Elementary students in grades 4-5 receive explicit, multisensory instruction in academic language using the research-based vocabulary program, Word Generation Elementary. Academic language is the language students require to learn new knowledge through reading or listening and to express their knowledge and ideas through oral discussions and writing. This interdisciplinary approach expands students’ background knowledge within the context of an engaging dilemma while emphasizing 21st-century learning skills such as argumentation, critical thinking, understanding different perspectives, evaluating evidence, and oral discussion.
Sample Grade 4 Topics
- Should students be required to wear school uniforms?
- Should wild animals be adopted as pets?
Sample Grade 5 Topics
- What divides us and how can we resolve our differences?
- How can one person influence a community?
Our Tier 1 reading curriculum, Expeditionary Learning Education, is based on the rich study of complex, authentic literature and informational texts that build real-world knowledge. With appropriate scaffolding, students tackle rigorous, grade-level texts that stretch and nurture their abilities in 60 minute daily lessons. Achievement is seen as more than performance on skills-based tests, instead of focusing on the three dimensions of content mastery, high-quality work product, and quality of character. Each module is built around a set of compelling essential questions designed to increase perspective through the delivery of three unique and purposeful units. Unit 1 engages students in the topic and helps them build background knowledge to understand the “why” behind what they are studying. Unit 2 asks students to dig deeper, consider alternate perspectives, and expand their knowledge of the topic. In Unit 3, students apply their learning to create an authentic product through a culminating performance task.
The Writing Revolution
A goal of writing instruction at Provident Charter School to address PA Core Standards for writing while prioritizing the improvement of the complexity of students’ sentences as well as the organization of their compositions. The Writing Revolution is not a curriculum, rather a set of explicitly-taught, systematic and progressive strategies designed to be utilized across all disciplines. Students in grades 2-3 begin their learning with understanding the difference between sentences and fragments and move on to more complex sentence strategies such as sentence expansion and sentence combining. Students in these grades also develop an understanding of the proper structure of an expository paragraph including crafting an effective topic sentence and conclusion. Students in grades 4-5 build upon these foundational skills and learn complex sentence structures with subordinating conjunctions and appositives. Students expand upon their knowledge of paragraph structure, focusing on multi-paragraph essays. Strategies for writing revision and editing are explicitly taught and reinforced
At Provident Charter School, we continue to foster the development of a data-driven culture focused on identifying and closing gaps in student knowledge. This year we rolled out building-wide WIN, or “What I Need” time, as a key step in providing structured intervention to students in both reading and math.
During ELA WIN, teachers are using evidence-based interventions targeting vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and phonemic awareness.
During Math WIN, teachers are using evidence-based interventions to target number sense, fact fluency, vocabulary, and conceptual understanding.
Each month, teachers engage in collaborative meetings to discuss student data, evaluate the effectiveness of targeted interventions, and reflect on next steps in the instructional process.