Readers & Writers Workshop
The Rama Road Elementary literacy program is based on research and methods developed at Columbia University Teachers College. The goal of the curriculum is to teach not only foundational skills like decoding and recognizing words but to produce life-long excellence interacting with written language. In the words of Teachers College, the curriculum is designed to develop "powerful readers and writers who read and write for real reasons - to advocate for themselves and others, to deepen their own and others' knowledge, to illuminate the lives they live and the world they are a part of."
What does this look like in the classroom? Every classroom at Rama Road has an intentional schedule of 2 1/2 hours for literacy instruction every day, including whole group reading instruction through the use of mini-lessons where the teacher models with mentor text, provides examples though and anchor chart and gives students direct support together as a group of the new skill before sending readers off to practice this skill with their independent, self-selected books. Every student at Rama Road has a minimum of 45 minutes for independent reading practice during the workshop in which students are expected to check in and log their reading efforts for the day as the teacher confers with individual students about their current progress, leaving them with next steps for personal reading growth. The final hour of the workshop time is spent with students rotating in small groups for differentiated, guided reading instruction at their individual level with the teacher, Words Their Way instruction with the support of instructional assistants and an independent practice time for reading response and use of 1:1 technology devices for literacy practice at a personalized level.
At Rama Road, we believe that reading and writing instruction should go hand in hand in order to support student with a balanced approach to becoming proficient readers who truly enjoy the act of reading each day. Every student at Rama Road experiences a 45 minute Writers Workshop that follows the same method for minilesson instruction as the reading block and provides 25-30 minutes of independent writing time for each child to develop their skills in story writing as young authors. The Teachers College Readers & Writers Workshop model is age and developmentally appropriate for every child as individual daily conferences with students allows the teacher to differentiate and personalize next steps in each students' instruction as they progress along the reading and writing continuum.
You can learn more about the philosophy and research that supports the Columbia University Teachers College Reading & Writing Project, at http://readingandwritingproject.org/about/research-base. The quote in the text is taken from this page in the website.
At Rama Road Elementary, we believe the ability to work with numbers and to apply mathematics is essential to a solid educational foundation. Every day, the math program across grades K-5 at Rama Road Elementary provides 60-90 minutes of math instruction and differentiated skill practice based on the outcomes of formative and common assessments given every 4-6 weeks. Teachers utilize this data to determine next steps for their classroom instruction supporting: foundational math skills, fact fluency, problem solving and problem based learning. Teachers at Rama Road Elementary work collaboratively to make math instruction relevant, learner-centered and rigorous. In daily small group instruction, students learn to see relationships, ask questions and try different approaches to solving math problems. Students are exposed daily to carefully crafted instruction in tiered activities, learning centers, flexible grouping and the use of technology to personalize math learning based on student learning styles and readiness. Problem based learning drives students to engage in productive struggle to determine math outcomes.
For math homework, it is the belief at Rama Road Elementary that this is a time to practice foundational skills and not attempt new learning. Every student in K-5 uses EXCEL Math for homework each night to develop higher order thinking skills, build proficiency in math facts and operations, and grow confident in their math abilities. EXCEL Math curriculum carefully presents math in a spiraling fashion, giving students distributed practice and spaced repetition of each concept. Students learn and review difference concepts throughout the year while developing a solid foundation of math skills.
For students meeting the criteria of the CMS Talent Development program or who require an accelerated pace of math instruction, Math Olympiad participation is an option to continue to expanding the learning and proficiency of these students at a higher level and at a brisk pace.
Additional subjects include ...
* Hands-on Science in a laboratory classroom
* Hands-on Engineering in a laboratory classroom
* General Music class once per week for 45 minutes
* Visual Arts class once per week for 45 minutes
* Health and Physical Education class once per week for 45 minutes
* Library & Technology in media classes once per week for 45 minutes
...all taught by specialists.