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Elementary Program

A Day in the Life
Elementary Program at AIS Grades 1-5
While each day at AIS is unique according to projects being explored or community events, there are several components of the curriculum that occur on a regular basis.  These pages describe many of the activities that you might see on a typical school day.  Consider this a snapshot of an AIS classroom.
Individualized Instruction and Small Groups: The daily schedule at AIS is flexible and structured to support individualized instruction.  The curriculum and schedule are designed to support students when extra time is needed to explore or solidify understanding of skills and concepts.  Small groups are achieved when half of the students from a teaching team attend specialists, leaving half the group at work in the classroom. The remaining students may work together with all the teachers on the team, achieving a low student-teacher ratio and allowing for individualized instruction in the classroom. Alternatively, students may be divided among the team teachers creating opportunities for group learning. Small groups are utilized across the curriculum for math skills, reading, literature groups, writing and theme studies.
Theme Activities: This is often a hands-on activity that deepens a child’s understanding of a given subject area.  Each year, AIS adopts a theme which serves as a unifying thread for curriculum at all levels and opens the door to investigation across all subject areas. The yearlong theme is abstract, universal and timeless. It is purposefully broad to allow for emergent ideas and shifting dynamics. The theme provides the backbone for curricular decisions about everything from literature books to science explorations, social studies and field trips, with each teaching team determining how the theme will be explored.  Some examples of past themes that utilize this model have included concepts such as: transformation, origins, layers, influence and design.
Math Vitamin®: Our students explore math concepts and demonstrate their understanding of mathematical operations and patterns through Math Vitamin. Children experience math in a very real way by solving problems that are meaningful to them. Teachers create math vitamin story-problems that connect to the literature, science, and curricular projects of that level. Teachers carefully design each problem to challenge students at multiple levels of understanding.
Children are asked to apply math skills using a variety of tools, including manipulative materials, drawings, charts, graphs and equations and to show/explain their thinking. Teachers encourage students to use an area of strength to initially approach a problem, to generate an algorithm that expresses their process, and to develop several strategies to arrive at a solution.
Writer’s Workshop: AIS students write daily. Our students write to frame a question, to describe their problem solving processes, to explain their theories in math and science and to tell stories. At Writer’s Workshop students move through the stages of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing on both topics of their own choosing and teacher-created writing prompts. Students at these levels learn to edit their own work for spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Language Groups:  Language groups are designed to practice reading, writing and spelling in concert with one another. To support writing and spelling development, activities are tailored to the group's level and designed to actively engage students in word study. This approach is multi-sensory, offering students a variety of learning strategies. Teachers may use this spelling practice time to check letter formation and to give extra handwriting practice. It is also an opportunity to teach and review grammar and punctuation rules. Students may generate spelling lists that focus on specific spelling patterns, standard spelling rules, phonetic skills and sight vocabulary or practice grammatical conventions such as tense agreement, rules for applying capitalization or use of paragraph structure.
Specialists: Students receive specialist instruction in art, music, technology, language, and science.  Students visit one or two of our Specialists every day.  Specialists look to the yearly Theme to create enriching curriculum and work to integrate classroom subject studies into their areas of expertise.
Lunch and Recess: There is a formal recess time for students to play outside at their lunch time.  Students play for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the length of their lunch.  Imaginative games on the playground and sports are always in process.
Class Meeting: Time is set aside every day for students in each classroom to meet about classroom and school-wide issues. The students set the agenda and the Class Chair and Vice Chair facilitate meetings. Teachers participate in class meetings as a member of the class and also provide support as needed to structure meetings, model group process strategies and provide counsel.
Read Aloud: Students spend time each day listening to a teacher read aloud to the class from a wide variety of genres that are connected to the theme. Read Aloud gives students an opportunity to increase listening comprehension, vocabulary and auditory language skills. Teachers use this opportunity to ask leading questions and model literary analysis and comprehension techniques.
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