-Social Science Workshop
In order to develop global citizens and agents of change we guide students to develop a strong sense of the historical, social, economic, and political trends that have shaped the world. To best achieve this, the history-social science curriculum blends the study of American history, world history, government, geography, and economics. An integrated approach to history-social science is used as a way to bring history-social science content to life and deepen students’ understanding of the content and to connect learning across content areas. This integrated approach enables students to have authentic opportunities to think critically, develop informed opinions, research topics to express their ideas in both oral and written format, and effectively listen to differing opinions. Our curriculum is grounded in the Content Standards for California Public Schools History-Social Science.
Students’ innate curiosity and desire to understand their world serves as a foundation for the scientific inquiry-based approach to our science curriculum. The science curriculum models the way scientists conduct research and experiments in the real world, incorporating a true inquiry-based approach to learning and discovery. Science instruction for students in the primary and upper elementary grades will fall into the areas of Earth Science, Life Science, Physical Science and Investigation and Experimentation. In the middle school grades, science instruction will include the same four areas, but at a greater depth of knowledge and an increased focus toward inquiry-based learning. By the end of eighth grade, students will have the skills to be independent problem solvers with strong critical thinking, writing, and reading skills, and the ability to implement self-created scientific experiments. Our science curriculum is grounded in the Next Generation Science Standards.