R-Landing-Kegley190424FlintH5091

LOWER SCHOOL

By establishing a framework for learning in the earliest years, students are better equipped to succeed in school and in life.

At Flint Hill, children are nurtured to be their very best, surrounded by people who know and care about them. Our Lower School sets new standards of excellence by relentlessly innovating our approach to learning, helping children develop in a positive environment and learn essential social and academic skills. We encourage students to take an active role in their education, as they become effective communicators and collaborative leaders. By emphasizing critical thinking, collaboration, personal goal-setting, and problem-solving skills, our Lower School students become productive and excited learners.

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After-School Programs are designed to broaden a student’s interests. The after-school clubs are offered seasonally in the fall, winter and spring with a variety of developmentally oriented options to extend upon the learning from the school day and to allow students to explore new passions and interests. Clubs are facilitated by Flint Hill faculty, including Middle and Upper School teachers with specific specialties, as well as Upper School student mentors and outside vendors. Topics have included cultural cooking and cupcake decorating, innovation opportunities like coding and 3D printing, fencing, model trains and athletic programs like Husky Hoops and lacrosse. Chess, theater and yoga are regular offerings from outside specialty groups that offer young families the convenience of extracurricular programs on campus immediately after school. Registration for these activities is on a cost per club basis.

In this year-long course, students take new developmental steps to appreciate the joy of self-expression and become visually literate. Projects are designed to increase the sophistication of problem solving to include a multi-level concept and media synthesis and to begin articulating their choices with an expanding vocabulary. Students also examine connections with artists in other cultures and/or time periods to recognize the constants in art and to appreciate the developments. Specific projects that are introduced include basket weaving, mural contour drawing, design (including color theory), drawing (self-portrait, still life and landscape), collage, ceramics, painting, calligraphy, printing and low-relief sculpture (repousse).

This year-long ensemble course is designed to provide young musicians with their first experiences playing a band musical instrument. The course is designed to provide a structured, musical environment in which students learn the rudiments of playing a musical instrument. By the end of the year, students are capable of producing an instrument-appropriate sound and possess ensemble skills and age-appropriate technique. Students are well on their way to a lifelong appreciation for music by the end of this course. The fifth and sixth grade band performs at the Winter Concert and the Spring Concert.

Fifth and sixth grade students learn all aspects of choral performance to prepare for the annual winter and spring performances. To support this, the choir spends a significant percentage of its time on vocal exercise and sound creation. The basic elements of sight-singing, music theory and complex part-singing are introduced throughout the year.

In the spring, students learn a major choral work in detail, focusing not only on the musical elements, but also the extra-musical elements. If and when opportunities arise to take part in community productions, members of this group are encouraged to audition. No previous singing experience is required.

In this foundational class, students learn the basics of computer programming, engineering, making and design thinking, which are the building blocks of future study in Innovation courses at Flint Hill. In addition, students learn to use the resources available to them to make connections with their personal, social and academic realms, all while being ethical and responsible users and producers of information within a one-to-one environment. This course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

Through structured mini-lessons and individual conferences, students build strength as readers and writers in a variety of genres, including narrative, poetry and expository texts. Students practice their reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking skills, while also honing their understanding and use of English conventions such as grammar, mechanics and vocabulary development. Students build reading skills through wide independent reading, close reading of shared class texts and discussions and activities related to rich texts. The syllabus encourages students to think critically and make connections across a wide range of texts and disciplines.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian. Students continue developing their attribution and citation skills with an emphasis on creating bibliographies for their work. They also refine their information search skills by focusing on appropriate keywords, assessing websites and assessing possible bias.

The beginning of the year in Mathematics 5 is devoted to reviewing fourth grade computational skills across all operations, with the goals of fluency and accuracy. Through the use of manipulatives, guided discoveries and group discussions, students explore properties of numbers, operations with whole numbers and the structure of place value, continuing to build their conceptual sense of numbers. Students strengthen their understanding of multiplication and division by developing a variety of multiplication and division strategies. They learn the relationships between fractions, decimals and percentages and develop strategies for adding and subtracting fractions and decimals. They further develop their understanding of 2D shapes, find the measure of polygon angles, determine the volume of 3D shapes and work with area and perimeter. They describe major features in a set of data, represent data in a line plot or bar graph and use medians or fractional parts of the data. They draw conclusions about how groups compare data based on summarizing the data, conducting experiments and considering the notion of fairness in the context of probability. They investigate situations in which two quantities change in relation to each other. They describe data about functional relationships, develop an overall sense of change from a graph and understand the relationships between the changes and totals. They compare two linear functions with different rates of change.

This course follows the Mathematics 5 topics, with deeper content and several extension topics that feature more student-centered pacing. Students strengthen their understanding of the computational strategies they use for multiplication, and use representations and story contexts to connect these strategies to the meaning of multiplication. Students continue to learn ways to solve division problems fluently and extend their knowledge of the base-10 number system, working with numbers in the hundred thousands and beyond. Students learn the relationships among fractions, decimals and percentages, and develop strategies for adding and subtracting fractions and decimals. Students further develop their understanding of the attributes of 2D shapes, find the measure of polygon angles, determine the volume of 3D shapes and work with area and perimeter. They also deepen their understanding of the relationship between volume and the linear dimensions of length, width and height.

Students describe major features of a set of data, represented in a line plot or bar graph, and quantify the description by using medians or fractional parts of the data. Students draw conclusions about how two groups compare to each other based on summarizing the data for each group. They conduct their own data experiments. Students also look at the probability of various events. They conduct experiments and consider the notion of fairness in the context of probability. Students investigate situations in which two quantities change in relation to each other. They describe data about functional relationships, develop an overall sense of change from a graph and understand how the changes and totals are related. They also compare two linear functions with different rates of change. Students are expected to make connections to previous skills and other content areas and extend and apply their understanding of topics to new scenarios. This course makes significant use of investigation and discovery-based learning.

This course offers students four instrument choices in their exploration of string instrumental music: the violin, viola, cello and bass. At the beginning of the school year, the instructor helps students select an appropriate instrument. An instrumental selection day is set up at the beginning of each school year to allow students to try out these different instruments. Once the instrument is chosen and classes begin, students are taught the rudiments and technique of their chosen instruments. In order to prepare them for more advanced ensemble work, students are taught group ensemble skills and learn how to play together more effectively. They learn the skills needed for demonstrating basic technique on their chosen instrument, note reading and basic rhythmic counting. The fifth and sixth grade orchestra presents two required concerts during the year, during which they perform several selections that demonstrate what they have learned.

The objective for this course is to introduce fifth and sixth grade students to the fundamentals of percussion and rhythm. Each student is introduced to basic instruments in the percussion family, such as the snare drum, bass drum and cymbals, and are taught the concepts and techniques necessary to perform on those instruments. Students are introduced to experiences that emphasize learning by doing, modeling, discovering and listening. Specifically, students learn appropriate playing positions, grip, hand-eye coordination and how to identify musical notation. Students are evaluated on preparedness, weekly parent-signed practice sheets and classroom and public performances.

Students experience in-depth instruction in a combination of team and individual sports and recreational activities. Each unit applies a specific set of skills, including hand-eye or foot-eye coordination, striking an object, dodging, fleeing, moving into open space, body control or other movement skills and sportsmanship and fitness. Students learn more advanced tactics, positional play, and rules of the games, and develop defensive and offensive strategies for each sport.

In this course, topics from life, the Earth and the physical sciences are introduced to develop scientific reasoning. Students learn about ecosystems, the movement of matter and energy and changes in ecosystems over time. They understand that the Earth is composed of four interacting systems, learn to describe important interactions between and among those systems and investigate the impact of human activity on these systems. Matter is introduced in terms of particles, and students examine its properties and the changes matter undergoes. Students also acquire an overarching understanding of gravity and the five patterns caused by gravity. This course emphasizes hands-on activities, science literacy, math integration and cooperative learning. The focus is on understanding the scientific concepts and applying them to engineering challenges. Students are taught to analyze data and use inquiry skills that are essential for investigating the natural world.

This course introduces students to the beginnings of the human story. Using the lens of a social scientist, students explore the great early civilizations to identify the cultural universals and discover the secrets of ancient cultures that continue to influence the modern world. Through hands-on activities, students learn about early humans and the rise of civilization, ancient Egypt and the Middle East and ancient India, focusing on the development of systems of government, social structure, art and technology. Students are encouraged to make connections with their own lives and learn to examine choices made by early people related to their unique challenges while mastering social studies standards.

Students learn thematic vocabulary and conversational patterns to promote speaking and basic writing skills on everyday familiar topics. They also learn about traditions and cultural practices in countries where Spanish is spoken. Interactive teaching strategies are used to reinforce language patterns and promote communication. Students demonstrate their learning with final projects on topics related to personal information, the classroom, home and family.

In fifth grade, the Wellness and Life Skills program contains two core elements. The first element is to teach developmentally appropriate health education. The second element is to provide students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, so they can then make choices that promote wellness.

In this course, students build upon some of the issues touched upon in fourth grade, such as relational aggression and learning about empathy through group dialogue and role-playing activities. Students also learn about identifying and expressing emotions — from the perspective of self and other — and then identify and discuss the qualities of genuine friendship and healthy human relationships. Students also spend some time examining the dangers of tobacco use.

We expose students to a variety of media and explore different art disciplines including drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, clay animation and sculpture. Fundamental painting and drawing skills are reinforced with projects from imagination and observation. Students mix colors to create secondary and tertiary colors. They are also introduced to different drawing media, including pencil, graphite, marker and charcoal. Students explore the concept of multiples in connection with a stamp print project. Ceramic skills are reinforced as they use coils and the pinch method to create clay sculptures. While studying mammals in the classroom, students use animation clay and build mixed-media sets to create animated movies of animals on their iPads.

From coding with Scratch Jr., to designing and developing their own instructional YouTube videos, students begin to apply order, shapes and sequential instructions to activities and objects that are personally relevant. Through discovering, engineering, tinkering and sharing, students engage in the self-directed learning process that is crucial to innovation. These opportunities are integrated throughout the day and enhanced by thinking routines, technology applications and opportunities for students to reflect on their learning. First grade students also participate in the annual Global Day of Play and Hour of Code, events that focus on innovation and creative problem solving.

Students practice routines, use independent work skills and make academic choices as readers and writers. Using the Daily 5 structure, students learn to pick books that are just right for them and use specific routines to build their reading stamina with those books. Students also help one another check for understanding. Making predictions, retelling a story, drawing connections, making inferences or considering aspects of the text are just some of the components students use to foster comprehension of what they read. The first-graders use many strategies to strengthen phonemic awareness, decode unfamiliar words and acquire a strong sight vocabulary. Students also use the CAFE strategies to build comprehension, accuracy and fluency and expand their vocabulary. Students begin their study of spelling features through our word study program, Words Their Way.

In Writing Workshop, students learn about and use the stages of the writing process. They increase their writing stamina and volume through extended opportunities to write in genres such as personal narrative, fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Students learn to choose topics, write strong leads and conclusions and develop their ideas. They learn about sentence structure, writing conventions and clarity. Students work to create meaning through clear, coherent sentences, accurate capitalization and punctuation and strong nouns, verbs and adjectives. The Handwriting Without Tears program is used to reinforce handwriting skills throughout the year.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Each class also includes a read-aloud story and discussion to help students develop a love of language along with an appreciation for literature. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian.

Students use a variety of print and online resources as they begin learning research skills, including basic citation. Read-aloud choices focus on fun, engaging stories with rich language. Post-story discussion emphasizes retelling the story, the sequence of events and making predictions from text or pictures. Students are encouraged to make connections to themselves, the world and previous reading. Students may check out two books per class but may exchange them for others at any time.

Students have repeated experiences breaking one number into two parts or combining two parts to form a whole, and they consider the relationship between the parts. Students work with composing and decomposing numbers to 20 and focus on addition combinations of 10. Students model and solve addition and subtraction problems to clarify and communicate their thinking. Students create their own representations of the data they collect, organizing their data and providing pictures that help describe what the data shows.

They measure relatively small lengths and larger distances to:

  • understand that measurement is applied to both objects and distances;
  • know where to start and stop measuring;
  • know which dimension to measure;
  • measure the shortest line from point to point; and
  • understand that many measurements are not reported in whole numbers.

Students create, describe, extend and make predictions about repeating patterns, and analyze the structure of repeating patterns by identifying the unit of each pattern. Students also work on carefully observing, describing and comparing 2D and 3D shapes. They explore properties of polygons, including sides, vertices and angles and are introduced to the concepts of congruence and symmetry. In a data unit, students develop a question, collect data, represent the data and describe and interpret the data.

Music classes are taught using the Orff approach, involving listening, movement, singing and other creative activities. Students develop skills in music theory and instrumental music, playing instruments such as the xylophone and other percussion instruments. Students perform at weekly Inspirations and at holiday and spring concerts, showcasing the curriculum. Students also are introduced to movement and dance.

We introduce students to rhythm, pitch, meter and dynamics — they begin to recognize notes and rests, high and low pitches, fast and slow meter and soft and loud dynamics. Students are introduced to fundamental music terms and vocabulary and learn about the connections between movement and music.

Our lessons at this stage concentrate on movement and skill development. Students build upon the fundamental skills learned early in the year and progress to apply them in more game situations as the year continues. Teamwork, cooperation and fair play are reinforced in each class. Cooperative games, individual and partner work and other physical challenges provide an active and exciting learning environment during each class. “Healthy Habits” discussions and activities focus on healthy daily habits, nutrition and activities to maintain a healthy heart. Volleying, speed stacks, hula hoop and jump rope units provide different challenges to increase body awareness and hand-eye coordination.

Science in the Lower School is designed to tap into young students’ natural curiosity about their environment and how the world works. We help students, through inquiry, to continually build on their abilities and revise their knowledge. Our goals for the program are to provide students with engaging hands-on opportunities and experiences to guide them toward a more scientifically based and coherent view of the Earth, space, life and the physical sciences. In the Lower School, science involves integrating engineering and technology to provide an environment in which students can test their own developing scientific knowledge and apply it to practical problems.

The performance expectations in first grade help students develop answers to questions. Students are taught to create and use models to construct explanations based on their understanding of the core ideas. They are expected to explore the relationship between sound and vibrating materials and between the availability of light and the ability to see objects. Students are also expected to develop understanding of how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow and meet their needs, and how behaviors of parents and offspring help the offspring survive.

Social Studies incorporates the study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the Lower School program, Social Studies provides a coordinated, systematic study drawing upon geography, history, economics and political science and relevant content from language arts, mathematics and the sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. To lay the foundation, from grades JK-4, the school year begins with students and teachers establishing the classroom community and students learning what it means to be a good citizen.

At this level, Social Studies is integrated with other content areas to achieve broader understanding. In first grade, the Social Studies curriculum introduces the structures of schools and families. Students learn how to get along with classmates, follow School rules and identify people who work at a school. Through engaging activities, students examine maps and their symbols and are introduced to directionality.

Students build on previous knowledge by adding new thematic vocabulary and more challenging phrases, learned responses and brief sentences. Students also learn topics that are integrated with their classroom studies. The cultural focus allows students to learn about many aspects of life in the Spanish-speaking world. Students also engage with the language through many interactive activities including music and games.

The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills which build resilience to stress and anxiety, and develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behavior can be both physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, avoiding mean teasing and reporting bullying behavior.

“The Husky Promise” is an integral part of students’ day-to-day lives. We encourage students to respect others and themselves through their daily interactions and learn to work both cooperatively and independently, with other students during group work and centers. When working or playing with others, they are becoming aware of how to make the right choices and learn how to accept the consequences of a wrong decision. Students also begin to take responsibility for their own work and manage their homework and belongings. Through stories and role play, children learn about bullying behaviors. Our goal is to help students develop into caring, self-confident members of the classroom community.

Projects are designed to emphasize exposure to new concepts, expansion of known concepts, integration of grade level information and the joy of self-expression. In drawing and painting, students review formatting and composition choices related to their subject matter, and learn to include design elements such as value, color, texture and emphasis. By combining materials in multi-stage works, students develop technical and conceptual skills and an aptitude for individual expression.

From coding with Scratch Jr. on the iPad and Scratch on the MacBook, to building circuits and beginner robots, students apply basic understanding of programming concepts by creating their own coded programs and learn about ethical issues of technology. Students also create multimedia communication elements to share what they have learned about their year-long study of the Chesapeake Bay. Through discovering, engineering, tinkering and sharing their work, students engage in the self-directed learning process that is crucial to innovation. These creative opportunities are integrated throughout the day and enhanced by thinking routines, technology applications and opportunities to reflect on their learning. To further engage in innovation, Fourth Grade students participate in the annual Global Day of Play and Hour of Code, and design games for the Stop Hunger Now service-learning project.

At this level, students combine their skills to read, write and communicate with greater sophistication. Reading workshop mini-lessons guide the students to think with greater depth as they infer, connect, predict and analyze. Students apply these strategies to their independent books and to small group and partner reading selections. In-class and at-home reading of appropriately challenging books are essential components to developing the students as readers. Students use the CAFE strategies to build comprehension, accuracy and fluency and expand their vocabulary. Students’ vocabulary is also expanded and enriched by using words from various aspects of the curriculum. Spelling is taught through Word Study, which places an emphasis on phonetic differences and similarities in word patterns.

Writing Workshop allows students to apply whole-class mini-lessons and individual goals to their writing. We teach a range of skills specific to particular genres such as script-writing, poetry, non-fiction research and blogging. Through individual conferences with the teacher, students determine and work to achieve personal writing goals. Students also work to hone their editing revision skills as they create pieces for authentic audiences.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Each class also includes a read-aloud story and discussion to help students develop a love of language along with an appreciation for literature. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian.

Read-aloud choices center on high-interest stories that engage students and lead to rich discussions. Students continue developing their attribution and citation skills with an emphasis on creating bibliographies for their work. They also refine their information search skills by focusing on appropriate keywords, assessing websites and assessing possible bias. Other units include the Library of Congress and primary sources related to Jamestown and Williamsburg. Students check out up to four books per class, but may exchange for others at any time.

At this level, students describe, analyze and compare strategies for adding and subtracting, while working on accuracy and efficiency. They also develop an understanding of factors and multiples through work with array models of multiplication and practice multiplication combinations through 12 x 12. They develop strategies for solving multiplication and division problems based on looking at the problem as a whole, thinking about the relationships among the numbers in the problem and choosing an approach they can carry out easily and accurately. Students interpret and solve division problems both in story contexts and numerical contexts. Understanding numbers through 10,000 is extended with exploration of the structure of place value and the base-10 number system. Students learn the meaning, order and equivalencies of fractions and decimals, and continue to focus on the meaning of fractions, in a variety of contexts, as equal parts of a whole. They also relate decimals to equivalent decimals and fractions.

Students collect, represent, describe and interpret data, and they use graphs and tables to represent changes in data. They develop conclusions and make arguments based on the evidence they have collected. Students compare and predict the likelihood of events in their study of probability. They consider the various attributes of 2D shapes, such as the number of sides, the length of sides, parallel sides and the size of angles. Students describe attributes and properties of geometric solids (3D shapes), such as the shape and number of faces, the number and relative lengths of edges and the number of vertices. They also work on understanding the concept of volume and its measurement.

Music classes are taught using the Orff approach, involving listening, movement, singing and other creative activities. Students develop skills in music theory and instrumental music, playing instruments such as the xylophone and other percussion instruments. Students perform at weekly Inspirations and at holiday and spring concerts, showcasing the curriculum. Students also are introduced to movement and dance.

Students are introduced to the alto recorder at this level. World Music Drumming continues and students learn about ensembles. Students continue to study rhythm, pitch, meter and dynamics and begin to read music. Learning folk dances from across the world shows students how people around the world integrate music, dance and culture.

Students expand their skill base and apply these skills by participating in lead-up and small-sided games. Rules, tactics and positions for sports, including handball, are discussed and applied to the activities. With the occasional use of their iPads, students assess their performance to learn or improve a skill or strategy. Students continue to study heart health, risk factors associated with it, and balancing dietary requirements.

Science in the Lower School is designed to tap into young students’ natural curiosity about their environment and how the world works. We help students, through inquiry, to continually build on their abilities and revise their knowledge. The goals of the program are to provide students with engaging hands-on opportunities and experiences to guide them toward a more scientifically based and coherent view of the Earth, space, life, and the physical sciences. In the Lower School, science involves integrating engineering and technology to provide a context in which students can test their own developing scientific knowledge and apply it to practical problems.

In fourth grade, students are introduced to scientific reasoning. The focus is on understanding the scientific concepts and applying them to engineering challenges. Students are taught to analyze data and use inquiry skills that are essential for investigating the natural world. The science curriculum introduces students to the diversity and interdependence of living things in the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. They examine the functions of internal and external plant and animal structures in growth, reproduction and information processing. They explore the roles of weathering, erosion and deposition in shaping the Earth’s surface. Students analyze patterns in wave motion, and how energy is transferred by sound, light, heat and electric currents. They are able to use evidence to construct an explanation of the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object and are expected to develop an understanding that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat and electric currents or from object to object through collisions. Students apply their understanding of energy to design, test and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

Social Studies incorporates the study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the Lower School program, Social Studies provides a coordinated, systematic study drawing upon geography, history, economics and political science and relevant content from language arts, mathematics and the sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help our students develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. To lay the foundation from grades JK-4, the school year begins with students and teachers establishing the classroom community and students learning what it means to be a good citizen.

The curriculum in Fourth Grade focuses on geography and Virginia history. Students examine the motives behind exploration and settlement and the key events during the Elizabethan Age that encouraged England to settle in the New World. The study of Virginia history continues with the early colonization of America and culminates with an overnight field studies trip to Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne.

Lively classes conducted in the target language provide students with ample opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills and to develop and expand their knowledge of familiar topics in Spanish. Students begin to use the language creatively and interact with one another by asking questions and recording brief interviews. They learn to create menus and request food items, and develop connections between topics on weather and clothes to record a digital postcard. Students also continue to develop a growing awareness of Spanish-speaking cultures.

The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills which build resilience to stress and anxiety, and develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behaviors can be physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, avoiding mean teasing and reporting bullying behavior.

Developmentally, it is at this level that students experience a variety of social changes and connections with peers become a priority. To provide students with social skills and strategies in these areas, the course reviews the social skills curriculum with a focus on recognizing others’ feelings, solving problems, identifying bullying behavior and providing strategies to students to help create a safe social environment. Responsive Classroom practices foster a sense of community through activities such as Morning Meeting, and these experiences enhance and reinforce “The Husky Promise” and help build cohesion and classroom spirit. The program places specific emphasis on relational aggression, which is “using relationships to hurt others.” Examples include gossip, rumors, ignoring, exclusion and teasing. The focus of the program is to empower students with strategies when they are victims or a “kid in the middle” (KIM). It also helps students identify when they are being aggressors and provides them with ways to change their behavior.

Homeroom teachers are involved in all aspects of students’ lives at school and are strong advocates for each child. Their role is to nurture and support each student’s social, emotional, academic and physical growth.

During the first six weeks of school, the homeroom teacher takes time to get to know each student and to establish a warm, welcoming and predictable classroom environment in which children feel safe and believe they can succeed. All homeroom teachers are trained in the Responsive Classroom approach and use procedures such as the Morning Meeting, Guided Discovery, Interactive Modeling, Rule Creation and Logical Consequences in their classrooms, providing consistency from one homeroom to another.

With support from the director of the Lower School, department chairs, and his/her grade-level team, the homeroom teacher plans the grade level instructional programs, activities, field trips and field studies. The homeroom teacher is responsible for ongoing student assessment, for student learning and communication with parents/guardians. The homeroom teacher is a liaison between all specialist teachers and serves as a central point of contact for all information about each student. When necessary, the homeroom teacher works closely with the director of counseling, learning specialists and the divisional administration to support students’ needs.

Students begin to understand order, shapes and sequential instructions in the real world through exposure to essential computational thinking skills, including pattern recognition, algorithms, decomposition and abstraction. By discovering, engineering, tinkering and sharing, students code with BeeBots and design cardboard toys. These opportunities are integrated throughout the day during centers, free play, specials and academic instruction. JK students also participate in the annual Global Day of Play and Hour of Code, which are special programs that focus on innovation and creative problem solving.

During the first semester, we focus on introducing and strengthening early literacy skills. This includes letter recognition and formation, sound-symbol relationships and concepts of print. During the second half of the year, we introduce new skills such as identifying the initial and ending sounds in words, creating rhyming words and sequencing a story. An emphasis is placed on composing and recording simple sentences using spelling approximations.

We have two main goals during Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Each class also includes a read-aloud story and discussion to help students develop a love of language and an appreciation for literature. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian.

At this level, we focus on story-time choices that connect either to the curriculum or to seasonal events. Classes are playful and generally include activities and crafts that relate to the read-aloud. Students may check out one book per visit, but may exchange it for another at any time before their next class. Students are provided a curated selection of age-appropriate books each week, but are free to choose other books of interest.

Through instruction and play, students are exposed to a variety of mathematical skills and concepts. In addition to reviewing basic shapes and colors, students use these attributes to sort objects and explore patterning. Students practice counting daily and compare the relative size of numbers from 0-20. During the second half of the year, math skills include more advanced patterning, counting to and back from a given number, counting larger groups of items using organization and one-to-one correspondence and more solid recall and identification of printed numerals from 0-20, along with their order on the number line. Numeral writing is introduced through our handwriting program.

Music classes are taught using the Orff approach, which involves listening, movement, singing and other creative activities. Students develop skills in music theory and instrumental music, playing instruments such as the xylophone and other percussion instruments. Students perform at weekly Inspirations and holiday and spring concerts that showcase the curriculum. Students also are introduced to movement and dance.

Students are introduced to basic locomotor and non-locomotor movements, and the effect they can have on the movement of other objects. In addition, manipulative skills including throwing, catching, rolling and sliding are introduced and developed. Learning to play safely, following directions, teamwork and the simple enjoyment of physical activity in large group games are highlighted. Healthy habits and life skills are also introduced.

The program is integrated into and reflects the students’ daily lives, themes in literature, the seasons, holidays and celebrations noted on the calendar and within our students’ families. This exposure provides students an opportunity to explore each topic through daily lessons, center activities and literature selections.

Students are introduced to basic useful words and simple classroom commands in Spanish. They then expand their knowledge to familiar topics that include colors, numbers, emotions and family members. The focus is on identifying and naming items and understanding familiar words and phrases. Students also connect with the language through songs, dances, games and cultural information.

The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills that build resilience to stress and anxiety, and to develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behavior can be both physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, to avoid mean teasing and to report bullying behavior.

At this level, “The Husky Promise” is introduced to the students for the first time. The main social development objective for this grade level is to help students become kind and caring individuals. They should be respectful in their interactions with both peers and adults, and they are encouraged to use their words to resolve conflicts. Using the Responsive Classroom techniques of guided discovery and interactive modeling, we introduce students to all aspects of life in the classroom and school communities. Throughout these lessons, we emphasize the expectations for daily behaviors, procedures and processes using our four core values as a base while building a safe and welcoming classroom family.

We expose students to a variety of media and enable them to explore different art disciplines including drawing, painting, collage, print-making, ceramics and sculpture. They learn fundamental color theory and how to properly care for paint and brushes while they experiment with watercolor and tempera paint. Students learn to cut, glue and balance shapes to create collages. During a unit in ceramics, Kindergarteners roll and join coils to construct coil pots, which they glaze. Sculpture assignments introduce the concept of 3D art and include experiences with paper mâché, puppet-making and mixed-media assemblage. Students work from imagination and observation to produce creative works within the parameters of specific assignments. Individual instruction is given to support and expand developing skills.

Students begin to understand order, shapes and sequential instructions in the real world through exposure to essential computational thinking skills, including pattern recognition, algorithms, decomposition and abstraction. Through discovering, engineering, tinkering and sharing, students engage in the self-directed learning process that is crucial to innovation. These opportunities are integrated throughout the day and enhanced by thinking routines, technology applications and opportunities for students to reflect on their learning. Kindergarten students also participate in the annual Global Day of Play and Hour of Code, events that focus on innovation and creative problem solving.

Kindergarten is a critical year for building a foundation for essential reading and writing skills. Our goal for reading is to help each child develop the tools necessary to begin to read independently and set the foundation for a life-long love of reading. Early in the year, students work to use newly acquired phonics skills, develop a sight-word vocabulary and display an understanding of print concepts. By the end of the year, students use sounds to decode simple words, increase their independence and stamina in reading and work on meaningful literacy tasks. We use aspects of The Daily 5 each day, including Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work and Work on Writing to ensure that students are immersed in print, environmental and reading level-appropriate text, as well as our phonics study program. Students are also introduced to the CAFE strategies to build comprehension, accuracy, fluency and vocabulary.

Writing is an integral part of all academic areas. Students use their developing writing skills to record their observations of the world, share stories about their lives and document their findings in areas ranging from math to science. In Writing Workshop, kindergarten writers use illustrations and progress to write, using invented spelling, in all genres, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. We introduce kindergarteners to basic sentence structure and teach them to write from left to right and top to bottom with spacing between words. We introduce grammar and punctuation skills as each child is ready. Direct handwriting instruction is accomplished through the Handwriting Without Tears program. Students practice handwriting independently and through daily writing activities.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Each class also includes a read-aloud story and discussion to help students develop a love of language and an appreciation for literature. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian.

Students learn basic library behaviors, including caring for library books, using shelf markers and general areas of the library. They also learn parts of a book. Story-time choices relate either to the curriculum or to seasonal events. Post-story discussion focuses on retelling main parts of a story and imagining sequels and alternative endings. Students are encouraged to make connections to themselves, the world and previous reading. Students may check out one book per class, but are welcome to exchange for another at any time.

Counting is a main area of focus for math at this level, as it is the basis for understanding the number system. Many of the counting activities in kindergarten build a bridge to the operations of addition and subtraction. Students are provided with repeated experiences of counting sets of objects and matching and making sets of a given size. They work on activities that involve seeing and describing a given quantity in groups. They are also asked to decompose quantities and to find one or more combinations of a quantity. Students use story problems and play a variety of games to model the operations of addition and subtraction. Students have many opportunities to determine how objects are the same and different and sort them into groups according to their attributes. They also construct, describe, extend and determine what comes next in repeating patterns. Students are introduced to length and linear measurement through direct comparison and the use of non-standard units. They also build on their firsthand knowledge of shapes to further develop their spatial sense and deepen their understanding of the two- and three-dimensional world, and explore the idea that shapes can be combined or subdivided to make other shapes. Students gather and record data through multiple forms (graphs, tallies, tables).

Music classes are taught using the Orff approach, involving listening, movement, singing and other creative activities. Students develop skills in music theory and instrumental music, playing instruments such as the xylophone and other percussion instruments. Students perform at weekly Inspirations and at holiday and spring concerts, showcasing the curriculum. Students also are introduced to movement and dance.

Students practice a variety of gross motor movements and manipulative and coordination skills. Scooters, tumbling and dance units help students learn how their bodies move through space. Our lessons focus on skill development, teamwork, cooperation and fair play. Students learn the proper techniques for kicking, dribbling and striking skills and can progress at their own pace. The use of both dominant and non-dominant hands and feet is emphasized. Information on proper nutrition, including designing three well-balanced meals, and safety are developed in large group activities.

Science in the Lower School program is designed to tap into young students’ natural curiosity about their environment and how the world works. We help students, through inquiry, to continually build on their abilities and revise their knowledge. Our goals for the program are to provide students with engaging hands-on opportunities and experiences to guide them toward a more scientifically based and coherent view of the Earth, space, life and the physical sciences. In the Lower School program, science involves integrating engineering and technology to provide an environment in which students can test their own developing scientific knowledge and apply it to practical problems.

The performance expectations in kindergarten help students formulate answers to questions by planning and carrying out investigations or by designing solutions to problems. They are expected to develop an understanding of patterns and variations in weather. Students are able to understand the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object to analyze a design solution. They are also expected to develop understanding of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive and the relationship between their needs and where they live.

Social Studies incorporates the study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the Lower School program, Social Studies provides a coordinated, systematic study drawing upon geography, history, economics and political science and relevant content from language arts, mathematics and the sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. To lay the foundation, from grades JK-4, the school year begins with students and teachers establishing the classroom community and students learning what it means to be a good citizen.

We use an integrated approach in this area. To ensure the curriculum is meaningful and accessible to students, they are provided with opportunities to explore each topic through real-world experiences, center activities and literature selections. The Social Studies curriculum in kindergarten explores the relationships in students’ lives with their families, friends, teachers and neighbors. Students explore ways to get along with others and how to solve problems. They learn that people live differently in different places and that they can help care for the world. Students practice the lessons they learn in activities such as creating “Who Am I?” books and identifying ways to help reduce waste in the environment.

Students use vocabulary in the context of a variety of basic themes that include greetings, colors, numbers, weather, members of the family, parts of the body, farm animals and shapes. A strong cultural focus provides information on important holidays and traditions in the Spanish-speaking world. Students also engage with the language through many interactive activities including music and games.

The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills which build resilience to stress and anxiety, and they develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behavior can be both physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, avoiding mean teasing and reporting bullying behavior.

“The Husky Promise” is introduced to many of the students for the first time, and through modeling becomes an integral part of students’ daily lives. The main objective at this level is to help students become kind and caring individuals. We encourage them to be respectful in their interactions with both peers and adults and to use their words to resolve conflicts. Students work cooperatively in both small and large group settings and are encouraged to contribute to group lessons. Students are asked to take more responsibility for their actions, which includes working independently and taking care of their supplies. Through stories and role play, students learn about bullying behavior. Our goal is to help students develop into caring, self-confident members of the classroom community.

In the Lower School, the Learning Center addresses emerging learning differences for students in JK through sixth grade. Learning specialists work with students both in their classrooms and in small groups in the Learning Center. The amount of support provided is tailored to the needs of each student. Close collaboration with homeroom teachers and specials teachers is at the heart of the support. Learning specialists partner with teachers to implement accommodation plans for students with learning differences. The Learning Center provides consultations for teachers to help support various learning styles in the classroom.

Psychoeducational testing is not required to access the Learning Center in JK-second grade. Students in these early grades work with our learning specialists when Flint Hill assessments indicate a need. Beginning in third grade, students must have completed a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation that diagnoses them with a learning disorder and/or an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder within the last three years to access Learning Center support. Both direct and monitored support are available.

Responsive Classroom is a research- and evidence-based approach to elementary education that leads to greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement and improved school climate. The program emphasizes teaching students to take care of themselves, each other and the school environment so everyone can learn according to his/her best. There is also a strong emphasis on students setting goals for their own learning and taking responsibility for reaching those goals.

The Responsive Classroom approach is based on theories about how children learn and the experiences of classroom teachers.

  1. There are seven basic principles behind this approach:
  2. Learning social skills is as important as learning academic skills.
  3. How children learn is as important as what they learn; process and content go hand-in-hand.
  4. Children gain knowledge most effectively through social interaction.
  5. To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control.
  6. Knowing the children we teach — individually, culturally and developmentally — is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  7. Knowing the families of the children we teach and inviting their participation is essential to children’s education.
  8. How the adults at school work together is as important as each teacher’s skill.

The Responsive Classroom approach includes the following core components:

  • Morning Meeting
  • Rules and Logical Consequences
  • Guided Discovery
  • Academic Choice
  • Classroom Organization
  • Working Together with Parents

Building on skills learned previously, students explore more involved projects in drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and design. Observational drawing skills are reinforced with still-life assignments, and students paint both from life and imagination. Students review basic color theory, including how to mix colors and create a range of values. Proportion, compositional design, negative/positive space and size relationships are introduced. Students make an edition of original prints and are exposed to different processes of relief printing. They combine several hand-building methods to create clay sculptures. More advanced papier mâché techniques are taught in connection with puppet making and sculpture projects. Students learn basic concepts of weaving using yarn on string looms. Students are challenged at a comfortable level and supported with individual instruction as they expand the parameters of assignments.

From coding with Scratch Jr., to participating in engineering and building challenges, students continue to apply order, shapes and sequential instructions to activities and objects that are personally relevant. Through discovering, engineering, tinkering and sharing, students engage in the self-directed learning process that is crucial to innovation. These creative opportunities are integrated throughout the day and enhanced by thinking routines, technology applications and opportunities to reflect on their learning. Second Grade students also participate in the annual Global Day of Play and Hour of Code, events that focus on innovation and creative problem solving.

Students build on their foundational understanding of reading, writing and communicating and use their skills with greater sophistication. Students continue to use the Daily 5 structure to select appropriate books, build reading stamina and check for understanding. As a class, students consider an author’s purpose, setting, character and plot. Students meet in small groups and individually with the teacher to discuss and practice various reading strategies, such as making predictions, learning how to make meaning from unfamiliar words and noticing how readers use punctuation and print variation to guide their reading. Students describe connections they make to selections in the text as a way to go beyond the literal meaning of the text. Students use the CAFE strategies to build comprehension, accuracy and fluency and expand their vocabulary. Students also participate in Word Study, exploring spelling features by sorting, distinguishing and comparing phonemic patterns. Through the Handwriting Without Tears program, developing a proper pencil grip, starting letters at the top and being aware of spaces between words are reinforced.

The writing process largely parallels reading instruction. We begin the year with a review of the components of the process, including planning, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. In Writing Workshop, students write pieces from a range of genres including letters, personal narrative, fiction, poetry and biography. All writing units include mini-lessons to help our writers reflect on the craft of writing, the writing process and the special care writers take to communicate clearly to their readers. Teachers use mentor texts to introduce new writing techniques and student work is shared to show how strategies are incorporated into students’ writing. Students meet individually with teachers to share, reflect and make plans for improving their skills.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Each class also features a read-aloud story and discussion to help students develop a love of language along with an appreciation for literature. We encourage students to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian.

In class, read-aloud choices focus on the author/illustrator relationship. Students discuss how illustrations enhance or extend the storytelling, with an emphasis on how a viewer’s point-of-view changes with narrative of the story. Other units, including Native American fables and biography, tie to the curriculum. Students may check out two books per class but may exchange them for others at any time.

Students work with contexts and models that represent the place value structure of the base-10 number system to build and visualize how two-digit numbers are composed. Students’ work with place value becomes the basis for developing strategies for adding and subtracting two-digit numbers. The relationship between addition and subtraction is used to solve subtraction problems and to develop fluency with the subtraction expressions related to the addition combinations. Students develop an understanding of what fractions are and how they can be used to name quantities. They learn how fractions are expressed in words and represented using numbers, and learn the notation for mixed numbers through dividing sets. Students classify data with many different values by grouping the data into categories and use a variety of representations for the data. By comparing different representations, they learn how different representations can make different aspects of the data set more visible.

Students continue to develop their understanding of length and how it is measured. As students begin to measure objects using standard tools of measurement such as rulers and yardsticks, the emphasis is on making sense of length as an attribute of objects. Students practice naming, notating and telling time on digital and analog clocks. They work with timelines, associating events with a particular time and determine intervals of time with an emphasis on starting and ending times on the hour or half-hour. Students study quadrilaterals and polygons and consider which properties are important when describing these shapes. They combine and decompose both 2D and 3D shapes and explore the relationships between shapes.

Music classes are taught using the Orff approach, involving listening, movement, singing and other creative activities. Students develop skills in music theory and instrumental music, playing instruments such as the xylophone and other percussion instruments. Students perform at weekly Inspirations and at holiday and spring concerts, showcasing the curriculum. Students also are introduced to movement and dance.

Students continue to develop literacy at this level. They learn note values to the whole note, and are introduced to the staff. Students learn about beats in twos or threes and about tempo. They expand their understanding of rhythm, pitch, meter and dynamics. Lessons in American Folk dances, such as the circle dance, develop connections between movement and music.

Students begin to explore more complex movement patterns and concepts while learning to develop and apply basic game strategies. They expand upon sport skills learned previously to create a broader skill base. Students enhance social skills and fitness concepts while participating in a wide variety of group games. Football, lacrosse and kickball units are introduced with a concentration on basic skills. Lessons focus on manipulative skill progressions and are then applied in large group activities. Students continue to build upon the “Healthy Habits” foundation using interactive games and activities.

Science in the Lower School is designed to tap into young students’ natural curiosity about their environment and how the world works. We help students, through inquiry, to continually build on their abilities and revise their knowledge. The goals for the program are to provide students with engaging hands-on opportunities and experiences to guide them toward a more scientifically based and coherent view of the Earth, space, life and the physical sciences. In the Lower School, science involves integrating engineering and technology to provide an environment in which students can test their own developing scientific knowledge and apply it to practical problems.

The performance expectations in second grade help students develop answers to questions. They learn to obtain, evaluate and communicate the information they gather through investigations as they demonstrate understanding of core ideas. The science curriculum introduces students to the diversity and interdependence of living things in ecosystems. Students are expected to explore what plants need to grow and how plants depend on animals for seed dispersal and pollination. They are also expected to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. Students learn to analyze and classify different materials by observable properties. They also compare the properties and functions of different kinds of matter and examine the processes that shape the Earth over long and short periods of time.

Social Studies incorporates the study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the Lower School program, Social Studies provides a coordinated, systematic study drawing upon geography, history, economics and political science, and relevant content from language arts, mathematics and the sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help our students develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. To lay the foundation from grades JK-4, the school year begins with students and teachers establishing the classroom community and students learning what it means to be a good citizen.

Students in second grade widen their global perspective by studying communities, cultures and geography from other parts of the world. Students compare their own lives to the lives of children around the globe. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to compare and contrast world holidays with their own. A nonfiction unit on the biographies of historical figures is integrated with Language Arts and provides students the opportunity to apply skills across content areas.

Students continue to reinforce and build on previous knowledge through new thematic vocabulary and more challenging phrases and brief sentences. Students learn to respond to language commands, use words in context and begin basic writing of words and learned phrases at this stage. Highlights include creating digital thematic books, discussing various Latin American customs and celebrations — including “El Día de los Muertos,” “Las Posadas” and “Carnival” — and a cross-curricular unit on the Monarch butterfly migration.

The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills which build resilience to stress and anxiety, and develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behaviors can be both physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, avoiding mean teasing and reporting bullying behavior.

Throughout the year, students are encouraged to make “The Husky Promise” a daily reality. Developing honesty, respect, responsibility and compassion is encouraged through literature, individual conferences and class meetings. Students are able to identify a wide range of feelings and learn to read body language and facial expressions in various situations, allowing them to understand empathy and gain a wider perspective of others’ feelings. Students begin to consider the impact of their choices on themselves and their peers. Particular emphasis is placed on making good decisions, treating others with care and reflecting on choices that have been made. Through stories and role play, children learn about bullying behavior. Our goal is to help students develop into caring, self-confident members of the classroom community.

In this year-long course, students are challenged to explore the use of art as a vehicle for communication. Various media are used in familiar and new ways to solve project assignments. With an expanding understanding of two-dimensional and three-dimensional design concepts, students analyze how their intentional choices influence the content and effect of their artwork. Comparing their choices with artists from other time periods and places invites a sense of relevance and connection. Specific projects include contour and gesture drawing (self-portrait, still life and landscape), painting, sculpture, relief printing, design, ceramics, ink painting and fiber art.

This year-long ensemble class expands upon and develops the skills acquired in fifth grade. Students begin studies in tone development, technical facility, rhythm and musicality. These skills allow the band to begin studying meaningful and age-appropriate band repertoire. At the conclusion of the course, students are capable of playing major scales through four sharps and flats, have at least an octave-and-one-half register, have confidence in performing in a wide variety of meters and rhythmic schemes, and have the technical proficiency to join the advanced band. The fifth and sixth grade band performs at the Winter Concert and Spring Concert. In addition, sixth grade students have opportunities to perform with the advanced band based on their audition and ability.

The goal at this level is to enhance some of the skills introduced in fifth grade and develop them more fully in each student. Students continue to work on the basic elements of sight-singing, music theory and complex part-singing throughout the year. Students finish all the basic intervocalic relationships and start to explore modes. In the spring, students learn a major choral work in detail, focusing on both the musical and extra-musical elements. If and when opportunities arise to take part in a community production, members of this group are encouraged to audition.

Building on the skill progression from fifth grade Innovation Lab, students further their foundation in digital citizenship and innovation. As they engage in interdisciplinary problem solving and short- and long-term projects of increasing complexity and depth, students develop skills in critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, research and communication. Students are encouraged to tinker, experiment and create using the power of digital design and fabrication, electronics, physical computing, engineering and creative coding. This course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

This program nurtures creativity and expression while focusing on the student’s ability to think and communicate thoughtfully and fluently. Through a workshop model of instruction, students work to learn and improve in all elements of writing and reading. As writers, students review and build grammar, usage and mechanics skills, as well as vocabulary development. As readers, students enhance their comprehension skills through wide independent reading, close study of selected texts and a range of nonfiction resources. They learn to conduct research in primary and secondary ways, write for an audience and make informed decisions as communicators. Collaborative learning activities are applied through the use of technology, art and drama in an integrated manner.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian. Students continue developing their attribution and citation skills with an emphasis on creating bibliographies for their work. They also refine their information search skills by focusing on appropriate keywords, assessing websites and assessing possible bias.

Students develop and apply a variety of strategies for solving problems, including building models, recognizing and generalizing patterns, making tables, drawing diagrams and graphs, using equations and solving simpler problems. They apply all operations on fractions and decimals fluently and use the appropriate operation to solve problems. They learn to distinguish between fractions as numbers and ratios as comparisons, and to solve problems in various contexts using ratios, scaling, equivalent ratios, rates, percents and absolute value. They deepen their understanding of area and perimeter of polygons as well as surface area and volume of prisms. They begin to explore various aspects of algebra, including variables, expressions, inequalities and algebraic equations, and they interpret and evaluate expressions and solve linear equations. They pose questions, collect data, perform analysis of data distributions, including shape, measures of center (mean, median, mode) and variability (range, interquartile range, mean absolute deviation).

This course follows the mathematics topics, with deeper content and several extension topics that feature more student-centered pacing. Students make estimates, use benchmarks, check for reasonableness of answers and learn to recognize when to use an estimate and when an exact solution is necessary. In doing so, they develop and apply a variety of strategies for solving problems, including building models, recognizing and generalizing patterns, making lists and tables, drawing diagrams and graphs, using equations and solving simpler problems. Students learn to apply all four arithmetic operations on fractions and decimals fluently and recognize when addition, subtraction, multiplication or division is the appropriate operation to solve a problem. Students learn to distinguish between fractions as numbers and ratios as comparisons and solve problems in various contexts using ratios, scaling, equivalent ratios, rates, percents, absolute value and unit rates. Students learn to pose questions, collect data, analyze and interpret data distributions. Students also deepen their understanding of the area and perimeter of various polygons and surface area and volume of rectangular prisms, including the use of formulas. Students also begin to explore various aspects of algebra, including variables, expressions, inequalities and algebraic equations, and they interpret and evaluate expressions and solve linear equations in a variety of ways. They also perform analysis of data distributions, including shape, measures of center (mean, median, mode) and variability (range, interquartile range, mean absolute deviation). Students are expected to make connections to previous skills and other content area and extend and apply understanding of topics to new scenarios. This course makes significant use of investigation and discovery-based learning.

This course teaches students more complex rhythms, note reading and a wider range of techniques to guide them in the orchestra experience as students continue from fifth grade to sixth grade. Additional time is spent helping students develop a more mature sound through right arm bowing techniques and left-hand intonation work. The course begins to incorporate scales and exercises that expand students’ knowledge of their instruments. In addition, the orchestra focuses on developing individual instrument skills. The fifth and sixth grade orchestra performs in two required concerts during the year.

Students continue to develop solid fundamentals of the hand coordination and dexterity they begin in the ensemble during fifth grade. They learn new rhythms and how to dissect and sub-divide these rhythms. Students are introduced to melodic percussion: orchestra bells, marimba, xylophone, chimes and timpani. Each student is introduced to a broader range of instruments and music theory. Specifically, students are introduced to the melodic instruments of the percussion family and increase their rhythmic and technical vocabulary to accomplish rolls, scales and rudiments. Students are evaluated on preparedness, weekly parent-signed practice sheets and classroom and public performances.

At this level, sport-specific skills are reinforced and refined through the use of small group and partner work, lead-up games and repetitive drills in modified and regulation game play. We emphasize positional and tactical play while still focusing on developing individual skills. The primary focus is on developing skills, tactics and confidence to promote a smooth transition into the Middle School Athletic Program in seventh and eighth grade.

This course builds on the science literacy, math integration and cooperative learning emphasized in fifth grade to allow students to explain phenomena central to the physical sciences. The course revolves around three main themes: the structure and properties of matter and chemical reactions, how objects move and the characteristic properties and behaviors of waves when the waves interact with matter. The engineering process is implemented as students apply the scientific concepts they learn in hands-on projects, such as designing and building roller coasters, wind powered cars, water rockets and musical instruments to gain a deeper understanding of the material. This course emphasizes analysis and problem solving.

This course expands upon the concepts and skills that students were introduced to in fifth grade. Students will continue to hone their skills as social scientists through the exploration of the ancient civilizations of China, Greece and Rome. They learn to identify the cultural universals and discover the secrets of ancient cultures that continue to influence the modern world. Through hands-on activities, students learn about early civilizations’ government, social structure, art and technology. Students are encouraged to make connections with their own lives and learn to examine choices made by early people related to their unique challenges while mastering social studies standards.

Students continue to expand their vocabulary base and build a strong foundation in basic linguistic structures that include expressing likes and dislikes and asking for and providing information. Students develop oral and written skills while working with language in thematic contexts that include an exchange letter to describe one’s self, descriptions of friends for a mini-yearbook of people in the class and life at school. They also learn about traditions and cultural practices of countries where Spanish is spoken. A variety of interactive teaching strategies reinforce language patterns and promote communication.

In this course, students in sixth grade meet once per week to develop personalized strategies for study strategies and organization. Assessment preparation and active reading skills are explored and taught explicitly alongside quizzes, tests and readings. As students complete their inquiry projects and capstone experiences, systems of organization including paper and digital organization and time management strategies are reviewed.

In sixth grade, the Wellness and Life Skills program contains two core elements. The first element is to teach developmentally appropriate health education. The second element is to provide students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, so they can then make choices that promote wellness.

At this level, students continue to explore relational aggression, how it affects one’s self and others and strategies for preventing or stopping such negative behavior. They also learn more about self-concept and the factors that influence it, and they examine additional strategies for effective interpersonal communication. Students consider how to recognize their own emotions and how to express their feelings in healthy ways, as well as how to cope with stress and other emotions. They also learn and practice refusal skills for saying no to drugs and alcohol. Finally, students explore the social, emotional and physical changes associated with puberty.

Specialist teachers include faculty who teach art, computer science, library, music, physical education, movement and Spanish. Because this group teaches students for multiple years, they have a deep knowledge of the developmental, social and academic growth of each student. These in-depth perspectives enable each specialist teacher to quickly understand and build upon students’ learning from year to year, and to provide insight, based on past and present work with the students, to the homeroom teacher.

All specialist teachers are trained in the Responsive Classroom approach and incorporate and adapt Responsive Classroom procedures, such as Morning Meeting, Guided Discovery, Interactive Modeling and Logical Consequences into their classroom environments. At the start of the year, specialist teachers consider the homeroom rules and generate a set of rules and expectations that are reinforced in all of their classrooms. Specialist teachers play an in-depth and important role in supervising students on the playground, in lunch rooms, during carpool and at special events, continually supporting and reinforcing appropriate student expectations and behaviors.

The Brown Bag Lunch Enrichment Program provides students with exposure to a variety of topics beyond the scope of the regular curriculum. In our efforts to encourage students to explore their unique interests and talents, we invite a variety of speakers to come to Flint Hill and share their careers, talents and hobbies. This, in turn, can stimulate new interests and inspire in some students a desire to do an independent investigation in those areas. Lower School students sign up to attend these sessions during their lunch or recess.

Projects are more in-depth, incorporating art skills learned in kindergarten, first grade and second grade. Painting assignments involve compositional design, use of color and shape relationships and inclusion of detail. Students work from observation and imagination while sketching figures, still life arrangements and landscapes. They use their knowledge of relief printing, texture and design to produce an edition of Calligraphic prints. They make clay figure sculptures, which require the use of different hand-building techniques and an understanding of the glazing process. The paper mâché and mixed-media self-portrait sculpture assignment challenges them to bring both art skills and a personal point of view to the work. Students use their iPads to design logos for their products in connection with the classroom marketplace project. It is an intensive but fun year in art!

From coding with Scratch Jr., to researching and recording YouTube weather reports, third grade students apply age-appropriate coding concepts by creating their own programs and learning about the role of ethics in technology. Through discovering, engineering, tinkering and sharing their work, students engage in the self-directed learning process that is crucial to innovation. These creative opportunities are integrated throughout the day and are enhanced by thinking routines, technology applications and opportunities to reflect on their learning. Third grade students also participate in the annual Global Day of Play and Hour of Code, events that focus on innovation and creative problem solving.

The aim of the program at this level is to enhance the skills students need to become independent and strategic readers, writers and thinkers. Using the structure of the Daily 5, in small groups or partnerships, students read independently and from a variety of genres including poetry, short stories and novels. We emphasize more advanced comprehension strategies, including investigating the author’s purpose, exploring character development and identifying themes. In addition, students use the CAFE strategies to build comprehension, accuracy, fluency and expand their vocabulary. Spelling and vocabulary building are also integrated through targeted word study work. Students examine words to discover spelling regularities and patterns and increase their knowledge of the meaning of words. Students also learn strategies for noticing and understanding new words.

The class integrates reading and writing as much as possible as students learn to read as writers and write as readers. In Writing Workshop, students plan, draft, revise, edit and publish poetry, personal narratives, nonfiction, persuasive advertising, blogs and fiction. Students work to improve their use of detailed sentences, complete with capital letters, proper punctuation and purposeful grammar. Students learn to deliberately craft their language and to experiment on the page with their audience and purpose in mind. They also emulate writers they love and try new strategies found in the texts read in class. Cursive handwriting skills are taught and strengthened through use of the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.

We have two main goals in Library: to help students become successful seekers, users and integrators of information from many sources, and to promote reading as a lifelong skill and pleasure. Skills to seek, evaluate and synthesize information are implemented across the grades at developmentally appropriate levels. Each class also features a read-aloud story and discussion to help students develop a love of language along with an appreciation for literature. Students are encouraged to seek out their areas of interest from our rich collection of both physical and virtual resources. Research and citation skills are reinforced in the homeroom with instruction and support from the librarian.

Students focus on seeking information efficiently and finding appropriate resources. Lessons focus on navigating print and electronic resources, and the skills needed to become effective users of the online catalog and databases. A unit on tall tales introduces students to American colloquial language, with a discussion of narrative voice and genre elements. Students participate in the creation of printed works in a unit on the evolution of printing and binding, with hands on letterpress printing. Students check out up to three books per class but may exchange them for others at any time.

Students use a base-10 context to represent the place value of two-digit and three-digit numbers up to 1,000. Students solve addition and subtraction problems with two-digit and three-digit numbers, developing computation strategies that are built on adding and subtracting multiples of 10 and finding combinations that add to 100. Students investigate the properties of multiplication and division, including the inverse relationship between these two operations, and develop strategies for solving multiplication and division problems. Students determine, describe and compare sets of multiples, noticing their characteristics and relationships, and use these to investigate how multiplication works. They also solve division problems that involve sharing and grouping. Students use a variety of contexts to understand, represent and combine fractions. They also gain experience with common fraction equivalencies. Students are introduced to decimal fractions using the context of money and gain familiarity with fraction and decimal equivalents.

Students construct, read and compare line graphs that show a relationship between two variables in situations of change over time, and use tables to represent how one variable changes in relation to another. Students collect, represent, describe and interpret data. Measurement work includes linear measurement, perimeter, area, angle measurement, volume and temperature. Students use both U.S. standard units and metric units. They identify the amount of 2D space a given shape covers as its area, and learn that area is measured in square units. Students study the attributes of 2D and 3D shapes, and how these attributes determine their classification. Students also describe attributes of common geometric solids, such as how many edges and faces a solid shape has, or how a pyramid has triangular faces that come to a point.

Music classes are taught using the Orff approach, involving listening, movement, singing and other creative activities. Students develop skills in music theory and instrumental music, playing instruments such as the xylophone and other percussion instruments. Students perform at weekly Inspirations and at holiday and spring concerts, showcasing the curriculum. Students also are introduced to movement and dance.

Students are introduced to the soprano recorder and to the World Music Drumming curriculum. They deepen and develop their music literacy with rhythm, pitch, meter and dynamics, and learn Spanish folk dances.

Students continue to develop and refine the correct techniques for using manipulative skills in games. Soccer, track, badminton, volleyball and floor hockey units are introduced. We continue to emphasize and apply sequential skill progressions in partner and small group activities, followed by lead-up games. During Healthy Habits, we discuss the importance and benefits of exercise, proper rest and nutrition, in addition to the health risks of tobacco use. With their iPads, students learn to assess their performance to learn or improve movements or techniques. Students engage in small and large groups to develop positive social interaction and group dynamic skills.

Science in the Lower School is designed to help students, through inquiry, to continually build on their abilities and revise their knowledge stemming from their curiosity about the immediate environment and their initial conceptions about how the world works. The goals for the program are to provide students with engaging hands-on opportunities and experiences to guide them toward a more scientifically based and coherent view of the Earth, space, life and the physical sciences. In the Lower School, science involves integrating engineering and technology to provide a context in which students can test their own developing scientific knowledge and apply it to practical problems.

The performance expectations in third grade help students formulate answers to questions. They learn to analyze and interpret data and use this as evidence to engage in argument. The science curriculum for third grade explores the variations in traits of different organisms and the factors in changing environments that affect survival today and in the past. Students quantify and predict weather conditions in different areas and at different times. They learn to organize and use data to describe typical weather conditions and make claims about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of severe weather. Students investigate the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on motion and the cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. They are then able to apply their understanding of magnetic interactions to define a simple design problem that can be solved with magnets.

Social Studies incorporates the study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the Lower School program, Social Studies provides a coordinated, systematic study drawing upon geography, history, economics and political science, and relevant content from language arts, mathematics and the sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help our students develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. To lay the foundation from grades JK-4, the school year begins with students and teachers establishing the classroom community and students learning what it means to be a good citizen.

At this level, the curriculum focuses on four components: geography, economics, history, and political science. Through various activities, students approach the curriculum from the perspective of each component and identify ways that they help explain human behavior. Third-graders learn the importance of the contributions made to our communities by diverse cultures. Economics is the emphasis during the second semester. “Economics and Entrepreneurship” focuses on the role of money, needs and wants, goods and services, producers and consumers and advertising.

Lively classes conducted in the target language provide students with ample opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills and to learn about familiar topics in Spanish. These focus on “my school,” “my community” and “familiar foods.” Students develop and expand basic writing skills in Spanish by creating digital mini-books related to the topics. Students also make cultural connections and comparisons by exploring the school day and communities of many Spanish-speaking countries.

The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills which build resilience to stress and anxiety, and develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behaviors can be both physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, avoiding mean teasing and reporting bullying behavior.

Students begin each day by saying “The Husky Promise,” and we emphasize the importance of living the principles it describes. Morning meetings foster a sense of community through greetings, sharing and group-building activities. Students at this level continue to focus on learning skills, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving. Students gain skills to help themselves as learners: how to focus their attention, listen carefully, use self-talk to stay on task and be assertive when asking for help with school work. The basic concept of empathy is continually reinforced as students learn to deal with conflicting feelings, listen actively, express concern, accept differences, make a complaint, calm down, recognize anger signs and “anger buttons,” respond to playground issues and deal with peer pressure. Our goal is to help students develop into caring, self-confident members of the classroom community.

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