Bethel School District uses a reading program called Journeys Common Core. It is a comprehensive English Language Arts program that provides systematic instruction for reading literature and informational text, developing foundational skills, speaking and listening, language and writing. Students are asked to think critically about what they are reading and how it applies to their own lives. Identifying evidence or “proof” from the text to support their ideas and opinions is heavily focused on.
A portion of the reading program addresses writing skills – grammar, vocabulary and spelling. However, we do a number of other lessons and activities to develop students’ writing. Most importantly, we WRITE! Students are asked to write on a daily basis in a variety of modes for many purposes. Sometimes, writing is focused on responding to material the students have read and other times, students write completely from a creative stance.
Students also learn the process of writing: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, publishing. Generally, writing class begins with a minilesson on a targeted skill or strategy and then students apply the concept in their own writing. Our Daily Oral Language (D.O.L.) allows students to continually practice basic editing skills such as capitalization, checking for spelling, using quotation marks, etc.
The district uses a math program called Ready Common Core. It was developed by to address Common Core content, concepts and formats. Parents often refer to the presentation of lessons as “new math”, although the actual concepts remain unchanged. For example, parents may refer to carrying in addition as “carrying the one”, whereas Common Core math may refer to “bundling” and “carrying the unit”, such as “carrying the ten”. As such, students add “bundles of tens” rather than “ones”. The process and presentation of concepts in the program are often new to parents, but rest assured, nothing about math itself has changed.
At Clear Lake, 4th grade works collaboratively with 5th grade to plan science and social studies instruction. This is due to the fact we have a 4/5 blend class that requires us to focus on 4th grade science and social studies concepts one year and then alternate the following year with 5th grade content. Common across both grades is the process of scientific inquiry which is explored in the fall and applied throughout the year.