Text: Go Math! Our math series and instruction uses the guidelines from the Common Core Standards to build Kindergarteners’ early math skills. Our goal is to set an early foundation for students by strengthening basic skills, which they can then expand upon. We focus on counting and identifying numerals from one to one hundred, matching sets of objects to their numerals, greater than, less than, shapes, basic addition, and subtraction concepts. We also supplement with other crucial math skills like time, graphing, and measuring. We use iPads, games, and many hands-on manipulatives to reinforce math lessons. Our Kindergarten children are challenged at their level throughout the school year.
Text: Journeys Common Core by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: The Archdiocese of Chicago sets rigorous standards for reading and writing using Common Core Standards as a base while incorporating religious texts into our curriculum. Reading curriculum includes literature, comprehension, phonics, phonological awareness, and vocabulary. Our lesson begins each week with a “big book” that is used to reinforce vocabulary, rhyming, story elements, and story structure. We also incorporate literacy centers (Daily Five) into our day. This allows the teachers to take small groups for guided reading based on student level, while other students practice various reading, writing, and word knowledge skills. In addition, we do weekly journals and creative writing.
Text: Blest Are We: Faith in Action from RCL Benziger Religion is incorporated into daily lessons, and the students work on developing and enhancing Christian behaviors of respect, friendship, and responsibility. We also attend all-school mass weekly with 8th Grade buddies, as well as all observed Holy Days. Each morning, we pray together as a school as well as participating in daily prayers in our classroom which includes the Sign of the Cross, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. We use storybook Bibles to read stories from both the Old and New Testaments and discuss the teachings of our Lord.
Our science curriculum is planned around inquiry-based learning. We use our current classroom themes to encourage children to ask questions about earth science, life science, and physical science. We explore various topics such as the five senses, the way things move, living vs. nonliving, space, and the human body.
Social studies units have a heavy focus on community and citizenship. We study church, school, community helpers, how we obtain and trade goods, government, and diversity. We have guest speakers join our class to teach us about their professions and how we can be safe in our community. We focus on the acceptance of all people by exploring other communities and traditions in addition to our own.
Spelling and Handwriting
Our curriculum incorporates the use of songs, dances, fine motor manipulatives (Play-Doh, etc.), wood pieces, and iPad apps. Each letter is introduced to the children as being made up of big lines, little lines, big curves, and little curves from the Learning Without Tears series. The curriculum first reviews all uppercase letters of the alphabet according to the way they are formed. After uppercase letters have been mastered, we learn lowercase letters. The curriculum also outlines lessons on sentence writing, beginning with capitals, leaving spaces between words, and using punctuation correctly. Each child works in his/her own workbook throughout the year. All children in our Kindergarten program are encouraged to use invented spelling during the school year and into first grade.
We attend each enrichment class once a week for 40 minutes. These classes include Computer, Music, Art, Library, and Physical Education (3 times each week). Students have recess once daily for 20 minutes. We have 20 minutes for lunch and a small snack in the morning. Students also perform in the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School Christmas Concert.
Planting bulbs with their eighth-grade buddies in honor of the Archangels
Shopping with the Elves with eighth-grade buddies
Making Christmas cookie trees with eighth-grade buddies
100th Day of School
Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a craft and snack with eighth-grade buddies
Dr. Seuss Day
Kindergarten Mother’s Day Tea
Family and friends volunteering to be Mystery Readers
Planning and participating in school liturgy