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Kindergarten at Villa

Kindergarten is a time of tremendous growth and change for young children. At Villa Academy, we challenge and support each student in order to find the most optimal point of learning. From participating in yearlong community service projects at the Ronald McDonald House, to exploring science on our tree-filled grounds, to becoming leaders at our Grandparents’ Day Mass, to creating farm animal reports with research and illustrations, our kindergarten students develop the skills and the love of learning they need to be successful on their academic journey.

At Villa, kindergarten students employ critical thinking, creativity, caring, choice, and collaboration. We provide many opportunities for students to connect with our community, including our popular yearlong Kindergarten - 8th Grade Buddy program. Our goal is simple: provide the support and instruction so that our kindergartners are prepared for the opportunities and challenges that await them in first grade and beyond.

Reading is a developmental process where children use strategies to help them understand meaning and the written word. The kindergarten reading curriculum integrates the best aspects in early childhood reading instruction to provide a well-balanced literacy program. Students participate in a variety of activities to improve phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, word attack skills, and an appreciation for literature. Kindergarten classrooms are lively and rich with conversations, choice, and movement throughout the Literacy Block.

Reading Curriculum

  • Independent Reading - Students read individually throughout the day, choosing developmentally-appropriate materials on their own or with teacher assistance.
  • Shared Reading - Students experience stories, poems, chants, and choral readings as a group. The teacher reads and models daily speech, vocabulary, familiar phrases, expression, timing, word patterns, and the enjoyment of literature.
  • Guided Reading - Students interact with the teacher through small group and individual instruction to discuss decoding strategies, practice skills, respond, share, and make connections with their own experiences to a book at their unique instructional level.
  • Oral Language and Phonemic Awareness - Daily oral language and phonemic awareness is encouraged and enhanced as our young scholars practice stretching out sounds, discussing literature, sharing their lives and experiences through class meetings, small groups, and developmental songs and games.
  • Phonics - Students learn consonants, short and long vowels, blends, and digraphs, as well as how to decode words. Phonics skills are learned in the context of reading, using games, hands-on manipulatives, and literature-based activities, often through Literacy Centers.
  • Sight Word Reading - Another reading strategy is exposing students to a variety of sight words to build a quick visual memory. Sight words are words that do not follow phonics rules, cannot be sounded out easily, and occur frequently in primary texts. A large sight vocabulary improves reading speed and fluency. The classroom Word Wall serves as a daily reminder and tool for students as they connect sight word reading with their daily writing practices.

Children learn how to write by writing. Our young kindergarten scholars write daily through journals, stories, cards, science notebooks, and math journals. Integrating writing into all parts of the curriculum, fosters a love of writing and a deep connection between thought, oral language, and the written form. Thus, the kindergartners see writing as another form of communication.

Teachers provide frequent opportunities to write through interactive/group writing and modeling, guided writing, and independent writing. By encouraging students to use invented spelling or “guess and go,” students can write with less inhibition and see themselves as writers as early as the first day of school.

The book Kid Writing- A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Journals, and Writer’s Workshop serves as a guide as we look at each individual writer on the writing continuum. This allows us to gear instruction and mini-lessons towards each individual student. In the spring, kindergarten students begin the Six Traits Plus One model of writing by reading quality literature as well as what they have written throughout the year.

Kindergarten Social Studies begins with the students as they learn about themselves and their families. Children find connections between themselves and others, identifying similarities and differences in the All About Me unit. From there, children explore their relationship to the community—local and beyond—through the Me and My Community unit.

As students begin to understand their relationship to the community beyond Villa, world geography is explored through a unit about Flat Stanley’s travels. We also learn about holidays and cultural celebrations from around the world as well as fairy tales from different traditions as students begin to have a basic understanding of culture.

Students explore all of these topics in their very own weekly news magazine called “Let’s Find Out.” This connection to real world events introduces the concept of current events.

All Social Studies topics are integrated with literature, writing, music, visual arts, field trips, religion, and class meetings. No topic is taught in isolation in kindergarten.

The goal of handwriting instruction is to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic task for all students. Kindergarten handwriting is taught in a developmentally-appropriate manner using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum (www.hwtears.com). Using a multi-sensory approach, instruction is based on what children already know and how they learn best. Teacher modeling, guided practice, and consistent child-friendly language and habits facilitate and strengthen handwriting from year to year.

Students explore letters using age-appropriate manipulatives and songs; continue to practice proper grip using crayons, chalk, and small pencils; and master the formation of all capital and small letters. Our student workbooks reinforce proper letter formation (beginning with uppercase and extending to lowercase), spacing, and size.

The kindergarten My Math curriculum is built around the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics (CCSSM) and the Standards for Mathematical Practices. This curriculum challenges students to embrace math through meaningful real-world applications. The three components of rigor—conceptual understanding; procedural skill and fluency; and application—are woven with equal intensity throughout the program to meet CCSSM standards. Students steadily grow their math ability and confidence.

Students are provided with many opportunities to think about problems within the context of everyday experiences. The program uses Essential Questions to guide instruction which helps children make connections to their own lives.

Kindergartners learn important skills such as counting, place value; adding and subtracting; estimating; measuring; telling time; and recognizing and counting coins using many strategies including “Math Talks”, the SMARTboard, individual practice, small groups, one-on-one, games, and centers.   

Lessons are developmentally appropriate and meet students at their level of readiness to encourage exploration; active thinking and questioning; cooperation; and hands-on learning. Our kindergartners absolutely love “doing math”!

The kindergarten Science Program incorporates inquiry-based instruction with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), engaging children at the intersection of the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. FOSS kits, the core curriculum used in our Science program, are designed to center around learning as a developmental progression, providing experiences that allow students to continually build on their initial notions and develop more complex scientific and engineering ideas.

Students experience the following units:

  • Life Science/Earth Science: Trees and Weather (Fall)
  • Physical Science: Materials and Motion (Winter)
  • Life Science: Animals Two by Two (Spring)

Each unit includes opportunities for students to use all four steps of the scientific method (observation, hypothesis, prediction, and experimentation/testing) through inquiry-based methods. Some methods of instruction include focus questions, whole class discussions, analyzing and interpreting data, writing in science notebooks, and centers. Each unit of study takes approximately six weeks to complete.

As we dive deeper into each Science unit, we use the Villa grounds as an outdoor classroom. For example, during our Trees and Weather unit we observe trees in and around Villa; collect leaves to sort and classify by attributes (e.g., shape, color); and even adopt and plant a tree that will serve as a reminder of the students’ growth throughout their Villa career. The kindergartners have a spot in the school garden, too. We harvest, plant, and care for our garden throughout the year.

Two field trips enhance our science curriculum. In the fall, we visit the Washington Arboretum and in the spring we visit the Center for Wooden Boats. The Arboretum serves as another place our naturalists explore and compare trees and seasons through docent led games and role plays. Our visit to the Center for Wooden Boats integrates the concepts learned in the Materials and Motion unit and makes the learning come alive!

Religion

Religion in Kindergarten is a part of every day! The focus of the Religion program at this level is respect for self, each other, and the environment. With this as an overall theme, learning about the Catholic faith, class meetings, social/emotional learning (Second Step curriculum), and community service (including buddies) are all part of kindergarten religion.

The Catholic Faith

Students come to know Jesus as a loving friend and God as a loving Father. Students learn about God through basic prayers and Bible stories that are taught at an age-appropriate level. Students celebrate events and seasons of the liturgical year, including Advent and Lent, and learn about the mass. Students have a pamphlet-style text which comes home to families weekly.

Social Emotional Learning

The Second Step program, taught in Preschool through Grade Five in Villa classrooms, focuses on four key areas in kindergarten:

  1. Skills for Learning: learning to listen, focus attention, following directions, self talk for staying on task, and being assertive
  2. Empathy: feeling, identifying anger, same or different, accidents
  3. Emotion Management: feeling our feelings, managing frustration, calming down strong feelings, handling waiting, managing anger and disappointment
  4. Problem Solving: solving problems, inviting to play, fair ways to play, having fun with friends, handling name calling and having things taken away

Kindergarten students learn and practice all of these skills through fun and interactive lessons, role plays, games, stories, video segments, and short daily reinforcements. Students also begin to develop self care skills, an emotion vocabulary, and problem solving strategies that can be utilized both in and out of school.

Class Meetings

Creating a safe and emotionally-secure classroom encourages students to share their feelings and solve problems together. Daily/weekly class meetings enable such an environment to thrive. Whether celebrating each other or solving problems together, kindergarten students are empowered to make a difference in their classroom community and their school.

Community Service

Kindergarten partners with Ronald McDonald House in four different service activities during the year. They all know what it is like to be sick, so they eagerly embrace the idea of helping a child “feel better” through art projects; decorations for holidays; a mitten and hat drive for families living there; and funds to purchase “wish list”items for the facility. Teachers give students opportunities to reflect on their service and help them understand that they are “the hand of Jesus” helping others. In addition, students build connections beyond the classroom by sharing experiences with their third grade “buddy class.”

Visual Arts

The objective of the kindergarten Visual Arts program is to encourage artistic and aesthetic growth.

Students participate in activities that teach observation; use of a variety of art media to express and communicate; application of the creative process to solve problems; understanding and use of art elements and concepts; and the appreciation and enjoyment of the artistic process. Art history and cultural arts are also an integral part of the Villa kindergarten art curriculum.

Music

To be “Tuneful, Artful, and Beatful” is the main objective in our kindergarten Music program. Students learn and explore what it means to use their voices correctly by singing Echo, Call and Response, Songtales, and Fingerplay/Action Songs. The children practice proper instrument care by playing on Orff and other non-pitched instruments. While studying "Peter and the Wolf," the Kindergartners explore the different instruments in the symphony.

Library

The goal of our kindergarten Library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information. Students work as a group to learn to generate questions and locate resources that address their interests. They listen and respond to a variety of stories comparing author styles and genres, while building comprehension skills. They also learn to navigate the sections of the library, care for resources, and practice being responsible patrons.

Technology

Once each week, kindergarten students visit Villa’s Computer Lab for forty-five minutes to build their computer literacy skills. We cover basic operations including turning a computer on and logging in, using the mouse to click on URLs and icons, adjusting the scroll bar, and drawing within various applications. Students learn how to use the dock and the icons that represent the application they are using. We also begin keyboarding practice, including how to position the right and left hands over the home row keys and understanding the function of the return, caps lock, and space bar keys. We work on gaining proficiency and speed in touch typing with the program Keyboarding Without Tears. Throughout the year, kindergartners are introduced to other software applications including Pixie 3, Thinkin’ Things, Mia Reading, Photobooth, and Tux Paint.

Physical Education

Kindergarten students are beginning a lifetime of movement. They are curious and eager to learn new skills. In kindergarten Physical Education, students develop gross motor skills, coordination, teamwork, following directions, and playing in a structured environment. PE doesn’t just improve fitness, it also strengthens friendships, improves self-confidence, and reduces stress—all through fun, active play. The movement skills learned in kindergarten form the basis for future experiences and are used during a lifetime of physical activity.

World Language

All kindergarten students at Villa Academy study Spanish. They use the language to communicate and to express themselves. In a fun, active, and participatory environment, they learn through repetition, movement, songs, and games. Students respond with physical activity to increasingly complex teacher commands to develop oral comprehension and facilitate language acquisition and retention. The majority of class time is conducted in Spanish.

Ad to Download the Kindergarten Curriculum

First Grade at Villa

First Grade Highlights

  • Students become confident, independent readers and writers.
  • Students strengthen their number sense and how to execute problem solving strategies.
  • Students become more confident individuals, develop socially, and grow in empathy for others.
  • Students are paired with a fifth grade buddy to build community.

Reading is a developmental process where children use strategies that help them understand meaning of the written word. The first grade curriculum integrates the best aspects from a variety of programs to provide a well-balanced literacy program. Strategies include semantics, grammar and structure, phonics, illustrations, and patterns. First graders participate in a variety of activities to improve phonemic awareness, reading, comprehension, word attack skills, and appreciation for literature. They learn how to use story patterns and illustrations to predict or decode unknown words.

The first grade reading curriculum includes:

  • Independent Reading: Students are involved in reading individually during the day. First graders read material that is developmentally appropriate and both child- and teacher-selected.
  • Shared Reading: First graders experience stories, poems, chants, and choral readings as a group. The teacher reads and models daily speech, vocabulary, familiar phrases, expression, timing, word patterns, and the enjoyment of literature.
  • Guided Reading: Students interact with the teacher to discuss decoding strategies, practice skills, respond, share, and make connections with their own experiences to a book at their unique instructional level. They may then participate with their group, or individually, in an activity involving writing, creating, or performing.
  • Reading Conference: The teacher meets individually with the student to observe and evaluate his/her reading fluency, comprehension, and decoding strategies he/she uses.
  • Phonics: First graders learn consonants, short and long vowels, blends, and digraphs as well as how to decode words. Phonics skills are learned in the context of reading, using games, hands-on manipulatives, and literature-based activities.
  • Sight Word Reading: Another reading strategy is exposing students to a variety of sight words to build a quick visual memory. Sight words are words that do not follow phonics rules, cannot be sounded out easily, and occur frequently in primary texts. A large sight vocabulary improves reading speed and fluency. Sight words are posted on our class’s word wall, where students can reference difficult words.

Children learn how to write by writing. Teachers provide frequent opportunities to write through interactive/group writing, journal writing, guided writing, and independent writing. By encouraging children to use invented spelling, students can write with less inhibition and see themselves as writers. The Six Traits Plus One model of writing is introduced to first grade students through reading quality literature and their own writings.

Teachers give special attention to the proper formation of letters and spacing in handwriting, as well as conventional punctuation. First graders practice correct handwriting in writing and spelling activities. In January, students begin a formal spelling program which allows them to begin to notice spelling patterns within words.

Students are able to grow as writers in first grade through both free writing and structured lessons. Daily, they choose what to write and illustrate in their journals. The emphasis is for students to experience the writing process at their level and encourage the continuum of writing development. The process includes prewriting, drafting, editing, and publishing.

Students are introduced to the Storypath curriculum in first grade. Storypath’s narrative structure helps students understand concepts that they often find difficult to comprehend in traditional social studies programs. The story structure and inquiry, guided by unit goals, provide the framework for students to make connections, integrate skills, and acquire complex content through problems they encounter.

In each unit, a “story” involves the creation of a real world setting, exploring that setting in depth, a crisis or problem, and creation of a solution. First graders begin to expand their understanding of the world and its people through these Storypath units: “Families and Their Neighborhoods” and “The Parade – Celebrating Cultural Diversity.”

As part of their Social Studies curriculum, first graders also:

  • celebrate holidays and other special events from around the world
  • learn about the history and people involved in those events
  • read about and discuss current events
  • begin to form a basic understanding of history

First grade handwriting is taught in a developmentally- appropriate manner using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum (www.hwtears.com). The goal of handwriting instruction is to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic task for all students. Using a multisensory approach, instruction is based on what children already know and how they learn best. Teacher modeling, guided practice, and consistent child-friendly language and habits facilitate and strengthen handwriting from year to year.

In first grade, students review the correct formation of all capital and small letters using age-appropriate manipulatives and songs, as well practicing using a student workbook. Legible and fluent handwriting in first grade is the primary goal.

Using the My Math curriculum, students discover that the world of numbers is more than just computation. Mathematical thinking is an unfolding process and develops individually with each child.

Through a hands-on, concrete approach, students develop their ability to:

  • think visually
  • make connections between ideas
  • apply strategies to solve problems
  • see patterns
  • make estimates

First graders also learn basic mathematical facts, consistent with the Common Core standards, with an emphasis on understanding and applying the following core concept/skill areas to real world situations.

Students learn about and practice skills such as:

  • one and two-digit addition and subtraction
  • place value
  • graphs
  • measurement and time
  • two- and three-dimensional shapes

At the end of each lesson, students are given a word problem and complete a written explanation of their thinking.

The science curriculum for first grade incorporates inquiry-based instruction with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), engaging students at the intersection of the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. FOSS kits, the core curriculum used in our science program, are designed to center around learning as a developmental progression, providing experiences that allow students to continually build on their initial notions and develop more complex scientific and engineering ideas.

Students experience the following units in first grade:

  • Earth Science - Air and Weather
  • Physical Science - Sound and Light
  • Life Science - Plants and Animals

Each unit includes opportunities for students to use all four steps of the scientific method (observation, hypothesis, prediction, and experimentation/testing) through inquiry-based lessons. The Villa grounds are used often as an outdoor classroom to enhance various lessons and/or units.

In addition to the FOSS Program, other hands-on experiences, literature resources, and role-play are incorporated to enhance children’s understanding of scientific concepts.

Religion

Religion in first grade is a part of every day! The focus of Villa’s religion program is for students to develop an understanding of and respect for self, each other, and the environment. With this as an overall theme, learning about the Catholic faith, class meetings, social/emotional learning (Second Step curriculum), and community service (including buddies) are all part of first grade religion.

The Catholic Faith

First graders discover God the Father’s unique love for them, that Jesus is the Son of God who tells us about our Father, and that the Holy Spirit helps us to be holy. Topics include the creation story, the Trinity, Jesus’ life, special saints, the seven sacraments, liturgical seasons, introduction of traditional and student-centered prayer, and how we live out our faith every day. The first grade classes also have an opportunity to act as leaders during an Easter season mass for the school community.

Social Emotional Learning

The Second Step program, taught in preschool through fifth grade in Villa classrooms, focuses on four key areas in first grade:

  1. Skills for Learning - learning to listen, focusing attention, following directions, self-talk for staying on task, and being assertive.
  2. Empathy - identifying feelings, similarities and differences, changing feelings, accidents, and showing care and concern
  3. Emotion Management - identifying our own feelings, strong feelings, calming down anger, self talk for calming down, and managing worry
  4. Problem Solving - solving problems, fair ways to play, inviting to join in, handling name-calling

Students learn and practice all of these skills through fun and interactive lessons, role plays, games, stories, video segments, and short daily reinforcements. First graders also begin to develop self care skills, an emotion vocabulary, and problem-solving strategies to use both in and out of school.

Class Meetings

Creating a safe, emotionally-secure classroom encourages students to share their feelings and solve problems together. Daily/weekly class meetings enable such an environment to thrive. Whether celebrating each other or solving problems together, first graders are empowered to make a difference in their classroom community and their school.

Community Service

Religion is also tied into first grade’s year-long, service-learning project. Each month, first graders visit with elderly residents at Northaven Assisted Living. Through the stories they read, pictures and cards they draw for the residents, conversations, and the treats they eat together, students learn about empathy, compassion, and respect. Students bring Jesus’ love and care to each resident! In first grade, students have the responsibility of leading an Easter prayer service for the school community.

Visual Arts

First grade students continue to build on their art knowledge and skills through further exploration of a variety of media such as: painting, drawing, printmaking, oils pastel, collage, and ceramics.

In addition, first graders:

  • demonstrate thinking skills by using artistic processes
  • communicate their ideas and feelings through the visual arts
  • work to demonstrate understanding for balance, repetition, and pattern
  • learn to recognize and create symmetrical balance and analyze pattern in the environment explore the notion that the Arts can shape and reflect culture and history when they learn to describe a specific style of art (i.e., painting fans using the ancient style of Japanese Sumi-e painting)
  • practice safety habits using tools and materials appropriately
  • learn to respect and support each other’s ideas and artwork

Music

To be Tuneful, Artful, and Beatful is the main objective in first grade music classes. Students learn and explore what it means to use their voices correctly by singing Echo, Call and Response; Songtales; and Fingerplay/ Action Songs. With these songs, students gain the ability to sing in tune with musicality.

Students also practice:

  • rhythmic dictation
  • study of composers
  • proper instrument care by playing on Orff and a variety of pitched instruments

Library

The goal of our library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information.

First graders work as a group to learn:

  • information literacy skills such as generating questions, locating resources, and interpreting and summarizing information
  • how to respond to a variety of stories, comparing author styles, genres, and perspectives while building comprehension skills
  • how to locate resources using the classification system, care for resources, and practice being responsible patrons

Technology

Once each week, first graders work in the Computer Lab for 45 minutes to build their computer literacy skills. Assigned projects in this class integrate with the students’ classroom curriculum throughout the school year.

We reinforce the skills they learned in kindergarten and introduce more complex operations, including:

  • how to open an application and save the file with their name and grade
  • quit the application when done
  • logout of their computer
  • web browser and bookmarked educational sites
  • word processing to write, edit, and print using menu functions like font, size, and copy/paste
  • Kidspiration, a visual mind mapping program, for organizing information in many creative ways
  • gaining proficiency and speed in touch typing with Keyboarding Without Tears

Applications introduced and used in first grade include Pixie 3, Kidspiration, iMovie, and iPhoto.

Physical Education

First graders continue to develop skills to build a solid foundation for health and exercise. They are excited about physical movement and actively participate in the many games we play in physical education, including wall climbing, skill development, and multiple tag games.

First grade PE continues to focus on:

  • developing gross motor skills and coordination
  • being a good teammate
  • following directions
  • playing in a structured environment

World Language

All first grade students at Villa Academy are immersed in Spanish. They use the language to communicate and express themselves. In a fun, active, and participatory environment, they are learning through repetition, movement, songs, and games.

First graders begin to read and write in their target language and respond with physical activity to increasingly complex teacher commands. The language program incorporates Total Physical Response (TPR) and storytelling methods. This develops oral comprehension and facilitates language acquisition and retention. The majority of class time is conducted in Spanish.

Ad for Downloading the First Grade Curriculum

Second Grade at Villa

Second Grade Highlights

  • Field trip to Pike Place Market to look for the parts of a community
  • “Travel” to Kenya using the StoryPath curriculum to study the community of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Maasai people
  • Weekly podcasts written and narrated by students
  • Create a clay island that incorporates the landform vocabulary studied
  • Visit Cougar Mt. Zoo to learn about endangered animals

The goal for second grade is to teach the students how to respond to what they have read. In Kindergarten and first grade, they have been learning to read; in second grade they begin to focus on reading to learn. Strategies used to teach this skill include:

  • looking for details
  • asking questions during the reading
  • pausing and checking for understanding
  • identifying the most important parts of a selection
  • predicting outcomes
  • making generalizations
  • evaluating stories

Students begin doing these tasks orally and then in their written responses to what they have read.

Materials used at various times of the year include Scholastic’s Guided Reading Series, Accelerated Reader, and leveled books. Throughout the year, second graders are engaged in whole group, small group, and individual lessons. Skills we practice include phonics, word identification, grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing.

Writing

The second grade writing focus is learning how to organize ideas through the introduction of paragraphs. Students write stories (both fiction and non-fiction), poems, journals, and letters. The writing process is integrated throughout the curriculum. Many assignments are designed to incorporate writing into math, science, and social studies. Our writing program focuses on Six Trait Writing:

  • ideas
  • organization
  • voice
  • word choice
  • sentence fluency
  • conventions
  • the skill of presentation

Spelling

The goal of our spelling curriculum is to help students become lifelong spellers. Instruction includes skills in phonics, word origins, spelling, rules and usage. Through everyday writing and word study, students learn to spell correctly in writing and improve their reading.

The main theme of the second grade social studies curriculum is the concept of community. The students learn the parts of a community and then travel on a field trip to the Pike Place Market to experience a community in action.

Later in the year, the students compare and contrast a community from another culture: Kenya's Maasai people. Second graders learn map skills through hands-on lessons integrated with a project in art class. In addition, each student has a subscription to Scholastic News, a current events magazine.

At Villa, the overall goal of handwriting instruction is to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic task for all students. Using a multisensory approach, the Handwriting without Tears program is based on what second graders already know from first grade and how they learn best.

Teacher modeling, guided practice, and consistent child-friendly language and habits facilitate and strengthen handwriting from year to year. In second grade, students review the correct formation of all capital and small letters using age-appropriate manipulatives and songs, as well practicing using a student workbook. Fluency and ease of writing is the goal in second grade.

Villa students are learning math through Envision Math, a rigorous, problem-based curriculum offering comprehensive, blended digital and print components. It is designed to help our students achieve mathematical proficiency levels that provide the foundation for future math courses and beyond. At the center of this curriculum are the Common Core Standards.

Our students are actively involved in using concrete and digital tools to develop deep mathematical understanding and apply this understanding through practice and problem solving in every math lesson. The problem-solving component helps students develop specific skills that are used by "good math thinkers."

The math focus topics in second grade include:

  • fluently adding and subtracting within 20, 100 and 1000 using models, various strategies and then algorithms
  • problem solving within addition and subtraction
  • measuring length using various tools
  • creating and using data and graphs
  • geometry

The science curriculum for second grade incorporates inquiry-based instruction with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM principles.

FOSS kits, the core curriculum used in our science program, are designed to center around learning as a developmental progression, providing experiences that allow students to continually build on their initial notions and develop more complex scientific and engineering ideas. Students keep a journal throughout the units to document inquiry and question-based learning.   

Students experience the following units in second grade science:

  • Life science: Insects and Plants
  • Earth science: Pebbles, Sand and Silt
  • Physical science: Solids and Liquids

Throughout the year, we incorporate Villa’s 31-acre campus including the school garden, orchard, wooded areas, and other outdoor resources to enhance the learning in all science units.

Religion

Religion is part of every day in the second grade. Villa’s  Religion program is based on the Cabrinian tradition of educating the whole child and building compassionate hearts. With this as an overall theme, learning about the Catholic faith, class meetings, social/emotional learning (Second Step curriculum), and community service (including buddies) are all part of religion.

The Catholic Faith

Students in second grade learn about the mass, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist. We also study the celebration of the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, as well as saints and Holy Days. Second grade leads one school wide prayer service or Mass during the year.

Social Emotional Learning

The Second Step program, taught in preschool through 5th grade in Villa classrooms, focuses on four key areas in second grade:

  1. Skills for Learning - being respectful, focusing attention and listening, using self-talk, being assertive
  2. Empathy - identifying feelings, similarities and differences, feeling confident, respecting different preferences, showing compassion, predicting feelings
  3. Emotion Management - introducing emotion management, managing embarrassment, handling mistakes, managing anxious feelings, managing anger, finishing tasks
  4. Problem Solving - solving problems, taking responsibility, responding to playground exclusion, playing fairly on the playground

Second graders learn and practice all of these skills through fun and interactive lessons, role playing, games, stories, video segments, and short daily reinforcements. Students also begin to develop self care skills, an emotion vocabulary, and problem solving strategies to use both in and out of school.

Class Meetings

Creating a safe and emotionally-secure classroom encourages students to share their feelings and solve problems together. Daily/weekly class meetings enable such an environment to thrive. Whether celebrating each other or solving problems together, second graders are empowered to make a difference in their classroom community and their school.

Community Service

Second grade community service centers around children in need: globally and locally. The students:

  • coordinate UNICEF donations from Villa in the fall
  • make craft kits for Children’s Hospital in the winter
  • contract with parents to do extra work at home to raise money for an elementary school in Kenya during Lent
  • lead one school prayer service or mass during the year

Visual Arts

Second grade students continue their study of visual arts concepts and vocabulary. They learn to identify geometric and organic shapes, and warm and cool colors. Second graders begin to create space in an artwork by using overlap and relative size. They begin to recognize that artworks have different styles and analyze and apply the different characteristics of a piece of artwork.

Second graders use grade-level skills to communicate for a specific purpose, and respond to an artistic task. They use and understand the value of visual arts for worship in spiritual faith development by creating banners for the mass they help plan. They are introduced to images of Baptism (font and water) and the Eucharist (chalice, host, crucifix) and recognize artwork in the chapel and church setting.

Music

The main objective is to have every second grade student sing in tune with proper expression. Students dictate rhythmic beats, poems, and songs. They use a combination of beats to create their own music. Students also participate in music games and dances to show that music can express an idea or emotion.

Library

The goal of our library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information. Students learn information literacy skills such as generating questions, locating resources using key words, use simple note taking strategies, and interpreting and summarizing information. They listen and respond to a variety of stories and informational texts comparing author styles, genres, perspectives, opinions, and facts, while building comprehension skills. They learn to locate resources using search stations and the classification system, the proper care of resources, and practice being responsible patrons.

Technology

Once each week, second grade students come to Villa’s Computer Lab for forty-five minutes to build their computer literacy skills. Assigned projects in this class integrate with the students’ classroom curriculum throughout the school year.

For second grade students, we reinforce the skills they learned in first grade and introduce more complex operations including digital photography and coding. With word processing, they learn to copy and paste text using the menu functions and keyboard shortcuts, insert an image within a document from an outside source, and learn to edit their work using the dictionary and thesaurus.

Second graders work on a multi-week endangered animal project, doing research from designated websites, downloading images from Imagequest, and creating a 2-minute film in iMovie. In iMovie, they work with titles and font styles, sound effects, transitions, and cropping and moving their still images. The students gain proficiency and speed in touch typing with Keyboarding Without Tears. Applications that are introduced and used include Pixie 3, Kidspiration, iMovie, iPhoto, and Garageband.

Physical Education

In second grade, locomotor and gross motor skills continue to improve, and students are interested in practicing activities that they know how to perform and are also excited to learn new skills. Students are introduced to teamwork games and practice working cooperatively with a partner and in small groups, as PE continues to focus on developing good sportsmanship and teamwork. Some of the highlights in second grade PE are spooners, orchard play, and parachute.

World Languages

All second grade students at Villa Academy continue their study of Spanish. They use the language to communicate and to express themselves with increasing complexity. In a fun, active, and participatory environment, they are learning through repetition, movement, songs, and games. Second graders continue to read and write in Spanish and respond with physical activity to teacher directions. The language program incorporates Total Physical Response (TPR) and storytelling methods. This develops oral comprehension and facilitates language acquisition and retention. The majority of class time is conducted in Spanish.

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Third Grade at Villa

Third Grade Highlights

  • Our theme is “Exploring the World Around You!” It is perfect for the third grader who is becoming interested in the wider world and wants to know how the systems around them work.
  • Caring for the Villa garden integrates science with service learning.
  • Students explore their own cultural heritage and the amazing diversity of culture beyond their family and the classroom. Through an interactive simulation, students investigate how people become part of our country as well as the struggles immigrants undergo in the process.
  • We explore democracy by studying the ways governments and communities make decisions. Students simulate the formation of a local town and government, creating a framework for civic engagement. All citizens voice their opinions in town hall meetings when the city is faced with a challenge that requires a critical decision.
  • Beginning in third grade, students are able to participate in Orchard Recess on the Villa Orchard Playground. Students play creatively and cooperatively in a setting full of God’s creation!
  • During every undertaking throughout the year, third graders work toward adaptability and initiative. They learn to view failure as an opportunity to learn. They are encouraged to explore, experiment, and reflect.

Good literature is the foundation of our third grade reading program. Students read both fiction and nonfiction for a variety of purposes. In literature circles, students:

  • choose reading selections
  • delve into an exploration of character, plot, theme, and purpose
  • debate and defend their opinions
  • develop their social imagination, moral agency, and acceptance of diverse points of view

Students record their literary examinations in book club journals, practicing how to order and express their thoughts with clarity and connection to the text. Independent reading time is a third grade staple. Teachers conference with students during independent reading, guiding students to expand the depth and reach of their book selections. Through teacher conferencing and peer to peer book talks, students excitedly explore new genres, and follow interests. A lifelong love of reading is the goal!

Our literature-based workshop model guides third graders in producing high quality work across several genres of writing, including narrative, nonfiction, persuasive, and poetry. We use mentor texts to examine strong writing technique and improve upon our written pieces.

The development of basic writing skills is integrated throughout our writing curriculum:

  • Daily grammar review - enhances students’ ability to draft and edit meaningful pieces of writing.
  • Phonics-based spelling program - supports students as lifelong spellers and increases the quality of their written work. The program focuses on 355 of the most frequently used words, along with individualized word lists based on students’ writing samples.

Cursive writing instruction - promotes students’ writing fluency and fine motor skills, allowing them to write at a higher volume with greater ease. We use the Handwriting without Tears program.

In social studies, third graders explore large frameworks for understanding how our country works. Using TCI’s Social Studies Alive curriculum, students begin with basic geography and progress through the following units:

  • immigration
  • community diversity
  • how people improve their communities
  • how people around the world are alike and different
  • how the economy works
  • how global trade works
  • public services
  • city hall
  • democratic participation in a community
  • helping the global community

Additionally, explorations of Time for Kids magazine challenges third graders to examine and discuss current culture, events, trends, and social studies issues.

The year concludes with our Storypath curriculum, Democracy in Action. This program utilizes all of the understanding students have developed during the year. In the final stages of the unit, we visit the state capitol in Olympia to experience how our state government operates and makes decisions. In this unit, students:

  • create a paper environment on a bulletin board (including habitats, animals, plants, etc.)
  • add a town, developing the town’s culture/identity, history, monuments to past community leaders, parks, traditions, etc.
  • become a character in the town that is part of a family
  • choose an occupation, character traits, age, and their roles within the community
  • elect officials to positions in the local government which then hires a planning commission (selecting from submitted applications)
  • use the democratic process to work with the entire town to solve an incident that arises

Third graders learn math through Envision Math, a rigorous, problem-based curriculum offering comprehensive, blended digital and print components. It is designed to help our students achieve mathematical proficiency levels to provide the foundation for future math courses and beyond. At the center of this curriculum are the Common Core Standards.

Our students are actively involved in using concrete and digital tools to develop deep mathematical understanding and apply this understanding through practice and problem- solving in every math lesson. The problem solving component helps students develop specific skills that are used by "good math thinkers."

The focus topics in third grade math include:

  • multiplication-meaning, facts, relationship to division, fluently multiply/divide within 100
  • connect area to multiplication and addition
  • represent and interpret data
  • using strategies to add and subtract
  • fluently add and subtract within 1000
  • multiply by multiples of 10
  • use operations with whole numbers to solve problems
  • understand different meanings/kinds of fractions
  • fractions equivalence and comparison
  • solve problems with time, capacity and mass
  • geometry
  • problem solving with area/perimeter

In third grade science, we study the physical world using our 31-acre campus. Our garden becomes the central focus in our Life Lab curriculum which explores seeds, soil, weather and climate, tools, plants, garden animals, and habitats.

The Life Lab Science scope and sequence integrates Life, Earth, and Physical science concepts in a systems approach to science. As the garden grows and changes throughout the seasons, it provides a natural laboratory for studying how the science disciplines are interrelated.

The Life Lab program meets all 8 Next Generation Science Standards:

  1. Asking questions and defining problems
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Earth Science - Students learn that climate and soil are key parts of the environment and understand that these influence what living things can exist in a habitat.

Physical Science - The world is made up of matter, and matter has properties that we can describe. In our science program, students use their senses to observe properties of the things around them.

Life Science - Students observe living things to understand how they depend on habitats to provide their basic needs and how their parts help them survive on Earth. Third graders:

  • examine and dissect seeds
  • learn how plants grow
  • apply the scientific process to their garden experiments
  • work with botanists to examine plants during a field trip to the nearby UW Botanic Gardens

Religion

Religion is part of every day. Villa’s Religion program is based on the Cabrinian tradition of educating the whole child and building compassionate hearts through service to others. With this as an overall theme, learning about the Catholic faith, class meetings, social/emotional learning (Second Step curriculum), and community service (including buddies) are all part of religion.

The Catholic Faith

Third graders discover the role of Church as a community. They study the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, and learn and experience the many forms of prayer. Students attend liturgies and prayer services during the year, and are responsible as a grade level for preparing and planning for one liturgy or prayer service per year.

Social Emotional Learning

The Second Step program, taught in Preschool through Grade Five in Villa classrooms, focuses on four key areas in third grade:

  • Skills for Learning - being respectful learners, using self-talk, being assertive, planning to learn
  • Empathy - identifying others’ feelings, understanding perspectives, conflicting feelings, accepting differences, showing compassion, making friends
  • Emotion Management - emotion management, managing test anxiety, handling accusations, managing disappointment, managing anger, managing hurt feelings
  • Problem Solving - solving problems, solving classroom problems, solving peer-exclusion problems, dealing with negative peer pressure

Third graders learn and practice all of these skills through fun and interactive lessons, role plays, games, stories, video segments and short daily reinforcements. Students also begin to develop self care skills, an emotion vocabulary, and problem solving strategies to use both in and out of school.

Class Meetings

Creating a safe and emotionally-secure classroom encourages students to share their feelings and solve problems together. Daily/weekly class meetings enable such an environment to thrive. Whether celebrating each other or solving problems together, third graders are empowered to make a difference in their classroom community and their school.

Community Service

Third grade’s service learning project focuses on one of the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation. The third grade manages and cares for the Villa garden. They develop an appreciation for farm to table practices and discover the relationship between farmers and the food they eat. We bring food that we grow in the garden to the Villa kitchen and work with Chef Allison to decide what to plant. Students learn to serve their community by working the land to provide food for others.

Visual Arts

Third grade students build on the their arts knowledge and skills from their previous experience, including:recognizing the relationship between two-dimensional shape and three-dimensional form (i.e., square and cube, rectangle and cylinder)identifying/making light, dark, and middle values to show contrast or create illusions of formcomparing lines that show direction and motion (i.e., diagonal lines to show motion or radial, converging, spiraling, wide to narrow)developing art skills and techniques like blending art media for different visual purposesusing line to create details, and demonstrate the proper care of tools and materials Students learn to respond to arts presentation and work they experience from art history, exhibits, or those in the school community, by engaging actively and purposefully. They learn to describe what is seen or heard, analyze how the elements are arranged and organized, and interpret the descriptive properties. They also learn to use evidence and criteria to evaluate and support their interpretations of a work of art.

Music

In third grade music classes, students learn how to play recorder, ukulele, and a variety of different rhythmic instruments. Students are taught using a method similar to the Suzuki Method, in which students first learn by rote and then by seeing the music. Since music is another language, we teach it like a language. People learn first what words are, and then they are taught how to read and write. Students continue to dictate rhythms and vocal solfege, while composing their own music.

Library

The goal of our library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information.

During library time, students learn information literacy skills such as generating central and sub-questions and locating resources using keywords.

They also practice simple note taking strategies and learn to interpret, compare, and summarize information in order to answer the research questions.

Technology

Assigned projects in Technology class integrate with the students’ classroom curriculum throughout the school year. For third grade students, technology class:

  • reinforces the skills they learned in second grade
  • strengthens operations like digital photography, coding, and connecting alternative input devices
  • introduces file management (create folders, use keyboard shortcuts and right click)
  • introduces multimedia projects using Hyperstudio to create a plant kingdom project
  • introduces digital citizenship as students collect copyrighted materials for their projects

The students work on gaining proficiency and speed in touch typing in the lab and at home with the Edutyping website. Applications that are introduced and used in third grade include Hyperstudio, Scratch, Inspiration, Pixie 3, iMovie, iPhoto, and Garageband.

Physical Education

In Physical Education class, third graders are introduced to more complex activities such as Frisbee games, soccer, basketball, and capture the flag. We continue to focus on lifelong fitness and promote sportsmanship, individual growth, and teamwork. Some of the favorite activities in third grade PE are capture the flag, wall tag, and spooners.

World Language

All third graders at Villa Academy continue their study of French or Spanish. They use the language to communicate and to express themselves with increasing complexity. In a fun, active, and participatory environment, they learn through repetition, movement, songs, and games. They read and write in their target language and respond with physical activity to teacher directions. The language program incorporates Total Physical Response (TPR) and storytelling methods. This develops oral comprehension and facilitates language acquisition and retention. The majority of class time is conducted in French or Spanish.

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Fourth Grade at Villa

Fourth Grade Highlights

  • Outdoor exploration of native plants and trees, including two field trips to old growth forest on Snoqualmie Pass
  • Collaborative model house project that involves designing and building a house, with working electrical circuits and light fixtures
  • Year long service learning project focusing on food justice, closely working with Food Lifeline of Washington
  • Field trips that provide hands-on experiences in Science and Social Studies
  • Genius Hour!

Our fourth grade reading program is literature-based. Students work in small, flexible groups focusing on a variety of reading elements and reading comprehension strategies. As fourth graders develop cognitively and become aware of other perspectives, we use literature as a lens to explore a variety of perspectives, including other cultures, time periods, and geographic areas.

Students sharpen their reading skills by exploring non-fiction texts that support our science and social studies curriculum. In addition, they learn to communicate their understanding of literature and grade level texts through oral and written communication.

WRITING

In fourth grade, we use a writer’s workshop to explore a variety of writing styles, including narrative, expository, and persuasive pieces. Writing assignments frequently connect to our social studies, science, and service learning themes. Through the writing process, we provide individualized instruction during one-to-one writer’s conferences in order to help students set goals that will further their writing ability. Throughout the school year, fourth graders are actively engaged in writing, revising, and publishing their pieces using technology.

VOCABULARY

Fourth graders use a vocabulary-based program called Wordly Wise. Students are given two weeks to complete each section, with many of the assignments completed as homework and a test on the Friday of the second week. Definitions, sentences, memorization, and vocabulary drills/games are just some of the techniques we use to encourage the development of a rich spelling and writing vocabulary.

SPELLING

Throughout the year, fourth graders work on individualized spelling lists from the program Words Their Way, a daily word study program that focuses on phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction. This program provides skill instruction that covers spelling patterns and focuses on examining and manipulating words, not memorizing them. Students think more critically about words and work on transferring their skills to reading and writing. They how to spell, decode new words, and improve word recognition speed in general.

In fourth grade, students examine the physical regions and early history of Washington State. We focus on geography skills, Native Americans who lived in our area as long as 10,000 years ago, the early explorers, and development of the Northwest, beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition. Our study culminates with the arrival of early pioneers.

One highlight of our program is a simulation activity that brings to life Lewis and Clark’s expedition, with all of its hardships. Students work in groups in the classroom and spend time out on our campus imagining what it was like to be Lewis and Clark exploring a new land.

First grade handwriting is taught in a developmentally- appropriate manner using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum (www.hwtears.com). The goal of handwriting instruction is to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic task for all students. Using a multisensory approach, instruction is based on what children already know and how they learn best. Teacher modeling, guided practice, and consistent child-friendly language and habits facilitate and strengthen handwriting from year to year.

In first grade, students review the correct formation of all capital and small letters using age-appropriate manipulatives and songs, as well practicing using a student workbook. Legible and fluent handwriting in first grade is the primary goal.

Fourth graders are learning math through Envision Math, a rigorous, problem-based curriculum offering comprehensive, blended digital and print components. It is designed to help our students achieve mathematical proficiency levels that will provide the foundation for future math courses and beyond. At the center of this curriculum are the Common Core Standards.

Our students are actively involved in using concrete and digital tools to develop deep mathematical understanding and apply this understanding through practice and problem- solving in every math lesson. The problem solving component helps students to develop specific skills that are used by "good math thinkers."

The focus topics in fourth grade are:

  • generalize place value understanding
  • fluently add and subtract multi-digit numbers
  • use strategies and properties to multiply one and two digit numbers
  • use strategies and properties to divide one digit numbers
  • use whole number operations to solve problems
  • factors and multiples
  • fraction equivalence and ordering
  • line plots
  • understand and compare decimals
  • find equivalence in measurement units
  • algebra: generate and generalize patterns
  • geometry: angles and angle measurement
  • lines, angles and shapes

In addition to our math curriculum, students investigate real world use of math concepts through work on projects like model houses or in our school garden.

The science curriculum for fourth grade incorporates inquiry-based instruction with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM principles. FOSS kits, one of the curricula used in our science program, are designed to center around learning as a developmental progression, providing experiences that allow students to continually build on their initial notions and develop more complex scientific and engineering ideas.

Students experience the following units in fourth grade:

Physical Science: Our physical science unit provides first-hand experiences dealing with energy and change. Students investigate electricity and magnetism as related effects and engage in engineering design while learning useful applications of electricity in everyday life. Students apply their understanding of these concepts by creating working light switches to display in their model houses.

Life Science: Using the FOSS Environments Kit based on Next Generation Science Standards, we study the structures and behaviors of organisms. Students begin to understand the relationship between organisms and their environment, including the impact humans have on the environment. Students examine these concepts through hands on investigations, many of which happen outdoors on our 31-acre campus.

Religion is part of every day. Villa’s religion program is based on the Cabrinian tradition of educating the whole child and building compassionate hearts through service to others. With this as an overall theme, learning about the Catholic faith, class meetings, social/emotional learning (Second Step curriculum), and community service (including buddies) are all part of religion.

THE CATHOLIC FAITH

Through use of the text Blest are We, fourth graders learn about God’s love with a special focus on the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. They study the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, and learn and experience the many forms of prayer. Students attend liturgies and prayer services during the year, and are responsible as a grade level for preparing and planning for one liturgy or prayer service per year.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

The Second Step program, taught in Preschool through Grade Five in Villa classrooms, focuses on four key areas in fourth grade:

  • Empathy and Skills for Learning - empathy and respect, listening with attention, being assertive, respecting similarities and differences, understanding complex feelings, understanding different perspectives, conversation and compliments, joining in, and showing compassion
  • Emotion Management - managing strong feelings, calming down anger, managing anxiety, avoiding jumping to conclusions, handling put-downs
  • Problem Solving - solving problems, making a plan, solving playground problems, taking responsibility for your actions, dealing with peer pressure

Students learn and practice all of these skills through fun and interactive lessons, role plays, games, stories, video segments and short daily reinforcements. Students also begin to develop self care skills, an emotion vocabulary, and problem solving strategies that are used both in and out of school.

CLASS MEETINGS

Creating a safe, and emotionally secure classroom encourages students to share their feelings and solve problems together. Daily/weekly class meetings enable such an environment to thrive. Whether celebrating each other or solving problems together, fourth graders are empowered to make a difference in their classroom community and their school.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Catholic Social Teaching is taught through service learning as students work to fight hunger in our community. Work at Food Lifeline, classroom lessons, and discussions culminate in a special year end project. Fourth graders host a simple Soup Supper for their families, raising funds to benefit Food Lifeline.  

VISUAL ARTS

Fourth graders continue to expand their concepts and vocabulary using the elements of line, shape, form, texture, color, space, and value.

In art class, students:

  • identify and use complementary colors
  • analyze the symbolic mood implications of color
  • recognize that curved lines give the illusion of roundness
  • develop control of tools and processes with increased complexity to produce detailed imagery in a variety of media such as: painting, drawing, printmaking, oils pastel, collage, and ceramics
  • learn to apply a creative process
  • refine their work based on feedback and present their work to others
  • use and understand value of the arts for worship

MUSIC

The purpose of our fourth grade music program is to expose students to a wide range of musical experiences so they may develop a foundation for lifelong appreciation of music. We provide students with learning experiences so they develop the skills described by the Association for the Supervision of Curriculum Development (ASCD) benchmarks while learning concepts related to the elements of music.

The activities designed to provide such experiences are singing, playing recorders, Orff and other percussion instruments, moving to music, reading music, listening, and performing.

LIBRARY

The goal of our library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information.

Fourth graders use self-selected topics to practice skills such as:

  • generating central and sub-questions
  • locating resources using keywords
  • understanding various strategies for taking notes
  • interpreting, comparing, and summarizing facts and ideas

Students listen and respond to a variety of stories and informational texts comparing styles, genres, perspectives, opinions, and facts, while building comprehension skills. They learn to locate resources using search stations and the classification system.

TECHNOLOGY

Once each week, fourth graders come to Villa’s Computer Lab for one hour to build their computer literacy skills. Assigned projects in this class integrate with the students’ classroom curriculum throughout the school year.

For fourth graders, technology class:

  • reinforces skills learned in third grade
  • introduces higher level concepts in digital citizenship as they use school email addresses and Google accounts
  • introduces safe email practices and Villa's acceptable use policy with technology
  • reinforces strategies for safe and efficient use of websites for research
  • teaches each of the Google Apps, with projects
  • encourages proficiency and speed in touch typing with the Edutyping website

Applications that are introduced and used include Google Drive, Hyperstudio, Scratch, Inspiration, Pixie 3, iMovie, iPhoto, and Garageband.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Fourth grade students continue to grow their skill sets and are introduced to more team sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer, and floor hockey.

They get to show their skills in gameplay and are always working on being a great teammate. Students are also given leadership opportunities in class and exposed to some team sports.

WORLD LANGUAGES

All fourth graders at Villa Academy continue their study of French or Spanish. They use the language to communicate and to express themselves with increasing complexity. In a fun, active, and participatory environment, they learn through repetition, movement, songs, and games. They read and write in their target language and respond with physical activity to teacher directions. The language program incorporates Total Physical Response (TPR) and storytelling methods. This develops oral comprehension and facilitates language acquisition and retention. The majority of class time is conducted in French or Spanish.

Fifth Grade at Villa

Fifth Grade Highlights

  • 3-day Science Experience - visit Nature Bridge, an environmental camp located on Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula
  • Colonial Day Open House - visit colonial villages constructed by the 5th graders (STEaM Project combining geometric shapes and measurements with the construction of colonial buildings)
  • Americana Day Open House - celebrates a year-long study of the United States as well as our own individually chosen states to study, culminating in the sharing of our own state text books, state box, and mask of our state animal
  • Service Learning - participating in Villa’s state-recognized Green Team Program as part of our year-long service learning

Books, books, and more books! Reading to learn is the focus of our work this year. This includes reading informative text as well as fictional reading. We emphasize learning the specific skills and strategies needed to successfully read and comprehend informational text. Using the SQ3R (survey, question, read, recite, review) strategies, fifth graders learn to make inferences, interpret specialized vocabulary, and use context clues among other skills. Much of our reading supports our science and social studies curricula. Fictional reading includes self-selected books as well as read-alouds and class novels or small group book clubs centered around a curriculum-related theme.

Some of the fiction books we may read include:

  • Children of the Longhouse, a novel which illuminates our study of Native American cultures
  • Flush, Scat, and Hoot, realistic fiction by Carl Hiaasen, helps us understand that we all have a stake in the environmental health of our planet
  • Chains and  Forge, historical fiction novels set in the Revolutionary War; told from the perspective of slave boy/girl.

A well-stocked book corner, literature circles, and lots of sharing make for a love of reading that will last a lifetime!

WRITING

Being effective communicators is a goal we have for our student writers. Specific skills include:

  • writing effective introductions
  • the proper formation of a paragraph
  • writing concise conclusions
  • using descriptive and creative vocabulary
  • expanding ideas with details
  • using the entire writing process (pre-writing using graphic organizers, drafting, revising, editing, and producing a final draft)
  • write expository, narrative, friendly letters, poetry, and persuasive pieces

VOCABULARY/SPELLING

Word Voyage is a vocabulary program designed to develop students' vocabularies by providing lessons drawn directly from their assigned readings and includes hundreds of vocabulary lists from classic and popular books. This unique online program helps students achieve greater reading comprehension, more enjoyment of reading, superior writing, and higher standardized test scores while also teaching students better work habits!

Spelling focuses on the most common words used in our daily writing. Using Rebecca Sitton’s program, we build on the lists of words the students have already learned. Students learn a number of new words each week with the expectation that they will use these words in their everyday writing.

Students spend the year exploring and studying the United States: its geography, history, cultures, and current issues. Geography study includes learning about five major regions and the location of all 50 states and capitals. Students choose a state to research and explore the geography, history, and culture of this state as well as the entire country. Students learn to research using many different print and online resources as they write a “state textbook”.

Our history study covers ancient civilizations, such as the Maya and Aztec, through the Revolutionary War and the establishment of our country. A variety of experiences from reading to participating in a simulation help to make this history come alive.

We also analyze and discuss current events and issues, helping students to draw connections between historical events and the issues facing our country today.

One of the goals we have for our fifth grade math students is to have a growth mindset that says, “I can do math.” Fifth graders learn math through Envision Math, a rigorous, problem-based curriculum offering comprehensive, blended digital and print components. It is designed to help our students achieve mathematical proficiency levels that will provide the foundation for future math courses and beyond. At the center of this curriculum are the Common Core Standards. Our students are actively involved in using concrete and digital tools to develop deep mathematical understanding and apply this understanding through practice and problem-solving in every math lesson. The problem solving component helps students to develop specific skills that are used by “good math thinkers.”

The focus topics in fifth grade are:

  • place value- whole numbers and decimals
  • whole numbers- fluently multiply and divide
  • decimals- add, subtract; multiply and divide with models
  • fractions- equivalence, add, subtract; multiply and divide with models
  • volume- understand concepts, volume formulas, prisms
  • measurement- convert within a given system
  • represent and interpret data- line plots
  • algebra- order of operations; evaluate, write and interpret numerical expressions
  • geometry- graph points on the coordinate plane; classify two dimensional figures (triangles, quadrilaterals)

The science curriculum for fifth grade incorporates inquiry-based instruction with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), engaging students at the intersection of the disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. FOSS kits, the core curriculum used in our science program, are designed to center around learning as a developmental progression, providing experiences that allow students to continually build on their initial notions and develop more complex scientific and engineering ideas.

Students experience the following units in fifth grade:

  • Earth Science - Earth and Sun
  • Physical Science -Mixtures and Solutions
  • Life Science - Environmental Detective

Each unit includes opportunities for students to use all four steps of the scientific method (observation, hypothesis, prediction, and experimentation/testing) through inquiry-based lessons. The Villa grounds are used often as an outdoor classroom to enhance various lessons and/or units.

Science Camp at Naturebridge in the Olympic National Forest allows students to experience science first hand!

Our religion program is based on the Cabrinian tradition of educating the whole child and building compassionate hearts through service to others. With this as an overall theme, learning about the Catholic faith, class meetings, social/emotional learning (Second Step curriculum), and community service (including buddies) are all part of religion.

THE CATHOLIC FAITH

Fifth graders learn that through the seven sacraments, we receive God’s grace and are enabled to see God in others and in ourselves. Also, in looking at the story of Jesus through the Gospels, we learn by His example what it means to have wisdom, compassion, empathy, and understanding.

Fifth graders also learn about and experience the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. Lastly, students attend liturgies and prayer services during the year, and are responsible as a grade level for preparing and planning for one liturgy or prayer service.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

The Second Step program, taught in Preschool through Grade Five in Villa classrooms, focuses on four key areas in fifth grade:

  • Empathy and Skills for Learning: empathy and respect, listening with attention, being assertive, predicting feelings, taking others’ perspectives, accepting differences, disagreeing respectfully, and responding with compassion
  • Emotion Management: calming down, managing anxiety, managing frustration, resisting revenge, handling put-downs, and avoiding assumptions
  • Problem Solving: problem solving skills, making a plan, seeking help, dealing with gossip, dealing with peer pressure, reviewing all skills

Students learn and practice all of these skills through fun and interactive lessons, role plays, games, stories, video segments, and short daily reinforcements. Students also begin to develop self care skills, an emotion vocabulary, and problem solving strategies that are utilized both in and out of school.

CLASS MEETINGS

Creating a safe and emotionally secure classroom encourages students to share their feelings and solve problems together. Daily/weekly class meetings enable such an environment to thrive. Whether celebrating each other or solving problems together, students are empowered to make a difference in their classroom community and their school.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Fifth grade’s service learning focuses on caring for God’s Creation. Each day, a team of two fifth graders give up their lunch recesses to assist students in the lunchroom. They monitor where students place their leftover food and waste items at the end of lunch, making sure everything gets placed in the correct receptacles: food waste, recyclable materials, and “landfill” (garbage) items. In addition, they clean up around the lunch bins and sweeping up bigger “messes” as needed. Some of the food waste that we generate each day is composted and used in our own Villa Garden.

Fifth graders will also take ownership of an area near the greenhouse.  Each month, students will weed, tend to new plantings there, and clean up any trash present.  They will truly act as stewards of God’s creation on Villa’s beautiful grounds.

VISUAL ARTS

Fifth grade students continue to refine and enrich their knowledge of arts concepts and vocabulary. In art class, fifth graders:

  • demonstrate the use of line through direction, type, and quality
  • use a color wheel to demonstrate color relationships
  • designate various color schemes and use a range of values
  • use a variety of techniques in observational drawing, recognize perspective (i.e., closer objects have more detail) and understand how contour lines can be used to draw people and objects
  • work with variety of art media and mix media (i.e., painting, drawing, printmaking, oils pastel, collage, ceramics, and paper maché)
  • demonstrate and draw symbols and sacramental instruments used during Mass and liturgical services

MUSIC
The purpose of the fifth grade music program is to expose students to a wide range of musical experiences in order that they may develop the foundation for a lifetime of music appreciation, a working knowledge of music in performance, and theory skills to aid in the understanding of musical structure. Students are graded on performance, effort, and attitude. Each class culminates in several performance projects demonstrating skills learned through the study of music theory, music history, performance, acting, and singing.

LIBRARY

The goal of our library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information. Students use self-selected topics to develop information literacy skills including:

  • formulating central and sub-questions
  • locating relevant and reliable resources including databases and websites
  • using note-taking strategies to gather relevant facts and ideas
  • interpreting and evaluating Information in various formats to answer the research questions

Students listen and respond to a variety of stories and informational texts comparing styles, genres, perspectives, opinions and facts while building comprehension skills.

TECHNOLOGY

Once each week, fifth grade students come to Villa’s Computer Lab for one hour to build their computer literacy skills. Assigned projects in this class integrate with the students’ classroom curriculum throughout the school year. For fifth grade students, technology class reinforces past skills and prepares them to be independent computer users in sixth grade when they receive their own laptops.

As part of their yearlong state textbook project, students learn new skills and practice familiar ones as they:

  • research their state using valid websites for information, note-taking, and summarizing content into their own words
  • develop a state symbols slideshow
  • create population and area charts
  • design a state poster, an economy collage, and a tourism brochure

The students also work on gaining proficiency and speed in touch typing in the lab and at home with the Edutyping website. Applications that are introduced and/or used include Google Drive, Hyperstudio, Scratch, Inspiration, Pixie 3, iMovie, iPhoto, and Garageband. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Fifth graders' skills continue to grow as their scope of abilities have been further developed. They play more complex activities such as Frisbee games, volleyball, soccer, basketball, floor hockey, and softball. Students participate in these activities in a slightly more competitive environment. We continue to focus on lifelong fitness, sportsmanship, self-improvement, individual growth, and teamwork.

WORLD LANGUAGES

In preparation for selecting an international language to study in Middle School, fifth graders continue taking French for half of the year and are introduced to Spanish for the other half. The French and Spanish programs present language in meaningful contexts and build continuity by using language in the development of specific themes. Students use the languages both to communicate and to express themselves and their needs. Fifth graders also increase their ability to read and write in another language.